The opposition parties in Serbia have been protesting in the country since late 2018 against the rule of Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić and his governing Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). Peoples Dispatch spoke to Aleksandar Ðenić, first secretary of the League of Yugoslav Communist Youth (SKOJ), regarding the nature of the ongoing protests and the policies of the current government. He also talks about the history of interventions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the region as well as the initiatives taken by the NKPJ and the SKOJ towards mobilizing people against imperialism and the right-wing.
Peoples Dispatch (PD): What is your view of the ongoing protests in Serbia against president Aleksandar Vučić? What is SKOJ/NKPJ’s opinion about the ruling coalition in the country that consists of the Serbian Progressive Party, the Serbian Socialists and the Social Democrats?
Aleksandar Ðenić (AD): Protests against Vucic have been led by the worn-out bourgeois leaders who were in power before him. Vucic continued with their anti-people policies, which they ran from 2000 to 2012. Vucic’s politics is not different from their politics. Their only purpose is to rule in place of Vucic, while everything else will continue in the old way. The bourgeois opposition, like Vucic, advocates the entry of Serbia into the dungeon of the European Union (EU), an imperialist creation dominated by monopolies. Serbia’s approach to the EU has catastrophic consequences for our country. In line with such a policy, Serbia has been de-industrialized, the masses have lost their jobs, while education, health, housing policies and the living standard are being broken day by day. Such a policy, therefore, has obstructed the way to any prospects for the youth, so that people are massively moving out from Serbia. The bourgeois opposition is for close co-operation with the NATO pact, as well as for continuing cooperation with parasitic institutions in the service of Western imperialism, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Regarding the ruling coalition, made up of the Serbian Progressive Party and the Socialist Party of Serbia, it is continuing with the anti-people policies since 2000 onwards. The present government, as it has been since 2000, has been pursuing a policy on the dictates of Brussels and Washington. Such a policy has catastrophic consequences for our country and its citizens. Its character is anti-national and anti-people and is in the interest of big capital.
Due to the anti-people nature of the opposition and the government, we are building a platform for the gathering of all progressive forces and individuals in the true People’s Front. We are committed to a policy that will be based on the interests of a working person, not major capital. Therefore, our message is No Vucic, No DOS (parties that overthrew Milosevic and are the opposition today), but the People’s Front.
PD: On March 24, on the 20th anniversary of the NATO invasion, SKOJ/NKPJ commemorated the victims of the NATO bombings in Yugoslavia. What is your understanding of the role played by the NATO forces in de-stabilizing the region?
AD: The NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a continuation of the process of breaking up the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. NATO bombed our country as part of the Western imperialism’s policies for the conquest of new markets and the enslavement of freedom-loving nations. NATO committed horrific crimes during the bombing. They threw cluster bombs and deployed uranium onto our people, although the use of such weapons is prohibited under all conventions. They killed over 2,500 civilians, including a large number of children, and bombed schools, bridges, factories and buildings during the 78 days of criminal aggression. Interestingly, it was the first time that Germany participated in a military campaign after 1945, violating its own constitution. Our people and our army provided heroic resistance. However, what NATO failed to destroy, the anti-people authorities have been successfully destroying from 2000 onwards.
NATO continues to occupy the southern part of our country, Kosovo and Metohija. They set up a puppet regime there, headed by criminals, war criminals and terrorists. In Kosovo and Metohija, NATO created the Bondsteel military base. NATO is the biggest destabilizer of peace and security in the Balkans. It occupied the entire Balkans. NATO is constantly making new artificial conflicts between different multi-ethnic parties in the Balkans in order to justify its presence in this part of Europe. NATO is leading the Balkans in “waver and rule”.
Therefore, our message is clear: NATO get out from the Balkans, the Balkans belong to the people of the Balkans!
PD: Why do you refer to yourselves SKOJ/NKPJ and not as a communist party of a specific country (Serbia)? What are some of the major interventions by your organization in the region since your inception?
AD: SKOJ was re-established in 1992 as a youth sub-organization of the NKPJ, which was founded in 1990 while Yugoslavia still existed, precisely as a reaction of a part of the youth to the socialist breakup of the same. We advocate the reconstruction of Yugoslavia, not from nostalgic feelings but because we consider it to be the best solution for all South Slav nations. Of course, we are aware that there were mistakes both in the construction of socialism and in the functioning of Yugoslavia because if there were not, we would not live in satellites today. But it does not discredit the fact that it was the best solution for all her people. The current countries that have emerged from it best show us that such is the case, because they are all the marionettes of Brussels and Washington.
Yugoslavia proved to be, in practice, with all its defects, as the best solution for all the nationalities living in that area, and since its disintegration, the only one who benefited from this was Western imperialism, while all the people living in it were the losers. We are aware of the historical circumstances in which we live, that Yugoslavia does not exist, but it is not so because it was the will of its people but because it was the will of Western imperialism, which broke it in the bloody civil war with the help of its domestic collaborators and domestic fifth column. Yugoslavia no longer exists but the process of its demolition is still ongoing. Western imperialism continues this process by the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo and Metohija. If we, as communists, renounced Yugoslavia, it would mean that we recognized that its division was a legitimate one.
Of course, it is important to note that we are in favor of the restoration of socialist Yugoslavia because there is always the possibility that in the future, the capital will restore capitalist Yugoslavia. But in such a capitalist state, the national and economic problems would not be solved. In this spirit, our organizations and members outside of Serbia (where we have them), together with friendly organizations outside Serbia, work to bring together all progressive forces and individuals, creating a political platform against the imperialist alliances of the EU and NATO, which are colonialist towards our region and are the greatest looters and enemies of all South Slav nations.
PD: The ethnic conflicts in the region were said to be a significant factor that contributed to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. In your opinion, how can you rally the progressive sectors in the region, especially the working class, against crony capitalism by withstanding the politics of hyper-nationalism which are growing in strength in Europe?
AD: Ethnic conflicts in Yugoslavia were caused by Western imperialism. They are the ones who made these conflicts and later used them in their propaganda to justify the occupation of the countries of the former Yugoslavia and the entire Balkans. These conflicts are artificial and unsustainable, but imperialist propaganda wants to present them as natural and eternal. Ordinary people in the Balkans function normally, regardless of the horrific crimes that took place during the 90s. Nevertheless, Western imperialism constantly heats up national conflicts, and adds fuel to fire to justify occupation in our countries. All countries from the former Yugoslavia are empty and remain empty. All nationalistic policies had catastrophic consequences for our nations. Therefore, in order to prevent the exodus of our people, we must first get rid of the NATO occupiers, the EU domination, and reject all anti-people policies that are in the interests of Western imperialism and big capital and then build a socialist alternative in which the working man will be the focus. On this platform, we are ready to build a policy of the future with all progressive organizations and individuals in our region.