At this moment, a military alliance headed by the U.S.A., composed of nineteen countries and equipped with the most advanced warlike technology of the planet, triggers an aerial bombing on one of the poorest countries of Europe. A rain of North-American cruise missiles destroys several cities of the Yugoslav Federation (composed of Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodine and Kosovo).
One does not know yet how many hundreds of Serbs were assassinated by the imperialistic projectiles, but independently of the number of dead, the results of the attack left painful scars in the population, who have been living for more than one decade under the conditions of a semi-colony isolated by a criminal economic international blockade.
The imperialistic front counts on the active collaboration of all the European Social-democratic governments, i.e. the bombers left from bases located in Italy, a country led by premier Massimo D'Alema, formed leader of the Italian Communist Party. The attack, justified by its authors for "humanitarian reasons" also deepens enormously the misery that affects the Serbian masses, as well as the Albanians of Kosovo, destroying what still remains of the Yugoslav economy after one decade of wars.
The first step of the attack was the retirement of an army of 1,400 observers of the Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which since October of 1998 was in the Yugoslav Federation on the pretext of guaranteeing the cease-fire between Serbs and Kosovars.
But in fact it was dedicated to espionage, preparing for better conditions for a NATO attack and the instalment of a military base in the region. A manoeuvre that is already well known and which was applied recently in Iraq by the U.S.A. With this trick, pretending to be engaged in international control, the great powers infiltrate agents to gather information, which is used in a future attack on the inspected country.
Nevertheless, that is not the only similarity between the present conflict and the Yankee's wars against Iraq. As well as with Saddam Hussein, the bourgeois mass media tried to present the enemy, Milosevic, as the greatest Satan of the times, the new Hitler, etc., as they always do in these situations to justify the slaughter of the bombings of the oppressed countries led by dictators.
Moreover, like the Iraqi people, the Serbs live under a criminal economic imperialistic blockade applied by "the democrats" and Social-democrat governments of the U.S.A. and Europe. In addition, the criminal action was decided even though Milosevic had capitulated under the conditions demanded in the negotiations of Paris, accepting the self-determination of Kosovo under the plans imposed by the international capitalist organisations. Clinton and the Social- democrat governments of Europe initiated the bombing because Belgrade did not allow a foreign military intervention of 28 thousand soldiers in its territory.
This demonstrates that the occupation is not a way to guarantee the "peace agreements", but an aim in itself. An objective of NATO is to place a military base within Eastern Europe. For that reason, they granted to Kosovo's people an autonomy under the control of the bayonets of the imperialistic troops for a minimum term of three years. In this period, on top of disarming the Serbian forces of the region of Kosovo, they would also try to disarm the UCK/KLA.
To accept an autonomy controlled by imperialism means for Kosovo's people to be left under conditions of national oppression still worse than those they have today. The aerial bombings that they have undergone in these days in Pristina, the capital of the province of Kosovo, are demonstrations of the true methods that will be applied by imperialism in Kosovo.
In spite of the pro-imperialistic Kosovo leaders, who today call for foreign intervention, the Albanian guerrillas of Kosovo have been a permanent problem for the U.S.A. and the European powers, and have crossed the Yugoslav frontiers determined by the peace agreements.
The fight for Albanian national liberation in Kosovo has inflamed the Albanians of the neighbouring countries, particularly of Albania (which since the popular rising of 1997 lives under another military intervention of the NATO) and Macedonia (where there also exists a significant population of Albanian origin). The Albano-Macedonean press used to idolise the heroic fighters from across the border, and the land is more than ready for the appearance of political demands for Albanian independence more radical than the options represented by the main Albano-Macedonean parties that exist nowadays.(El País, 23/03/99).
Because of that, imperialism knows that military intervention will be neither a calm nor a quick walkover! In fact, they speak about a five-year occupation of NATO troops in the south of the Balkans!.(idem)
The intervention brings an increasing number of confrontations between Washington and Moscow. Although Russia has transformed itself into a semicolony, it still has one of the largest arsenals on the planet. It is also aware that the extension of the military control of the Atlantic Alliance into the Balkans is directed towards the European east with the aim to occupy the space of military and political influence left by the Warsaw Pact. The U.S.A. has been modifying the correlation of forces in its favour in the East, and it is not by chance that three former Degenerate Workers States have entered into the Atlantic Alliance of imperialism.
Worried by the imperialistic advance of the Yankees, the Russian leaders were alarmed by the intensity of the conflict. The first minister Primakov declared that the use of the force "would cause a deep destabilising effect in Yugoslavia, Kosovo, the whole Europe and the entire world".(El País, 23/03/99). Even the minister of Defence, Sergueiev, said that "the bombings, would cause a second Vietnam, but this time, within Europe." (Folha do Sao Paulo, 24/03/99).
However Russian opposition to the attack does not go beyond declarations to the worldwide press. In addition, it does not do it because of humanitarian reasons, but because it feels that the next step of the NATO towards the European east is going into its own border republics, where Russia itself exerts a national oppression.
At this moment, it is necessary to defend unconditionally the Serbian population who is on Yugoslavia's side. If it wins over Yugoslavia, imperialism will be in a better condition to exert its dominion on Europe, to recolonise the European east and to oppress the remaining peoples of the planet.
On the other hand, a defeat of the NATO would give a great impulse to the anti-imperialist fight and to the national liberation of the Balkans, in the heart of east Europe, weakening the Social-democratic governments, who attack the labour and social conquests of the workers. At the same time it would put in trouble the dictatorship of Milosevic.
The leftists that do not support the military victory of Yugoslavia because of the bloodthirsty character of Milosevic should use the same criterion to refuse support to Iraq under the bombings of the U.S.A. Is perhaps Saddam Hussein less bloodthirsty than Milosevic?
The only way to stop the chauvinism of Milosevic is to oppose this new form of oppression in Yugoslavia under the bayonets of imperialism, and to defeat the NATO forces by making an anti-imperialist united front with Yugoslavia.
Freeing the country of imperialism breaks the conditions of oppression that generate the Serbian chauvinism, creating in this way better conditions for getting rid of Milosevic.
Today, refusing to make a military united front with Yugoslavia against the NATO is supporting the imperialistic bombings. There can be no progressive solution in the policy of the Serbian or Kosovar nationalism. Milosevic tries to divert popular discontent with the economic crisis of the country towards chauvinism against the ethnic minorities. The leaders of the Albanians, Rugova and the UCK/KLA, hope to get rid of the Serbian yoke by agreeing to a new oppression and a false autonomy under the control of the NATO.
The Kosovo and Serb masses must not fall in this trap. The Serbian workers cannot win anything with the oppression exerted by the capitalist government of Belgrade on the Kosovo Albanians. They must fight for Albanian self-determination, for the right to separate themselves from Yugoslavia and to join Albania and Macedonia if they wish.
In this form, it is even possible to win the Albanians, who see with distrust the imperialistic manoeuvres, to fight for the expulsion of the NATO from the Balkans. It is necessary to construct the proletarian unity of the masses of the Balkans against mankind's main enemy, imperialism.
It is necessary to forge a revolutionary internationalist party in the region, which would break with the nationalist leaders and would take the way of the proletarian direction to defeat and expel to the NATO and the imperialism from the region; wonder to construct a Federation of Socialist Republic in the Balkans.
We call to all the organisations that fight for the defence of the oppressed peoples to take action with marches and demonstrations of protest in the embassies of the imperialistic powers against the attack of the NATO against Yugoslavia, calling for the immediate recall of all troops and stop to the bombings in the Balkans. It is necessary to unify the fight in defence of the Yugoslav people with the combat against all the NATO and pro-imperialistic governments which support this military attack.
Defeat and expel the Yankee imperialism and the NATO from the Balkans!
Serb, Albanian and all Balkan workers unite against capitalist restoration, ethnic
cleansing and imperialism.
For multi-ethnic workers councils
Self-determination for Kosovo!
For a Socialist Federation of the Balkans!
24th March 1999 (translated from the Spanish)
Internationalist Bolshevik Liaison - LBI (Brazil)
Workers Revolutionary Party - POR (Argentine)
Committee Of Worker and Socialist Initiative - CIOS (Argentina)
Orthodox Trotskyist Group (Brazil)
Trotskyist Faction (Brazil)
Liaison Committee of Militants for a Revolutionary Communist International - CEMICOR/LCMRCI
From Class Struggle, No 27 May-June 1999