NATO Attack on Yugoslavia!
and all other Imperialists: Out of the Balkans!
an April 1999 Statement by the Revolutionary Communists (FRG)
The federal government [of Germany] and NATO claim that they want
to put an end to the "ethnic cleansing" by the Milosevic
regime. But they have nothing in principle against ethnic cleansing
when it corresponds to their own power plans. In August of 1995
the Croatian Army began an offensive called "Operation Storm".
Within just a few days between 150,000 and 250,000 people were driven
out of the Knin region of Croatia by this military offensive. For
hundreds of years the Serbs of this region had been the overwhelming
majority of the inhabitants there. According to the New York
Times (22/03/99) there is a secret report of the international
war crimes tribunal at The Hague documenting this crime, which the
report calls "the largest ethnic cleansing of the war"
and which included the murder of hundreds of people….
This barbaric offensive [against Croatia's Serbs] was planned and
carried out with the political, military and logistical support
of the US and the FRG. The ethnic cleansing of the Knin region was
part of their plan for a redivision of spheres of influence in the
Balkans. According to the New York Times, Pentagon lawyers
even appeared before the Hague tribunal to argue that this crime
was "legitimate military activity".
The NATO war of intervention is not, as some say, the lesser evil
for the Balkans, nor is it the only realistic chance to stop mass
murder there. This war is a continuation and intensification of
mass murder. The first 20 days of this war have proven this in the
most terrible fashion.
It is an old tactic of the imperialist big powers to set the oppressed
masses of different nationalities against one another in order to
safeguard their rule over all these peoples. This tactic has been
used again and again, especially in the Balkans. And it is a tried
and true variation of this tactic for the rival big powers to create
a situation like the one currently in the Balkans in order to disguise
their imperialist wars of intervention as the "restoration
of order and peace". We shouldn't fall for such old tricks….
This reactionary "reorganisation" of the population could
pacify the "centre of unrest" in Kosovo. This is an important
war aim of the USA and FRG as well as France and England. At the
same time, the main goal that the USA and FRG want to achieve through
the air attacks is for the Yugoslav Army to carry out a coup against
Milosevic. They want a regime in Belgrade that is more dependent
on the USA and Germany and less so on Russia. Supporting mass murders
is never a problem for either the USA or Germany. It is part of
big power business as usual.
The Balkans are both a powderkeg and the scene of a very complex
power struggle among the big powers. With the collapse of the revisionist
pseudo-communist Soviet Union and the social-imperialist bloc it
was leading, the rivalries among the capitalist classes of the various
nationalities in the Balkans broke wide open. Above all, the Croatian
and Serbian ruling classes wanted to implement plans for establishing
a Greater Croatia and Greater Serbia respectively. These plans were
to be carried out at each other's expense and at that of the other
nationalities in the Balkans. These ambitions were supported by
the world's various big powers, whose own historical struggle for
spheres of influence in the Balkans has also once again come into
In order to realise their traditional claims to power in the Balkans,
the German imperialists support the quasi-fascist Tudjman regime
in Croatia. To this end the German government consciously encouraged
the Tudjman regime to unleash the war in Bosnia.
The goal of German imperialism in the Balkans is to force a redivision
of the spheres of influence there, thereby gaining the biggest possible
area of control for themselves. They say that this alone corresponds
to their current status as Europe's leading economic power. In the
final analysis war is the only means likely to achieve such ends.
The redivision that Germany is seeking in the Balkans comes mainly
at the expense of Russia, England and France. All three are the
traditional allies of Serbia. All three see in Serbia a bulwark
against the expansion of German power, which for them - and especially
after reunification - is already too big. They also see in Serbia
an important factor for stability in the Balkans. Because of these
contradictions, the "joint European foreign policy" that
they all pretend to be seeking for the Balkans is nothing but a
fiction, which heretofore could never really be achieved. "Europe"
has not "failed" in the Balkans. The big European powers
stand behind the different warring parties and through the war pursue
conflicting imperialist interests.
The feigned display of unity put on by the NATO countries at the
start of the attack on Yugoslavia was intended to cover over the
sharp contradictions within the war alliance. It is a rule among
the imperialists that only those who take part in the bloodletting
are allowed to play any significant part in the political decisions.
That is why Defense Minister Sharping said that through its participation
in this war Germany "had made a great leap forward". The
FRG has "now made its complete and final entrance into the
community of Western democracies", he said. With this statement
he hit the nail on the head concerning the true nature of the "Western
[The RKs conclude by calling for a "broad and massive movement
of protest and resistance against the war" and against every
step in the direction of bringing into being a "Superpower-Germany
and a Fourth Reich".]
US-NATO Imperialist Aggression in Serbia!
Excerpt from Rossoperaio, organ of the RedWorker CommunistOrganisation
of Italy, April 1999
endorses a national demonstration on 17 April and reports on militant
protests throughout Italy against the NATO bases in Pisignano (Cervia)
and San Damiano (Piacenza), as well as in Genova, Bergamo, Puglia
NATO is now carrying out a Nazi-type criminal bombardment of Serbia
and its present region of Kosovo. The workers and all the people
have become the target of a rain of imperialist bombs and missiles,
sowing death and destruction, in an attempt to impose terror and
A position that attempts to equate NATO's war of aggression and
the Milosovic regime's responsibility in the ethnic war now going
on, that puts aggressor and victim on the same level in this particular
NATO war, may appear "even-handed". But in fact this supports
the arguments behind NATO's imperialist aggression, and thus such
a position cannot struggle consistently against this imperialist
war [this is the position of a number of parties and forces in Italy]....
Italy's role in all this is to serve as an enormous aircraft carrier
for NATO as a whole and for Italian imperialism, following in the
footsteps of Mussolini in seeking to capture particular protectorates
and economic/political/military spheres of influence, first of all
The D'Alema [current prime minister] government is dragging the
country to war and fomenting an imperialist, militarist, nationalist
and racist culture, using as its transmission belt the social-chauvinists
and social-imperialists of the official trade unions and associations,
which are the communications channels between these parties and
the masses. This is closely linked to the growing militarisation
of social conflicts and the repression unleashed against the unemployed,
workers, immigrants, temporary workers and students....
The D'Alema government is not leftist, as it claims, but rightist,
even though it is a newcomer to the direct management of the political
power of the ruling class, a reincarnation and further development
of the longstanding history of the reactionary and warmongering
nature of the social-democrats, of reformism and revisionism, throughout
Against the US-NATO Imperialist Aggression in Serbia!
Against the Rule of Italian Imperialism in this war!
For a revolutionary, proletarian, anti-imperialist mobilisation!
Genocide: How Capitalism Caused the Balkan Wars
the Revolutionary Worker, voice of the Revolutionary Communist
Party USA, #1001, 11 April 1999
The nationalities living in the Balkan mountain area can unite
- and they proved it. These peoples created a powerful multinational
guerrilla movement during World War 2 to defeat the German Nazis
and Italian fascists who occupied the region for three years. The
peoples of Yugoslavia pinned down many divisions of Nazi troops
- and ultimately freed themselves, guns in hand, in a communist-led
resistance war. Modern Yugoslavia was build out of that unity -
bringing together six nations and several other significant nationalities.
There was no reason why a new, progressive, multinational unity
could not have been built. The key would have been uniting on the
basis of the interests of the masses of people - along the road
of socialism and proletarian internationalism. But there was, unfortunately,
never any real socialist transformation in Yugoslavia. The leaders
of the new Yugoslavia, headed by Josef Broz Tito, betrayed the revolution
and took the capitalist road - straight into the embrace of U.S.
imperialism. This laid the seeds for the wars of today.
The World's First Experience with "Capitalist Roaders in
By 1948 Tito was sharply criticised by the world communist movement,
then led by Joseph Stalin. Meanwhile Tito was praised and supported
by the imperialists - who were waging all kinds of warfare against
revolutionary and socialist forces around the world. Tito claimed
that he would walk a "non-aligned" path between East and
West. But in fact, his Yugoslavia quickly became dependent on the
imperialists - politically, economically and militarily - tied to
the world capitalist market while he huddled under the U.S. "nuclear
According to World Bank statistics, the wealthiest 5 percent of
Yugoslav households earned 25 percent of the national income in
the 1970s, while the poorest 20 percent of the population earned
less than 7 percent. This was one of the most extreme income gaps
in Europe - in fact, according to the World Bank, even India's income
distribution gap was not as big!
The northern nations of Yugoslavia - Slovenia and Croatia - were
more highly developed industrially and agriculturally. The three
southern national areas - Macedonia, Montenegro, and the Albanian
region of Kosovo - were far more undeveloped and poor. Serbia, the
largest national grouping, is in between North and South and is
also a relatively poor area. These divisions within Yugoslavia got
even more acute because of the capitalist development pursued
by Yugoslavia. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Over
decades, this created a powerful basis for antagonism between the
nationalities of the country and for the growth of reactionary nationalism.
Investment flows where the profits are greatest. The industrial
northern nations developed rapidly after 1945, while the poorer
southern republics stagnated. When the 1990s started, per capita
production in Slovenia was three times as high as it was in poorer
regions like Macedonia. By 1970 the per capita income of the average
Slovene was over six times that of the average Kosovar. Kosovo lives
in Third World conditions - comparable to Bolivia or Morocco - while
in Slovenia the standard of living is closer to that of neighbouring
The villages in the poorer peasant regions of the south emptied.
People went north for lousy jobs and barrack-like living conditions
as "guest workers" - within the supposedly "equal"
Yugoslav federation. These "guest workers" make up 15
to 20 percent of the Slovenian workforce and are treated like dirt.
The old phoney-communist system of Yugoslavia was based on state
capitalism and a complex system of balancing bourgeois national
interests. Inevitably, that old federation became strained. Bourgeois
forces leading each republic tried to shift wealth toward "their"
Inequality Gives Rise to Political, then Military Conflict
In the 1980s the conflicts intensified because of classic "IMF
crisis." Yugoslavia sank deeply into debt to the International
Monetary Fund and other international imperialist lenders - to the
tune of $1.8 billion. The lenders demanded that capitalist Yugoslavia
take "austerity" measures to pay back the debt, and this
inflamed the conflict in the country.
The masses themselves were not especially gripped by national hatreds
- certainly not at the beginning. Large parts of the population
had intermarried. In urban areas people moved away from religion
- which had been a form through which national hostilities had been
expressed. Many people no longer identified with one or another
nationality - but simply considered themselves "Yugoslavs."
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia was famous for this kind of multicultural
fusion. Today, the masses of people there still fondly remember
the days when people lived and worked together peacefully. Meanwhile,
under the surface, the inequalities between Yugoslavia's regions
and the rival ambitions of the different national capitalist forces
within Yugoslavia created conditions for an eruption.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, and imperialist power shifted in
Europe, it tore old Yugoslavia apart. Warring bourgeois camps sprang
out - claiming to protect the survival of different national groups
- while they pursued their own interests and sought to divide the
people along national lines….
In 1989 Milosevic made Kosovo a symbol and a starting point of this
regional power grab. As he came to power within the Yugoslavian
federation he revoked the autonomy that Kosovo had exercised within
Serbia. He started to systematically impose a Serbian domination
on the Albanian majority of Kosovo. He brutally suppressed a powerful
strike among the Kosovo miners, expelled Albanians from the universities,
imposed Serbian police and troops on the province - and generally
made it clear that his government intended to drive Albanians from
Kosovo. There were repeated incidents of police murder, as the cops
acted like an occupying force.
All this signaled that military force was being applied to turn
Yugoslavia into a Greater Serbia. It greatly accelerated the development
of separatist sentiments among the ruling classes of the other nationalities
(like Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia). The masses of people feared
that they would soon be targeted for their nationality....
This bitter series of Balkan wars is a living example both of how
capitalism leads to the domination of one nation over another and
how imperialism inflames conflicts among the people into reactionary
NATO and Kosovo
April 1999 Halkin Gunlugu (People's Agenda), and other
statements by the Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist) [TKP
What Is War?
War is the continuation of politics by other means. This is a
very good explanation of what war is about. The conscious proletariat
must not forget this scientific reality and must form its view in
this light. When the struggle between the oppressor and oppressed
people is sharp, classes carry out their policies through the use
of guns. Every war thus has a class character. Historically, in
certain specific conditions, the exploiting class can carry out
a just war that can serve the interests of oppressed people. For
example, the bourgeois class which carried out a war against feudalism.
The main principle is, which class or classes does the war serve?
Therefore, a war which serves to move society forward is a just
war and a war which serves to drag society backwards is an unjust
war. We know that there is a reason for the existence of war in
the world. Without removing the cause it is not possible to prevent
the possibility of war. It is not possible to have capitalism without
competition. Different multinational companies compete with each
other for international markets and for raw materials. This competion
between imperialist multinational companies causes wars either locally,
regionally or on a world scale. The imperialist states always need
to gain more colonies or semi-colonies, or to continually keep control
of the ones they already dominate. Therefore they always interfere
with and occupy colonies and semi-colonies.
From this general perspective, we can analyse the wars that the
imperialists, especially the USA, are now carrying out in the Balkans
and the Middle East….
NATO and Kosovo
Under the leadership of the USA, NATO claims its actions are to
"to provide security for the Kosovo Albanians, to prevent the
Serb persecution of the Kosovars, and to force the Yugoslav state's
President Slobodan Milosevic to accept the Rambouillet Agreement".
These NATO attacks have begun a new process whereby the USA imperialists
are declaring to all their rival imperialists as well as to the
international proletariat and oppressed peoples around the world
that they are "all-powerful" and "in charge".
For several years now during the 1990s the US imperialists have
obliged their rival imperialists as well as the international proletariat
and oppressed peoples around the world to discuss the "New
World Order" and US imperialism's leadership in oppressing
the people in the world, such as in Kosovo. So this process is not
new. However, the method of oppression used against Yugoslavia (as
well as the silence of the USA's rival imperialist powers, especially
the European Union imperialists, against the USA-imposed policy
of division in the Balkans) has begun a new process of very sharp
and widespread conflict....
NATO and Turkey
It is quite important for us to explain the relationship of Turkey
with NATO and the development of its international relations. The
Turkish state decided, on the 8th of October in the National Parliament,
that, if necessary, it would send its military outside of the country.
At that time even the US itself had not said anything about any
possible ground operations, but the Turkish parliament took this
decision very quietly. Since that time the Turkish military forces
have come directly under the command of the USA. It is interesting
but not by chance that there was another process that took place
at that time in the Middle East, the escalation of the crisis between
the Turkish state and Syria. The General Chairman of the PKK, Abdullah
Ocalan, on the 9th of October, just one day after the Turkish Parliament's
decision that the military could operate outside the country, was
forced to leave the Middle East. At that time, the US had made peace
between Talabani and Barzani [leaders of Kurdish factions operating
under US hegemony in Iraq's "safe havens"], and then afterwards
the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations appeared. As can be seen, while
the Kosovo negotiations were in process, the Turkey/Syria crisis
appeared. At the same time, discussion took place concerning the
question of Cyprus and the crisis of the S-300 rockets in the Aegean.
The "ghost allies agreement" between the USA, Israel and
Turkey showed that they were ready for events in the Mediterranean
and the Middle East.
The Turkish state, which gets the full support of NATO in its oppression
of the Kurdish national movement, is a puppet of USA imperialism.