Interview with the General Secretary of the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, Aleksandar Banjanac, Belgrade, Republic of Serbia

Alba Granada North Africa Coordination
Alba Granada North Africa Coordination , met the General Secretary of the New Communist party of Yugoslavia in Belgrade for an interview about Serbian society and the role of the working class in this time of  deep capitalist crisis.

As a reminder, the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia (Nova Komunistička Partija Jugoslavije) and the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (Savez Komunističke Omladine Jugoslavije) have recently had their electoral list invalidated by the electoral commission for the legislative elections of June 21 . President Aleksandar Vucic saw his party – the center-right SNS – win the legislative elections in this context of democratic muzzling.

NATO is the striking fist of Western imperialism, NATO is a monstrous aggressive military alliance that provokes wars, conflicts and unrest around the world.

1) How has the disintegration of Yugoslavia and NATO aggression affected the lives of Serbs?

In order to answer your question, it is necessary to first point out two of our important statements, or conclusions. 

Firstly, Yugoslavia did not disintegrate on its own, it was violently dismantled for the sake of the interests of Western imperialism, big capital and monopolies who saw their important geostrategic goals and interests in our region, which are still of course very important to them. In addition to all that, they had the support of the domestic fifth column in Yugoslavia, but the external factor was dominant.

Secondly, our position is that NATO is the striking fist of Western imperialism, NATO is a monstrous aggressive military alliance that provokes wars, conflicts and unrest around the world.

The Serbs directly opposed the interests of Western imperialism and NATO, and no doubt suffered great damage and were victims of it. Starting with the fact that the largest number of displaced persons from their homes from the territory of Yugoslavia were among the Serbian people, that NATO bombed us with weapons prohibited by international conventions and thus committed a serious war crime for which no one has been accused and tried yet, with depleted uranium, from which tens of thousands of people die every year in Serbia.

Undoubtedly, however, all the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, all of them without any exception, have been and are victims of Western imperialism and the violent dismantling of Yugoslavia. Political and economic dependence and conditioning are crystal clear everywhere in Yugoslavia, we have become easy prey for sharks that have entered our waters.

2) What have been the biggest losses for the working classes of Serbia?

The dramatic collapse of the economy, almost completely destroyed industry, is estimated at up to 90% compared to the industry we had in the late 80’s.

Then there is the disorganization and weakened workers’ class-oriented movement, the betrayal of the union leaders of the big unions, which are the agencies of the ruling class and the ruling parties.

The working class in Serbia has largely lost its self-confidence, the belief that it can only fight for its own interests and goals on its own. That is why there is a lot of demagoguery in Serbia today, which deceives people and creates illusions. One of our main tasks is to fight against these illusions, for the new self-confidence of the people who live from their own work.

3) How do you see the reunification of Yugoslavia?

The re-establishing of Yugoslavia is one of our long-term goals. That is one of the reasons why Yugoslavia is a national determinant in the name of our party.

Also, the affirmative pro-Yugoslav attitude has a very positive anti-nationalist and even anti-fascist meaning.

Yugoslavia was the historical aspiration of the South Slavic and other Balkan peoples, it received its full affirmation in socialism. 

Yugoslavia should be reconstructed on the principles of equality and voluntary consent of its inhabitants, in order to mutual cooperation and equality of all its citizens, as well as commitment to the socialist path of its development, in which these principles are only possible.

 4) What does the EU mean for Serbs, and for the working class in particular?

The EU is an imperialist power in the service of the interests of monopolies and big capital, and it is quite logical that the EU is the enemy of democracy, freedom and the right of peoples to decide their own destiny.

It is shaped by the EU bureaucracy with the goal of making the rich even richer and the poor even poorer. The facts in support of our claim lie on the example of numerous failed referendums, disregard for the will of the majority population and their interests all over Europe. The EU clearly demonstrated this on the example of “Brexit” as well, when it tried in every way to defy the will of the majority people in Britain by postponing “Brexit” and calling for a new referendum. And Britain is still a great power, both in Europe and in the world, so we can only imagine what the relationship would be like if a similar decision was made by a smaller and less influential country from the EU.

It is important to say that the EU has an extremely hostile attitude towards Serbia. EU also took an active part in the disintegration of our socialist homeland of Yugoslavia, in the violent seizure of Kosovo, and in the imposition of the so-called negotiations, ie. recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Serbia.

Serbia is already largely dependent on the EU, monopolies from the EU have mostly taken over our economy and reduced it to a miserable status. The goal of liberation from the dependence of these monopolies is inalienable from the goal of deviation from Serbia’s integration into the EU.

We are for the cooperation and unity of European nations and states, but not for the imperialist interests that the EU represents, defends and implements.

 5) How does the Coronavirus crisis affect Serbian society and its economy?

The coronavirus epidemic has deeply affected the society and economy of Serbia. It showed all the injustices and gloomy situation in which our society finds itself today. 

If there was no help from China at the start of the epidemic, the results would be catastrophic. This is because the health system in Serbia has been completely devastated in the last 20-30 years. Our health care system cannot cope with much smaller challenges. The reason for that is the privatization of the health care system, non-investment in it and the outflow of cadres (doctors, nurses…). It is a real luck that we do not have many more deaths, at this moment, a total of about over 500 people have died from coronavirus in Serbia.

Although Serbia is fully integrated into the modern global market economy and is directly dependent on the flows of that economy, the situation in this field is quite bad, as in most of the world, a large number of people have already lost their jobs in many sectors, but a real disaster follows from autumn. 

6) How do you qualify the government’s action in the face of this crisis?

The attitude of the government was mostly catastrophic, primarily towards the working people, towards the working class. Authorities did not suspend the work of certain companies when the epidemic was at its peak and when everything else was stopped or locked down. In order to flatter bourgeois employers, they did nothing but protect the workers. In that way, the bourgeois government showed that it is the service of big capital that is helping them and provided them with high profit rates by exploiting workers, and at the same time the health of workers in private companies who had a work obligation to come to work was endangered in the conditions of the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. There were cases when people became infected in their companies, but even then, production did not stop. Moreover, in parallel to that, the authorities arrested workers who rebelled and protested in some companies.

Another of the many mistakes of the authorities in the fight to curb the coronavirus is that it did not order private employers not to lay off workers, so thousands of them lost their jobs and opportunities to provide for their families during the crisis in which the whole world found itself. The mechanisms that the government has at its disposal for that are numerous, but there is no political will for that.

The profit of private employers should not be more important than the health and existence of people who live from their work and no excuses can be made on that.

7) Why do Serbs allow the historical revisionism denying the Communist past of their history? (Tito’s monuments, Communist party of Yugoslavia, Partisans resistance…..) 

Far from that the people in Serbia are allowing it, but this type of historical revisionism is gradually, step by step, implemented in our country since the restoration of capitalism. Many monuments are still there, but the obvious fundamental revision of history is in a progress. This process is led by the ruling class with the aim of attacking people’s consciousness, and we can say perhaps the most attacked are the young people who are the most vulnerable category in society.

We contribute to the fight against that revisionism by raising our voice every time new attacks in that field take place in any form, but also by consistently marking and celebrating all important dates and important figures from our rich revolutionary and anti-fascist tradition under the slogan “remembering means struggling“.

Answered by General Secretary of the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, 

Aleksandar Banjanac