Balkans: Workers’ uprising in Serbia overthrows Milosevic

In a matter of days a mass revolutionary movement has swept the autocratic regime of Slobodan Milosevic from power. After week long strike action, up to one million people converged on Belgrade on 5 October demanding the end of the regime.

Miners, farmers, students and other workers poured into Belgrade from all over Serbia. Waves of courageous workers stormed the national parliament buildings, tearing down portraits of Milosevic and his cronies and setting parts of the building alight.

The main government television station was seized by those involved in this mass uprising following a brief gun battle.

This enormous movement had all the classic features of an uprising of workers and youth. Delegations of workers and peasants converged on Belgrade. Many were armed and came determined to finish the regime. The mood of these workers hardened during the day, especially following the constitutional court’s decision to annul the election results and leave Milosevic in power until the end of his term in 2001.

The confidence of the masses grew as the old state machine collapsed and it became clear that the rank and file of the army was not prepared to be used to crush this movement.

Even the riot police refused to attack workers on the streets. Some removed their helmets and joined the protesters, others simply gave their weapons to the masses.

Those who resisted and tried to prevent workers from arriving in Belgrade by erecting barricades were disarmed and offered little or no resistance. Enraged by the loss of the state TV channel, Milosevic was reported to have contacted his Chief of Staff, General Pavkovic whom he ordered to send tanks and crush the movement.

Pavkovic is reported to have responded: "I have nobody to do this. The army will remain neutral." Even a special anti-terrorist unit known as ’Ulemak’, led by a war lord and gangster, refused orders to attack the workers on the streets.

The stormy events of October 5th were preceded by a growing mass movement. The decision of the Kolubara miners to join the strike was a decisive factor. The miners were joined by thousands from the surrounding villages who came to help defend them. When riot police arrived and ordered the miners to leave the mine they refused. Faced with this defiance the forces of repression melted like butter on a hot stove. They refused to physically confront the miners on the bridge. As the police commander said as his forces evaporated: "I’m fed up with this. After this, I’m throwing my hat away and going home. The police in Serbia are more democratic than you think."

Working class and youth led the revolt

In the social movements that rocked Eastern Europe a decade ago the working class did not clearly put its stamp on events. But in Romania and in this movement the working class was decisively at the head of the uprisings that overthrew the Ceaucescu regime in 1989 and Milosevic today. This was mainly a spontaneous uprising but also included many elements of a planned insurrection. The uprising had two main centres: the Kolubara mines and the town of Cacak.

The miners had previously supported Milosevic so their decision to strike was particularly significant and represented a turning point. The regime did not understand the hatred that had built up against Milosevic and his cronies. The miners rejected the offer to double their wages if they called off the strike. A sea-change had taken place in the attitude of the mass of the population towards the regime. There was now a determination to fight to overthrow it.

The elements of planning for the uprising partly reflected splits that opened up in the state machine amongst the army and even the police. Sections of the army that had previously supported Milosevic deserted him and his cronies.

According to one report the General Staff of the army split two weeks before the uprising, between those who wanted to back the opposition President-elect, Kostunica, and those who preferred to do nothing. One General resigned.

Later on, the leadership of the army began to contact opposition leaders. This was apparently co-ordinated by the retired Chief of Staff, General Perisic, who eventually got a commitment from the military that they would not intervene.

These developments at the top were an echo of what was taking place amongst the working class and the rank and file soldiers and police. The mass occupation of Belgrade involved a large element of planning. This was centred on the town of Cacak under the leadership of the local Mayor, Velja Ilijic. Cacak had been a bastion of opposition to the Milosevic regime and was gripped by a local general strike for five days before the march engulfed Belgrade.

Thousands of workers, farmers and young people formed an armed convoy of trucks and buses and also brought a bulldozer that was later to feature in the storming of the Federal Parliament. In the ranks of this workers’ column were soldiers and even plain clothes policemen who had gone over to the opposition.

The movement was armed and prepared to fight to the death if necessary. The marchers left Cacak under the slogan, "Victory or Death." The 50 buses and trucks from Cacak brushed aside at least five police road blocks on their way to Belgrade. Other convoys from all over the country headed for Belgrade. As they advanced, the movement grew like a tidal wave that was to crash down on Milosevic and his cronies within hours. Ilijic had been contacted by the police who had been sent to repress the miners at Kalubara with a request to send people to support the miners! Once in Belgrade the movement had the support of the workers of the capital who poured onto the streets. It has now been revealed that the police had requested the demonstrators wait until 3.30pm before marching on the parliament building. At the appointed moment some of the riot police took off their helmets and joined the demonstrators. Others left the parliament and refused to attack the demonstration. As workers stormed the parliament the tractor from Cacak was brought up to the front lines.

The storming of the hated state TV station was also planned by the protesters. Involved in this movement were supporters of Belgrade’s football club – ’Red Star’. In the weeks running up to the uprising the regime had threatened to close the stadium because at the football matches the crowd were chanting anti-Milosevic slogans.

However, this uprising lacked a socialist content. The masses were determined that they wanted an end to the Milosevic regime but did not put forward the idea of a genuine socialist alternative to replace it. At the same time, this movement contained an important element of social revolt against the whole ruling elite and especially Milosevic’s cronies. The uprising and what has followed it has not simply been a repetition of what took place in Eastern Europe in 1989/92.

Since then the working class has had the concrete experience of the effects of the capitalist market. The situation facing western capitalism is also very different.

The economic crises that have rocked Asia, Latin America and Russia and the movements in Seattle, Washington and Prague against globalisation and neo-liberal policies are a different backdrop to the situation that confronted capitalism in 1989/92.

The revolt continues

Not satisfied with Milosevic’s resignation Serbian workers and young people have continued the struggle and have taken action to force out Milosevic’s cronies who ran the factories, mines, workplaces, universities etc

The miners led this struggle and remained on strike to demand the dismissal of the management, which they won. This example was then taken up by thousands of workers all over Yugoslavia. At the giant Genexí import-export state run company groups of workers dragged director Radoman Bozovic from his car. Before a mass meeting of workers he was forced to resign.

This example has been repeated at the state run textile company in Nis where workers stormed the plant demanding that the management be fired. As the Financial Times reported on 11 October: "Strike committees, workers’ committees, lock-ins, lock-outs. Yugoslavia was yesterday awash with reports of workers revolting against their Milosevic-era managers and taking over the directors’ suites." The same report continued: "…workers have taken the communist rhetoric literally and taken charge of their enterprises."

At the Dunav insurance company headquarters the security guard told visitors to: "Come back in two or three days. There is nobody in charge today." There is a struggle taking place for control and ownership of the companies. Bricks were hurled at Vojislav Seselji, leader of the ultra-nationalist Radical Party which is still clinging to the old regime. But this struggle now also involves attempts by Milosevic’s cronies to re-establish control. These actions by workers have been denounced as "lawless anarchy". Milosevic’s mis-named ’Socialist Party’ (which is any-thing but socialist) has a majority in the Serb parliament and is struggling to keep its influence.

In some work places other sections of the gangster/Mafia elite may also be attempting to distance themselves from Milosevic and get control and ownership of enterprises for themselves. This struggle by Serb workers does not mean to say that they have a clear understanding of the need for a genuine socialist alternative. The idea of replacing a "bad manager" with a "good manager" can easily gain support if a real socialist alternative is not explained.

Although the situation remains unclear, it appears that there is a threat by forces who supported the Milosevic regime to reassert its influence and control.

Serb workers must prepare for this threat and complete the struggle they have begun. To maintain what they have already conquered and to obtain the full fruits of the movement it is necessary to go further and build upon the movement that has taken place.

Western hypocrisy

The Western powers have hypocritically welcomed the end of Milosevic. To them, Serbia under his rule was an unpredictable rogue state in an explosive region. For years Milosevic was regarded a "a man the West can do business with". Only when his regime threatened stability in the Balkans by its bloody subjugation of Kosova/o did the attitude of the Western powers change.

Eventually NATO went to war against Serbia. The powers wanted to see the back of his regime, although they did not want to see the job being undertaken by the masses in a revolutionary uprising. Now that Milosevic has been removed and Kostunica has set about establishing a new regime, Western leaders and the media have gone into overdrive attempting to claim some of the victory.

Leaders like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have welcomed the "return to democracy" in Serbia. Some, like British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, have praised the mass action that led to the downfall of the regime. They even have spoken about, "Democracy being won in the street."

The hypocrisy of these people is unlimited! During the war against Serbia, NATO generals specifically targeted economic and industrial targets killing workers and other civilians who have now overthrown the hated regime of Milosevic.

These same politicians were only yesterday condemning the fuel protests across Europe as "undemocratic", despite the mass support they enjoyed. The masses of Serbia have in one week removed the old regime, a task NATO was unable to accomplish despite unleashing its full military power on Serbia during the seventy-eight day war last year. In fact, the war helped bolster the regime at a time when mass anger was welling up against it. Milosevic was able to successfully play the nationalist card again and prolong his rule. The majority of workers and middle-class Serbs have never enthusiastically backed Milosevic but when faced with NATO’s war against them they rallied to ’defend the nation’. The CWI opposed NATO’s war and imperialist intervention in the Balkans and supports the withdrawal of all imperialist forces from the region.

The opposition

For over a decade, the right-wing, pro-capitalist opposition parties in Serbia have also proved completely incapable of removing the Milosevic regime.

As the CWI has always argued, this task could only be carried out by the working class and masses of Serbia.

According to press reports, Kostunica decided to launch mass demonstrations following a meeting on September 29 with senior generals in the Yugoslav army, at which they assured him they would not attack civilians

This reveals the fact that the army tops could sense the growing anger amongst workers, students and the middle classes against the regime, a mood they knew they could not quell. Kostunica and his nineteen party coalition had the limited aim of replacing the Milosevic regime. The opposition hoped for an agreement with the old regime and called for limited protest. However, they were engulfed by the sheer scale of mass protest that was unleashed. As the International Herald Tribune commented on 4 October: "The democratic opposition has hailed the strike (of miners) but been slow to support it."

The tumultuous October events were triggered by the blatant government rigging of recent presidential elections. It seems clear the opposition candidate, Kostunica, won by a large margin, but the desperate regime declared it was so close a result that a second run-off election was required. The opposition boycotted the second elections and called for protests.

The response by the masses was overwhelming. Workers staged a week-long general strike in many sectors of the economy and students came out. By the end of last week Serbia was convulsed by a revolutionary upsurge. The opposition parties repeatedly called for "restraint". They intended calling some protests and hoped the regime would accept the election result and leave power. However, events spun out of their control as the masses took to the streets. The working-class had enough of waiting, and acted decisively to overthrow Milosevic and his cronies.

Once the masses were on the street and undertaking insurrection, the first concern of the opposition was how to end it and get the masses off the streets. Once Milosevic was overthrown, Kostunica appealed for striking workers to quickly return to work and for people to return home. Djindjic, Kostunica’s number two, bluntly stated: "We could make a revolution but it wouldn’t be good. It would create too much instability…..We planned to occupy buildings in Belgrade and then use them as a base from which to negotiate Mr Milosevic’s departure. But more happened than we thought." (British Guardian, 12 October).

Now the leaders are warning workers not to go too far and are expressing fears of the situation getting out of control. There is an urgent need for the working class and young people to form their own independent party with a revolutionary socialist programme in order to take the struggle to a lasting victory.

The prospects of the struggle erupting should Milosevic’s forces attempt to regain power or if Kostunica tries to reach an agreement with them was shown in the statement of the Mayor of Cacak. He warned: "It is sickening to see these politicians already squabbling over who will be Prime Minister and ministers. We didn’t do it to become ministers and I warn them, if they don’t get things right we will march on them as well."

Wars and poverty

The presidential elections became the catalyst for an outpouring of anger and an unstoppable drive for change. Under Milosevic and his ruling elite, the people of Serbia have suffered three terrible wars and economic devastation. Corruption, repression and cronyism were all part of the regime’s rule.

Thousands have died or been injured in conflicts and Serbia is awash with hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken Serb refugees. The ex-Yugoslavia used to enjoy one of the highest living standards in Eastern Europe. But in the last decade these have fallen dramatically. Unemployment and poverty are rife and there are no prospects for youth. Unemployment stands at thirty three percent and inflation has shot up to fifty percent. Economic sanctions imposed by the big powers have mainly hit working class people.

As one of the striking miners explained, "Ten years ago we made $1,500 per month and now we make $80." (International Herald Tribune, 4 October.) Serbs were once amongst the wealthiest people of east Europe but today are dying of poverty related diseases. During the last twelve months average per head income has plummeted from US$2,941 to US$950! Output has fallen by two thirds since 1989.

In the past, Milosevic used Serbian nationalism to try and deflect the anger of workers and the middle classes. He was able to play off a hopelessly divided opposition.

Mass movements had developed before against the regime in the 1990s but were misled by opportunistic, reactionary politicians. But after the trauma of another hopeless war, over Kosova/o last year, the mood of the war-weary Serbian people began to change decisively. Protests earlier this year, led by the youth movement ’Otpor’ (resistance), forced the regime to try and manoeuvre to remain in power. Milosevic brought the presidential elections forward, aiming to consolidate his rule.

Arrogant, aloof and enriched by plunder, Milosevic and his clique misjudged the popular mood. For once the opposition parties were able to produce a single presidential candidate who then swept the boards. With the basis of his rule slipping away, Milosevic then vainly tried to hold onto power through crude election rigging.

Serbia: a ’communist’ state?

THE DOWNFALL of Milosevic does not represent the fall of ’communism’ as the capitalist media have claimed. None of the former Stalinist regimes in the USSR and Eastern Europe were genuine communist or socialist societies.

They were ruled by bureaucratic repressive regimes, which had a centralised planned economy but without a system of genuine workers’ democracy. These bureaucratic regimes stagnated and collapsed and eventually paved the way for the return of capitalism.

Milosevic came to power in 1989 riding on the back of reactionary Serbian nationalism and also led the charge towards capitalist restoration. Like other ex-Stalinist bureaucrats he used ethnic divisions to grab markets and resources for the Serb gangster-capitalist elite.

It is true that the Milosevic regime used some of the symbols of Stalinism and some remnants of the old regime continue to exist. However, Serbia under Milosevic had become a Mafia type of capitalism. Although, a fairly large percentage of the economy formally remained in state hands much of it was plundered by Milosevic and his cronies.

As the Financial Times pointed out: "It (Serbia) got the appropriation of state assets by the smartest and ruthless members of the old apparatus which happened to one degree or another in most former communist states, but it did not get any genuine economic renovation."

As Le Monde Diplomatique explained in May 1999: "The Milosevic family and the regime’s leading officials have literally appropriated for themselves the former state enterprises in the energy, agri-food, tobacco, alcohol, television and import export sectors".

These investments are linked to sections of the Mafia that operate in gangster capitalist Russia. Three of the richest people in Serbia, the Karic brothers, own a mobile phone network, a television station and energy investments.

Usually boards of directors of state firms were dismissed and replaced with a single manager appointed by Milosevic. These managers then simply appropriated the resources. Secret bank accounts have been traced to Switzerland, Cyprus, London and the Channel Islands involving millions of pounds that are linked to the Genex import export company.

As Misha Glenny pointed out in his book The fall of Yugoslavia, Serbia at the beginning of the 1990s, had gone further in its privatisation programme than Croatia and other republics. Milosevic pushed through privatisation programmes that led to mass unemployment. The privatisations were stopped or slowed down because of the war but are likely to be speeded up again. Health, education and other welfare services have been devastated.

The Financial Times commented on 7 October: "Greek companies are likely to be among the first foreign investors to return. Several groups that were negotiating acquisitions of state-owned companies with the Milosevic government froze deals that were close to completion when sanctions were imposed in 1998."

The Western ruling classes, by their continual reference to Milosevic’s regime as the "last Eastern communist state", want to try and obscure the class issues that lie at the heart of the workers’ revolt – the struggle for democratic rights and social equality and use this issue to denigrate the idea of socialism.

It is true that most Serb workers at this stage associate their problems specifically with Milosevic but it was not only his particular regime that was responsible for their misery.

The failure of the former Stalinist regime in Yugoslavia eventually paved the way for capitalist restoration. Fundamentally, it is the market economy and capitalism that has resulted in mass impoverishment and conflicts.

No capitalist solution

The overthrow of the Milosevic regime and its replacement with a capitalist nationalist regime will not resolve the crisis facing Serb workers. Although Kostunica won support in the elections as an opponent of Milosevic, his policies will eventually erode any support he currently has amongst the working class.

Lech Walesa of Poland, who was swept to power as the old Stalinist regime collapsed, received the support of less than 1% in recent elections. A similar fate is likely to greet Kostunica as his policies are seen for what they represent in practice.

The pro-capitalist polices of the regimes in other countries of eastern Europe have been an economic and social disaster for the working class. These events have taken place during a period of economic growth for world capitalism!

The new regime in Serbia will be greeted in a relatively short period of time by a recession or slump in the world economy and will gain even less than Poland and other countries have from capitalism during the last decade.

What is required to meet working class demands is a social revolution; to abolish capitalism, to install a workers’ government, and to introduce a democratic socialist society based upon human needs not profits. This is anathema to the pro-market opposition parties and media. They have been funded by the big powers. Western secret services, such as the CIA, have spent months trying to encourage and control internal opposition to Milosevic.

Germany has helped the opposition produce material which it has financed to the tune of 4 million DM, according to Der Spiegel. The western powers want to try and ensure that a new government follows their line as much as possible. Sanctions are being lifted and other promises of ’aid’ are being made.

It appears the western powers are prepared to tone down their demands for Milosevic and others to be brought before the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague. This area of ’principle’ can be put aside in order not to antagonise the new regime.

Kostunica reflects Serb nationalism and the still raw anger of many Serbs towards NATO when he refuses to work with the Tribunal. After the UN ruled that NATO and Western powers could not be put on trial for war crimes, groups like Amnesty International were compelled to condemn the crude partisanship of the Tribunal.

The new nineteen party governing coalition in government in Belgrade is no reliable Western prop. Enormous strains are already showing within it, as parties and individuals jockey for positions and influence. The coalition is extremely unlikely to last long. Kostunica will try to form a new governing alliance. He desperately needs to take on board the SNP (Socialist Peoples’ Party) from Montenegro. This party has traditionally been in a pact with Milosevic’s forces in the parliament, making them the single biggest block. Opportunistic horse-trading and right-wing policies will be the hallmark of this new regime. There will probably be a public show of ’cleaning up’ the system, but cronyism and corruption are permanent features of capitalism in the Balkans.

Kostunica’s nationalism

Kostunica is certainly not the big powers’ first choice as Yugoslav president. He has a long history of espousing hard-line Serbian nationalism. His Democratic Party of Serbia attacked Milosevic for "compromising" by signing the Dayton Accords in 1995, which marked the end of the Bosnian war.

Kostunica is a pro-capitalist nationalist but he also wants to gain as much financial aid and resources from the West as possible. If he can consolidate a government, Kostunica will probably try to balance between his domestic nationalist base and the Western powers.

The powers are seriously worried about the consequences of the October events for the entire Balkans. With their old adversary Milosevic removed they are now faced with a whole new set of problems. They will attempt to force Kostunica to follow their line but there are no guarantees. Kostunica has said he favours a "new Yugoslav federation". The government of Montenegro, the rump Yugoslavia’s other republic, is extremely wary of his Serb nationalism.

Nevertheless, government sources in Montenegro have indicated they want to re-negotiate their position in the federation. The new government of Serbia, dominated by pro-capitalist and nationalist parties, will want to maintain their influence and access to resources and income. They are likely to try and make a compromise to achieve this. The big powers fear a break-up and the creation of new states in the Balkans, which can lay the basis for future conflicts and wars. They too will argue for new constitutional arrangements that keeps Montenegro in the federation.

But the demand can grow in Montenegro to break completely from Serbia during this period of volatility and with nationalist strong- man Milosevic off the scene.

Albanian leaders in Kosova/o are not celebrating the arrival of the new Serbian regime. Kostunica declared in his first speech as President that Kosova/o should be brought "more under our (Serbian) sovereignty." Ironically, the Albanian leaders in Kosova/o calculated that as long as Milosevic remained in control the big powers would be forced to act as their ’guarantors’ and eventually they could achieve independent statehood.

The CWI calls for:

  • Democratic committees to be elected in all workplaces, universities etc!
  • Workplace committees should drive out Milosevic’s cronies, Mafia profiteers and establish workers’ control!
  • Open the books of all companies and banks to inspection by the workers!
  • Workplace committees to link up on a city-wide, regional and national level!
  • Form democratic committees of rank and file soldiers and police!
  • A democratic armed defence force of workers and youth!
  • For elected popular tribunals to bring to justice Milosevic, his cronies and all the gangster elite!

Kostunica will have the support of the imperialist regimes in opposing a further disintegration of what is left of the Yugoslav Federation. The fate and democratic rights of the people of Kosova/o have always been so much small change to the powers. They do not want an independent Kosova/o to become an example to other minorities, such as the Hungarians in Vojvodina, an area in northern Serbia. The powers will encourage new arrangements that keeps both areas formerly linked to Serbia. The Albanians and Serbs of Kosova/o can have no faith in the Western powers. Milosevic’s repression and NATO’s war meant thousands of deaths and turned Kosova/o into an economic wasteland and sectarian blood-bath.

With limited ’aid’ designated for the Balkans, Kosova/o could well find much of its promised ’reconstruction funds’ being relocated to Serbia and elsewhere, now that the relationship of forces has changed in the region. By continuing to refuse demands for self-determination in Kosova/o and allowing the country to fester, the West is only storing up enormous problems that will at some point explode in their faces. None of the fundamental problems facing the region – the national and ethnic issues, and appalling economic and social conditions – can be solved as long as capitalism remains. Furthermore, imperialist plunder and the intrigues of the big powers in the region will continue to destabilise the situation.

Socialist alternative

The most vital ingredient missing in these revolutionary events has been the acceptance of the idea of a genuine workers’ democracy and socialism in the consciousness of the working class.

The masses in Serbia demonstrated great heroism and determination and have great expectations of what the overthrow of Milosevic will bring. However, under capitalism these hopes are certain to be dashed in the face of inevitable attacks against the working class by the new regime.

A socialist revolutionary party in Serbia would put forward an independent class programme, for democratic rights, full employment, a living wage, and decent pensions. This cannot be achieved by the pro-capitalist nationalist policies of the opposition parties. Only a government that represents workers, youth and the rural poor can defend and develop the gains of the revolutionary events.

Workers’ party

Unfortunately, class consciousness has been thrown back in Serbia and the ex-Yugoslavia, as a result of decades of totalitarian Stalinism and then the return of the market economy and the regime’s reactionary nationalism. There is no mass independent workers’ party. Without its own independent working-class banner the working class cannot fully capitalise on these events. This allows the pro-capitalist opposition an opportunity to cobble together a new government. However, the events of recent weeks will not be lost on workers and youth. They will draw profound lessons, not least that mass action can remove hated governments. The appetite for fundamental change has been whetted.

Given the complete absence of a socialist alternative and the ideological confusion of the masses, Kostunica has been able to set about forming a new administration. However, the anti-working class policies of this government will mean that at some point workers will be driven into conflict with the new regime.

For example, at the behest of the Western powers, Kostunica will probably soon move to privatise the remaining state sectors of the economy, resulting in mass lay-offs and further poverty.

Many of those workers that spearheaded the October uprising will be affected. It is from these bitter experiences that workers will see the need to have organisations that represent their class interests and will be better prepared for future battles, including future revolutionary struggles.

In the coming months, workers will require independent action to fight attacks on their jobs and living standards. A new party representing working people is needed to fight the elections Kostunica has promised to call over the coming months.

United struggle

The mass revolt we have witnessed in Serbia has many lessons for the working class of the Balkans region. However, only a united struggle by the working people of the ex-Yugoslavia for democratic rights and social and economic demands can unite the various nationalities to resolve the national and ethnic conflict in the area. The revolution in Serbia shows the power of the working class to overthrow dictatorships but also the need for the working class of the region to embrace the alternative of genuine socialism and workers’ democracy. If these lessons are learnt, the overthrow of Milosevic and his cronies can help mark the beginning of the reverse of the last ten years of terrible wars and ethnic and national division which severely set-back the workers’ movement. Under capitalism it will not be possible to resolve the conflict in the region on a lasting basis.

For a workers’ movement to succeed it must guarantee the right of self determination to nations. In the ex-Yugoslavia this means support for an independent socialist Kosova/o. It also means upholding the rights of all minorities in all republics, including the Serbs in Kosova/o. Only a democratic socialist confederation of states, on a voluntary and equal basis, can begin to fundamentally resolve the national issues. A socialist economy, democratically controlled and planned by the working class, can unlock the tremendous resources of the region, leading to a complete transformation of living standards. The main lesson from the October events in Serbia is that it is mass action, led by the working class, that achieves real change.

The CWI Calls Fo

  • Democratically elected committees must be formed at workplaces and universities and by soldiers and police and linked up at city-wide, regional and national level. Delegates to such committees must be elected and subject to immediate recall at all levels. Only such committees can express in an organised form the power and aspirations of the working class. They are the basis for a new government representing industrial and rural workers, students, the poor and all exploited classes.
  • No trust in ’deals’ at the top by capitalist politicians!
  • Purge the remnants of the Milosevic regime at all levels!
  • For immediate free elections to a democratic constituent assembly.
  • For a government of working people. All those elected to receive the average wage of a skilled worker without any privileges and subject to immediate recall.
  • Confiscation of all assets and property held by Milosevic and other capitalist gangsters.
  • An emergency democratic plan of production to rebuild the economy based upon public ownership of the major enterprises to meet the needs of all working people.

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October 2001