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(en) Serbia, Media: Class conflict as an aphrodisiac for successful communication

From Ratibor Trivunac <rata@beotel.yu>
Date Sat, 12 Jul 2003 06:17:09 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

In recent times anarcho-syndicalism is referred to often, and mostly in
some kind of self-styled opinion or intentionally wrongly selected
meaning. We are not surprised at a huge level of poor education and
ignorance of the representatives of the Government - their abilities and
knowledge are bursting around, but never where they should be held
responsible; however we are enraged that the so-called representatives of the
workers, union bureaucrats, are publicly stating nonsense, and doing the job
for the government - by giving the "hand of reconciliation".
During the past few months mister Milenko Smiljanic (Leader of the
largest union central in Serbia, Confederation of the Autonomous Trade
Unions of Serbia [SSSS in Serbian]- union which has roots in state communist
era of Yugoslavia and, also, the union that gave support to Milosevic during
his reign - translators note), president of SSSS is constantly warning the
Serbian Government that, if they refuse cooperation with him, they will face
the radicalization of the protests, creation of anarcho-syndicates, and
thus, crazy raving of the masses.
To everybody who knows anything about positions that
anarcho-syndicalists are taking, whether here or in the world, is clear that
what we have here is a cheap propaganda of a bureaucrat who is left without
any support and trading cards, and whose position is seriously shaken by the
unsatisfied and tricked membership. Anarcho-syndicates never and nowhere
propagated unplanned violence and raving on the streets. The thing to which
we pointed out many times before is that if we cannot win our rights in the
civilized manner, we are not going to allow the barbarians on the other side
to create our lives to their measures; on the contrary, we are going to
react in the only way that is understandable to them. In that point
Smiljanic is absolutely right in defending the workers form Kragujevac who
tried to chat in a violent manner with the representatives of the government
(workers of the car and guns factory "Zastava" from Kragujevac tried to beat
up minister of finances during his visit - translators note) - it is easy
for the politicians to continue their criminal activities after they had
left their positions, but the worker who is sacked after the long period of
working doesn't have any perspective in this society.
Our ideal is a society without violence. Our goal is a free society of
equal, self-aware individuals, ready for the mutual aid.
Anarcho-syndicalists were, during all of the past wars, slandered, locked
down, tortured and killed for their antimilitarism. To us violence is,
really, no fetish. But that doesn't mean that we are going to sit with our
hands in our asses and allow for our lives to be thrown down under the
carpet of privatization. We are going to use all effective measures, not in
contradiction with our ethical positions and really benefiting to the
improvement of the position of the workers and other oppressed people, in
order to reach our goals. Anyway, let us turn the story the other way: let
us ask the state and the bosses what they think about violence. Who is
starting the wars and why? Who is using police to get even with those not
thinking the same way? Who is bringing private security and bodyguards when
he is letting off workers and taking over the factories by force? Who is
propagating and making possible the economical model which is keeping
millions of human beings around the world in the position of constant
exploitation? That is violence, very obvious and very harsh violence. But,
that violence is what politicians and bosses are using to keep their
interests untouchable.
Union bureaucrats are waving "their" anarcho-syndicalism to the
Government to gain government's sympathies and to secure their privileges,
offering them dialogues and quieting down the workers. We do not expect that
politicians are going to have great opinion on us, neither do we care about
what they think (that is, if they think at all), but it is the other reason
to why union bureaucrats are trying to forger and twist our methods of the
fight for worker's rights which is interesting: disappointed membership of
the "big" unions, aware of the fossil likeness of the union bureaucracy and
with mountains of lies, is starting to massively abandon union centrals. By
slowly understanding ineffectiveness of the hierarchical, authoritarian
several local and regional councils of the SSSS got in contact with our
syndicate. To every reasonable, civilized human being it is clear that
his/hers voice can best be heard in non-hierarchical, direct-democratic
syndicates in which the decisions are made only by the membership and not by
the bureaucrats, appointed from above, who therefore don't have the same
interests as those who they should supposedly represent.
Unlike mainstream unions, decisions in our syndicate are not made by
bribed leadership (SSSS), Serbian Government (ASNS) or foreign funds
(Nezavisnost) but only the membership. Our statute doesn't allow any other
option. (ASNS is the yellow union of Serbian Government, it's head is the
minister of Labor, Nezavisnost [Independence] is the union with close ties,
to put it nicely, to the US AFL-CIO - translators note)
During the protest walk (on 25th of Jun) Smiljanic and his clique was
constantly trying to separate us from the protest, calling the other workers
to boycott us, however they were faced with crazed response of the workers
who saw through real motives for that call. Enraged gun makers almost
physically resolved the matter with one of the SSSS bureaucrats who was
yelling for "getting out of these people with red and black flags and
anti-state banners".
We will repeat the basics of our activities. We didn't choose to attack
anybody. We are all living in the permanent war of the state against the
society and the bosses against the workers. This is transparent in the
relation of the State towards the media.. (Serbian Government recently
stated several lawsuits against several magazines and radio/TV stations
[including NIN] who were criticizing the work of the Government -
translators note) We are responding to their attacks. We are defending
ourselves. The society can formulate its resistance in different ways, but
the only way to finish with the society of the exploitation, once and for
all, power of one human being over another, the suffering, the pain, the
poverty and the lies, is to organize, here and now, into the revolutionary
syndicates who are not going to stop with the fight until we start living in
This means that we do not need a new Valensa or any other bureaucrat who
will climb to a position in the State, over the backs of the workers. Also,
if we are aware of the origins and the ways to which we got ourselves in
this humiliating situation it will be clear to us why we are not bothering
ourselves with the questions such as: which party is in the power, or should
we collect signatures for this or that side against those. Can the
activities in the process of change of any government bring anything really
important to the workers? How many times do we need to experiment with the
trust we are placing into the politicians? Politicians and bosses are
working together, and in that way are keeping their privileges. Leave them
to their fights and let us focus on our goals: a better life here and now.
Does that mean protests in the streets? Blockades of the roads? Occupation
of the factories until we get what we asked for? Demands for the four hour
working time? General strike until fulfillment of all of our goals? Can
anybody forbid us such actions?
Anyway, one dictatorial regime was taken down in that way, and the other
one climbed up - using the chaos. We should never let the politicians and
bosses use our struggle for their goals again. We do not need a cooperation
with political parties. We don't need their support. For creation of new
relations, equal, nonhierarchical relations between human beings we do not
need shepherds/leaders but, as for all other positive civilization goods
we got against dark forces of obscurantism, only a little bit of
Postmodern "thinkers" are trying to convince us that we are living in
the time in which ideals do not mean anything. We do not embrace that,
because by accepting those positions human kind would also accept the idea
that, through history, those spineless creatures only after their petty,
egoist goals were right.
Before everything else, we are fighting for human dignity.

Belgrade local group of Anarcho-syndicalist initiative


Contact for the Anarcho-syndicalist initiative (Serbia)
International Secretary: is@inicijativa.org
Information E-mail: info@inicijativa.org

The following text appeared in the largest Serbian weekly "NIN" (Weekly
Information Newspaper) on 10th of July as our response to the constant
attacks on our syndicate and anarcho-syndicalism in general by union
bureaucrats and representatives of the State and the Government of Serbia.
To my knowledge, this is the first text, since year 1935 (when the first
issue of the magazine was published), that appeared in this magazine, signed
by a collective of people and not the individual name.


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