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(en) UK Solidarity Federation - DA #27 - The Serbian resistance

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 21 Jun 2003 11:17:36 +0200 (CEST)

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

Since last October, there is another new sister organisation to the
Solidarity Federation, this time in Serbia. However, it has been a bit of
a turbulent first few months.
After Zoran Djindjic, Serbian president, was assassinated in March,
this new organisation, Anarcho-sindikalistièka Inicijativa (ASI)
issued a statement denouncing both Djindjic and his killers. The
Serbian authorities were obviously angry at being told what they
already knew, namely that ‘Zoran Djindjic, the criminal, was killed
by other criminals'. The anger turned first into telephone threats
and then into blatant repression, as the ASI secretary was held
without charge and without access to lawyers for several days.

This was part of a wider atmosphere of martial law imposed for 42
days after the killing. Strikes and other workplace actions were
banned, along with public gatherings and public comment on the
decision to impose the state of emergency. The ASI refused to accept
such measures calling for Serbians to organise against the state and
capitalism, instead holding out the inspirational example of the 300
striking metal workers at the IMT factory in Belgrade.

Only upon release did our comrade finally find out the grounds for
arrest – ‘legitimate suspicion that his freedom could jeopardise
security of the citizens and of the Republic itself’. Self-evidently, the
police consider those who publicly express their opinions to be more of a
threat to people’s safety than those who lay off thousands of
workers, who live off stolen surplus value, who train young men to kill,
or even those, such as the minister of agriculture, who run their cars
over pedestrians.

Repression against the ASI continues. Another member, employed in
the National Theatre in Belgrade, has been subjected by bosses to
threats, intimidation and surveillance at police request because she is
‘suspected’ of agitating within the theatre and of distributing
ASI and other propaganda. It’s all a reminder of how various
fascist regimes in the recent past have acted against workplace
organisers. If such intimidation continues, ASI vows not to hesitate to
use any means necessary to protect their members’ rights.

Day to day reality in Serbia after martial law remains the same as
before. The assassination, which merely represents the ongoing power
struggle at the top of Serbian society, will change nothing for ordinary
Serbian people. As ASI predicted in its original statement, ‘the
so-called reforms will proceed, thousands of people will be laid off,
and their lives will continue to be swept under the carpet of
privatisation’. However, workers are not taking all this lying down.
Resistance is on the rise as, they begin to comprehend the extent of
union leadership collaboration with the state’s neoliberal policies.

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