WR: Mysteries of the Organism – Beyond the Liberation of Desire

Today we publish this text written by our friends from CrimethInc. on the occasion of the birthday of Dušan Makavejev (1932-2019). With this we finally published on this website the last article from the second issue of Antipolitika, while we continue our work on the third issue (dedicated to the topic of nationalism)

The article is simultaneously published on the CrimethInc. website where you can also read the new, just written, introduction for it.

CrimethInc.

Anarchism, crushed throughout most of the world by the middle of the 20th century, sprang back to life in a variety of different settings. In the US, it reappeared among activists like the Yippies; in Britain, it reemerged in the punk counterculture; in Yugoslavia, where an ersatz form of “self-management” in the workplace was the official program of the communist party, it appeared in a rebel filmmaking movement, the Black Wave. As historians of anarchism, we concern ourselves not only with conferences and riots but also with cinema.

Of all the works of the Black Wave, Dušan Makavejev’s WR: Mysteries of the Organism stands out as an exemplary anarchist film. Rather than advertising anarchism as one more product in the supermarket of ideology, it demonstrates a method that undermines all ideologies, all received wisdom. It still challenges us today.

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POEM UNDERGROUND THE TRIBUNE OF YOUTH NOVI SAD

Slavko Bogdanovic was sentenced to eight months in jail by the Novi Sad District Court (Case no. 77/72, 12 May 1972) for violating Article 292a of the Criminal Code and article 116. of the Law on press and other forms of information. Both the District Court and the Supreme Court of AP Vojvodina had found that Slavko Bogdanovic, in his text Poem Underground Tribune of Youth Novi Sad, published in the Student, had presented false news and false claims regarding many events and issues.

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Mladen Stilinović, an anarchist

on language → on pain → I like dirty → on the colour red → mladen stilinović anarchist

On language

I want to have this language of politics and how it influences me.. and then, I am not innocent anymore because I use this … and today also, we are not innocent. We cannot be. When you talk you are not innocent.”

The art of Mladen Stilinović is not a critique of the Yugoslav society. It is rather a critique of representation which is at the same time political and epistemological. By being a critique of representation, it also encompasses a critique of language. However, it does not fall into dualisms of dividing between the signifier and signified, of dividing between words and a reality that they fail to represent adequately – a signified, an authentic reality over which power has been exerted through language which would then be affirmed and give back her power. It recognises that language itself is domination, but that authority must rely on speakers, listeners, institutions, communities, individuals in order to embody its language and ensure a response (illustrations 1, 2, 3, 4).[1]

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Contemporary History Of Kosovo

Damjan Pavlica

This research focuses on the Yugoslav history of Kosovo in the 20th century, especially on the Serbian-Albanian conflict. I wanted to find out how Kosovo entered Yugoslavia and how it left. I endeavored to acquaint myself with the views of Serbian/Yugoslav, Albanian, Western and other authors and discovered that, as is usual with ethnic conflicts, the truth is never one sided. Dominion over Kosovo changed hands a few times, and the violence of the dominant group always bred more violence, often against the group that had lost its dominant position.

The goal of this work is to contribute to a greater understanding of the Kosovo problem in Serbia and shed light on certain lesser known aspects of its history.

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On going to the Partisans

Vlado Kristl

I lived underground for a long period of time before I got a connection to go, I had to hide, it was not easy, someone would get caught every now and then… In the last high school I was in, Ustashas were organising some celebration, it was some anniversary or liberation, they all call their thing liberation. All high school students had to stand in line, it was winter already, it was getting dark early, I took out all electricity fuses, so all was in complete darkness, they had to cancel all their events. They would shoot me if I got caught. So, that’s the kind of thing I was doing, a bit cocky, not very careful, but when you are young, it’s easy to get angry. And then small kids say no. And then my friend was shot on the stairway, so for me that was a sign not to do anything, but to hide and try to get a connection to go to the Partisans. You had to be against things, you had to know each other, and stuff like that. So I was hiding, and one day we were told we are going, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, signal will be that and that, and then we went.

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A Heretical Tale (1950)

Branko Ćopić

This satire written by a famous Yugoslav writer Branko Ćopić (1915-1984), who was a partisan and a Communist, took for its target the formation of a new ruling class in Yugoslavia, which would later be called “red bourgeoisie “. Published in 1950, it caused a scandal, as well as a very harsh verbal condemnation of Ćopić, that came directly from Tito. After this, Ćopić was under pressure from Yugoslav police and political structures until the end of his life – in the end he committed suicide for this reason.

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Antisemitism in SFRY

Dragoš Kalajić i Aleksandar Lončar

Laslo Sekelj

Jews make up a tiny segment of the former Yugoslavia’s ethnic mosaic. Ac­cording to the estimates, there are between 5,000 and 7,000 Jews in (former) Yugoslavia. These are the figures following three waves of communal emigra­tion to Israel in the period 1948-51 (around 8,000 left, including individual migrants). Local communities, members of the Union of the Jewish Commu­nities of Yugoslavia (until 1991), have altogether less than 5,000 members of which 15 per cent are closely related to Jews (mixed marriages) but were not born as Jews.[1]

From the time the Communists came to power until the final disinte­gration of the Yugoslav state (1945-89), three different stages of antisemitism can be distinguished: (1) 1945-67, a period characterized by its lack of any public display of antisemitism; (2) 1967-88, a period of antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism; (3) 1988 to date, a period of ‘republicanization’ and the ma­nipulation of Jews.

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How [not] to do a critique: Demystifying the anti-imperialist narrative of the collapse of Yugoslavia

Our baba doesn’t say fairy tales – Athens

Facilis descensus Averni: Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis; Same revocation gradius superasque escape ad auras, Hoc opus, hic labor est [1]

The following text is an attempt to evaluate the events of the Yugoslav dissolution. Its scope and content are related to issues that we have seen occupy the Greek public sphere. It does not claim to deliver the “truth” – a long-lost stumbling block – but a specific version of what we think is more lucrative in drawing up examples or questions that may be useful to us today. When claim to be meaningful today, we are talking about the stakes of communism as a theoretical exploration and practical process, that is, the total abolition of value as a social relationship[1], its social homogenizing and dominating function and the capitalist state. Also, from the same point of view and with the same aim are the questions of historiography, history and logic. The concept of history is directly related to the meaning and form of the subject who reads this history, and in turn, with the social forces that shape the subject itself: the forces of capitalist society and its contradictions.

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The Feminist Movement in Yugoslavia 1978-1989

Marijana Stojčić

Proletarians of the world – who washes your socks? From female Partisans to Comrade Woman[*]

A key milestone in the development of feminist movements in former Yugoslavia was the international conference “Comrade Woman: The Women’s Question. New Approach?” in the Student Cultural Centre (SKC) in Belgrade in 1978, organized by women from Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo and Ljubljana. This was the first feminist event of the second wave of feminism in Eastern Europe.

The impact of second wave feminism in the 1970s in the space which we now call former Yugoslavia coincides, on the one hand, with a serious crisis of political legitimation of the Yugoslav socialist project and the constitution of a specific group which in basic class terms we can locate as a new middle-class[1]. On the other hand, at the height of the welfare state in the West, the crisis of the old left and the workers’ movement in the classical sense, as well as the rise of new social movements gathered around a critique of the statism, authoritarianism and paternalism of the welfare state, led to demands for more flexible social relations, freedom of life-styles, and personal self-realisation. In general terms, one can easily discuss whether the new social movements introduced new forms of politics, or whether the change was more subtle, in terms of orientation, organization, and activities[2], in the new social context in which the movements found themselves, considering “the ever decreasing extent of explicit class-based identification, the lack of support of political parties organized to represent class interests, and the politicization of identities such as gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and nationality previously marginalized in conventional politics[3]”. The success of welfare states in the West had already become normalized, with that model judged successful in terms of the provision of material goods and social security, together with a significantly higher level of political freedom in comparison with the countries of real-socialism. The old left had identified itself with wide-ranging economic demands which had more or less been achieved or were on the road to being achieved. The framework of class struggle had seemed to be too limited in terms of a critique of the inequalities, lack of freedoms, and exclusions which still persisted. To the forefront came other forms of societal repression – primarily gender and race which, historically, workers’ movements had routinely relegated to second place.

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The myth of workers councils under Tito

Paul Zorkine (1959)

Introduction

The Hungarian revolution of 1956, the Berlin uprising, the Polish events and, in general, the failures of stalinism in Eastern as well as in Western Europe, have brought back the question of workers councils back to the forefront of revolutionary activity.

It is not our intention to relate the history of workers councils, which already exist during the French revolution as “Conseils des communes”, during various revolutionary movements in 1848, then, during the Commune, up until the first soviet of the Putilov factory in St Petersburg in 1905, the first soviet congress in June 1917, the Kronstadt soviet against the bolshevik dictature in 1921, the “Republic of Councils” at the end of WW1 in Hungary, in Germany, in Austria, at both ends of the Adriatic: in Pola and in Cattaro, in Spain and in China, to witness a last fit, in 1956, in Budapest.

One will point out that we forget in that list the Yugoslavian workers councils.

It is not, let’s confess it right away, an oversight: for us, the creation of “workers councils” by the Yugoslavian government only represent a new mystification of the working class by the bureaucracy. Dangerous:

– for the Yugoslavian workers, for whom it compromises a revolutionary institution which had remained – until then – “clean” (one could oppose to the Party the idea of workers councils)

– for “a certain European left” that clings to the “Yugoslavian example” and the slogan of Tito’s government: “Transfer of the factories to the workers!” as the only solution still possible between capitalism and stalinism.

Which is why it is important to scrutinise the real content of the “Yugoslavian experience” and its consequences.

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Paul Zorkine (Pavle Vrbica, 1921-1962)

Guillaume Lenormant

Born on 8 April 1921 in Cetinje (Montenegro), died 22 July 1962 in Bourganeuf (Creuse), lawyer, libertarian communist.

Son of Pero Vrbica, bank director and of Zorka Petrovitch, Pavle Vrbica was from a quite politicized family (his grandfather had translated Marx into Serbo-Croat),
He became politically active when he was studying law at Zagreb university. Militant with the Communist Youth, he fought against its Stalinist trend and was excluded from the organization by request of a man who would, many years later, become one of the leaders of the Tito regime, theoretician of self-management, then dissident from that same regime: Milovan Djilas.

Pavle Vrbica then dedicated himself to the antifascist struggle. In 1939, he volunteered to defend Czechoslovakia against the Hitlerian invasion. Back at the university of Zagreb, he joined a student antifascist resistance network. In 1942, contributed, among other activities, to Dynamit, a periodical published in Montenegro and scarcely distributed, its main editor having been arrested early.

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Language and Politics in Ex-Yugoslavia

Will Firth

For a newly formed state in a turbulent postwar situation, questions of language and linguistics are often less important than consolidating an army and administration, securing the borders, ensuring communications, producing essentials such as grain, coal, steel, electricity, and so on. This was the case when the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was formed in 1946. Parliamentary elections had been held in November 1945, at which the communist-led National Front secured all the seats, and a government of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia was established in 1946. After reforms in 1953, Yugoslavia experimented with ideas of economic decentralisation and self-management, where workers had input into the policies of their factories and shared a portion of any surplus revenue. The Party’s role in society shifted from holding a monopoly of power to being an ideological leader. As a result, the name of the Party was changed to the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. In 1963, the country itself was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

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Dissidents and Prison

Sentencing 1972, Jelka Kljajič, Pavluško Imširović, Milan Nikolić

In this autobiographical political text, the author writes about her experiences in the ’68 student dissent milieu in Belgrade in the period after the ’68 rebellions, and details the state repression through which she lives due to her affiliation with the milieu. The text was originally published in the newspaper Republika, while here we publish an abridged version.

Jelka Kljajić-Imširović

Dissidents

The worsening of repression decisively influenced, in my opinion, within the student movement a rise of ideas, better said as thinking about the possibilities and strategies of resistance in the “long term.” In the circles I was moving in, primarily those of students, but not only students, we thought of revolutionary social theory and the revolutionary workers party as two important assumptions and, at the same time, factors of transformation from the contemporary repressive class society into a true socialist society. What number of people are we talking about? By my recollection, and I admit that it may not be completely reliable, in that circle – I use this term deliberately, and not, for example, the term “group” – there were no more than about 20 people. Our ideological and theoretical standpoints were based on Marx’s works and Marxism, creative Marxism, as it was called at the time, and also Marxism separate from Soviet, hardline “Marxism.” It is understood that there were significant differences in perceptions, and around some important Marxian conceptual assumptions, between some Marxist theorists and revolutionaries. For example, I thought the works of Rosa Luxemburg were more relevant to understand and that the time in which she lived were more applicable to our contemporary life than the works of Leon Trotsky. For Pavluško Imširović, she was important as a revolutionary, but not as a revolutionary theorist. He was in line with Lenin’s assessment that Rosa was “despite all her misconceptions, the eagle of the revolution.”[1]

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Down with the Red Bourgeoisie of Yugoslavia – An Analysis of the June Students’ Insurrection in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1968)

Black & Red correspondents (November, 1968)

Alert readers of the Western press may have noted short accounts of a “student rebellion” during the first half of the month of June in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Beyond a few journalistic expressions of admiration for Tito’s handling of students, the press has been left dumb by the events; after all, one might expect a student revolt in Poland or Czechoslovakia, but in liberal Yugoslavia? As yet there exists no analysis of the events of June nor of their impact on Yugoslav society. In order to provide precisely such an analysis, let us begin by recounting what actually happened in Belgrade.

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Three Years in Yugoslavia

Lorraine Perlman

Fredy Perlman, Velimir Morača and an unknown friend, Belgrade, 1964. or 1965.

The warm welcome we received from numerous Yugoslavs in September 1963 made our move to Belgrade definitive. Within a few days we had found a room in the home of a bus driver and family on the outskirts of Zemun, a large suburb and extension of Belgrade on the other side of the Sava River. Fredy was hired for a temporary job as “speaker” by a media enterprise which made documentary films about tourist attractions in Yugoslavia. Fredy recorded the texts describing the sites depicted in the films: parks featuring post-war sculpture, monasteries, or coastal villages. For a few hours’ work, he received the equivalent of U.S. wages and this money solved our immediate financial problems.

We enrolled at a language institute and spent every morning attending classes and listening to tapes of Serbo-Croatian. Our fellow students were from central Africa, Western Europe and the U.S.S.R. It was a friendly group and sometimes we got together outside of class. One of the two Soviet students was eager to meet for discussions but it was clear that the other disapproved of this extracurricular contact. We were shocked by Viktor’s suspicious reserve and perhaps did not sufficiently appreciate Dimitri’s courage in coming to visit us on his own.

The Yugoslav innovation of worker self-management was highly regarded in the West and we wanted to get acquainted with its principles and operation. Zemun had a number of factories and we had no trouble finding informed people to answer our questions. We quickly learned that Yugoslavs did not share the Western enthusiasm for worker self-management, considering it largely a public relations gimmick to camouflage conventional worker-vs.-management relations. We were surprised to learn that strikes were frequent. Although never reported in the press, the occurrence of this authentic worker-managed activity was common knowledge. Unions are an arm of the government (the “boss”) so any strike in Yugoslavia necessarily occurs outside an institutional framework.

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Yugoslav workers’ self-management: emancipation of workers or capitalist division of labor?

Lila

It was probably because of the system of self-management why I became particularly interested in Yugoslavia and its successor states. Coming from a western country, workers self-management which characterized the Yugoslav economic reproduction seemed amazing to me. Workers should have had most of the power in every factory and the whole economy, as well as the local administration, was organized like this. Direct democracy in practice, workers decide about their fate – impressive. Living for several years in Ex-Yugoslavia, reading more about self-management and talking with (former) workers about their experience certainly changed my picture. Without a doubt, self-management did not live up to its expectations.

In the following text, I want to trace the idea and the development of Yugoslav self-management during the time of the “real existing socialism” and add a perspective of workers, which I got through discussing the topic with them. I believe that workers had better working conditions and officially more rights to influence the decision making in the factory in comparison to the situation of workers in western capitalist and eastern “communist” countries during that time; or, if we compare, it was certainly much better than their situation today in the Ex-Yugoslavian countries. Nevertheless, the system of workers’ self-management was still a system that reproduced hierarchical and class-relations, similar to the ones in capitalist states or in socialism. When we talk about the Yugoslav system of workers’ self-management, it has to be remarked that it was in constant change and development during its four decades of existence. Its’ architecture inside factories and its embedment into the economic system underwent perpetual transformations. Beyond that, the ideological foundation of Yugoslavia, the influence of the State, in and outside of the factories, as well as the impact of a gradual liberalizing economy, are essential to understanding workers self-management.

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Birth of a Revolutionary Movement in Yugoslavia

Fredy Perlman

“Heretics are always more dangerous than enemies,” concluded a Yugoslav philosopher after analyzing the repression of Marxist intellectuals by the Marxist regime of Poland. (S. Stojanovic, in Student, Belgrade, April 9, 1968, p. 7.)

In Yugoslavia, where “workers’ self-management” has become the official ideology, a new struggle for popular control has exposed the gap between the official ideology and the social relations which it claims to describe. The heretics who exposed this gap have been temporarily isolated; their struggle has been momentarily suppressed. The ideology of “self-management” continues to serve as a mask for a commercial-technocratic bureaucracy which has successfully concentrated the wealth and power created by the Yugoslav working population. However, even a single and partial removal of the mask spoils its efficacy: the ruling “elite” of Yugoslavia has been exposed; its “Marxist” proclamations have been unveiled as myths which, once unveiled, no longer serve to justify its rule.

In June 1968, the gap between theory and practice, between official proclamations and social relations, was exposed through practice, through social activity: students began to organize themselves in demonstrations and general assemblies, and the regime which proclaims self-management reacted to this rare example of popular self-organization by putting an end to it through police and press repression.

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“Nisu to bajke, nego istina”: a critical appraisal of Roma politics in SFRY’s ‘golden era’

Participants at the first World Romani Congress, held in London 1971, singing the anthem “Gelem, gelem” (authored by Žarko Jovanović, white coat)
Žarko Jovanović (1925-1985). During World War II he was imprisoned in three camps. After that he joined the Yugoslav Partisans. Jovanović lost most of his family during the war. He moved to Paris in 1964.

“Nisu to bajke, nego istina”[1]: a critical appraisal of Roma politics in SFRY’s ‘golden era’

Ferdi

Was the ‘golden era’ of Yugoslav socialism also the golden era of Roma political life? In some ways, perhaps, though with some very substantial caveats. It is true enough that that certain achievements, however problematic, in the fields of Roma nationalism, ethnic rights, and legal protections were all fostered under the Communist Party’s regime, we cannot allow ourselves to be complacent with what is essentially a liberal appraisal of history. Firstly, we should recognize that these gains were fought for and won due to the political labor of people in the Roma rights movement, not gifts from the State, and secondly, the condition of the Roma in Yugoslavia was truly abysmal regardless of its relative superiority to the absolute deprivation and mass violence suffered by the Roma in neighboring countries. Finally, it is possible to trace many of the troubles currently endured by the Roma of the former Yugoslavia to the misguided efforts of the ‘socialist’ period. To be clear, it is not my intention to demonize the SFRY under which many people lived markedly better lives than they would have under the current post-socialist regimes, but to establish that the State, socialist or otherwise, cannot but reproduce exploitative hierarchical relations with its subject populations; in the case of the Yugoslav Roma, this relation was one of racism just as it remains today.

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Praxis: an attempt at ruthless criticism

The first public appearance of the entire editorial board of Praxis (Student Centre, Zagreb, end of 1964). From left to right: Rudi Supek, behind him (obscured from view), Branko Bošnjak, Gajo Petrović (editor-in-chief), Danilo Pejović (editor-in-chief), Predrag Vranicki, Milan Kangrga, Danko Grlić; far right (with back turned): the director of the Student Centre, M. Heremić, next to him, Antun Žvan.

Juraj Katalenac

Yugoslav socialism was a unique political experiment, not just because it said ‘no’ to Stalin in 1948 and implemented a system of workers’ self-management, but because of the uniqueness of the ‘left opposition’ and the critique of the political elite that emerged there. Unlike countries behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ Yugoslavia had a higher level of tolerance for political criticism – especially when it came from intellectual circles or opposition within the League of Communists.[1] When Aleksandar Ranković, head of state security service and prominent unitarist retired the space for free expression expanded, allowing cultural movements such as Yugoslav Black Wave cinema[2], and the new wave and underground music scenes to flourish[3]. There were obviously limits to this tolerance though. The League did not tolerate movements and initiatives that emerged in response to the realities of work life, such as workplace and other class-based struggles.

The emergence of the philosophical journal Praxis (1964-1974) and the Korčula Summer School (1963-1974) was an important political development as it was effectively the ‘left opposition’ within Yugoslavia. It was seen by some in ‘the west’ as exotic because few of its essays were translated and published in English. For this reason, a lot of ‘mist’ surrounds it. For example, Wikipedia and Marxist Internet Archive contain a lot of misinformation. The Memory of the World archive[4] tried to rectify this by uploading most issues of Praxis and other miscellaneous material. However, the language barrier remains as their ‘international editions’ did not include the vast bulk of the content produced and published by them.

In this essay I will present their story and explain why they were and remain an important development in history of Yugoslavia and their successor states.

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Against Every Yugoslavia: On the ideology of the transition from capitalism to capitalism, through capitalism

Nina Simonović

1.

In the not-so-inspiring imagination of the post-Yugoslav Yugonostalgic left, a specific style of writing about “socialist” Yugoslavia persists, one that entails the use of a specific vocabulary. This vocabulary is dominated by ideological constructs that always emphasize the supposedly “contradictory” character of the Yugoslav society, such as: “complex class logics that collided and confronted each other”; “contradictory political and economic phenomena”; “social dynamic that was simultaneously centripetal and centrifugal” and so on.

In this sense, the publication “Gradove smo vam podigli” (“We Raised Cities for You”) is characteristic (the subtitle is “On the Contradictions of Yugoslav Socialism”), recently published in Belgrade, as supplementary material for an exhibition of the same name. In fact, all of the above-mentioned ideological phrases are taken out of the introductory text from this publication. Along with this text, I will also briefly take into account the text “Contradictory Reproduction of Socialist Yugoslavia” from the same publication. This exhibition and publication gathered a number of leftists from the Yugoslav area and represent a very good and fresh example of the ideological articulation of this type.

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On the terrain of capital – labour and gender regimes in Yugoslavia

1. A note on the Yugoslav gender regime

Picture 1. Stjepan Lahovski; Demonstration (Self-portrait as a female comrade in a procession), 1947.

In 1947, painter Stjepan Lahovski painted a self-portrait in gouache under the title Demonstration – Self-portrait as a comrade in a procession (Ilustration 1). He said, “That’s me, an old woman (baba)1 in an overcoat, a headscarf and military boots.” The author, who throughout his opus was involved in making self-portraits painted in different styles and techniques, taking over “the vesture of a certain historical style”, thought of himself as not being courageous and not having a sense for struggles and wars. Thus, in various self-portraits he sought to compensate for some qualities he did not have, such as youth and courage. Why then he portrays himself like an old woman in a scarf? Although his statement accompanying the picture can be understood as a mocking of old women participants of demonstrations, the painting still tells a lot about the models of depicting courage in that period. In addition to the famous heroic depictions of female Partisan as some kind of Amazons with guns in their hands, the depictions of women during the period of the People’s Liberation Struggle, as well as in the postwar period, included also images of old women with headscarves depicted as they learn to write, as they participate in elections and perform hard physical work, as we can see in the numerous illustrations in the Woman in the Struggle magazine2 (Ilustations 2, 3, 4). In its editorials, this magazine explicitly expressed the goal of creating and disseminating new models of femininity, which is in line with the very reason for the emergence of this “organ of the struggle”.

After the war, the position of women was more drastically changed than that of men, creating the need for a more precise creation of the character(s) of “new” women in order to consolidate them to the right place in the new society. The Partisan is not only an Amazon or a Spartan, but bent and stiff. However, persistent, hard working and brave. The figures of heroes and heroines aimed to be associated with an ethic of hard work, and gradually the heroism of work became the most prominent social value that replaced the heroism of the struggle. In the imagery of that time, women appear as heroes of socialist work, women in peasant cooperatives, women cutting the woods or working on afforestation. Although the organizers of the Anti-Fascist Front of Women (AFŽ) were mostly educated urban women, and among the “ordinary” fighters were women from the towns, the heroines represented were almost always as villagers, often shepherds. Besides the fact that this contrast (nescient villager oppressed by rural patriarchal relations→strong, emancipated fighter dedicated to the building of a new society) more explicitly emphasizes the transformative effect of the participation in the People’s Liberation Struggle, the character of an illiterate shepherd or an old woman makes the woman a kind of tabula rasa in which it is easier to incribe any desirable meaning. On the other hand, the urban intellectual differs much more from the traditional ideal of womanhood, and it can also bear associations of bourgeois habits, values ​​and lifestyles typical of the urban middle class from which she probably originates. By using the figure of a female comrade in a military overcoat and a headscarf for a self-portrait, Lahovski does two things: 1) he clears himself of his “negative” attributes – bourgeois lifestyle, cowardice, inadequate masculinity, “homosexuality” and the decadence and laziness associated with it3; and 2) shows that certain characters of the new woman – Partisans and heroines of labour – have in some way become iconic – symbols of certain values for the depiction of which certain recognizable models were always used. The fact that Lahovski somewhat ironically appropriates such a representation of women for the exploration of his own identity, already in 1947 suggests that the figure of the heroin of labour would quickly become emptied of its content.

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Yugoslavia: a State or a Revolutionary Community?

In an attempt to review the project of socialist Yugoslavia from an anarchist perspective, it would perhaps be enough to say that it was a state and in such a very simple way reduce the whole analysis to one short sentence. Of course, this would be an oversimplified understanding of the project that lasted more than 45 years and created a series of myths nurtured both by the left and the right which still today represents a part of the basis for their actions. We often hear that it is necessary to turn our backs to the past and concentrate on the future, but it is exactly the relation towards the past that determines what will the present and future be like. In the post-Yugoslav context, myths have a strong echo and influence on current happenings, whether they refer to real or imagined events.

The starting point and the motivation for this issue of Antipolitika wasn’t a search for the causes of the breakup of Yugoslavia or any kind of justification for that or any other regime. Yugoslavia was, as I said in the beginning, simply a state. It kept the continuity of statehood and institutions, whether we speak of Austro-Hungary, Kingdom of Serbia, Ottoman Empire, Kingdom of Montenegro, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and in the end, socialist Yugoslavia – the topic of this issue. When we take a look at the chronology of institutions of statehood in this region, we can see that everything continued, despite the wars, regime breakups, and occupations; the continuity of the State was ensured in every moment, and, of key importance for our antiauthoritarian position, not once was it put in question on a mass level. Everything that exists today has its starting point – legislative, institutional and even in terms of the cadre – in all previous regimes. In some way, we always speak of the continuation of the project of the State (and of Capital, without which it cannot survive); what exact name it has, and which ideological pattern it adopts, are more questions of the current strategy of the reproduction of existing relations of power, rather than of a more essential difference.

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Solidarity with the Minneapolis uprising from Belgrade / Solidarnost iz Beograda sa ustankom u Mineapolisu

Bunjevački ispod.

We write as an informal group of comrades from Belgrade in solidarity with the Minneapolis uprising and the ongoing revolt radiating throughout the so-called “United States” and around the world.

We underscore that the institution of policing is, and always was since its inception for the protection of capital.

In the so-called “United States,” those who suffer most and die at the hands of this white supremacist institution are black and indigenous people. In Europe, whose people like to point across the Atlantic in bemusement and “horror,” it is Romani people, immigrants and refugees who face the brunt of this systematic violence while the majority population ignores the inherent and historically-rooted anti-tziganism of policing.

To all, we say, fuck white supremacy, fuck capital, fuck the police!

***

Pišemo kao neformalna grupa drugarica/drugova iz Beograda u solidarnosti sa ustankom u Mineapolisu i tekućom pobunom širom takozvanih  „Sjedinjenih država“ i širom sveta.

Naglašavamo da  policijska institucija služi zaštiti kapitala i da tome služi od svog nastanka.

U takozvanim “Sjedinjenim državama” oni koji najviše pate i bivaju ubijani od strane ove institucije bele nadmoći jesu crni ljudi i urođenici. U Evropi, gde ljudi vole da svoju začuđenost i užas upućuju na drugu stranu Atlantika, Romi, imigranti i izbeglice su ti koji se suočavaju sa najvećim udarom ovog sistematskog nasilja dok većina stanovništvo ignoriše inherentni i istorijski ukorenjeni anti-ciganizam policijskog posla.

Svemu tome kažemo, jebeš belačku nadmoć, jebeš kapital, jebeš pandure!

Antipolitika Issue 2 – Greek language edition is out!

Since recently a Greek language edition of the second issue of Antipolitika is available. Below you can see the dates of the first presentations as well as the cover page and contents.

Friday Jan. 31, Thessaloniki
Antipolitika presentation: 19:00, Ÿfanet squat,
Soli-live, Viologiko, 23:00

Saturday, Feb. 1, Giannina
Antipolitika presentation: 19:00, libertarian lab. Fahrenheit 451
Soli-live: Antiviosi squat, 22:30

Sunday Feb. 2, Larissa
Antipolitika presentation: 19:00, social space ‘Paratodos’

Monday Feb. 3, Athens
Antipolitika presentation: 19:00 ASOEE university (School of Economics, city center)

Tuesday Feb. 4, Athens
Antipolitika presentation: 20:00 Movie projection (Men don”t cry) and discussion at ‘Perasma” self-organised ‘steki”, Exarchia

Antipolitika Issue 2 – greek

Γιουγκοσλαβία: κράτος ή επαναστατική κοινότητα;
Will Firth: Γλώσσα και Πολιτική στην πρώην Γιουγκοσλαβία
CrimethInc: WR: Μυστήρια του οργα(νι)σµού – Πέρα από την απελευθέρωση της επιθυµίας
Στο γήπεδο του κεφάλαιου: Εργασία και Φύλο στη Γιουγκοσλαβία
Marijana Stojčić: Προλετάριοι όλου του κόσµου, ποιος πλένει τις κάλτσες σας; Από τις γυναίκες Αντάρτισσες στη συντρόφισσα Γυναίκα.
Το Φεµινιστικό Κίνηµα στη Γιουγκοσλαβία, 1978-1989
Lila: Γιουγκοσλάβικη αυτοδιαχείριση – Χειραφέτηση των εργαζοµένων 
ή καπιταλιστικός καταµερισµός της εργασίας;
Guillaume Lenormant: Paul Zorkine (Pavle Vrbica)
Paul Zorkine: Ο µύθος των εργατικών συµβουλίων επί Τίτο
Fredy Perlman: Η γέννηση ενός Επαναστατικού Κινήµατος στη Γιουγκοσλαβία
Μαυροκόκκινοι ανταποκριτές: Κάτω η κόκκινη µπουρζουαζία 
της Γιουγκοσλαβίας – Μια ανάλυση της φοιτητικής εξέγερσης του Ιούνη στο Βελιγράδι, Γιουγκοσλαβία (1968)
Jelka Kljajić-Imširović: Αντιφρονούντες και φυλακή
Lorraine Perlman: Τρία χρόνια στη Γιουγκοσλαβία
Juraj Katalenac: Praxis: µια απόπειρα ανελέητης κριτικής
Our baba doesn’t say fairy tales: Κάνοντας [µη] κριτική. Αποδοµώντας την αντι-ιµπεριαλιστική αφήγηση για την κατάρρευση της Γιουγκοσλαβίας
Ferdi: «Δεν είναι παραµύθια, αλλά η αλήθεια» – Kριτική αποτίµηση της πολιτικής για τους Ροµά στη ‘χρυσή εποχή’ της Γιουγκοσλαβίας
Damjan Pavlica: Σύγχρονη Ιστορία του Κοσόβου
Vlado Kristl: Όταν πήγα στους παρτιζάνους
Nina Simonović: Ενάντια σε κάθε Γιουγκοσλαβία – Η ιδεολογία της µετάβασης από τον καπιταλισµό στον καπιταλισµό, διαµέσου του καπιταλισµού
Laslo Sekelj: Αντισηµιτισµός στη Σοσιαλιστική Γιουγκοσλαβία
Mladen Stilinović, αναρχικός
Branko Ćopić: Μια αιρετική ιστορία
Slavko Bogdanović: Underground ποίηµα Το Βήµα της Νεολαίας του Νόβι Σαντ
Marko Paunović: Μεταξύ πολιτικής και ποιητικής

Objavljen je drugi broj! / The second issue is out!

Tema broja: Jugoslavija. Broj stranica: 194.

English below.

Objavljen je drugi broj Antipolitike. Tema broja je Jugoslavija. Kao i u slučaju prvog broja štampali smo dve verzije, na engleskom i na našem jeziku. Ovaj broj će imati i verziju na grčkom jeziku koja će biti objavljena do kraja godine. Javite nam se ukoliko želite kopiju ili da pomognete sa distribucijom. Trenutno je dostupan na sledećim mestima: Beograd: Okretnica, Utopia, Beopolis; Babušnica: KKUSIUSK, Novi Sad: Rizom; Zagreb: Što čitaš?; Zadar: Nigdjezemska.

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Over the Walls of Nationalisms and Wars

[Statement of participants of 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair]

It is clear that nationalism is a tool used against the exploited classes. In the Balkans, (especially in the region of ex-Yugoslavia) the rise of nationalist ideology in the 1990’s helped enable the brutal capitalist attack against society. It further atomized the population and destroyed established networks of cooperation and solidarity.

The need to confront nationalist ideology from a radical and anti-authoritarian perspective gathered us in Mostar on the 5th and 6th of September 2014, for the 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair. We came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Albania, Romania, Greece and other countries outside the Balkan area.

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Preparedness, the Road to Universal Slaughter

Emma Goldman

Ever since the beginning of the European conflagration, the whole human race almost has fallen into the deathly grip of the war anesthesis, overcome by the mad teaming fumes of a blood soaked chloroform, which has obscured its vision and paralyzed its heart. Indeed, with the exception of some savage tribes, who know nothing of Christian religion or of brotherly love, and who also know nothing of dreadnaughts, submarines, munition manufacture and war loans, the rest of the race is under this terrible narcosis. The human mind seems to be conscious of but one thing, murderous speculation. Our whole civilization, our entire culture is concentrated in the mad demand for the most perfected weapons of slaughter.

Ammunition! Ammunition! O, Lord, thou who rulest heaven and earth, thou God of love, of mercy and of justice, provide us with enough ammunition to destroy our enemy. Such is the prayer which is ascending daily to the Christian heaven. Just like cattle, panic-stricken in the face of fire, throw themselves into the very flames, so all of the European people have fallen over each other into the devouring flames of the furies of war, and America, pushed to the very brink by unscrupulous politicians, by ranting demagogues, and by military sharks, is preparing for the same terrible feat.

In the face of this approaching disaster, it behooves men and women not yet overcome by the war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated upon them.

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Anti-militarism in Serbia in the 1990s – Interview with Igor Seke

Drafted soldier Vladimir Živković deserted from the Vukovar front and parked his armored vehicle in front of the Parliament building in Belgrade, protesting the war. September, 1991.

Igor Seke is a peace activist from Serbia, currently living in Mexico. From year 2001-2004 he was coordinating the Conscientious Objection campaign in Serbia, together with other Campaign members, mainly coming from the punk and underground music and art scene. Currently, he’s participating in various initiatives in favor of the rights of the indigenous communities in Mexico. He’s a council member of War Resisters’ International (WRI) and also an active member of the Antimilitrist Network of the Latin America and the Caribbean (RAMALC).

Antipolitika: Tell us something about the general characteristics of the anti-war movement of the 90s in Serbia.

Igor Seke: The anti-war movement had many forms. For example, the Civil Alliance of Serbia was a political party that participated in the elections and had clear anti-nationalist and anti-war characteristics, and many intellectuals of the left and social-democratic orientation were members or sympathizers of that movement. In addition to that, in the beginning of the war, a group of rock musicians gathered and made the song  “Slušaj ‘vamo” (“Listen here”) that called for people to boycott the war and calls for mobilization. Women in Black Against the War was also founded, and they openly helped the deserters and conscientious objectors, and they were—in the literal sense—the cradle of the conscientious objection movement in Serbia. Women in Black became members of the global anti-militarist network War Resister’s International (WRI) and through an international network made contact with conscientious objectors movement from Spain (MOC) from which we learned a lot. YUCOM, the committee of lawyers for human rights also joined the struggle for the recognition of the right to conscientious objection, and in cooperation with them a campaign for the collection of 30.000 signatures for a citizens initiative for the recognition of the right to conscientious objection was started. The initiative was rejected by the parliament, but it was the first indicator that things would change.

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Greek Militarism in the age of SYRIZA

20.20.2014. Future PM in the Ministry of Defense

Barefoot Battalion, Presented as part of the Mediterranean/ Balkan Anarchist Meeting, Athens-Thessaloniki-Chania, 9-18/10/205

 

This paper was presented for the first time at the 5th Antimilitarist Gathering organised by the Barefoot Battalion on 4-5th September 2015, in Ioannina, Greece. It was then enhanced to include the period shortly after the elections of 20th September 2015.

 

***

The continuation of the State

It is a fact, that the issue of anti-militarism is not always a central issue on the agenda  of the anti-authoritarian movement and its structures. This has been the case in Greece for many years, and is especially true today. The total number of social and class struggles has clearly decreased. Despite the valuable legacy of recent struggles, they have not managed to overcome internal and external limitations in order to halt the increasingly intensified undermining of our class. Capitalist restructuring continues to rampage our lives, worsening our position within the fields of social struggle and decreasing the possibilities of collective action and thought.

Arguably, it is precisely during such a critical period, when inter-capitalistic competition makes war an increasingly less remote reality, which can be simply ‘shoved under the carpet’, that anti-militarism should preoccupy us in a much more serious and targeted way. The sweeping statements traditionally adopted by the Left that imply an antimilitarist approach (ie. opposing NATO or US foreign policy), have succeeded in attributing a certain ‘anti-imperialist’, confrontational character to their own agents and have masked the true nature of militarism and the way it has weaved itself into our everyday lives, into our neighbourhoods, in the structures of ‘our own’ state. There is a general tendency to view fascism, nationalism and racism as exaggerated deviations (from the otherwise ‘democratic’ European norm) and as socio-historic elements of only specific eras or states, as in the case of Germany during WWII. Similarly, militarism seems to be perceived as a phenomenon that is only apparent in remote dictatorial regimes (where leaders wear military uniforms and tanks roam the streets) or in the ‘exceptional’ chapters of contemporary greek history (such as the military junta between 1967-1964). In any case, an analysis of militarism which focuses neither on N.Korea nor on the military junta of 1967, but instead, focuses its’ attention on Greece in 2015 under the rule of SY.RIZ.A, is not the ‘hottest’ of subjects. Even though Rosa Luxemburg taught us almost 100 years ago that “militarism in both its’ forms – as war and as armed peace – is a legitimate child, a logical result of capitalism”. However, we hope that through efforts such as this one, the genetic relationship between militarism and the state will become clear.

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the mars barcode: 12 illustrated shorts and a post-scriptum on capitalist war

IMAGE 1
Bonaparte visitant les pestiférés de Jaffa (Bonaparte visits the plague stricken in Jaffa, oil on canvas, 1804, Louvre, by Antoine-Jean Gros) is a propaganda painting idealizing Napoleon’s disastrous Egyptian campaign. It shows his (alleged?) visit to his sick soldiers in March 1799 in his attempt to reverse the negative rumors about him ordering plague victims to be “mercy-killed” by poisoning. The outbreak of the bubonic plague had followed the violent “sack of Jaffa” by the French army. This romantic oil-painting, with several neoclassicist elements, was exhibited in the months between Napoleon’s proclamation as emperor and his coronation. It portrays the emperor as god-sent healer offering the traditional “royal touch”, as he thaumaturgically lays his hand on the armpit of one of the sick.

Clandestina, November 2015

1. war as spectacle within the bourgeois subject

The battlefield had become a mass spectacle decades before the discovery of photography. With the Napoleonic wars, the boundary between exercising lethal violence and observing it became blurred. Napoleon realized that in war, succeeding in propaganda is more important than winning a real military confrontation. Napoleon’s operations had to be celebrated as victorious, even if if they could not be won on a technical military level. They had to be described in detail and these glorious narratives of fighting battles had to be distributed as widely as possible. He was the first leader to make “live war reporting” as definitive as it still is for the subject formation of the Western citizen “in the peaceful world”.

Military operations in war had long become mass industrial affairs and could no longer be represented in their entirety by simple observers, such as painters or writers. Now that armies had technologies of mass destruction to their disposal, a whole variety of accounts, comments and descriptions, as well as knowledge of the stages of tactical and practical preparations were necessary for “a whole battle” to be recomposed in the Press for the news-hungry public.

Over the course of the 19th century, war itself started adapting to the requirements of the remote-controlled imagination of its consumers. Everyone could now have an opinion about how an operation would be best carried out, how its tactics should be interpreted, how a battle should be evaluated or repeated avoiding past failures. Soon, war had found a comfortable place in the everyday life of consumers in bourgeois States.

As a natural law of the global balance of power, real war would soon appear even banal.

This sense of a split between “peace at home” and “war abroad” (or “war elsewhere”) is expressed in most binary oppositions of meaning in the spectacular industries of the 20th century. The opposite genres of “news” and “entertainment” are emblematic of this dialectics – their merging in today’s “infotainment” carries their complementarity to its logical conclusion.

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Anarchist solidarity and anti-war initiatives in post-Yugoslav countries

Z.A.P.O Anti-War Demo, 19.06.1991.

(personal recollection from Croatia)

A few important notes: I am writing from my own personal perspective, meaning that I lived at the time in Croatia and that all of this is my point of view. I will note if something is a quote or reference.

Also, it’s important to note that this is not a historical text. There’s no such thing as objective history. This is a personal overview of activities and events that were organized to oppose war, nationalism, militarization and to show and practice solidarity with all those suffering directly from war or its (side)effects.

Most of all, this is not an analysis of the war(s) in former Yugoslavia, neither an attempt to discover why they happened. It was never really a question – as any war in the past it was all about power, wealth and control over territory and people, no matter which side in the war you look at.

For a better understanding of the context in which the events that I’m writing about take place, it is important to note that in the years before the war(s) in former Yugoslavia there was no anarchist movement, just few individuals and initial groups being formed at the very end of 1980’s and the beginning of the 1990’s. So, the time of war(s) was also a new beginning (after almost 60 years) for organized resistance coming from anarchists.

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Antipolitika Broj 1/Issue 1

Tema broja: Antimilitarizam. Broj strana: 60

Sadržaj:

Militarizacija svakodnevnog života

Anarhistička solidarnost i antiratne aktivnosti u Hrvatskoj u devedesetima

Emma Goldman: Pripremljenost, put kao sveopćem pokolju

clandestina: marsov barkod: 12 ilustrovanih crtica i post scriptum o kapitalističkom ratu

Bosonogi bataljon: Grčki militarizam u eri Sirize

Intervju sa Igorom Sekeom: Antimilitarizam u Srbiji devedesetih godina

Preko zidova nacionalizma i rata