Pretty simple, really.
I write to express solidarity with the protesters, largely the young, in Belgrade. I so wish I was there.
The same grievances that brought the young to Tahrir Square and Zuccotti Park now brings them to the streets of Belgrade. This is an autonomous, not organised by any political party, foreign funded neoliberal NGO, Brussels, nor the US embassy, series of protests with a strongly social character. That is, the protesters are largely animated by continued neoliberal privations, including larceny and robbery on a grand scale, what is otherwise called “privatisation,” kleptocracy, and Serbia’s status as a neocolonial dependency of global capital.
All of the republics of the former Yugoslavia are neocolonial dependencies.
The protests are similar to the protests in the Muslim dominated areas of Bosnia in 2014, and it is good to see expressions of solidarity, as I have, from across the territory of the former Yugoslavia. One of the slogans of the Bosnian uprising was “revolucija jedina solucija,” that is “revolution is the only solution.”
I don’t know where this will go, but for a truly revolutionary situation to develop the protests need to spread among the working class through a general strike and factory occupations.
In the October 2000 revolution that ousted Slobodan Milosevic “crisis committees” were set up throughout the workplaces of Serbia, a key feature of the revolution not often discussed as its implications are too dangerous. There is a strong tradition of workers self management in Serbia, a legacy of the socialist period, and the crisis committees were a reflection of that tradition. The neoliberal kleptocracies after October 5 2000 privatised these, but they can be taken back by the people who work in them and by the communities in which they are located.
If they were it would be a social revolution unlike any anywhere in the world.