Platform of the Revolutionary Socialists in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Published by Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), July 2016, www.thecommunists.net
What Are We Fighting For?
Today, Bosnia and the entire world are suffering from a serious illness that causes poverty, unemployment and nationalist hatred. This illness is capitalism. If we want to end the fundamental problems of our society, we need to put an end to this system which only helps a small number of businessman and bureaucrats to get richer and richer. This system is also the basis for the exploitation of our country by the huge corporations of the EU, US and Russia.
The only force that can end these central problems is the united organization and action of the masses of the workers and poor, not just in Bosnia, but everywhere throughout the Balkans, Europe and the world. We want to replace the system that is in power today with a system that really serves the people. The system for us is socialism. This means that the big companies, foreign banks and corporations, the factories and mines will all be taken away from their superrich owners and become public property under control of the workers. The management of the major parts of the economy will be done democratically via councils of the workers and consumers.
We want to establish a real democracy where the masses of the people, especially the workers and poor have the power, not just some rich oligarchs and bureaucrats. We are fighting for a socialist, council-based democracy where mass meetings will be convened in the workplaces, neighborhoods and villages, to which the people elect representatives. These representatives will not have any privileges over those who elected them, and will be accountable to them. If they don’t do their job well, they will be recalled. Such councils will elect the government and organize the new state from bottom to top. While it will be both important and helpful to also have a number of intellectuals in different departments of the new socialist state (especially doctors for the health care system, scientists for the environmental department, etc.), the overwhelming balance of brains and the hearts of the socialist state must be those provided by the working class itself. A socialist workers’ state is our alternative to the slogan of a government of experts, of “technocrats.” It is not possible to have real democracy if the leading force in a socialist state is other than the working class, as it is only the working class that has nothing to lose but it chains. Workers must be the ones who will lead the socialist revolution and lead the socialist state. In the past, we have witnessed how, in Bosnia and other Balkan countries, the intellectuals are so much more easily bribed than workers. And we know that widespread corruption is one of the biggest weaknesses of our country.
We are Trotskyists – the socialism we are fighting for has nothing to do with the “socialism” that existed in Tito’s Yugoslavia or in Stalin’s Soviet Union. We believe that, under these regimes, power was not in the hands of the working class, but was rather wielded by a dictatorship of privileged party bureaucrats. As Trotskyists we also know that socialism cannot be established in one country, but rather that it must be established on a worldwide level, because the economic system is also worldwide. Furthermore, we believe that, under the rule of the workers and poor, there must not be just a single party, but many, and that socialism in no way means poverty for everybody, but rather the rapid increase of our quality of life. Thousands of Trotskyists were murdered by Stalinism, because they fought for a real workers’ democracy. Leon Trotsky himself was assassinated in 1940 by a Stalinist agent. Despite our criticism of the Tito regime, we recognize that the establishment of a united Yugoslavia was a step forward which was only made possibly by the heroic struggle of the partisans against the fascist occupiers of the Balkans! While capitalism was only bureaucratically abolished in Tito’s Yugoslavia, as Trotskyists we nevertheless say that the nationalization of most of the economy was an historical achievement which had to be defended against foreign aggressors.
The war in Bosnia had its causes in the collapse of Tito’s bureaucratic regime and the restoration of capitalism in Yugoslavia. To be successful in this sinister plan, the Stalinist bureaucracy which orchestrated it had to divide the peoples of the Balkans along national and ethnic lines so they would be helpless. Therefore, they whipped up nationalist hatred, throwing sand in the eyes of the poor so they would fight and kill one another other without see the real class enemy. Unfortunately, during the war there was no revolutionary party which could have led the workers in a struggle against both Stalinism and capitalism and for the transformation of Yugoslavia into an authentic democratic, multinational and socialist republic.
The Serbian nationalist bureaucracy lead by Milošević was the strongest in Yugoslavia and tried first to dominate a capitalist Yugoslavia, despite the opposition by the leaders of the respective bureaucracies in Slovenia and Croatia. This is why the federation of Yugoslovia was split up in 1991 – so that the new class of former bureaucrats, now turned nationalist rulers, could more readily exploit their “own” working class. However, as revolutionaries who have always defended the right of a people to self-determination, we certainly understand that, in the case of Croatia, the implementation of this desire was complicated by the Tudjman regime’s wanting to suppress the Serbian minority living in the Knin region of the country and in Slavonia. This led to a war that was unjust for both sides, during which a number of horrible crimes were perpetrated against both peoples. From the outset of the wars in the Balkans, the great imperialist powers (the US and EU) wanted to exploit the turmoil to advance their own interest. Revolutionaries always strongly oppose any such involvement by Great Powers, wherever this is done, because they act always against the interests of the masses of people. The Great Powers care nothing about violations of human rights, but only about their profits. It is for this reason that revolutionaries opposed the intervention and bombardment by NATO forces – their bombs never bring peace or freedom!
In Bosnia, the situation was different than in Croatia. Here we had a multinational republic that was threatened by Serbian nationalists in their attempt to create an ethnically purified “Greater Serbia.” At all stages of the war in 1992-95, Federation troops were not only Bosniac, but were also multinational and included a number of Serbian internationalists. From the start of the war the Serbian nationalists tried to ethnically cleanse the country to advance their plans for a “Greater Serbia.” As internationalists, we are strongly opposed to “ethnically clean” states; rather we are for multinational states with equal right for all ethnicities. Although war crimes were committed by both sides, there is no doubt that those of the Serbian nationalists did so more systematically and that the number of massacres directed against the Bosniacs, and the number of Bosniac civilians killed, stand in no relationship to the casualties of the other nations. While we unequivocally condemn the killings of all civilians on all sides, nevertheless we say quite clearly that the war to create a “Greater Serbia” and to ethnically cleanse Bosnia was an arch-reactionary, unjust war. The Dayton agreement divided Bosnia along ethnic lines. As long as the workers and poor allow the rich to divide us along ethnical lines there will be no peace, freedom or justice. After the war, its costs were heaped exclusively on the shoulders of the poor, while the big US and EU companies, as well as their local lackeys, earned huge profits. Therefore, in the final analysis, we see that this cursed war was a massive success for the rich and a disaster for the poor.
The RCIT welcomed the 2014 popular uprising in Bosnia against the neoliberal, corrupt regime which can only survive with the political and military backing of the imperialist EU. This uprising demonstrated that the workers and youth – irrespective of their ethnic and religious background – can fight united against the ruling elite. Unfortunately, once again, there was no revolutionary party which could have led the workers and youth towards a struggle against the capitalist ruling class and their imperialist EU-masters. As a result, this uprising was hijacked by liberal intellectuals who led the protests to a political dead end.
A Program for Action
The oligarchs and their masters in the EU, US and Russia can only exploit the workers and poor because so many of us have been divided and poisoned by nationalist hatred. As revolutionaries, we fight for equal rights for all people, no matter their nationality or religion. Only if the oppressed from all nations stand together, can we defeat the real class enemies of the people. We call for the full rights of all people to practice their religion and their specific national culture. We must unify Bosnia with a program that can bring together the workers and poor regardless of whether they are Bosniac, Serbian, Croatian or Roma. Such a program must call for the implementation of the following slogans:
- End unemployment! We need a public plan to build schools, hospitals, public housing, roads and factories; we need to improve our healthcare and education systems. The state should simply create the jobs to do this, thereby providing fairly-paid employment for all, and finance it with funds taken from the rich.
- Public property under workers’ control over the central parts of our economy! All companies in the hands of the EU, US or Russian bosses should be nationalized immediately and placed under the control of the people working there.
- All Great Powers out of the Balkans! All peoples of the Balkans, from Greece to Slovenia and Croatia to Bulgaria, need to have their destinies and economies in their own hands. Kick out the undemocratic and imperialist high representative! No joining the EU, NATO or any other imperialist formation! Immediately withdraw all foreign military forces! Stop supporting the US-occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Congo; get the soldiers out of these countries – immediately!
- Help for the poor peasants! For cheap credit and state support for the all small and poor farms!
- Full equality for women and young people! No to violence and rape against women! Equal pay for women! Improve our education system, financed by the rich!
- Open the borders to the EU! For the unlimited right to work and study in the EU! Free passage for all refugees who want to go to the EU!
- No to the corrupt, capitalist parties who only care about the jobs their leaders can get, and who will sell their own grandmother to do so!
- Equal rights for all people! Full national rights for all the peoples living in Bosnia! No restrictions to practicing national culture or religion. Stop the massive discrimination against our Roma brothers and sisters! For the right to speak our native language and for its being the language of instruction in our schools! If the poor of all nations stick together, no one can exploit them! Revolutionaries always fight mainly against those of their nationality who want to spread hatred against another peoples and the greatest scorn for the bosses of their own nationality! The multi-ethnic character of our country was exploited by the rich, the bureaucrats, the nationalists and imperialists for their own interests by spreading hatred to separate us. Let’s turn the tables! The multi-ethnical character must become our biggest asset to unite all oppressed against exploitation and imperialism! To do so, it is of utmost importance to attain full equality for all oppressed ethnicities and to recover all losses suffered by so many of us during and after the civil war.
- Fight fascism! Defeat the fascists of all nations in the streets! For an independent, multinational investigation controlled by the workers to reveal the truth about war-crimes and bring justice to the victims!
- End the separation of Bosnia and its people! Down with the reactionary Dayton Agreement that divides our country along ethnical lines! We need a joint, multinational struggle against both capitalist governments like what we witnessed in February 2014! Bosnia should have one government under the rule of the workers and poor who have no interest in nationalist hatred. At the same time we call for local self-governments which will give every city and village the maximum right to control its own affairs! To (re-)establish trust between all ethnicities, it is vital to fight any attempt by nationalists to implement methods which can be used for future ethnic cleansings (like the attempt to link the social security number to nationality or ethnicity) – or even stoke such fears! Self-government on a local basis does not mean the right to spread nationalist hatred, but to the contrary this is an important instrument to avoid such a negative development!
- Solidarity with the struggle of the oppressed everywhere! Solidarity with the Greek workers and youth who are fighting against the EU-troika; with the heroic struggle of the Palestinian People against Apartheid; with the struggle of the Brazilian masses against the coup; and with black people in the US who are fighting against police violence. For a revolutionary world party that can lead the liberation struggle!
- For the multinational Bosnian Revolution! All power to the workers and the poor! Instead of the bureaucratic and undemocratic capitalist state, we want a state that is formed and controlled by the poor via workers’ and peoples’ councils!
power will be in the hands of the workers and poor. Such a federation must give maximum rights to all people, without at the same time infringing upon the democratic rights of another people. For local self-governments which will be an instrument to encourage the unity of all ethnicities and a weapon against corruption! For the United Socialist States of Europe!
Build a Revolutionary Organization
This program can only be achieved if we build a revolutionary organization! Such an organization will not attempt to enrich its members, but to serve the workers and poor! Many people will think that what we stand for is unrealistic or has already failed in Yugoslavia; but under capitalism we have no future. More and more economic crises will create more and more unemployment and misery, to say nothing about the climate catastrophe which cannot be stopped within the capitalist system. The only way forward is to fight for our rights, because merely complaining that everything is bad will not change anything. It is absolutely understandable that many older people have lost their energy to fight. Their strength has been broken by war and poverty. It is the task of younger people and all who still have energy to fight for a better future for all of us! The rich and powerful are a small minority, but they are really well organized. They control the economy, the media, the parliament, the courts, police and military. We need to make sure that the workers and poor have an organization that can stand up against their force. The RCIT (Revolutionary Communist International Tendency) is an internationally revolutionary organization, which is active in many countries worldwide. We are building a world party, because the workers of the world have the same interests in every country. We need to fight everywhere for justice and our rights and the system that can give us this: real socialism!
Join us! Build a revolutionary multinational organization in Bosnia!