Down with the Government of Isa Mustafa Hashim Thaçi, Lackeys for the Rich and Imperialism!
Johannnes Wiener and Ime Berisha, Austrian Section of the Revolutionary Communist
International Tendency, 31.01.2015, www.rkob.net and www.thecommunists.net
In Kosova, during the last few weeks, there have been increasingly severe clashes between police and demonstrators. Police have used tear gas and water cannon against the masses of protesters, who tried to take over and occupy government buildings, resulting in the smashing of all the windows on the lower floor of the Kosova parliament. According to official figures, thus far 56 policemen and dozens of protesters have been injured in street battles and more than 100 demonstrators have been arrested. Among those detained by police was the mayor of Prishtinë, Shpend Ahmeti.
The protesters justifiably took to the streets to vent their anger against the racist statements of the (Serbian) Labor Minister of Kosova, Jablanović who dubbed as “savages“ the mothers of Albanian victims of the war and other demonstrators. The demonstrators attempted to prevent a group of Serbs from accessing an Orthodox monastery in Gjakova, alleging that some of them were war criminals. During the Independence War, a series of war crimes were committed against Albanians in Gjakova.
The demonstrators also demanded nationalization of the Trepca mines, rich in deposits of lead, zinc, cadmium, silver, gold, and other metals. The Trepca mines are still not controlled by the state of Kosova. The Serbian government in Belgrade claims that 50% of the mines are owned by the Serbian Development Fund, and that the remaining half are owned by Serbian companies. Currently, some of the mines are under Serbian control while others are controlled by the Albanians. The Trepca mines lie along the border between the south of Kosova, with an Albanian majority, and the north inhabited by Serbs.
The Serb minority constitutes only 4–8% of the residents of Kosova, while Albanians represent 88–92% of the population; 4–5% belongs to other ethnic minorities (Bosniaks, Gorani, Roma, Turk, Ashkali, etc.). The Serbian minority in the north of Kosova does not recognize the government of the overwhelming Albanian majority in Prishtinë and refuses to cooperate with it in any way. Instead, they remain faithful to the Serbian government in Belgrade and do not accept the independence of Kosova. However, the overwhelming majority of Kosova want its independence and are prepared to defend it. This is not surprising, given the horrific crimes that Serbian militarism and fascism have committed not only against the Albanians of Kosova, but also against the Bosniaks.
This suppression began with the occupation of Kosovo by Serbia in 1913 and continued until the end of the Serbian occupation in 1999. During this time, the Albanians always constituted the majority of the population and demanded an end to their national oppression.
In mid-January, Kosova’s parliament was scheduled to ratify the transfer of ownership of the Trepca mines entirely into the hands of the state. However, the vote was postponed, most probably due to vast pressure exerted by both the US embassy and the Serbian government. Currently, Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosova and sees it simply as a breakaway Serbian province.
The workers and oppressed of Kosova who have taken to the streets are justifiably demonstrating against the government of Isa Mustafa, who is not defending the tiny state’s independence but rather is collaborating against the interests of the working class and all the people of his country.
Perspectives for the Movement
The RCIT is clearly on the side of the protesters and their demonstrations. These protests are a step in the right direction! It is extremely important that the militant demonstrations be linked with workers’ strikes, thereby forcing the LDK-PDK-SL government to its knees. The movement should be oriented towards the masses, and not the corrupt parliament of Kosova, dependent as it is on EU and US. Therefore, committees should be established in Kosova’s factories, neighborhoods, and villages, to decide which steps the movement should take. Such committees should be like the town hall meetings that took place last March during the uprisings in Bosnia. But, unlike what took place in Bosnia, they should not be oriented to the university and the intellectuals, but to the working class, the youth, the unemployed, and the poor peasants!
As such workers’ or people’s committees gain influence, they should, step by step, begin addressing issues of management and production, as well as fighting corruption and the local Mafia. They should expect nothing from the government of Kosova, which is corrupt and only serves EU and US imperialism. The Trepca mines should immediately be nationalized without compensation and placed under the control of the working men and women. They should be run for the prosperity of the people of Kosova and not for the profits of a few large corporations. In addition, the property of all foreign corporations should immediately be nationalized under the control of men and women workers.
No to Nationalism!
Foster no hatred against Serbs! Even if, in the name of the Serbian nation, horrible crimes have been committed against the Kosova Albanians, nationalism is not the solution. This will only drive Serbian working men and women even further into the arms of the Serbian nationalists. The main problem is not anti-Serbian bias among Albanians, but Serbian racism turned against Albanians and other non-Serbs. We are for an internationalist policy that assures all nations and national minorities equal rights, while not remaining silent about the crimes of Serbian nationalism! For the Albanian working men and women, the rich and the corrupt Albanian politicians are neither friends nor allies! We are for a movement of the Serbian working class which is directed against Serbian nationalism, and which recognizes the crimes committed in their name and assures all the peoples of the Balkans full rights and the redress of grievances. Long live international solidarity with all oppressed!
The negotiations of Kosova with the EU and Serbia should be discontinued. Kosova is an independent state and no province of Serbia – this point is non-negotiable. No to EU membership – freedom and self-determination must not be subordinated to the interests of the EU’s major corporations. For the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops! KFOR does not protect Kosova against Serbia, but ensures that Kosova remains subordinate to the EU and US imperialism. Any aggression of Serbia against Kosova should be met by arming the people to defend their independence!
Left-Nationalist Party Vetevendosje
Today, the movement in Kosova is primarily organized by the left-nationalist Vetevendosje (self-determination) party. We call on Vetevendosje not to enter into any deal with the government and on the other hand not to stoke hatred against the Serbs. The rank and file members of Vetevendosje need to adopt a truly socialist perspective, i.e., one in which it is the workers and the poor who gain power for themselves. Only then can self-determination of the masses of Kosova truly be achieved.
True socialism has nothing to do with Stalinism or Titoism, but rather is the tradition of Lenin and Trotsky in which the desires and rights of oppressed peoples are always respected. You, workers and oppressed of Kosova, are in the forefront of the struggle for national self-determination of all oppressed peoples!
For the convening of a Kosova-wide conference of militant, revolutionary activists! Such a conference should establish a revolutionary socialist organization, based on the points detailed above. The RCIT seeks the closest possible cooperation and international union with all revolutionaries in Kosova!
For a free, truly independent, and red Kosova!