Statement of the Balkan Socialist Centre “Christian Rakovsky”
No to the US/EU imperialists’ operation of a fake “independence” of Kosovo!
Yes to the right of national self-determination of all the Balkan peoples!
For a Socialist Federation of the Balkans!
The declaration of the “independence” of Kosovo has nothing to do with the legitimate national rights of an oppressed people or a national minority. It is, first and foremost, an act of a new imperialist intervention in the Balkans, the creation of a US protectorate under EU military control. It is also a step forward for one of the pet projects of the US in the Balkans after the 1999 NATO war: the establishment of another Albanian statelet side by side with Albania itself leads to their future unification in a “Greater Albania” absorbing the Albanian populations in neighbouring countries, first of all of Macedonia. US imperialism, as the Italian fascists did during the Second World War, wants to manipulate Albanian nationalism for its own interests and strategic plans in the region against the peoples of the Balkans, including the Albanian people.
This fact is so tangible, so concrete that when Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN), in a report he submitted in spring 2007 after two years of negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia had reached a deadlock, recommended the “independence” of Kosovo, he had to qualify this by a special formula, “supervised independence”.. Hence, the “independence” of Kosovo is openly sham independence.
And who is supposed to “supervise” the “independence” of Kosovo? The answer to this question gives us the second dimension of Kosovo’s “independence”. It is a well-known fact that, after the seventy four-day air strikes inflicted on the former Yugoslavia by NATO, Kosovo was delivered to the civilian rule of UNMIK (the UN Kosovo Mission) and the military control of KFOR (the Kosovo Peace Force). According to the terms of the resolution adopted by the UN after the termination of the Kosovo War, Kosovo was to remain Serbian territory, but was also to be converted into a “UN protectorate”. This was a legal formula that was permeated with contradiction, since the status of “protectorate” is an entirely colonial status and to declare a territory that is under the sovereignty of an independent state (the former Yugoslavia and today’s successor state of Serbia) a colonial belonging defies logic. The “independence” granted today to Kosovo removes this contradiction, making it thereby a straightforward colony, one under multilateral rule. The initiative regarding the declaration of “independence” does not belong to Hashim Thaci, the leader of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army become prime minister in January this year, but Ahtisaari on behalf of the UN. It is a travesty to pretend that Thaci is a “hero”. Imperialism has offered “independence” to the KLA on a golden platter. Today Kosovo is controlled by 17 thousand NATO troops. It is being delivered to the rule of the EU, which will be sending an additional force of 1800 to police the territory. “Independence” on the force of arms of others is sham independence!
The 1999 NATO/US/EU war against former Yugoslavia was fought on the declared grounds of stopping the cruel treatment and ethnic cleansing the Albanians of Kosovo were suffering at the hands of Milosevic. But the final outcome nine years later demonstrates that the real aim was to carry to its conclusion the dismemberment of Yugoslavia. “Operation independence Kosovo” is but the belated consummation of the forcible destruction of Yugoslavia in the years 1991 to 1999.
A clear understanding regarding the aims of this imperialistic policy is of paramount importance. To start with, the Balkans are the South-western tip of Eurasia, an immense region that has come up for grabs as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the other degenerated workers’ states in Europe between 1989 and 1992. It was imperative for imperialism to prevent the survival of a state (Federal Yugoslavia) that had the capacity of obstructing imperialist plans in the Balkans. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia was the most violent form that capitalist restoration took in this historical period. Secondly, for the smooth implementation of EU’s and Germany’s plans to annex central and Eastern Europe, it was necessary to carve Federal Yugoslavia into mini-states and subsequently to destroy the historically strong identity of the Balkans through the imposition of the concept of “Southeast Europe”. Third, the Albanians were promoted and manipulated as a “special ally” of the US. Albania has today become the stronghold of reaction and pro-imperialist policies, as well as the Balkan centre of trafficking in drugs and prostitution. The project of “Greater Albania” is a US initiative, developed as a counterweight to the preponderance of the Southern Slavs in the Balkans and particularly as a barrier to Russia’s role in this strategic region connecting the oilfields from the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia to Europe. Today Albania and Kosovo seem to embody the two heads of the eagle on the Albanian flag. Tomorrow, the eagle may become triple-headed, with the Albanians of Macedonia joining the band wagon. The “independence” of Kosovo should be situated in this overall picture.
Another significant aspect is to threaten the many states in the region with strong minorities by the prospect of demands for independence. The “solution” would be an imperialist consensus against the peoples, in a Holy Alliance, as after 1815. And, connected to this aspect, one must underline the nationalistic messages developed by layers of the present ruling restorationist elites in the countries formerly under a Stalinist bureaucratic rule: these messages, directed against the conscience of the unity of the working people, constitute the response to the aggravation of the social, economic, political crises of these countries and the world.
The Albanians of Kosovo seem to be overwhelmingly in favour of secession from Serbia. Would it not be appropriate under these circumstances, it might be asked, for internationalists to support this “independence” on the basis of the right of nations to self-determination? The status accorded to Kosovo today has nothing to do with “independence” and hence with self-determination. A new colony is born. How long the status of protectorate will last is totally unforeseeable, given the policy of imperialism in the Balkans.
That Turkey should have recognised the “independence” of Kosovo immediately, on the same day as the US and the larger states of the EU, and this despite its own Kurdish question and its fears regarding the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, has certainly nothing to do with respect for the rights of oppressed nations. The ruling classes of Turkey have made it a principle to serve the policies of imperialism and of US imperialism in particular, in the region of Eurasia, as long as these do not come into direct conflict with its own interests as in the case of the Kurdish question. The Eurasia policy of Turkey, pursued since Özal established it in 1991, has taken the form of military support to all kinds of imperialist endeavours (Somali, Afghanistan, Lebanon etc.). During the Kosovo War, Turkish bombers poured death over the Serbian people arm in arm with the air forces of imperialist powers, three military air strips were allocated to imperialist fighter jets (but were not ultimately used because the war ended earlier than predicted), and the supposedly nationalist prime minister Ecevit declared, in the early stages of the war, that Turkey was prepared for land combat. The recognition of the “independence” of Kosovo implies that Turkey continues to play the game of imperialism and is directly connected to the agreement of 5 November 2007 between Bush and Erdogan related to the bombing of Kurdish (PKK) targets in Northern Iraq. Given the oppression of the Serbs by the Turks and the role they played under the Ottoman Empire in the forcible Islamisation of Kosovo, this policy becomes all the more shameless.
The capitalist government of Greece temporarily did not recognize the “independence” of Kosovo- where Greek troops are also stationed as a part of the actual occupation of the country by imperialism after 1999- solely to bargain with the US a solution of the so-called problem of the “name of Macedonia” in favour to the interests of Greek capitalism as a regional economic hegemon.
All the ruling classes and restorationist regimes in the Balkans are closely collaborating with imperialism in its plans to re-colonize the region and impose a New imperialist Order in the post-Cold War chaotic world. Nationalism and chauvinism, reactionary dreams for a “Greater Albania”, or a “Greater Serbia”, or a “Greater Romania” or a “Greater Greece” or for a “neo-ottoman Empire” etc are tools at the hands of the imperialist Great Powers. It is also a dangerous illusion, nurtured especially by Serbian and Greek nationalists, that the Putin restorationist regime and Great Russian nationalism could help the Balkan peoples against imperialism. Only the workers and peasants, the oppressed popular masses can and should unite in a common struggle against all the oppressors, the Great Powers as well as against the local pro-imperialist nationalistic cliques, for social and national emancipation, for Socialism.
The danger for a new round of massacres re-emerges. Urgent action to stop new wars and imperialist barbarism is needed by the working class and all the oppressed popular masses; to open the road for a Balkan Peninsula which belongs to its free and independent peoples united to build their socialist future without imperialist oppression and capitalist exploitation.
Withdraw the decision to recognise the independence of Kosovo!
For the right of national self-determination without any imperialist interference!Turkey, Greece, and all Balkan countries out of NATO!
Pull all imperialist troops and military bases out of the Balkans!
For a Socialist Federation of the Balkans!
25 February 2008