Michael Benson on 7 Oct 2000 19:20:05 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> re: No Nazis

>Frank Hartmann is correct in what he says. You shouldn't take such offense
>because his is an important point.

No, of course not -- why should I take offense when someone trundles along
with a regular wheel-barrow of manure about the "self-acclaimed" (i.e.,
myself) who are "polluting" his sanctified "alternative channels"? What a
way to start a discussion!

But anyway, there's a kitchen, and then there's heat. And there's a door...

Your point essentially casts doubt on the so-called "great man theory" of
history. But then it seems to me you undermine your own thesis with:

>But Hitlerian Germany and Napoleonic France were just mediocre folk tunes
>compared, for instance, to the Heroic music composed for Stalin's regime.
>Worse to me is that there are certain "civilised" and dominant "western"
>countries who promote their mass murderers to the World Bank and other such
>prestigious posts. These are "cleanskins" though, historically cleansed of
>sin  (...)

>Those regimes have mechanically murdered more people than Hitler, Stalin,
>Franco, Pol Pot, Mao, Suharto, Amin, etc etc etc ... put together. They
>will continue to do so because that is their biggest business.

To a point I agree, though I think if you combine Mao and Stalin you've got
a hard case to make, not to quibble about numbers. But anyway that's why I
also mentioned Kissinger -- a classic example, I think, of what you're
talking about. But aren't these "clean-skins" of yours in fact individuals
with a great deal of power, who should be held accountable for their
actions? Actions which happened because they personally supervised and
organized them? I don't believe in these great impersonal forces -- or I
should say, they don't work as an excuse or defense by individuals for
murder. That was Eichmann's defense, if I remember right?

There are some interesting works about Speer, a.k.a. the "good Nazi", that
grapple with this point.

>I'll start quietly celebrating when there's no more loud noises.

Yeah, I stopped celebrating already when I heard that Kostunica had a
meeting with Milosevic today and came out of it saying he wouldn't hand him
over to the Hague. My celebration's over.

Because it applies to some of what you say, and my alternative point about
history and individuals, below I'm taking the liberty of cross-posting
something from the International Justice Watch Discussion List:


Subject:      Re: Some thoughts on Belgrade

<< The question arises of whether there
 even would have been armed conflict anywhere in the former Yugoslavia if
 he hadn't stabbed his mentor Stambolic in the back in 1987, and seized
 control of the Serbian socialist party. Would Yugoslavia still exist? >>

In rummaging through old files I came across a document that reminded me of
the many times Slobo blocked the opportunity for peaceful change.  It's a
document from October 1990 titled "Draft of the Treaty of the Yugoslav
Confederation--the Alliance of South Slav Republics".  It was written by the
presidency of the republic of Croatia and presented during rotating
negotiations between the presidents of Yugoslavia's then six republics.  The
idea was to re-fashion Yugoslavia as a loose union of sovereign republics.

I recall watching Slobo and his henchmen block any progress in each of these
meetings and proposed compromises, as if he wanted to bring matters to a
violent confrontation.  And I remember Alija Izetbegovic's increasing
desperation as he began to understand what Slobo's (and later Franjo's)
refusal to negotiate meant for his republic.  I still wonder what exactly
Slobo had in mind back then, but I doubt it was much of a grand vision.  If
only he had had a vision to defend the real interests of the Serbian people.

It's worth re-reading Djilas on this.  He nails Slobo in "The New Class",
predicting just the kind of mutation from communism to nationalism.  But
Slobo's resort to violence surprised even Djilas (and burned him as well for
not opposing Slobo early on).  So, Slobo is/was particularly ruthless, but
need to see him as part of a class of communist/apparachniks who
assumed power in Serbia (and elsewhere) after Tito wiped out an entire
generation of talented Serbian politicians (the so-called liberals) in 1972.
That was one of many key turning points for Serbian politics.
Kostunica, though never really a communist, represents a comeback for that
generation.  Let's hope other very talented people from that era re-emerge.


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