Mihajlo Acimovic on Mon, 05 Jul 1999 18:04:01 +0200

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Syndicate: Re: Re:About Coalition Vojvodina

I have received this mail from snikolin@mail.fodns.opennet.org, but it was adressed only to me, so I don't know who else he sent it to. I'm replying to sydicate, novalista and ex-yu-a-lista. if this did get onto nettime, It would be nice if someone mailed me to say so, so I can post the aswer there as well.

On Mon, 5 Jul 1999 13:06:58    snikolin wrote:
>Friends, I cannot refrain, as a citizen of Novi Sad, >Vojvodina, from adding
>a few comments to Mihajlo's posting. Since it >pretends to give a "deeper
>insight" on what's going on, I shall pretend much >less: to correct some
>"facts" given by Mihajlo, and to voice my oppinion on >his posting with the
>hope that people reading will get the drift.
>You are all probably aware of the big picture. In >1989 Kosovo and Vojvodina
>lost their autonomy based on the 1974 SFRY >Constitution. 

These autonomies were opposed to many oher points in that constitution, as well as the constitution of Serbia, which Vojvodina is and Kosovo was part of.
The anti-constitutional abolshment of those autonomies was one of Milosevic's main steps in taking power and holding it. Autonomy is a good thing, but not in the 1974 form.

>The ensuing
>centralizing policies of the regime are but one of >the factors which have added to the popularity of the >regionalist parties, despite heavy propaganda
>on their alleged "seccessionist" nature by the >regime. 

What do you mean "alleged"? The LSV is most definetly seccessionist. The president of it's municipal board in Kovacica told me that he believes Vojvodina would be a lot better off independent from Serbia and that he would do all whithin his power to make it happen. Some LSV youth members in Kikinda had told me the same.
It was not the centralizing policies that had led to the unpopularity of the regime, which had forced people to vote for regional parties - it was corruption, poverty and the fact that Vojvodina had been giving more to every state budget since the first counts were made, then it has been getting back from it. 

>They have survived attacks from Belgrade.

Most of the attacks and charges for seccessionism have not come from Belgrade, but from Vojvodinians who are members of the ruling parties. I have no doubts that these media attacks were ordered from above. Still, the fact that you say "from Belgrade" and not "from the Belgrade regime" or "from the regime" is another example of how local-chauvinist propaganda works - "Belgrade is endangering us." - not the regime, but Belgrade.

>There are many reasons for this, some of them
>historical (multicultural regional identity, >tolerance and wealth), some of them tied to the last >10 years (centralization =nationalism, >pauperisation). 

Vojvodina has never existed in it's present-day borders until 1945. For 2 centuries, it has been under Austro-Hungaria, divided into many fiefdoms, none of which held to Vojvodina's present borders. Then, in 1918, there was a congress, held by Vojvodinian Serbs only (who were aggressively nationalist at that time. many of them had volunteered to the Serbian army, causing mass persecutions and retaliations by the Aus-Hun army. In the same time, 10% Serbian male population had avoided being drafted)
The congress had declared that Vojvodina (a nationalist Serb concept for Serbian autonomy whithin Austro-Hungaria. It took up most of today's Vojvodina, whithout the Srem region) will be adjoined to Serbia. It remained out of Serbia, mainly due to Croat objections. Croats were afraid of living in a Serb-dominated country, because of the heavy war crimes and nationalist propaganda done by Croats for Austro-Hugaria's account (officialy or otherwise), while Serbs were a minority in Croatia, fighting for their basic right to survival.
Vojvodina (consisting of the Banat and Backa regions) was autonomous until 1929, when the king had dispersed the parliament. Still, the new regions whith governors, formed for easier rule, included one that took up not only present Vojvodina, but also parts of inner Serbia and Croatia. It's center was in Novi Sad.
1941-1945, Srem was, again, in Croatia, Backa was annexed to Hungaria, while Banat was under direct German occupation. No Vojvodina there. 
In 1945., it had finally been formed as an autonomous region whithin Serbia.
1974. The new constitution, resulting from Tito's desire to appease the Croat and Albanian nationalisms by fullfilling the more moderate requests, gives Kosovo (and thereby, Vojvodina, too, hence it has the same status) an unparalleled level of economic and political autonomy. The autonomous provinces now have almost the power of republics. Vojvodinian and Kosovo delegates are still present in the Serbian parliament, but Serbia has no way of influencing their internal policy. This has lead to the increase in Serb nationalism. The same constitution reforms Yugoslavia into a loose confederation, permitting it's future breakup, by giving all power to the six republics and two autonomous provinces and leaving none for the federal government.

Centralisation isn't equal to nationalism, even in Yugoslavia, or would you call the centralisation in 1929. nationalist? Djukanovic's government is being very centralistic about municipal governments in Montenegro (and very anti-centralist in their relations vs. the federation). Would you call them nationalist?

>And, a feeling of many people here that there is >something intrinsically wrong about being governed >from Belgrade. 

A feeling very spread out among poilticians, who have, like Nenad Canak, enoyed the benefits of an economic autonomy.

>Many cars have the
>symbol of Vojvodina ( "V" ) as their bumper sticker, >instead of the official
>country designation "YU", or more commited "SR".

We were mentioning nationalist propaganda and separatism. Those same stickers were first printed by a buisinessman close to the LSV.

> Even 
>the Belgrade regime
>has found it appropiate to talk publicaly about >multiculturality, tolerance
>and the "bread basket" qualities of Vojvodine.

>All of >them naturally seen as
>the product of regimes' policies (!).

"Everything good in Serbia comes from Milosevic" - Radio-Television of Serbia (It was a headline. I think they were quoting someone).

>The standing of regional parties has been propelled >by the citizens of this region (civil society), >despite the efforts to the contrary on behalf of the

The regime is, by it's nature, opposed to anyone who isn't loyal enough to it. As for citizens, party members are also citizens, so I don't see who but citizens could have propelled their success. still, "civil society" does not exist in Vojvodina, and is in the best case represented by some NGO's who are not in very good relations whith the Vojvodina coalition. 

>It is, therefore, not a disadvantage to be a part of >regional or other coalitions at the local level.

Of course not. Especially if all you want to get is money and power. In that case, no coalition partner is too low. Even the Serbian Renewal Movement.

>This situation, I believe, has some
>advantages ( perhaps not for the political parties >involved ) for the
>multicultural citizenship of Vojvodina, particularly >within a situation I

The "multicultural citizenship of Vojvodina" (more like multiethnic and monocultural) has gained only one benefit, and that is having a lot less nazi's in thier municipal governments.
The real benefits I can see right now are the economic ones for the leaders of the "political parties involved". 
I think multiculturalism is best promoted by those same NGO's that aren't in very good relations whith LSV.

>>The LSV have been running a highly aggressive
>> local-shovinist propaganda over the past years, >>trying to oppose
>> the state-induced Serbian nationalism, by a new, >>multiethnic, but
>> equally agressive Vojvodinian nationalism (or local >>shovinism).
>Comparing the promotion of multiethnic Vojvodina >regional identity by
>regionalist political parties with few seats in >parliament, to the promotion
>of Serbian nationalism ( on which the regime insisted >for a long time ) is
>just not, logically, acceptable.

"the promotion multiethnic Vojvodina regional identity" is one thing. What the LSV has been doing is aggressive local-chauvinist propaganda. It is promoted in the similar forms as mainstream serbian nationalism and generally has the same characteristics. Therefore, I could call it Vojvodinian nationalist propaganda, if I thought there were any real Vojvodinian nationalists. What is logilcally unexceptable is that anyone will profit from it except people like Nenad Canak and Slobodan Milosevic. 

> And, describing Serbian nationalism as
>"state-induced", without taking into account the >widespread support it had(?), begs the question about >its ability to be the mainstream political ideology >in Serbia over the last 10 years, at least, most of >the opposition included?

The only way a concept like nationalism, or any concept, for that matter, can get public support in Serbia (Vojvodina included) is for it to be at least publicly accepted by the government and/or state-controlled media. For over 50 years, people have been told what their oppinions for today are by the state controlled media. Those who didn't comply were arrested, beaten, sent to concentrational camps, and, occasionally, murdered on the spot. It was a sort of a scilence conspiracy. Of course, many have been able to avoid it and speak their minds among friends. Still, public support is not something you can get whithout state support. Milosevic was supported by those same media which was one of the main reasons he succeeded in wining (more) power (than he already had).
I don't think nationalist parties are opposition. They look more like Milosevic's lackeys. Draskovic and Seselj are so openly. Djindjic hasn't declared himself so yet, but...
As for serbian nationalism, it was a marginal thing in Serbia, until the 80s, unlike the situation in Kosovo, Croatia and, partly, Bosnia. It was only socialy visible in the media of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and that was a far less agressive version of it, non-militarist.
Then, the state-controlled media started propagating an agressive nationalism. First through sports comments and "historical" shows about "Serbian history". Then, the media started propagating it more openly, and the state used the football fan leaders, which it had always controlled through bribes, to use
start fights and to prove to people in Serbia that everybody was nationalist on the "other side" vice versa. The people were told they were nationalist, so they became nationalist. It's very simple actually.
The old nationalists, led by the Serbian Orthodox Church didn't approve of this, but... Later, when bloodmoney started coming in forms of religious donations, the church changed it's mind and stopped making trouble. They only restarted making trouble in '95, when the moneyflow stopped. And, they had lost a lot in Kosovo and got a neglectable part of the plunder.

>>This concept, although generally opposed by most of >>the population, has gained favor whith those hoping >>to escape Milosevic's rule through an increased >>autonomy or independence from Serbia.
>If this concept is opposed by the majority (Serbs?, >in Serbia - proper or in Vojvodina?) why worry about >it?

Opposed by most people in Vojvodina, regardless of "ethnicity". I'm not worried about it (or, should I say, it's just a small part of my worries.). I think and write and speak about it. What is "Serbia - proper"? I have never heard of this term before.

>> Also, the shovinist propaganda is starting to give
>> fruits, resulting in increasement of young >>followers, who are generaly uninformed about life in >>Serbia, excpet Belgrade and believe that all of >>Serbia looks like Belgrade (salaries small but come >>on time, while in Vojvodina, they are miserable, on
>>those rare occasions when they do come).
>If regional parties propaganda is so sucessfull ( >and, contrary to the
>nationalist propaganda, it does not allow for non->political, violent
>means... ) as to attract young people as its >followers, 

The "regional parties propaganda" is nationalist. It opposes serbian nationalism though. As for it's non-violence, the leader (boss is more appropriate) of the LSV, Nenad Canak has publicly declared, more than once that he has nothing against violence. Once, I was at a presentation of a film, done by the press service of "Resistance!". After the movie was shown, the organisers asked for comments and Nenad Canak requsted the microphone. He got it and started making jokes about Milosevic's regime (his usual gimmick). Then he went on speaking about how he and his friends stood guard on doorsteps of Croatian houses in '92 and how he had beaten whith the (Seselj's) Serbian Radical Party members, when they came whith guns to evict those people. The story was a notorious lie to anyone who knows a little about the man. Later, a speaker had asked him which houses he had guarded and fought to protect, for he had never heard of such brave actions taking place. He didn't receive an answer!
. Canak then continued whith a story about how he went into poiltics. "He was off hunting fazans (a rare bird species) and he saw one flying up from it's hideout and he fired two shots. Two birds fell down. His friend told him that he had the ability of a prophet. That was when he decided to go into poiltics".
Beside being a nice fairytale, this story also tells us that Canak is very familiar whith rifles and owns one himself. It also tells us he has nothing against killing rare birds and animals and that he is a malevolicious liar. The previous story about his supposed fights to save the Croat's homes tells us again that he has nothing against violence, as he himself had pointed out during that speech "if that is the way to bring these thiefs down". An interesting notion on thiefs, coming from someone who had bought at least one new car after his party won the municipal elections. Besides, what's he gonna do whith the car. He already has a parliamentary delegate's salary (about 15 average ones) and his own car and driver while he is in the parliament. 

>would it be wise of
>Belgrade opposition parties not to dismiss them as >"chauvinist", in their
>struggle for change? 

The change they want is not the change I want. Their leaders are thiefs, liars and, already or potential, murderers. Besides, the "Belgrade opposition parties" are not dismissing them as chauvinist. They're in coalition whith them in many municipalities across Vojvodina. I am not a member of any political party, nor was. I am calling them spreaders of local-chuvinism. This doesn't mean they believe what they say = are chuvinists. Still, I think their leaders are, most definitely chauvinists in another sence - they care for none but themselves. 

>And, to cooperate with them as does the Coalition
>Sumadija - from Serbia proper, for example?

>As for being uninformed about life in Serbia proper >and making judgements on
>the basis of life in Belgrade, well that is just not >likely. 
>There is almost
>no independent media in Vojvodina ( thanks to the >regime clamp down from
>many years earlier ), so most of the info comes with >the independant press
>from Belgrade. 

There is no independent press in general, anywhere, nor will there be. But, if you meant "Independent from Milosevic's regime and reporting about the opposition in Serbia", there were many. VK radio in Kikinda and 021 radio in Novi Sad are just some of them. Still, these media have not been on too good terms whith parties like LSV, although they had tried not to get into conflicts. I wonder why. Also, the municipal governments in municipalities ruled by the Zajedno+Vojvodina+others coalitions have funded a lot of local press, some of it really good, like Kikindske Novine, for example. And there was some local press funded by buisinessmen close to the Vojvodina or Zajedno coalitions. I can't agree that LSV activists couldn't have found out what it was like in Serbia.

>Whether they do not present life in Serbia "as is", >cannot be blamed on regionalist parties in Vojvodina.

True. They just want the money. They're not interested in notions such as thruth and information.

>>The thruth, Serbia is as
>>empovered as Vojvodina. Belgrade is better because >>it's the financial and political center of the >>country.
>Even if I agree with the first statement, I cannot >agree with the
>underlaying idea of the second. Why on earth should >Belgrade be better off
>then the rest of the country? Why it must be the >financial and political
>center - as the regime has forcefully made it?

Belgrade is better off in financial terms. Some of it, anyway. Milosevic has found it a very unsafe place when he doesn't give it enough money. Tha salaries in Belgrade are generally a little higher and are less late and less liable not to come at all then in the rest of the country. Also, waiters get big tips occasionally from bigshots. The regime has stolen a lot of money. A little of it pours over. Still, most of Belgrade's population live on a lot less money then is their existential minimum.

>> On the other hand, the RDSV, whith it's leader >>Predrag Filipov, has stood on a less agressive and >>less buisinesslike position, accepting renegades >>from "civic" parties like the Democratic Party and >>the Democratic Party of Serbia.
>The leader of RDSV is Miodrag Isakov. Predrag Filipov >is with the Democratic Party.

I apologise, both for my forgetfulness and for the lack of any real difference between those two people in political terms.

>One can only wish that opposition from Belgrade were >as committed and sucessfull in their struggle against >the regime, in terms of support, as they are in their >struggle against regionalist political parties and >their leaders.

The "opposition from Belgrade" (meaning that their centers are in Belgrade - this is exactly the local chauvinist propaganda I was talking about)and from Yugoslavia in general are very commited and most successful in winning money and power for their leaders/bosses. They are not struggling against "regionalist political parties and their leaders". They are in coalition whith them in many municipal governments throughout Vojvodina.  
I am struggling against people like Canak, Isakov, Filipov and the likes in general. Not because they are "regionalist", but because they are thieves and liars, and some, like Canak, thugs. 

Angelfire for your free web-based e-mail. http://www.angelfire.com
------Syndicate mailinglist--------------------
 Syndicate network for media culture and media art
 information and archive: http://www.v2.nl/syndicate
 to unsubscribe, write to <syndicate-request@aec.at>
 in the body of the msg: unsubscribe your@email.adress