From LABOR-L@YORKU.CA Fri Mar 9 12:46:32 2001
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 10:02:16 -0500
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Jim Jaszewski <grok@SPRINT.CA>
Subject: Fwd: Report on Strikes and Other Resistance in Yugoslavia

Report on Strikes and Other Resistance in Yugoslavia

From,, 8 March 2001

In a message dated 03/08/2001 3:48:22 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

>> Actually the SPS is involved in strikes all over Serbia. I
>> was told yesterday: At present the people see mainly
>> their own imemdiate needs and there are not sufficient
>> connections between struggles and these strikes and other
>> actions are not political in a conscious sense.

>> Jared
> Who are you quoting here? That would seem encouraging.
> Macdonald

Dear MacDonald,

FYI, here is the exact transcript of my conversation with Vladimir Krsljanin which a short while ago. Mr. Krsljanin (pronounced Kershlyanin) is in charge of relations with foreign groups and media for the SPS. Following the transcript of my brief interview with him, I have reposted a statement he already posted on the internet, which I urge people to read. If you or your group has not sent a statement of support to the SPS, which is refusing to buckle despite vilification and terror, I urge you to do so—it means very much to people in these conditions to know that folks in other countries, especially in Western countries, have not deserted them. Youy can send statements of support to

You will notice that Mr. Krsljanin describes a struggle over privitization that is the reverse of what one would expect if one were trying to figure it out from ThEORY with no knowledge of those often uncooperative practical details. It is DOS, at the behest of Western interests, which wants everything nationalized—so that they can then sell it off, just as the South Korean banks were recently nationalized and then given away (for nothing) to a consortium of Western vultures, including, by the way, Senator Diane Feinstein's husband. It is SPS which is organizing a mass movement of workers and pensioners to demand their right under existing Yugoslav law: that they get shares in businesses where they have worked.

Here is the interview with Krsljanin:

Jared Israel: I just wrote that strikes are going on all over Serbia and someone asked who are you quoting so may I turn on the tape recorder and quote you?

Vladimir Krsljanin: Absolutely. And yes, there are strikes now all over. The biggest at the moment: Yesterday two of the main trade unions, one which is the majority trade union and which was before associated with the SPS, which is now more or less independent, and another so-called independent trade union which was close to DOS originally, are together organizing a general strike in primary and high schools (medium schools) of teachers. Their negotiations with the government according to the statements of people from the unions the government did not show responsibility in these talks. They offered increased of salaries of only 10%, whereas the unions are demanding 40%.

Jared Israel: There has been a great deal of inflation in prices of food.

Krsljanin: Absolutely. The cost of basic necessities has doubled in the last few months.

The biggest struggle that has gone on, which is continuing, is around privatization. We have started successfully the process of privatization in which socially owned businesses are transformed to again socially owned businesses but based on shares distributed to actual and retired employees of the companies. This is their right under the law, which DOS wishes to change.

Israel: The privitization is to prevent these businesses from being sold to parasites from foreign parasite companies that want to seize them, strip them and close them.

Krsljanin: Absolutely, absolutely. The intention of the government is to stop that process, to reverse it and to transform all the property into state property and then authorize the government itself to decide in each particular case which company can be sold to which foreign company, which is total you know dictatorship in matters of selling the county's economy.

Israel: How politically aware are people involved in these struggles?

Krsljanin: Everything in our country is political, not only recently. The truth is all these strikes all over the country are not yet coordinated in one anti-governmental movement but I think it is only a matter of time when that will happen.

Here is Mr. Krsljanin's appeal for support:

I am quoting a conversation with from the SPS. But
Date: 03/06/2001 8:26:47 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Vladimir Krsljanin)
To: (vk)


Ever since the federal elections of September 24, setting ablaze of the Federal Assembly and the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation building and the putsch that took place on 5th October, after the republican and local elections of December 23, 2000, Socialist Party of Serbia is facing organized campaign of the new DOS authorities to eliminate it from the political scene, while in the country, under the guise of democracy, Europeisation and rule of law, normal political life would be blocked. Atmosphere of fear, staged court trials and persecution of persons of different political opinion, especially members of the SPS, is spreading over Serbia.

A campaign, into which almost all the media, now controlled by the current regime are included, is for last few weeks mostly directed against president of the Socialist Party of Serbia and up-to-recently President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic. Aim of this campaign is to brake up the Socialist Party of Serbia and to move the country from the path of free and independent development.

Incompetent DOS authorities are not ready to solve economic and social problems growing ever deeper, not able to wipe out Albanian terrorism and to protect sovereignty and integrity of the country. By the campaign of intimidation, lynching and persecution against Slobodan Milosevic and other prominent members of the SPS they are attempting to hide their responsibility for catastrophic deterioration of social, economic and security situation in the country.

So-called crisis committees, under the DOS control, by violent means took over and are still taking over leading positions in the economy, administration, education, health care. Along with threats and blackmail mass dismissals of experts and competent persons are carried out.

In several municipalities where SPS won local elections (Bosilegrad, Batocina, Kladovo, Ub, Dimitrovgrad, Bela Palanka) DOS is usurping local self-rule, by crude force and in a bandit's manner. SPS leaders and militants all over Serbia are subjected to violence and intimidation. House of the chairman of the County Committee of the SPS in Leskovac was burned down, an explosive device was thrown at the offices of SPS in Nis. Town councilors from SPS in Vranje were held locked in the Municipal Assembly Hall for six hours.

Ministers in the DOS government are taking active part in the campaign. Atmosphere of the public lynching of the SPS members is imposed. Constitution, laws, moral norms, human rights and rights of the citizens are drastically violated by the revolutionary justice of the new democratic authorities.

Socialist Party of Serbia, as the strongest opposition party (44 deputies in the Federal and 37 deputies in the Republican parliaments respectively) is resolutely confronting such situation and practices. After its Fifth Extraordinary Congress, SPS strengthened its unity, reaffirmed its progressive, democratic political attitudes in the new conditions. Citizens are defending dignity of the nation and the state, freedom and human rights by democratic means. There are daily protests and strikes, requests for release of the victims of staged political trials and calls for responsibility of DOS authorities for economy going down-hill, impoverishment, abnormal growth of unemployment and endangering national and state survival of Yugoslavia and Serbia. Daily, 24-hours people's watch is held in front of the home of the SPS president Slobodan Milosevic.

Socialist Party of Serbia calls upon friendly parties, movements, non-governmental organizations and individuals in the Balkans, in Europe and in the world:

SPS is thankful for the expressions of support in confronting external and internal pressures and in the defense of the principles of freedom, dignity, human and political rights received so far.

SPS shall highly appreciate all the messages of solidarity with the efforts to stop the current campaign against SPS, as the largest opposition party and its President Slobodan Milosevic and for provision of conditions for normal conduct of the political life in Serbia, as a precondition of real democracy and continued development.

Belgrade, March 7, 2001