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Rhetorical manipulations of domestic "democrats"
author: Dragan Drača

Democratisation of society and 'turning to West' were discussed very much in last several years, and became subject no.1 after NATO's aggresion on our country. It is necessary to see what is the perspective of nationalist and pro-capitalist parties, since they represent only alternative to Milosevic's regime at this time; and dissatisfaction of people with his policy grows every day.

Reactionary character of ruling clique is clear to every politicaly conscious citizen, so we won't deal with it in this article.

This time, we will focus on rhetorics of theese pro-western parties, that is, on demagogical phrases which they use to manipulate people's minds.

'Democratic and rich West' Myth

One of the main myths that their rhetorics is based on is the one about 'democratic and rich West'. Leadership and ideologists of theese parties are uncritically portraying social and economic systems of advanced capitalist countries as perfect, and then trying to justify their own behaviour and actions as subordinate to the aim of fighting for that kind of system.
But, this can have only formal character, since their acting in practice is totally contradicting them. The betrayal of the will of participants in mass protests° two year ago, petty political trading and misusing of position in regional and city government, and policy of Milosevic's favourite 'oppositional' party, SPO°, are the best proof for that.

Key point on which the myth about democratic West is based on is alleged respect of electorial will of citizens and government's legitimacy, and "wide spectrum of political and economical freedoms". But, none of this is based on real political life in those countries, and it only represents empty abstraction drawn out of form, not of inner essence of events.

In order to see how much theese rights and freedoms are really respected, it is necessary to begin analysis on economical basis of given society, because relations in material production which are beeing established between people determine other social relations and forms of political and cultural consciousness. So, the fact that people will treat each other in way that basic production relation in given epoch is forcing them, must be respected.

Since the big corporations are main form in which centered and concentrated capital is appearing, and since they are dominant economical subjects in modern capitalist societies, they represent most powerful and most influencing political subjects. Through their financing of electorial campaigns and provision of benefits for party leadership and powerful government members, they are directing the way in which party or government will act. Votes of citizens and their interests don't define aims and behaviour of parties, but interests of corporations and powerful individual capitalists. Once we understand this, paradoxal acting of Tony Blair and his 'labour' party that contradicts interests of workers - cuts in social program, health, and other, becomes crystally clear.

Same goes for Clinton and his program of reforms and cuts in health services, which is supposed to create big surplus in state's budget. Of course, nobody explained what it really brings - more expensive health care which will only those who can pay be able to enjoy. His government didn't even think about rationalisation of enormous military budget which amounts almost $ 250 billion, and which serves to protect interests of American capital all over the world.

So, individual rights and freedoms are respected only if they don't endanger interests of capitalists. No matter which party is formally elected, it will work as servant of capital, not workers.

As far as welfare is concerned, as second component of myth about West, it should be pointed out that in most of theese countries over 85% of total social wealth is in hands of only 5-10% of people. Significant part of society lives on the edge of poverty, about 30 million only in US. They don't have satisfactory conditions of life and can't afford social and health care, and the state doesn't care about them.

Also, unemployment is constant phenomenon and amounts 5-15%, or even more during the recessions.

But, living standard is undoubtly higher that in East European and other former quasi-socialist countries. It is not because capitalism is ideal economic system, but because big capital of imperialist countries plundered and exploited it's colonies, semi-colonies and other states for ages. Economic interests are the real cause of imperialist militarism, and not alleged humanitarian concern, as the aggresion on Yugoslavia showed. It had devastating consequences for economy of Yugoslavia, but it brought more profits for american military industry, which stimulated the whole economy of US. Good indicator of this is growth of Dow Jones index of over 1000 points in only two months.

Just privatisation

Now when we saw that "western democracy" and economic welfare represent nothing more than empty abstractions directed at seduction of citizens, we can deal with other phrases.

Privatisation is central program point of all opposition and quasi-opposition parties, beginning with SPO, over DS°, to New Democracy. All of them claim that privatisation is necessary precondition for solving econical crisis and extensive development of economy followed by rising living standards.

But, every privatisation is robbery, whether it is conducted violently or "legally". It means expropriation of workers of means of production, or in concrete case, transformation of public property in private. Domestic, rich "enterpreneurs" that misused their position and authority in public companies, that made bad contracts for those companies, manipulated public proprerty in the past... now appear as potential buyers. Many of the high state officals misused their privilegies and power in order to create monopoly on import and export for their own enterprises, and to avoid taxes.

Other group interested in buying public companies consists of foreign corporations and indivudual capital owners, which are trying to make them accesible through financing and collaboration with some domestic parties and organizations. That explains the support to theese "democratic powers" in the very same media that satanized whole Serbian people over a decade. On other hand, this groups also manages to adjust it's interests to Milosevic's, which could be seen when he sold national telecomunications system, and when he gave other concessions to foreign capital.

The form in which the privatisation could be conducted is through transformation of public companies into private corporations. Shares would be given to everyone, depending on his length of service, or sold to anyone who's interested. This would create stock market on which the big capitalists would buy individual shares for very small amount of money.

It is necessary to say that privatisation actually started over decade ago, when one of financial laws changed status of self-managed companies, and when it forbid their further creation, which "stimulated" "more defined forms of ownership". But, this privatisation and robbery couldn't be completed until today, because it would have devastating consequences on society in whole, and the regime draged it out in fear of public reaction.

That explains all this demagogical preparation of people for poverty and misery, for "necessary cuts and sustaining", in order to avoid mass unrests once this "pro-democratic" parties get into power, and conduct their policy. Of course, workers are the ones that will bear the burden, not privileged groups.

But even this sacrifices and sustaining can't bring prosperity and welfare, but only new agony. Average annual growth of economy in capitalist countries amounts 5-9%, which is far less than it could be accomplished in planned nationalised economy. Free market and private ownership can't solve unenployment because it represents one of necessary preconditions for labour market, and they surely can't solve enormous unemployment in Yugoslavia. Also, completition of privatisation would mean faster social differentiation, where rich would become richer, and poor would become poorer.

Finally, it would terminate many health, social and pension systems, which would affect already poor living standards.

Free market, credits, and investments myths

Privatisation brings us to another term, which is usually associated with it - free market. It is often said that resources and wealth are allocated and regulated best with free market, and that only market economy can pull economy of Yugoslavia out of crisis. This is not true.

Market economy has numerous shortages and defects, which is proved with intervention of capitalist state in econmy, especially after WWII, and numerous nationalisations of whole sectors in industry, even in major imperialist countries.

Modern economies are dominated by various monopolies and multinational corporations which do not adjust their interests to consumers and competition, but impose them on whole economy. They dictate terms of sale and prices, make billions of profits, and in that way they affect distribution of wealth, concentracing it in hands of minority.

Deregulation of economy of Yugoslavia, lower taxes and opening of our market to foreign capital would allow to foreign corporations to take over all segments of market and valuable resources. Potential foreign investments would only fasten drain of wealth through profits of theese corporations.

Foreign capital wouldn't bring better living standards, since it comes in search for cheap labour and resources, not because of humanitarian ends.

Experience of numerous semi-colonies all over the world exploited by foreign capital are the best proof for that.

As far as phrases about humanitarian help and restoration credits are concerned, which are mentioned very much after NATO's aggresion, it should be pointed out that they are equally empty and baseless. History has shown many times that imperialist powers don't give any serious help, except some minor amounts, which serve in propaganda purposes. Credits, if they are given, are usually unpleasant, with relatively high interests, and often packed with political demands and blackmailing. The experience of Bosnia and Hercegovina is good example for this.

On the other hand, no matter who gets this "help" - Milosevic's regime or some hypotetical "democratic" government based on this pro-western parties, most of it will end on private accounts of their leadership and "meritorious citizens".Once again, we can look at Bosnia as an example.


This "democratic" parties create their image on this kind of rhetorics, expanding it with allready used (by Milosevic) nationalist phrases like "national unity" and "defence of fatherland" when appropriate.

No matter who will have power in his hands, Milosevic or pro-western opposition, and conduct restoration of capitalism, this policy can't solve economic and other contradictions in Yugoslavian society. Better living standards and prosperity can't be acomplished by privatization and expropriation of workers of means of production, but, on contrary, by rational management of economy, nationalisation of privatised sectors of industry, and with better paticipation of workers in decision making and control of distribution of wealth.

But, it can't be accomplished without genuine workers democracy, basen on principles of marxism and scientific socialism. Anti-marxist and anti-socialist hysteria stirred by theese parties and regime is enormous. Anyway, worsening conditions of life and deep contradictions in which our society found itself, will destroy those myths about capitalism and bring workers back to genuine principles of human society.

° known as Protest '96/97. Demonstrants demanded arrest of responsible for
framed elections, Milosevic's resignation, 'democratization'...
°° SPO - Renovation Movement of Serbia
°°° DS - Democratic Party

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