Title: History of Organized Fascism in Serbia

Authors: Sava Devurić

Date: 2013.

Topics: anti-fascism, fascism, Serbia, Yugoslavia

Source: Scanned from original

Notes: The text was originally written in February of 2013. for the anarchist journal Notes from the Steppe, from Salonika, Greece.

plain PDF A4 imposed PDF Letter imposed PDF EPUB (for mobile devices) Standalone HTML (printer-friendly) XeLaTeX source plain text source Source files with attachments View history

Sava Devurić

History of Organized Fascism in Serbia

1. Emergence of organized fascism

Although Serbia/Yugoslavia was and still is a generally conservative environment, I think that it could be said fascism, in a strict definition, was a relatively small movement within it. Early on there were proto-fascist groups, like the conspiratorial Black Hand in the pre-1918 period, and various fascistic groups in the 1920’s (ORJUNA and others). The first more ideologically well-defined fascist groups in Serbia and Yugoslavia appeared in the first half of 1930’s (not counting the Croatian Ustašas, which are a separate issue). These smaller groups united in 1935, and this is how the Yugoslav National Movement Zbor (Rally) was formed, led by a Serbian lawyer Dimitrije Ljotić.

Zbor was an anti-democratic, anti-communist, anti-Semitic organization that propagated an idea of an integral Yugoslav nation, consisting of three “tribes” of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Macedonians, Montenegrins and Bosniaks – Bosnian Muslims, were then not recognized as separate ethnic groups), organized in a unitary, corporatist and monarchist state, dominated by Serbia.

As is common in fascist practice, Zbor used a lot of the ideas that originated in the socialist movement and transformed them into tools for a nationalist ideology — into something completely opposite of their original purpose. In the 19th century a movement developed around a figure of a young socialist Svetozar Marković (It is interesting that Ljotić’s father was one of the early followers of Marković, and also the first translator of The Communist Manifesto into Serbian). Marković’s ideas were very much anti-nationalist, he spoke of the danger of aspirations of the Serbian ruling class to create a Greater Serbia, and of the need to destroy all of the Balkan states (by the means of a social revolution) that oppress all of the peoples of the Balkans in order to form a Balkan federation (he was open to the idea of this federation being a federation of communes, or states – depending on the will of the people, as he said). Marković and other early Serbian socialists rejected the idea of the necessity of capitalism and wrote about the possibility of a development of a communist society in Serbia without going through the phase of capitalism first. In order for this transition to be successful, in the opinion of early Serbian socialists, traditional Serbian peasant institutions could be used. One of this institutions was Zadruga, a traditional Serbian economic cooperative usually consisting of a larger family unit but also with members who are not related. These cooperatives sometimes formed larger confederated structures. Socialists didn’t idolize these institutions, they just saw them as possible starting points for the creation of a new society. Zbor on the other hand saw Zadrugas as a model how to organize a society and economy in a patriarchal and authoritarian way as the basis for a future “organic” state in which everyone would be organized in their own professional estate (corporation) as an “organic” part of the State, and in which the male head of the family will be in the family what the King would be in the State (“and God in the Heavens”).

Despite being a well organized organization (and very close to some parts of the Orthodox Church), with a violent youth and student groups that often clashed with communist and antifascist students at the Belgrade university, Zbor was never a popular movement and in elections they got around 1% of the votes or less.

Zbor had a competitor in the figure of Milan Stojadinović, who was the Yugoslav prime minister in the 1935–1939 period. Stojadinović was the leader of the old Radical party, and during his rule he tried to move the party to a more fascist direction. He was not so obsessed with ideological details as much as he was with the more superficial imitations of the fascist regimes; for example, he introduced the uniformed section of the party called the Grey Shirts. Ljotić and his followers looked down on Stojadinović as an inferior fascist, just as an imitator, or as a “fascist apprentice”. They considered themselves to be an authentic Yugoslav and Serbian movement. It is interesting to mention that the Radical party was first founded in the 1880’s by the followers of Svetozar Marković (after his death), when they “realized that a more moderate socialist and democratic movement is needed in the backward Serbia”, a movement that would help to organize Serbia into a modern industrial capitalist society. This was a clear cut separation from the previously dominant positions influenced by the Russian Narodniki socialists. Some of the founders of the Radical party gave a clearly Marxist rationale for this turn into a more reformist direction. One of those who remained true to Marković’s ideas was the revolutionary socialist Mita Cenić who became a fierce enemy of the Radical party, prophesying that the party would soon transform from a reformist to a conservative one, and in the end to a reactionary party – which all came true; and as we can see in the 1930’s, the party was even pro-fascist.

In this period, there were also paramilitary nationalist reactionary organizations active in Yugoslavia — mainly the few Chetnik national organizations. Chetniks (or Komitas as they were also called in this early period) were paramilitary fighters organized and armed by the Serbian state and used in the first decade of the 20th century for guerrilla warfare in the parts of the future Yugoslav state that were at that time still parts of Turkey (for example in Macedonia, which Serbian nationalist considered to be a Serbian land). But in this pre-Yugoslav period these units were not used only for this purpose but were also used inside Serbia to fight against the young workers movement, the growing proletariat of Serbia. There were many clashes with workers. One of them was in 1906 when a group of Chetniks led by Kosta Pećanac was almost lynched by a few thousand workers in Belgrade when they stumbled upon them during a worker rally. The Chetniks shot and wounded a couple of workers; the workers were enraged and the gendarmerie was sent out, but the leaders of the Social Democratic Party managed to calm the workers. Still, one revolutionary syndicalist was accused of shooting at the Chetniks and had to flee the country for a certain time. In the period of the Yugoslav Monarchy a couple of national Chetnik organizations existed as legitimate patriotic organizations, and the leader of one of this organizations was Kosta Pećanac.

2. Role of fascist groups in WW2, function of fascist ideas in WW2

When in 1941. Axis forces occupied the country, different parts of Yugoslavia became occupied by different occupation forces (German, Italian, Hungarian, Bulgarian). Some parts of the former state became parts of the Axis states and others of the newly formed puppet states with collaborationist regimes. One of these puppet states was (now greatly reduced in territory) the Serbian state of Nedić’s regime. Milan Nedić, a general in the Yugoslav army, was the supposed head of this German-run state. Almost all other important government positions in this “New Serbia” were held by people that came either from Ljotić’s Zbor or from Stojadinović’s group. Also, some positions (especially connected to propaganda) were filled by members of a small and completely marginal group of ideological national-socialists that was formed a year prior to the occupation.

Official ideology of this state was fascist and centered around the idea of the importance of hard work, law and order, and all of other elements of the ideology of Zbor, which continued to exist as the National Movement Zbor. State propaganda was of course extremely anti-communist, targeting the newly formed Partisan resistance movement (led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia) as the main enemy and cause of all of the troubles.

In the early period of the war another ‘resistance’ movement was formed. This movement was officially called the “Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland”, and was led by another Yugoslav officer Draža Mihailović. This formation, which was much better known under the name ‘Chetniks’, pledged its allegiance to the exiled Yugoslav government in London. In reality, the Chetniks were a resistance movement only for a short period at the beginning of the war, then they opted not to engage the occupiers and began to collaborate more and more with the Axis forces against the Partisan movement, which they now saw as the main enemy. This is why Western allies later abandoned the Chetnik movement and supported the Partisans, who gradually became the largest resistance movement in Europe.

The collaborationist Serbian state had a couple of armed formations that it used mainly in combating the Partisans. One of these formations was the Serbian Volunteer Corps, which was the ideological army of Zbor. It consisted of a couple of thousand fighters, the most motivated anti-communist fighters this puppet state had. Not all of the pre-war Chetnik organizations joined the movement of Draža Mihailović. Kosta Pećanac and his followers became a part of the collaborationist regime, the so-called “legal Chetniks”.

Mihailovic’s Chetniks were a Serbian nationalist organization, aimed at forming a Yugoslav Monarchy dominated by a Greater Serbia (that would include Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Dalmatia, etc.). This ideology and the fact they were losing the war made them closer and closer to the Serbian puppet regime. By the end of the war parts of the regime were completely incorporated into the Chetniks (including the armed units of Ljotić’s followers) in a desperate attempt to appear legitimate in the eyes of the allies.

But approaching the end of the war all of these groups (and many other collaborationist groups from other parts of the country) came together in a desperate attempt to save their lives. Many of them did not succeed, but some did, escaping to the West, where they formed new communities.

Ljotić died in a car accident at the end of the war while the collaborationist forces were trying to regroup in Slovenia. His brother was appointed the new head of Zbor, and leaded the exiled Zbor community in Munich. In 1974. he was strangled in his bathtub with a neck tie by an agent of UDBA (the Yugoslav secret police). At this point the organization moved to Birmingham (UK), where they remain, led by “the president of Zbor”, Nikola Ljotić, the son of Dimitrije.

Also, an important center for the Zbor emigration was the Serbian monastery of Hilandar in Mounth Atos, where five of the senior monks were former fighters of Ljotić’s Serbian Volunteer Corps.

3. Re-emergence during the wars in ex Yugoslavia, forms and reasons for the reappearance of fascism post 1989 / today’s scene / street fascism / role in the state apparatus

In the Titoist era there was no open propagation of fascist ideas, but there was a marginal social circle of very young people, formed very early on in the early 50s that was anti-communist and reactionary in its character, but in a covert and ‘apolitical’ way. These youth were mostly sons and daughters of the pre-war Belgrade bourgeois who despised “the communist peasants who came down from the mountains to their city”. This circle was not political in any active and serious way and their activities consisted mainly of partying in Belgrade flats, but some of them studied texts of the anti-communists they could find (for example, the texts of Ernst Junger that they found within the works of his Marxist critics). A well known artist group, Mediala, was formed in 1953 from people of these circles. In the eighties, many members of this group became openly nationalist, anti-communist, monarchist and fascist. In this circle, Dragoš Kalajić formed his views, himself also a painter, who in the 1990s became the leader of the intellectual fascist circle known as the Serbian New Right. In the 1960s he went to study art in Rome where he moved in neo-fascist circles and personally met Julius Evola, the ‘neo-fascist Marcuse’.

At the end of the 1980s, Slobodan Milošević, leader of the League of Communists of Serbia (the Communist Party of Serbia, which in 1990 with the reintroduction of the multi-party system became the Socialist Party of Serbia — SPS) started using Serbian nationalism as a way of getting more power, presumably with the goal of getting power in the whole of Yugoslavia and becoming a new Tito. Despite not being a Serbian nationalist personally and officially staying pro-Yugoslav, his politics legitimized nationalism and the beginning of the nineties saw the rise of openly nationalist and extreme right organizations.

One of these organizations was the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), named after the old Radical party that existed before WW2. This party was founded in 1991 with the merger of the Serbian Chetnik Movement of Vojislav Šešelj and the group of Tomislav Nikolić. They were numbers one and two of the party from the start until 2008, with Aleksandar Vučić being number three. SRS presented itself as a Serbian chauvinist group that aimed at creating a Greater Serbia from territories it considered to be historically Serbian and ethnically cleansing all of the parts of Yugoslavia of the non-Serbian populations. Unlike Milošević, SRS supported a historically revisionist view in which the Chetniks were the real heroes of WW2. Although there were many rhetorical clashes between SRS and Milošević, it was well known that Milošević considered SRS to be his “favorite opposition party”; SRS backed the Milošević regime in every critical moment, even becoming a part of the ruling coalition towards the end of his rule. SRS had it’s own paramilitary troops that fought in the Yugoslav wars and counted Le Pen’s National Front amongst its political allies. At the end of the nineties, Le Pen even spoke at a SRS rally in Belgrade — despite the fact that National Front sent volunteers to fight on the Croatian side in the war a few years earlier. SRS was never part of the opposition coalitions (the rest of the opposition that toppled Milošević was also predominantly nationalist but, unlike SRS, it was also pro-western), and never held large anti-Milošević rallies. It was rumored that SRS was in fact founded by the Serbian section of UDBA.

In the early nineties an unofficial intellectual group known as the Serbian New Right was founded. The intellectual leader of this group was Dragoš Kalajić, and its aim was introducing the thought of neo-fascist currents, such as the French Nouvelle Droite of Alain de Benoist, and the Russian neo-Eurasianist movement of Alexander Dugin. Also a major influence on this group were the thinkers of the so called “conservative revolution” like Ernst Junger and Julius Evola. In fact, fascists who had ideas a little bit different from the official fascist ideas dominant in the era of fascism in Germany and Italy were now presented as non-conformists because of this. Although one of the more important members of this group, Dragoslav Bokan (a film director by education), was the leader of one of the paramilitary units that fought in the war, the White Eagles (also the name of the youth organization of Zbor), the activities of members of this current were mostly in the realm of ideology, writing, translating, and publishing books and magazines which continued after 2000. with new magazines and the publishing house Ukronija. The influence of this group and the authors that they introduced were important; they had influence in all structures of new Serbian fascism from neo-nazi thugs in the street to the SRS. One of the especially important influences was the Russian neo-fascist Alexander Dugin who became a part of the Russian mainstream since Putin came to power.

The first groups of Nazi skinheads appeared in the nineties. In 1995, the Serbian Blood and Honor Division was founded; this group still exists and is well respected in the international neo-Nazi movement. In the nineties these thugs were known for their violence against Roma people. In 1997, they beat a thirteen year old Roma boy, Duško Jovanović, to death. Since 2000, new neo-Nazi groups have appeared, some of them trying to be more mainstream. One neo-Nazi who has achieved prominence is Goran Davidović; he tried to organize a mainstream political group but in the end went to live in Italy due to some legal problems connected to violence. After 2000, the neo-Nazi group Nacionalni stroj tried to organize a couple of rallies, but antifascist gatherings were held instead.

At the end of the nineties a group called Obraz appeared led by Nebojša Krstić from the Serbian New Right circles. This group still exists but is much smaller in numbers then before. Krstić styled himself as the new Ljotić, taking pictures in similar poses and in 2001, died in the same way Ljotić did — in a car crash (you have to admire his commitment to the role). The ideology of the group was also very much influenced by Zbor. This group has connections with similar groups in Europe, especially in Russia. Obraz is one of the main organizers of violence against the Pride Parades in Belgrade and managed to ideologically influence the football hooligans. Football hooligans are generally nationalist in orientation since the early nineties and are the main striking force of nationalism in Serbia: many of the hooligans from the early nineties fought in the Yugoslav wars and, since 2000, have been responsible for the most violent nationalist demonstrations. Obraz and the neo-Nazis are the only groups officially defined as fascist by the state. In the nationalist scene there were frequent rumors that Obraz was founded by KOS (millitary counter-inteligence) in the last years of Milošević’s regime as a kind of fascist counterbalance to the anti-Milošević, pro western youth movement, Otpor.

Other groups similar to Obraz have been founded since 2000 such as Naši and 1389. One of these groups founded by followers of Ljotić, Dveri, initially very similar to Obraz and very close to the Orthodox Church, recently tried to style itself as a moderate conservative party and run in elections. They got around 4% of the votes, which was not enough for them to enter parliament – though it seems that they have since lost a lot of support. One of the qualities that makes them “moderate” in their own eyes is the fact that, for example, they ‘officially’ do not support violence against the Pride parade but rather organize their own parallel “Family parade”.

A more recent group is Srbska akcija (Serbian Action). The ideology and appearance of the group is something in between groups like Zbor and Obraz on one side, and more openly neo-Nazi groups on the other — a kind of Orthodox National-Socialism. This group is now forging ties with the Greek Golden Dawn and recently visited one of their leaders in Salonika.

After 2000, SRS became the strongest political party in Serbia. In every election they got the most votes though they never participated in government since most of the other parties aligned against them. Their leader, Šešelj, voluntarily went to the Hague in 2003 to be tried for war crimes (the trial is now close to its conclusion), and Nikolić and Vučić became the main leaders of the party; they led the party in the 2008 elections. During their very-nationalist, anti-western campaign, Alexander Dugin visited Serbia and met with Nikolić. In an interview he gave to the Geopolitika magazine (founded by Serbian New Right people), Dugin said he hopes that, after this election, patriotic forces will once again be in power in Serbia and that Serbia will fulfill its historical destiny and start a new world war in which Russia will once again emerge as a super-power. These were the first elections from which the SRS did not emerge as the party with the most votes. This resulted in Nikolić and Vučić leaving the party and founding the Serbian Progressive Party, which presents it self as a modern pro European party (for example Nikolić said he will join the Pride parade in 2013). Despite these pretensions, it is important to mention that since Nikolić reinvented himself as a “moderate” he also signed a cooperation agreement with the leader of the Austrian fascist FPO party. After the 2012 elections this party emerged as the strongest party in Serbia: Nikolić is now the president of Serbia and Vučić is the minister of defense and the vice-president of government (with an assignment to overlook the security and intelligence agencies). They are in a coalition with SPS (party founded by Milošević), which is now also “reformed” and pro-European; the leader of SPS, Dačić, is now the prime-minister and the minister of interior.

In this same 2012 elections, SRS did not manage to get enough votes to enter parliament, nor did the other ‘extreme right-wing’ party Dveri.

The extra-parliamentary fascists Obraz, 1389, Naši, parts of SRS, and others supported by neo-nazi groups founded a new coalition to specifically fight against government negotiations with Kosovo. In the recent demonstration in Belgrade they managed to gather only 1500 people, much less then in previous years and even less than they managed to gather during the only Pride Parade when there were around 5000 nationalists — mostly football hooligans.

In the 1990s, the general dominant ideology propagated by the Milošević regime was one of unity of the “patriotic forces” against the West and western agents inside Serbia (the pro-European opposition). These patriotic forces consisted of the left-populist and nationalist SPS (nominally anti-Chetnik) and the extreme-right wing and historically revisionist pro-Chetnik SRS (nominally anti-Communist). It had its mirror image in the Russian anti-Yeltsin opposition of that time that united the re-Stalinized Communist party together with extreme nationalists and neo-fascists. One of them, Alexander Dugin, even wrote a part of the official program of the Communist party.

But the anti-Milošević opposition was also largely nationalist and pro-Chetnik (which they presented as a pro-democratic, anti-totalitarian movement) as well as significantly more neoliberal then Milošević. If you define the 1990s as a period in which nationalism and other conservative and reactionary ideologies were normalized as well as when the transition from old state capitalism to neoliberal capitalism began, then you can conclude that the values and characteristics of the nineties were sharply reinforced in 2000. Milošević started this whole process with the Yugoslav wars, but he was himself a product of the old state capitalist regime and of the Communist party. During his administration, the state was still called Yugoslavia, the old Yuoslav anthem was used, the church had an important role but was very much subordinated to the state, and children in history classes still learned that the chetniks in World War II were traitors. While the process of privatization started then, it did so at a relatively slow pace and many institutions of the state-capitalist regime lingered on – this is what made Milošević popular among the working class. But, after 2000, when the former anti-Milošević opposition became the new government, a full blown economic attack and destruction began followed by a further and intensified normalization of conservative values, the role of the church, and historical revisionism as official state policy along with legal rehabilitation of the Chetniks and their allies. We could say that Milošević’s regime and that of his opposition were just two phases in the same process.

Appendix I — Antifascism

Currently in Serbia there are several Antifa groups whose members are leftists or anarchists. The only group that (as group) has maintained a consistent level of militancy in confronting the problem of fascism is the Antifascist Action of Novi Sad (AFANS). This group has also organized an annual antifascist concert for over a decade now. Probably the most active group now, especially in the field of propaganda, is the Antifascist Action of Niš (AFANi). In Zrenjanin there is an Antifascist Festival (ZAF), organized annually since 2008. In Belgrade there were more groups that were active in the recent years: (the shortlived) Belgrade Antifascist Initiative (BAFI), Antifa in Action, Antifa BGD, etc. The activities of these groups include direct actions, propaganda, organizing antifa demos against nazi gatherings, etc. There are also antifascist activities in other cities, like Sombor or Kraljevo (Antifa Sombor, Antifa Kraljevo). There were three bigger antifa demos in Serbia, one in Novi Sad (2007) and two in Belgrade (2008 and 2009), whose participants ranged from 200 to 2000 people (the biggest in Novi Sad). But at least in two out of three cases Antifa groups joined forces with liberal groups in organizing these events, especially in Novi Sad. All of these demos were organized to protest the announced neo-Nazi gatherings, but there were other demos and direct actions that were not specifically defined as Antifa while being clearly related to it, like demos in solidarity with Roma people whose settlements were attacked by Belgrade city authorities, actions of solidarity with the LGBT community, or demos against court rehabilitation of Chetniks (all in Belgrade).

One could probably trace the beginning of the current antifa organizing in Serbia to the protest that happened immediately after the murder of the Roma boy Duško Jovanović in 1997 in Belgrade. The only organized group that joined the resultant protest along with a few thousands of members of the Roma community were a couple dozen Belgrade punks. This surprised the gathered Roma protestors, who then started to chant: “punks, punks, punks!”

One of the bigger problems of antifa organizing is the disparity in numbers and social characteristics between nazis and antifascists, especially in Belgrade. In Belgrade there are a couple thousand violent football hooligans, most of them nationalist and some connected directly to nazi groups and others to organized crime — many even carry guns and have some experience in the war. On the other side you have leftists and anarchists who are much, much smaller in numbers, and are often students of Belgrade University with very little infrastructure that can be used in a generally nationalistic society.

Appendix II — On the authoritarian political culture in Serbia

After the WW2, the representatives of fascism and the right-wing in general in Yugoslavia were either exiled or dead. The economic introduced was a state-capitalist system run by the Communist party. This system provided a better situation for the working class relative to the previous one; the status of women rapidly improved and society in general was relatively optimistic about the gradual improvement of their lives.

The services that the State provided were not only social in character (health care, welfare, pensions etc) but also cultural. For example, many cultural and youth centers were build across the country. When Yugoslavia broke its ties with the Eastern Block, a culturally more liberal policy was introduced. Very early on there was a tolerance and even encouragement of the western style culture, jazz, rock, film, etc., but even for this the frame was provided by the State and its institutions. The bands used to practice in government cultural buildings and their records were published by government owned publishing houses.

The only workers union was a part of the state bureaucracy and was in no way an autonomous organization. Starting from the fifties there were many isolated workers strikes. The state repression against these strikes and the workers that organized them was relatively tame since, for the regime that supposedly introduced “workers self-management”, it was seen as an embarrassment to have a striking working class. So the tactic was to end these strikes quickly by at least partially meeting the demands of the workers, demands usually connected to wages or working conditions. The official union in these situations was usually completely paralyzed, neither supporting the workers, nor being against them; strikes were officially neither legal nor illegal.

There were political dissidents that came from the left. The first group like this was the Marxist-humanist group Praxis, founded in the fifties. This group organized annual philosophical gatherings using the infrastructure provided by the State. Members of this group became a bigger nuisance for the government in 68’ when they began to side with the student protests in Belgrade which demanded more equality in the society. Six members of Praxis, professors of the Philosophical faculty, were sacked from their job in 1975, but an institute was soon founded by the State which immediately rehired them. The student protest came to an end when the State successfully isolated the more radical elements and allied themselves with the more moderate ones, concluding with Comrade Tito dancing with the students in the street.

In the eighties there were more political activities and more attempts of organizing and connecting struggles across the country, there were attempts to organize new unions on the Yugoslav level, but repression got stronger as well. Some of the more radical elements from the sixties (mostly Trotskyist) suffered state repression and in 1984, four years after Titos death, six of them were arrested (this was the first Belgrade six) and charged with counter revolutionary activities.

So, during the entire state-capitalist period in Yugoslavia there was almost no autonomous self-organizing. When I say this I do not mean only radical political initiatives, but not even “normal” union activities or cultural/countercultural organizing existed that were not somehow absorbed by the state. If something more autonomous, especially of political character, appeared, everyone was quickly reminded that this was a Bolshevik regime after all and State repression followed.

Then in the end of the eighties the state-capitalist regimes started to crumble, and parts of the ruling bureaucratic class in Yugoslavia started to see nationalism as a new card to play. Old ideology was dying, but nationalism could provide a new style of populism to help them stay in power. Milošević successfully combined this strategy with leftist populist politics — “the fight against the fake bureaucratic communists, and the return to real socialist values” — and managed in this way to incorporate a lot of dissatisfaction that the new workers movement was trying to channel.

The population was trained to trust the government and Milošević quickly became popular. Although very early on there was dissent and protests against his rule, most of his opposition was also very nationalist and authoritarian. Most of the population now had iconic leaders who they followed, some followed Milošević, and others one of the opposition leaders. Many of the members of Praxis (for example) also became nationalist. One of them wrote a program for Milošević’s party, still others were founders of the pro-capitalist opposition Democratic Party. Some of the left-dissidents of the past stayed faithful to anti-nationalist policies, but most of them became liberals or social-democrats.

There was a lot of organized dissent against Milošević in the nineties, sometimes with huge demos organized daily across the country. But dissent was usually organized by very hierarchical and nationalist parties who had their own cults of leaders and who often blamed Milošević, not for starting the wars, but for losing them.

When this opposition came to power in 2000, further economic destruction followed resulting in growing cynicism and hopelessness in the population. Part of the population followed Milošević who started and lost the wars while another part followed the opposition that ushered in the economic destruction of 2000. Many hopes were shattered and the shift to neo-liberal capitalism came, but there was no culture of self-organizing among the working-class people to fight it. The unions are almost exactly the same as they were in the Titoist state-capitalist era.

Milošević was perceived by many to be a continuation of the ‘Communist regime’, this is why so many of the opposition youth became right-wing and reactionary.