(Original text: Published in January 5, 2016)
is usually a general tendency to overrate Yugoslav experience in left wing
politics. For most, Yugoslavia and Tito are the smiling, humanistic face of
socialism and the post-Yugoslav tragedy is just an outcome of nationalism
provoked and supported by imperialism.
doubt that nationalist separatism received support from imperialism and the
political impact of West, especially Germany, on the bloody process of breakup
of Yugoslavia cannot be ignored. On the other side, it would be a bit naive not
to foresee that the constitutional reform in 1973 in Yugoslavia which
transformed the Yugoslav federation into confederation would end up with the
breakup of Yugoslavia. Especially, at the time when USSR was collapsed and
imperialism did not any more need the smiling face socialism.
the fact that almost a quarter century has passed since the breakup of
Yugoslavia, the memories of good old times are still alive for some. Almost in
all of ex-Yugoslav countries, a café fancied with materials about Yugoslavia or
a monument is evitable cherishing the memories Yugoslavia. Even sometimes some
new ones opened. For example in Bosnia, Tito Café located at the ground floor
of the Sarajevo History Museum is a popular place with canons and armories from
the World War II located at its garden where Tito’s birthday is celebrated
every year with fireworks. A few more Ex-YU cafés do also exist. One of the
main streets in Sarajevo city center is still “Marshall Tito Alley” and a Tito
monument in the campus of Sarajevo University still stands. Ex-YU is the
abbreviation for ex-Yugoslavia and is widely used in popular culture. Not only
in Sarajevo, but also in Serbia, Montenegro or any other ex-Yugoslav countries
ex-YU ornaments or places can be found. Even in Slovenia which was the first to
claim independence from Yugoslavia.
nostalgia for Yugoslavia, or as we shortly call; Yugonostalgia, is prevalent in
all over ex-Yugoslavia. Differing from “Ostalgie” (nostalgia for German
Democratic Republic), or nostalgia for USSR (which is widely exploited by
Putin), Yugonostalgia is not alive only in the hearts of ex-partisans or the
elders who lived during the most prosperous times of Yugoslavia, but also in
the hearts of youngsters who even were not existing in Yugoslavia.
just imagine a country that leaders from 122 countries were in the funeral of
your leader including kings, presidents… It is clear that neither in Serbia,
nor in Croatia, nor in Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, nor in Macedonia, a
similar funeral will never happen again. Just imagine: You were a citizen of a
country of 22 million population, not only respectably recognized in Europe,
but also worldwide, your leader is main figure of non-Aligned Movement and has
a top prestigious position respected in both camps of the world during the Cold
War. You have a respected army, a serious economy and then suddenly: Puffff!
You are a citizen of a country where people even do not know if your country is
separated from Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia, or you are citizen of a country
which is recognized only with the national football team with funny looking
jerseys. Those two are the so called better off countries of ex-Yugoslavia who
are both members of EU. Or you are a citizen Bosnia and Herzegovina, a monument
of instability or a citizen of Macedonia even whose official name is not
recognized in UN. Or a citizen of a country like Serbia which is shrinking
through decades. Or a citizen of mafia-state like Kosovo or a citizen of Montenegro
which resembles like a fictitious state. Would not you miss Yugoslavia?
the tendency of Yugonostalgia, class movement and left wing parties are very
weak in ex-Yugoslavia. Yugonostalgia obviously does not have any political
implication in daily politics, which relies mostly on the anachronic character
of Yugonostalgia. The main reason behind the anachronistic character of
Yugonostalgia is the exemption of any kind of criticism of Tito and the
practice of self-management. More than a political will, Yugonostalgia is a
reflection of memories from relatively prosperous good-old days thanks to the financial
credits donated by Western countries as a gift to a “socialist” country for her
role in Cold War opposing USSR.
political atmosphere, it has to be noted that Yugonostalgia, as an outcome of
popular culture does not have any political implication. On the contrary, it
has negative effect on class struggle and socialist politics in ex-Yugoslavia by
blocking any political free of Titoism or Yugonostalgia.
There is usually a general tendency to overrate Yugoslav experience in left wing politics. For most, Yugoslavia and Tito are the smiling, humanistic face of socialism and the post-Yugoslav tragedy is just an outcome of nationalism provoked and supported by imperialism.