Apropos of the pending burial of Lenin’s body, I was thinking “I wonder whatever happened to the blog “Lenin’s Tomb“? That was a cool blog.” So I looked him up.

Woah! Here he is talking about the Serbian reaction to Kosovo’s declaration of independence, including the Serb’s burning of the boarded-up US embassy. Just imagine if your daily international news was this good and this frank:

Inevitably, the old cliches will be drawn upon. The reaction will be put down to simple-minded nationalism, ethnic hatreds, ancient prejudices etc, augmented by an obstinate Serbian administration stirring things up. There’s no manipulative demagogue around to help the fantasy this time, since he’s kicked the bucket. Further, the pro-Western candidate, Boris Tadic, won the recent elections. Nevertheless, there are ominous murmurings about the Serb regime trying to make it difficult. These myths are entirely unhelpful to understanding what’s happening, but they have been cultivated for almost two decades now.

The break-up of Yugoslavia, for all that it involved the instrumentalisation of nationalism, was not fundamentally about that. It was about changes in property forms, a neoliberalisation enforced by the IMF with predictably catastrophic results. Producing waves of strikes and protests, it also led to intense competition among the players in the federation about the political forms in which the changes would take place, who would benefit, and how. The two northernmost republics, Croatia and Slovenia, were also the wealthiest and had reason to resent paying taxes toward the federation, while their political elites were straining at the leash. They took up democratic demands in order to win popular support, but also encouraged reactionary brands of nationalism, especially in Croatia, where Tudjman gave vent to pro-Nazi and anti-semitic politics, not to mention virulent anti-Serb sentiment which would be formalised in state repression and exclusion. Though one cause of resentment was the redistribution of their wealth to the poorest autonomous region, Kosovo, they nonetheless opportunistically backed Kosovan protesters if it would weaken the Serbian republic. It had nothing to do with the legitimate grievances of Kosovan Albanians.

Just go read the whole thing, especially if you’re an American and think you remember how the Bosnian (etc.) war/s looked on your Tee Vee.

I admit, I didn’t pay much attention until the 1996 – 97 student uprisings in Belgrade, when Kosovo’s independence was looking like a possibility and the Russians were pissed. It was the first time I realized that the media narrative in the US wasn’t just wrong, it was deliberately wrong AND part of a government effort. But Lenin is writing about events prior to that, setting up the recent Kosovar declaration of independence and the conflict I just mentioned very nicely.

Seriously, read the whole thing and feel your mind bounce around as your memories carom off of Lenin’s analysis. Then, go read his commenters, beginning with the veteran of the very wars under consideration.

Just another day in the blogsphere.

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p.s.:  can you imagine what the media narrative in the US would be if the president was a Democrat right now?

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