Bosnia And Herzegovina: “Against The Economic Model That Favors The Rich”

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Bosnia and Herzegovina is comprised of two main entities – a joint Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. The Brčko district is part of both the Federation and Republika Srpska. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is further divided into ten cantons (or županija). Source

While groups of rebel workers and residents in Bosnia and Herzegovina are pushing forward and making some of the most revolutionary demands seen in Eastern Europe in more than half a century, a counter-revolution is underway. Led by the panicking elites, a media campaign to undermine the rise of working people and the underclass in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has been launched.

Mainstream media have not only resorted to a sinister criminalization campaign against these Bosnian protestors, but also have begun a military-type counter-intelligence propaganda program, spreading lies about them in retaliation for their attacks on the roots of the economic, social, and political system.

Revolution News will be sending a correspondent to live stream events, with interviews and event coverage.

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In an attempt to intimidate protestors, EU representatives have made threats to send in troops. “Let them come,” commented some people on the internet. “We are not their colony any more.”

More cantonal government officials resigned in Bosnia, including some police bosses, and the revolutionary demands spread from Tuzla all over BiH. In Sarajevo and Livno, protesters evacuated the presidency buildings shouting: “Thieves! Thieves!”

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Sarajevo: “You have been robbing us for 20 years. Enough!”

While politicians and other “experts” insist on the ethnic divide between people, and even try to threaten them with it, rebel workers and protesters have proven that this uprising has nothing to do with ethnicity. On the contrary, it exists in order to address the economic and social condition of the underclass of BiH. This, in fact, shows how powerless these ruling elites really are when they are mobilized against.

In an interview, Aldin Shiranovic, protest organizer in ‪#‎Tuzla ‬– who was arrested and beaten by police – explains how the first non violent protest become violent: “The first day at the protest in front of the gov building there were 2,500 people and all were calm. Nobody threw rocks. We came there with our requests in order to give them to a liaison to pass them to the Prime Minister, but we got no answer. Then, govt officials came out and started to give their conditions to us. People took it as demeaning, and began to collect rocks, and at some point a rain of eggs flew to the government of Tuzla. THOSE GROUPS WERE INFILTRATED, probably from political parties. When the police commissioner went out and said “beat the shit out of all them in the streets” police special forces attacked people, and among us were women, children and invalids. Revolted people fought back and began to attack the police with bricks and rods….”

In Tuzla, rebel workers issued a list of demands which include the prosecution of economic crimes, the restoration of workers rights, and the equalizing of the pay of government representatives with the pay of workers in the public and private sector (This is the first time such a demand is heard in Eastern Europe, since the transition from state capitalism to private capitalism).

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     Solidarity demo with BiH in Belgrade: “Welcome to antifascist Tuzla.”

Workers in Tuzla also want to halt the privatization of four factories, which their new owners pushed towards collapse, leaving thousands without a way to make a living. But not only that: they also demand the return of the factories to the workers.

In Tuzla people gathered in public assemblies, and agreed on their demands. More, they pledge: “All power to the assemblies!

In Sarajevo, rebel workers and residents evacuated the presidency building, shouting: “Thieves! Thieves!” The same happened in Livno.

In Sarajevo, people issued a proclamation, called “Against the economic model that favors the rich.

It was read at a protest in Sarajevo, in solidarity with the rebellion all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. It says:

“We speak exclusively on behalf of all of us who have human dignity and whose physical existence has been threatened or destroyed by transition’s robbery, corruption, nepotism, privatization of public goods, and by the economic model that favors the rich, as well as the financial arrangements that killed the very hope of a society for social justice and prosperity. We fight exclusively for the order based on social justice.” These words were heard on the streets of Sarajevo.

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Solidarity demo with Bosnia in Belgrade.

The proclamation also says: “These requirements are only the beginning. In light of our long-term goal, a society based on social justice, will require radical changes that also can not and should not wait long.This list of requirements will inevitably grow. First we need to clear up the mess left behind by the government, then we will go further and make order in our education, health, environmental protection, agriculture, industry and all other spheres of social life.”

When the rebellion erupted in Tuzla – one of the few fortresses of the working class in Europe – and spread to Sarajevo, Zenica, Mostar, Bihac, Banja Luka, other Bosnian cities, and Herzegovina; the ruling establishment and their mainstream media friends were in panic, shock and denial. It did not take them long to regroup, and enlist help from all counter-revolutionary forces from the region and from the EU.

As demonstrators and rebel workers created the proper conditions to be able to organize public assemblies and make their voices heard, a military-style counter-intelligence propaganda campaign has been unleashed upon them by the mouthpieces of the ruling elites – the mainstream media.

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After the riot police attacked a worker demonstration in Tuzla, to which angry people responded by burning down government buildings, mainstream media started to run fabricated lies and fake news about demonstrators. First they accused workers in Tuzla of massive looting – which never happened.

Then they said that “the vandals” and “drunk and drugged hooligans” – meaning rebel workers and protesters – destroyed “archives containing invaluable material,” which “survived all wars.” They compared them to Nazi burning the Reichstag (really, media people should open some history books). All these are lies: indeed government buildings were set on fire, but 99.9% of the archives survived.

Of course, mainstream media have not reported this, while instead they insist that the rebel workers and demonstrators were “robbers and bandits.”

All this verbal violence employed by mainstream media and politicians against workers and protesters was meant to discredit the rebels, to weaken public support for them, and to legitimize police brutality against them.

In Tuzla and Sarajevo, some of the protesters captured by the police were released following mass demonstrations.

All of them – mostly teenagers – said that special police beat them brutally when they were under arrest.

The intensity of the mainstream media propaganda went further, claiming the rebellion is some sort of “ethnic political conflict” – insisting it would be rooted in the ethnic division among the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As much as they would love for the world to believe it, it is not true. “These are provocations,” protesters say, but the only way they can defend against the mainstream media lies is to make their own media. So they turned the walls in the cities into newspapers and they fill them with their demands and messages to show that ethnicity has nothing to do with their rebellion.

After a very long time, the ruling class in the region is really scared and their paranoia is huge.”  Elites have started playing the nationalist card to divide people. They call the rebellion “Bosniak,” referred to people by their ethnicity, and they lie, claiming that “the Serbian Republic” says that they’re “proud of the residents who did not come out to the streets.” They will not air the proclamation read on the streets of Sarajevo, of course, and will not mention that in Belgrade, there were solidarity demonstrations with all the rebels in Bosnia and Herzegovina, irrespective their ethnicity. Under the surveillance of a huge police force, demonstrators in Belgrade carried banners which read: “One love for the working people of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” “Welcome to the antifascist Tuzla“, “Brave Bosnia, we stand by you!” Demonstrators in Belgrade issued a statement to show solidarity with the rebellion in BiH, which reads: “Their (working class of BiH) spontaneity, and focus on the social and economic problems and, at the same time, a clear tendency to distance themselves from ethnic and religious conflicts, as well as all existing political parties, for the first time, provide space for young and mostly unemployed people to take active participation in political life.”

“This rebellion has nothing to do with ethnicity or nationalityit is about class.”

jmbg-prosvjedi-u-bih-prerastaju-u-anti-vladine-demonstracije-tisuce-pred-zgradom-parlamenta-u-sarajevu_2503_2412_eOne sign that the Bosnian rise is not fabricated – like all the other capitalist “revolutions” have been in Eastern Europe – is that CANVAS, the capitalist Xanax for radical change, and a darling of the private intelligence Strafor from the United States, have not set foot in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, they have expressed interest in spreading their capitalist “non violent revolution” to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will only favor the ruling classes – while planning maintain their oppressive economic system – and will lead to the demonization and stigmatization of the rebels. “It is especially important to establish a non-violent discipline,” CANVAS’ Srdja Popovic, one of the founder of OTPOR in Serbia, told Germany’s Deutsche Welle. Of course it is for him: it will help the capitalist ruling classes and the state criminalize protestors and destabilize revolutionary movements. While police will break their bones and skulls, CANVAS would make sure they are viewed as “violent” and “criminal.”

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A man shows his pension is      30 euro a month.

However, while insisting on “peaceful protests” – only to stigmatize rebel workers and young demonstrators and call them “drugged scoundrels” – capitalist counter-revolutionary propaganda is employed in a more subtle way by other media in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are media outlets which claim they support the rebellion – insisting people revolted against corruption, which is true, and lying that “more capitalism and a more efficient capitalism” will solve the problems of the working class people. Utter ignorance, if not plain stupidity: capitalism is an economic arrangement which allows a tiny minority to exploit the work of the subjugated vast majority. But it’s not surprising since lots of “experts” – though they admit the rebellion has erased the ethnic division among demonstrators – claim it has been caused by “inefficient privatizations.” Privatizations only change the masters of the working people: from the state – under state capitalism experienced by Eastern Europe until 24 years ago – to the private “investors” which are not that different. Besides, the aim of privatization was not the change of the economic arrangements, but the extermination of trade unions, and their replacement with NGOs, the so-called “civil society.” It’s not quite so civil, as can be read here.

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Factory in Zenica.

Other propaganda involves the European Union lying and saying that the rebellion in BiH had to do with the lack of a “European perspective,” as Croatia’s prime-minister, Zoran Milanovic, said in a visit to Mostar, to ask “Croats” in Bosnia to stay away from the streets, and to try to convince them that European criteria will make their lives better. “Will people swallow one and the same lie, so that they destroy the past, present and future – or will they perhaps realize that we are all in one and the same quagmire, and we all have to confront the same oppressors? Will people understand that we are in a situation where ethnicity, religion and other divisions not play absolutely no role?”

People protect themselves against the ruling elites by moving forward with direct democracy – they already started to gather in public assemblies – which will break down and counteract the bourgeois “democracy” of the ruling class.

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People of Bosnia and Herzegovina must be aware of what lies ahead them. If their propaganda will not work, or if nationalistic divide fails, the European Union will not hesitate to employ force to crush the Bosnian rise. EU’s High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, threatened them already: he said he is thinking about bringing troops from the European Union if the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina “deteriorates” – meaning if they can’t get protesters under their control. Discussions will continue today: “Austria will increase the number of troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If the situation escalates, possibly, I am thinking about the EU troops, but not now,” said Inzko.

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Sarajevo: “Stop nationalism!”

If EU sends in troops, it will be to crush the revolution. Capitalist “democracies” thrive when people are quiet, work hard, and endure exploitation. These silent yet oppressed people are considered to be the only good citizens, who are allowed to vote for new masters once every few years. When they rise against their position as working slaves, and against injustice, they become enemies of the state that need to be crushed. Clearly, It is not them that need to be crushed (although we can safely say the lives of Bosnians have been for decades already), it is the elite mentality. It is the elites that need to be done away with, all these cynical  politicians, who have no remorse, and for whom the suffering witnessed by BiH is just another political tool to be used against working people. It is for them that the walls in Bosnia speak up: “Stop Nationalism. Stop dividing people.” These messages are not a cry for the working people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to denounce nationalism; they know better. It is a call to every decent person to crush it.

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Jennifer Baker is the founder and editor of Revolution News - Contact us with inquiries, tips, corrections at - revnewsmedia@gmail.com