The Balkans and Global Capitalism - for

The Balkans and Global Capitalism

The peoples of the Balkans have a long tradition of communal life in villages and in towns. People with different languages, religions or cultures have been able to live together peacefully in communities for thousands of years. These communities of a middle size (a few hundred persons) have been using communal land and sharing its produce on an egalitarian basis. There were no national or other borders, travelling was easy and hospitality generous. The inner organisation of these communities used to be non-hierarchical, non-patriarchal, non-monotheistic, with no private ownership of land or other resources. This latent Danubian civilisation has been a permanent provocation to feudal patriarchs, nation-builders, capitalists, political cliques and mafias of all kinds. Only this threat can explain the outburst of violence in recent times.

a map of this area from: Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade, 248

Between ca. 7000 and 3500 B.C. a multiethnic civilisation developed in an area between the Dnieper, Crete, Sicily and the Alps. Agriculture as well as crafts like pottery guaranteed a rich way of life. Excavations at Vinca (near Belgrade), Butmir, Petresti, Cucuteni or Knossos revealed large urban settlements without fortifications - proofs of a peaceful civilisation.

It is exactly because of the relative liveliness of these communal traditions, that the Balkans are now the last battle-field of Europe. These traditions must be smashed and replaced by the laws of private ownership, the establishment of the ever-egoistic homo economicus of global capitalism. The Balkans are an area of backwardness from the perspective of neoliberal system that permeates all sectors of life. This is happening at the time in history, when the so-called western civilisation is in a deep crisis. While the disappointed youths in the banlieues and suburbs of the western metropolis, the peasants in Mexico, Brazil and India, the workers in maquilas and underground factories are rebelling against an unbearable system, the attention should be diverted to teaching the barbarians on the Balkans a lesson in western democracy and modern economy.

Whereas in the West more and more people are looking for new forms of self-sufficiency, communal organisation in cities, new ways of life beyond capitalism, a certain type of "modernism" is still presented as a perspective to the peoples of the Balkans. Ethnic origins, religions, historic incidents, are used to divide and to weaken the people to make them ready to accept the capitalist gospel.

But the real alternative lies elsewhere, not just on the Balkans but everywhere on the planet.

Neither the Roman nor the Byzantine nor the Turkish empires were expressions of the original matriarchal cultures of the Balkans. The battles among patriarchal systems were never battles in the interest of the majority of the people, particularly the women who had to bear the consequences. Ethnic pseudo-identities were created to divert from the real questions of life: food, children, fun. Monotheistic religions of all kinds were adopted to justify the oppression of women, of free thought, of cultural diversity. The state-capitalist metamorphosis of this patriarchal domination, sometimes called socialism or communism, was never able to decieve all those who still knew about the real alternatives. Global capitalism is offering no solutions, but just more divisions, more sufferings.

The history of the Balkans is in no way different from that of all other peoples on the planet. The Balkans have just been chosen to test the new world order, to force people to choose between equally evil alternatives. Compared to Milosevic, the EU might seem the lesser evil, but it also means acceptance of capitalist exploitation, of deteriorating levels of working conditions, of complete domination of everyday life by the global companies. Europe means misery for most people, even at nominally higher monetary income levels. The euro and the dollar cannot save us. Some people on the Balkans might entertain the illusion that it could be possible to defend some access to the land, to one's own house, to certain cultural standards while joining the global economy. But the old ways are finished. The Balkan wars are patriarchy's last stand. The patriarchs cannot defend the land, the real cultural wealth, a fulfilling way of life. A new force can only arise within a more radical global movement that attacks the very foundations of capitalism: patriarchal statehood, private ownership, cultural hegemonism.

We all are proud to be Serbs, Mayans, Yankees, Dutch, Basks, French, Swiss, Croats, Greeks, Albanians, Sioux, Mongols, Bulgarians or Portuguese. We are dadaists, ravers, cigar-aficionados, vegetarians, gourmets, Corbusier-freaks, nudists, Mozart-fans, dmurps (downward mobile urban proletarians), neo-hippies, fashion-victims. But above all we are children of mothers and we will not allow that our ethnic or other identities are used to turn us into enemies. We can have fun together, or at least have fun watching each other having fun.

Let's build new autonomous communities in the cities and in the country!

Let's pool our land and our resources to create largely self-sufficient villages and neighborhoods!

Let's abolish the old sexual division of work: men and women shall equally share the work in agriculture and child care!

Let's replace the oppressive patriarchal family by open and intentional communities where the young can create their own lives!

Let's establish self-government of these communities on the basis of equal rights for men and women, for the old and the young!

Let's exchange food for services and industrial goods on our own terms between the cities and the surrounding agricultural areas!

Let's organise necessary industrial production, medical services, means of transports through the cooperation and under the control of alliances of basic communities!

Let's create networks of cooperation and fair exchange between communities all over the Balkans, all over Europe and the planet!


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