Congratulations, Kosova!

February 18, 2008 at 1:06 am (democracy, Europe, Jim D, national liberation)

If ever an oppressed people had the right to their own nation, it’s the Albanian Kosovans. They’re mostly Muslims, by the way. Back in 1999, many of the forces on the “left”, who’ve since posed as friends of Muslims everywhere, supported Slobodan Milosevic’s anti-Muslim genocide.

Now, there can be fewer more obvious examples of where the classic prescription applies:

“The right of nations to self-determination implies exclusively the right to independence in the political sense, the right to free political separation from the oppressor nation. Specifically, this demand for political democracy inplies complete freedom to to agitate for secession and for a referedum on secession by the seceding nation.”

It is, of course, essential that the EU guarantees the rights of the Serb minority: once more, the EU shows itself to be a progressive force.

But, for now, congratulations to the new nation and to all its people!


  1. Bob said,

    Will over on Drink soaked trots was just saying that he hopes Palestine will be the next nation to be liberated.

  2. against my better judgement said,

    And this is controversial how? You’ll find that the authors of that site are all partisans of a Two State Resolution, with borders constituted along the ‘green line’ and all settlements dismantled.

  3. voltaires_priest said,

    Who said it was controversial?

  4. Mbari said,

    What about the Croatian Serbs’ self-determination? And Bosnian Serbs? etc. etc.

  5. Euripides Trousers said,

    It’s all very simple as long as everyone is in agreement about what consitutes a nation.

    What about the right of the ‘Northern Irish nation’ to decide to stay under British rule as opposed to the right of the Irish nation to be free and unified?

    Glib references to generalisations aren’t particularly helpful here. Both Serbia and Albania have a legitimate ‘claim’ to Kosovo.

  6. modernity said,

    EP wrote:

    Northern Irish nation

    They already do that and have done so since Loyalists consolidated their power in the North.

    But things are changing and even Loyalist head bangers are probably realising that the North is destined to be united with the Republic.

    just a matter of time.

    as for Kosova, I haven’t read any other blogs yet but I would suspect that will be told that it is a neoliberal project, Kosova has oil or that it is part of a wider imperialist project, or some such drivel.

  7. Jim Denham said,

    All peoples have the right to self-determination. There is no generally-accepted definition as to what constitutes a nation.
    Today’s’ Morning Star’ carries an editorial of filthy apologetics for the Serb ethnic cleansers – despicable even by the loathsome ‘standards’ of that Stalinist rag:

    “…The only conflict (in Kosovo) was between the federal authorities and the self-styled Kosovo Liberation Army…
    “Despite ‘genocide’ hysteria, postwar investigations found no mass graves (a straight lie by the way -JD)…the only question is what the long-term consequences of this shameful conspiracy will be.”

  8. Euripides Trousers said,

    That doesn’t really answer the question, does it?

  9. modernity said,

    what was the question again ?

  10. Euripides Trousers said,

    Of where you draw the lines when deciding what a nation is.

    In this case, the Serbian nation is not being given its right to self-determination.

    Who decides what consitutes a nation and what consitutes a part of a nation? If you agree that Kosovan residents have the right to decide on independence without recourse to either Albania or Serbia then you must be an Ulster unionist as well.

  11. Wally Wibblywellies said,

    “the EU shows itself to be a progressive force.”

    Progressive neo-liberal capitalism. Progressive European imperialism. Music to Ken Clarke’s ears, and Brown, Merkel, Jakkusy, and the rest. You lot gonna be following the SWP councillor into the Tory party? Whatever happened to socialism?

  12. modernity said,


    there are a lot of implicit assumptions in your statements, not least

    1) that everyone could agree what constitutes a nation
    2) that there is a valid alternative to Kosovan independence
    3) that your notion of nationhood has primacy?

    let’s look at them,

    1) as it seems unlikely that people can agree on simpler issues (rather than what constitutes a nation), such as what is racism? or what is a valid political expression?

    so why on earth you suppose that **everyone** could agree on one simplistic formula as to what constitutes a nation seems a bit ridiculous, as there may be many definitions of what constitutes a nation and people might disagree with them, not because of a valid reason simply because they are being argumentative

    2) to suppose that you compel someone to remain within a unitary state when the vast majority of people in a nascent entity don’t want to be there means either that repression is used, or the nascent entity’s views are not taken into account, both are recipes for Civil War, which is not a terribly good solution

    3) you assume because people disagree with you that they must be a Unionist, not the fact that they could have genuine views which disagree with your illogical assumptions,

    to assume that all of your interlocutor’s arguing in bad faith whereas you are not, is in itself bad faith, better that you understand there are differing views on this matter, then to assume that your views have some supremacy

  13. David Broder said,

    Yes, the “EU shows itself to be a progressive force” comment is way off the mark. What, concretely, does this mean?

    While it is good that Kosovo has won its independence (I hardly see why Serbia is being denied self-determination – as far as I can tell, the Serbs of Mitrovica have not demanded secession from Kosovo), to laud the role of the EU (which is a cartel of its member governments, remember!) seems to be a simple mirror-image reaction to the SWP’s craven support for Serb nationalism.

  14. Euripides Trousers said,

    Who said anything about bad faith?

    I just pointed out that if you favour the idea of the inhabitants of an arbitrarily-drawn area being given the right to secede from the larger entity which considers that area part of its territory then you cannot at the same time argue in favour of a united Ireland.

    Seems quite simple.

  15. modernity said,


    your reading skills are on a par with your logic, almost nonexistent

    you accused people of being Unionists because they disagreed with your view of this issue:

    you seem to assume that the larger entity (Serbia) has precedence over Kosovo

    and even if it did, could it implement it? nope?

    a recipe for civil war

    again this doesn’t come down to some simplistic formula, it comes down to specific cases and the desires of the vast majority of residents of that nascent state?

    most boundaries are arbitrary, why have a boundary between France and Germany? why not split France into different bits (as it was long ago)?

    in the case of Kosova, if the alternative is another Balkans civil war, then independence might be a better, least worst option

    of course, if nation states are just abstract to you EP, you wouldn’t really care if there was a civil war, would you?

  16. Euripides Trousers said,

    Calm down. Is it not possible to discuss this without the lame insults and straw men?

    My issue was with the way, in the original posting, it was stated as a glib truism, when the reality is rather more complex. Defining a nation one way, you will get a different referendum result to if you define it another way. That isn’t a little detail that can be brushed under the carpet.

  17. korakious said,

    What makes you think that the condition of the Serbian minority in Kosovo will not as well lead to civil war?

  18. modernity said,


    I am not sure, but I think that it would be fairly CERTAIN that compelling the Kosovans to remain in a union with Serbia would have led to civil war, who knows maybe the northern tip (with the Serbian majority) will be reincorporated into Serbia?

  19. korakious said,

    Stpce, is the south also has a Serbian majority.

    I can’t be arsed to elaborate, so I’ll just say that I basically agree with what Splintie wrote.

  20. Mosley's heirs said,


    FROM the outset the American right and their pathetic echo chambers here have been determined to wreck China’s Olympic Games, or at least to diminish them in the way the Moscow Olympics of 1980 were.

    Every button is pushed from China’s supposed “occupation” of Tibet (in fact Tibet was always part of the Chinese motherland, and has been rescued from the mists of obscurantism under the demi- God Dalai Lama by the Chinese revolution) through its attitude to circus bears, the Falun Gong and its one-child policy.

  21. Jim Denham said,

    I’ve just visted Nooman’s site (“Socialist Unity” ha-ha-ha), via the above link: ohmygawd – he’s now revealed himself as an out-an-out Stalinist. He even quotes a Srebrenica-deniar in his desperate effoerts to justify Serbian genocide. Despicable! Even poor Ian Donovan has objected. Perhaps people will now realise hat Nooman is a nasty, pro-genocide apologist for Milosevic and Serb supremcacy. Unsurpisingly, for a Stalinist, he has deleated all my comments on his site. Actaually, I don’t know why I soiled myself by trying to comment on his filthy site.

  22. voltaires_priest said,

    Yes, that article’s the most extraordinary bag of shite isn’t it? Although not as funny as the one where he offers his hearty backing to the Archbishop of Canterbur y.

    Seriously though, it’s shocking that a supposed leftist would denounce the exercise of the right to national self-determination.

  23. modernity said,


    it is shocking that a supposed Lefty (such as Newman) would find it so easy to support the the Archbishop of Canterbury on theological doctrine, rather than suggest, radically, nay revolutionary, that the Church of England and other established religions should be disestablished

    Jim D,

    AWLers should start a blog BannedByNewman and cross post their comments to it!

  24. jack said,

    Stoopid question, forgive me:
    What’s the difference between Kosovo and Kosova? Is it grammar or what?
    Just asking.

  25. against my better judgement said,

    There’s a rumour that SUN will be renamed STUN = STalinist Unity Network

  26. voltaires_priest said,

    Jack – they’re the Serbian and Albanian spellings of the name, respectively. Although here in the UK people have tended to use the spelling “Kosovo”, on the basis that the country has an Albanian majority it really ought to be Kosova.

  27. against my better judgement said,

    Oops! This ‘debate’ has slipped through a crack in time and it’s 1987.

    ‘They’ll kill all the Zulus’

    ‘They’re terrorists – they don’t know how to run a country!’

    ‘What about the rights of Afrikaaners?’

  28. voltaires_priest said,

    Ah well you see, in the eyes of parts of “the left”, people are anti-imperialists to be backed up whilst the West is against them, regardless of those people’s political character. Similarly if the West backs them then they are to be vilified and opposed, no matter how just their cause may be in reality. That’s pretty much the equation that Andy Newman has drawn, which I’m amused to see is too much even for Ian “Raaaaar” Donovan the ex-Spart.

  29. link said,

  30. Andy Newman said,

  31. martin ohr said,

    On I intended to write spoof articles in the style of Newman, but actually just cutting and pasting what he writes is far more stalinoid than anything I could possibly come up with.

  32. Dr Paul said,

    Self-determination for Kosovo — a legitimate demand? The Kosovo Albanians were badly treated under the Yugoslav state; I get the feeling that they were never accepted as proper equal citizens of the South Slav state either in its prewar or postwar variants. Unlike the other nationalities of postwar Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Albanians were subject to national oppression. Certainly the call for equal treatment for the Albanians within Yugoslavia was a legitimate demand, as would be some form of constitutional arrangement that would allow them the same rights as the other Yugoslav nationalities.

    The disintegration of Yugoslavia, of course, rendered that solution increasingly difficult. But the call for self-determination for Kosovo raises real problems, ones that we are seeing now.

    Firstly, Kosovan Albanian nationalism, whilst a product of national oppression, took on the all the delightful attributes of other Balkan nationalist ternds. Hence, the manner in which the KLA operated was no different to the way the Serb, Croat, BiH Muslim militias and irregulars operated — killing, terrorising and expelling people on national/ethnical/religious grounds. It has been involved in criminal gangster activities, just like other Yugoslav nationalist groups. Serbs, Roma, Slav Muslims and other minorities in Kosovo have been systematically harassed, expelled and killed by Kosovan Albanian thugs and militias.

    Secondly, what is the nature of the Kosovan state, so happily welcomed by our blog-master? An impoverished, backward place brimming with ethnical/national tensions; more-or-less controlled by the big powers. An irony is that if the Prishtina government wished to merge with Albania proper, the big powers would not allow it to do so. Its actual ability to put self-determination into practice is limited by foreign powers.

    Thirdly, there is a serious precedent: that separatist movements will try to emulate what Kosovo has done. This could lead to various nasty situations in Europe and beyond, raising the spectre of more ethnical/national politics and pointless violence. The question of Albanians in Macedonia immediately arises. An interesting bit here is that the government of another Nato protectorate — Bosnia-Hercegovina — has not recognised the state of Kosovo, presumably because the secession of Kosovo from Serbia effectively legitimises the secession of the Serbian part of BiH from the rest of it, and potentially the Croatian bit as well, leaving BiH with not much at all.

    I don’t cheer the arrival of an independent Kosovo, no more than I cheered the break-up of Yugoslavia and supported the seceesionist movements. Some people on the left did both; this was as wrong as those leftists who saw the Belgrade government as a legitimate heir of Titoism and overlooking the crimes of the Serb nationalists. The Kosovo Albanians had real grievances; but the formation of an ethnically-oriented, impoverished dwarf Balkan state, is hardly anything to cheer, and not an inspiring end to the Yugoslav drama.

  33. Dave said,

    Yeah, but this is what happens when support for Stalinism comes up against Muslim self-determination. Cut the dude some slack, it musta been a tough call for the guy.

  34. Wally Wibblywellies said,

    “On I intended to write spoof articles in the style of Newman, but actually just cutting and pasting what he writes is far more stalinoid than anything I could possibly come up with.” (m. ohr)

    That’s exactly what he has been doing. Posting nasty stuff on SU under other people’s names . To discredit them. That’s why he’s been banned. Oops – he got found out.

  35. martin ohr said,

    Wally -if that’s your real name- what are you talking about? Newman has been banned from socialist unity for posting things under other peoples names? I just checked and he posted something a couple of minutes ago.

    Perhaps if he has been banned I can sell him the stalinist unity website.

  36. Wally Wibblywellies said,

    I meant you, soft lad, not AN. Read it again.

  37. martin ohr said,

    Wally, just to clarify, you are saying that I have been banned from SUN for posting nasty stuff under other peoples names?

    You’re wrong on both counts, for some reason for about a week Andy removed everything I wrote after I called him moronic, but I’ve never posted there under another name and I haven’t been banned.

    Where do you get off on calling me ‘soft lad’ are you my gran or something?

  38. modernity said,

    from my observation (and I am an avid SU blog reader) it seems that the moderation policy there is very capricious and follows the site admin’s moods, sometimes harsh, sometimes comical and other times downright bizarre

    on many occasions posts will simply be deleted because they embarrass the admins at SU blog or point out gaping holes in Andy Newman’s arguments

    SU blog is a real example of what happens when you let immature people have a bit of power, it goes to their heads

  39. jim Denham said,

    Some excellent background reading, especially for those who want to take on the Stalinists and other Milosevic apologists:

    Click to access kosovaintro.pdf

    Click to access kosova.pdf

  40. link said,

    Andy now seems to be deleting any commenters who point out that all Respect Renewal Elected representatives are anti abortion.

  41. modernity said,

    back to the Balkans

    I see that SU blog commenters are into Genocide Denial:

    “40. RE comment #7 – I posted the following in 2 commentos on the thread Andy links to in comment#8 at

    …I laughed out loud when I noticed that the International Commission for Missing Persons site contains a recommendation from the 2004 Iraqi governments ‘Commissioner for Human Rights’- you couldn’t make it up.
    Nearly all the executive and staff of the ICMP are Nato personnel – hardly an independent body. I would want to see evidence that every stage of the process is potentially subject to genuinely impartial, or hostile scrutiny…

    On 14 March 2007, Glasgow’s ‘Scotsman’ newspaper posted, on its website, an interview with Adam Boys, ICMP’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance since September 2000 at

    Balkan Witness, a site dedicated to rubbishing the work of Parenti, Herman, Johnstone et al posts a link to this, I guess as the most up-to date evidence of the 8000 figure, under the banner:

    “To date the ICMP has positively identified about 3000 bodies of Srebrenica victims and has partial remains of about 1000 more. The ICMP still predicts that about 8000 were killed in the massacre. ”

    A blog debate follows in which Boys participated, In his replies to posts #33 and #34 Adam Boys

    “The date of death, manner of death, and who did the killing are a matter for the courts. ”

    It will be a decision for the (Nato-appointed) regional governments whether a list of those identified from Srebrenica will be available online.

    Asked whether there is: ” a publicly accessible database, broken down by date of death, place remains found, cause of death, ethnicity (established by DNA from relatives) etc. details? ”
    Boys evades the question by answering ” There is the ICRC list of missing. It does not show ethnicity. Neither do our records. ” I take that as a NO.

    Asked whether there are ” scientific reports detailing the methodology, results and interpretations?”
    Boys says yes. I look forward to these being made available for public scrutiny.

    Those figure just seem to keep melting away, don’t they.

    Comment by Jock McTrousers — 19 February, 2008 @ 2:18 pm”

    why I am not surprised??

  42. stroppybird said,


    Do we have evidence of that ? Not saying its not true, but sources would be good .

  43. voltairespriest said,

    Actually if that is true, it’s all the more reason why their evident collapse into a one-man band is a good thing.

  44. modernity said,


    can you release one of my comments from moderation?

  45. voltaires_priest said,


  46. 150m from the Scotsman said,

    Jock McTrousers is a halfwit who could not be trusted to follow directions to Tesco: Glasgow’s ‘Scotsman’ newspaper.

  47. entdinglichung said,

    for those who can read German, I would strongly recommend the article Ein Protektorat wird in die “Unabhängigkeit” entlassen. Zur Entwicklung in Kosova/Kosovo, currently written by a member of the revolutionary marxist organization RSO … I hope, the comrades will translate it into English

  48. Alec Macpherson said,

    Is Jock McTrousers the naked antisemite?

  49. Dr Paul said,

    Re Post 41: Unpleasant as his last sentence is, I don’t think that the writer McTrousers is actually denying that a big massacre took place at Srebrenica. I have seen websites asserting that nothing untoward happened there, but he’s not saying that.

    The actual numbers of deaths at Srebrenica have not yet been fully computed. Around 4000 bodies have been found, of which some were definitely executed (signs of being bound), others perhaps not, maybe shot in battle. The widely-broadcasted figure of 8000 BiH Muslim men comes from an estimation of missing people put out by the Red Cross, based on 3000 arrested by Serb forces and 5000 who had fled the Srebrenica enclave. Some of those shown as missing have since turned up alive.

    There is definite evidence of mass executions of Bosnian Muslim men, thus what we have here is a serious war-crime on the part of the Bosnian Serb army. I would say we have here a similar atrocity to that committed by the Soviet secret police at Katyn in Poland, where some 10 000 Polish military personnel were shot. Both were an attempt to remove a perceived military threat.

    However, to call either massacre ‘genocide’ is debatable. The term is often used in relation to killings based upon nationality and/or ethnicity, and thus could be employed to describe a large number of wars over the centuries. The loose usage of the word of late tends to conflate actual deliberate and preconceived attempts to eradicate people on the basis of their nationality or ethnicity — such as the Turkish attempted eradication of the Armenians and (especially) the Nazi Judeocide — with the typical nationally- or ethnically-based killings which occur in most wars.

    I’ve seen the term ‘genocide’ used by all sides in the Yugoslav wars; I’ve seen it used in relation to the Palestinians’ treatment by Israel, and also to the effects of the US war in Iraq. Notwithstanding the awful atrocities that have occurred, I don’t think that the term is accurate in such cases.

  50. Alec Macpherson said,

    Dr Paul, I’m prepared to stand corrected, but I believe Srebenica was the only event in a long and extremely nasty conflict described as an act of genocide. Not the Seige of Sarajevo. Not the massacre at Vokovar. Not the Trnopolje and Omarska camps. Not Kravica, or the ghoulish merrygoround at Bjelovac, Fakovići or Sikiric.

    Just Srebenica. Whereas the possibility of war-crimes was left open in the other cases, indeed convictions have occurred, this was the only case where the ICT considered this worst of epipthets appropriate.

    Maybe 8,000 died. Maybe 4,000 died. Maybe 5,627 died. When you have a situation in which un-armed men are people led into woods and shot on the basis of the nationality, things tend to get a little confused. “Some of those shown as missing” are, of course, going to turn up. Virtually all of those who are have not, however, so it would be useful to know how many you’re talking about. Thousands, hundreds, dozens?

    I’m going to assume by Judeocide you meant genocide. Are you aware that the first mass-killings of this genocide involved un-armed men (and women and children) being led into woods and shot? Pretty much anything can happen at this stage. Genocide does not have to involve recognizable symbols of industrialization, such as train carriages and prison camps. It wasn’t needed with Armenians. It wasn’t needed in Rwanda. It isn’t being needed in Darfur. It wasn’t needed in Srebenica.

  51. charliethechulo said,

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