Australian Greens on Kosova: illusions in imperialism


By Jim Green and Lisa Macdonald

The national council of the Australian Greens adopted a resolution on the Balkans conflict at its meeting on April 10 and 11.

The resolution begins: "The Australian Greens condemn the Serbian leadership in Kosova for its policies and practice of genocide against the majority Kosova people in Kosovo. At the same time, we note that NATO's air strikes have worsened the oppression, united the Serbian nation around Milosevic, undermined the democracy movement in Montenegro and alienated the Russians and others in the region."

It states: "We note that Western governments failed to support the non-violent response of the civilian Kosova Democratic League to Serbian oppression over recent years. We believe that the United Nation's important peace-making role has been by-passed in NATO's military action ...

"We urge the international community to work towards peace in the former Yugoslavia, through the UN. We propose that an emergency meeting of the UNGA [General Assembly] be called by the Security Council to consider a resolution to call for:

1) an immediate cease-fire by ALL parties to the conflict and demilitarisation of Kosovo;

2) the mediation of a new Kosovo peace settlement package with the full participation of other governments in the region;

3) the dispatch of a multinational protection force of UN peacekeepers and civilian volunteers to Kosovo to prepare for and enable the return of ethnic Albanians to their villages, and ensure their future safety;

4) allocation of major financial and human resources to assist with reconstruction; and

5) a special report from the Security Council on its actions to resolve the conflict."

The resolution states the immediate actions should be backed up by ongoing processes to establish an International Criminal Court, a Global Code of Conduct on arms transfers and other measures to reduce the trade in weapons. It also urges the Australian government to allocate funds previously earmarked for the airlift of Kosovar refugees to support the refugees in Europe.

The most striking aspect of the resolution is its failure to unequivocally condemn and demand an end to the US-led NATO's attack on Serbia. In the context of escalating imperialist military intervention around the world, most often led by the US as self-appointed "globocop", progressive forces' first responsibility is to condemn NATO's outright aggression against a sovereign state.

Failure to condemn the imperialist powers for their attack is to ignore their agenda in the region, an agenda which does not include guaranteeing the Kosovars full national rights (the establishment of a "protectorate" or the partition of Kosova into a northern Serb-controlled region and a southern ghetto for Albanian Kosovars are the only options being discussed by the imperialists), nor allowing the Serbian people to exercise their right to choose their own governments and bring their own leaders to account.

The Australian Greens' failure to take a clear anti-imperialist stance in this war is most clearly revealed in the absence from their resolution of any condemnation of the Australian government's support for the NATO aggression.

On the question of independence for Kosova, the Greens' resolution states, "The end point of independence for Kosova as expressed overwhelmingly by Kosovars at a recent referendum should be kept in mind in all negotiations." This statement of in-principle support for independence for Kosova is welcome, especially given the refusal of some on the Australian left to even acknowledge Kosovars' national rights.

However, the Greens' illusions in the imperialist powers' willingness to act consistently in support of the Kosovars' national rights make the Greens' stated support for independence little more than rhetoric. When it comes to concrete demands, the Greens neither call on NATO to end its opposition to Kosovar independence, nor acknowledge the Kosova Liberation Army's leadership of the Kosovar independence struggle, nor call for the lifting of NATO's arms embargo on the KLA so that it can defend and advance the Kosovars' right to self-determination.

On the contrary, the Greens advocate the disarming of the KLA (the "demilitarisation of Kosovo"), leaving the Kosovars' fate in the hands of a UN "protection force" whose composition, direction and mandate are unspecified.

The Greens would do well to remember that there can be no peace without justice, and that achieving justice in this world is predicated both on ending the thuggery of the imperialist powers and defending the right of all oppressed people to struggle for freedom by whatever means are necessary, including the use of arms.