Friday, December 10, 1999
Yugoslav Left (JUL) is a political organization which came to being by merging 19 parties and movements of Yugoslavic and leftist orientation, among which the biggest was the League of Communists - Movement for Yugoslavia (SKPJ). This union happened in 1994, after United left, a coallition of parties led by SKPJ won a total of 35 thousand ballots, without a single seat in Parliament.
The reasons for the creation of JUL, a political protegee (and sometimes under leadership) of Mirjana Markovic, Slobodan Milosevic's wife, reach into deep past, into the beginnings of the multipartism, when general Stevan Mirkovic had founded the SKPJ. It was also called "general's party" back then, and the paramilitary "red beret" units in Croatian and Bosnian wars were connected with it.
SKPJ appeared in order to attract pro-yugoslavic oriented citizens who lived in Serbia (mostly army staff) and did not support Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) because of its nationalism and its teritorial restrictedness to Serbia only. For similar reasons, and mostly because of SKPJ failing to ever achieve any electoral success of any importance, the JUL was founded.
One of Milosevic's strategies in his fight against the authentic opposition, was the "covering" of political oponents by founding parties which would be politically close to the oponents, but would act under the control of the regime and the secret police.
One of such "coverages" happened after Milosevic split with Radovan Karadzic and the militant Bosnian Serbs, after the rejection of Vance-Owen plan in spring of 1993, and after he had to refuse further services from the Serb Radical Party in fall of 1993.
The political scene in Serbia at the moment was split among two groups of parties, regardless of them being in power or opposition. On one of the sides there were together parties of the "peace lobby": SPS, Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), New Democracy (ND) and the Citizen's Union of Serbia (GSS).
Since they didn't have a "cover" for GSS, the most persistent party of anti-war provenience at the moment, one was created as an amalgam of 19 tiny political organizations, of Yugoslav (i.e. federalist) and left orientation, and putting the theatrical director Ljubisa Ristic, who was a personality involved in the 1991. antiwar movement, in the front, as a president.
The other reason for founding JUL was the wish of many of war profiteers to legalize their fortunes of suspectable origins. Since the powers in Serbia decided to stop the Bosnian war and start cooperating with the world, this group of people accepted the newly found party as a natural sanctuary, sponsored by President's wife.
The third reason was the wish of Mirjana Markovic, and probably Slobodan Milosevic as well, to fence off the hardliners within SPS by creating a paralel structure of wealth and power, which would support the U-turn of his policy on Bosnia.
All of this culminated in the signing of Dayton treaty and inauguration of the new guarantor of peace and stability in the region, the reconstruction of the Serbian government which now included representatives of JUL, who still didn't have a single seat in the Parliament of Serbia (ministerial positions were also offered to other parties of the "peace lobby"), many converts who ran over from SPS into JUL (many of which were locally important), and the dismissal of several most exposed SPS members, like Mihajlo Markovic, Borisav Jovic and Milorad Vucelic.
JUL has never taken part in elections (not counting 1993 when it wasn't constituted yet) as a standalone party. In 1996 and 1997 they were a part of a coallition with SPS and ND. They have some ten seats in the federal parliament and about twenty in the state. They won the local elections in Babusnica and Crna Trava, villages in south Serbia. In Montenegro they got just a few thousand ballots (less than there were signs on their candidates' lists).
In its policy, JUL is prominent in its verbal assault upon the "fifth column", "traitors" on the political scene of Serbia, and proposing projects like a Chinatown in Belgrade, "Europolis", Institute for Spiritual Reconstruction of the Country, and "decontamination" of media from non-patriotic reporters and editors.
In international cooperation, JUL visits the gatherings of extremely left political forces in Europe and worldwide, cooperates with communist parties of China, Cuba and North Korea, and the books of Mirjana Markovic are translated and sold in Russia, China and India.
The president of the directorate of JUL, Mirjana Markovic, is thought of as prophet of many political events in Serbia. In her diary notes, published in Duga (Rainbow) and Praktična Žena (Practical Woman), she has spoken, often in codewords, about the days to come, which frequently turned to become real and true.
Many think that she is the person with most influence over her husband, Slobodan Milosevic, and her recombinations of human resources in economy and state structures have reached the point where JUL, even while it has no electoral stronghold, became a party with the greatest number of officials, which made it attractive for opportunity seekers of all kinds.
JUL, as a party of extremely leftist marxistic orientation, viciously called "a branch of Communist Party of China in Yugoslavia", but which never mentions Josip Broz in its public appearances, has the richest people of Serbia on its gatherings and congresses. Those nuveau riche of Serbia, war profiteers and tycoons would never, by the nature of those matters, support a party which fights for social equality of people, except in the case when that party is exactly the structure which enabled them to become extremely rich in just a few years, during the war and isolation.