The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.62/No.20           May 25, 1998 
Back free Kosova protest?
The article "Youth in N.Y. say: `Freedom for Kosova' " in the May 11 Militant presents an April 24 rally in New York rally as a progressive action. I did not attend the rally, but the information provided in the article indicates that the political character of the rally was in fact anticommunist and pro-imperialist. The Albanian American Student Organization called the protest, and "widely distributed" a leaflet that the Militant quotes as asking participants in the rally to call the U.S. secretary of state to say "I called to urge for imperative tough actions on Belgrade, to say No to a new BOSNIA!; No more serbo-slav communist hegemony in the Balkans!" The president of the student group, Bleron Baraliu, is quoted as "calling for an immediate U.S. attack on Serbia, `like they did in Iraq.' " The Militant also reports that "a number of the speakers" and "many in the crowd supported calls...for U.S. military intervention."

While all of these facts are given in the article, they are added at the end after several paragraphs and a photo present the main theme: that high school students and crowds that "spanned several generations" were protesting for "Freedom for Kosova." The article concludes by approvingly quoting a rally organizer, Arta Haxhaj, calling for "Actions, not words" in the fight for Kosovan independence.

But this kind of action does not help working people in Kosova, Yugoslavia or the United States. The Militant has consistently printed articles explaining how the imperialists are using Serb terror in Kosova as a pretext for expanding its military intervention in the Balkans. Thousands of imperialist troops are today in Yugoslavia under the cover of "peacekeeping" and stopping the slaughter in Bosnia. Last year thousands of troops were sent to Albania during the rebellion there, again under the cover of "humanitarian" purposes. Actions that call on the imperialists to get tough on Belgrade and denounce "serbo- slav communism" play into the hands of Clinton and Albright, who are leading the expansion of NATO and are on the lookout for opportunities to use their military might to reimpose capitalism in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Maybe a number of the participants in the rally were interested in the working-class struggles described in the Militant and in Pathfinder books. This would be a reason for supporters of the Militant to try to find ways to reach these individuals with a communist perspective on the struggle in the Balkans. But this would not be a reason to present the April 24 rally as one to be supported and repeated. There was nothing progressive about this action that linked "Freedom for Kosova" with U.S. military intervention.

Michael Italie

Atlanta, Georgia

Terminology signifies line
A number of recent Militant articles on union struggles have called the workers' adversaries "management." "Northwest management has stepped up its attacks" (issue no. 18). "Tensions between labor and management at Case remain high" (issue no. 16). The editors repeat this phrase in the headline on page 11. A Fletcher Challenge striker is quoted, "Management `wants to tell you what to do.'" Since management is not in the quotation marks, presumably it was substituted for the striker's words.

I started to notice this only after reading Letters from Prison by the Militant's founder and longtime editor, James P. Cannon. On page 173 he writes, "While I am on this subject, let me mention that I saw the expression "management" used in a recent issue of The Militant. The right word is employers, or bosses, or blood-sucking exploiters. Terminology signifies line."

Has the Militant's line on "management" changed since the days of Cannon? Or has this been an editorial oversight? I haven't done any research to see how long this expression has been back in use.

Kristin Meriam

Birmingham, Alabama

Editor's reply: The Militant agrees with Cannon's view on this. Thanks for pointing it out.

The letters column is an open forum for all viewpoints on subjects of general interest to our readers. Please keep your letters brief. Where necessary they will be abridged. Please indicate if you prefer that your initials be used rather than your full name.

Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home