The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.63/No.17           May 3, 1999 
Working Class Is Target Of U.S.-NATO Assault On Yugoslavia [Eyewitness Report]  

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia - Bomb explosions and antiaircraft volleys can be heard and seen in the sky around this city between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. every morning as the brutal U.S.-led NATO air raids enter their fifth week.

In the early morning hours of April 18 and 19, the main blasts came from about 20 miles east, in Pancevo, an industrial center of 120,000 in southern Vojvodina, near Belgrade's suburbs. The oil refinery there, the largest in Yugoslavia and among the biggest in the Balkans, was completely destroyed after being hit for the sixth and seventh time. NATO planes also bombed two other plants nearby that produce nitrogen, fertilizers, and other chemicals. Thick clouds of black smoke could be seen on the horizon east and south of Belgrade. Winds blew some of the toxic smoke over the country's capital.

Residents of Pancevo were told by authorities to breathe through towels dipped in a solution of water and baking soda to filter the chemicals in the air.

"About 10,000 people escaped Pancevo for other areas to avoid the poisonous gases," said Novica Radojcin, pointing out that only those who had cars and access to gasoline, which is scarce now, could leave. Radojcin is a member of the metal workers union in Pancevo. He worked in the UTVA aircraft manufacturing plant, which was bombed during the first four days of the NATO assault. "The imperialist attack has nothing to do with military targets or `protecting' Albanians," Novica said in an April 20 interview at the Pancevo offices of Nezavisnost (Independence), the trade union federation independent from government control. "It's directed against all the workers of Yugoslavia."

A number of Albanian farmers and other working people who have fled from Kosova into Macedonia told Militant reporters at the NATO-run camps there that the U.S.-led assault was to a large degree responsible for the massive "ethnic cleansing" drive by the regime of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic in Kosova (see coverage on facing page).

On the morning of April 21, at least three missiles hit the Usce Business Center, on the side of the Sava River across downtown Belgrade, setting it ablaze and destroying much of it. The 23-story building housed the offices of the governing Socialist Party of Serbia as well as several local TV and radio stations and other companies. A decade ago it served as the offices of the Central Committee of the former League of Yugoslav Communists. Greek reporters on the scene said the building had been evacuated after an apparent tip about the impending assault. The state-run Yugoslav news agency Tanjug, however, said an unspecified number of casualties occurred. Regardless of the human toll, the bombings in and around downtown Belgrade have a deep psychological impact on most people here.

Factories destroyed systematically
According to Tanjug, several people died in the Pancevo bombings, though the government has not released figures - a policy it has maintained throughout the month-long NATO assault. Unofficial estimates of casualties range from 300 to 1,000, the bulk of them civilians, with more than 3,000 wounded throughout Yugoslavia.

Industrial facilities are being destroyed systematically day by day around the country. On the afternoon of April 19, Branislav and Stanimir, two leaders of the Students Union of Yugoslavia who asked that their last names not be used, took Militant reporters to see a boiler plant right next to a large residential area in New Belgrade, on the bank of the Sava river on the other side of the city center. The two students were among the main organizers of the 1996-97 protests that forced the Milosevic regime to reverse its antidemocratic annulment of municipal election results that registered victories by an opposition coalition in 15 of Serbia's 19 largest cities.

The heating plant was bombed April 4. The main part of the factory was not hit. But the oil storage depots and the facility that cleans the river water used in the plant had been demolished. The factory heated water that was pumped into houses providing central heating and hot water for 400,000 of the 2 million residents of Belgrade. No plans currently exist to repair it. The impact of this bombing would be more severe if it were winter.

The explosion killed a worker guarding the facility. It shook apartment buildings, including the one where Stanimir lives, and shattered windows throughout the neighborhood. "This is the kind of military targets they are talking about hitting," Stanimir said. "I sit here and see my country destroyed factory by factory, town by town. About half the bridges don't stand anymore."

The students and trade unionists interviewed by the Militant kept pointing particularly to the bombing of dozens of houses in Aleksinac, a mining town in southern Serbia, and of the huge Zastava complex in Kragujevac - the largest car manufacturing plant in Yugoslavia - that has been destroyed. As Branislav Canak, president of Nezavisnost, put it, "These are examples of the fact that the main target of the bombing is the working class in Serbia and throughout Yugoslavia."

Unemployment is soaring
Unemployment is soaring as the bombing unfolds. In the last month, another 200,000 workers have been laid off either because their factories or other workplaces have been destroyed or because the plants they got supplies from or sold products to have been bombed. Prior to March 24, when Washington unleashed the NATO bombings, joblessness hovered around 55 percent among a workforce of nearly 3 million in Serbia and Montenegro.

"Beginning on April 9, and over several days, the assembly lines, the foundry, the electricity-generating plant, the tool-making department, and pretty much the whole Zastava complex were demolished by the bombing," said Cristina Ranic, a member of the metal workers union who worked in the shipping department of the plant, during an interview in Kragujevac April 20. "Now 38,000 workers have been left permanently without jobs. NATO has brought us a catastrophe."

Missiles also destroyed Zastava's boiler plant, which provided heat and hot water for the entire city, an industrial center of 250,000 people. According to Milan Nicolic, president of the metal workers branch of Nezavisnost, more than 62,000 metal workers have already lost their jobs in Serbia and Montenegro because their plants have been bombed.

Another 80,000 workers in plants in Belgrade, Pristina, and the outskirts of Kragujevac that produced spare parts and other supplies for Zastava will lose their jobs, said Dragan Ranic, regional director of Nezavisnost in the Kragujevac area. The impact spreads across the formerly federated Yugoslavia, including the oil refinery in Modrica, Bosnia - one of the few industrial facilities that survived the 1992-95 war in that republic - that produced motor oil for Zastava.

"This is something we never expected would happen," Dragan Ranic said. He added that 165 workers were seriously injured in the bombing assaults, which also damaged some housing. "We had anticipated the bombing because a part of the plant was used to produce revolvers."

The jobless workers are supposed to receive compensation of about 40 percent of their pay. But under the current crisis everyone is uncertain the government will have the funds to do so. None of these workers have received any income for the last three weeks, we were told. "We can only survive by help from relatives who are farmers in the villages around here or by growing food in the garden," Dragan Ranic added.

Humanitarian aid from trade unions and other international organizations has begun to come in, but Nezavisnost members have not seen any of it yet. Nezavisnost, which has campaigned against the regime's austerity measures and its nationalism that has contributed to the breakup of Yugoslavia, organized about 20 percent of the workforce at Zastava. The remaining workers were organized by the Confederation of All Trade Unions of Yugoslavia (CATUY), which is tied to the government.

In a rare show of unity, both Nezavisnost and CATUY issued an appeal to trade unions around the world in early April demanding an end to the NATO assault. "We urge all international and national trade union organizations, workers, and peaceful forces in the world of labor to act to stop immediately and unconditionally all armed actions in the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," said the letter signed by Branislav Canak and CATUY president Radoslav Ilic. "We urge you to stand up against the defeat of diplomacy and the victory of force used by NATO."

Hundreds of plants - along with bridges, thousands of housing units, telecommunication transmitters, public buildings, the water supply system in Zemun, a handful of agricultural cooperatives, and dozens of cultural and religious institutions - have been destroyed so far. Oil refineries and petroleum and related product-storage depots have been a particular target of the bombings. But the NATO attacks have not spared other factories, such as the cigarette-producing plants in Nis and Vranje, causing an acute shortage of cigarettes, which are more in demand during the current nerve-wracking assaults. Long lines at kiosks selling cigarettes can be seen throughout the country.

Black market is flourishing
The overall economic situation is not desperate yet, but it seems it will quickly become so if the NATO assault continues for long. From what Militant reporters could see and hear, food prices have not increased substantially. The average monthly wage of workers who have jobs is around 150 German marks (US$81), while costs for food and basic utilities such as electricity and telephone for a family of three is around 200 marks per month. (Wages and prices are commonly calculated in marks here). That means workers crowd many family members into one household and need income from two or three people to make ends meet. Transportation fares are very low, and during the bombing conductors let most people ride for free.

The black market is flourishing and that's where many unemployed workers have turned to. We saw very long lines at gas stations. Gasoline is now rationed, and hoarded on the black market. The bombing of oil refineries and oil storage facilities is having an impact. Gasoline rationing is popular, however, guaranteeing most people about 10 gallons per month. A big percentage of the population owns cars in Yugoslavia. Domestic production of the Yugo and other vehicles at fairly affordable prices made that possible over the last three decades. The flattening of Zastava, however, has brought that to an end for now.

The destruction we observed of small parts of Belgrade is nothing near the devastation of Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital, at the beginning of the war there in 1992 and 1993. Street combat and ground shelling there had more of an impact than the current aerial bombardment. The Tomahawk missiles and laser-guided bombs Washington, London, and other imperialist powers used to hit the ministry of the interior and other government buildings here were accurate. One of these buildings that housed facilities for the military seems fine on the outside from a few hundred feet away, but its guts are completely demolished from the bomb that fell through the roof.

During the day, the capital city and its life seems to be as bustling as in the last couple of years, especially when the sun shines. The streets empty quickly after dusk and traffic is very light - both because of lack of gasoline and fear of where the bombs may fall.

For many people, this nightly uncertainty for a month is also nerve-wracking. Schools and universities are closed, and there are no provisions for child care. At night, when the air alarm sirens go off, thousands head for the bomb shelters, we were told. Most people, however, refuse to do that so far, explaining that these shelters are quite uncomfortable and they can't believe that large-scale attacks on residential areas are about to take place. Most hope, or expect, that the bombings will cease some time soon. No one can offer evidence to that effect, though.

Among middle-class layers, especially, panic is getting to be more the order of the day. A professor who teaches at the political science department at Belgrade University, who asked that her name not be used, was one of the best examples of that. "Belgrade is now like a prison," she said. "It's hard to maintain your psychological equilibrium on a daily basis."

Economic crisis prior to NATO assault
Cacak and other trade unionists pointed out that the economic crisis that's now accelerating was widespread prior to the NATO assault. In addition to those officially unemployed, about half the workforce, over 800,000 workers, were on long-term "forced vacation," receiving 60 percent of their wages. These layoffs that were supposed to last a few months often went on for years.

The origin of this situation - now exacerbated by the war and the economic sanctions put in place on Washington's initiative - lay in the degeneration of the Yugoslav revolution in the aftermath of the Partisan victory against the Nazis.

The Partisans, led by the Communist Party, whose central leader was Josip Broz, known by his nom de guerre Tito, united toilers from every nationality behind the struggle against Nazi occupation in World War II. Putting into practice a program that called for mutual equality and respect for all nationalities, and that opposed chauvinism and the domination of one nation by another, was a central factor in the Partisan victory against the Nazis. Hundreds of thousands of working people who had joined the Partisans turned the victorious antifascist struggle into a social revolution. By the end of 1945, they had put in power a workers and farmers regime that by the late 1940s had nationalized the means of production, distributed land to the poor peasants, and instituted a monopoly of foreign trade and economic planning - in short establishing a workers state, even if deformed at birth by Stalinist domination.

In the years that followed, Albanians and other oppressed nationalities were recognized as distinct national groups for the first time. The Albanian language became one of Yugoslavia's official tongues. At the University of Pristina opened in 1970 in the capital of Kosova, where the current conflict is centered, all courses were taught in Albanian.

While affirmative action measures were taken to develop the more economically backward regions of Yugoslavia in the early years of the revolution, these steps affected Kosova less. As a privileged bureaucratic caste crystallized its hold on power under the Stalinist misleadership of Tito, the initial gains of the revolution began to be undermined. Kosova remained far behind in economic development compared to other regions, including neighboring Macedonia. This continued to fuel the struggle for a republic, including mass protests at the end of the 1960s that led to the granting of autonomy in Kosova as a region of Serbia in 1974.

Tito had opened up the Yugoslav economy to foreign investment from imperialist bank trusts, acting through institutions like the IMF, long before other regimes in Eastern Europe adopted similar policies. So when the first worldwide recession hit in the mid-1970s, the gyrations of the capitalist market system adversely affected Yugoslav working people too. This fact, combined with the bureaucratic, anti-working-class methods of planning and management by the Stalinist regime, produced an economic crisis that was the worst in the least-developed areas like Kosova. By the mid-1980s, for example, unemployment throughout Yugoslavia averaged 14 percent. It was 27 percent in Macedonia and 50 percent in Kosova.

At the opening of this decade, Milosevic and the other rival regimes in the Yugoslav republics launched a war to get or maintain control of as much land and resources as possible to preserve their parasitic existence and bourgeois way of life - using nationalist rhetoric in the process to justify the slaughter.

"From the beginning, Nezavisnost led the antiwar campaign and opposed nationalism," said Dragan Ranic. "We explained how dangerous it was for workers to see themselves and begin treating each other as different nationalities with opposing interests rather than Yugoslavs with common interests as workers." While not winning a majority of workers as members, these views have been at the center of the resistance to the policies of the Milosevic regime and the attempts by the imperialist powers to dismember Yugoslavia.

Ranic and other workers explained that the economic sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia have taken a heavy toll on the working class. Of the 38,000 auto workers at Zastava only 3,000 were employed in production in March, "because we couldn't sell abroad or get many imports," according to Ranic. "The last thing we need is more sanctions."

That's exactly what Washington and other imperialist powers are planning, however, to top off the bombing. At the April 22-24 NATO summit in Washington to mark 50 years of the reactionary Atlantic alliance, the Clinton administration has announced it will push for an oil embargo on Yugoslavia. Most European Union members have indicated they will support it.

Posing as a defender of Albanians against the "ethnic cleansing" in Kosova, Washington and other imperialist powers are ratcheting up the pressure on Belgrade, planning to partition Kosova and occupy it with imperialist troops. A dozen U.S. Apache antitank helicopters intended to bolster NATO's ability to assault Belgrade's ground forces left their base in Italy April 21 en route to Albania, with another dozen expected to follow within a day. Washington has also requested the use of Bulgaria's air space for NATO raids against Yugoslavia, and the government in Sofia has agreed. The government of Slovakia has also approved the transit of NATO troops, according to Tanjug.

There is deep opposition to these moves by the regimes in the workers states in the region. A demonstration of 30,000 took place in Sofia April 20 against NATO's assault and the stance of the Bulgarian government. Nearly 10,000 residents of Niksic, Montenegro, organized an anti-NATO protest April 21 and similar actions have taken place in Macedonia.

The U.S. rulers' aim is to boost Washington's hegemony in Europe as the number one military and economic power and lay the foundations that could allow the reestablishment of capitalist property relations throughout the formerly federated Yugoslav workers state. The NATO assault has also accelerated Washington's collision course with Moscow. Russia's ambassador to Zagreb, Eduard Kuzmin, said April 17 that his government would take a different course if NATO's air campaign turned into a ground invasion. Moscow has vigorously protested the bombing but has not attempted to aid Belgrade militarily. Asked by reporters how NATO's campaign would jeopardize Russia's security, Kuzmin said NATO's deployment of troops to Yugoslavia would bring the Atlantic alliance yet another step closer to Russia's border.

Illusions in `int'l community' shattered
The U.S.-led assault seems to have shattered many of the illusions students who led the 1996-97 protests and other young people here had in "democratic" imperialism.

"The NATO bombing made me lose any confidence I had in the `international community'," said Stanimir, expressing a sentiment common among these students. He also said that until the bombing he had been more of a pacifist. He never fathomed shooting at people. Now, he says, he would still refuse to join the army to go and fight his brothers and sisters in Kosova. But if he were drafted in an antiaircraft unit, he would certainly go.

"Let them come and fight us face to face, rather than with bombs that fall from the sky and where no one can see the enemy," said Stanimir. Dozens of youth and working people said the same thing in their own words to Militant reporters. This seems to express a genuine patriotic determination to defend Yugoslavia against imperialist assault expressed throughout most layers of society.

Many of these young people, including those who in the past deserted the army because of their opposition to the war initiated by Belgrade to prevent the breakup of Yugoslavia by force, view the army defending the country against the bombing as "our army." Many residents of New Belgrade, for example, regularly bring water and food to soldiers building a floating bridge on the Sava in anticipation of bombings of main bridges in the city. At the same time, these youth oppose "their army," which includes paramilitary squads, the police, and units of the armed forces involved in the "ethnic cleansing" in Kosova.

Clampdown on democratic rights
Stanimir and Branislav described most clearly what a number of people told Militant reporters. The NATO bombing has given Milosevic a green light to clamp down on democratic rights and turn back what has been accomplished over the last decade - from the antiwar protests in 1992-93 to the 1996-97 mobilizations.

The protest movement two years ago that forced Milosevic to drop his attempt to annul election results had a number of intertwined results. It increased the self-confidence of working people and youth and lessened their fear of the police and other repressive institutions. It diminished, for a period, the effectiveness of nationalist propaganda used by Milosevic - as well as his rivals in the regimes in the various former Yugoslav republics - to justify the 1992-95 war, objectively aiding those who favored reunification of the country. And it encouraged similar resistance to antidemocratic measures throughout the Balkans - from Albania to Bulgaria.

Branislav Canak said that many workers joke that NATO's special target is the independent trade union, since many of the factories that have been destroyed were Nezavisnost strongholds, like the UTVA aircraft plant in Pancevo. "What we've tried to build for the last decade NATO is destroying," the trade unionist said more seriously.

Space to carry out quite a range of political activities has certainly been narrowed. Women in Black, one of the organizations that has campaigned both against the breakup of Yugoslavia and in support of the struggle for self- determination of Albanians in Kosova for nearly eight years, had been organizing picket lines and other activities -many centered on defense of national rights of Albanians in Kosova - until a month ago. Over the last four weeks, the group has been unable to meet, said Zorica Trifunovic, one of the founders of the group.

"The NATO bombing has increased support for the government," Trifunovic stated. She also added that the first trials have been held in Nis of three young people who refused to be drafted and sent to Kosova. They reportedly got four years in prison each. Men between 14 and 64 are not allowed to travel abroad now and the government has begun to draft thousands who have completed military service. Belgrade is also getting volunteers, but apparently not enough.

The war emergency measures that have been established require permits from the government by any group that wants to organize protests, including actions against the NATO bombing. The only two organizations that have been granted such permits so far are Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia and the United Left headed by his wife Mirjana Markovic. The nightly vigils/music hubbubs on the Brastvoi, Belgrade's main bridge over the Sava, are sponsored by these two groups, and smell of staging.

Both the Student Union of Yugoslavia and Nezavisnost report that they and many other organizations have been denied permits to sponsor anti-NATO protests of their own.

One outlet for genuine protest against the NATO assault, including by thousands who oppose the policies of the Milosevic regime, is the daily rock concert at Republic Square in Belgrade. The one Militant reporters saw April 19 had thousands of young people. (In subsequent days we discovered that the composition of the crowd depends to a large degree on the performers.) Many of the youth and others who attend, and the groups that provide entertainment, took part in the 1996-97 protest movement.

On the morning of April 22, about 5,000 workers marched in downtown Belgrade in a protest organized by the Confederation of All Trade Unions of Yugoslavia. "Stop the bombing" and "Stop the lies" were the main slogans.

The government is trying to use even these events, however, to promote Serbian nationalism, with some degree of success. Not completely, though. When Vojislav Seselj and his escort showed up a week ago with a sizable group of supporters and signs of the Serbian Radical Party - which many people in Belgrade describe as fascist - a large majority of the crowd at Republic square demonstratively turned their backs to them, forcing them to leave. Everyone we spoke to knew about this incident and described it as a good sign, no matter how pessimistic about the prospects ahead.

Seselj and his party are part of Milosevic's coalition government. In fact, some of the most prominent parties in the now defunct Zajedno opposition coalition, which won many municipal elections in 1997 after four months of daily street protests, have joined the ruling coalition. Vuk Draskovic, head of the Serbian Renewal Movement who was one of the main spokespeople for Zajedno, for example, now has a cabinet post. He has been an ardent defender of Belgrade's course in Kosova.

Struggle for national self-determination
Branislav, Stanimir, and several other students interviewed by the Militant have been in the forefront of the significant minority in Serbia who have opposed Belgrade's systematic denial of national rights to Albanians in Kosova. Their group, the Students Union of Yugoslavia, is the main organization that carries the continuity of 1996-97 protest movement.

These young people attempted to forge an alliance in struggle with the Independent Students Union in Pristina, which organized the large student protests for national rights in the fall of 1997, giving a new boost to the struggle for national self-determination in Kosova. This was a vanguard initiative, based on the conclusions these students had drawn, through their own experiences, about the police and cop brutality in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and other cities in Serbia. Militant reporters had actually met Branislav, Stanimir, and other Serbian students in Pristina during the March 13, 1998, rally of 100,000 people there called by the Albanian students to demand reopening of the University of Pristina and an end to repression by Belgrade.

After militant strikes and demonstrations for better economic conditions and recognition of national rights broke out at the end of the 1980s in Kosova, Belgrade cracked down, revoking autonomy in 1989. Pristina was the city where Milosevic launched his nationalist tirades to justify grabbing territory and resources for the ruling bureaucracy loyal to him. Teachers, medical personnel, municipal and other government employees, and most industrial workers were fired from their jobs en masse for refusing to sign loyalty oaths to Serbia. TV and radio programs in Albanian were banned, and schools up through the university level that taught courses in Albanian were closed. Prejudices against ethnic Albanians have been widely promulgated ever since by the regime, having a detrimental impact on many working people throughout Yugoslavia.

"Most of the student groups disappeared a year after the 1996-97 protests," said Branislav in April 18. "We realized that the conflict in Kosova was heating up and started contacts with our Albanian colleagues in Kosova. Until that point, it was unimaginable to have Albanian and Serbian groups meet officially. After joining the demonstrations in Pristina in March of last year we were called `fifth columnists' by the government media in Serbia."

The Serbian students supported unconditional return to the pre-1989 autonomy in Kosova, but didn't agree on independence. That proved to be the sticking point in their attempt to develop common activities with the Independent Students Union in Kosova. Contact between the two groups ended in February, shortly before the NATO assault.

Between June and August of last year, Belgrade launched an offensive in Kosova to counter gains made by the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), a group that has waged an armed struggle for independence. During that period, the Students Union of Yugoslavia conducted an antiwar campaign throughout Serbia and Montenegro, opposing the repression by the Milosevic regime.

About 200 students canvassed most large cities and towns of Serbia, 60 of them from Belgrade and the rest from local areas, distributing 1 million flyers and talking to people at street corners, shopping centers, and working-class communities. "We had teams of three to five students for about a month," said Martina Vukasovic, a mathematics student at Belgrade University. "We figured we reached about 7 percent of Serbia's population. Our main message was that patriotism doesn't mean repressing and killing those of other nationalities. We did this during the heaviest fighting in Kosova last summer and we faced ourselves the wrath of the police."

"We found the greatest receptivity among ordinary people, peasants, and farmers," Vukasovic said. "Whether they had voted for Milosevic or not they were the least taken in by his nationalism. These were the people for whom the regime's confrontation with the Albanian nationality, or with Muslims in Bosnia before, didn't make any sense. We are all Yugoslavs."

Vukasovic said her family had pleaded with her not to take a particular assignment as part of this campaign -visiting Novi Pazar, a predominantly Muslim city in the Sanjak region of Serbia. "When we went there we only had flyers in Cyrillic at the time," she said. "All of us were Serbian and we were passing out leaflets and talking to people in the old part of town surrounded by six mosques. I felt completely safe. In fact, I was more comfortable there than any other city."

They were often put up by members of Nezavisnost, which collaborated with the Students Union in the antiwar campaign. In most cities they were harassed by the police. About 60 students were arrested, often more than once, and were held for up to a day in jail. Authorities stopped short of bringing charges against them.

"All that has ended for now with the NATO bombing," Vukasovic said. The Students Union has had to curtail its public activities, we were told.

The Students Union, Nezavisnost, Women in Black, and other organizations have issued a joint statement demanding an immediate cessation of the bombing and all armed operations, the resumption of the peace process in which they offer to send representatives, and an end to the practice of ethnic cleansing and repatriation of all refugees.

In a parallel way with the students, Nezavisnost, which has about 300,000 members, tried to establish links with the Independent Trade Union in Kosova, Branislav Canak said in an April 19 interview. They encountered similar problems because of their stance on the question of national self- determination. Canak said he was for Kosova returning to its autonomous status at least, until the bombing began. "We should have built more civil bridges. That could have avoided the war."

The NATO assault provided a political cover for Milosevic, Seselj, and paramilitary groups to try to carry out their dream of an "ethnically cleansed Kosova that's part of their `greater Serbia.' That's not my country. That's not the Yugoslavia generations fought for," Canak stated. "NATO is the best possible umbrella for ethnic cleansing. Those strikes and bombs won't bring democracy or stop the humanitarian catastrophe under way throughout Yugoslavia. The worst enemy of this government and of the NATO attackers are the workers."

What has developed in the last month, the horrible "ethnic cleansing" of Kosova, Canak said, "makes a strong argument that the Albanian people have a good case for their demand for self-determination."

Natasha Terlexis contributed to this article.

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