GEDENKEN, ERINNERN, HANDELN
“This narrative is something that we as Europeans, as a community that is interested in changing things for the better, should challenge.” government is financing folklore, where Ustašas are marching in daylight and this is a problem. And our government will finance it again even though we are in the middle of a pandemic. They are giving 500.000 Kuna to the Bleiburg commemoration, which is the same amount of money that goes into the commemoration of the victims of Jasenovac. This relation, of course is very incorrect. Victims of Jasenovac were innocent victims. This equalization of victims is part of a problematic historical revisionism. Those that are commemorating, are not only commemorating victims but framing the Ustaša as part of the Croatian army. But it is the other way round: partisans were the Croatian army.
again strongly connected to the socioeconomic sphere as you already mentioned. What would you say are perspectives for the future? First of all, I would say that we need to challenge this commonly stated argument that there is no other way. We need to challenge this perspective that on the capitalist periphery everyone rejects their responsibility. Everyone believes that the rich countries of the center need to do something and their progressive politics need to make a change. But this is not happening. We need to act now and everywhere, in every socio-geographic part of Europe. We need to act according to the fact that changes can only happen if all actors at the same time change things on a global level.
However, we always need to stress the fact that this is nothing specific to Croatia. We, as well as the EU, have these declarations that try to equalize and put an equation mark between fascist and Nazis on the one side and Communists and Socialists on the other side. I do not want to say that the Soviet Union or Stalinism do not need to be criticised and be portrayed in a historically correct way. But you cannot equate them because those were completely different systems. You have the fascist and Nazi movemment which were promoting a vision of social inequality and racist and antisemitic laws. And on the other hand you have the communist movement which at least started with a bright vision of the future and ended in Stalinism.
Of course we also have to do small things and steps. For example, becoming a parliamentary party in Croatia is not something globally important, nothing that will change politics globally but it is a step forward, a step ahead towards our goal. It is not important how small the step is as long as it helps to change public discourse. Maybe this is a short answer for a global problem that you ask me about.
So this equation is very dangerous, not only from the point of view of a historical purism but also because you are erasing the possibility of democratic socialism, a vision of a better future. You are actually stating that this kind of neoliberal capitalism that we are living in this moment is the only way and that this could not be challenged. This narrative is something that we as Europeans, as a community that is interested in changing things for the better, should challenge Ways of remembering are always intertwined with public hegemonies and discourses that are
Well thank you very much for this interesting insight. Hopefully we will meet at some antifascist event in Austria or Croatia. Definitely. Transnational Solidarity is something we need to build. Two years ago, we were demonstrating against the Bleiburg commemoration together with Austrian antifascists. We need to build these connections as a movement and change things together.
Jakob Gruber is studying English and History in Graz.
LITERATURHINWEISE: Broschüre und Artikel des AK Pliberk*Bleiburg unter https://www.no-ustasa.at/. Holm Sundhaussen, Geschichte Jugoslawiens und seiner Nachfolgestaaten 1943–2011. Wien-Köln-Weimar 2012.
Matthias Schreckeis is a board member of APC and is studying History and Slavic Languages and Cultures in Graz.