those fake refugees

rc-am rcollins at
Thu Apr 1 22:21:11 PST 1999


I have been arguing against the bombings. but it is not a case of one demand contradicting the other is it? our ability to give effect to the demand that the bombing should stop is not simply a result of the failure of left unity on the issue. to the extent to which NATO's own discourse has now shifted almost entirely to using fact of the refugees to support escalations, and in some cases, calls for ground troops, raising the demand for open borders goes to the core of their claims in a way that the demand to stop the bombing does not. in that sense, I think it a more strategic demand than any other I have seen.

as for being in a world of nation-states, those nation-states only exist in the context of an international system. there are tensions and contradictions here that are also not conditions of our own making. which tensions would we move to amplify? the demand that NATO countries open their borders to the refugees is exactly a demand that challenges the nationalism of those countries. it is not a demand made of the Belgrade government.

I have consistently spoken about the characterisation of the Serbians. but arguing that this is 'more racist' than characterizations of the refugees as 'inscrutable' is not an argument. and, you did not point out any contradictions in the article. there is nothing here that was worthy of repeating which you could not have put into an argument which did not deploy racist caricatures for its effectivity.

it is disingenuous, now, to even suggest that one needs to point to the contradictions within the media. of course we do. but you did not do that here. what you did was reproduce this article to substantiate your arguments.

the reason to be careful with 'exposing drugs as a source of funding' is that it is contrived to push certain buttons for a western audience. if, and I would be inclined to believe it, the KLA were financing their arms by drug-running, then this speaks volumes about the place of the narco-industries as a source of funds in the current global economy, as it does about the covert means of financing anything that needs to remain covert. also, as you would also know, it is an industry and trade which is accessible to certain people in a way that other industries are not. the racism toward refugees in Europe (from Africa and the Balkans) is sanctioned primarily around the claim that they are criminals and drug dealers. so: I was sounding a warning as I said.

further, any claims to protect the territorial sovereignty of a nation, especially when those borders are being internally disputed and emptied of those who do not 'belong', are claims in support of a nationalism. we can discuss the reasons for why this is taking place, and on most of this I actually have agreed with you, as you know. where we differ is that you see this largely from the perspective of a threat to a sovereign territory and I do not. the consequences of having taken this position for you is the ease with which you uncritically replicated a racist article in support of these claims to territorial sovereignty. Yugoslavia means united slavia. it is hardly that. the relation between particularity and universality here are stakes in a conflict, not givens that can be repeated without at the same time reproducing that conflict. but perhaps you are right. I will refer to the Belgrade government hence.

lastly, I am very careful with the issue of racism. I have simply asked that you be careful also.


-----Original Message----- From: Yoshie Furuhashi <furuhashi.1 at> To: lbo-talk at <lbo-talk at> Date: Friday, 2 April 1999 7:25 Subject: Re: those fake refugees

>They say they are planning *weeks* of bombing. You are right that it
>unlikely that they will halt it, but not because it is impossible for
us to
>make them stop; as of now, anti-NATO groups are too small and
>to do so. Hell, quite a few on this list are actively supporting the
>I wish we were living in an era that knew no border, but we still
live in
>the age of nation states (as the present war proves, for all the
talks of
>'globalization'). We live under the circumstances not of our own
making. I
>think it is a good idea, however, for those in imperial nations to
>the demand for open borders (of their own nation states, not of
>countries in the periphery), calling the bluff, so to speak, exposing
>lack of sincerity in those who say that Yugoslavs are committing
>>mmm. then why would you reproduce it?
>To question the argument that all those who are fleeing from Kosovo
>fleeing from 'genocidal Serbs.' BTW, the media characterization of
>has been _much more racist_ than anything that article said or
>And plenty of the mass media articles and 'NGO' reports that are
>have been reproduced here, without much questioning.
>>it was not only unnecessary
>>in order to make any arguments you might wish to
>One needs to point to contradictions and ambiguities in the mass
>reports. That is one of the tactics we've learned from Parenti,
>Ramsey Clark, and other principled anti-imperialists who read
>press' widely and carefully. The Left do not have enough independent
>reporting capacity. We must scrutinize and read between the lines of
>corporate press, many (if not all) of which are quite plainly racist.
>>and let me also signal another warning: the characterisation of a
>>group of people as drug runners and criminals, *even though* it may
>>well be true that this is a or the means of economic activity,
>>be something that anyone from the US smells a mile off as laden with
>>the kind of racism that is de rigeur in the US and those countries
>>caught up in US orbits.
>I do NOT characterize Albanians (a people) as drug runners; I DO,
>characterize the KLA as drug-financed + supported by the CIA, the
>Mujahideens, & 'Greater Albanian' adventurers. A BIG difference. The
>have murdered many Albanians who oppose their goal or tactics and
>publically admitted that they had and would kill 'collaborators.'
>the KLA is not an all-Albanian affair. It has been reported that
>Mujahideens, American Green Berets, Croats, and mercenaries have been
>fighting alongside them. What's wrong with exposing their major
>source as drugs? Please do not use the term racism so
>>so, I'll be blunt: the reproduction of racist propaganda is the
>>unavoidable cost of supporting the nationalism of the Serbian govt,
>>and you were bound to pay up sooner or later.
>I do NOT support what you call the 'nationalism of the Serbian govt.'
>can't you bring yourself to saying Yugoslavia, at least?) What makes
>think that I support what many call 'Serb nationalism'??? My
>target is the imperial politics of destabilization, through the use
>right-wing secessionists financed by drug deals (financed in this
manner so
>that the USA/NATO can more easily wash their hands, which is why the
>find it necessary to keep drugs illegal so they will remain usefully
>profitably in the black market). Remember how the CIA-allied Hmong
>fighters, Contras, and Afgan Mujahideens have been used by the USA.
This is
>how they wage war (especially now). Bombings are the follow-up to the
>and longer strategy of destabilization.

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