The December 1999-January 2000 issue of the World Socialist Web Site Review is now available. Produced by the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, the quarterly journal contains selected articles, reviews and commentary from the site, and is published in an attractive and durable magazine format.
The World Socialist Web Site Review assists our audience in retaining significant articles for future reference and discussion, and also serves to introduce new readers to the WSWS .
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Below, we reprint the editorial of the new issue.
In this issue of the World Socialist Web Site Review, we continue our analysis of the US-NATO war against Yugoslavia and the political shifts that have developed in its aftermath.
NATO's 78-day bombardment of Yugoslavia, its indiscriminate leveling of industry and infrastructure and subsequent occupation of the province of Kosovo, mark a definite turning point. The war has legitimised the use of military force on the part of the major powers to carve up small, defenceless nations in the pursuit of economic and geo-political interests.
Behind the mask of humanitarian concern over “ethnic cleansing”, the real agenda pursued by the US in its military intervention was to tighten its grip on the Balkans, as part of a broader strategy to secure its position in Eastern Europe and the oil-rich Caspian Sea basin of Central Asia.
The European powers joined the NATO action to protect their own interests within the region, provoking sharp conflicts within the alliance. In the aftermath of the Kosovo war, politicians and commentators in the European capitals are openly discussing the need for a joint military force independent of the US. In Tokyo, the Japanese government has enacted legislation to permit its military to operate overseas more freely.
This growing rivalry has far reaching consequences for the rest of the world. The major imperialist nations have arrogated to themselves the right to override the national sovereignty of small countries in the name of “human rights”. In what amounts to a new form of colonial style domination, Clinton and Blair declared that “humanitarian concerns” justified NATO's attack on Yugoslavia and subsequent military occupation of Kosovo. Last century, the colonial powers conquered territories under the banner of conducting a “civilising mission”.
No sooner had the bombs stopped falling on Belgrade than a new military operation was being prepared on the other side of the globe—in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Again, sensational media stories of wholesale genocide were used to stampede public opinion; this time into supporting the intervention of an Australian-led military force and an eventual UN administration.
But the smokescreen of “humanitarian concern” over East Timor is just as thin as it was in the Balkans. As the articles published here make clear, the motivations of Australia, the UN, Portugal and other powers have nothing to do with defending the rights and aspirations of the East Timorese people, who were abandoned to their fate under the Indonesian military regime for 24 years. On the contrary, the major powers' concerns have been to prosecute their competing claims to East Timor's resources, including the large oil reserves under the Timor Sea, and to the use of the half island as a base of operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The events in East Timor and Kosovo have also revealed fundamental shifts in the international alignment of political forces. In country after country, the parties, groups and individuals of the radical middle class “left,” those who in the 1960s and 1970s protested against the US war in Vietnam, have become the most enthusiastic cheerleaders of imperialist aggression. In this issue's first article “After the Slaughter: Political Lessons of the Balkan War,” WSWS Editorial Board Chairman, David North probes beneath the surface of this phenomenon to examine its material roots in the changed economic and social relations of the 1990s.
No less profound has been the political decay of bourgeois nationalism. All the anti-imperialist slogans and socialist pretensions that characterised the struggle for “self-determination” by figures such as Castro in Cuba, Sukarno in Indonesia and Nehru in India have vanished. From the outset, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) actively sought the military intervention of the major powers, pledging in advance their fealty to the IMF and the World Bank, in the hope of attracting foreign investors to their future “independent” statelets. The various bourgeois nationalist leaderships have abandoned the working class and oppressed masses to a future of exploitation as cheap labour, at the hands of the transnational corporations.
As our coverage of these events makes clear, it is vital that workers in every country begin to draw the political lessons of these tragic experiences.
This issue of the WSWS Review also explores other key political, social, and aesthetic issues: the deepening political crisis of the two-party system in the US, revealed in the opening stages of the 2000 presidential elections; New York Mayor Giuliani's attack on an art exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and a review by WSWS arts editor, David Walsh of the exhibition; the impact of UN sanctions on Iraq; the political trajectory of the Social Democratic government in Germany; the end of Fabianism in Britain. An extensive feature examines the fate of psychoanalysis in the Soviet Union. A number of articles are included from the increasingly popular and widely-read WSWS arts review.
These comprise just a small selection of the material published on the World Socialist Web Site every day. The broad range of articles provides a Marxist analysis of political, social, economic and cultural phenomena from around the world. In this way, the WSWS seeks to encourage a more critical and thoughtful attitude to the present framework of politics and society and develop a growing international audience for socialist ideas. We invite all readers of the WSWS Review to visit the site on a regular basis, and encourage comments, correspondence and contributions.