Mapping Rightwing Exstremism, Local context

General socio-political climate in Serbia and Montenegro and in Vojvodina concerning the position of Youth

Going back to the past, we could generally say that the period of the so-called socialist self-government system, was a period of a common cultural and educational emancipation (formation of university centers, free education...). We could regard this period as a stage of restitution of civic values, that implied appreciation of religious, national, and cultural distinctions between different nations and nationalities in SFRJ (Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia). However, this stadium was heavily marked with a collision that manifested itself in an attempt of overcoming ancestral-tribal conscience which was, and later proved – remained one of the strongest and most typical characteristics of public sense in these parts of the Balkan peninsula. Begining in the '60s, the manifestation of nationalism in SFRJ, with it's various magnitudes, was constantly exerted, all the way to the '90s, when it revealed itself in its most primitive form. The culmination was a definite decay of SFRJ, hence the «civil» war, in which, the ancient pre-civic, nationalistic animosities broke out in their most dramatic contours. Herein, the common fear of changes, conservative followed by public impoverishment, strong tradition conscience, so as a distinctive - apt to mythologization – mentality, have originated an atmosphere of severe xenophobia, egoism and bigotism.

After the breakdown of Yugoslavia, the political situation in Serbia - that was fully devastated during the warfare it carried out, as in material, thus in a mental sense – is now deeply criminalized and still heavily burdened with its repugnancies. On the one hand, there is a strive for modernization of economic structures and political processes, so as the outspoken necessity for belonging to the community of European nations, and at the same time Serbian political elite is conducting very inappropriate politics. Even so, this elite is standing behind common civic values, it simultaneously negates them through its practice, marked by historical revisionism and clericalization of society.

Two important questions will be resolved by the end of this 2006. – solution to the final status of Kosovo, and the referendum in Montenegro. Therefore it can easily be expected an increment of ethnic tensions, surely a heavy booster for nationalist and social demagogy.

In Vojvodina, traditionally a multiethnic and multiconfessional region, national segregation is in a direct ratio with a formidable social situation: there is a significant problem of unemployment – from 1990. to 2002. the number of employees decreased from 628.000 to 493.000. It could at least be said that a situation such as this, not at all contributes to the development of tolerance and respect of differences. Hence, we are facing more and more frequent eruptions of national and religious bigotism, coming in the same time from the Serbian majority, and other ethnic minorities. What is very concerning is the fact that most of these multinational conflicts are mainly carried out by young people.

Today in Serbia, youngsters are increasingly liable to adopting these kinds of retrograde ideologies, being raised in times of wars, hatred and poverty. Prejudices have become a common habit. These young people are being upbrought in a society that celebrates war criminals, that committed the most horrid crimes, as national heroes. Almost 80% of the young population has never in their lives went abroad. They have never had the opportunity of meeting other nations, their culture, and therefore adopting differences as something normal. This rise of nationalism and operation of extremist groups may originate malignant consequences to preserving of the Autonomous Region of Vojvodina, the only province in this region that retained its spirit of multiethnicity.

One other very concerning fact is an obvious lack of any reaction from the political and cultural subjects in the country, so as the lack of any strategy what so ever, that would be directed to resolving conflicts of the young generations, on the local, so as the national level. Therefore we believe that education of the young population could and should play a key role in the reexamining of their relations towards the war in ex-Yugoslavia, and Serbia's role in it. Our tendency is signifying the possibility of an alternative means of thinking. Differences can be understood and accepted, not just deprecated and persecuted. Our goal is to ensure that the young population accepts that, being a route of progress, this country can and must undertake