Transformation of Memorial Sites in the Post-Yugoslav Context
The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of theliving. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves andthings, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honoured disguise and borrowedlanguage.Karl Marx,
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
Introduction: Postsocialist Effects
After the so-called democratic revolutions at the end of the 1980s in the East, the post-socialist era has begun. Due to the transition period and absence of a better concept, postsocialism has become a dominant signifier, which aims to cover all historical processesthat were at work in these societies. However, the post-socialist condition firmly developedand promoted the advance of neoliberal ideology: the praise of the sacred mechanisms of thefree market, the withering away of the welfare state and the embracing of a Europe that willtake care of everything
. Everything, it might be said, except the war in its own back yard?The transitional neoliberal ideology, which targeted the socialist state’s economicmanagement and relations, went hand in hand with its rightwing counterpart. The dissident plea for human rights, launched in the name of parliamentarism and the “democratic” publicsphere, was invoked against the gloomy totalitarian past. And the critique of the totalitarian past became a sine qua non of every democratic enunciation. If one wanted to belong to ademocratic camp, one had to purify oneself of the communist past. No matter howundemocratic some of the new political practices were (the destruction of the welfare state,nationalist outbursts, exclusion of minorities etc.), and no matter what the dissidents wereactually doing
, what counted was their initial ideological presupposition: anticommunism atany price. But this ideological conjuncture was not only imposed from outside, it was not amere copy of the neoliberal struggle taking place in the West, but was formed and framed in
This article is a revised and extended version of the article “Remembering or thinking the partisanmovement?”. It was published in the catalogue
The museum on the street
Tati, my grandfather Vlado Kirn, joined the Partisans in 1941 at the age of 15. Heavily wounded at theage of 17, he was interned in Dachau, a concentration camp, where he remained a forced labourer until the endof the war. I learned of his stories, Partisans and the occupation from my grandmother only after his death.
We should not overlook the fact that in Yugoslavia, neoliberal agenda started due to the implementationof IMF conditions already in the beginning of the 1980s. On the analysis of detrimental effects of IMF onYugoslavia, see Cathérine Samary (1988), Branka Magaš (1993) and Susane Woodward (1995).
Tomaž Mastnak lucidly described how the civil society became ‘totalitarianism from below’ (1987).