Horst veselje

The fascist threat to Novi Sad does not appear to have amounted to much this time around. Several hundred people attended an antifascist meeting, where they listened to speeches and went to place flowers on a monument to victims of fascism. Police had promised to prevent the announced march by the members of the neofascist "Nacionalni stroj," and then arrested about 30 of the tonsorially challenged fellows when they created a provocation by throwing things at their opponents and the police.

It might be interesting to note what the neofascists intended to do: since the antifascists were going to commemorate a monument, they planned to put flowers on a monument to the nineteenth century politician Jaša Tomić. Tomić was not such a major figure: aside from murdering a political opponent, he is known for trying to lead an independence movement against Austria-Hungary and for being a founder of the Radical party in Vojvodina. There is a monument to him because the Radicals control the municipal government. There is also a village named after him, which was flooded not so long ago.

The reason the Nacionalni stroj cares about Jaša Tomić one way or the other is because of an old screed he wrote which gives a sort of eclectic apologia for antisemitism, where he blames the problems of Serbia on old-style market economics, Benjamin Disraeli, and a bunch of other vaguer things. The tradition of domestic antisemitism in Serbia is pretty thin: aside from this text, there is basically a stringing together of bad translations of religious texts by Vasa Pelagić, and not much else until Nikolaj Velimirović wrote something up while hanging out for a few months in the SS barracks at Dachau waiting for his pal Ljotić to get him sprung.

It is a good thing that people managed a public demonstration against the resurgence of fascism. I have had a couple of minor encounters with the members of these neofascist groups with bombastic names, and the greatest threat probably does not come from these small packs of scared teenage boys, whatever they may symbolise. But then fascist movements have never come to power on their own, it has always happened through the indulgence of more "respectable" politicians who were cynical and clueless.

Follow your eels

Packing up. Spending time with the family. Leaving for London early morning. Next posts to come once I set up shop.