There are few places on this wretched ball of shit we call earth that could benefit more from the concept of neutrality than the territory currently classified as Ukraine. For centuries these fields and forests have been the chessboards for one cruel imperial death match after another and the poor people who’ve had the misfortune of existing between the masters of the universe have long served as their unwilling pawns. Whether it was the Czars and the Ottomans, the Soviets and the Nazis, or now Putin and NATO, the permanently ravaged people of the Wild Steppes have long led an existence defined by being trapped between the locking horns of colliding giants. Their only real sin is living on an eight-lane highway between continents and for this they must suffer the wrath of the very worst that both have to offer. The unspeakable horrors of 2022 are but the latest chapter in this tragic saga.
As I’ve said here too many times to count, the only hope for peace that these people have if they are even to remain a singular people has always been a precarious balancing act of neutrality governed by decentralized regional autonomy. Western observers, in their infinite wisdom, present this fate as some form of capitulation to their ghoulish Eastern adversaries but monsters like Putin only advocate such a fate because the crumbling post-Soviet Kremlin is simply too goddamn poor to afford the puppet states of yesteryear. The truth is that there is nothing stronger than a people united only by the common dream of retaining their indigenous diversity while minding their own goddamn business and we could all benefit from embracing these values. Marshal Tito understood this a century ago and helped design both Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement for just that purpose.
I may have come a long way in my journey from worshipping communist strongmen to embracing my own unique blend of Queer post-left market anarchism, but any self-respecting armchair historian would be hard pressed not to at least begrudgingly admire the creative tenacity of an iconoclastic creature like Josip Broz Tito. A founding father of the Comintern, this noble Marxist Croat first rose to international infamy by uniting the seemingly un-unite-able people of the Balkans against fascist occupation with his shoestring Partisan Uprising and bogging the Axis Powers down in a quagmire in those perilous mountains just long enough for the Red Army to catch the upper hand in Stalingrad.
For this Tito became a communist rock star, the apple of Josef Stalin’s yellowy eye, but the good Marshal had zero intentions of ever being anybody’s fucking monkey-wrench. Instead, he defied Soviet hegemony and split from an irate Stalin in 1948 to forge his own kind of worker’s paradise in a land long hopelessly divided by the same kind of outside imperial interference that defines Ukraine.
Tito brought the diverse republics of the newly formed Yugoslavian Federation together by granting them autonomy in the form of decentralized communal governments who operated in a partnership rather than a centralized mono-state. Tito still played the strongman and had the final say but each region was given room to forge their own path just like each factory was given room to forge their own direct democracy and it was this very degree of radical independence that encouraged a land long plagued by war to work together because no one held enough power to go it alone. But for this sin against Bolshevik heterodoxy, Yugoslavia was forced to go it alone, isolated in post-war poverty from the neighbors they helped liberate on three sides in the Warsaw Pact. So, Tito said fuck the Warsaw Pact, fuck all pacts, and turned to the newly liberated colonies of the Global South for both inspiration and comradery.
Empowered by his position of neutrality during the savage puppet war in Korea and building on the principles of the 1955 Bandung Conference which brought together the long-subjugated peoples of Asia and Africa in fraternity against their shared colonial big brothers in the Global North, Tito formed an alliance in 1961 with four other eccentric gadflies who had grown sick upon death of the endless imperial pissing matches of the Cold War, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamel Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia. Together they formed the Non-Aligned Movement, an organization that celebrated strength through neutrality, diversity, and autonomy.
None of these men were saints by any measure but they had all been burned by capitalists and communists alike and united to forge a third way that rejected the omnicidal nuclear duel of the Cold War while refusing to pick a side in a battle between two mobs of despotic pricks. Instead, they embraced values like mutual non-aggression and peaceful coexistence, what essentially amounted to minding your own goddamn business. Their membership rapidly swelled and for a couple decades both the Non-Aligned Movement and the Federation of Yugoslavia flourished. Then the rats came in.
Western imperium dismantled Yugoslavia with the same parasitic weapon it would later use to castrate the Non-Aligned Movement, debt. The IMF and the World Bank offered the cash-strapped Yugoslavia massive loans that seemed too good to be true because they were. They propped up the Federation as a wedge against the Soviet Union and then juiced them with massive amounts of debt once the USSR collapsed and the Yugoslavians ceased to be useful to their imperial designs. They dismantled their banking system and sold their assets to the highest bidders on the global capitalist market.
Then once the Federation was in ruins, the victorious American imperialists came in with the National Endowment for Democracy and heavily invested in ethnic nationalist candidates for local elections who blamed the shared plight of the Balkans on different tribes of victims rather than the banks who robbed them all blind. Civil war and genocide followed shortly behind. Meanwhile this same international banking system used Yugoslavia like a crack dealer at the conferences of the Non-Aligned Movement and slung debt to their comrades who followed the same tragic fate which ultimately led the once proud Third World directly back into an eerily familiar colonial desert of crooked trade agreements and foreign military installations.
Both Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement failed because they failed to recognize that the greatest evil of the Cold War was not the United Sates or the Soviet Union, communism or capitalism, but the centralization of power itself that only constant global warfare renders possible. It’s disturbingly telling that through all the bloodbaths and Third World battlefields of the first Cold War, an American never put a single bullet in a Russian body or vice versa. They were both too damn busy counting the money they made off the children of their own poor and the darker children that they slaughtered for the glory and prestige of monsters who never even bothered to remember their names. And the banks played the whole fucking war like one big casino game, betting on one side or the other as the wind changed and slowly killing the nations sharp enough not to get enslaved by the poison gift of their loans with “humanitarian” interventions.
But the failures of the Non-Aligned Movement cannot be blamed on banks alone. As ballsy and brazen as leaders like Marshal Tito and Colonel Nasser may have been, they failed miserably to practice what they preached on the world stage at home which is what made their regimes susceptible to the tantalizing vices of the World Bank to begin with. With their top-down systems of autocratic rule, the founding fathers of one of the most strategically important revolutionary movements in modern history were little better than benevolent dictators at best, leaving their people just one coup-de-tat away from falling into the hands of a rat with a price tag hanging from his ear. Sukarno and Nkrumah were both overthrown by the CIA with help from the thugs in their own governments and Tito, Nasser, and Nehru were all seceded upon their natural deaths by equally lecherous scoundrels who sold off their revolutions like used cars at a swap meet.
Unlike Yugoslavia, the Non-Aligned Movement continues to exist and by some measures it is stronger than ever, the largest non-Western international institution representing roughly two thirds of the globe with 120 members. But it only stands as a sad Disneyfied shell of its former glory, a ghost devoid of any tangible values beyond stale nostalgia and pseudo-anti-imperialist virtue signaling. Global superpowers like China and Russia are observers, peddling their influence to their former adversaries, and N-AM’s own members include unapologetic petite-imperialists like the Saudis and their current chairman Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan who ethnically cleanses the Armenian colony of Artsakh as we speak.
But as a tragic as this fate may be, as inevitable as this fate may have been, it doesn’t change what Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement represented at their peak, a united front of poor nations defined by their total rejection of imperialism and the endless wars it thrives on, and with the bodies stacking up in Ukraine over another duel between oligarchs with the privilege of profiting from the bloodshed, these ideals have never been more important, they just need to be revised in the shadow of fractured giants like Josip Broz Tito who failed to follow through with a consistency that even benevolent strongmen aren’t capable of.
What the world needs now is a new Non-Aligned Movement for a new Cold War, one that recognizes the true enemy of sovereignty in the light of the last’s fatal mistakes. We need a Non-Aligned Movement united against the common enemy of bigness- big business, big government, big banking- and all the foul institutions that represent it. We need a movement that stands united against NATO, against the WTO, against the World Bank and the IMF and the EU, against globalism itself. We need a movement that stands against the very premise of the superstate, one that recognizes that any state the size of America, China, the European Union, or Russia is an existential threat to sovereignty everywhere unless they can be regulated by their own people in the form of decentralized confederations that grant every republic with the basic human right of secession.
We need a diverse union of confederations, microstates, autonomous zones, and militias that challenge the monopoly the failed Westphalian nation state still holds on governance and recognizes the diversity of a thousand forms of autonomous indigenous rule governed not by men but by voluntary contracts between individuals and communities. This is the kind of Non-Aligned Movement the world needs today. One where the Uyghurs needn’t rely on the Americans and Ryukyu needn’t rely on China and the Donbas needn’t rely on Russia and Ukraine needn’t rely on NATO because we should all rely on each other against the real fucking enemy, the oligarchs of the global elite who cloak themselves in the flags of international order. Let’s shatter that order together and shove the jagged pieces up their fucking ass.
Because only together are we heavy, dearest motherfuckers. Together we are Tito!