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New Left Review I/150, March-April 1985

New Left Review

Introduction to Nikolić

In August 1984, six Yugoslav intellectuals—Pavle Imširović, Gordan Jovanović, Vladimir Mijanović, Miodrag Milić, Milan Nikolić and Dragomir Olujić—were charged jointly with forming a ‘counter-revolutionary organization aimed at the overthrow of the constitutional order’. In reality, all the six had in common was that they had taken part in a number of ‘Free University’ discussions: informal meetings initiated as far back as 1975 by members of the editorial board of Praxis when that journal was banned, and hitherto tolerated by the authorities. After one such meeting in April 1984, some thirty people were arrested. They were subsequently released, but some had been beaten up while in custody. Following the death of one of these, a young worker named Radomir Radović, in highly suspicious circumstances, a petition signed by hundreds of intellectuals demanded a public inquiry. [1] For documents concerning the Radovic affair and the subsequent protests in Yugoslavia, see Labour Focus on Eastern Europe, Vol. 7, No. 2. The authorities reacted with new arrests, including on this occasion five of the ‘Belgrade Six’. Three of them—Imširović, Mijanović and Nikolić—went on hunger strike until they were released five weeks later, following widespread protests both within the country and from an impressive constellation of forces abroad, spanning West European trade unions, the Italian Communist Party, the German Greens, French, German, Austrian and Scandinavian Social-Democrats and the British Labour Party, as well as numerous artists and writers from the West European and North American left.

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