Mobilization for independence in Croatia
DOI link for Mobilization for independence in Croatia
Mobilization for independence in Croatia book
Introduction Croatia, the other prosperous northern republic of Yugoslavia, was secessionist like Slovenia, and as in Slovenia, its politicians used economic arguments to call for more republican sovereignty. However, in Croatia, economic arguments during domestic mobilization for secession were not salient. Quite another process unfolded. In the federal debates, Croatia repeated the same arguments for confederation as Slovenia, many of which were economic. As Milica Uvalić described the internal debate in the federal structures, the more developed republics of Slovenia and Croatia felt exploited by the federal system. This was because they contributed the most to the Federal Fund for the Development of Less Developed Republics and Regions, yet had no control over how those resources were used. In addition, they lamented the fact that they could not retain a significant portion of their foreign-currency earnings from exports and tourism. Because of this they said Yugoslavia should become a confederation. These arguments became crucial during the confederation-federation debate in the second half of the 1980s.1 In Croatia’s political sphere, however, economic arguments for independence were rather marginal, even though the argument ‘we are exploited by the poor South’ was widely accepted. Croatia was the ‘silent republic’ until 1989: demands for greater Croatian sovereignty only appeared in public debate after preparation for the first multiparty elections had begun. Thus, not much was said about independence before the campaign for the first democratic elections. Croatia is an interesting case, since despite the fact that it took a common position with Slovenia in the federal debates because the two republics had similar economic interests, during domestic mobilization Croatian ethnicity, identity and history took centre stage. In Slovenia, in contrast, the political discourse during the referendum campaign was mostly framed by economic arguments. In the case of Slovenia, the language and style of the discourse was pragmatic and moderate, while in Croatia it was exclusivist and ethnonationalist. The aim of this chapter is to explain why the movement towards independence took such a different route in Croatia from that in Slovenia.