Disruptive Fridays #21: Legacy of Resistance – Rediscovering Yugoslavia’s Partisan History
Disruption Network Lab
Marta Popivoda, Gal Kirn and Elena Veljanovska
The Yugoslav Socialist project (1945 – 1992) was a unique visionary experiment. Built on the partisan struggle and legacy, it aimed at creating new political institutions, equal gender representation, massive modernisation and functional infrastructure, as well as introducing new forms of ownership and practiced worker’s self-management. Yet, the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia broke into seven different countries after nationalist bloodshed in the 1990’s. After the break of the federal state, much of this legacy was wiped out by the historical revisionism that followed in each of the independent countries, transitioning to narrow-minded nationalist narratives. Underneath the blanket of growing nationalisms, the shared memory and culture built on this legacy still pertain and thrives among both, older and younger generations long after Yugoslavia’s fall. Nowadays, this legacy serves as an anchor for a progressive political identity and shared values of anti-fascism, solidarity, and internationalism.
One of Gal Kirn’s latest book, “The Partisan Counter-Archive Retracing the Ruptures of Art and Memory in the Yugoslav People’s Liberation Struggle” (link) – “covers rich (counter-) archival material – from partisan poems, graphic works, and photography, to monuments and films – and ends by describing the recent revisionist un-doing of the partisan past.”
The latest movie by Marta Popivoda Landscapes of resistance (link), is “a journey through Sonja’s life and memories of her revolutionary days. Sonja was one of the first female partisans in Serbia who helped lead the resistance in Auschwitz.” Marta Popivoda and Gal Kirn both research and embody different temporal and political notions of the partisan ideology in their work. In this edition, we will discuss the possibilities to translate and transform this revolutionary past and antifascist ideology to counter the political polarisation and growing fascism in our contemporary society.
Photo Courtesy of the organisation