Krug 99 (Circle 99) Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
18. October 2023-42
WITHOUT A BOSNIAN NATION, THERE IS NO BOSNIAN STATE                  Traditionalist approaches to understanding of the nation commonly refer to the instrumentalist understanding of the nation, i.e. of the nation as an instrument for achieving other objectives.  This traditionalist approach to researching the nation accounts for a description of various forms of the phenomenon of nationalism and its essential characteristics.  According to this approach, the nation, nevertheless, is not recognized as an expression of the historical development of society.
                 The Bosnian nation is the expression of the historical development of the society and state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  According to the concept developed by Karl W. Deutsch, the creation or building of the nation as a process of integration of society is a perception of the nation as an expression of modernization and secularization of traditional societies.  The emphasis is on rationalization brought about by the establishment of a market economy and industrialization, concentration of the sources of production, urbanization caused by social mobility, mobility between the village and the city, rapid development of communication networks, as well as group interests and a consciousness about the uniqueness of the group.
  All of this creates a tendency to establish a national state apparatus in order to secure internal and external unity.  These developmental factors integrate society more intensively at the level of the nation-state.  They also facilitate better communication and mobility of its adherents and strengthen the economic potential and collective academic capacity more than any other form of previous societal integrations.
                 In other words, it is entirely understandable that Bosnia should continue to develop its own concept of a Bosnian nation that has a legal and political framework in harmony with the European stage of nation-building.  The creation of the Bosnian nation is a process of building a state based on law and the integration of society on the principles of free and equal citizenship.  That is the goal and the essence of the entire narration about the nation:  the establishment of a nation-state of free and equal citizens.   The cardinal fact of anti-Bosnian hegemonism reveals itself in the continuous obstructing of the establishment of the Bosnian nation and the organized undermining of Bosnian sovereignty.  This has become the cultural code of the objectives of Greater Serbia and Greater Croatia, the mainstream policies of those two nationalisms since the 19th century.  They have not abated during the 20th century and they continue into the first half of the 21st century.  Every historical reference to Bosnia as a political form has been immediately countered, undermined and declared in advance to be an impossible mission, even physically attacked.
                 In this context, we recall the statement by Dobrica Ćosić, member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences and the founding father of contemporary Greater Serbian nationalism, who said in 1989:  “Serbs will have nothing to claim in Bosnia if the concept of a Bosnian nation, of the Bosnians, is adopted and declared.  Our main priority is to prevent by any means the official recognition of a Bosnian nation.”  [NB:  From 1992 to 1994, Ćosić was President of Yugoslavia, which at that time was comprised of Serbia and Montenegro.]
                 According to the logic of Greater Serbia and Greater Croatia, a Bosnia at peace can only be a Bosnia where there are no Bosnians, where Bosnians cannot be allowed to be Bosnians.  Rather, they would be forcefully divided into three ethno-religious identities (Serb-Orthodox, Croat-Catholic and Bosnjak-Muslim), and then on that basis forcefully partitioned into three separate territories.  The 1990s war was conducted for just that purpose – forcefully and through ethnic cleansing and genocide to set up three ethno-religious ‘pure’ territories.  Simultaneously, continuous pseudo-scientific insistence about the ‘impossibility’ of a Bosnian nation precludes the legal and sovereign rights to existence within a unified sovereign state for all those citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who do not favor ethno-territorial division and who sense a common Bosnian identity.
                 However, in the modern capitalist system, the nation-state has become the only legitimate form of a state.  This is especially obvious in the case of former socialist multi-national federations, such as the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.  In each of these former states, the penetration of capitalism into their political and economic space and their incorporation into the global capitalist system regularly led to their dissolution and the formation of nation-states out of their former federal units.  The exception is Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has not yet defined itself as a nation-state and for that reason is constantly under the pressure of ethnic partition.
                 Therefore, in order to survive in a world that consists exclusively of nation-states, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to unite its own society into a single Bosnian nation.  Every nation, including the Bosnian one, should be viewed within that exclusive framework of existence that dominates in the world of nation-states, as imposed by the capitalist system.
  ** NB:  Concerning nation-states as the only form of political existence in the global capitalist system, see:  Zlatko Hadžidedić, Nations and Capital: The Missing Link in Global Expansion (London-New York:  Routledge 2022)
Summary of Session of 15 October 2023, with Dr. Senadin Lavic and Dr. Zlatko Hadzidedic   Adil Kulenovic, President of “Circle 99” (“Krug 99”)  
Association of Independent Intellectuals – Circle 99 (Bosnian: Krug 99), a leading Bosnian think-tank, was established in Sarajevo in 1993, in the midst of the Bosnian war (1992-1995), while the capital was under siege. Circle 99 provides a platform to bring together intellectuals of various professional and ethnic identities; university professors, members of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, and other prominent figures from Bosnia and from abroad. Multidisciplinary discussions and initiatives are held each Sunday throughout the academic year, in the form of regular sessions about politics, science, education, culture, economy, and other societal issues. The overall goal is to sensitize the public towards a democratic transformation, achieving and maintaining peace, and integration of modern Bosnia into the community of countries fostering liberal democracy. Circle 99 has been declared an organization of special significance for the city of Sarajevo.