Broken Solidarities: Visual Culture of the Non-Aligned Before and After 1989

This presentation analyzes the material, visual culture of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and socialism as these existed in the everyday life of Yugoslav peoples. Taking special note of the ways in which socialism, solidarity, and internationalism were present in the life of the cities, towns, and villages, how they were presented in mass media, protests, public life, and visual culture (posters, photographs, demonstrations), and everyday activities of people, I compare this rich history to its post-1989 afterlives in the region. Yugoslavia’s participation in the NAM was part and parcel of its larger commitment to socialism, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, and equity which was present at all levels of life (from the apartment in which one lived to the media which one consumed). After the end of Yugoslavia these ideas were rejected, the project forcefully extricated from public life and memory. As one of the consequences of the anti-communist, neoliberal project of the so-called transition in Eastern Europe, not only was socialism rejected and its international solidarities reversed, but so was the emancipatory trajectory of socialism resulting in the rise of massive material inequalities, class stratification, violence.