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The Central and Eastern European countries, which led bitter struggles
during the years 1945--1948 to build socialism, had much less
experience than did the Soviet Party. Ideologically, they were not
solid: the fact that hundreds of thousands of new members joined,
often coming from social-democratic circles, made them easily subject
to opportunism and bourgeois nationalism.
As early as 1948, the anti-Soviet social-democratic model was adopted
by the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party.
By provoking the struggle against
revisionism in 1948, Stalin
showed himself to be clear-sighted and firm in his principles.
Forty-five years later, history has completely confirmed his
At the time of the German invasion in 1941, the clandestine Yugoslav
Party had 12,000 members; 8,000 of these were killed during the war.
But it gained 140,000 members during the resistance and 360,000 more
before mid-1948. Tens of thousands of kulaks, bourgeois and
petit-bourgeois had joined the Party.
& Wishart, 1951), p. 13.
relied more and more on these elements in his struggle against
real Communists. The Party had no normal internal life, there was no
political discussion, so no
self-criticism; the leaders were not elected but chosen.
, p. 22.
In June 1948, the Information Bureau of the Communist Parties,
including eight parties, published a resolution criticizing the
Yugoslav Party. It underscored that
payed no attention to the
increase in class differences in the countryside nor to the rise of
capitalist elements in the country.
, p. 9.
The resolution affirmed that, starting from a bourgeois nationalist
position, the Yugoslav Party had broken the socialist united front
against imperialism. It concluded:
`(S)uch a nationalist line can only lead to Yugoslavia's
degeneration into an ordinary bourgeois republic'.
, p. 11.
Once this criticism was published,
set off a massive purge. All
elements of the Party were wiped out. Two
members of the Central Committee,
been arrested in April 1948. General Arso
Chief of Staff
of the Partisan Army, was arrested and assassinated, as was General
, p. 43.
The London newspaper, The Times, referred to numerous arrests of
Communists upholding the Kominterm resolution; it estimated the
number of imprisoned persons at between 100,000 and 200,000.
, p. 143.
In his report to the Party's Eighth Congress, held in 1948, Karelj
quoted Stalin on numerous occasions to insist that Yugoslavia was
`pushing back kulak elements' and would never take `anti-Soviet
Rapport: Le PCY dans la lutte pour la Yougoslavie
nouvelle (Belgrade, 1948), pp. 94, 25.
But, a few months later, the
publicly took up the old
social-democratic theory of passing from capitalism to socialism
without class struggle!
Vice-Minister of External Affairs,
declared in May 1949:
`We have no kulaks such as there were in the U.S.S.R. Our rich
peasants took part en masse in the people's liberation war ....
Would it be a mistake if we succeeded in getting the kulaks to pass
over to socialism without class struggle?'
, p. 129.
team declared that
the Soviet `kolkhozy reflected state capitalism which, mixed together
with feudal remnants, forms the social basis of the USSR'.
replaced planning by the free
`No one outside the co-operative sets production goals or categories'.
organized `the passage to a system with more freedom for
objective economic laws to come into play. The socialist sector of
our economy will triumph over capitalist tendencies through purely
`Directives du CC', in Questions actuelles du
socialisme (Paris: Agence Yougoslave d'Information, Jan.-Feb. 1952),
10:160, 161, 145.
reintroduced the freedom to buy and sell land and to
hire agricultural workers.
compared the Yugoslav Communists who remained loyal
Fifth Column, thereby justifying
the arrest of more than 200,000 Communists, according to Colonel
`The attacks of the fascist aggressors have proved that much
importance can be attributed to a new element: the Fifth Column. It
is a political and military element that gets into gear in preparation
for aggression. Today, something similar is being attempted in our
country, under different forms, particularly by the Cominterm
, p. 85.
In the beginning of the 1950s, Yugoslavia was still essentially a
feudal country. But the
attacked the principle according to
which a Socialist State must maintain the dictatorship of the
proletariat. In 1950, the Yugoslav revisionists began a forum on
`the problem of the withering away of the State, in particular of the
rôle of the State in the economy'.
To justify the return to a bourgeois state,
called the Soviet
state a `monstrous edifice of state capitalism' that `oppressed and
exploited the proletariat'. Still according to
`to increase his state capitalist empire and, internally, to reinforce
the bureaucracy'. `The Iron Curtain, hegemony over the countries of
Eastern Europe and an aggressive political line have become
indispensable to him.'
spoke of `the misery of the working
class that works for the ``superior'' imperialist interests and the
bureaucracy's privileges.' `Today, the USSR is objectively the most
reactionary power.' Stalin `practices state capitalism and is the head
and spiritual and political leader of the bureaucratic dictatorship.'
Acting as agent for U.S. imperialism,
`Some of the
theories are identical to Stalin's theories,
both from the standpoint of their contents and of the
resulting social practice.'
, Oct.-Nov. 1952, 14:2, 5, 18, 35--36, 30, 37, 44, 47.
Let us add that
who later moved to the U.S., referred in this
`critique of the Stalinist system'!
, p. 44.
was still claiming to be faithful to the
anti-imperialist struggle. Two years later, Yugoslavia upheld the
U.S. war against Korea! The London Times reported:
sees events in Korea as a manifestation of the Soviet
will to dominate the world ... if this is to be resisted
successfully ... the workers of the world must `realise that yet
another pretender to world domination has appeared, and get rid of
illusions about the Soviet Union representing some alleged force of
democracy and peace'.'
The Times, 27 December 1950. In
, p. 111.
had become a simple pawn in U.S. anti-Communist strategy.
declared to the New York Herald Tribune that
`in the event of a Soviet attack anywhere in Europe, even if the
thrust should be miles away from Yugoslavia's own borders', he would
`instantly do battle on the side of the West ... Yugoslavia
considers itself part of the collective security wall being built
against Soviet imperialism.'
New York Herald Tribune, 26 June 1951.
, p. 98.
In the economic field, the socialist measures that Yugoslavia had
taken before 1948 were liquidated. Alexander
Mail correspondent, wrote about the economic reforms adopted
`If it comes off, Yugoslavia looks like ending up a good deal less
socialised than Britain': `price of goods ... determined by the
market --- that is, by supply and demand'; `wages and salaries ...\
fixed on the basis of the income or profits of the enterprise';
economic enterprises that `decide independently what to produce
and in what quantities'; `there isn't much classical
in all of
Daily Mail, 31 August 1951.
, p. 150.
The Anglo-American bourgeoisie soon recognized that
was to be a
very effective weapon in its anti-Communist struggles. The April 12,
1950 issue of Business Week reads:
`For the United States in particular and the West in general this
has proved to be one of the cheapest ways
yet of containing Russian Communism.
`To date the West's aid to
has come to $51.7 million. This is
far less than the billion dollars or so that the United States has
spent in Greece for the same purpose.'
Business Week, 12 April 1950.
, p. 175.
This bourgeoisie intended to use
to encourage revisionism and to
organize subversion in the socialist countries of Central and Eastern
Europe. On December 12, 1949,
spoke to the Daily
example and influence can decisively change the course of
events in Central and Eastern Europe.'
Daily Telegraph, 12 December 1949.
, p. 191.
Understanding the Communist demagogy of
for what it really was,
the London Times wrote:
remains a force, however, only so long as Marshal
claim to be a Communist.'
The Times, 13 September 1949.
, p. 194.
took power in 1948 as a bourgeois nationalist current. It is
with nationalism that Yugoslavia abandoned all principles of the
dictatorship of the proletariat. Nationalism was the soil in which
After the Second World War, this nationalist orientation had great
influence in other Communist Parties in Central and Eastern Europe.
After Stalin's death, Great-Russian nationalism developed in Moscow
and, in backlash, nationalist chauvinism spread throughout Central and
Let us examine the principles that are at the heart of this
controversy. In 1923, Stalin had already formulated an essential
aspect of proletarian internationalism in these terms:
`It should be borne in mind that besides the right of nations to
self-determination there is also the right of the working class to
consolidate its power .... There are occasions when the right of
self-determination conflicts with the other, the higher right --- the
right of a working class that has assumed power to consolidate its
power. In such cases --- this must be said bluntly --- the right to
self-determination cannot and must not serve as an obstacle to the
exercise by the working class of its right to dictatorship. The
former must give way to the former.'
and the National and Colonial Question
(London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1936), p. 168.
Starting from the principle of proletarian internationalism, Stalin
was a resolute adversary of all nationalism, starting with
Great-Russian nationalism. Still in 1923, he declared:
`The principal force hindering the amalgamation of the republics into
a single union is ... Great-Russian chauvinism. It is not
fortuitous, comrades, that the Smenovekhists have recruited a large
number of supporters from among the Soviet officials.'
, p. 153.
`Smenovekhism is the ideology of the new bourgeoisie, which is
steadily growing and gradually joining forces with the kulaks and the
bureaucratic intellectuals. The new bourgeoisie has created its own
ideology ... which declares that the Communist
Party is bound to degenerate and the new bourgeoisie to consolidate
itself. We Bolsheviks, it appears, will imperceptibly to ourselves
move towards this threshold of a democratic republic and cross this
threshold, and then, with the help of a Caesar, who is to rise either
from the military or from the civil ranks, we are to find ourselves in
the position of an ordinary bourgeois republic.'
, p. 300, n. 43.
But in the world struggle between socialism and imperialism, Stalin
also understood that bourgeois nationalism could be used as a powerful
`When a life-and-death struggle is being waged, and is spreading,
between proletarian Russia and the imperialist Entente, only two
alternatives confront the border regions:
`Either they join forces with Russia, and then the toiling
masses of the border regions will be emancipated from imperialist
`Or they join forces with the Entente, and then the yoke of
imperialism is inevitable.
`There is no third solution. So-called independence of a so-called
independent Georgia, Armenia, Poland, Finland, etc., is only an
illusion, and conceals the utter dependence of these apologies for
states on one group of imperialists or another ....
`And the interests of the masses of the people render the
demand for the secession of the border regions at the present stage of
the revolution a profoundly counter-revolutionary one.'
, pp. 79--80.
In the semi-feudal republics of the Soviet periphery, bourgeois
nationalism constituted the main form of bourgeois ideology rotting
inside the Bolshevik Party:
`It should be borne in mind that our Communist organisations in the
border districts, in the republics and regions, can develop and firmly
establish themselves, can become genuine internationalist,
cadres, only if they get rid of their nationalism. Nationalism is the
chief ideological obstacle to the training of
cadres, of a
vanguard in the border regions and republics .... In
relation to these organisations nationalism is playing the same part
as Menshevism played in the past in relation to the Party of the
Bolsheviks. Only under cover of nationalism can various kinds of
bourgeois, including Menshevik, influences penetrate into our
organisations in the border regions. Our organisations in the republics
cadres only if they are able to withstand
the nationalist ideas which are pushing their way into our Party
in the border regions ... because the bourgeoisie is reviving, the
New Economic Policy is spreading, nationalism is growing; because
there are still survivals of Great-Russian chauvinism, which also tend
to develop local nationalism, and because there is the influence of
foreign states, which are fostering nationalism in every way.'
, p. 178.
`The essence of the deviation towards local nationalism consists in
the attempt to isolate oneself and shut onself up within one's own
national shell, in the attempt to hush up class differences within
one's own nation, in the attempt to resist Great-Russian chauvinism by
turning aside from the general current of socialist cosntruction, in
the attempt to shut one's eyes to that which brings together and
unites the toiling masses of the nationalities of the U.S.S.R. and to
see only that which tends to estrange them.
`The deviation towards local nationalism reflects the dissatisfaction
of the moribund classes of the formerly oppressed nations with the
regime of the proletarian dictatorship, their endeavour to separate
themselves off into their national state and there to establish their
own class supremacy.'
, pp. 262--263.
Stalin came back to the question of internationalism in 1930. He
formulated a principle that became crystal clear during the
`What does a deviation towards nationalism mean --- irrespective of
whether it is a deviation towards Great-Russian nationalism or towards
local nationalism? The deviation towards nationalism is the
adaptation of the internationalist policy of the working class to the
nationalist policy of the bourgeoisie. The deviation towards
nationalism reflects the attempts of ``one's own'' ``national''
bourgeoisie to undermine the Soviet system and to restore capitalism.
The source of these deviations ... is a common one. It is a
`The major danger is the deviation against which one has ceased to
fight and has thus enabled to grow into a danger to the state.'
, pp. 267--268.
Next: Stalin against opportunism
Up: The U.S. takes
Previous: Anti-imperialist struggle and
Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995