next up previous contents index
Next: Stalin against opportunism Up: The U.S. takes Previous: Anti-imperialist struggle and

Tito's revisionism and the United States


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 Tito's  revisionism in 1948, Stalin showed himself to be clear-sighted and firm in his principles. Forty-five years later, history has completely confirmed his predictions.

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.


James Klugmann,  From Trotsky  to Tito  (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1951), p. 13.

Tito  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 Marxist-Leninist   criticism and self-criticism; the leaders were not elected but chosen.


Ibid. , 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 Tito  payed no attention to the increase in class differences in the countryside nor to the rise of capitalist elements in the country.


Ibid. , 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'.


Ibid. , p. 11.

Once this criticism was published, Tito  set off a massive purge. All the Marxist-Leninist   elements of the Party were wiped out. Two members of the Central Committee, Zhujovic  and Hebrang,  had already been arrested in April 1948. General Arso Jovanovic,  Chief of Staff of the Partisan Army, was arrested and assassinated, as was General Slavko Rodic. 


Ibid. , 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.


Ibid. , 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 positions'.


Rapport: Le PCY dans la lutte pour la Yougoslavie nouvelle (Belgrade, 1948), pp. 94, 25.

But, a few months later, the Titoists  publicly took up the old social-democratic theory of passing from capitalism to socialism without class struggle! Bebler,  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?'


Klugmann,  op. cit. , p. 129.

In 1951, Tito's  team declared that the Soviet `kolkhozy reflected state capitalism which, mixed together with feudal remnants, forms the social basis of the USSR'. Developing Bukharin's  ideas, the Titoists  replaced planning by the free market:

`No one outside the co-operative sets production goals or categories'. The Titoists  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 economic means.'


`Directives du CC', in Questions actuelles du socialisme (Paris: Agence Yougoslave d'Information, Jan.-Feb. 1952), 10:160, 161, 145.

In 1953, Tito  reintroduced the freedom to buy and sell land and to hire agricultural workers.

In 1951, Tito  compared the Yugoslav Communists who remained loyal Marxist-Leninists   to the Hitlerian  Fifth Column, thereby justifying the arrest of more than 200,000 Communists, according to Colonel Vladimir Dapcevic's  testimony. Tito  wrote:

`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 countries.'


Ibid. , p. 85.

In the beginning of the 1950s, Yugoslavia was still essentially a feudal country. But the Titoists  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, Djilas  called the Soviet state a `monstrous edifice of state capitalism' that `oppressed and exploited the proletariat'. Still according to Djilas,  Stalin fought `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.' Djilas  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, Djilas  continued:

`Some of the Hitlerian  theories are identical to Stalin's theories, both from the standpoint of their contents and of the resulting social practice.'


Ibid. , Oct.-Nov. 1952, 14:2, 5, 18, 35--36, 30, 37, 44, 47.

Let us add that Djilas,  who later moved to the U.S., referred in this text to Trotsky's  `critique of the Stalinist system'!


Ibid. , p. 44.

In 1948, Kardelj  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:

`Mr. Dedijer  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 Klugmann,  op. cit. , p. 111.

So Tito  had become a simple pawn in U.S. anti-Communist strategy. Tito  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. In Klugmann,  op. cit. , p. 98.

In the economic field, the socialist measures that Yugoslavia had taken before 1948 were liquidated. Alexander Clifford,  the Daily Mail correspondent, wrote about the economic reforms adopted in 1951:

`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 Marxism  in all of that'.


Daily Mail, 31 August 1951. In Klugmann,  op. cit. , p. 150.

The Anglo-American bourgeoisie soon recognized that Tito  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 encouragement of Tito  has proved to be one of the cheapest ways yet of containing Russian Communism.

`To date the West's aid to Tito  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. In Klugmann,  op. cit. , p. 175.

This bourgeoisie intended to use Tito  to encourage revisionism and to organize subversion in the socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. On December 12, 1949, Eden  spoke to the Daily Telegraph:

`Tito's  example and influence can decisively change the course of events in Central and Eastern Europe.'


Daily Telegraph, 12 December 1949. In Klugmann,  op. cit. , p. 191.

Understanding the Communist demagogy of Tito  for what it really was, the London Times wrote:

`Titoism  remains a force, however, only so long as Marshal Tito  can claim to be a Communist.'


The Times, 13 September 1949. In Klugmann,  op. cit. , p. 194.

Titoism  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 Trotskyist  and Bukharinist  theories flourished.

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 Eastern Europe.

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.'


Stalin, Marxism  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.'


Ibid. , 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.'


Ibid. , 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 anti-socialist weapon:

`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 oppression;

`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.'


Ibid. , 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, Marxist  cadres, only if they get rid of their nationalism. Nationalism is the chief ideological obstacle to the training of Marxist  cadres, of a Marxist  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 can become Marxist  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.'


Ibid. , 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.'


Ibid. , pp. 262--263.

Stalin came back to the question of internationalism in 1930. He formulated a principle that became crystal clear during the Brezhnev  era:

`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 departure from Leninist  internationalism ....

`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.'


Ibid. , pp. 267--268.

next up previous contents index
Next: Stalin against opportunism Up: The U.S. takes Previous: Anti-imperialist struggle and

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995