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The Communist Party of Yugoslavia*

  • Fred Warner Neal (a1)
Extract

Of all the changes that have occurred in Yugoslavia since 1948, one of the most interesting is the development of a new theory and role for the Communist Party. Now officially called the League of Communists, the Yugoslav Party illustrates both the well-known dominant role of Communist parties in states where they have come to power and at the same time the peculiar nature of Yugoslav Communism that has set it apart from the Soviet variety.

Organized on the Soviet pattern and headed by men steeped in the Soviet tradition, the Yugoslav Communists even in 1945 occupied a position like that of their comrades in the USSR, where, as Stalin said, “not a single important political or organizational question is decided without directions from the Party ….” Even after the Cominform dispute had produced a new ideological pattern, a more liberal approach to Communism, political and economic decentralization and profuse professions of democracy, few could doubt that, as Stalin said about the situation in the Soviet Union, “the Party governs the country.”

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1 The name, changed in 1952, is Savez Komunista Jugoslavije in Serbo-Croat. The organization is still often referred to as “party,” however, and herein the terms Party and League are used interchangeably.

2 Stalin, J. V., Voprosy Leninizma (Questions of Leninism), Gosizdat (Moscow, 1934), p. 34.

3 For a discussion of these, see Neal, Fred Warner, “The Reforms in Yugoslavia,” The American and Slavic and East European Review, Vol. 13, pp. 227244 (April, 1954).

4 Stalin, op. cit., p. 38.

5 Dedijer, Vladimir, Tito (New York, 1952), p. 365.

6 See Pijade's statement on this in Neal, “Certain Aspects of the New Reforms in Yugoslavia,” University of Colorado Studies, Series in Political Science, No. 1, p. 53 (June, 1952).

7 Tito's, Report to Sixth Party Congress, Borba, November 4, 1952.

8 Yugoslav Newsletter, October 23, 1950.

9 Handler, M. S. in the New York Times, October 16, 1950, p. 1.

10 The directives are given in Komunist, June, 1952, and are further discussed in the reports of Tito and Ranković to the Sixth Party Congress. See Borba, November 4, 1952, and Politika, November 9, 1952.

11 Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

13 Ranković's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

15 Preview of the Sixth Congress,” Yugoslav Review, Vol. 1, No. 8, p. 3 (October, 1952).

16 Report on the IVth Congress of the People's Front,” Yugoslav Review, Vol. 2, No. 3–4, p. 17 (March–April, 1953).

17 Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

18 Ranković's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

19 “Resolution of the Sixth Congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party on the Role and Tasks of the Communist League of Yugoslavia,” Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (Belgrade, 1953), p. 128.

20 Ranković's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

21 See items on the Sixth Congress in Borba, November 7,1952, and reports of Tito and Ranković to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

22 Ranković's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

23 Edvard Kardelj's address to IVth Congress of People's Front, Yugoslav Review, Vol. 2, No. 3–4, p. 17 (March–April, 1953).

24 Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

25 Kardelj's address to IVth Congress of People's Front, op. cit.

26 A 1920 resolution of the Comintern held that “the necessity for a political party of the proletariat” would cease “with the complete abolition of classes,” at which time the Communist Party would become dissolved completely in the working class ….” Kommunistickestkii Internatsional v Dokumentakh (Communist International in Documents), p. 100 (Moscow, 1933).

27 Dedijer, op. cit., pp. 428–431.

28 Neal, Fred Warner, “Yugoslav Communist Theory,” American Universities Field Staff Reports, FWN-5- (Yugoslavia, 1954), p. 5.

29 Address of Djilas, Milovan, “On the Programme of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia,” Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (Belgrade, 1953), p. 88.

30 Ranković's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

31 This information was given to the writer by officials of the Secretariat in Belgrade on August 27, 1954.

32 Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

33 Statement of Blažo Jovanovć, chairman of the Montenegro Central Committee, to writer on September 24, 1954.

34 Borba, August 23, 1954.

35 Toward Greater Democracy in Party Organization,” Yugoslav Review, Vol. 1, No. 8, p. 3 (October, 1952).

36 Ibid., p. 3, p. 15.

37 Ranković's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

38 Apparently the trend toward ah increase of workers in the Party continued during 1954. The Sarajevo newspaper, Oslobodjenje, on December 21,1954, put the percentage of workers at 32.9.

39 See, for example, Ranković's remarks, Politika, November 9, 1952.

40 Pobjeda, Titograd, October 24, 1954, p. 2.

41 Otlobodjenje, December 21, 1954, p. 1.

42 Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

43 For a discussion of this, see Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress. Ibid.

44 See discussion on Party dues in Komunist, No. 9–10 (October–November, 1954).

45 The writer's estimate, based on the breakdown of membership in Table II.

46 See discussion on Party dues in Komunist, No. 9–10 (October–November, 1954).

47 Information given to writer by Božečević, Ivan, secretary-general of the Sindikat on August 24, 1954.

48 See Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

53 Relatively high officer membership is indicated in the “other” column in Table II.

54 Tito's Report to Sixth Party Congress, op. cit.

55 See, for example, discussion of Party problems in Sarajevo, , Oslobodjenje, December 24, 1954.

56 Borba, July 12, 1954.

57 Borba, November 2, 1954.

58 For examples of this confusion, see report of joint activity in Polilika, December 15, 1954, and Otlobodjenje, December 27, 1954.

59 Politika, January 12, 1954.

60 Kardelj's address to IVth Congress of People's Front, op. cit., p. 18.

61 Oslobodjenje, August 7, 1954.

62 Pobjeda, Titograd, October 24, 1954.

63 Stalin, op. cit., pp. 299–300.

64 See, for example, discussion on demands of rank and file to clarify frontiers between the Communist Party and the Socialist Alliance and between the Party and the government in New York Times, June 14, 1953, p. 12.

65 Proceedings and decisions of the Brioni Plenum are contained in Komunist, No. 4 (July, 1953).

66 See, for example, various articles in Borba, July 4, and September 29, 1953, exhorting Communists to prevent workers' councils from making decisions contrary to government and Party policy.

67 New York Times, March 14, 1953, p. 2. See also admonition to Party members regarding election in Borba, September 8, 1953.

68 See Djilas's second statement at Third Plenum, Komunist, No. 1, p. 157 (January–February, 1954).

70 See Tito's first speech to Third Plenum, ibid., p. 4.

71 Borba, January 4, 1954.

72 Borba, December 6, 1953.

73 “Yugoslav Communist Theory.” op. cit., p. 6.

74 “Anatomija jednog Morala” (“An Anatomy of Morals”), Nova Misao, p. 7 (January, 1954).

75 This article criticized not Colonel Dapčević or his wife but the top Party echelon, including its distaff side, for snubbing an earnest young woman simply because she did not have an ideologically-approved past. According to Belgrade rumors current at the time, Djilas himself was enamored with Mrs. Dapčević. “Yugoslav Communist Theory,” op. cit., p. 7.

76 See Hammond, Thomas Taylor, “The Djilas Affair and Yugoslav Communism,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 33, No. 2, p. 308 (January, 1955).

77 See Kardelj's remarks at Third Plenum. The speeches and decisions of the Third Plenum are contained in Komunist, No. 1–2 (January–February, 1954).

78 “Yugoslav Communist Theory,” op. cit., p. 7–8.

79 Komunist, No. 1–2, p. 163 (January–February, 1954).

80 “Yugoslav Communist Theory,” op. cit., p. 9.

81 Pobjeda, October 24, 1954.

82 These statements were made to the writer in the summer of 1954.

83 Pobjeda, October 24, 1954.

85 Conversation of the writer with Blažo Jovanović.

86 Proverka is a Russian word generally used in Eastern Europe for such examinations. For information regarding the Control Commission's examinations, see New York Times, December 22, 23, 26, 29, and 31, 1954.

87 The Times, London, December 22, 1954, p. 8.

88 New York Times, December 25, 1954, p. 1. Djilas's views were not “cooked up” on the spur of the moment, however. He had confided them to the writer in a conversation almost two months earlier. See “Yugoslav Communist Theory,” op. cit., p. 9.

89 New York Times, December 28, 1954, p. 1. See also Kardelj's remarks to the Second Congress of the League of Communists of Bosnia-Herzegovina, , Borba, December 28, 1954.

90 Borba, January 6, 1955.

91 Borba, January 6, 1955, p. 1.

92 Associated Press dispatch in Christian Science Monitor, January 24, 1955, p. 1.

93 New York Times, January 7, 1955, p. 1.

94 See, for example, Borba and Politika, January 4, 1955.

95 New York Times, January 24, 1955, p. 1. Although unable to find employment, Djilas continued to heckle the government from his Belgrade apartment. On May 31, 1956, he complained in a letter to the New York Times that Yugoslav publishers refused his manuscripts for political reasons. While Tito was in Moscow in June, 1956, he wrote a series of articles for the Hearst and other foreign newspapers attacking the new Soviet leadership with which Tito was then making further rapprochement. Cf. New York Journal American, June 11, 12 and 13, 1956. For these likely violations of his probation, he received only abusive criticism in the Yugoslav press. But when, at the time of the Hungarian uprising, he wrote an article for the New Leader attacking the ambiguity of Tito's stand (November 19, 1956, pp. 3–6), this was too much. He was sentenced to prison for three years. This time there was no probation. See New York Times, December 13, 1956, p. 1.

* This article is based on a chapter of a forthcoming book. Much of the material was gathered while the writer was doing work in Yugoslavia during 1954 as a member of the American Universities Field Staff, which has permitted him to quote from AUFS reports prepared at that time. The writer is also indebted to the American Philosophical Society, whose grant assisted him in his researches.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
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