Pavel Yudin 1948

The Draft Programme of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia

Written: By Pavel Yudin, 1948;
Source: For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy! Vol. 2, no. 14; July 15, 1948;
Transcribed: David Adams, March 2022.

After the Central Committee of the CPSU (B) in a number of letters had subjected the leaders of Yugoslavia to sharp criticism for their anti-Marxist distortion of the fundamental principles of Party structure, they made haste with a number of demagogic declarations in which they tried to show that all is well, that the Party is built on Leninist principles, and so on.

The Central Committee of the Party began to rush the legislation of the Party, announced the convocation of a Party congress and with equal haste published the draft of a programme for the Party. This Programme which appeared in “Borba” in the name of the Central Committee of the Party, gives the impression of a muddled newspaper article rather than the programme of a serious political party.

The first part of the programme, which is a re-write of the programme of the Communist International, attempts to give an analysis of the general laws of social development, of the laws governing capitalism and imperialism. All this is presented in a way that makes the authors of the programme presented as though they were the original discoverers of these laws, thereby taking upon themselves the role of teachers of the international working class.

Where the authors of the programme confine themselves to copying from the Programme of the Communist International, matters are not so bad. But the moment they attempt their own formulations, the result is complete theoretical helplessness and an anti-Marxist interpretation of things. Attempting to explain the reasons for the destruction of the German fascist armies, the authors merely say that the fascists “lost the war under the blows of the Allied forces, with the Soviet Union bearing the brunt of the war”. No one denies this. It is not simply a matter of the Soviet Union having borne the brunt of the war. The point is that the Soviet Army smashed the German fascist troops and liberated the countries of Eastern and South-eastern Europe, it helped the peoples of these countries to drive out the Germans and to smash the bourgeoisie and landlords, it enabled the peoples of these countries to come to power and create a people’s democratic system, Yugoslavia included.

It is this obvious fact that is denied by the Yugoslav leaders; it is this fact that is denied by the authors of the draft programme. Contrary to historical truth, the draft presents the matter as if Yugoslavia alone routed the Germans and expelled them from the country.

Part two of the draft programme in particular shows up the complete theoretical helplessness of its authors. In this section, which contains a description of the old Yugoslavia, one would have thought that Yugoslavia of the past would have been examined from a Marxist standpoint, that the people would have been shown from what oppression they had been delivered. But while the authors displayed remarkable verbosity in outlining the general history of capitalism they are most laconic in describing the social order in the old Yugoslavia. They failed to give a concrete Marxist analysis of their country’s history.

The programme devotes much space to the agrarian question in Yugoslavia. But this section makes a strange impression. The draft does not say in whose hands the land is today: (it is private property). Nor is any mention made of the future of land ownership during the transition to socialism. This completely exposes the leaders of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia as a petty-bourgeois politicians who are afraid to tell the peasant that socialism in agriculture means making the land the property of the people, and that only the working peasantry will benefit from this change.

The section devoted to socialist reforms in agriculture is such a muddle and distortion of Marxism-Leninism, and so utterly inane theoretically, that it is impossible to imagine the authors at the draft and the Central Committee of the Party, which approved the draft, having the slightest theoretical understanding at the agrarian question.

A most disheartening impression is made by the fact that while planning to reorganise agriculture on the basis of socialist principles, the draft says nothing about the great experience of socialist reorganisation of agriculture in the Soviet Union, It is as if there had been no such experience, as if the Yugoslav leaders had, for the first time, opened the eyes of mankind.

As we know from the experience of the Soviet Union where 25 million peasant households took to the socialist path, socialism in agriculture means that the peasantry socialise the basic means of production and take to collective farming. The collective farms mean socialism in agriculture. The collective farms are the banner of socialism which has stood all tests. Beneath this banner some 150 million peasants of varying nationality in the Soviet Union have victoriously built socialism and are, with great success, developing the socialist system of agriculture.

The question arises why has not the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Party, which has held forth on socialist changes in agriculture, mentioned the collective farms as the socialist way in agriculture? The leaders of the Yugoslav Communist Party are silent about the great historical experience of the Soviet Union and about socialist agriculture in the Soviet Union because they are not revolutionary Marxist-Leninists, but kulak ideologists who want to build socialism together with the kulaks.

Instead of the collectivisation of agriculture they proclaim “labour cooperatives” as a higher form of socialist reorganisation of the countryside.

The term “labour cooperatives” is so vague that it can mean almost anything. The draft programme does not say a word about the socialisation of the means of production, and especially about the land. In this form cooperatives are acceptable to any and everyone, including the kulaks. This is not a Marxist programme of building socialism but a Narodnik- Socialist Revolutionary, kulak programme for developing capitalism in the countryside.

The draft programme proclaims the principle of preserving private ownership of dwelling houses. Everybody knows that private ownership of housing property in towns and cities is lucrative source of capitalist enrichment and a means of plundering the working people. To this day dwelling houses in the towns, including large-scale property, have not been nationalised in Yugoslavia. And the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party undertakes to preserve this state of affairs under the socialist system.

In other words the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Party is telling the urban bourgeoisie not to worry too much, and not to be afraid of socialism. The leaders of the Yugoslav Communist Party reason like Proudhon: “Once the house is built it serves as an eternal juridical foundation for receiving a definite share or social labour”.

The leaders of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia are forsaking Marxism in its aspects. In their draft programme they write that in Yugoslavia there remain but the remnants of capitalist elements. They say nothing at all about the fact that an entire capitalist class—the kulaks exist in the countryside. In “failing to see” this exploiting class they are trying to gloss over the fact of its existence, to conceal it from the labouring peasantry, and to depict the kulak as a toiling peasant who will grow into socialism together with the remainder of the peasantry.

On the question of the class struggle during the transition period to socialism, the Yugoslav leaders adopt a completely opportunist attitude. The draft programme was elaborated after criticism had been made of the mistakes of the leaders of the Yugoslav Party by the Central Committee of the CPSU (B). This included criticism of the incorrect stand taken by the Yugoslav leaders on the question of the intensification of the class struggle in Yugoslavia.

However, all that the programme managed to say on this question was that “the class struggle will continue until the final abolition of the exploiting classes”. But the point is not just that the class struggle will continue. Inevitably it will grow sharper. It is this point that the Yugoslav leaders fail to grasp and indeed refuse to grasp—preferring to disorientate the Party and the people by glossing over the fact of the intensification of the class struggle in the transition period to socialism. The draft programme of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia is actually a nationalist, and not an internationalist programme. The programme contains not the Marxist, Leninist idea, but the nationalist idea that Yugoslavia single-handed can build socialism. Its authors bypass the matter of help on the part of the other Communist Parties, the Soviet Union and the new democracies, as an essential condition for the victory of socialism in their country, in building socialism in Yugoslavia. The authors of the draft do not understand, or pretend not to understand, that socialism cannot be built in Yugoslavia with the aid of American imperialism.

It is not a question of whether or not these woe-begone Marxists want closer cooperation with the socialist countries. The point is that it is absolutely clear that socialism cannot be built in Yugoslavia, or in any other country, without organic unity and constant aid, without the concerted efforts of the countries which have taken the path of socialism.

Just how superficial a document the draft programme is can be gathered from the fact that nowhere does it even hint at securing the economic emancipation of women, without which there can be no talk of building socialism.

And in Yugoslavia of all countries, this is a task of primary importance because Yugoslavia is an agrarian country with a backward agriculture and still existing traditions of a purely Turkish attitude to women.

From the examples given it is obvious that this document cannot be regarded as the programme of a Communist Party. It is a confused, anti-Marxist article which projects the Communist Party onto to path of nationalism, and Yugoslavia onto the path of bourgeois degeneration.

The draft programme of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia shows that the Resolution of the Information Bureau concerning the situation in the Yugoslav Communist Party mirrors the present situation in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.