Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Yugoslavia’s Tito: Strong fighter for independence

First Published: The Call, Vol. 9, No. 19, May 12, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Josip Broz Tito is dead. He will be remembered as a dedicated anti-fascist and leader of the Yugoslav resistance to Hitler; the father of socialist Yugoslavia and head of its communist party; a champion of the modern-day nonaligned and third world movement; and one of the more controversial figures of his time.

More than anything else, Tito was a fighter whose extended battle with death at the age of 87 typified his whole life. He defied death many times 40 years earlier when, as leader of the partisans and organizer of the illegal communist underground, a reward was posted by Hitler for his captureódead or alive. He was the guiding spirit behind the victory over the fascists that led to the founding of the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after the war.

Even then, Tito and the Yugoslav peoples refused to give up the gun that had won them their freedom. They continued to struggle for total and complete independence, resisting any attempts to decide their country’s fate by the big powers.

The press in our country, of course, single-mindedly sums up Tito as a “maverick” and points mainly to his rift with Stalin and the rest of the communist movement. And to be sure, this point must be made. After all, Tito did go his own way at a time when the world communist movement was extremely monolithic in the face of Western imperialist postwar schemes.

Where the full responsibility lies for this split, however, and the charges and recriminations which followed, will be summed up in time by the working people of the world to whom both Stalin and Tito belonged. But we would add that throughout most of his life Tito fought in concert with the international working class, the national liberation movements and the worldwide struggle against the very system of capitalism that hailed such divisions.

However, when one sums up this difficult period, it must be said by all that Tito did not sell his country out to the superpowers. Instead he became a champion for the cause of national independence and for opposition to hegemonism, wherever its source might be.

Tito’s death comes exactly 25 years after the famous Bandung Conference which gave birth to the movement of the nonaligned nations. As one of its firmest voices, Tito forthrightly defended the principles of that movement and kept it on its course despite efforts by some to turn it into a tool of one or the other big power.

Tito’s Yugoslavia is beset with many problems, economic and political. But it is still a strong and independent country and the envy of many others in the region. Whether his legacy will be strong enough to rally the people against outside efforts to divide the country’s nationalities or against attempts at direct intervention remains to be seen. Soviet designs on Yugoslavia are well known and are spoken about daily throughout the world.

But it should be said that Tito, a giant figure of his time, left Yugoslavia strong and free and in this sense we salute him. Any move against Yugoslavia will be met head on by a people who still carry Tito’s independent spirit in their heart.