Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

V. G. Wilxcox

New Zealand Party’s Firm Stand


There is no doubt that many people in this country who take an active interest in working class politics have, in the past, thought that what has been happening in Yugoslavia, under the leadership of the Yugoslav League of Communists, was a rather academic question for New Zealand.

We fell into that trap ourselves for a while. But, as a matter of fact, it has turned out to be of immediate importance not only to our world movement in general but to us in New Zealand in particular. For, in Yugoslavia, we see, in theory and in practice, an example of a turning back from a socialist gain. And this turning back results from putting into practice theories that date right back to the early revisionists of Marxism that you can read about in many of the works of Lenin.

We therefore hold that a critical examination rather than a welcoming back into our ranks is the way we should be approaching the Yugoslav League of Communists.

It is our opinion that the situation of the League, under the leadership of Tito, has in no way changed since the world meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in 1960 that so roundly condemned it. There may have been some reforms eliminating bad practices internally in Yugoslavia, but these have been carried out within the general revisionist framework. As already stated, this question is an important one in view of what we consider to be the close link between it and the whole question of social democratic ideology of which we have just spoken.

We think that the present attitude to Yugoslav revisionism first expressed on behalf of the C.P.S.U. by N. S. Khrushchov at the Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany early 1963 was a violation of the 1960 Statement.

At that Congress, the first step towards welcoming back the Yugoslav revisionists as Marxist-Leninists was made on the plea of preserving what “Socialism” exists in Yugoslavia and encouraging its development. The need for world collective discussion, if any change was to be made, was ignored.

We will quote from the 81 Parties’ Statement of 1960 to which our Party was a signatory. This is what it said about Yugoslav revisionism: –

The Communist Parties have unanimously condemned the Yugoslav variety of international opportunism, a variety of modern revisionist theories in concentrated form developed after betraying Marxism-Leninism, which they term obsolete. The leaders of the League of Yugoslav Communists opposed their anti-Leninist revisionist programme to the Declaration of 1957; they set the L.Y.C. against the international communist movement as a whole; severed their country from the socialist camp, made it dependent on so-called aid from the U.S. and other imperialists, and thereby exposed the Yugoslav people of the danger of losing the revolutionary gains achieved through heroic struggle. The Yugoslav revisionists carry on the subversive work against the socialist camp and the world communist movement under the pretext of an extra bloc policy, they engage in activities which prejudice the unity of all peace loving forces and countries. Further exposure of the leaders of the Yugoslav revisionists and active struggle to safeguard the communist movement from the anti-Leninist ideas of the Yugoslav revisionists remains an essential task of the Marxist-Leninist Parties.

We do not see that the Yugoslav revisionists have changed. But we consider that others have. They no longer uphold the 81 Parties’ Statement. We ask, what is the use of making decisions if changes can be made without collective consideration?

At the same time we stress we must not get confused in regard to state relations between the Yugoslav state and other socialist states. That they should exist is correct. But we are speaking of relations between Communists and we feel that it is very perturbing to find growing friendly relations between the U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia but none with socialist Albania.

N. S. Khrushchov said to the previous Socialist Unity Party of Germany Congress held back in July, 1958:

In their speeches and official documents the Yugoslav leaders have outlined openly revisionist views that are contrary to the revolutionary essence of Marxism-Leninism.

And again:

In essence the programme of the Yugoslav leaders is a worse version of a whole series of revisionist platforms held by right-wing social democrats, consequently the Yugoslav leaders have not been drawn to the path of revolutionary Marxist-Leninist teachings; they have followed the path laid down by revisionists and opportunists of the Second International – Bernstein, Kautsky and other renegades.

We agree with N. S. Khrushchov’s approach at that time. Is it not the very fact that Yugoslav revisionist theory fundamentally goes right back along the path to social democracy that makes it of world importance? The Yugoslav revisionists remain firm on their third force concept in international affairs which means they stay outside the socialist camp. This was betrayal formerly as N. S. Khrushchov made plain, therefore why is it not so now?

Have the Yugoslav leaders changed their view that in order to build Socialism the Party and State leadership should be relegated to a minor role, that state centralised management of enterprises must be avoided, that the collectivisation of agriculture should not proceed? They have not. Today they may be trying to correct some of the gross abuses that de-centralisation has led to, but they are only tinkering. We repeat, their revisionist theory remains, as does the result – in industry a new kind of free enterprise man who acts in fact on the same principles as the managers of capitalist firms, and in the countryside small individual holdings passing into ever fewer hands.

We consider that the new Yugoslav Constitution only bears out the correct conclusions of the 1980 Statement on the subject of revisionism in Yugoslavia. We cannot see that it is an effective reply to state, as did M. A. Suslov to our delegation, that: –

Our relation with Yugoslavia. We have the impression that on this question you have the wrong information – cf. your statement (V. G. Wilcox) in Peking about the restoration of Capitalism. We hope that a better knowledge of facts will lead you back to a more correct stand. The Yugoslav leaders have made great errors in the past and we criticised them in a principled way quite justly. However, we have to face the fact that it is a socialist country and they have a Communist Party and our international duty is not just to endlessly repeat what you say about the Yugoslav CP. and their leaders, but to do our best to help them overcome their mistakes and return to the role of Marxist-Leninists. One can hardly argue that such actions on our side are against peace, democracy and Socialism.

Well, one could argue that way when such actions give greater heart to revisionism in Yugoslavia and throughout the world. And that is what we said they did. And we are still of that opinion!

On the other hand, one could ask of the leadership of the C.C., C.P.S.U. Why is there not such an approach to socialist Albania? In letters to the Communist Party of New Zealand and elsewhere they have stated that they regard Albania as a socialist country in spite of the “errors” of its leadership. Why make fish of one and fowl of the other?

The Soviet leaders agreed in 1960 that revisionism was the main danger in our world movement and had no qualms then about classifying the Yugoslav leaders as revisionists. One can only presume that the errors referred to are revisionist. Why clasp the hand of revisionists in order to help them but refuse to clasp the hand or help those who one thinks are dogmatists? It is no answer to say that the Albanian leaders have been too “abusive and slanderous.” The Yugoslav revisionists led by Tito have a fine record of abuse and slander of the leadership of the C.P.S.U., have apologised for nothing and have admitted no errors.

Could it be that it is not only another example of that confusion on principles and practice that we have referred to many times in this pamphlet, but rather of a growing affinity with revisionism?

We will leave it at that.