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Fourth International, October 1949


The Tito-Stalin Conflict

Statement of National Committee of Socialist Workers Party


From Fourth International, Vol.10 No.9, October 1949, pp.259-264.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


I. The Crisis in Eastern Europe

The Kremlin’s attack on Yugoslavia highlights the orisis in Eastern Europe. A temporary source of strength, expansion of Stalinist power into this area is generating the most acute contradictions which may in the end prove fatal for its entire system. The Russian bureaucracy has been no more successful in stabilizing Eastern Europe and in solving its manifold national apd economic problems than were the imperialists who exploited and subjugated these countries before the war.

There is no other solution for Eastern Europe than economic unity and political federation under a socialist system. The elimination of the imperialist yoke over this area in the aftermath of the Second World War could have been the first step in that direction. But that solution, blocked in the past by imperialism, is now thwarted by a new master, the Russian bureaucracy. Its present conflict with Yugoslavia demonstrates, that like capitalism, but for different reasons, it is incapable of unifying these nations. The Kremlin employed its political and military strength to crush the independent working-class tendencies which were striving toward socialist unification. The Kremlin sought to convert Eastern Europe into a military outpost, a pawn in its diplomatic maneuvers with Western imperialism and a source of economic plunder and tribute.

Under Stalinist hegemony the chronic crisis of the Balkans remains although its character has been altered. Their economies groan under a heavy Russian mortgage, which arrests and distorts their progressive tendencies. Nationalization of industry has only aggravated the conflict between the development of the productive forces, and the outlived national boundaries.

The irrepressible conflict in the Balkans now takes on a dual character. The capitalist elements, under the cover of the Catholic Church, maintain a constant pressure, both economic and political, to break out of the Russian orbit, return to capitalist rule and to pre-war relationships with Western capitalism. The socialist elements, seeking to complete their aborted revolutions, are thrown into conflict with the Russian overlords who block the road to progress. At, the bottom of the anti-Kremlin movement is resistance to the nationalist policy of Stalinism which seeks to exploit and pillage the countries under its domination for the benefit of the Russian bureaucracy.

The socialist elements are the greater immediate danger to the Russian bureaucracy. While Stalinism could conceivably survive as it did before the war without control over Eastern Europe, the existence of independent socialist states united in a Balkan federation – and the Kremlin has blocked all moves toward that end – would be a mortal threat to its influence on a world scale and would undermine its totalitarian rule in the Soviet Union.

Therein lies the explanation for the Kremlin’s fury against Yugoslavia and its murderous assault against the Tito regime. After one year of unceasing political pressure and economic sanctions, it became obvious even to the Kremlin that such means were inadequate in breaking Yugoslavia’s resistance. Far from undermining the Tito regime or “forcing its capitulation, the Kremlin had failed to create any important rift in its leading cadre or to weaken its support among the masses.

If anything, it was Yugoslavia which had become the pole of attraction for opposition to Russian totalitarian rule in Eastern Europe. “Titoism” – or resistance to Kremlin domination – began to win adherents in one country after another in Stalin’s buffer zone and led to a purge of top Stalinist leaders, among them Gomulka in Poland, Kostov in Bulgaria, Rajk in Hungary, Xoxi in Albania and others. Although up to now, the Stalinist purges have been successful in decapitating this opposition, the very survival of Yugoslavia outside the imperialist orbit and resisting Stalin’s domination remains an ever-present source of new resistance to the rule of the Kremlin.

The Kremlin can no longer postpone a decisive settlement. Like the Moscow Trials in the Thirties the present frame-up of Rajk and other “Titoists” in Budapest is designed to draw a line qf blood between Stalin and his new opposition. It is the justification for assassination, guerrilla warfare and overt military aggression by GPU detachments of the Soviet army against the Tito regime. The reign of terror is also aimed at intimidating and crushing all support for Tito in other satellite countries, thus preparing them as bases for the offensive against Yugoslavia.

II. Evolution of the Split

Stalinist in origin and ideology, the Tito leadership has nevertheless been compelled by the logic of the struggle to question some of the fundamental premises on which Stalinism rests. That in itself is anathema to Stalin and would have been sufficient reason for him to sign Tito’s death warrant. But regardless of consequences, the Yugoslav leadership had no alternative but to enter the ideological struggle. They had no other recourse than to conduct the struggle openly in order to justify their policy before the Yugoslav masses, to retain and consolidate popular support and to influence world public opinion. In this there is dramatic confirmation of the Trotskyist prognosis that the pressure of class forces would produce a crisis in the ranks of the bureaucracy itself which would compel one or both sides to appeal to the masses to settle the conflict and would thereby hasten the process of disintegration of the bureaucracy as a whole.

At the outset of the conflict with the Cominform, the Tito leadership made every effort, to keep the struggle within bureaucratic limits. Their criticism, purely defe’nsive in character, was directed solely at the Cominform. They were motivated both by respect for Stalin’s Bonapartist position in the Russian sphere of influence and by the hope that in that capacity he would mediate the dispute. Stalin was depicted as being above the battle if not on Yugoslavia’s side and he was quoted like the scriptures against the Cominform.

But it soon became apparent that the Russian Bonaparte, far from being above the battle, was actually leading the assault against Yugoslavia. Compromise on any other basis than complete capitulation, to be followed by a bloody purge of the Tito leadership and the Yugoslav CP and GPU domination of the country, was ruled out. Tito’s requests for discussion were answered by an economic blockade, his requests for negotiations by intrigues, plots and then incitement to assassination. The Tito leadership could no longer refrain from revealing the fountainhead of the attack on Yugoslavia. The significance of this development cannot be overestimated. It marks the first time since Stalin usurped power more than twenty-five years ago that an official Communist party has openly trained its fire at the Kremlin.

Step by step, forced by the exigencies of the struggle, the issues raised by the Tito leadership have become more fundamental in character and its criticisms more searching. Let us enumerate a number of the more prominent ones:

Exposure of Kremlin’s Extortions

1. A damning exposure has been made of the economic methods of the Kremlin in Eastern Europe. Irrefutable facts have been published about the discriminatory trade practices of the Russian bureaucracy: the purchase of caw materials below the cost of production or at best below world market prices; the failure to deliver Soviet merchandise either on time or at all; the refusal to invest capital in mixed companies while draining them for more than their share. All these have been properly stigmatized as methods practised by capitalist powers toward weaker nations and colonial countries. These charges constitute an implicit condemnation of the Russian bureaucracy for placing its own caste interests and privileges over those of the masses of Eastern Europe and the world.

Inter-Party Regime

2. A condemnation of the blind and unquestioning subordination of the Communist parties of the world to the dictates of the Kremlin. Therewith is called into question the system which has made possible the fantastic zigzags in Stalinist policy and the constant purges in the party leaderships without consultation or consent of the party membership.

Condemning the system based on “giving and obeying orders” Moshe Pyade, theoretician of the Yugoslav CP, declared in a speech on the thirtieth anniversary of the party, that it arises from “men over there who fancy that they are called upon to direct and regulate the activities and development of all other Communist parties (which) must accept this dictation without discussion or demur ... In this revision of internationalism, which is preached to us by means of unconscionable pressure and unfriendly actions, there is hidden a doctrine that no other Communist party may imagine itself to have equal rights with the Bolshevik Party – that no other socialist country may imagine itself entitled to equal rights with the Soviet Union – that no other Communist leadership anywhere in the world may rise a degree higher than is permitted to it. This is no longer a leadership by right of primogeniture, it has been transformed into a natural right or law of nature.

Here again for the first time since the expulsion of the Trotskyists an official Communist party has raised the question of democracy within the international workers movement. “We believe in open discussion,” says Pyade. “We come out boldly and openly before our working masses and the workers of the whole world, with our criticisms and our justified accusations. We are conscious of thus fulfilling our duty to the international workers’ movement of which we are an inseparable part and without which neither we nor our ‘critics’ are anything.

It will be noted that the criticism here is directed entirely at the lack of democracy between parties and not its lack within the parties. The question of the internal regime is the most explosive of all questions in the Stalinist world. An examination of this problem would involve an exposure of the methods of the bureaucracy not only in the Soviet Union and the Cominform countries but in Yugoslavia as well.

Subordination of World Revolution

3. The Titoists have denounced Stalinism for subordinating the interests of the world revolution to the selfish national interests of the Soviet state. These are the words of Milovan Djilas, Secretary of the Political Bureau of the Yugoslav Communist Party, who, it will be noted, still identifies the Russian bureaucracy with the Soviet Union.

They were repeated in a different variation by Tito a short time later who declared to a delegation of miners that: “They (the Stalinists) make a mistake ‘in putting forth the idea of the exclusive revolutionary role of the Red Army which, in fact, means the demobilisation of the revolutionary forces latent in every people and in every working class.” It is clear that not all the i’s are dotted or the t’s crossed in the examination of this question which is restricted to the war and its aftermath.-But enough is said to create a deep interest among revolutionary militants in a fundamental discussion and re-evaluation of the betrayals of Stalinism all over the world in the last quarter of a century.

4. Finally, it should be observed that the Yugoslavs have been obliged to expose the Stalinist slander campaigns, their suppression of criticism, their amalgams and frameups. Coming from a government which only yesterday was hailed as the ‘foremost of the “people’s democracies” this exposure is a devastating blow to the prestige and power of Stalinism on a world scale.

Basic Errors Remain

It is not our intention to exaggerate the meaning of these criticisms or to create the illusion that the Tito group have become revolutionary Marxists or Trotskyists. Thus far they have taken only partial steps in the exposure and analysis of Stalinism, proceeding in a piecemeal, empirical fashion and on the basis of their own recent experiences. They either do not yet understand or they are concealing the fact that Stalinism has its material roots in the privileged bureaucratic caste in the Soviet Union which plays a counter-revolutionary role in the Soviet Union and on the world arena. They do not understand or are concealing the truth that the ideological basis for Stalinist revision of Marxism and for its counter-revolutionary policies throughout the world is the theory of “Socialism in one country.” In fact, the Yugoslav leaders, still distorting Lenin’s conceptions and still opposing Trotsky, continue to adhere to the same theory. What they object to is the sequel to the theory that “Socialism in one country” applies to no other country than the Soviet Union, not even to Yugoslavia.

Similarly on the question of party democracy, the Yugoslavs continue to stand on the Stalinist conception of the “monolithic” party where unanimity of thought is the object of party discipline and all factions are prohibited.. From the information available it also appears that these Stalinist conceptions also govern the internal life of the Yugoslav CP as well as the organs of government. Tito lays down “... the rule that almost every factionalist is not far from being a provocateur or similar enemy of the working class.”

But only the most mechanical thinking could conceive this adherence to a body of Stalinist doctrine and practice as a fixed and unchanging condition. What is decisive for Marxists are not the shortcomings, the mistakes and the revisionist concepts but the social forces which impel the development of ideological criticism by a Stalinist leadership against the Kremlin.

III. Revolutionary Origins of Conflict

The underlying reason for the leftward development of the anti-Kremlin movement in Yugoslavia must be sought in the revolutionary origins of the present regime. This alone explains the mortal hostility of Stalinism, an essentially reactionary and counter-revolutionary force, to Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia was one of the few countries in Europe where the opposition to the Nazi occupation took the form of a genuine mass movement of resistance encompassing the majority of the population. The war against Germany and Italy was quickly transformed into a civil war since most of the former capitalist and landowning rulers had become collaborators and quislings for the occupation forces. The partisan movement became a rallying center for all the oppressed, for the many national minorities who had been persecuted by the ruling Serbian bourgeoisie, for the landless peasants and agricultural laborers, for the workers whose organizations and unions had been subjected to murderous repression by fascist-like monarchist regimes.

The armed struggle assumed vast proportions. The entire country was a battleground between the partisan forces and the foreign fascist armies. Unlike anywhere else in Europe, the partisans were a well-organized army numbering some 300,000 men. Despite eight full-scale offensives, a huge Nazi military force was never able to pacify the country or defeat the partisans. Under the exigencies of the struggle, the Tito leadership was led to adopt proletarian and revolutionary forms in its military organization and strategy. From this development there arose the first frictions with the Kremlin. Moshe Pyade writes:

Proletarian Brigades

And an early date the CPY (Communist Party of Yugoslavia) also understood the necessity of creating a sound basis for a new people’s army and guaranteeing its revolutionary character by the formation of proletarian, partisan units. This also was not done .in other occupied countries. Quite to the contrary, we were criticised at the time of the organisation of the First Proletarian Brigade because it was feared we would narrow the base of our struggle. Quite to the contrary the experience showed that the proletarian units enjoyed vast popularity, and contributed exceptionally toward the inclusion of the broad masses in, the armed struggle.

With regard to military strategy he says:

We considered it important to draw the workers from the towns and settlements into partisan units and the army; we maintained that cities and towns had to be taken and popular power established in large areas ... In contrast with this strategy, certain Communist Parties in other countries ... theorized that, the struggle should be carried on only by small partisan units, which should not be combined into larger forces and into an actual army; that towns should not be liberated and the workers should not be drawn into the armed forces but should remain in the towns in order to be in a position to take power ... The peoples of these countries ... paid dearly for these errors.

New State Organs Created

During the course of the struggle large areas were freed from fascist domination by the victories of the partisan army. Although the Stalinist leadership in Yugoslavia as elsewhere had hoped to postpone the question of political power, until the end of the war, they were obliged by the very force of circumstances to destroy the old bourgeois state apparatus and set up new organs of government. This revolutionary transformation had a decisive influence on the outcome of the war and in molding the nature of the new regime.

From the beginning,” Pyade taunts the Kremlin, “the CP of Yugoslavia saw clearly that to assure the final success of the people’s struggle, it was essential to shatter the old state apparatus and build in its stead the organs of a new popular authority. No other Communist, party in the occupied countries of Europe had the strength to do that.

Even if we discount Pyade’s boasts that the CP planned it that way “from the beginning” the fact remains that no other country in Eastern Europe experienced a similar development. Everywhere else Stalinist power was established by the bayonets of the Soviet army. The basic method followed in those countries was to graft a new regime (Kremlin-dominated) on the old state apparatus and to establish the new power by a series of purges against the capitalist personnel in the army, the police, the courts and other government institutions. The recurrent crises in these countries are a result of the crushing of the living forces of the socialist revolution and the imposition of bureaucratic manipulation. Only in Yugoslavia did a stable state power, excluding the old ruling classes, exist at the end of the war. The deal with the royalist government-in-exile proved to be only a passing interlude.

The revolutionary forces set into motion in Yugoslavia have had a profound influence on the development of the country. In contrast to the sullen resistance to “planning” which permeates the other Eastern European countries, there is a tremendous enthusiasm for industrialization among the masses in Yugoslavia.

Attracted by this deeply revolutionary spirit, thousands of young workers and students from all over the world have flocked to Yugoslavia to join the youth of that country in voluntary construction brigades to build highways, railroads and other public works. In the face of this sentiment the Tito leadership could not have surrendered to Stalin’s attempts to maintain Yugoslavia as a backward raw-material producing nation without arousing a mass movement of opposition. Having participated in an insurrection against the foreign invaders and their capitalist quislings, an insurrection which cost almost a half million lives, the masses were determined to use their creative energies to build a better world and not to become serfs for the Russian bureaucracy.

Question of Workers Democracy

Yet the revolutionary origins of the present regime in Yugoslavia offer a strange contrast to its bureaucratic and mqnolithic form of rule. What is the reason for this contradictory development? At first glance it would appear that the vast movement of the masses set in motion during the war should have produced a flowering of workers’ democracy. But just the contrary occurred. The regime is dominated by a monolithic Stalinist party which imitates the Russian leader cult, boasts of its ruthless suppression of factions and prohibits all vital criticism and opposition to its basic policies.

This development has its roots, in the history of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Beginning as a mass party after the October Revolution, it was stultified by the imposition of false policies and bureaucratic methods from the Stalinized Comintern. In 1937, on orders from the Kremlin, the entire central committee of the party with the exception of Tito was purged. The new leadership was trained in Moscow or in the GPU school in Spain. Taking advantage of the conditions of illegality and official repression, it consolidated its bureaucratic grip on the organization by the suppression of all other tendencies and by framing up and expelling its opponents and critics.

It was this Stalinized party which succeeded in gaining the leadership of the partisan insurrection. Despite the participation of masses of workers in revolutionary action, bureaucratic methods were favored by the conditions of foreign occupation and civil war which prevailed in the country. Military discipline and rule-by-command became the accepted mode of procedure and were utilized by the Stalinist leadership to stifle any tendency for greater democracy in the ranks of the party and the mass movement. It appears from a study of the events that while certain latitude was granted to bourgeois groups and parties, independent revolutionary expressions from the left were mercilessly crushed.

The development of the class struggle in Yugoslavia in its conflict with Stalinism will determine whether the conditions now germinating for an extension of internal democracy will reach maturity. It is certain that the totalitarian methods of the Kremlin, its assassination plots and unrestrained slander campaign inhibit this process and provide arguments for the Tito leadership to maintain its bureaucratic practices and monolithic regime.

Property Forms in Yugoslavia

Of all the countries in Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia has gone the furthest in the destruction of capitalism. By June 1948 virtually all industry over the artisan level and all wholesale trade was nationalized; except for small establishments the industrial bourgeoisie has been almost completely eliminated. Its five-year plan for the industrialization of the country is the most ambitious of all the plans in Eastern Europe. To be sure, there are still important capitalist elements in the economy. In agriculture the predominant form remains the small peasant holding which perpetuates and germinates capitalist forces on the countryside, particularly in the absence of nationalization of the land. In industry, the remaining strength of the capitalist elements is indicated by the fact that in 1948 their share in the national income was estimated at 11.22% compared to 25.07% for the workers.

We have already pointed out the revolutionary transformation of the organs of power in Yugoslavia in contrast to the method of grafting new regimes on the old state apparatus in the other satellite countries. This change had its parallel in the Tito regime’s efforts to resolve the national question by placing the many nationalities in the country on an equal footing for the first time. Everywhere else in Eastern Europe the national question was “solved” by the forcible expulsion of national minorities from the country or by subjugation.

This description of the transformations which have occurred in Yugoslavia is intended to demonstrate the mainsprings of the struggle against the Kremlin. It should serve as supplementary material for a precise definition of the class character of the regimes in Eastern Europe which is now being discussed in the Socialist Workers Party and other Trotskyist organizations throughout the world.

IV. Regime in Evolution

The class evolution of Yugoslavia is unfolding under conditions of mortal struggle against Stalin on the one side and imperialist pressure on the other. This is a contributing factor in the Bonapartist character of the Tito regime. The form however is at best transitory because the acuteness of the struggle is certain to produce even more sweeping changes than have occurred in the past. Reconciliation with imperialism would bring the regime into conflict with the revolutionary sentiments of the masses and isolate it from the world working class.

Conversely, to the extent that the Tito regime resists the absorption of Yugoslavia by imperialism, it will be compelled to rely more and more upon the working class and the revolutionary elements in the population at home and internationally. This can give a tremendous impulsion to the leftward and revolutionary development of the country and to its relations with the workers’ movement in the rest of the world. In the last analysis the fate of Yugoslavia will be decided on the international arena and not within the narrow confines of that small country.

Yugoslavia is threatened not only by Stalinism but also by world imperialism which will seek to invade it in the event of war and use it as a base of military operations against the Soviet Union. It was to be expected that the imperialists would attempt to exploit the Tito-Stalin conflict for their advantage. They have granted limited loans to Yugoslavia with the aim of wooing it into their orbit. It should be noted however that these loans were withheld for an entire year in the hope that Yugoslavia would be so weakened that it would pay any price for economic assistance. But regardless of the long-range plans and hopes of the imperialists, Stalin’s attack on the national independence of Yugoslavia has already become an important propaganda weapon for the imperialists in their “cold war” with the Kremlin.

The case of Yugoslavia is not the first or the only time that the crimes of the Kremlin have been utilized by the imperialists. The Trotskyists pointed out long ago that the Stalin regime is the worst internal enemy of the Soviet Union. Both the defense of the Soviet Union and the world revolution depend above all on the overthrow of the Kremlin despotism and the elimination of Stalinist influence in the world labor movement. Revolutionists cannot be deterred in their struggle against Stalinism for fear that the imperialists may temporarily profit from that struggle. Above all imperialism owes its continued existence tc the betrayals of Stalinism. And if on the other hand, Stalin continues to maintain the allegiance and support of many revolutionary workers it is only because they see no alternative, between Stalinism and capitalism. Unable to dominate Yugoslavia, Stalin is deliberately trying to force it into the orbit of world imperialism to avert the danger of its developing into such a revolutionary alternative.

V. Crisis of Stalinism

The Stalin-Tito conflict is the clearest expression of the world crisis of Stalinism. Stalin’s most pliant and devoted agents are being forced into a struggle with the Kremlin in order to preserve their influence and leadership over the masses. Support of the Kremlin’s tyrannical rule and plundering methods alienates them from the people and makes them abject tools of a foreign bureaucracy, subject to removal overnight on orders from Moscow. The break in Yugoslavia is paralleled in other Eastern European countries by the purges of Stalinist leaders who participated in the workers’ struggles during the war, thus building an independent base of their own among the workers.

It is understandable that this break with Stalinism, takes place at first on a primitive and limited basis, lacking in ideological clarity, programmatic firmness and still adhering to many Stalinist conceptions. The Yugoslav struggle has given rise to a new form of centrism, a tendency between Stalinist reformism and revolutionary Marxism. This development is unavoidable in periods of great social convulsions. Engendered by the crisis of leadership in the workers’ movement, centrist formations – oscillating between social-democratic reformism and revolutionary Marxism – made their appearance in the past after World War I and later after Hitler came to power.

The specific character of the new centrism represented by the Titoists is determined by the totalitarian regime of Stalinism from which it originates. Given the total lack of democratic discussion and the free expression of ideas, opposition in the Stalinist camp tends to develop mainly on the level of intrigue, differences in organizational methods and on secondary political questions. In most cases the struggle of tendencies is aborted by the system of purges. Those who succeed in making the break have yet to overcome the terrible miseducation to which they were subjected in the Stalinist parties.

The numerical weakness of the Trotskyist world, movement, which limits its influence as a pole of attraction, accounts in part for. the distorted forms of development of the new centrist tendencies in the Communist parties, and the continued prevalence of Stalinist ideas among these dissident groupings. On the other hand the strength of the Trotskyist movement lies in a program which, forged in more than a quarter century of struggle and corresponding to the objective needs, of the day, cannot be ignored even by those in state power like the Titoists in Yugoslavia. To the extent that they are forced to resort to revolutionary arguments in the struggle against Stalinism they must borrow more and more from the ideological arsenal of Trotskyism.

VI. Our Position

Revolutionary militants cannot remain neutral in the struggle between Tito and Stalin and wait until the opposition movement has developed ideological clarity on all the important questions. We are on Yugoslavia’s side against the Kremlin. We participate in the fight as supporters of a basically progressive struggle while criticizing everything that is false and inadequate in Tito’s policies and program. By our support we help to widen the breach in the hermetically sealed Stalinist world through which revolutionary ideas can penetrate. By our criticism we help deepen the struggle, projecting into it our fundamental analysis of Stalinism and our patient explanations of the need for a return to Leninism.

Should we withhold this support for fear that Yugoslavia might be absorbed in the imperialist camp in the war against the Soviet Union? Such an abstentionist position could only play into the hands of the Kremlin. A Marxist analysis of the living forces involved demonstrates that this question is still far from settled and will be decided only in struggle. The fate of Yugoslavia as well as Stalinism may well be decided by the revolutionary intervention of the masses before the outbreak of World War III. In any case, it is the task of revolutionists to consciously strive for such a solution and not to passively consign all questions to the settlement of the coming war.

Should we refuse to support Yugoslavia on the same basis that Trotskyists refused to defend Finland when it was attacked by the Red Army in 1939? In both cases Stalin violated the national integrity of a small nation and infringed on the right of self-determination. But there the similarity ends ... Finland was not just another small nation whose rights were being trampled upon by a big power. It was an outpost of world imperialism on the border of the Soviet Union and its policies were determined by the imperialists.

The Kremlin’s attack on Finland occurred after World War II had broken out and was integrally connected with the imperialist conflict. First, Allied imperialism attempted to use the Russo-Finnish war as the basis for transforming the inter-imperialist conflict into a combined onslaught against the Soviet Union. Later, Finland became a satellite of Nazi Germany and a military base for its anti-Russian offensive. It was clear at the time, and has subsequently been confirmed by events, that the right to self-determination was completely overshadowed by its alignment with world imperialism. To support Finland, therefore, would not only have nullified our position of defense of the Soviet Union against imperialist attack but would have been a step in the direction of social-patriotism.

Yugoslavia, on the other hand, is clearly not now a bastion of world imperialism against the Soviet Union. Whether it eventually assumes that function will be determined by the relationship and development of class forces as described above. But the fact is that the present regime of that country, unlike that of pre-war Finland, came into being in opposition to world imperialism and not by its support.

The capitalist and landowning classes do not wield state power as they did in Finland, but were driven out of the government and important positions in the economy by the revolutionary struggles during the civil war. The Kremlin’s attack on Finland, despite the bureaucratic methods employed and its reactionary effect on world working-class opinion, tended to undermine the reactionary regime and capitalist property relations; its attack against Yugoslavia aims at imposing a GPU regime on the country and of perverting its incipient socialist property forms into a source of plunder, and tribute.

Support of Yugoslavia by the world working class under present conditions does not aid imperialism but acts as a counterweight to its influence by encouraging those revolutionary tendencies in the country which are striving for a completion of the socialist revolution in that country.

The only road for effective resistance by Yugoslavia against the Kremlin is the road of Lenin and Trotsky, the road of the Russian October. This is the only alternative to counter-revolutionary Stalinism and predatory world imperialism. There is no room in the international working-class movement for semi-Stalinist formations, competing for influence with official Stalinism. The Yugoslav communist workers cannot accept the nationalist theory of “Socialism in one country” and still criticize its disastrous effects on the world working-class movement. They cannot effectively expose the brutal totalitarian methods of Stalin abroad without exposing its roots in the bureaucratic regime in the Soviet Union; Stalin’s foreign policy is only an extension of his domestic policy. They cannot effectively combat the stifling of democratic relations between parties and countries and accept Stalinist monolithism as the organizational form of internal party life. Only by a clean break with Stalinism can the Yugoslav communist workers link themselves with the revolutionary masses of the world.

Such a development would hasten the process of disintegration in the camp of Stalinism, the greatest obstacle to the socialist revolution in the working-class movement. To help this process is the duty of all Marxists, all fighters for socialist emancipation.

September 26, 1949

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