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John G. Wright

New Developments in Tito-Kremlin Break

(19 July 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 29, 19 July 1948, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

American workers, like workers everywhere, are deeply interested in the break between Belgrade and Moscow.

Only yesterday Tito was second only to Stalin in the universe which all Stalinists inhabit; today the Stalinists call him an “adventurer.” Yesterday Yugoslavia was pictured by them as the very model of a “new democracy;” today, they denounce it as a country which has deserted “the united front of all the forces working for peace,” and is heading for the war-mongering camp of imperialism.

Yesterday the “collaboration” between Stalin and Tito was symbolized by their portraits hanging side by side. Today, the Kremlin feverishly mobilizes an- ti-Tito forces everywhere, in China and in the United States, in Albania as well as in Soviet Russia. For its part, Belgrade

takes anxious counter-measures, broadcasting to the world every sign of support, especially from Yugoslav citizens in the USSR.

Tito’s regime is obviously trying to straddle. The Kremlin, just as obviously, is coldly and savagely determined to crush Tito. Stalinists everywhere, especially their press, are being whipped up into this same mood. The Daily Worker – like the Stalinist editors of l’Humanité, states editorially that the struggle in Yugoslavia “will grow more acute.”

This is no mere editorial forecast. This is the hoarse voice of Stalin’s secret murder-machine, ordering all its flunkies in France and in the U.S. to join the snarling pack now setting itself for the kill – either that, or take the consequence.

Tito pitted against Stalin – that is how the events are now personalized. Viewed on that plane, all the odds are in Stalin’s favor. Dictator Tito not only cannot win over Dictator Stalin; Tito is unable even to temporize too long, despite the unquestionable room he still possesses for maneuvering between Washington and Moscow.

Tito, while trying to straddle, finds himself compelled to maneuver with still another great force – a force, separate and apart from the power of a Tito, or a Stalin, or the power of Wall Street-Washington. This independent power is constituted by the revolutionary workers and toiling poor of Yugoslavia.

In relation to this great power, Tito’s margin for maneuvers is far more limited than he or his top staff may imagine. And as this independent power begins more and more taking part in the conflict, Stalin, let alone Tito, Will discover that no man can cheat the class struggle and its laws.

Because the enormous Stalinist apparatus of repression has finally cracked open, an entirely new set of alignments is bound to take place. Each existing crack will deepen and widen, and new fissures will tend to appear Through each opening, however narrow, the masses will tend to surge through. It is they who actually have the last word on what will be the eventual outcome of this single duel between the Little Belgrade Dictator and the Big Tyrant in the Kremlin.

Tito and Stalin want the workers to choose between them. They pose all questions as if everything at bottom comes down to a choice between a “better” man, or who is more “popular,” “able” or more ‘‘powerful,” “realistic.”

These methods have nothing in common with real labor politics. Workers – especially advanced workers – don’t need, nor do they want “saviors.” They want leaders able to carry out clear-cut actions on the basis of a firm working class program.

Regardless of what Tito and Stalin want, the workers will surely reject this trap of choosing between the type of gold-braid worn in Belgrade as against the type Stalin prefers in the Kremlin.

Both sides still try to cover up what they really want by raising all sorts of side issues. And just because they must – whether they like it or not – introduce political IDEAS into their dispute, this struggle has a logic of its own. The Tito-Stalin rift is bound to become the starting point for a world-wide discussion of all these ideas and questions which touch the vital interests of working people everywhere.

Stalin, among other things, accuses Tito of “Trotskyism.” Tito has proved himself as deadly a foe of Trotskyism as his former Kremlin taskmaster. The Tito-Stalin conflict differs profoundly from Trotsky’s struggle against Stalinism. Nevertheless the questions already involved in the Tito-Stalin clash cannot be fully understood except in the light of the life-and-death battle waged by the Russian Left Opposition, led by Trotsky against Stalinism.

It is incumbent, especially for the followers of the Stalinist parties, now to review and reconsider the whole struggle between Trotskyism and Stalinism in the light of the Yugoslav events.

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