French Trotskyism 1949

On the Yugoslav Question

Source: La Vérité, supplement “La Vie du Parti.” No. 5, February 1949;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2010.

The following resolution was adopted by the fifth national congress of the Parti Communiste Internationaliste and published in issue no. 1 of “Vie du Parti.”

Privas-Marin resolution on the Yugoslavian crisis

The crisis that broke out in the Cominform between Tito and the Kremlin should be approached from the point of view:

1 – Of the profound causes of this crisis.

2 – Of the perspectives for the development of this crisis.

3 – Of our intervention in these events.

A precise analysis is necessary precisely because of the importance of the repercussions that this event has and will have in the ranks of Stalinist workers.

1) The Causes of the Crisis

Stalinist policy has as its line the exploitation of the workers’ movement strictly and solely for the needs and the defense of the interests of the privileged bureaucrats of the USSR.

In the countries of the glacis this policy takes the concrete form of the economic, diplomatic, and strategic exploitation of these countries (privileged treaties, privileged ruble, exploitation of the economy for the profit of the Red Army and the Soviet east).

This policy, which, from fear of the masses, maintains capitalist relations in the economy and prevents the development of the countries of the glacis, inevitably creates a profound crisis in these countries. This crisis is expressed through the pressure of bourgeois elements to find ties with imperialism, and even by the wish on the part of the indigenous Stalinist leaders to find a solution (Dimitrov proposing a Balkan federation) to these pressures and contain the crisis while maintaining its exploitation. The Kremlin is increasingly obliged to use terror

a) against bourgeois politicians;

b) against revolutionary elements, and;

c) even to replace indigenous Stalinists with direct emissaries of the Kremlin (five “Russian” members of the Bulgarian Politburo out of seven).

The general situation the application of Stalinist policy necessarily creates is resolved through military and police methods, but they don’t resolve the crisis. If in Yugoslavia the Stalinist communist party was led to resist this Russification it is because in assuming all the responsibilities of the state it must respond to the needs of Yugoslavian society and all of its composing elements: assuring a minimum of economic stability and a certain satisfaction of the needs of the different social classes. Yet the Kremlin’s complete control absolutely prevents the realization of this task.

If this situation, which is fundamentally that of all the countries of the glacis, has provoked active resistance first in Yugoslavia it is because of its particular situation, born of the struggle of the Yugoslav masses during the Occupation, which gave the Yugoslav communist party a mass base and greater independence.

Stalin could not permit a party, especially one of the glacis, so much independence without risking the dismantling not only the system of exploitation of the glacis, but also the entire police-state hierarchical system of international Stalinism.

2) The Perspectives of the Crisis

One thing is certain, and that’s that if in general it is impossible for the countries of the glacis to remain in the normal transitory system for a long period, this is even more impossible for an isolated country.

The importance of the situation created in Yugoslavia is that it objectively places the Yugoslav masses not generally but it can immediately before the need to choose between socialism and capitalism.

The choice, even if it is yet confused, will necessarily lead to discussion and a struggle between currents and classes in Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav communist party can only either capitulate before the Kremlin and the USA or enter the road of revolution, of course without it being possible to say today which road will be taken or the rhythm of development.

In any event, it is nearly certain that without the intervention of the proletariat of the glacis and the world it is not the road of revolution that the Yugoslav proletariat will find. Capitulation to the Kremlin or the USA would be inevitable.

3) The Direction of our Intervention

The first great fissure in the Stalinist apparatus necessarily leads the immense mass of Stalinist workers to fundamentally question Stalinist policy. An event of this importance can obviously not leave us indifferent, but demands of us a bold intervention in order to assist the proletariat in general to understand Stalinist treason and the Yugoslav proletarians to find the road of revolution.

In the western countries we must provide an overall explanation of the causes of the Yugoslav crisis, in particular demonstrating the Stalinist concept of the defense of the USSR, the counter-revolutionary nature of the connection imposed by Moscow, and the theory and practice of “popular democracy.”

We will show the Yugoslav proletarians that the split with Moscow is the indispensable step in the struggle for socialism and we will point out the concrete and programmatic roads that will allow it (soviets, proletarian democracy, appeal to the proletarians of other countries).

We in no way reproach the International Secretariat (IS) for having addressed itself to the Yugoslav communist party and its Central Committee. This step is correct, given the relations between the masses and the CP. But we reproach this letter its idealizing of Tito and the Yugoslav Communist Party (workers revolutionary party, “pursue your struggle for socialism”)[1]

What is more the issue of “La Vérité” devoted to Yugoslavia, defending the point of view of the IS, which assimilates the laws of the apparatus as the cause of the crisis provides no useful explanations.

If this resolution is adopted it does not mean that the PCI is evading the discipline of the international leadership.

1. This reproach in no way signifies a disagreement with the IS concerning the nature of the USSR, the glacis, or Stalinism.