Boris Ziherl

Communism and Fatherland


Until the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia the fatherland of the working people had been established nowhere. It was only a program, a goal and an ideal of the revolutionary movements for the overthrow of the bourgeois, and generally every exploitive, order. It is in the light of this non-existence of a fatherland of the working people as a direct reality that we have to understand the famous words from Marx's and Engels's "Manifesto of the Communist Party": '' The workers have no fatherland". Lenin explained this passage in the same way in his letter to Inez Armand of November 30, 1916,1 stressing that the above passage from the "Manifesto" should never be detached from the following sentences in which the writers' stress the necessity for the proletariat "to seize political power, to raise itself to the rank of a national class".2 The fact that Lenin thought of this passage from the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" exactly in this manner is proved not only by the above-mentioned article on the national pride of Great-Russians, written in 1914, but also by a series of other quotations from his works, including his speech delivered at the 1st All-Russian Congress of Working Cossacks on March 1. 1920, when he said:

"This Russia which has freed itself, which has defended its Soviet revolution through two years of fighting and sufferings, this Russia we shall defend to the last drop of our blood.3 The power of workers and peasants, Soviet power, was established almost throughout the whole territory of the former Russian Empire in 1917. The working people of the Soviet land won their fatherland. Created as a result of the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie and big landowners from power, built on the basis of Marxist-Leninist national policy, the Soviet Union was the first multi-national state which actually became the common fatherland of all its peoples.

The example of the Soviet Union, and today also the example of Federal Yugoslavia, proves that a common, multi-national socialist fatherland does not destroy the national fatherlands of various peoples but is their higher synthesis. Its universal, socialist, social substance exists through their national form and is manifested and enriched through the multiform national characteristics of the respective republics. Speaking of the relations between socialist, proletarian culture and national culture, Comrade Stalin said in 1925:

"Proletarian universal culture does not exclude but presupposes and nourishes national culture, in the same way as national culture does not abolish but supplements and enriches universal proletarian culture."4

In the multi-national socialist fatherland, the greatest unity of the international and national, of the internationalism and the patriotism of working men has been achieved.

For the whole world proletariat, for all the working people and oppressed peoples, the Soviet Union became an example and support in their struggle against the bourgeois "fatherlands", for the free fatherland of working people. Being the only fatherland of the working people, the Soviet Union became the fatherland of the world proletariat. The all-round support of the Soviet Union in its struggle against the imperialist plotters, interventionists, warmongers and aggressors meant strengthening of the Soviet Union, and by this fact itself brought the working masses of the capitalist countries nearer to the attainment of their social ideal towards which they were led by the proletariat headed by the Communist Party. Each new success in the building of socialism in the USSR was a further proof of the superiority of the socialist state over the capitalist states which were sinking into unbridgeable internal contradictions: each new success in the building of socialism was a further incentive to the working masses all over the world to fight even more resolutely for the transformation of their country into a socialist fatherland of working people, and thereby also for the consolidation of the international position of the Soviet Union, the first fatherland of the working people of the world.

The amount of the support given by the working masses of various countries, led by their communist parties, to the Soviet Union was, therefore, at the same time, the measure of their revolutionary proletarian patriotism and internationalism, it was an expression of the inseparable interdependence of the struggle for the genuine freedom and progress of one's own country with the struggle for the strengthening of the first socialist state, main pillar of the liberation movement in all the countries of the world.

Today it has become the fashion among some communist and workers' parties to give lessons on every occasion to the Yugoslav communists and their leaders on internationalism and love of the Soviet Union.

In spite of all the misrepresentations of historical facts, nothing can erase the fact that the Communist Party of Yugoslavia has completely understood the world-historical importance of the Soviet Union as the first fatherland of working people. It has constantly consolidated among the Yugoslav working masses the knowledge that the fate of Yugoslavia is inseparably linked with the Soviet Union, that support of the Soviet Union is at the same time a struggle for the transformation of Yugoslavia into a socialist fatherland of the Yugoslav peoples. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia gave eloquent proof of its correct and deep understanding of the inseparable interconnection of the fate of its country and of the Soviet Union at a time when the latter needed practical proofs most: in the years of the great war against Hitlerite Germany. Commenting on a lecture delivered over the Moscow radio by Potemkin, Comrade Tito said the following on the occasion of the bestowal of a flag upon the 2 Proletarian Brigade, on October 17, 1942:

"The Soviet people understood that they were fighting, and if need be, that they would fight alone until the final destruction of Hitlerite fascism and of all those who were aiming at enslaving the world again. We can only add that we, too, shall fight together with the Soviet Union, as we have done so far, alone in our country in spite of all the dark reactionary forces which have united with the invaders in order again to put a yoke upon the necks of our people."5

Comrade Kardelj in his article "Join the Partisans", published in September 1941, identified the active support of the Soviet Army with the honour of the Slovene and other Yugoslav peoples:

"It is the duly of the Slovene people to help the Red Army by armed action in their own country and thus prevent — according to their strength — the concentration of fascist hordes in the East. It is shameful and unworthy for a freedom-loving people to wait for others to redeem its liberty with their blood."6

No one — except perhaps a miserable forger of history — can assert that the above words remained words alone.


1. "Bolshevik", 1949, No. 1. p. 41. Lenin's letters to Inez Armand were published for the first time in this number.

2. Marx-Engels: "Manifesto of the Communist Party", Belgrade, 1948. p. 59.

3. Lenin: Works, III Edition, Vol. XXV. P. 69.

4. Stalin: Marxism and the National-Colonial Question, p. 227.

5. Tito: Struggle for the Liberation of Yugoslavia. Belgrade, 1947, p. 88.

6. Kardelj: The Course of New Yugoslavia. Belgrade. 1946, p. 226.

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