The Restoration of Capitalism in Yugoslavia

By comrade MM

In this paper, an attempt has been made to understand the process of capitalist restoration in Yugoslavia in late 1940’s and early 1950s. Indian Communist comrade Moni Guha in his booklet “Yugoslav Revisionism and the role of the CPSU and CPC’ analysed the modern revisionism which emerged in 1948 under the leadership of Marshal Tito. The Cominform Resolution of June 1948 on Yugoslavia was supported by all the Communist and Workers’ Parties including the communist Party of China. Stalin led the Cominform in this struggle against  Titoite revisionism and the 1949 November resolution of Cominform urged the communists of all countries to heighten the struggle. But, after Stalin’s death, instead of fighting against Yugoslav revisionism both CPSU and CPC retreat from their positions and tried their best to contradict the Cominform Resolutions of June 28, 1948 and November 1949[1]

The people of Yugoslavia fought self-sacrificingly against the Nazi-fascist occupiers for freedom, democracy and socialism. They succeeded in liberating their country, both Partisan and Red Army forces fought together and liberated Belgrade on October 20, 1944[2]. The system of people’s democracy, which was established in Yugoslavia, was temporary because they were not allowed to continue the revolution on the road to socialism. The Titoites were not for construction of socialism because Tito was for the capitalist system and for an essentially bourgeois-democratic state. This was the source of conflict that broke out between the Cominform and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.[3] The bourgeois academicians present the ideological conflict between Marxism and revisionism as a conflict between Stalin and Tito for dominance over International Communist Movement. Stalin struggled against the class-collaboration and Liquidationism preached by Marshal Tito reduced Yugoslavia to the status of semi-colony or a dependency.


Comrade Stalin and Yugoslav Revisionism


The resolution of the information Bureau concerning the situation in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia condemned the anti-Marxist views of the leaders of that Party who had been pursuing an incorrect line on various matters of home and foreign policy, the line which represented the complete departure from Marxism-Leninism. After breaking with the Marxism-Leninism, the leaders of Yugoslavia adopted an unfriendly attitude towards the Soviet Union, for instance that ‘the CPSU is degenerated’, ‘great chauvinism is rampant in the USSR’, ‘ the USSR is trying to dominate Yugoslavia economically’ and ‘the Cominform is a means of controlling the other Parties by the CPSU’, etc.[4] Comrade Stalin exposed the mistakes and deviations of the leaders of Communist Party of Yugoslavia. A meeting of Party members in Budapest congratulated the Cominform and CPSU (B) led by comrade Stalin for their revolutionary vigilance and consistency in discovering and exposing the mistakes of Titoites. The grave mistakes of the leaders of Communist Party of Yugoslavia were unanimously condemned not only by Parties belonging to Cominform but also by the Parties of Albania, Great Britain, United States, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Finland and the Labour Progressive Party in Canada.

Departure from Marxism Leninism

It is well known that the question of revolutionary role played by the working class as leader of working people in their struggle for socialism is one of the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism. Is this principle applicable for Yugoslavia because it was predominantly peasant country and the revisionist leadership claimed that Communist should rely on peasant not on the working class? On this question Lenin criticized the Mensheviks for their position on peasantry and their alliance with working class. Throughout Europe and in the countries of People’s democracies including Yugoslavia, it was working class and not the peasantry which was sole and consistently revolutionary force capable of leading working class people, and above all the main  mass of peasantry to the victory of Socialism[5]. Marxism-Leninism is based on recognition of the leading role of the working class in abolishing capitalism and building socialist society. Comrade Tito thus not only denied the leading role of the working class but declared that the peasantry as a whole including the kulaks represent the most stable foundation of New Yugoslavia. By refusing to acknowledge the working class as leading element in the people’s democratic state, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia slipped Marxist-Leninist position to that of a Narodnik, kulak Party. They regarded the peasantry as a single entity and failed to see its class structure of poor peasants, medium peasants and kulaks[6]. Comrade Tito failed to understand the basic fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, that is why they consider peasantry as a whole to the chief bulwark in the country-side and had forgotten the struggle against kulaks. It was the denial of growth of capitalist elements in the countryside and denial of sharpening class struggle which is of course negates the Marxism-Leninism and followed the theory of “peaceful growing over” of capitalist elements into socialism propagated by Bukharin.

Communist Party of Yugoslavia adopted an adventurist principle regarding the nationalisation of industry which includes the both medium and small scale, which hampered the supply of goods to population.

According to Marx & Engels, the working class must have its own independent party to achieve political power and transform the society from capitalism to socialism. This concept was developed by Lenin and Stalin regarding its ideological, organisational, tactical principles in course of the struggle but in Yugoslavia, the People’s Front was regarded as the main guiding force not the communist Party. The people’s Front played prominent role during the struggle against Fascism and consolidating all democratic forces of the country.[7] Apart from the Communist Party, the People’s Front was joined by Croat Republican Peasant Party, the bourgeois Republican Party of Serbia, the bourgeois Democratic and Independent Parties and Agrarian Union. The People’s Front was regarded the main guiding force in transition to Socialism, which had its own programme but not the Communist Party. The revisionists  leadership of Communist Party of Yugoslavia  had  forced Party into semi-legal position.[8] The primary Party organisation did not reveal itself openly. The organisational structure of the communist Party is based on the principle of democratic centralism but in Yugoslavia where the Party meetings were not held or at very rare intervals. Its policy were not discussed by members but the decision were taken at the top. Besides that all party organs were not elected but appointed from above.[9]

Capitalism in Yugoslavia


Tito had in fact developed and applied his own theories of socialism in Yugoslavia which reflected the complete departure from Marxism-Leninism. Isolated from her true friends, the titoites started bargaining with British, American and other imperialist at the cost of Yugoslavia’s sovereignty and independence. The government of the United States, Britain and other imperialist countries boycotted trade relations with Soviet Union and New Democracies but it did not include Yugoslavia because Titoites correspondence to the interests of Anglo-American imperialists.[10] The Meeting of Cominform in November 1949 proved the penetration of foreign capital in Yugoslav economy. The American imperialism not only controlled the economic life of Yugoslavia but also established strategic position for an aggressive war against the countries of New Democracies and Soviet Union.[11]  On July 19, 1948 the U.S. Government signed a financial agreement with Yugoslavia to free Yugoslav property frozen by U.S and settled the compensation for American property nationalised in Yugoslavia. The Tito government also recognised and promised to pay the old debts of the pre-war Yugoslav Government which totalled 38,500,000 dollars. The Anglo-Yugoslav trade agreement promised to supply Britain with timer and food to sum of 15,000,000GBP.[12] All these agreements were never mentioned by Yugoslav Press but by foreign bourgeois Press. Tito in his speech to Yugoslav Parliament said that the U.S. granted loans without any political conditions but in reality American imperialist grants loan on condition of complete control over her economies and armed forces. It was based on two conditions: firstly, the transfer of Kaminka Mines in the area of the Zinc and lead ore deposits, in the form of concessions to the American trust, Anaconda Copper Mining co.. Secondly the U.S. Government had rights to send “expert advisers” to most important Yugoslav enterprises. The American imperialist used the Titoite Yugoslavia for the raw materials for their economy and markets for manufactured goods.[13]

Comrade Tito had restored the economic and political status of both big national bourgeoisie and foreign capitalist who had been driven from the country as a result of revolutionary struggle of working class of Yugoslavia. The Titoites reversed the revolutionary gains of working people that they returned the nationalised enterprise to their former owners and lands to the kulaks. The housing funds which was under city people’s committee had returned to private owners. All of the most important post in the state apparatus were occupied by the representative of big bourgeoisie and the leaders of numerous bourgeois parties.[14]

Peaceful road to Socialism


The communist Party of Yugoslavia formulated its own concept of people’s democracy which was not identical with the one expounded in the rest of the countries of people’s democracies and the Soviet Union. Titoties rejected Lenin’s concept of imperialism and claimed that the capitalism had entered a new phase of ‘state capitalism’ and consequently the state’s new role was an improvement in the economic position of working class. In late 1949 the communist Party of Yugoslavia maintained the possibilities of non-revolutionary roads to socialism i.e peaceful growing of capitalism into socialism.[15]  In a polemic with a leading Swedish social Democrats, one of the spokesman of Communist Party of Yugoslavia mentioned about the possibility of parliamentary methods for peaceful transition to socialism.[16] This doctrine was later formulated by Khrushchev in 20th Party Congress of CPSU.

The Break with Internationalism


The revisionist leaders of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia had taken a hostile attitude towards the Soviet Union and the countries of People’s Democracies. The Yugoslav Communist led by Djilas formulated the critique of Soviet Union which accommodated the formulation made by Trotsky. They turned into bourgeois nationalist and the enemies of working class.

Behind Tito followed Rankovic, who had murdered and tortured to death hundreds of Yugoslav Communists whose only “crime” was that they wanted to march on the  path of Marxism-Leninism along with the Soviet Union and countries of People’s Democracy. They arrested the Central Committee members Djuiovic and Hebrang because they opposed anti-Marxist line of Tito.[17] After betraying the cause of Marxism-Leninism, the Titoites had resorted to sheer terror against Yugoslav patriots. They were responsible for murdering Arso Jovanovic, hero of the national liberation movement of Yugoslav people. As a result of the Tito-Fascist coup, the vanguard of the working class was smashed and instead a purely fascist organisation with typically police function was created. The Titoites beheaded the working people, deprived them of leadership, of the right to meetings, of the right to form their own association and of freedom of press.[18] The Tito-Djilas fascist press in Yugoslavia devoted more space regarding the cultural life of America.

Tito and his clique played the special role in the war preparation assigned to them by imperialists. They provoked and disturbed the People’s Democracies by making territorial claims.[19] The counter-revolutionary clique of Rajk, Koci Xoxe and Kostov in the countires of People’s Democracies were backed by Titoite to establish puppet regime but thanks to the Marxist-Leninist leadership of the Hungary, Albania and Bulgaria which exposed these conspiracies by Titoite. The Tito clique also voted in the UNO in favour of U.S. during Korean War and on July 10, 1949 they closed the borders between Yugoslavia and Greece against the Marxist guerrilla.


The restoration of capitalism in Yugoslavia in early 1950s could have been a lesson for other socialist countries to fight the modern revisionism  but unfortunately the struggle could not be carried forward due to triumph of Titoism in Soviet Union under Khrushchev. The  disintergration of U.S.S.R. and collapse of so-called socialist system is nothing but the collapse of Titoism  not Marxism-Leninism, which emerged in these countries in late 1950s. The only exception was the Socialist Albania under the leadership of Comrade Enver Hoxha who fought ruthlessly against Titoism but after his death in 1985 the  revisionist Ramiz Alia surrender to Titoism.


[1]               Guha,  Moni (1978), Yugoslav revisionism and the role of the CPSU and CPC, Calcutta: The Communist   Information Service, pp. 25

[2]               Hoffman, G.W. &  Neal, F.W, (1962), Yugoslavia and the New Communism, New York : Twentieth Century  Fund, pp 79

[3]               Hoxha,  Enver (1979), imperialism and the Revolution, Toronto: Norman Bethune Institute, pp. 52

[4]               Clissold, Stephen (ed.) (1975), Yugoslavia and the soviet Union 1939-1973: A Documentary survey, London: Oxford, pp. 172

[5]               Lautu, I (1948), “ Leadership of Communist Party of Yugoslavia Renounces Marxist-Leninist theory of Class and Class struggle”, For Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy (FLPFPD), 14 (17).

[6]               Ibid, Lautu

[7]               Charpentier, D (1948), “Leaders of Yugoslav Communist Party Revise Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the Party”, FLPFPD, 13(16)

[8]               Ibid, Charpentier

[9]               Pauker, Ana (1948), “The Sectarian, Bureaucratic Regime in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia” FLPFPD 14(17))

[10]             Bulatovic, L. (1948), “Tito Clique-Rabid Enemy of USSR and People’s Democracies, FLPFPD, 5(32)

[11]             Gero. E. (1950), “Penetration of American Capital in Yugoslav Economy, FLPFPD, 7(67)

[12]             Ibid, Bulatovi

[13]             Ibid, Gero

[14]             Popivoda, P. (1952), “Yugoslav Patriots will Crown Struggle Against Tito Gang with Victory”, FLPFPD, 6(170)

[15]             Johnson, A.R. (1972), the Transformation of Communist Ideology:the Yugoslav Case, 1945-1953, Cambridge:The MIT Press, pp. 129

[16]             Ibid, Johnson, pp. 131

[17]             Barnov, L (1948), “ How the Tito Clique Fight Against its Own People”, FLPFPD, 20(23)

[18]             Ibid, Popivoda

[19]             Revai, Joseph (1949), “Tito Clique – Unofficial Supporters of the Atlantic Pact”, FLPFPD, 8(35)


Author: Other Aspect

A Marxist-Leninist journal, based in India and aimed at analysing the contemporary world events from a Marxist-Leninist perspective.

One thought on “The Restoration of Capitalism in Yugoslavia”

  1. Worthy reading! It also tells us, the revisionism was readily available to Khrushchev and the moment he came into power, he ‘established’ Tito and destroyed the base of #Socialism

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