Main LA Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Labor Action, 19 July 1948


Yugoslav Front Is Still Unbroken
as Dirt Flies in Tito-Bulgar Fight


From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 29, 19 July 1948, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The volcanic eruption which shook the Stalinist empire with the Cominform denunciation of Tito has temporarily settled down to a bubble-boil. There has not as yet been the slightest sign of a break in the Yugoslav front against Moscow. The next move is probably up to Stalin.

What the world is waiting to see now is: what steps will the harassed Kremlin boss take to show his other satellites that Tito can’t get away with it? Economic sanctions? Military action, direct or indirect? An internal coup in Yugoslavia itself?

The last, of course, seems by far the least likely, unless the solidity of Tito’s base is a hundred times weaker than it seems to be from this distance. The first in any case would seem to be the easiest to begin with. By the same token, a drawn-out sub-surface campaign to sap Tito’s position appears likelier than any spectacular frontal assault.

Officers Back Tito

Perhaps the best evidence of Tito’s solid INTERNAL position was given this past week not by any of the standard resolutions of confidence from within the country, but by an event within Russia itself. Yugoslav officers studying at Stalin’s leading military schools are reported (by Belgrade) to have sent strong and uncompromising messages of support to the Tito regime – an action absolutely unprecedented since the consolidation of the Stalinist counterrevolution in Russia. The same goes, of course, for the similar messages from Yugoslav students at the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, publicized previously.

This phenomenon raises a couple of questions to which no ready answer is possible. Were these anti-Russian messages sent through legal channels, that is, with the permission of Moscow? through the diplomatic channels of the Yugoslav embassy in Moscow? through secret underground channels, in this case bypassing the not inefficient GPU in such a remarkably short time?

In any of these cases, one has perhaps a right to see an unaccustomed amount of “softness” on the part of the Russian regime, either on the part of the bureaucracy as a whole (in the case of the first two possibilities) or on the part of sections of the bureaucracy (if a speedy smuggling through of the messages is taken as requiring explanation). Certainly, such speculations inevitably arise on the basis of the heavy rumors that the ranks of the Russian bureaucracy itself are not 100 per cent solid on the Tito question.

Macedonian Squabble

Further evidence that the Yugoslav split is the outcome of a NATIONALISTIC movement of resistance by the satellite bureaucracy against Russian domination – and has little to do with the “theoretical differences” and deviations stressed by the Cominform – is provided by the emergence of a typical Balkan nationalist squabble over territory between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.

The possession of Macedonia being the bone of contention, the squabble was aired by the CP of Yugoslavian Macedonia, in charges that the Bulgarian and Albanian Stalinists had been plotting to grab their territory. They further charged that the Bulgarian Stalinists during the war “were in complete accord with the Bulgarian fascist occupation of Macedonia,” and added:

“We are being accused of nationalism by that same leadership in the Bulgarian Communist Party which in 1941 usurped our party organization, separated it from the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and added it to the Bulgarian party.” (N.Y. Herald Tribune, July 13)

In their bureaucratic-collectivist imperialism, the new satellites ape the Russian mother country as in all else.

So also, in the capitalist world, Japan imitated the imperialist development of that country which opened it up to Western “civilization,” the United States. The eventual clash between American imperialism and its offspring flowed from the inherent contradictions of capitalism. The bureaucratic-collectivist Stalinist empire is showing its seams likewise.

Top of page

Main LA Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 28 May 2018