The New Class and Nationalism



D. A. Tomasic



The system of rule which has developed in contemporary Communist countries has brought about sharp social differentiation and class stratification.[1] In addition, in the Communist-ruled countries which are composed of two or more different nationalities, the hegemony of one nationality over the others has been established.


It is generally known that in the Soviet Union, the members of the Great Russian nationality, which compose less than 50 per cent of the entire population, form an overwhelming majority in the top Party bodies (Presidium, Secretariat, Central Committee). They dominate also the top governmental, military, managerial and intellectual hierarchies of the country. Moreover, as a result of such a hegemonistic position on the part of the Great Russians, the non-Russian members of the Party must be sufficiently Russified to be allowed by the Russian leaders to achieve positions of power and trust.


This practice also applies to the positions of power on the local levels of Soviet society. In the Ukraine; for instance, in 1927, out of 29 million Ukrainians, there were 2,677,000 Great Russians, or 9 per cent of the population. But the Ukrainian Communist Party, according to the official statistics of 1927, was composed at that time of 51.96 per cent Ukrainians and 46.15 per cent Russians. And it was the Russian members of the Party together with the Russified Ukrainians that dominated the Party and dictated its policies.[2]


A similar situation has existed in Communist Czechoslovakia. There the ruling class has tended to be composed predominantly of the members of Czech nationality. The ranks of this New Class have been opened to the Slovaks only inasmuch as they had sufficiently Czechized themselves.


This is equally the case of Communist Yugoslavia where members of Serb nationality and Orthodox religious background have succeeded in establishing their hegemony over the other nationalities of that country, as will be shown in the following pages.


The Central Committee of the Communist League of Yugoslavia, as elected at the Sixth Party Congress (1952), contained about 58.5 per cent members of the Orthodox background. Members of Croatian-Catholic and of Slovene-Catholic background formed about 35 per cent of this top body, while the Moslem contribution was only 5 per cent.[3] The new Central Committee, elected at the Seventh Party,Congress, in April 1958, shows similar composition. Of 135 members 44 (or 32.6%) are Serbs, 16 (or 11.9%) Montenegrins, 13 (or 9.6%) Macedonians, i.e. there are 73 members, or 54.1 per cent of the Orthodox background. Five members (or 3.7 %) declared themselves as Yugoslavs and should be added to the Orthodox group. Of these five, three are Moslems, one Croat, and one Serb. The Orthodox group together with the Yugoslavs amounts to 78 members or 57.8 per cent. The rest is composed of 30 (or 22.2%) Croatians, 23 (or 17.1%) Slovenes and 4 (or 2.9%) of national minorities (2 Albanians, 1 Bulgarian and 1 Magyar).[4] Yet, according to pre-World-War-II statistics, the Orthodox represented 46 per cent of the total population, while the percentage of the Catholics was at that time 39, and that of Moslems 11. These proportions have not basically changed since the war.


The nationality and religious composition of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia does not give the whole picture of the dominance of one nationality over the others. The Central Committee of the Party is supposed to be a representative body. It is composed of Party representatives from all six constitutional republics (Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia) and therefore it tends to give a semblance of representation of various nationalities and religions, at least on the surface.


In the military, government and other hierarchies, this. surface representation is not considered necessary. Thus, for instance, statistics on the top military leadership of Yugoslavia indicates that this important body is almost entirely in the hands of officers of Serb-Orthodox background. In a recent random sample of 146 top-ranking generals, 110 (or 76%) were found to be of Serb-Orthodox background. Only 36 (or 24%) were of Roman Catholic background and there were no top generals of Moslem religious background in this sample.[5] According to the statistics of January 1, 1958, there were 218 generals in active service in Yugoslavia at that time. Of these 162 (or 74.31%) were of Serb-Orthodox background, 29 (or 13.31%) were Croatians, 22 (or 10.09%) Slovenes, 4 (or 1.84%) Macedonians, and 1 (or 0.46%) Jew. There was no general of Moslem background.[6]


The life histories of these generals reveal that a significant number of those of Serb-Orthodox background had been recruited into the Partisan guerrilla movement in the course of the second World War on the grounds of their nationalistic opposition to the Croatian authorities on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia and on the basis of their nationalist opposition to the German forces of occupation. Those generals of Catholic background, on the other hand, have been recruited into the Communist Party and promoted to the rank of general, not only for their abilities, but also for their de-nationalization and internationalist Communist orientation.[7]


In the same manner the Serb-Orthodox dominance of governmental affairs is, for instance, manifested in the composition of Yugoslavia's diplomatic representations in foreign countries. According to the International Yearbook for 1953, of 33 chiefs of diplomatic missions of Yugoslavia, 23 (or 70%) were Serb. According to more recent statistics (January 1, 1958), out of 46 chiefs of diplomatic missions of Yugoslavia, 29 (or 63%) are Serb-Orthodox. Of the rest, 7 are Croatians, 7 Slovenes, 2 Moslems and 1 Macedonian. Of 24 General Consulates which Yugoslavia maintains at present in foreign countries, 17 General Consuls (or 70%) are of Serb national background. Of the rest, 2 are Croatians, 3 are Slovenes and 2 are Macedonians.[8]


Serb dominance of Yugoslavia is even more clearly shown in the official statistics of the Party, governmental and military institutions in Bosnia-Hercegovina. This constituent Republic is also a good test case for the Party's nationality policy, since the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina is ethnically more mixed than any other region of Yugoslavia, and no one national or religious group here has an absolute numerical majority.


According to the official statistics (1948), there are in Bosnia-Hercegovina about 2,700,000 people. Of these 1,150,000 are Serb-Orthodox (42%), 900,000 are Moslems (33%), and 700,000 are Catholics (25%), by religious affiliation. As to their national orientation, 1,260,000 (or 47%) declared themselves as Serb, 650,000 (or 24%) as Croatian, and 800,000 (or 30%) as "Moslems nationally non-affiliated."


The Central Committee of the Communist Party for Bosnia-Hercegovina has 48 members (1935). Yet this top ruling body of the Republic is composed of 35 Serb-Orthodox (73%), 10 Moslems (21%), 2 Catholics (4%) and 1 Jewish. And as to their national orientation, 30 members of this Committee declared themselves as Serbs, 17 as "Yugoslavs" and only one as Croatian.


There is, however, no "Yugoslav" nationality. The main nationalities of Yugoslavia are Croatian, Macedonians, Serb, and Slovene. Montenegrins, however, identify themselves with the Serb nationality. There are also national minorities in Yugoslavia, such as Albanians, Hungarians, Rumanians. Those who declared themselves as "Yugoslav" are, therefore, people who have been denationalized or who are internationally rather than nationally oriented, but are willing to support the policies of the dominant Serb group in the Party and in the government of the country. Thus in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Bosnia-Hercegovina, all 10 Moslems, 3 out of 35 Serb-Orthodox, 1 out of 2 Catholics and the Jewish member declared themselves as "Yugoslavs."[9] This is another confirmation of the above-stated policy principle of the New Class, according to which people who want to rise in the Party and state hierarchy either have to belong to the dominant nationality or be assimilated by it.


Even the recruitment of the rank-and-file members of the Party is guided by the same policy. Thus, for instance, in 1950, the Communist Party in Bosnia-Hercegovina had 54,150 members. Of these, 37,320 (70%) were Serb-Orthodox by religious background, 8,714 were Moslems, 7,519 were Catholic and 607 were Jewish. However, 41,005 (81%) declared themselves as Serbs, 5,117 as Croatians, 4,920 as "Yugoslavs," 3,012 as "Moslems nationally non-affiliated," and 5 others.[10]


Here we note that a relatively large number of Moslems, who otherwise declare themselves overwhelmingly as "nationally non-affiliated," stated their nationality as "Serb" or as "Yugoslav" when entering the Party ranks. The same happened with a number of Catholics of Bosnia-Hercegovina, who otherwise identify themselves almost exclusively as Croatians.


This policy of favoring Serb or Yugoslav national orientation at the expense of Croatian national orientation is clearly shown also in other institutions of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Thus, for instance, the regular police (militia) of Bosnia-Hercegovina numbers 11,700 policemen. Of these 7,832 (70%) are Serb-Orthodox, 2,100 Moslems, and 1,718 Catholics. But as to their national orientation 8,340 (79%) declared themselves as Serbs, 2,510 as "Yugoslavs" and only 380 as Croatians and 420 as "Moslems nationally non-affiliated."[11]


Among the officers of the militia on the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina we see even more clearly the same trend. Out of 620 militia officers, 411 are Orthodox, 130 are Moslems, and 79 Catholic. But as to their national orientation, 502 (or 81%) declared themselves as Serb, 102 as "Yugoslav", and only 14 as Croatian and 2 as "Moslem nationally-non-affiliated."[12]


As one might well expect, the same situation prevails in other state institutions of Bosnia-Hercegovina. For instance, out of 196 deputies to the Council of the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina, which is the top legislative and administrative body of the republic, 144 (73.48%) declared themselves as Serbs and only 38 (19.35%) as Croatians, 9 (4.59%) as Yugoslavs and 4 (2.05%) as "Moslems nationally unaffiliated,"[13]




This dominance of Serb and Serb-Orthodox elements in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia is not a new phenomenon. It is rather traditional in the Yugoslav Communist movement which has had from its very inception Serb-Orthodoxy as its national and cultural base. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia was born in April, 1919, when on the initiative of the Social-Democratic Party of Serbia, a meeting of all Socialist parties of Yugoslavia took place in Belgrade. The purpose of the meeting was to create a united Communist Party and to join the Communist International that had just been formed in Moscow under Lenin's leadership. By the end of 1920, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia numbered about 69,000 members, overwhelmingly Serb-Orthodox.[14]


The elections for the Constitutional Assembly held that year also show that the Communist vote was overwhelmingly cast in the Orthodox areas, such as Montenegro, Macedonia, and Serbia. Also the parliamentary representation and the leadership of the Party at that time were overwhelmingly Orthodox by religious background. Of the whole Communist parliamentary representation, 82 per cent were of Orthodox background, even though the Orthodox represented at the time only 46 per cent of the total population. There were only 9 Catholics and 1 Moslem as compared to 48 Orthodox among Communist deputies. As to their national affiliation, there were only 6 Slovenes, 3 Croatians, 1 or 2 Macedonians. Forty-eight were Serb (including 4 Montenegrins). Like the top Party leadership, the lower Party cadres were overwhelmingly Orthodox and Serb. This was indicated by the national and religious composition of a group of 502 candidates for Parliamentary elections, of whom 342 (or almost 69%) were of Orthodox and Serb background while 140 (or 28%) were Catholics and only 2.3 per cent were Moslems. The percentage of Catholics in the whole population of Yugoslavia was at that time 39 and of Moslem 11.[15]


Since the Serb leadership of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia at that time tended to impose its national ideology on the Party, it came into direct conflict with the policies of the Communist International, led by Stalin. Stalin at that time demanded that the Communist Party of Yugoslavia take advantage of internal national antagonisms between the Serbs and the Croats and between the Serbs and the Macedonians, as well as between the Serbs and the Montenegrins. He wanted the Party to sponsor ideas of national separation, in order to bring about disintegration of that country and thus create conditions for the seizure of power by the Communists. Such a policy, however, was completely contrary to the ideas and feelings of the Serb leaders of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. These people had identified themselves with the Serb national ideals and wanted to preserve the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia under Serb leadership.[16]


It was as a result of this conflict between Serb leadership of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and Stalin that by 1938, Josip Broz Tito, a Croatian by birth, rose to the top Party position as its General Secretary. However, in his organizational work and in preparing the Party for the coming revolution, Tito tended to rely increasingly on the Serb element within the Party, particularly since the Party proceeded to attract the Serb elements in proportionally greater numbers than other nationalities of Yugoslavia. In his "policy of cadres" Tito had paid special attention to high school and university youth groups. And in this connection a number of university preparatory high schools (gymnasiums) in Montenegro, Bosnia, and Western Serbia, as well as the University of Belgrade, became of paramount importance from the point of view of the Party's future. It was at these institutions, and particularly among the students of Serb-Orthodox background, that Tito found his most enthusiastic and most able followers.[17] As a result, it was from among these young people that Tito was recruiting and training the future Party, military, and governmental leaders. He himself admitted this when he reviewed the history of the Party's organizational and propaganda work. Said Tito: "Much of the credit for this work must go to the Party organization in the University of Belgrade. The University had long been known for its freedom of thought, especially between the two wars. To begin with, most of the students were the sons of peasants and workers, usually from Montenegro, Bosnia and parts of Serbia. Most of these students lived at home and came to Belgrade only to sit for their examination; they were in constant touch with the people."[18]


Thus, it was these same people that had formed the Yugoslav contingents in the Spanish civil war. The same brigades later became the nucleus of the Partisan guerrilla fighting during World War II. In the course of these guerrilla activities, by the end of November, 1942, the Communist-led Partisans felt sufficiently bold to undertake the organization of a shadow legislature, their first bid for the seizure of power in Yugoslavia. Of 68 deputies present at the formation of this body, at its first session, 53 (or 78%) were Serb-Orthodox, 10 were Croatian-Catholic, 4 were Moslems and 1 was Serb-Jewish.[19] The main Partisan fighting, the organization of the first Partisan government and later the organization of the Partisan revolutionary government (November 1943) took place in western Bosnia, in an area inhabited mainly by the Serb-Orthodox population.[20]


The reasons why the Serb-Orthodox were attracted to the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in comparatively much larger numbers than the other nationalities and religions, even under the leadership of a man of Croatian and Catholic background — are manifold.


The Serb-Orthodox people have for centuries felt a close affinity to the Russian-Orthodox people on the ground of common religion (Eastern Orthodox) and similarity of language and culture. Slavophilism, which claimed superior qualities for the Slays and their culture, and Pan-Slavism, which propagated cultural and political unity of all Slays under Russian leadership, had a strong popular following in Russia and Bulgaria, as well as in Serbia and in Montenegro. Both among the leaders and among the common folk in small Slav-Orthodox countries, Orthodox Russia was looked up to as "Great Mother Russia." Russia had helped them in the past to achieve and consolidate their national independence. They also expected that Russia would protect them in the future and help them to strengthen and expand their national power.


One has to keep in mind that among the Eastern-Orthodox peoples, religion and nationality have been identified. For historical reasons in Eastern Christianity, unlike Western Christianity, the Church has been identified with the State. As a result of such a situation the Orthodox Church considered it a duty to promote the political interests of the State with which it was associated. Thus the Orthodox Church had acquired political and national objectives in addition to its religious functions. Consequently, various Orthodox churches promoted Christian belief together with nationalism among their adherents. These national churches were named according to their national identifications (Russian- Serb-Orthodox, etc.) Hence nationalism among these people, because of its blend with religion, was especially deeply felt.[21] And since Slavophil and Pan-Slav ideology implied also Orthodox supremacy, it was to be expected that these movements would find followers particularly among the Orthodox Slavs.


At the same time, however, rivalries, conflicts, and wars were taking place between various Slav nations. Some of them expanded at the expense of others and established their hegemony, using the ideology of all-Slav unity as a justification. The Great Russians, for instance, ruled over the Ukrainians and Bielorussians, Czechs dominated the Slovaks. In the same way Serbia was able to establish, at the end of World War I, its political hegemony over large areas inhabited by Croatian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Slovene peoples. Serbia took advantage of its position as an ally of the victorious powers in that war and justified its dominance over other South Slav nations in the name of "Yugoslav [South Slav] unity." In World War II the Serbs were able to re-establish their former supremacy, but now their hegemony took on the form of Communism.


The Serbs were attracted in increasingly large numbers to the Communist movement in the course of World War II, but not so much because of internationalist Communist ideology. They strongly resented becoming a national minority in the newly-established Croatian and Catholic state. In addition they were attracted to the Slavoplail and Pan-Slav content of Russian Communism. For many of these people, Bolshevism was good enough as long as it was Russian and Slav and as long as it offered the prospects of a restored Yugoslavia under Serb-Orthodox leadership.[22]


The other important reason for Communist appeal to the Serb-Orthodox people lay in the psychology of Communism. The Communist movement, as conceived by Lenin, is a militant organization whose, objective is to seize power by any and all means. Both in its ideology and in its practice, this movement emphasizes conspiracy, violence, and ruthlessness in relation to the seizure of power and in dealing with adversaries, all of whom are treated as "enemies." In its internal organization the Communist Party of the Leninist type follows the principles of authoritarianism, iron military discipline, complete dedication to the Party and self-sacrifice for the cause of the revolution. Such a Party, therefore, tends to attract people of a particular psychological and ideological bent. But such a Party must also be consciously selective in the recruitment and training of its members and "cadres" (the Party functionaries). For this reason, one of the fundamental organizational aspects of the Communist Party is its "policy of cadres," that is, methodical and minutely planned selection of members, their training and indoctrination, their promotion on the basis of rigid aptitude, performance and loyalty tests, and their deployment to positions and functions on the basis of special skills, abilities, and trust.[23] One of the most decisive criteria in the promotion of cadres is the degree of "partyism," that is, the sense of dedication and self-sacrifice for the cause, and of subordination to the top leadership.


Generally speaking, the Party, in its pre-revolution and revolution phases, due to its psychological aspects, appeals to and recruits into its membership militant, dynamic, aggressive, dedicated, fanatic, and conspiratorial types of people. However, because of its ideological aspects, its ideas of a classless society, of all-human brotherhood, and of cultural and personal freedom, the Party, in this phase of its development, appeals also to a number of universally oriented and utopia-seeking idealists of various kinds. In addition, on the grounds of its purported struggle, against all kinds of exploitation and oppression, the Party strongly appeals, in this phase of its development, to many members of subjected nationalities, exploited classes, and ostracized minorities.


It is therefore to be expected that in its revolutionary phases, and due to its psychological and Pan-Slav aspects, the Communist Party in Yugoslavia would have had a strong appeal among the Serb-Orthodox people of the Dinaric Alps. These mountain men in the area of Montenegro, western Bosnia, western Serbia and central Croatia (Lika) have been renowned for their traditional militancy and rebelliousness, for their military qualities and endurance of hardships, for power-seeking and ruthlessness, as well as for a sense of heroism, dedication, and self-sacrifice in the interest of Serb-Orthodox ideals.[24] Such qualities were particularly heightened in the course of World War II when the Serb-Orthodox people of this area found themselves subjected to Croatian Catholic authorities. The Party, therefore, had paid special attention to these people both before and during this war. And as a result of all these circumstances, the majority of the members of the Party's Central Committee, and most of the top military commanders of contemporary Yugoslavia originated from the Dinaric area (Map I).24a The ideological orientation of these people was shaped under the "influence of Belgrade, the seat of Serb-Orthodoxy and of Serb nationalism (Map II).[25]




According to the Leninist teachings, when the Communists seize power in a country they must establish the "dictatorship of the proletariat," consolidate it and develop it as a base for the expansion of Communism to other countries, pursuing their objective of world revolution. This is known as the third stage of the proletarian revolution.[26] Thus after the seizure of power in a country the Party continues to appeal to and recruit militant, dedicated, fanatic, ruthless, and power-oriented personalities. This becomes imperative for the promotion of revolutionary ideology; but even more so for self-perpetuation in power of a small group of professional and dedicated conspirators who had established a totalitarian rule in opposition to the broad strata of the population.


These circumstances, however, lead to the formation of a ruling caste — the New Class — which takes over the control of the whole apparatus of the government, and monopolizes the whole social, economic, and educational life of the country. Being in such a position, the Party has to recruit also highly-skilled and learned people who are specialists in all spheres of political, economic, and military activities. To govern efficiently, the Party depends upon the know-how of these experts. And in order to command their loyalty, the Party rewards them in terms of relatively high income and special appurtenances and privileges. The Party depends also upon the knowledge and skill of scholars and educators, novelists and artists, publicists and journalists. As a result, all these intelligentsia—administrative, technological and humanistic — develop vested interests in their status and possessions, and therefore tend to identify themselves with the New Class.[27]


It would therefore seem logical that the Communist Party in a multi-national state would direct its policy of cadres in such a way as not to antagonize various national and ethnical groups in the country. It seems that it would be in the best interest of consolidation of the Party's power if there existed a harmonious and friendly, rather than a hostile relationship between various national and ethnic groups in the country. To achieve such an objective, one would expect that the Party should endeavor very systematically to introduce a more or less proportional representation of various national and ethnic groups in its top Party hierarchy and in the top administrative and legislative, judicial and military, economic and educational institutions of the country. This, however, does not take place. All contemporary Communist regimes, in multi-national countries, have tended increasingly, up to date, toward a monopolistic concentration of political, economic, and social power in the hands of a relatively small group of persons that belong to the dominant group or are thoroughly assimilated by that group.


The Party is well aware that such a trend is one of the basic weaknesses of its rule. This is shown by the fact that the Party sponsors laws and decrees, statutes and regulations which make all national discrimination and national antagonism punishable by law. There are frequent statements by the top Party leaders and cadres to the same effect. But this is only the ideology. In practice, however, we find that such rules and statements apply only to subjected nationalities, not to the dominant one. Thus one often hears of indictments and trials against "bourgeois nationalists" in Ukraina, and in the Asian and Baltic republics of the Soviet Union. Similar trials have often taken place against Slovaks and against Croatians, as well as against Jewish intellectuals, but seldom if ever against the Russians, the Czechs, or the Serbs.


The reasons for this seemingly illogical policy stem by necessity and by expediency from the monolithic structure of the Party and of the state in Communist-controlled society. When in the beginning of the twentieth century, Lenin conceived the organization of the Communist Party, his main objective was to develop an instrument that would be most effective in the struggle against the Russian Czarist police; an instrument that could systematically undermine the Czarist regime and eventually enable the Party to seize power. Lenin thought that in order to achieve such aims the Communist Party should be limited to a relatively small number of professional conspirators who were to be well-trained, well-disciplined and totally dedicated to the cause of the revolution. Such a group had to be well-integrated around its top leadership, which was to be composed of "a dozen talented people working in perfect harmony."[28]


Lenin also conceived the Communist Party as a militant and fighting organization engaged permanently in an underground or open war with its enemies until these were defeated and destroyed. But, in order to achieve a maximum of striking efficiency, the Party, as conceived by Lenin, had to maintain "absolute unity of will and action," and a strict military discipline and subordination of the lower ranks and of the rank-and-file to the top leadership.[29] Such a high degree of monolithism could be accomplished only if the Party leaders and the Party cadres thought and acted alike, that is, if they had similar or identical training, experience, and personality, and could work smoothly in unison. Those who could not achieve such a degree of uniformity had to be systematically purged.


Such a Party organization proved very efficient in action and almost impenetrable and immune to infiltration on the part of its enemies, particularly enemy intelligence. And it was such a Party organization that had enabled Lenin and his Bolsheviks to seize power in Russia in 1917. Lenin therefore came to the conclusion that such a Party should be organized on an international scale and thus become the General Staff of the world proletariat in its revolution against the world bourgeoisie.[30]


Hence, through the institution of the Communist International, the Russian Party model was imposed on Communist Parties throughout the world.[31] In a number of cases this system of Party organization served its purpose as well and as efficiently as in Russia, in the question of seizure of power and of establishment of Party dictatorship. This was particularly true in the case of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and of the Communist Party of China.


After the seizure of power, and in order to perpetuate themselves as a ruling caste, the Bolsheviks stated that the internal "enemy" had not been defeated. Indeed, they claimed that the enemy was now even more active and threatening than before they had seized power.[32] And in order to eliminate any and all opposition to their rule, Lenin and his aides found it imperative, for purposes of total control of society, to, apply the conspiratorial system of rule also in the administration of the state. In this way, too, Russia became a model of state organization that has been applied to the formation of all other Communist-controlled countries.


But in order to maintain "absolute unity of will and action", both in the Party and in the state, the workings of the Party forums and of the legislative bodies in a Communist-ruled society cannot be anything like the workings of political parties and of representative institutions in the Western type of government. In the Western political systems a more or less full play of various social forces takes place both within the political parties and in the representative institutions. Intra-party factions as well as party coalitions, alliances, blocs, and other multi-partisan groupings tend to be freely formed and dissolved depending upon the pressure of circumstances and upon varying, and often conflicting, political and social objectives of groups which are represented. But in the Leninist system of political monolithism, factionalism and other groupings formed to achieve different political objectives, or the same objectives by using different means, are tabooed as a sacrilege and punished by purge (expulsion or execution).[33] Instead of free play of social forces and decisions arrived at by majority vote, in the Communist Party-State system, the group that happens to dominate the Central Committee imposes from above unanimity in voting within the Party and within the legislative bodies. Through Party directives "unity of will and action" is achieved also in all governmental, economic, educational, and military institutions.


Such a high degree of regimentation and conformity within the Party and within the state is arrived at by a system of "conspiratorial manipulation." In this organizational set-up every Party forum and every leadership level of each public institution is split up into several small groups, varying according to the kind and degree of authority. The smallest but the most significant of such groups on local, republic, or national levels of organization consists of a well-integrated hard core of decision-makers. This "sanctum" of a Party or government body puts its decision into practice through a small group of able and loyal advisers and executives (the "inner circle"). They also secure the help of a group of "front men" who are selected for the prestige they enjoy among the Party rank-and-file (the "Party mass"), for their ability to influence large strata of the population, as well as for their willingness to follow, without questioning, the directives of the Party's inner leadership. In such a set-up, any and every decision of the top Party leadership is immediately communicated to the Party core on each level of the Party and from there to the leader-ship core on each corresponding level of state organization ("transmission belt").


In each Party body and on each level of Party organization the hard core of decision-makers is, as a rule, organized in the form of a "Secretariat." And the monolithic unity of will and action in the whole Party is achieved through an "Axis of Secretariats" that runs uninterruptedly from the top to the bottom of the Party pyramid (see the Chart). The unity of policy (the "Party line") in the Secretarial Axis is maintained by the principle of "reverse representation." This device consists in having in each Party body and on each level of Party organization one or more key individuals who, are members of a superordinate Party body and thus represent that body and its policies in the lower Party unit, and not vice versa. Thus an unbreakable link is established from the topmost Party body, the Secretariat of the Central Committee, or the Politburo (Presidium, Executive Committee of the Central Committee), to the lowest Party unit, that is the basic Party organization or cell.


This system of control from above is reinforced by the principle of "democratic centralism," according to which the decisions arrived at in a higher Party body must be executed by the lower Party bodies "unquestioningly, promptly, and correctly." In theory "democratic centralism" implies also free discussion on the basis of a majority vote within the ranks. In practice, however, the lower Party bodies are limited to the discussion of how to implement the directives of a superior body. This system of control from above is also reinforced by other devices, such as the principle of "vertical communication," according to which the Party bodies on the same level of organization cannot communicate directly, but only through their common super-ordinate body. This helps to prevent formation of organized opposition in the rank-and-file against the directives from above. In the same manner the principle of direct control from the top enables the top Party leadership to interfere directly in the affairs of Party forums on any level of Party organization through a system of "instructors". These are advisors and inspectors who serve as envoys and watchdogs of the top Party leadership at the lower levels of Party organization. They check on the prompt and correct execution of Party directives. To make this whole organizational system work smoothly, promotion of each person into the core of decision-makers and into the inner circle, on each level of Party organization, is directed from the main Secretariat of the Party pyramid. Such promotions are made on the basis of ability and skill, as well as on the basis of personal loyalty to the top Party leader.


The elections to the Party Congress, which is the supreme legislative body of the Party, are not direct but indirect. This enables the Party leadership to manipulate elections to the Party Congress in such a manner as to secure the election of loyal yes-men. Thus this whole system of monolithic and conspiratorial organization enables the top Party leadership and its Secretarial Axis to perpetuate them-selves in power and to establish their permanent control over the Party and its policies. Only when through "palace revolutions" the top Party leader is removed, there usually follow more radical personal changes both in the top Party bodies and in the whole Secretarial Axis.[34]


The Party's core, or the ruling caste, maintains its total control of society by monopolizing and concentrating into its hands all property and all sources of production and income. In addition, the ruling caste reinforces the sense of total dependency of every subject upon the Party and the state 'for his life and livelihood through a systematic control of thought and feelings. This form of psychological manipulation is achieved by means of monopolization and concentration in the hands of the Party of all media of mass communication. However, as long as a Communist-ruled economy is an economy of scarcity, the only way to secure the loyalty of the needed experts in government administration and economic management, in research and technology, in teaching and propaganda, is to reward them at the expense of the peasantry, of industrial labor, and of the lower ranks of bureaucracy (office workers, clerks, and technicians.)[35]




The fundamental problem for the Party is therefore to hold and perpetuate in its own hands the administration of such a complex and delicate system of total control. One way to solve this problem might consist in an "open door" policy. That is, by recruiting into the Party all people of know-how, regardless of their national, social, and religious background. Such a policy, however, would tend to weaken the Party in its ideological aspects, as well as in the matter of discipline. It might easily lead toward the disintegration of the system of Party monolithism and bring about a shift of power and of state control from the Party into the hands of the bureaucracy. Hence in order to avoid such a fate the Party had to devise other means to concentrate total control into its own hands.


In the fields of legislation, administration, and judiciary, the Party has achieved such a high degree of control by means of a system of "interlocking directorates. That is, in each government body, in each state institution, and on each level of state organization (municipal, county, republic, national) the controlling core is composed of the same people who form the Party's hard core at the same organizational level. In addition, mindful of the danger of shifting loyalties, the Party must enforce rigorously the principle of "primacy of Party loyalty." Any Party functionary who tends to develop attachment to a non-Party function in such a way as to jeopardize his primary loyalty to the Party, must be ruthlessly purged regardless of his professional ability or his past Party merits. Such a system of control takes on a particular importance in the armed forces, including the police forces, because these are the only organized institutions which are in possession of arms, and which might therefore challenge the supremacy of the Party and overthrow its rule by means of an armed revolt.[36]


The principle of "interlocking directorates" as a system of Party-state organization, however, has its serious drawbacks. Need for identity in ideology and similarity in personality formation of the Party leadership and of the Party cadres, leads almost inevitably to the recruitment of the Party's leading apparatus and of the state's leading functionaries from among people of the same ethnic back-ground. Due to identity of culture and similarity in experience, people stemming from the same social and cultural background tend to have similar mentalities, are likely to understand each other better, and tend to have similar or identical orientations, aspirations, and objectives. They tend to trust one another more than they would people of different linguistic, social and religious backgrounds.


Thus people of similar or identical backgrounds are likely to draw each other into the Party, to support each other in their rise in the Party and state hierarchies, and to develop a common vested interest in consolidating, strengthening and perpetuating their positions both within the Party and within the state. They form them-selves as a closed ruling Communist caste — the New Class.


In a multi-national state such circumstances almost inevitably lead toward the recruitment of Party cadres, particularly the Party's hard core, and therefore of the New Class, overwhelmingly from one national group. And it is this New Class, when established in power and when concerned over its vested interests, that presses the Party's policies in the direction of "national Communism."


The objectives of "national Communism" are to protect the New Class against encroachments on the part of the ruling classes in other Communist states, particularly of the New Class in the Soviet Union. Internally, the New Class, both in the Soviet Union and in some other Communist-ruled countries, such as China, Yugoslavia, and Poland, has been using nationalistic feelings efficiently as a morale builder and a psychological energizer. This became necessary in order to combat lack of enthusiasm, indifference, and apathy in the broad strata of the population that consider themselves mistreated and exploited by the new rulers. In multinational Communist-ruled countries, the new rulers have failed to develop a "Soviet", a "Yugoslav," or "Czechoslovak" patriotism and nationalism. And as a result the only nationalism and patriotism that they could resort to as an energizer and morale builder was the nationalism of the dominant nationality. They realized that many members of the dominant nationality even though opposed to Communism would be willing to support the Party as long as the Party furthers the national interest of their national group. Such a trend of events in its own turn has reinforced the tendency of the recruitment of the New Class overwhelmingly from among the members of the dominant nationality.


Such a trend of development, however, provokes sharp reactions among subjected nationalities and other ethnic groups, depending upon the degree of their national or ethnic consciousness. These nationalities and other ethnic groups come to feel that they are 'not only enslaved by the dictatorship of the Party, but also by the hegemony of an alien nationality, and that they are being used to further the interests of the dominant nationality. In such circumstances the dominant nationality is likely to be blamed by the subjected groups for all the ills caused by the dictatorship of the Party and by the Party policies. The result is sporadic open protest and opposition, which is ruthlessly suppressed by the Party.


Lacking legal means of opposition, oppressed nationalities tend to resort to a spontaneous, non-organized mass resistance that takes the form of political passivity and lack of interest in the matters of state. Such a demoralization tends to reinforce the existing apathy and slowdown in production among the most exploited strata of the population, particularly industrial labor, the peasantry, and the lower ranks of bureaucracy, regardless of their national affiliation.. This might lead to further demoralization that often manifests itself in the form of alcoholism, hooliganism, sex promiscuity, and crime.[37]


The counter-measures in the form of limitation of individual and group freedoms that the regime undertakes to keep under control these seething national resentments do not check but rather promote further development of group consciousness. They only intensify group hostility among the peoples that consider themselves nationally or socially exploited. Thus, instead of solving the nationality problem which has been one of the major boasts of Communism, they have actually accentuated this source of internal conflict.


In addition, the New Class in the Soviet Union, because of its position of military and economic supremacy, has tended to take economic and political advantage of other Communist-ruled states. This policy has provoked tensions and open clashes between the Soviet Union and other Communist-controlled countries, and has forced the Soviet Union to revise its methods in dealing with other Communist-ruled states while still insisting on its leadership role as an imperative condition to preserve unity and enhance striking efficiency of the Communist world.


Thus every contemporary Communist state, founded on Leninist principles of Party-state organization, has developed a ruling caste which in defense of its vested interests has become nationalistic, not only in relation to subjected nationalities but also in relation to other Communist and non-Communist countries. At the same time, however, all these ruling classes of various Communist states have found it necessary to maintain among themselves mutual unity and solidarity. Such a policy of unity is imperative as a means of consolidation and perpetuation of their power in relation to the internal opposition and in relation to the non-Communist world.


Each Communist-ruled multi-national state and the whole "Communist camp," therefore, face three basic "contradictions": the clash of interests between the New Class and the oppressed broad strata of the population; the clash of interests between the dominant nationality and subjected nationalities or ethnic minorities; and finally the clash of vested interests between the ruling classes of various Communist states while they are forced at the same time to maintain among themselves an international solidarity.


Speaking of the national imperialism of his days, Lenin pointed out three of its most important "contradictions": the conflict between labor and the owners of the means of production, particularly the monopolistic trusts; the conflict between various imperialistic nations over territorial possessions, markets, and raw materials; the conflict between national imperialism and its colonial and dependent peoples. Lenin stated that because of such internal contradictions, the days of national imperialism were numbered, that imperialism was in its last stage of development. He conceived a Party of professional revolutionaries and conspirators whose objective was to overthrow this system of "moribund" imperialism and to build on its ashes a new and better order, a Communist order.[38]


It appears, however, that the New Class — which evolved from the foundations of Leninist political monolithism, and which calls itself Communist — has developed its own system of economic exploitation and of national imperialism. The question now is — whether or not the New Class will be able to solve its own contradictions before it disintegrates as a result of internal and external pressures.



* Financial support by Indiana University and Social Science Research Council is grate-fully acknowledged.

[1] Milovan Djilas, The New Class (New York, 1957); see also D. Tomasic, The Impact of Russian Culture on Soviet Communism (Glencoe, Illinois. 1953).

[2] Basil Dmytryskyn,, "National and Social Composition of the Membership of the Communist Party (bolshevik) of the Ukraine," Journal of Central European Affairs (Boulder, Colo.), October, 1957, pp. 254, 258.

[3] Biographies. Manuscript, Indiana University. 1956. Hereafter. Biographies.

[4] National orientation of the members of CC is taken from: S. Janković and M. Mihailović, eds., Ko je ko — biografski podaci o jugoslavenskim savremenicima (Belgrade, 1957).

[5] Biographies.

[6] Anon. [Adil Zulfikarpašićl, "Generali Titove Komunističke Armije," Hrvatski Dom` (Fribourg, Swiss), vol. XI, No. 98, Jan: Feb. 1958, p. 11. — Mr. Zulfikarpašić is a former member of CPY. During the war he was a lieutenant colonel in Tito's partisan army. He left the ranks of Tito's Communists in 1947 and has lived in exile since then.

[7] Biographies.

[8] Anon. [Adil Zulfikarpašićl, "Diplomacija komunističke Jugoslavije," Hrvatski Dom, op. cit., p. 13-14.

[9] Adil Zulfikarpašić, "Bosna i Hercegovina u Svijetlu Statističkih Podataka," Bosmcski Pogledi (Vienna), vol I (1955), p. 38.

[10] Ibid, p. 39.

[11] Ibid., p. 37.

[12] Ibid.. p. 38.

[13] Ibid.. p. 35.

[14] lstorijski Arhiv Komunističke Partije Jugoslavije (Belgrade, 1949-1952) vol. II. p. 27. Hereafter Istoriiski Arhiv.

[15] Definitivni Rezultati. Popisa Pučanstva Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca, 1921 (Belgrade, 1931).

[16] Istorijski Arhiv, vol. II, pp. 70, 67-77, 73. See also Sima Marković, Nacionalno Pitanje u Svetlosti Marksi.zma (Belgrade, 1923), pp. 118, 123-24.

[17] D. A. Tomasic, National Communism and Soviet Strategy (Washington, D. C., 1957), p. 39. Hereafter Tomasic, National Communism.

[18] Vladimir Dedijer, Tito (New York, 1953), p. 48.

[19] Compare Borba (Belgrade), Dec. 6, 1952 in Istorijski Arhiv, vol. I, Part 2, pip. 250-59.

[20] Tomasic, National Communism, Chs. IV and V.

[21] D. A. Tomasic, "Slavs," Encyclopedia Americana (New York, 1957).

[22] Tomasic, National Communism, Ch. IV.

[23] Ibid., Ch. III and IV.

[24] For a detailed analysis of Dinaric culture see Jovan Cvijić, "Studies in Yugoslav Psychology," Slavonic Review (London), December, 1930. See also Edith M. Durham, Some Tribal Origins, Laws, and Customs of the Balkans (London, 1928). Also D. Tomasic, Personality and Culture in Eastern European Politics (New York, 1948). The latter work analyzes also the differences and the similarities between the Orthodox and the Catholics in the Dinaric regions. An important contribution to our knowledge of the Dinaric culture and its psychology is found also in the biography of Milovan Djilas, Land Without Justice (New York, 1958).

24a This map as well as Map II have been elaborated by Joseph Strmecki, University of Pittsburgh.

[25] Biographies.

[26] Joseph Stalin, Foundations of Leninism (New York, 1939), p. 97.

[27] M. Djilas, The New Class, op. cit.

[28] Lenin, Collected Works (New York, 1929), vol. IV, pp. 196, 180-201

[29] Lenin, Selected Works, vol. X, pp. 60, 204. See also Stalin, op. cit., pp. 119-20.

[30] Stalin, op. cit., p. 110.

[31] See Theses and Statutes of Communist International and Program of Communist International, particularly "Conditions of Admission."

[32] Lenin, Selected Works, vol. VII, pp. 140-41; vol. X, pp. 60, 80. See also Stalin, op. cit., pp. 4.8-50.

[33] Stalin, op. cit., pp. 122-124.

[34] Tomasic, National Communism, pp. 37-38, 41-43, 97, 103-103.

[35] M. Djilas, The New Clas . op. cit.

[36] Tomasic, National Communism, pp. 103. 96-101.

[37] Ibid., pp. 141-44

[38] Stalin, op. cit. pp. 13-14