On historical regression: A note at the occasion of the anniversary of the Manifesto

On historical regression: A note at the occasion of the anniversary of the Manifesto

Plakat: Ankit Kumar Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

It is a manifesto: accordingly, it not only works upon the material it analyses – it also intends its analyses to work upon the readers, to prompt them to intervene into the contradictions of history and to achieve their revolutionary resolution. Consequently, it ends on an imperative: “Unite!”

It is not in the nature of a manifesto to speculate on eventual ebbs, mishaps, and deformations of the movement it seeks to launch. It behoves the readers to attend to this task. Here the question we want to examine arises: How was it possible that the “readers of the Manifesto”, that is, the political and theoretical left, were unprepared to confront the capitalist offensive of the last quarter of the 20th century? This question assumes a particular poignancy in the case of Yugoslavia where, within a declared socialist frame, left movements were strong, political and theoretical discussions on the left were vivid, and the state-bureaucratic repression relatively restrained. Yet, restauration of capitalism in Yugoslavia was bloody; resistance to the carnage was weak and mostly liberal-bourgeois; and the riposte of the working people came only when the historical course for the next decades had already been set.

In the present note, I want to propose the hypothesis that the theory presented in the Communist Manifesto has two limitations that hampered, if embraced,[1] the capacity to interpret, and eventually to oppose the destruction of Yugoslav socialist federation. I do not suggest that Manifesto was the source of the shortcomings in question. Manifesto only figures as evidence to the possibility of such insufficiencies in historical materialism and to their actual presence in the tradition of political left.

Limitations of the Manifesto

One limitation is that the Manifesto speaks of the modes of production, but not of their combination within a particular society, i.e., it does not treat of social formations. The second deficiency is that it considers capitalism to be “homoficient”, i.e. producing the same effects in all historical contexts. The two shortcomings are related: if the articulation of various modes of production within the same social formation is not conceptualised, then it is impossible to conceptualise specific results each such specific historical combination produces.

With such an impoverished conceptual apparatus, one may underestimate the contest between contradictory modes of production in a society. In particular, within post-capitalist social formations, one may trivialise the conflict between the socialist processes and the capitalist processes. To take a particularly relevant problem for the construction of socialism, one may be in trouble to understand, and eventually politically to regulate, the uneasy articulation between socialist industrialisation and the simple commodity production dominant in agriculture.[2]

Deficiencies of Yugoslav critical left

Yugoslav critical left,[3] I would argue, shared these theoretical deficiencies of the Manifesto, and considered capitalist processes in Yugoslavia rather as a kind of historical relics, and not as one of the main characteristics of a transitional social formation. In other words, Yugoslav critical leftists saw socialism as a historically secured and irreversible process. Consequently, their analyses were deficient even at moments when the objective anti-socialist processes evidently arose as the results of presumably “socialist” politics.

Several studies[4] suggest that the introduction of “market socialism” in 1965-66 first challenged the future of Yugoslav socialism.[5] During the next decade, inadequate reactions to the processes of capitalist restauration generated by these market reforms, deepened internal contradictions. Most importantly, they incapacitated the country to confront the first debt crisis, and later to resist the onslaught of the institutions of global capital (International Monetary Fund, World Bank).

Reading the debates of the time, one has the impression that the left critique of those times quite adequately determined leftist political agenda. They were those set by the student movement (1964-74). They fought against the political monopoly of the party-state bureaucracy. They denounced the effects of capitalist processes – the incipient class formation (“social differentiation” in the jargon of the time; “red bourgeoisie” in the leftist discourse), and its social promoters (“technocracy”, i.e. the high management in enterprises, esp. in the large ones; bureaucracies of national ideological apparatuses, i.e. “cultural” bureaucracies[6]). However, it does not seem that political left seriously considered the eventuality of the restauration of capitalism.[7]

There seem to be two main causes of this historical naiveté:

  • most of the left reasoned about capitalism in the terms of “simple commodity production”;[8]
  • and believed the achievements of socialist revolution to be irreversible.

The first cause derived from the epistemic hegemony of the Praxis Marxism in Yugoslav social sciences and in the leftist circles. This sort of Marxism focused on the “young Marx” writings and adopted their radical humanism. It was preoccupied with the ideology of “alienation”, and thought to have found its theoretical pendant in the “commodity fetishism” of the first chapter of Capital that they read in an equally anthropocentric vein. In this way, they gave up to follow Marx’s further theoretical elaboration that conceptualises the verwandelte Formen, the “converted” or “transmuted forms” as “the concrete forms which grow out of the movements of capital as a whole”.[9] Consequently, they could not fully appreciate the effects of the introduction, by the economic reform of 1965, of an autonomous banking system, operating on the principle of anticipated capital yields.

This meant the introduction of capital as production factor, of capital market as the mechanism of capital allocation, and of interest as the “converted form” of the appropriation of surplus value. These measures strengthened the position of the high management in enterprises, of the “technocrats” who have been one of the groups whose political pressure persuaded the political bureaucracy to introduce the economic reform of 1965. In general, the reform importantly enhanced the structural impact of capitalist processes that had already been under way in Yugoslav social formation. As in all transitional formations, the contradiction between socialist processes and capitalist processes has been all along the basic social contradiction in Yugoslavia. This determinant contradiction was over-determining all other contradictions in various social spheres.

During the period of administrative self-managed socialism (1951-65),[10] the dominant contradiction in the economic sphere was the tension between statist administrative regulation and self-management in individual working collectives. This contradiction developed within the socialist frame; it was consequently offering structural resistance against capitalist pressures coming from the capitalist-systemic international environment and the spontaneous tendency of self-managed working collectives to act as individual capitals.

In the ideological sphere, however, the dominant contradiction was that between communist ideology and various bourgeois ideologies.[11] Bourgeois ideologies were so strong that, together with the managerial “technocrats”, they succeeded in the mid-sixties to convince the leading Yugoslav political bureaucracies that there was an economic crisis and that the right solution to it was to introduce market socialism.[12]

Within the economic sphere, market socialism substituted, on the post of its dominant contradiction, the contradiction “capitalist processes / socialist processes” to the previous contradiction “administrative regulation / self-management”. In this way, the dominant contradiction in the economic sphere coincided with the determinant contradiction in the social formation. Together with the deepening of the typically bourgeois separation of economic sphere and the juridico-political sphere, this coincidence of dominant with the determinant enormously strengthened capitalist processes in Yugoslav social formation.

Critical left failed to realise the importance of the antagonistic contradiction of two incompatible logics, the socialist logic and the capitalist one. Failure to see the antagonistic contradiction, equalled to believe that socialist transformation was irreversible.

In addition, the trust that the achievements of socialist revolution were irreversible derived from another source as well. On this point the critical left remained within the horizon of the Manifesto, and had not moved to the more complex theoretical constructions of Grundrisse … and Capital.

As already noted, Manifesto presents capitalism as “homoficient”, that is, as essentially producing the same results in any social context it integrates in its global expansion.[13] Yugoslav critical left thought about socialism in the terms of “homoficiency”, inherited from the school-Marxism (where Manifesto and similar literature figured as standard reading), in stark contradiction to the political stance of “many ways to socialism” which it shared with Titoist ideology. The vision of history where capitalism is “homoficient” (and socialism operates in an analogous way) supported the then popular notions of “underdevelopment”, of “catching up” and the like.[14]

Theoretical fallacies – political mistakes

The epistemological fallacy behind this linear understanding of history is the ideological representation of society as an organic whole whose elements compose themselves in a way to be reducible to a unique principle. In historical-materialist terms, the commanding “principle” is then the dominant mode of production. According to this view, capitalism, and likewise socialism, as modes of production, are “homoficient” because they are (more or less tacitly) supposed to organise homogeneous social formations. At least, their domination is supposed not to be structurally challenged. This ideology conceives social formations as “expressive totalities” (every element reflects-expresses the whole in its totality), and historical time as “homogeneous-continuous/self-contemporaneous”.[15]

According to this ideology, there exists one main contradiction, that commands social formation; as its self-resolution quasi-automatically leads towards the next (and higher) historical stage – the problem of historical practice is one of the “adequate” understanding of this simple mechanism. The adequate understanding then guides the “correct” practice, while eventual opposition only stems from “false” interpretation of historical situation and its principal contradiction. Within such an Aufklärung-style vision of history, class struggle becomes a purely ideological affair, a matter of “consciousness”, and the progressives then endeavour to illuminate those who are still trapped in the obscurantism of the past.

Political practices of Yugoslav critical left demonstrated this ideological bias: they were predominantly illuminating, at times “pedagogical”, and their main proponents were ideological specialists – university professors, social science researchers, students. Performance of their professional tasks exhausted their ambitions towards political activism. Research and study process profited from this limitations and Yugoslav social science was at that time among the best in the world. However, it was rather pretentious to suppose that socially committed teaching and research, vibrant professional journals and international summer schools add up to radical political action. In the retrospect, it looks more like an exercise in the traditional philosopher’s occupation – counselling the tyrant.

The “tyrant” in this case was the post-revolutionary political bureaucracy.[16] For their intellectualist bias that reduced class struggle to ideological conflict, leftists assumed that socialist bureaucracy reproduced its domination by “extra-economic” constraint, i.e. with the means of ideological mechanisms. Although this hypothesis imposed itself “blindly” to its proponents,[17] it happened to be true. Since the mechanisms of the reproduction of bureaucracy did not coincide with the mechanisms of the general social reproduction (or at least not with the reproduction of the socialist mode of production), bureaucracy had to maintain its rule by incessantly triggering new politico-ideological campaigns, by ceaselessly reforming the political system etc. For this reason, socialist bureaucracies were not a ruling class, but only a dominating group.[18]

At this point, where they involuntarily (but not accidentally[19]) hit the truth, Yugoslav critical leftists committed their decisive error. They took the contradiction opposing bureaucratic shaky domination and the socialist processes (like self-management) to be the principal social contradiction. In fact, this contradiction was neither principal nor situated where the critical intelligentsia saw it. The contradiction produced and maintained by the reproduction of bureaucracy was immanent to the bureaucratic practices themselves. They had repeatedly to launch ideological campaigns in order to reproduce bureaucratic apparatus and its domination: however, the campaigns should never catch the masses, as a massive political mobilisation would challenge, and eventually do away with, the bureaucratic domination. Paradoxically, bureaucracy was succeeding to maintain their domination as long as their political campaigns did not succeed with the masses. Although vicious, this circle was productive at reproducing political bureaucracy’s precarious domination, and it was even occasionally able to integrate elements of the critical intelligentsia’s ideological critique.[20]

However, the contradiction between socialist processes of appropriation of the means of production, and generally of the conditions of production and conditions of existence, by the working masses on one side, and the mechanisms of bureaucratic domination on the other, was not the primary contradiction of the epoch. As in all post-capitalist societies, the primary contradiction was the one between the socialist processes and the practices that forwarded them, on one side, and the processes of capitalist restauration, on the other. The difference between the two types of contradiction was that the contradiction “self-management / bureaucratic domination” ideologically operated within a socialist frame,[21] while the contradiction “socialist processes and practices / capitalist processes”[22] challenged the very project of socialism.

We have already noted that the introduction of “market socialism” in 1965 made coincide the dominant contradiction within the economic sphere (capitalist processes / self-management) with the determinant contradiction of the social formation as a whole (socialist processes and practices / capitalist processes and practices). Economic logic, under the double pressure of the determinant and dominant contradictions, separated itself from the juridico-political sphere where the “socialist” contradiction (bureaucracy / self-management)[23] was relegated. Self-management lost its strength as it was subject to the capitalist pressure in the economic sphere, and working collectives started to operate as individual capitals. This development importantly strengthened the top management in enterprises. From then on, “technocrats” acted as a powerful interest group pressing towards the introduction of capitalist systemic components into Yugoslav system. Political bureaucracy, on the other side, preserved their monopoly of power in the juridico-political sphere. With the introduction of market mechanisms and profit motives in the economic sphere, juridico-political sphere remained the only domain from where political bureaucracy could exercise their domination. This limitation to the politico-juridical sphere determined the political response to the capitalist effects of the market socialism, and later oriented the action of bureaucracy when they decided to destroy socialism and restore capitalism.

At this period, Yugoslav critical left remained caught within the “socialist contradiction” (“bureaucracy / self-management”) that was now secondary and confined to the ideological sphere.

Market socialism was a hybrid system, unsuccessful both by socialist and by capitalist standards. Yugoslav political bureaucracy first responded by “legal fetishism”,[24] attempting to substitute contractual relations among self-managed subjects to the market relations. The contractual system only translated market-generated inequalities and monopolies into the idiom of “self-managed agreements”, and was consequently unable to prevent hierarchical fragmentation of Yugoslav economic space along the South/North divide, and political dissolution into the fiefs of national political and ideological bureaucracies. In particular, the contractual system could not support any federal planning of economy and of social development.

Under the pressure of the institutions of global capital[25] that requested the restauration of capitalism, national political bureaucracies, supported by the top managerial “technocracy”, resorted to the apparatus they have been controlling from the very beginning of Yugoslav socialism: the state. The “restauration coalition” was actually a composition of the dominating groups that had formed over the past decades: the political bureaucracy, the top managerial “technocracy”, the bureaucracies of the ideological apparatuses (“cultural” bureaucracy).[26]

However, the restauration coalition could not directly compose itself into the new ruling class, into the capitalist class. The decisive agent who secured the primary condition of restauration, i.e. the liquidation of social property, was the political bureaucracy, since it controlled the state apparatus. Political bureaucracies, now already fragmented along the lines of federal republics, in their last common act re-articulated Yugoslav socialist constitutional system into a conglomerate of bourgeois nation-states (constitutional amendments of 1988), and let the states perform the function of Piedmont.[27] In the absence of national bourgeoisies, former socialist republics, re-articulated into bourgeois nation-states by national bureaucracies, carried out the restauration of capitalism by state constraint.[28] The bourgeois states’ first act in this direction was the abolishment of social ownership, its transposition into state property – soon surrendered to denationalisations and privatisations.

Militant nationalism, whose fabrication national political bureaucracies entrusted to the ideological bureaucracies, was the mobilising ideology and the political support for the decisive operation of the capitalist restauration – the establishment of bourgeois nation-states. Again, Yugoslav critical left inadequately responded. They treated nationalisms as purely ideological phenomena, as a kind of mental deviation, and not as the interpellation-mechanism of the material existence of ideology in the bourgeois nation-state in the process of destroying socialism and instituting peripheral capitalism.

Actuality of the Manifesto

There is, however, a theme in the Manifesto that should have been read much more carefully, and which should be read by those who now struggle for the future of socialism. This is the historical and the structural position that Manifesto prescribes as constitutive to the new historical actor it intends to institute: the communists.

In the chapter “Proletarians and Communists”, what is said of communists, and what is presupposed by the explicit text, point to the decisive problems that have so far not been overcome in the anti-capitalist revolutionary movements.

“The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties.”

Presupposition: Anti-capitalist movements enter upon the historical scene in the plural.

Position: Communists are not a separate party; they are active in all the plural forms of the anti-capitalist movement.

“They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.”

Presuppositions: The interests “of the proletariat as a whole” are not self-evident; in their spontaneity, concrete historical struggles are particularistic and not necessarily in line with the interests “of the proletariat as a whole”.

Position: Communists thrive to make their interests “those of the proletariat as a whole”. In the sequel, it will be suggested that communists “clearly understand the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement,” because they engage in theoretical work in order to arrive to this understanding.

“In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, [communists] point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality.”

Presuppositions: In their spontaneity, proletarian movements are fragmented into national struggles. In the particular national struggles, “the common interests of the entire proletariat” are not necessarily on the top of the agenda, they may even be completely absent from the immediate goals of the struggle. However, proletarian movement can only be international, revolutionary movement is global.

“In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, [communists] always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.”

Presuppositions: The fragmented struggles of the working people have different historical temporalities. In different national situations, they belong to different historical moments. Consequently, partial struggles of the working people cannot by “synchronised”, even less moulded on the same pattern. However, it is necessary that particular struggles organise themselves according to “the interests of the movement as a whole”, and orient themselves towards the common goals.

“The immediate aim of the Communists is [… the] formation of the proletariat into a class.”

Presuppositions: In their immediate everyday existence, the working people do not form a class. The proletarian class-formation is a political task and a political achievement that the proletarian class struggle has permanently to reproduce.

This last theme was later taken up by Italian operaists who distinguished between the “technical composition of labour power” (the immediate existence of workers under capital) and “the working class class-composition” – the result of political self-organisation. The distinction between the immediate imprint, upon the labour power, of the subsumption of labour to capital on one side – and, on the other, the self-organisation of labour power into a revolutionary class, is particularly important in contemporary capitalism. Organisation of production in contemporary capitalism fragments the producers in complex and heterogeneous ways, thus imposing the particular contemporary social composition of labour power[29] that is both the immediate form of the social subsumption of labour to capital and a powerful obstacle to the working class composition.

The task of communists is as urgent now as it was in 1848: we only have to read the Manifesto – as a memento against simplifications, as a guidance towards political action and theoretical reflection.

[Objavljeno v: Sociološki pregled, Vol. LII, April – June 2018, No. 2, pp. 498 – 508]



[1] There was no particular need for the Yugoslav left to dwell on the Manifesto positions. In Marx’s opus, a more complex epistemological stance is practiced already in “The class struggles in France” (1850) and in “The Eighteenth Brumaire” (1851-1852); it is explicitly presented as an epistemological problem in the “Introduction” to Grundrisse … (1857-1858), and treated on concrete historical material in the drafts of a reply to Vera Zasulič (1881). In Marxist tradition, the problematics of the articulation of different modes of production was in the centre of theoretical debates and practical concerns in the early Soviet period (cf. the Preobraženski – Buharin debate), and became urgent with the anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century (here, Mao Zedong’s contribution is crucial). Although theoretical treatment of the problem of market relations in socialism was quite sophisticated (cf. Branko Horvat, Włodzimierz Brus, Ota Šik, Zdislav Šulc), a certain naiveté was characteristic of political attitudes towards “market socialism”, and of the corresponding political-economic practices.

[2] Socialist Internationals and Komintern equally believed that large-scale industrialised agriculture was the only solution to the “agrarian question”. Forced collectivisation in the Soviet Union (1930-33) enforced this belief and broke the workers-peasants alliance that was the backbone of the October revolution. As all socialist revolutions of the 20th century were “peasant wars” (as lucidly qualified by Eric Wolf in: Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century, Harper & Row, New York, 1969), this politics was an important obstacle to the development of the international revolutionary movement. Chinese revolution brought a radically different approach: “China was thus able to avoid the fatal error of forced collectivization and invent another way: make all agricultural land state property, give the peasantry equal access to use of this land, and renovate family agriculture.” (Samir Amin, “Contemporary Imperialism”, Monthly Review, Vol. 67, No. 3, 2015;  https://monthlyreview.org/2015/07/01/contemporary-imperialism/ (4. 4. 2018).

[3] In this essay, the expression »Yugoslav critical left« comprises the student movement from the early sixties on; the Praxis group and their environment; the main stream of Yugoslav social science up to the eighties; the new social movements of the seventies and the eighties; important dimensions of Yugoslav rock culture; the coalition in support of the accused at the Belgrade trial 1984-85; the alternative journalism of the eighties, etc., up to UJDI (the Association for Yugoslav Democratic Initiative, founded in 1989; its first chairman was professor Branko Horvat). The absence of closer ties to the labour movement is obvious. It should be noted that this essay is also an attempt at self-criticism.

[4] Catherine Samary, Plan, marché et democratie. L’experience des pays dits socialistes, Institut International de Recherche et de Formation, Amsterdam, 1988; https://www.iire.org/sites/default/files/iire-shop/pdf_cer_7_8.pdf (4. 4. 2018); same, Le marché contre l'autogestion. L'expérience yougoslave, La Brèche – Publisud, Montreuil – Paris, 1988; same, Komunizem v gibanju. Zgodovinski pomen jugoslovanskega samoupravljanja, Založba /*cf., Ljubljana, 2017; Marko Kržan, “Jugoslovansko samoupravljanje in prihodnost socializma”, postface to: Catherine Samary, op. cit.

[5] Vera Vratuša notes that “the possibility of the appropriation of surplus labour without compensation” was first institutionalised already in the constitution of 1963. (Vera Vratuša, Tranzicija – odakle i kuda, Čigoja štampa, Beograd, 2012; http://www.princip.info/2017/06/19/vera-vratusa-zunjic-restauracija-kapitalizma-u-srbiji-1989-1999-godine/  (4. 4. 2018).

[6] National writers’ associations, national academies of sciences and arts, university and research institutions, mass media and cultural journals played a particularly hideous role during the destruction of Yugoslav socialist federation. As these institutions are, in Althusser’s terminology, ideological apparatuses, their managing bodies and leading officials may best be conceptualised as “bureaucracies of ideological apparatuses”. One of characteristic features of Yugoslav socialism was its ideological pluralism and the great autonomy of ideological apparatuses. Bureaucracies of ideological apparatuses profited from their autonomy and soon became the “junior partner” sharing its social power with the political (party-state) bureaucracy. They used this position during the decisive moments of Yugoslav federation and provided national political bureaucracies of the federal republics with the ideological support to their project to establish bourgeois nation-states as the main instrument of the restauration of capitalism. – Less attention has so far been paid to historical antecedents of this final cultural achievement. Immediately after the split with the Soviet state-socialism and the establishment of the autonomy of cultural practices (Kardelj’s lecture at the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1949; Krleža’s report at the 3rd Congress of the Writers’ Association of Yugoslavia in Ljubljana, 1952), academic modernism prevailed in visual arts, existentialism in literature and film, progressive nationalism in educational apparatuses. Bourgeois ideologies invaded national cultures even before the partial introduction of capitalist processes with the “market socialism” (1965 – 1971). For a more detailed and conceptually rigorous analysis, see: Rade Pantić, "Od kulture u „socijalizmu“ ka socijalističkoj kulturi", in: Vida Knežević and Marko Miletić (eds.), Gradove smo vam podigli: o protivrečnostima jugoslovenskog socijalizma, Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju, Beograd, 2018. Mass Yugoslav cultural practices developed “from beneath” only during the late seventies and the eighties within the rock youth culture, when it was too late.

[7] With some outstanding exceptions: cf. Praxis, vol. 8, no. 3-4, 1971, esp. the contributions by Božidar Jakšić and Milan Kangrga. – Yugoslav leftists were not alone in underestimating the potential of capitalism and in overestimating the socialist potential of post-capitalist formations (of “historical socialisms”). Cf. the following statement by Ernest Mandel: “[…] a social counter-revolution would be unavoidable in order to re-establish a capitalist mode of production and bourgeois class rule in the USSR and the Eastern bloc countries. […] The preconditions for the restoration of capitalism would be on the one hand a new capitalist class forming (there is no capitalism without a capitalist class), and on the other hand the destruction of the resistance of the working class to such a restoration.” (Ernest Mandel, "Ten Theses on the Social and Economic Laws Governing the Society Transitional Between Capitalism and Socialism", 1973; https://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/1973/xx/10theses.htm [28. 3. 2018].)

[8] Branko Horvat, a leading and influential intellectual and political figure, saw only two real dangers that a »market economy« may produce in a socialist setting: it disfavours underdeveloped regions; it generates processes of monopolisation and practices of rent-seeking. According to Horvat, state intervention can successfully fight both detrimental aspects.

[9] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, the opening paragraph. With the concept of verwandelte Formen, converted or transformed forms, Marx theorises the specific relations between elements of production (value, surplus value, value of labour-power) and elements of circulation (price, profit, wage): elements of circulation are “converted forms” of the elements of production. – Merab K. Mamardašvili isolated Marx’s concept of the “converted form” as a philosophical category and developed it in the philosophical perspective in: “Превращенные формы. О необходимости иррациональных выражений” (1970); М.К. Мамардашвили, Как я понимаю философию, Прогресс, Москва, 1990; http://filosof.historic.ru/books/item/f00/s01/z0001103/st023.shtml (5. 4. 2018).

[10] I am adopting Marko Kržan's (op. cit.) periodisation of Yugoslav post-capitalist social formation: 1945-1950 – administrative socialism; 1951-1965 – administrative self-managed socialism; 1966-1971 market self-managed socialism; from 1972 on – the period of disintegration.

[11] Ideologies importantly differed in various ideological “sub-spheres”. In the arts, bourgeois modernism prevailed together with the abandonment of socialist realism since the early fifties (cf. Rade Pantić, op. cit.); in the academic and scientific apparatuses, since the sixties, bourgeois mainstream ideologies were gaining the terrain, occasionally in productive conflict with the still strong leftist orientation of Yugoslav social science. In the larger cultural sphere, nationalisms started to establish themselves since the mid-sixties. The long history of Yugoslav nationalisms during the socialist period has, it seems, two main sources. One is the national-liberation anti-imperialist dimension of Yugoslav socialist revolution. The other is the characteristic of Yugoslav socialism (shared, by the way, with the post-1920-ies developments of the Soviet-type socialisms) that it established cultural institutions upon the bourgeois models (national theatres, national academies of sciences and arts, national educational systems, including national universities; etc.). Quite apart from the explicit political agenda, the institutional existence of bourgeois ideology produced its objective nationalistic effects. “Consciousness” eventually followed. 

[12] In fact, there was no economic crisis in the early sixties (cf. Kržan, op. cit.). The crisis was political, as self-management developed to a point where it pressed to be extended to the society as a whole. This would mean the end of bureaucratic domination in the political sphere. Political bureaucracy deemed it more profitable for its group interests to strike an alliance with the high management (the “technocracy”) who pressed for the introduction of capitalist elements into the system. Market socialism prevented generalisation of self-managed democracy, as it deepened the already existing bourgeois separation of the economic and the political spheres, and secured the continuation of bureaucratic domination in politics. Bourgeois separation of the economic and the political spheres offered the objective support to the alliance between political bureaucracy and economic “technocracy”.

[13] Marx's two articles on the British rule in India propose a similar hypothesis. Aijaz Ahmad, while defending Marx's two texts against Edward Said’s hasty academic critiques, points out that they belong to an early period, before the “transitional” Grundrisse … and the radically new theoretical standpoint of Capital. (Aijaz Ahmad, "Marx on India", in: In Theory, Verso, London – New York, 1992.)

[14] Even in his masterwork, Marx is not immune to this sort of reasoning: "The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future". Capital, Vol. I, Preface; https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/p1.htm (30. 3. 2018).

[15] These are Althusser’s critical designations; cf. Louis Althusser and others, Reading Capital, Verso, London – New York, 2015, p. 192. – According to Althusser and his students, this is basically a Hegelian conception of history: consecutive historical formations develop in an unilineal succession, each driven by a unique and central contradiction, the Aufhebung of which provides for the next phase in historical progress.

[16] Marko Kržan is developing an interesting theory about political bureaucracies in post-capitalism. Bureaucratisation of juridico-political apparatuses is a spontaneous process pertaining to institutional logic. However, in all the pre-socialist states there exists a ruling class, which more or less successfully controls the state as the instrument of its class domination. Contrary to this, in post-capitalist (historical socialist) states the bourgeois ruling class has been destroyed, and the working classes are excluded from the management of the state apparatuses. Instead, party-state bureaucracy “represents” the working masses and manages the state apparatuses “in their name”. The results of the unhampered bureaucratisation may be catastrophic. (Marko Kržan,”Teorija prehoda med družbenimi formacijami”, postface to: Ernest Mandel, Prehod v socializem, Založba /*cf., Ljubljana, 2016; same, “Kaj se lahko socialisti 21. stoletja naučimo od oktobrske revolucije?”; http://www.levica.si/kaj-se-lahko-socialisti-21-stoletja-naucimo-od-oktobrske-revolucije/ (7. 4. 2018).

[17] It was a result of ideological mechanisms operating beyond the conscious grasp of its proponents.

[18] “The fact that the consistent defence of the private interests of the bureaucrats collides with the immanent logic of the socialized planned economy, instead of being congruent with it, is the clearest proof that the bureaucracy is not a new ruling class. In every class society there is a congruence between the private interests of the ruling class and the immanent logic of the given mode of production […].” (Ernest Mandel, “Ten Theses on the Social and Economic Laws Governing the Society Transitional Between Capitalism and Socialism” /1973/; https://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/1973/xx/10theses.htm /2. 4. 2018/.) “[Bureaucracy’s] general behavior and private interests (which of course dictate that behavior) run counter to the needs and inner logic of the existing socio-economic system. […] [Bureaucracy has no] capacity to perpetuate itself through the operation of the socio-economic system itself.” (Ernest Mandel, “Why The Soviet Bureaucracy is not a New Ruling Class”, Monthly Review, vol. 31, no. 3, 1979.)

[19] As it was in the »program« of their ideology.

[20] E.g., in the ritualised critique of bureaucracy within the official party discourse.

[21] The period of »administrative self-managed socialism« (1951, introduction of self-management – 1965, introduction of market socialism) was the most successful in Yugoslav history. In the years 1957 to 1961, the yearly increases of the social product were the highest in the world, between 12 and 13 percent. (Marko Kržan, Jugoslovansko samoupravljanje in prihodnost socializma, postface to: Catherine Samary, Komunizem v gibanju. Zgodovinski pomen jugoslovanskega samoupravljanja, Založba /*cf., Ljubljana, 2017.)

[22] In socialist practice, this contradiction was first explicitly formulated and analysed by the Soviet economist Jevgenij A. Preobraženskij. He proposed the theory of “two contradictory laws” competing within the Soviet economy: »the law of value«, supporting capitalist tendencies in the post-revolutionary society, and »the law of socialist accumulation«, the only basis of the building of socialism. Cf. Jevgenij A. Preobraženskij, Новая экономика. Опыт теоретического анализа советского хозяйства, 1926; The New Economics, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1965; Nova ekonomika, CKD, Zagreb, 1983.

[23] The contradiction »bureaucracy / self-management« was »socialist« in the sense that it was generated by the structural conflicts of the post-capitalist society with a socialist project. It was specific of post-capitalist (of “historical socialist”) society. Within this specific frame, established by the victorious socialist revolution, “bureaucracy” was obstructing and occasionally sabotaging socialist processes. In the period of administrative self-managed socialism, bureaucratic tendencies were an obstacle to socialist planning. In the period of market socialism, they were hampering socialist opposition to emerging capitalist processes. The typically bureaucratic and state-repressive liquidation of the “maspok” (“masovni pokret”, mass counter-revolutionary movement in Croatia, 1970-71) and the equally bureaucratic removal of “techno-liberal” leaderships in Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia (1971), prevented a socialist confrontation that could have had massive social effects and could have eventually pre-empted the fascisoid nationalisms of the late eighties and the nineties.

[24] In the sense proposed by Jevgenij B. Pašukanis in Общая теория права и марксизм. Опыт критики основных юридических понятий, 1924; Opšta teorija prava i marksizam: pokušaj kritike osnovnih pravnih pojmova, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1958.

[25] Within the frame of an overblown debt-crisis. Yugoslavia was regularly paying the debt; Marković's government stopped the inflation etc.

[26] Vera Vratuša writes of the (political) bureaucracy and the technocracy as the main fractions of the restauration coalition. She points out that components of the restauration coalition have been composing themselves already during the post-capitalist Yugoslav period, attacking the basis of Yugoslav socialism – social property: “Technocratic fraction of the class that collectively or as a group owned the basic means of production and communication (directors of major enterprises, of cultural, educational institutions and of the mass-media), the most entrepreneurial parts of the bureaucratic fraction (leaders in the party and state apparatuses of federal republics, autonomous regions and communes) and their ideological representatives, parts of highly educated petty bourgeoisie […] were increasingly criticising the alleged irrationality of the ‘everybody’s and nobody’s’ social property.” (Vera Vratuša, Tranzicija – odakle i kuda, Čigoja štampa, Beograd, 2012; http://www.princip.info/2017/06/19/vera-vratusa-zunjic-restauracija-kapitalizma-u-srbiji-1989-1999-godine/  (4. 4. 2018).

[27] “The function of Piedmont in the Italian Risorgimento is that of a 'ruling class'. […] Piedmont had a function which can, from certain aspects, be compared to that of a party, i.e. of the leading personnel of a social group […]: with the additional feature that it was in fact a State, with an army, a diplomatic service, etc.” Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the prison notebooks, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1971, p. 286. – Carlos González Villa analysed the response of the ruling groups in Slovenia to the protests of 2012 and during the migrant crisis 2015 – 2016 as “passive revolution”, where Slovene state assumed the »piedmontese function« of the substitute to the absence of a local ruling class (Passive Revolution in Contemporary Slovenia. From the 2012 Protests to the Migrant Crisis, Tempo devorado. Revista de historia actual, vol. 4, br. 2, 2017; http://revistes.uab.cat/tdevorado/article/view/v4-n2-gonzalez-villa; /4. 4. 2018/). – I would suggest that all the post-Yugoslav bourgeois nation-states performed a “Piedmontese function”, as, at that historical moment, there was no national bourgeoisie to lead the anti-socialist counter-revolution.

[28] Political bureaucracies, fragmented as they were, united themselves for their swan song – the final blow against Yugoslav socialism: “[…] the main collective agents, interested in the transition towards the completion of the restauration of capitalist relations, continued their legislative activity, begun with the [federal] Law on enterprises of 1988. […] The last Yugoslav federal government […] prepared the Law on the circulation and the disposal of social capital in 1989, passed with some amendments by the federal assembly in August 1990.” (Vera Vratuša, Tranzicija – odakle i kuda, Čigoja štampa, Beograd, 2012; http://www.princip.info/2017/06/19/vera-vratusa-zunjic-restauracija-kapitalizma-u-srbiji-1989-1999-godine/  (4. 4. 2018).

[29] On the concept of “social composition of labour power”, see: Rastko Močnik, “Tržište radne snage i sastav radničke klase”, in: Željko Popović, Zoran Gajić, Kroz tranziciju. Prilozi teoriji privatizacije, Alternativna kulturna organizacija – AKO, Novi Sad, 2011; http://www.csi-platforma.org/sites/csi-platforma.org/files/publikacije/kroz-tranziciju.pdf (4. 4. 2018).