The Titoite Clique and the Draft of the New Jugoslav Constitution
(Article published in the daily «Zeri i Popullit»
Dec. 13, 1962)
Dec. 13, 1962)
The draft of the new Jugoslav constitution was approved and published some time ago. Official propaganda of the Jugoslav revisionists has attached great significance to this document ushering it in as «the first monument of real emancipated work» and a pattern for all the countries which should build socialism.
An analysis, be it a general one, of this document shows that in reality it has nothing in common with a socialist constitution but is a substantiation and legitimation of those principles of the modem revisionists on the social and stale order which found their expression in the infamous program of the League of Communists of Jugoslavia. This document openly ignores- and intentionally distorts the principles of Marxism-Leninism on the state, puts new garments on the worn out anarchical, syndicalist and Bukhiarinist these branded by Lenin as attempts to restore capitalism, repeats the well-known revisionist conceptions on the political and economic integration both in the internal as well as in the international front. This draft constitution repeats, at the same time, a range of principles typical of the bourgeois constitutions and doctrines on the state, although, in order to waylay the working masses and international public opinion, they are formulated in pseudo-revolutionary and pseudo-socialist terms. Viewed from this angle it is befitting to apply to the Titoite clique Karl Marx’s reproach to the bourgeois republicans of his time, «for whom» he said «the Constitution is a downright intrigue. It should, above all, establish the sway of their own clique» (Karl Marx-Fredrich Engels, Selected Works, vol. 1, page 154).
Why are the Jugoslav revisionists in need of a new Constitution at this time? It is plain that a change in the basic lav/ of a state, as one of the most important and responsible issues in its political and social life, must in itself reflect a great turn in the development of its social relations, a transition into a new qualitative situation. In his report to the Federative Assembly of Jugoslavia in connection with the draft of the new Constitution, E. Kardelj pretended that «the decision of the People’s Federative Assembly to draw up a new Constitution is based, above all, on the fact that the stipulations of the Constitution in power no longer reflect in many cases, the actual situation of the social relations in our socialist country, and as such, they no longer meet the present social needs in these fields of social and political developments In reality no change has come about in the socialist development of this country in the social and state structure from the adoption of the 1953 Constitution to this day. On the contrary, everything has tended towards encouraging and extending capitalist relations in all fields of activity, towards a gradual and inevitable elimination of the revolutionary achievements of the peoples of Jugoslavia.
But the Jugoslav revisionists need the proclamation of a new Constitution in order to legalize many anti-Marxist conceptions of the program of the League of Jugoslav Communists^ to legalize their line of action towards re-establishing capitalism, to replenish the concentrated attack which the modern revisionists have now launched on all fronts against Marxist-Leninist .ideology and to extend the revisionist diversion in the international arena.
Both the draft constitution, Kardelj’s report and the subsequent discussions in the Jugoslav Skuptchina, lay bare their intention of advertising this revisionist document as a «charter of specific socialism» and the experience of Jugoslavia as a universal experience of value to all peoples in all countries. This document ignores the universal significance of the experience of the Soviet Union, of the first socialist state in the world, ignores and opposes the experience of all other socialist countries. «The orientation in the general establishment of the political system and the organizational machinery of the socialist state, depends, on whether a socialist state tends towards an ever growing power of the state – very widely spread in the socialist world before – or on social self-administration and as democratic forms as possible in settling contradictions in the development of socialism» says Kardelj (underlined by the editors).
Thus, by rejecting the Marxist-Leninist thesis on the necessity of consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat under conditions) of the existence of imperialism, Kardelj vindicates the revisionist thesis of doing away with the socialist state through integrating antagonistic classes, a thing which would open the way to the restoration of capitalism within the country, and to capitulation to imperialism in the international arena.
In order to reconcile their revisionist thesis on the gradual elimination of the state at the present stage with the need of drawing up a new constitution – a constitution that cannot be conceived without the existence of the state – the Jugoslav leaders claim that «the draft foresees that the Constitution is not only a constitution of the state but it is, at the same time, a specific social charter (underlining by ed.) which will make up the material basis, the political cadre and the inducement for a growing internal development of the machinery for social self-administration and direct democracy». It is not the first time that the Jugoslav revisionists place the sign of equation between society and the state, a conception which is typical of the bourgeois and social-opportunistic ideologists.
What strikes one as a main characteristic of the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution is the fact that nowhere is the known principle of state sovereignty, as an expression of the authority of the ruling class, of its dictatorship, typical of the social and state order of socialism, nowhere is this principle formulated, direct] y or indirectly in this draft. This omission is not casual, it reflects the revisionist conception on the role of the state, its integration with society and its elimination as early as at the present stage.
While the socialist constitutions envisage not only the legal guarantees but also the material means and conditions to enforce the democratic rights and prerogatives, the bourgeois constitutions are characterized by a formal proclamation of certain democratic principles and, at the same time, their juridical curtailment and limitations, through subsequent stipulations in the same constitution. In such cases the limiting stipulations actually eliminate the democratic principles, endow the state organs with unlimited power to decide whether conditions exist or not for the citizens to take advantage of the rights proclaimed.
This is the case also with the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution which is a jumble of theses and antitheses, affirmation of principles and their negation at the same time. Of course, this has nothing to do whatsoever with the dialectic unity of opposites; on the contrary, as Karl Marx has said when referring to bourgeois constitutions, «every paragraph of the constitution contains in itself its antithesis, its upper and lower chamber: freedom, in general terms, and lack of freedom sub rosa» (see K. Marx — 18 Brumier of Louis Napoleon). The first paragraph of article 24 of the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution reads: «The exploitation of another’s work in order to reap profit is prohibited»; whereas immediately after that in the second paragraph exploitation of man by man is allowed: «In agricultural production as well as in the field of trades and crafts which citizens carry on with their own mean of production, auxiliary work by others may be allowed within the bounds and under definite conditions foreseen by law». The same thing is noticed in connection with the exercising of the most important prerogative of citizens like the liberty of the press, and of the other means of information, the liberty of joining in societies, the liberty of speech and of meetings, which are proclaimed in the first paragraph of article 41, while the subsequent paragraph of the same stipulation limits and even prohibits their exercise. These stipulations manifest the falsity and demagogical pretensions of the Titoite ideologists: who describe the political and social system of Jugoslavia as a «system which would enable the workers to decide their own destiny and justice in the freest and most democratic way».
Vladimir Ilich Lenin has divided constitutions into fictive and non-fictive ones; according to their content. The first group contains all those constitutions which by demagogically proclaiming democratic rights and prerogatives, actually aim at setting sanctions and at consolidating the political hegemony and the dictatorial power of the exploiting minority against the workers. Historically this group comprises) the constitutions which the liberal bourgeoisie have drawn up at certain periods in order to safeguard their political and economic monopoly. In this respect, the draft of the Jugoslav constitution too, in addition to the theses which openly ignore or distort the well known principles of Marxism-Leninism, contains many stipulations which, formally proclaim, for deceptive purposes, principles inspired by socialist ideas, but which are at variance with Jugoslav reality.
The draft is permeated throughout with the alleged concern about man. «The starting point of our new Constitution» E. Kardelj has stated in an interview to the Italian newspaper «Unità», «is not really the state, but man and the relations between men». But who is this man? How can man be thought of separated from the notion of classes, of the state? Man cannot be conceived of and treated in an abstract way, as man «in general» separated from the environment round about him and especially from the actual social relations arising and developing in society, relations in which he participates by doing a definite task. Such a one-sided treatment of man, as the Jugoslav revisionists do, is typical of the bourgeois constitutions and doctrines on the state, which through conceiving of man «in general» try to conceal the true relation, that exists in bourgeois society between the separate social groups, which constitute it.
According to E. Kardelj «the draft of the Constitution takes always into account two main factors in the development of society, namely, the interest of emancipated work and the interest of socialist society». The draft-Constitution proclaims that «the socialist system in Jugoslavia is based on the relations among men as free and equal producers and creators, whose work serves to meet their individual and common needs alone». It proclaims «the emancipation of work brought about by doing away with the wages system».
But what «emancipation of work» can one speak of in Jugoslavia when there are a number of private artisan workshops employing over 300.000 workers, that is, one-tenth of the whole number of workers and employees of the country? The number of these workshops has recently been increasing. Some of them have tens of wage earners in them, while still others employ over 200 of them. These are capitalist enterprises pure and simple wresting large profits from these exploited workers.
As in capitalism, the continuous rise of unemployment is a typical feature of Jugoslav economy. According to data furnished by the Jugoslav press itself, the average number of unemployed workers keeps rising from year to year. During the first six months of 1962 it reached to 266,000 or 20% above the same period of the preceding year or 52% over that of 1960. The capitalist system of purchase and sale of work power is widely practised in Jugoslavia. Not only the grown-up peasants but also children sell their work power and thus become -«hirelings of agriculture». The Jugoslav «Omladina» newspaper has this to say about this disgraceful phenomenon of Jugoslav life: «Children are traded in the marketplace like calves, like a sackful of oats or like any other commodity». Of what «emancipation of work» can one speak when this newspaper itself is obliged to admit that these «hirelings of agriculture» work 10 hours a day on the average, some of them even 16 hours a day on the fields of others receiving a paltry sum for their exertion?! Under such circumstances it is not casual that the draft Constitution, while sanctioning the exploitation of others makes no mention of the great socialist principle «no work, no food», a principle which, as Lenin says, «is understood by every worker. This is admitted... by all those who have experienced poverty in their lives, all those who have at any time lived on their own work... It is in this plain, very plain and clear truth that the basis of socialism, its inexhaustible strength, and the unshakable warranty of its final victory lies» (V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, vol. 2, page 362).
Since this draft bears the name «Draft of the new Constitution of the socialist Federated Republic of Jugoslavia» its authors are obliged to sprinkle its text with socialist principles. One of these is the socialist principle of compensation according to the work done: «from each according to his ability, to each according to the work done». But this important socialist principle of recompensation according to the work done, is actually tampered with in Jugoslavia. This as Joseph Broz Tito himself admits, «workers payments are low» and «the difference in the scale of payments of people is so great that they cannot be understood», and «the accumulation of personal wealth» has become alarming.
The Belgrade revisionists call the organization of the economic life of Jugoslavia on the basis of the so-called social self-administration, as a «creative development of Marxism-Leninism, as a proof of the superiority of the Jugoslav «specific socialism» over the «bureaucratic and state socialism». The problem of self-administration occupies an important plate, is even raised to a fetish in the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution. It is proclaimed as one of the »inviolable bases of the state and role of man». Moreover, article 33 sets forth as an «innovation» that «the right of citizens for social self-administration is inviolable, having priority over all other rights».
The Jugoslav revisionists consider the principle of the so-called social self-administration as the nucleus of «direct» or «integral democracy».
According to them, socialism seems to be divided into two phases: into the lower phase, which is «state socialism» and into the upper phase, «socialism on the basis of self- administration». The upper phase, according to them, has been attained only by Jugoslavia while the socialist countries are still in the lower phase of «state socialism». They claim that «state socialism» is characterized by a lack of socialist democracy, which democracy seems to be an attribute of only «socialism based on self-administration». The Jugoslav revisionists consider state ownership and centralized socialist planning, that is, the economic function of the socialist state which contains in itself the basis of the practical application of true democracy, as the main drawback for socialist democracy. Therefore it is not accidental that the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution bases the economy of the state not on the socialist system of economy and socialist ownership of the means of production, but on «the emancipated and combined work with the means of production which belong to society and the self-administration of the workers in the production and distribution of the social wealth... » thus making a muddle of conceptions and notions not related to one another.
The «self-administration» of the Jugoslav revisionists is a reproduction of the anti-Marxist formulae of the anarcho-syndicalists and of the «Workers Opposition» raised to the height of a basic law. By basing their ideas on economic decentralization they ignore the decisive importance of centralizing and planning socialist economy and they do not recognize state ownership as the highest form of social ownership on which socialist relations in production are established as relations of the highest type. On the contrary, by failing to define explicitly (in article 8) what social proprietorship is made of and by leaving it to the usual federal laws to decide on the «disposal» and «other rights on the means of production belonging to society» the draft constitution of Jugoslavia leaves a legal leeway for such important objects as industrial factories, for instance, to belong not to the entire people but to groups of people, at times to very limited groups, of people and cliques who would derive great profits for themselves.
Just how far «socialism» can develop through decentralized economy and through people’s councils «administration and what consequences follow through such a development of the «free initiative» and «autonomy» in production and distribution, can be seen today in the Jugoslav economy which has been and continues to be plunged more and more into a blind alley, being gnawed at by all the contradictions typical of capitalist economy. In a letter which the Central Committee of the League of the Communists of Jugoslavia addressed some time ago to its members admitted that «economic life still faces grave problems». Increased deficits of payments and higher prices of goods «have further aggravated the economic situation». The «Borba» newspaper admitted in April this year that «many factories in Jugoslavia work only with 10 or 15 percent of their capacity. The «Federal Bulletin» announced likewise that 618 enterprises were closed last year due to the inability to sell their products and that 259 other factories were closed during the first 5 months of this year for the same reason. Such phenomena of capitalist economy as super-production, rivalry for markets are typical of the present Jugoslav economy. Thus, Tito himself is obliged to own that «we have also at present industrial enterprises which must be closed tomorrow because of super-production and deficient sales». According to Tito’s own words «the national debt has risen to nearly one billion dollars», «the deficit in foreign trade is large». The system of social self-administration has given rise to «the local policy of the closed door», of «provincialism and chauvinism».
Pursuing the policy of «the free initiative» and of «autonomy» emanating from the reforms of foreign trade and of the currency, the Jugoslav state control over foreign currency was altogether abolished. The new system of foreign exchange and foreign trade established last year with the direct financial assistance of the American imperialists is a capitalist system which aims at binding Jugoslavia, of «integrating it more and more with the Western economic and political world». By granting Jugoslavia credits in the form of goods, the western capitalist countries throw into the Jugoslav market goods that have not been sold thus competing with the Jugoslav industry which is inferior to theirs.
Thus «social self-administration» has brought to the political and economic life of Jugoslavia such typically capitalist phenomena as super-production, and competition, the rise of unemployment and the cost of living, the great economic disproportion and social difference between the classes. The increase of imports and foreign capital investments through the «open door» policy, is actually turning it into an economy dependent on the imperialist monopolies.
But «Jugoslav socialism» exposes its true nature in what is happening on the countryside where it is clearly seen that it bears no semblance whatsoever to socialism. Agriculture gives a true picture of the failure of the economic line followed by the Jugoslav revisionists, of its retrogression into the positions of capitalism. The Belgrade revisionist clique have long since given up the Leninist line of collectivization of agriculture, they have dispersed most of the agricultural cooperatives that had been set up during the post liberation period and have given a free hand to the kulaks and other capitalist elements: By setting agriculture «free from administrative management» the state fostered the development of individual and kulak economy as well as the free competition of the various economic forces. Engels in his time, stressed that the «plight of the peasants came primarily from individual economy conditioned by private ownership» (K. Marx-F. Engels, Selected Works, vol. 2, page 412). V. I. Lenin teaches us also that the small individual property gives inevitable rise to capitalism. This is what is happening at present in Tito’s Jugoslavia.
The draft of the Jugoslav Constitution envisages in article 19 that agricultural cooperatives «may be established». But the establishment of agricultural cooperatives is after all allowed also in certain capitalist countries. But the question, here is what kind of cooperatives these should be and why nothing is said in any of the stipulations of the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution about the typical principle of the socialist constitutions, of the state patronage and all round assistance to the socialist agricultural cooperatives. It is further to be stressed that the draft does not even mention the principle that «the land belongs to those who till it».
What are the results of the «Jugoslav way» in agriculture? Ninety percent of the entire arable land in the Jugoslav visages today belong to individual owners. Land is freely sold and bought or leased out and farm hands are freely hired and exploited for wages by the rich landowners on quite a large scale. Nearly 50 percent of the individual farmers in the principal gram growing regions possess no draft animals and ploughs and they are obliged to either sell their lands off to the kulaks or lease them out to them. The State Secretary for Agriculture, Slavko Komar, was obliged to admit some time ago that the rich peasants in the Jugoslav villages have become «the managers of production». «Trade in labor power» has. recently appeared in many agricultural regions of Jugoslavia.
The state problem is one of the basic questions which reflect the diametrically opposite positions of Marxism-Leninism on one side and of bourgeois and modern revisionist ideology, on the other. Marxism-Leninism considers the socialist stale, the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the main weapon with which the working class and all the laboring masses can expropriate the bourgeoisie, can do away with all remnants o[ capitalism in economy and in the conscience of men, that they can put an end to antagonistic classes and the exploitation of man by man, that they can fully build socially society and create the premises for the establishment of complete communism in which the socialist slate will finally cease to exist. «Between capitalist and communist society», Marx has said, «there exists the period of the revolutionary transformation of the first to the second. A political transitory period corresponds to this period and the state of this period can be no other than the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat» (K. Marx – F. Engels, Selected Works, vol. 2, page 23).
In this transitory period, the state, through its economic, organizational, cultural and educational functions, is the main lever of the working class, to bring about radical changes in the field of economy and culture under the guidance of its party. This transitory period is a long historical period which stretches out to the time when conditions are ripe for full communist equality among men. Therefore, as far as internal conditions are concerned «complete elimination of the state is incumbent on complete communism» (V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, vol. 2, page 209).
At variance with these basic Marxist-Leninist theses the modern revisionists openly expound the need of doing away with the socialist state as early as at present, like the Jugoslav revisionists or when they dare not come out in the open for a thing of this kind, they advocate the elimination of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its transformation into «a general state of the people».
For the Jugoslav revisionists, the socialist state is not a new and more advanced type of state, it is not essentially different from a bourgeois state. The bourgeois state, according to them «is characterized by those attributes that be.ong to the socialist state during the phase of transition from capitalism to socialism» (v. «Problems of political economy of socialism» Belgrade 1958, p. 138). Under conditions of «gradual and peaceful integration» of capitalism into socialism, according to them, «state capitalism» is the highest phase of imperialism and at the same time, the first phase of socialism. It is therefore obvious why the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution fails to define the class nature of the Jugoslav state nor the leading role of the working class, which is blended into the general notions of «workers» and «people».
According to the Jugoslav revisionists «socialism and the state, just as socialism and state proprietorship are two irreconcilable opposite conceptions». According to them, «no state exists in an advanced socialist society and, as a consequence no stale capitalism exists either. According to them it is impossible to establish the so called economic and political democracy when the state governs the relations in production. Since «the state apparatus and bureaucracy are essentially identical notions», the Jugoslav revisionists, at variance with the Leninist principle of democratic centralization, raise the thesis of the decentralization of power, for without decentralization there is, allegedly, no «self-administration» and without «self-administration» there is no direct democracy and consequently, no socialist democracy.
The basis of the political system of Jugoslavia is built in the draft of the Constitution in conformity to these revisionist principles. Although the communes with their assemblies of representatives are proclaimed as the basis, of this system (even though the assemblies of representatives within the federated republics are also proclaimed and formally constitute the only and continuous basis of all state systems and organs) yet, in essence, they have neither the character of representative bodies in the real sense of the term nor play any decisive role in state affairs in general. Moreover, the draft lays no constitutional obligations on the representatives, to render account of their work to the electors nor does it recognize the right of the electors to revoke their representatives. The right of the electors to revoke their representatives is a direct expression of the sovereignty of the people and, consequently, of the democratization of the state apparatus as well.
In defiance of the slogans of «direct democracy» and «social and political self-administration» the draft consolidates and extends the prerogatives of the executive organs to the detriment of the representative organs, thus strengthening the power of the clique in power. The so-called «system of rotation» of article 210 whereby no person is elected to the same state function for more than two terms in succession does not apply to the first President of the Republic, Josep Broz Tito. This serves the same purpose. E. Kardelj justifies this immutability of Tito’s personal presidential power by saying that «the clause of the Constitution which exempts the person of Comrade Tito from all limitations at the polls is not an exception of but a constitutional stipulation of principle» (!). Such «constitutional stipulations of principle» are found in no bourgeois constitutions of the past, not even in that of the Karageorgioviches except in the «Constitution of the Albanian Kingdom» of 1928, which mentioned explicitly Ahmed Zogu as king!
Contrary to the formal proclamation of decentralization the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution extends and strengthens the prerogatives of the Federation to the detriment of the rights of the federated republics and of the autonomous regions. Oppression of national minorities, the outstanding inequality of economic development of the various republics and regions are typical of Tito’s Jugoslavia. The draft envisages the establishment of a special fund of the Federation in order to finance the economic development of the under-developed republics and regions. But regardless of this formal principle of the draft the essence of the economic policy of the Belgrade revisionists is laid bare by Tito himself who stated at Split that «it is better to furnish the under-developed regions with means and other things for public constructions and for cultural purposes than to set up factories which would cost again.... »
Such concentration of power in the Federative organs and the discrimination towards other nationalities has turned the Jugoslav Federation into a screen behind which is concealed a strict centralization of the political power, a denial of the rights of the other nationalities. The draft of the constitution disguises this reality under a chain of «democratic formulae» which, nevertheless, express the expansionist and chauvinist trends of the Titoite revisionist clique. «The Federated Socialist Republic of Jugoslavia», the draft maintains, «this free community of people», which strives to attain political, economic and cultural collaboration with other peoples and states, considers that this collaboration should contribute in setting up new forms of democratic integration of peoples and of states which would serve the' interests of the peoples, and the need of speeding up social progress, in this respect it is an open community» (underlined by ed.). Does this mean that Jugoslav revisionists look forward to swallowing up other peoples in a legalized constitutional way in the days to come?
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The whole make up of the draft of the Jugoslav Constitution points clearly to the incontestable taut of primary importance that far from being a socialist constitution it is a typical bourgeois constitution draped in «socialist» garments. It is, as a consequence, the continuation, development and further promotion of the anti-Marxist program of the League of the Jugoslav Communists. It is another document of betrayal of the Titoite clique.