Self Management in Yugoslava: Time to take a re-look

Lately, I have been doing some research on Yugoslavia. My wife has authored a recent paper on the centrifugal and centripetal forces which led to the making and unmaking of Yugoslavia. She brought home a few books and articles on the subject, and I happened to browse through them and also look up a few articles on the web. Now Rumela and I mostly differ on our interpretations of political events–she thinks I’m too partisan in my beliefs –and while I respect her assessment I am fiercely proud of own ideas. I don’t need to eke out a living researching politics and providing political commentary, so I can afford to take sides–esp. the side I think is right. Anyways, let’s get straight to the point.

One of the less studied areas of communism is Tito’s self management policies. Probably the existing communist parties in India owing to their Stalinist subservience, find no merit in studying Tito. But once you read the 1963 and 1974 constitutions of Yugoslavia, you would be amazed to see how Tito’s policies came close to be truly socialist, giving real political power to the man on the street. Tito breathed and dreamed decentralization, de-partyization, de-bureaucratization and de-etatization. The country was much more federal than both USSR and USA, and unlike these two countries (and for that matter any democratic country in the world), the people had power to re-call their delegates to the "commune assembly" (read provincial assembly) and with the help of self interest mangement communities wielded enoumous power over the bureaucracy. In fact the people would decide the policy direction and the bureaucracy only implemented it. Now how better can it get?

I would reflect more on it in my later blog posts.

Here are some suggested readings:

(1) Leonardson, Gene S and Mir?ev, Dimitar (1979), A Structure for Participatory Democracy in the Local Community: The Yugoslav Constitution of 1974, Comparative Politics, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Jan., 1979), pp. 189-203.

(2) Tito, Josip B. (1950), Workers Manage Factories in Yugoslavia, Marxists Internet Archive at

(3) Dunn, W.N. (1975), Communal Federalism: Dialectics of Decentralization in Socialist Yugoslavia, Publius, Vol. 5, No. 2

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