Variation in the evolution of the Yugoslav communist parties

Jim Seroka, University of North Florida


Like the black plague in medieval Europe, the revolutionary changes in Eastern Europe did not differentiate “good�? communists from “evil�? communists, or “reformers�? from “Stalinists.�? All the party elites were replaced; every form of communism was repudiated; and Marxism-Leninism was exorcised from the national political lexicons. Although communism and its symbols were eradicated from the societal landscape, the new national movements have not presented an alternative set of symbols or an alternative ideology and program with which to govern. The victorious anti-communist opposition tended to share only a deep- seated hatred of communism. Most of the opposition movements used nationalist symbols to paper over factional differences; and most did not adhere to a democratic pluralist value system. Romania’s and Bulgaria’s regimes are certainly not paragons of pluralism and tolerance. The Polish, Hungarian, and Czecho- Slovak regimes are in confusion over the pressing issues of the day. Many of the governments have been tempted to rely on nationalist or xenophobic slogans to maintain their legitimacy and a national consensus.