3. The Yugoslavian Pattern of “Workers’ Self-Government” Is a Revisionist Model

To make the ‘reforms’ of the enterprises palatable to the Chinese workers, the new revisionists search for a convenient model. In the pattern of Yugoslavian “workers’ self-government” they believe to have found one. But with that the current Chinese leadership makes a turn of 180 degrees in the assessment of Yugoslavia.

In the struggle against Khrushchev’s revisionism, the “Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement,” published in 1963 by the CPC, also gave a comprehensive assessment of Yugoslavia. In section 23 it says:

“Yugoslav revisionism typifies modern revisionism.” (The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, p. 46)

To this day nothing has changed in the revisionist essence of the Tito clique. The only thing that has changed is the assessment of Yugoslavian revisionism by the new Chinese leadership under Deng and Hua. In a congratulatory telegram to the Eleventh Congress of the League of ‘Communists’ of Yugoslavia, the notorious revisionist Tito was hyped and Yugoslavia tagged as a socialist country:

“The League of Communists of Yugoslavia headed by Comrade Tito, outstanding leader of the people of all nationalities in Yugoslavia, has applied the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete practice of Yugoslavia. Unswervingly leading the people of the whole country in a persistent revolutionary struggle over the decades, it has won continuous victories in the cause of socialism.” (Peking Review, No. 25, 1978, p. 3)

On Hua’s visit to Yugoslavia in late August, 1978, the praises continued.

Who is mistaken in this matter, the CPC under Mao Zedong’s leadership or the new leadership under Deng and Hua? We hold that it is the new revisionists who are mistaken. We will clarify this by the example of “workers’ self-government.”

The essence of this system consists in conducting and managing the individual enterprises by so-called “working collectives,” with each enterprise operating independently, purchasing its own raw materials, deciding on the variety, output and prices of its products and marketing them, and determining its own wage scale and the division of part of its profits. The fixed assets of the enterprise can be sold, bought, or leased. The Tito clique pockets most of the profit of the individual enterprises and controls the enterprises of the whole country through the banks and through the managers, who can only be appointed in consultation with the leadership.

The relations of the individual enterprises to one another are not socialist ones of mutual help and support. The enterprises are not subject to the political guidance of the dictatorship of the proletariat; formally they belong to the workers of the individual enterprises. Production for the market fosters competition and rivalry – as it does in capitalism.

In a comment on the general line under the title, “Is Yugoslavia a Socialist Country?” dated 26 September 1963, the Chinese communists observed:

“Abundant information published in the Yugoslav press proves that the workers’ council is merely formal, a kind of voting machine, and that all power in the enterprise is in the hands of the manager. The fact that the manager of an enterprise controls its means of production and the distribution of its income enables him to appropriate the fruits of the workers’ labour by means of various privileges.” (Polemic, p. 157)

In many enterprises foreign capital has a share. The state banks give credits in case of ‘good’ management or deny them in case of ‘bad’ management, thus deciding on competitiveness, bankruptcy and redundancies. The state administration does the same through tax legislation and, beyond that, appropriates the surplus value created by the workers.

Many of the Yugoslavian people, by contrast, live in poverty and are forced to get employment abroad as ‘guest workers’. The alleged ‘socialist’ state exposes the people to exploitation by foreign capitalists.

The current Chinese leadership has the cheek to tout the Tito clique and its revisionist system as a socialist country today without even a touch of self-criticism of its position of 1963. Such did Chairman Hua Guofeng in his speech at a banquet on the occasion of his visit to Yugoslavia in August 1978:

“Proceeding from the scientific theory of Marxism and Yugoslavia’s specific conditions, the League of Communists of Yugoslavia has established and developed the socialist system of self-management.” (Peking Review, No. 35, 1978, p. 13)

The new leadership’s praise of the Tito clique’s ‘socialist workers’ self-government’ makes clear what Deng and Hua are aiming at with their policy: With the removal of the revolutionary committees and the reform of the factory management in accordance with economic laws, the Deng/Hua clique in China wants to import “worker’s self-government” from Yugoslavia. What can result from copying a revisionist model other than capitalism of a new kind on the basis of modern revisionism in theory and practice?