Power and Persuasion: Ideology and Rhetoric in Communist Yugoslavia, 1944-1953

Power and Persuasion: Ideology and Rhetoric in Communist Yugoslavia, 1944-1953

Power and Persuasion: Ideology and Rhetoric in Communist Yugoslavia, 1944-1953

Power and Persuasion: Ideology and Rhetoric in Communist Yugoslavia, 1944-1953

Excerpt

When the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) took power after the Second World War, it had a vision for a new and better society -- a society in which all humans would live together in peace and prosperity and in which their mutual exploitation would be eliminated. Based on the ideology of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (as amended by Vladimir Lenin), that vision was the party's ultimate goal and main source of legitimacy. Consequently, many party policies sought to achieve the social and cultural transformation inherent in that vision. Yet party leaders also faced innumerable practical and political problems associated first with maintaining power and rebuilding the Yugoslav economy, and later with retaining independence and economic viability in the face of Soviet and Eastern European hostility. Moreover, party leaders in Yugoslavia were not acting in a vacuum but had to take into account the preexisting societies and cultures. Indeed, Yugoslav Communists faced a particularly complex task as they confronted not one but a whole series of preexisting cultures based around the country's numerous constituent nations and national minorities. Hence, every attempt at change faced an array of deeply entrenched structures, institutions, values, and behavioral habits. In each case, Yugoslavia's Communists had to decide whether and how to undermine the extant cultures or to adopt and manipulate them for their own purposes. Postwar CPY policies thus reflect the party's struggle to find and hold a balance between its long-term goal of transforming society and culture and its immediate political and economic needs, between its revolutionary desire for change and its pragmatic need for security and stability.

In its efforts to attain both political security and social change, the CPY employed a number of tools, including economic incentives, force, and persuasion. While party leaders often counted on the first two to realize political goals, they also saw persuasion as crucial for securing public acceptance of and participation in their political agenda. Persuasion was even more important to the social and cultural transformation required by the party's long-term vision for the future. After all, the party's ultimate goal required changes not only in the country's political and eco-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.