The Balkan Communist Federation began as the the Balkan Social Democratic Federation in 1910, was renamed the Balkan Revolutionary Social Democratic Federation in 1915, and finally named the Balkan Communist Federation 1920. This is one of many resolutions presented to the Federation’s Seventh Congress in Moscow during July, 1924 attended by the Communist Parties of Greece, Yugoslavia, Roumania, and Bulgaria.
‘The Problem of Nationalities in Yugoslavia: Resolutions of the Conference of the Balkan Communist Federation’ from International Press Correspondence. Vol. 4 No. 31. May 29, 1924.
The victory of the Entente over the Central Powers overthrew the latter’s system of radical oppression, but only to substitute for it a new system which is no less hateful and brutal. The allies and the proteges of the great imperialist Entente Powers, the Serbian, Roumanian, Czech and Slovenian bourgeoisies, have, by means of the power of their armies, taken possession of vast regions which are populated by other nationalities, and have deprived them of all rights, except the right to submit unconditionally to their rule, and are pursuing against them a policy of brutal oppression.
The “Peace” Treaties of Versailles, Trianon and Neuilly have sanctioned this system of oppression of nationalities and have brutally violated the right to national self-determination; the frontiers have not been drawn. according to the free determination of these nationalities (the rights of the Bulgarian people in the Zaribrodia region were trodden underfoot), but according to the interests of the great imperialistic powers and their vassals, in particular of the Serbian bourgeoisie and monarchy.
Yugoslavia is not therefore, as the defenders of the Serbian hegemony maintain, the product of a “national revolution” and of the free choice of the nationalities who inhabit it. It is, on the contrary, the product of the armed victory of the great imperialistic Entente powers, and the denial of the right of self-determination of all the peoples who live in the regions occupied by the army of the Serbian monarchy and bourgeoisie.
Thus the fight for the liberation of the oppressed nationalities is necessarily a fight against the imperialist treaties, which seal their slavery under the imperialistic bourgeoisie and the Serbian hegemony. Therefore the proletariat in Yugoslavia must emphasise its struggle on the side of the international proletariat against the imperialistic peace treaties.
The Serbian-Crotian-Slovenian Conflict.
Benefiting by the victory of their allies, and making use of their armies, supported by the counter-revolutionary role of the National Councils, the Serbian bourgeoisie and monarchy have imposed their brutal domination upon all other nationalities. This domination, which is supported internationally by the imperialistic peace treaties, finds expression in the monarchist and centralist constitution of Vidovdan, as well as in the whole policy of the Belgrade Government, in which the interests of the Serbian monarchy and bourgeoisie absolutely dominate.
Against this domination and this policy of oppression, an ever stronger resistance of all the oppressed nationalities has arisen. By reason alone of the numerical, political and economic strength which the Croatian and Slovenian nationalities in Yugoslavia possess, their struggle grows continually fiercer and is rallying all the other nationalities around them. It can be said that this resistance against the Serbian domination unites all classes of the Croatian and Slovenian peoples. But the Croatian and Slovenian bourgeoisie is prepared to recognise the monarchy, and thereby the Serbian domination, if they are given political and economic concessions in return (regional autonomy which leaves their class domination undisturbed). On the other hand, the widest masses of the people are determined to fight the Serbian domination up to complete right of self-determination. It is in the interests of, and the duty of the revolutionary proletariat of Yugoslavia to stand by the oppressed peoples in their fight against the Serbian domination and for their right of self-determination, up to the final decision. The Communist Party will above all try to bring the whole Serbian working population into this struggle by showing them the reactionary character of this domination and of the monarchy. It is to be understood that the CP of Yugoslavia, in its fight against the Serbian hegemony, must also direct its attack upon the manoeuvres of the Croatian and Slovenian bourgeoisie, who are striving for a compromise with the Serbian bourgeoisie, which protects their class interests, while betraying the interests and efforts of the great masses. Against these manoeuvres of the bourgeois parties, who wish to make use of the masses – only to push them aside at the given moment – in order to have their hands free in their jobbery with the Serbian bourgeoisie and monarchy, the CP must show the masses of the oppressed peoples that their interests and their efforts towards self-determination can only be represented by the struggle of the masses themselves in full unity with the proletariat.
To this end the CP of Yugoslavia will not stop at vain theoretical arguments, but will take up an intensive campaign against the oppression and for the liberation of the oppressed peoples, whereby it will propose a united front to all organizations which are fighting for the peoples’ right of self-determination. First and foremost, the CP of Yugoslavia will tum to the Croatian Republican Peasant Party, and invite it to give up its muddled pacifist policy and not to give itself up, as certain leading elements wish to do, to the play of the bourgeoisie, which is always ready to betray the interests of the masses, but to come into the energetic mass fight on the side of the revolutionary proletariat.
In Slovenia, the CP will uninterruptedly expose the ambiguous policy of the Clericals, who would always be ready to betray the interests of the masses, as soon as ever the Serbian bourgeoisie and monarchy made concessions to the Slovenian priesthood and big bourgeoisie. The CP will uninterruptedly represent the formation of a united front in the struggle against the Serbian domination with all the workers’ and peasants! organizations of Slovenia, and will call upon them to free themselves from the influence of the bourgeois parties and unite with the revolutionary proletariat.
The slogans of the Yugoslavian CP in its fight for the right of the peoples to self-determination are as follows:
1. The right of the peoples to determine their own destiny in absolute freedom must be recognized in its entirety, and every obstacle that stands in the way of realising this right must be swept aside. The whole struggle for the self-determination of the peoples has as its object, the creation of a situation in which no power will be able to prevent the masses of the people from determining their own fate and choosing the government which they themselves desire.
2. The free choice of the peoples is only possible through the annulling of the hegemonist and monarchist Belgrade constitution. Revision would only mean a compromise of the bourgeoisie at the cost of the masses of all the nations. Since it would leave the domination of the Serbian bourgeoisie and monarchy untouched, revision would simple make small concessions to the properties classes of the betrayed nations.
3. In consideration of the tendency of the Croatian and Slovenian bourgeoisie to capitulate to the Serbian bourgeoisie and monarchy, the full right of the peoples to self-determination, and the interests of the masses of the peoples, can only be represented by the fight of these masses themselves in closest co-operation with the revolutionary proletariat. The formation of a powerful Workers’ ,and Peasants’ block is the first condition for success in the struggle against the Serbian domination. And the formation of a Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic is the only form of government which is fitted to guarantee the free choice of the people and to protect the working masses of all nations against the machinations of the bourgeoisie, which wishes to come to an ·agreement at the expense of the masses.
4. By defending the right of all nations to self-determination, the CP. declares itself against the division of nations by insurmountable barriers. This work of separation and hatred is the work of all bourgeoisies. On the other hand, the revolutionary proletariat is the only power which unites all peoples and is able to sweep aside all barriers. But to attain this end it is historically necessary that every nation be able to determine its own destiny freely and independently from other nations.
The National Minorities in Yugoslavia.
The imperialistic peace clauses have handed over to the oppression of the Serbian bourgeoisie, compact masses of Magyars, Germans and Roumanians in the northern Voivodine district, and Turks, Albanians, Bulgarians and Aromanians m the lions share of the Macedonian booty. The Macedonian problem will be dealt with in a special resolution. In this resolution only Magyars, Germans and Roumanians are to be regarded as national minorities.
The Serbian bourgeoisie also exercises against these the most brutal national oppression, and the dissatisfaction of these peoples is naturally very great. But here also one must set the shameful role of the Magyar, German and Roumanian bourgeoisie in its proper light. Instead of leading an energetic fight against the imperialistic and Fascist policy of oppression of the Serbian bourgeoisie, the bourgeois parties of these national minorities have leagued themselves with the radical party of Serbia, the particular representative of the domination policy. They have betrayed all the just demands of the masses, the great majority of which consists of proletarians and peasants, and fought exclusively for the demands of the propertied classes.
By this policy they have weakened the position of the other oppressed nationalities in their fight against the domination of the Serbian bourgeoisie and monarchy.
The CP must expose this policy of the bourgeois parties and call upon the masses, so that they do not allow themselves to be deceived, but flock to the revolutionary proletariat and the working masses of the other oppressed nations.
International Press Correspondence, widely known as”Inprecor” was published by the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) regularly in German and English, occasionally in many other languages, beginning in 1921 and lasting in English until 1938. Inprecor’s role was to supply translated articles to the English-speaking press of the International from the Comintern’s different sections, as well as news and statements from the ECCI. Many ‘Daily Worker’ and ‘Communist’ articles originated in Inprecor, and it also published articles by American comrades for use in other countries. It was published at least weekly, and often thrice weekly. A major contributor to the Communist press in the U.S., Inprecor is an invaluable English-language source on the history of the Communist International and its sections.
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/inprecor/1924/v04n31-may-29-1924-inprecor.pdf