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Susan Smith-Peter

Splendour, Misery, and Possibilities

An X-Ray of Socialist Yugoslavia

Series:

Darko Suvin

Suvin’s ‘X-Ray’ of Socialist Yugoslavia offers an indispensable overview of a unique and often overlooked twentieth-century socialism. It shows that the plebeian surge of revolutionary self-determination was halted in SFR Yugoslavia by 1965; that between 1965– 72 there was a confused and hidden but still open-ended clash; and that by 1972 the oligarchy in power was closed and static, leading to failure. The underlying reasons of this failure are analysed in a melding of semiotics and political history, which points beyond Yugoslavia – including its achievements and degeneration – to show how political and economic democracy fail when pursued in isolation. The emphasis on socialist Yugoslavia is at various points embedded into a wider historical and theoretical frame, including Left debates about the party, sociological debates about classes, and Marx’s great foray against a religious State doctrine in The Jewish Question.