People's Front of Yugoslavia

The Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia or SSRNJ (Serbo-Croatian: Socijalistički savez radnog naroda Jugoslavije/Социјалистички савез радног народа Југославије, SSRNJ/ССРНЈ, Slovene: Socialistična zveza delovnega ljudstva Jugoslavije, SZDLJ, Macedonian: Социјалистички сојуз на работниот народ на Југославија, ССРНЈ), known before 1953 as the People's Front (Narodni Front or NOF in Serbo-Croatian, Ljudska fronta or LF in Slovene), was the largest and most influential mass organization in SFR Yugoslavia from August 1945 through 1990.[1] By 1990 its membership was thirteen million individuals, including most of the adult population of the country.[1]

People's Front of Yugoslavia
Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia
Serbo-Croatian: Socijalistički savez radnog naroda Jugoslavije/Социјалистички савез радног народа Југославије
Slovene: Socialistična zveza delovnega ljudstva Jugoslavije
Macedonian: Социјалистички сојуз на работниот народ на Југославија
SSRNJ emblem.png
Post-1953 emblem
FormationAugust 1945
Dissolved1990
HeadquartersBelgrade
Location
Membership
up to 13,000,000
President
Veljko Milatović
Ideology
Communism
Marxism–Leninism
Titoism (from 1948)
RemarksThe People's Front of Yugoslavia was renamed the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia in 1953

People's Front of YugoslaviaEdit

People's Front of Yugoslavia was an organization of antifascist and democratic masses of nations of Yugoslavia. The idea of its creation sprang up in the 1930s, especially during the May 5, 1935 parliamentary elections in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

At the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in June 1935 held in the city of Split (Dalmatia) it was concluded to form the Front of National Freedom. Also it was concluded that Fascism could be defeated by the joint efforts of proletariat, peasantry, nationally oppressed and all democratic and progressive layers of society. The basis for the Front of the People's Freedom would be the Communist Party of Yugoslavia joined by the trade unions, "left wings" of the peasant parties, youth, university students, cultural, educational, sports societies, different professional associations and national liberation movements under the auspices of civic parties. The main platform was:

  1. The destruction of the 6 January Regime,
  2. Equal rights of the nations of Yugoslavia,
  3. Preventing the burden of crisis on the back of the People and improving the economic position of broad working masses at the expense of the rich.

The Communist Party of Yugoslavia comprehended the People's Front (NF) as a political platform for the approaching of masses with its ideas and as a method of alliance with other opposition parties like civic, republican and democratic bourgeois parties.

The Communist Party of Yugoslavia was banned from political life of the country but remained seized with the matter of creating a singular People's Front up to the beginning of World War II.

At the conference in Stolice (Serbia) it was concluded that the antifascist movement should be transformed to a United People's Liberation Front of Yugoslavia.

Each of the future republics and autonomous provinces had its own People's Liberation Front.

People's front of republics and provincesEdit

Name of the people's front Date of first lands' conference Place, Republic or province
United People's Liberation Front of Croatia May 18, 1944 Croatia
People's Liberation Front of Bosnia and Herzegovina July 3, 1944 Sanski Most, Bosnia and Herzegovina
People's Liberation Front of Montenegro July 16, 1944 Kolašin, Montenegro
United People's Liberation Front of Serbia November 14, 1944 Serbia
People's Liberation Front of Macedonia November 26, 1944 Skopje, Macedonia
People's Liberation Front of Vojvodina December 11, 1944 Novi Sad, Vojvodina
People's Liberation Front of Kosovo April 11 and April 12, 1945 Kosovo
Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation July 15 and July 16, 1945 Ljubljana, Slovenia

The first congress of the People's Front of Yugoslavia was held in Belgrade from August 5 to August 7, 1945. The Programme and the Statute of the National Front of Yugoslavia were passed. Edvard Kardelj gave the main guidelines for the NFY in his seminary which described the NFY as "the sole of the Nation, its reflection, its heroic uprising, its greatest majority – that it is – the Nation itself".

The NFY was the only organisation to contest the first postwar election, in 1945; opposition parties pulled out after claiming to have experienced severe intimidation. On 29 November, the Communist-dominated parliament formally abolished the monarchy and declared Yugoslavia a republic. From that moment onward, the NFY was effectively the only legally permitted political organisation in the country.

At the fourth congress of the NFY it changed its name to the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Yugoslavia. The congress accepted the proposal of the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia to have the name changed at the fourth congress of the National Front of Yugoslavia, held in Belgrade from February 22 to February 25, 1953.

Organizations within the People's FrontEdit

  • Antifascist Front of Women of Yugoslavia (AFŽ)
  • Croatian Peasant Party
  • Independent Democratic Party
  • Landworkers' Party
  • National Peasant Party
  • Socialist Party of Yugoslavia
  • Social-Democratic Party of Yugoslavia
  • United Alliance of Antifascist Youth of Yugoslavia (USAOJ)
  • United Trade Union of Workers and Employees (JSRiN)
  • Yugoslav Republican Democratic Party

Parties that were not members of the People's Front:

  • Democratic Party
  • National Radical Party

Parliamentary electionsEdit

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
1945 Josip Broz Tito 90.48%
354 / 354
  354   1st Sole legal coalition
1950 94.2%
354 / 354
  1st Sole legal coalition

Reform and renamingEdit

In 1953, the People's Front was renamed the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia (SSRNJ) and it would continue to be the largest (in terms of membership) mass organization in SFR Yugoslavia from August 1945 through 1990.[1]

The political purpose of this national organization, sponsored by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ), was to involve as many people as possible in activities on the party agenda, without the restrictions and negative connotations of direct party control.[1] The SSRNJ also was chartered as a national arbitration forum for competing, cross-regional interests.[1] Although party officials were forbidden to hold simultaneous office in SSRNJ, the top echelon of the latter was dominated by established party members.[1] The importance of SSRNJ to the party leadership increased as the party's direct control over social and state institutions decreased.[1] It was useful in mobilizing otherwise apathetic citizens during the Croatian crisis of 1971 and the Kosovo crisis of 1987.[1][obsolete source]

The Constitution stipulated a wide variety of social and political functions for SSRNJ, including nomination of candidates for delegate at the commune level, suggesting solutions to national and local social issues to assembly delegates, and overseeing elections and public policy implementation.[1] Both individuals and interest groups held membership.[1] The structure of SSRNJ was very similar to that of the party, including a hierarchy that extended from national to commune level.[1] SSRNJ organizations in the republics and provinces were simplified versions of the national structure.[1] By 1959, the SSRNJ counted over 6.3 million individual members and 111 collective organizations under its umbrella.[2]

The national organization was run by a conference of delegates chosen by the regional SSRNJ leadership.[1] The conference presidium included members from the party, the armed forces, trade unions, Socialist Youth League, and other national organizations.[1] Like the SKJ Central Committee, the SSRNJ conference established departments to formulate policy recommendations in areas such as economics, education, and sociopolitical relations.[1] Coordinating committees were also active in interregional consultation on policy and mass political action.[1]

 
Delegates of Maribor branch of SZDL in informal talk before the conference, January 1962

In SR Slovenia, the Socialist Alliance became an umbrella organization for a number of nonparty organizations with political interests, beginning in 1988.[1] On a lesser scale, similar changes occurred in other republics.[1] This development rekindled the idea that SSRNJ might be divorced from SKJ domination and reconstituted as a second political party at the national level.[1] Pending such an event, SSRNJ was regarded throughout the 1980s as a puppet of the party elite, particularly by virtue of its exclusive control over the nomination of assembly delegates at the commune level.[1]

One of the Presidents of the Federal Conference was Veljko Milatović.

Constituent Organizations Within the SSRNJ[2]Edit

ReferencesEdit

  • Narodni front Jugoslavije, Političko odeljenje Ministarstva narodne odbrane, Beograd, 1945.
  • Katarina Spehnjak, Narodni front Jugoslavije (SSRNJ) - razvoj, programsko-teorijske osnove i procesi u društvenoj praksi, published in Povijesni prilozi Year 3, No 1, a collection of papers by the Institute of the History of the Workers Movement of Croatia, Zagreb, 1984. ISSN 0351-9767
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Curtis, Glenn E., ed. (1992). Yugoslavia: a country study (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. pp. 197–198. ISBN 0-8444-0735-6. OCLC 24792849.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  2. ^ a b Charles Zalar; United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary (1961). Yugoslav Communism: A Critical Study. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 231.