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The Life and Death of Yugoslav Socialism

By: 
James Robertson

During the Cold War, the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia represented to many a viable alternative to the Soviet model. Grounded by workplace self-management, the Yugoslav system seemingly gave workers the right to exercise democratic control on the shop floor.

The distinct Yugoslav path to socialism found admirers around the world. In Eastern Europe, the combination of market socialism and self-management offered a model for anti-Stalinist reformers. In the capitalist West, democratic socialists hopefully viewed the experiment as a more “human” socialism. And across much of the Third World, Yugoslavia — a leading member of the Non-Aligned Movement — demonstrated the viability of a “third way” between the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union.