ALLIANCE (MARXIST-LENINIST)
Number 12 January 1995
GEORGII DIMITROV AND THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY


ALLIANCE 12 CONTENTS: EDITOR'S REMARKS

Alliance 12 contains an article that in advance, is known to be controversial. As the Introduction states however, it is a topic that demands serious attention from the Marxist-Leninist forces world wide over. We would be delighted to engage in principled debate upon the issues raised.



GEORGII DIMITROV AND THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY :
Table of Contents By Page number

INTRODUCTION

Marxist-Leninists have recently come a very significant way forward. Now at least there is a growing agreement in the Marxist-Leninist movement world wide that :

1. Socialism was created in only 2 European states - the former USSR and the former Albania. The other so called People's Democracies did not establish socialism.

2. That J.V.Stalin fought against the resurrection of capitalism, and for the maintenance of socialism in the USSR. His principal enemy was Vosnosensky whose revisionist theories were fought by Stalin. From the movement of Stalin's death, the capitalist restoration inside the USSR began. This analysis was first put in Marxist-Leninist terms, by W.B.Bland in 1980.(See:"The Restoration of Capitalism In the USSR." London, Wembley Select Editions. ISBN: 0 86237 000 0).

Only upon this understanding and principled basis, will the new Communist International movement be built. This means, in effect to jettison notions of "market socialism" first raised by Vosnosensky (See Bland 1980, "The Leningrad Affair", Ibid). It also means to jettison any equations of "Khruschevism, Brezhnevism, and Gorbachevism" with socialism. By this jettisoning, the best elements have begun to rally back to the banner of Stalin. Marxist-Leninists now accept that inside the USSR, there was a hidden struggle going on against the Marxist-Leninist faction, who were led by Stalin, and that the hidden revisionists came to power under the leadership of Khrushchev.

But difficult questions remain. These concern the burning need to fully understand crucial international events:

The Communist League of the UK, led by W.B.Bland, argues that hidden revisionists did seize control of the Comintern. We will here briefly summarise this view. Then the relationship of Dimitrov to the actions of the Bulgarian Communist Party are explored, in particular the formation of the Fatherland Front, and how later it was used to obstruct moving to the second stage - the socialist revolution. Finally the attitude to "The Balkan Federation", proposed by Yugoslavia and Dimitrov, as well as Stalin's response, are examined.


1. THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE (CL) ARGUMENT SUMMARISED
The Communist League (UK), and its immediate predecessor the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain (led by M.Baker and Bland) charged that the Communist International was brought under the sway of hidden revisionists led by Dimitri Manuilsky, Otto Kuusinen, and Georgi Dmitrov.
(See Section 16. Relevant Bibliography of the Communist League. These articles cite full references.)

The CL argues that, after the successful open struggle against Trotskyite and Bukharinite revisionism, revisionism went underground. These hidden revisionists used the failure of the Chinese revolution in 1927 to remove Stalin from any effective control of, or role in the CI.

Despite Stalin's advice to the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), the CPC refused to listen. Instead the CPC followed a path leading to collapse of revolution and annihilation of their cadre. The debacle of the Chinese Revolution, only followed ONLY AFTER the CPC had ignored Stalin's advice. This is revealed by the testimony of M.N.Roy, the Comintern emissary to the CPC. Nonetheless, the hidden revisionists utilised the failed Chinese revolution to remove Stalin from leadership of the Comintern.

Even some bourgeois historians, have recognised that Stalin did not play any role in the Comintern after 1928.

IN FACT, THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL WAS THEN LEFT IN THE HANDS OF OTTO KUUSINEN, GEORGI DIMITROV, DIMITRI MANUILSKY; AND LATER PALMIRO TOGLIATTI.

Of course, wanting their cake, and wanting to eat it also, these same bourgeois historians SIMULTANEOUSLY blame Stalin for any perceived mistakes made by the Comintern. Nonetheless, Claudin does goes on, to point out that at the 7th Comintern Congress :

2. WHAT EXPLAINS THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF COMINTERN HISTORY ?
Every honest historian, and every honest Marxist-Leninist will acknowledge that there were twists and turns in the Comintern over the period 1925, to its dissolution in 1943. But only Marxist-Leninists understand that "History makes sense." These various twists and turns can only be understood if one of three possibilities are true :

EITHER :

1. The turns were dictated by objective reality. This position basically argues the tactical turns of the Comintern reflected "correct" tactic and strategy. Thus, for example, German fascism could not have been avoided.

This is the usual position of most honest Marxist-Leninists. This argument concludes that Stalin was still in control of the Comintern. It suffers from the fault of excusing any subjective errors at all, and of trapping the parties inthe vise of "Objective factors". This argument is often advanced by honest comrades who feel trapped into arguing this way against the following, second option.

OR SECONDLY IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT :

2. The turns of the Comintern were incorrect and betrayed serious errors or distortions of Stalin. These errors are seen as Stalin's sabotage. Stalin is here portrayed as the hidden "Orchestrator" of the Comintern, concerned only to preserve the Soviet Union, wishing to prevent the revolution elsewhere. Revolution elsewhere it is argued, would destabilise the USSR, and furthermore, Stalin would have to share "power" with other socialist states. This argument suffers from the fault of a reliance upon an alleged 'omnipotence' of Stalin. Those that present this view, are usually Trotskyites or bourgeois historians.
 

THE THIRD ARGUMENT
3. This argument has been presented above. It is that there was a conscious betrayal of the international revolutionary movement, by the hidden revisionists Kuusinen, Dimitrov and Manuilsky. Furthermore, that the take over by German Fascism was facilitated by criminally wrong tactics foisted not by Stalin, but by hidden revisionists. These revisionists followed a two step strategy to disrupt the socialist revolution. Firstly, a criminal Ultra-Left tactic (Attack social democracy as the greatest enemy) prevented the effective unity of social democracy with communists, in order to stop fascism. Then secondly, after fascist victory, an opportunist ultra-right-ism was promoted leading to unprincipled united fronts where the Communists never exercised independence of criticism, as in the French Government.

The CL, further contends that when taking control of the Comintern, the hidden revisionists pushed out Stalin from control of the Comintern. Furthermore, when Dimitrov was put on a farce of a show trial (The so called Reichstag Fire trial which took place in September 1933) by the German fascists, it was in order to invest him with a spurious authority as a "leader of the world's proletariat". The German fascists let Dimitrov free, despite the fact that they had killed thousands of Communists. The prestige that Dimitrov gained by this Trial, facilitated his later traitorous actions in foisting criminal and mistaken policies on the Comintern. This allowed him to subvert from within the Comintern, the correct Leninist tactics towards bourgeois democracy and united Front work, at the 7th World Congress of the Comintern. They were subverted into an unprincipled loss of freedom of voice for the Communist parties.

The Dissolution of the Comintern
The work of the revisionists had been crowned by the victory of fascism. Therefore, the ECCI Presidium consisting of Dimitrov, Manuilsky and Palmiro Togliatti, felt able in 1943, to dissolve the CI. They claimed two specious reasons for this:
Firstly : that the international situation was increasingly complex.

Secondly: that the CI was now superfluous as the parties of the world had become supposedly "mature".

Stalin said to Harold King : The CL contends that Stalin knew the Comintern had been infiltrated. This is shown by Stalin's actions in the formation of the Cominform. When Stalin set up the Cominform (to deal with "mature" communist parties, as Dimitrov, Togliatti and Manuilsky termed them), Stalin put only trusted Marxist-Leninists like Zhdanov in command. Noticeably, Stalin avoided placing any of the old coterie (Dimitrov, Kuusinen, Togliatti and Manuilsky) in control of the Cominform. Only stalwarts like Zhdanov were trusted to first expose the French revisionists; and then to expose the Yugoslav revisionists.

3. INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO THE CL POSITION -SILENCE

For the most part, the CL position has been ignored.

As right revisionism was until recently dominant - following the lead of the then revisionist CPSU - this silence was understandable. But, even pro-Albanian parties, for the most part, have adopted a studied silence. As right revisionism has rapidly crumbled, and as honest comrades in the splinters of the right revisionist movement are forced to ask themselves:

It becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the CL position.
The line could of course be taken that the CL argument is so absurd that no one should take the energy to bother with it. But if that were the case, even that deserves to be placed on paper. The analysis marshalled by the CL deserves written response.

It is true that the CL has been hotly challenged by some honest comrades. For these comrades, the emotions surrounding Dimitrov have been impossible to shake. If FACTS and not EMOTION would dictate a refusal to accept the CL analysis, some written cogent counter-analysis would be forthcoming.

Those comrades who indeed, have had the courage of their convictions to put views formally on paper (for instance a group in Birmingham UK), have not thus far produced any weighty counter-attack. Instead reliance is placed on the "Historic role and bravery of Dimitrov in challenging German Fascism in Open Court". Only one group has even responded in a written form, and this emotion is the sole crux of the argument put.

This "defence" had already been anticipated and refuted by the Communist League. The CL case here rests on the improbability of the German fascists responding to an individual in court, when German fascists had crushed world wide many other anti-fascists; and that Dimitrov was afforded extraordinary good treatment in prison etc. These arguments remain unanswered (See Compass March 1994, No.112. "Georgii Dimitrov: Tool of imperialism").

Other comrades have responded negatively, but verbally. Some comrades, cite various data - eg : Stalin put flowers on Dimitrov's grave, and gave a speech at the funeral. This weak "counter-argument" is typical. In the absence of analytic counter-attacks, reliance is placed upon purely emotional arguments that Dimitrov was a great man.



4. DIMITROV IN RELATION TO THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY (BCP) - SCOPE OF THIS ARTICLE

THIS ARTICLE, WILL NOT FURTHER RE-TREAD OLDER GROUND.
INSTEAD, WE EXAMINE DIMITROV'S ROLE IN BULGARIAN HISTORY.
WE ASK INSTEAD :

Firstly, what role did Dimitrov play in the early history of the BCP ?
And furthermore, what role did Dimitrov play building of the Bulgarian Communist Party led Fatherland Front; and what did the Fatherland Front in practice implement?

To do this, we review some of the history and economics of Bulgaria up to the Second World War.

Secondly, what did Dimitrov feel about Tito and Yugoslavia, and what were his actions regarding the Balkan Federation ? What did various acknowledged scoundrels (such as Milovan Djilas) say about Dimitrov ? What was Djilas's view of Stalin, and in contrast what was his view of Dimitrov?



5. ECONOMICS OF BULGARIA TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR FROM VASSAL OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE TO STIRRINGS OF CAPITALISM.

Bulgaria entered the 19th Century as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. As a Bulgarian cultural revival in the 1820's took hold in the colony, the oppressed Bulgarians began uprisings. They were struck down brutally, but struggles persisted, culminating in the wide spread but suppressed rising of April 1876. But Russian Pan-Slavic ambition, led the Russian Tsar into war; driving the Ottomans out of what became the Bulgarian state in 1878. But tribute continued to be paid to the Ottomans. Simultaneously a bourgeois democratic constitution was granted.

Genuine progress under the Turnovo Constitution was made, turning Bulgaria into a bourgeois democracy with civil rights, limited monarchy and a National Assembly (The Subranie) elected on full male suffrage. Turkish landlords had fled and their estates broken up to be given to the peasantry. This led to major land re-distributions :

But very shortly, the rival antagonisms of the other European Great powers - particularly of Germany against Russia - were felt. These led to the Treaty of Berlin, barring the Russian Tsars from the Bulgarian throne; and denying Bulgaria part of its' territory - Macedonia. Bulgaria was ceded to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Prince Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, now ruled Bulgaria from 1894 to 1918, when the Allies forced his abdication to his son - Tsar Boris III.

On 5th October 1908, Ferdinand, at the same time as the Austrian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, proclaimed the complete independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman empire and took the title for himself of Tsar. Thereafter, German and Russian struggle over Bulgaria ultimately led to the Balkan Wars from 1912 onwards. These wars ravaged Bulgaria. In the inter-imperialist First World War, Bulgaria was on the side of Central Powers. By 1918, and the defeat of German imperialism, Bulgaria was quite diminished in size.

BY NOW, BULGARIA WAS EXPERIENCING MAJOR ECONOMIC CHANGES TENDING TOWARDS A CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT :

THE TURNOVO DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION, AND THE BREAK UP OF THE LARGE ESTATES OF TURKISH LANDOWNERS, LED TO TWO IMPORTANT SEQUELAE : The history of state sponsored modernisation in Bulgaria was quite long, even by this time. Even the Ottomans had under pressure of foreign debts, sponsored modernisation centred on Sofia - to be tested by Midhat Pasha for a network of co-operative banks for agriculture. (Lampe Ibid, p.23).

But, despite the beginning stirrings of capitalist development, the economy of Bulgaria in this period, was still mainly agricultural (see table below). Table 1, also shows the rapid rises occurring in the industrial sector.



TABLE 1: BULGARIAN GROSS SOCIAL PRODUCT IN 1911.
                                                *LEVA PER CAPITA (* Bulgarian unit of currency)  REAL GROWTH RATE


Crop agriculture                 139                                                                 0.5
Livestock                             48
Forestry                               22
Large scale private industry 26                                                                 13
Small scale private industry 18
Other including Trade         71


(From Lampe J.R. Ibid, p.25).


Over 1904-19911, this rate of rise of industry was the most rapid for any Balkan state, for example, being only 10% for Serbia; and 5.3% for Rumania (Lampe Ibid. p.35). But the industrial scale was still small.


6. THE BULGARIAN PEASANTRY

The major part of the population of Bulgaria belonged to the peasantry. Even by 1948, that is allowing for a further period of industrialisation (See Table 2 on the problems facing the industrialisation of Bulgaria before the Second World War) the vast majority of the peoples were still peasants :



TABLE 2: DISTRIBUTION BULGARIAN LABOUR FORCE 1948-60
(percent of active labour).


                            INDUSTRY     AGRICULTURE     CONSTRUCTION     TRANSPORT      TRADE

1948                     7.9                 82.1                     2.0                         3.7                 4.3

1956                     12.9                70.5                     3.3                        6.0                 7.2

1960                     21.9                55.5                     5.2                         8.1                 9.2



(From J.R.Lampe Ibid, p.160).


OWNERSHIP OF LAND WAS MAINLY IN THE HANDS OF SMALL PEASANTS
As mentioned above, there was only a very small landlord class... following the break up of the Ottoman lands. Many of the small peasantry had some small land. But these were very fragmented: The lot of the peasant was not great, to put it mildly. The re-distribution of Turkish land had left small packages of land. Worse, these bore a heavy debt load to Bulgarian middle men (merchants or officials who had made the original purchase from the Turks), of over 40 million leva. This forced the peasant to generate a marketable surpus, made up in grain production on the whole (See Lampe, Ibid, p.24).

By 1911, a series of disastrous harvests led the peasantry into worse penury.
It was now that the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BZNS) was formed, and organised protests. After 1903, it was led by Aleksandur Stamboliiski. (The Agrarian Party is discussed in detail below). Under Stamboliiski's leadership the Agrarians made some headway, but they were prevented by Ferdinand I, from taking more than 15% of the vote in any pre-Ist World War election. They initally confined themselves at that stage to extensively re-building the network of rural co-operatives. By 1910 :

Upon taking power (See below for the political developments after World War One) The Stamboliiski Government promulgated some reforms that further assisted the re-distribution of land : However, there was also an emphasis upon modernisation towards a new capitalist farming. This allowed some exemptions: The final land re-distribution due to the Agrarians was not a sweeping one.
Most definitely, it did not affect the land ownership of the "kulak", or the middle rural bourgeoise. It did however complete a large scale process set in train from the dissolution of the Turkish Ottoman landowning days. This ensured that the very large landed estates were relatively few and did not control much land : Also the Stamboliiski Government, reinforced the Bulgarian Agricultural Bank (Bulgarska Zmedelska Banka [BZB]), enabling it to become the largest source of short-term credit in Bulgaria. The industrial crops of tobaco, sunflower, and sugar beets were promoted as well as mechanisation. These further assisted the attempts of the native bourgeoise to capitalise and modernise Bulgaria. The Stamboliiski goverment also improved the lot of the peasant, by further co-operativisation. Later governments, used these same institutions

The tack of collectivsation was adopted by the later bourgeoisie, who saw as part of its fruits, a larger produce export trade. Even Andrei Liapchev (Agriculture and trade Minister [1908-10] and Prime Minister [1926-31]) heavily promoted agricultural co-operatives. Liapchev also established a central grain purchasing agency for export known as Hranoiznos in 1930. This later played a part in BCP strategy to consolidate agriculture after the Second World war. Also under his regime, a special promotion of iron ploughs and steam powered machinery through the Agricultural Bank (BZB), led to an increase in iron plough use by 40%; and the percent of all ploughs in use being iron was also 40%, for the period 1925-9. Modern agricultural equipment also more than doubled.

THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS CAN BE DRAWN THAT A GOOD, FERTILE GROUND FOR COLLECTIVISATION UNDER A CORRECT SOCIALIST LEADERSHIP AND STATE EXISTED:



  • 7. BULGARIAN POLITICAL PARTIES UP TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR

    As described above, Bulgaria was left as a constitutional monarchy, with the Tuvorno Constitution. The shifting coalitions and factions over 1918-1938 resulted in many governments which are summarised on page 16. (See Table of Dates on web edition below).
    Below this we continue, and will describe the main parties and blocks.



    DATES AND GOVERNMENTS UP TO SECOND WORLD WAR
    1911: Pre-World War One (WWI), during WWI and post war the Government of Democrats under Prime Minister Malinov.

    1918: Radomir Republic; short lived. President Stamboliiski.

    1919: Agrarian Party Government; in coalition with National Party and Progressive Liberal Party. Prime Minister Stamboliiski.

    1919: Majority Agrarian Government, under Stamboliiski.

    1921: Fascist Coup led by Alexsandur Tsankov, under the so called People's Alliance (PA). Later, PA transformed itself into the so called Democratic Alliance, which formed the fascist government; under Tsankov.

    1926: "Bloody Tsankov" stands down. Gradual return to some measures of bourgeois democracy, still led by the Democratic Alliance. Prime Minister Andrei Liapchev.

    1931: Peoples' Bloc electoral victory leading to Government : Peoples' Bloc consisted of a bloc of Democrats, Radical party, Liberal Party, Agrarian Union - the Vrabcha I section. Peoples' Bloc led by Malinov (Democratic party) and Agrarians and Radical Party. Led by Prime Minister Malinov briefly, then PM Mushanov.

    1934: In May a fascist Coup led by Military League;  suspension of Turnovo Constitution, dissolution of Subranie; severe censorship. Government of Kimon Georgiev.

    1935: In January Transitional Government of General Pencho Zlateve. January to October - Various Generals and fascist led governments. Ultimately Tsar Boris establishes his dominance once more.

    1936: Democratic opposition forms the People's Constitutional Bloc. Tsar Boris petitioned for return to constitutional law.

    1937: Informal and loose agreement between People's Constitutional Bloc and the communists in elections. Prime Ministers Kioseivanov and then Bogdan Filov.

    1938: Elections during which the People's Constitutional Bloc is attacked by the BCP.

    1940: Tsar Boris allows German troops on Bulgarian soil.

    1943: Boris dies, his 6 year old son Simeon II takes over. PM is Filov. Continues to ally with Germany.

    1945: 9th September, Fatherland Front takes power.
    Government: 4 members from each of : The BCP; Zveno; Pladne;  and 2 Social Democrats, 2 Independents.



    Because of the bewildering parade of blocs etc; we give an overview of each main consitutent of the parties and blocks, and their objective class basis.

    In discussing the parties of Bulgaria, primarily we aim to review their class orientation.
    We will then examine the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP).

    THE AGRARIAN NATIONAL UNION PARTY (BANU).
    This party represented the interests of the peasantry, and was formed in the late 1890's. As discussed in the previous section, many of their policies would favour both small and middle (kulak) peasants. But their reluctance to restrict the holdings of the middle kulak peasants, ultimately made this party the class representatives primiarly of the kulaks.

    The BANU became important as a mass force, after Alexander Stamboliiski took the leadership in 1903. His energy, and insight and desire to destroy the monarchy made him the enemy of the Tsars and his various regents such as Stefan Stambolov, the repressive President of the National Assembly, and regent after Tsar Alexander.
    Another reason to inspire opposition to the BANU, was their pro-Yugoslav stance. They viewed this as the best guarantee of modernisation.

    Objectively then, the BANU represented a class coalition of the middle and large landowning peasantry; who had strong comprador tendencies towards Yugoslavia.
    But they also had the support of the large poor peasant section of the people, for whom they represented a reformist, but progressive tendency.

    By 1908, the BANU had become the largest opposition party polling over 1000,000 votes. After they formed the Government post war, they posed a major threat to all the ruling circles, ie: That section of the bourgeoisie interested in capitalist development, the merchant classes, the landowners and their followers- the frightened petit bourgeoisie.
    This resulted in a fascist coup.

    Thereafter, the Agrarians were crushed, and formed several factions.
    Given the differences between the rich and the poor peasant, this could hardly be otherwise.
    Even in the Stamboliiski Government, there had been two wings:
    The Left wing was led by Daskalov and Obbov; and the Right wing by Turlakov, Tomov, and Omarchevski.
    After the fascist coup, Kosta Todarov and Obbov led the Agrarians for a while.

    By 1927, the right wing under Kosta Tomov entered into alliance with the Democrats (See below). Most of the Left wing formed the AGRARIAN UNION. This was led by Petko D. Petkov; who had advised Stamboliiski on foreign affairs. He was murdered in June 1924. Many others of the Left wing were murdered.

    By 1927, Dimitur Gichev had come to the leadership of the Left. They formed a bloc with the Social Democrats and the small Artisans Party to form the so-called Iron Bloc,

    They went on to form the principal body of the Agrarian movement named the Agrarian Union-Vrabcha I (after the address). Gichev then formed an alliance with the Democrats in the People's Bloc.

    Vrabcha-I then came objectively to represent, that section of the landed landowners who wished to participate in developing industry, and were trying to transform themselves into an industrial class.

    Meanwhile many Agrarians had been forced to flee into exile. They expected the People's Bloc Government with Gichev to grant an amnesty. But this not being forthcoming, and coupled with the continued kow-towing of the Democrats, this forced the emergence of the Pladne Group, named after a newspaper of Georgi Vulkov.

    The Pladne Group was placed at the service of the more left of the Agrarians. Pladne became very sharply critical of the Democratic Alliance. But they were also pro-Yugoslavia, just as Stamboliiski had been. Kosta Todorov, Alexsandur Obbov and others had wanted to develop a party as a successor to Stamboliiski's party, with a:

    Pladne had returned objectively, to represent that wing of the self proclaimed leaders of the Balkan bourgeoisie in Bulgaria who favoured a Federation, of a pro-Yugoslav type.

    THE LIBERAL PARTY
    This party, had all but disappeared by the beginning of the period we refer to. But its splinters lived on in many parties. This party even in 1884, was already undergoing schisms. These led to the Progressive Liberals, the Democrats (see below), the National Liberals (whose leader Stefan Stambolov formed the repressive Government that crushed early worker and peasant movements), the Young Liberals, the Liberals under Vasil Radoslavov and the Radical Democrats under Naicho Tsanov. A Conservative wing re-grouped as the Conservative Party led by Konstantin Stoilov. It is true, as Bell says :

    But, there were some differences amongst the factions.
    Objectively, this party was a broad coalition of the large landowning aristocracy, and merchants; and the capitalists whose interests were more keenly focused upon industrialisation.

    THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
    Objectively, this party came to represent the interests of the small but developing national capitalist class.
    But even they, especially in the early days of their party, also carried a small core of support for the court, forming the so-called Tsarska partiia (Tsar's party). There were then, wings of this party, forming a class coalition. The party's wings took up various alliances with other forces at various times, entering into shifting coalitions.
    But in the main the dominant faction was objectively representing, the interests of the national capitalist class, interested in developing Bulgaria.

    The party was led by Aleksander Malinov and Nikola Mushanov. Malinov was the prewar prime minister of Bulgaria. Under the Malinov wing, they formed in the 1931 run up to election, an electoral pact with the Agrarian Union section led by Dimitur Gichev. Together they formed the People's Bloc.

    TSANKOV MOVEMENT AND NARODEN SGVOR
    Professor Alexsandur Tsankov was the primary spokesperson of this movement, which represented itself as being a "non-partisan organisation of citizens". In fact it represented the interests of the most reactionary of the conservatives, whose inspiration derived from the fascists in Italy. Tsankov led the fascist coup that broke the Stomboliskii peasant Agrarian government of 1921. Tsankov later became a member of the Democratic Alliance, but he then broke with this and launched a truly full-fledged fascist party, The Naroden sgvor, that ultimately tied its fortunes with the Zveno (see below).

    Objectively this party represented a vacillating force of petit-bourgeoisie who served the interests of the reactionary and most conservative sections of the large landowning aristocracy, the merchants, and the small developing national capitalists.

    THE MILITARY LEAGUE
    As its name implies, this secret Organisation was composed of various members of the Armed Forces. They were led by General Ivan Vulkov, and Lieutenant-Colonels Damian Velchev, Kimon Georgiev, Nikola Racheva. These individuals played a major role in the anti-Stamboliiski fascist coup. Kimon Georgiev later joined other fascist coalitions that emerged. But their members were on the whole also in the Tsankov movements.

    Objectively they represented a force that was used at various times by the large landowning aristocracy, the merchants, and the small developing national capitalists.

    THE ZVENO
    Closely related to Tsvanko, was a fascist group called the Zveno. They were led by Dimo Kazasov, who was a member of the Social Democratic party, until his expulsion in 1926. He was made Minister of Communications after the anti-Stamboliiski coup of 1923. At this point he started Zveno. It attracted many of the Tsankov Movement, and ultimately became the political vehicle for the Military League (ML). Kimon Georgiev (of the ML) joined Zveno with many other colonels and generals. They therefore formed an important strength of the Zveno. They physically carried out the coup of 1934.

    They favoured rapprochement with Yugoslavia.

    Objectively, they represented that wing of the self proclaimed leaders of the Balkan bourgeoisie in Bulgaria who favoured a Federation, of a pro-Yugoslav type.
    Moreover, these capitalists also saw an imperative need for state involvement to finance native industry. (See Oren N, Bulgarian Communism. The Road To Power. 1934-1944. " London, 1971. p.14.).

    INTERNAL MACEDONIAN REVOLUTIONARY ORGANISATION (IMRO)
    This Organisation employed open terror in their bands operating in Macedonia.
    Their sole raison d'etre was Macedonian separatism; and thus they targeted the opponents of Macedonian separatism.
    Objectively, they were initially a vehicle for Italian ambition in the Balkans, and were supplied by the Italians.
    As they had no clear other political agenda, they were somewhat promiscuous in their choice of allies. In fact they often joined the united fronts of other fascist organisations like Tsankov, Naroden sgvor and Zveno. As Stamboliiski for the Agrarians had signed a pact with the Yugoslavs (The Treaty of Nis), aimed at restraining IMRO terrorism and Macedonian separatism, the IMRO willingly joined the coup against the Agrarians.

    Their hopes for Tsankov were somewhat spurned, when he did not break the Treaty of Nis. Furthermore, the Yugoslavia Government further undercut IMRO by signing the Pact of Rome in 1924. This disillusionment led to a section of the IMRO negotiating with the BCP. This wing of IMRO did negotiate secretly in Vienna with the Macedonian Communists (acting for the BCP) Dimitur Vlakhov and Dimo Hadzi Dimov. This negotiation included support for a Macedonian Republic "Within a voluntary union of independent Balkan republics".
    But the IMRO led by Ivan Mikhailov purged this wing, and kept IMRO to Tsankov's apron strings.
    Meanwhile the BCP established a "United-IMRO" Front led by Dimitur Vlakhov and Vladimir Poptomov (Oren, Ibid, p.188).

    After the Munich Pact of 1938, the German Nazis established contact and assisted the IMRO substantially (Oren Ibid, p.145). Later on, there were further contacts between the BCP and IMRO.

    Objectively then, the IMRO were first agents of Italian ambition, and then of German fascist ambition.

    THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE
    The Democratic Alliance emerged from the Tsankov grouping that supported his premiership after Stamboliiski. It was an enlarged version of the People's Alliance - which carried out the coup against the Agrarian Union government of Alexander Stamboliiski.

    The Democratic Alliance contained the Military League; plus civilians like Aleksandur Tsankov who had welded together a rag bag of individuals : from the National Liberal Party under Boian Smilov, from the People's Progressive Party, the Democratic Party, the Radicals, and individuals like Dimo Kazasov from the Social Democrats, and Atanas Burov of the conservative Narodniatski Party (Narodniks).

    The Democratic Party split on the issue of whether to join the Alliance, and Aleksander Malinov, remained outside the Democratic Alliance. But led by Andrei Liapchev, the majority of members entered the Democratic Alliance.

    This Alliance objectively represented the interests of the petit-bourgeoisie, but more importantly - their masters the developing national capitalist class. It formed the government of Bulgaria from June 1923 to June 21 1931. The government was led by Prime Minister Tsankov until January 1926, when it was led by Prime Minister Liapchev.

    PEOPLE'S BLOC
    This was the 1931 electoral party formed by the Malinov Democrats, a wing of the Radical party (led by Kosturkov), a wing of the Liberal Party (led by G.Petrov) and the Agrarian Union section of Gichev known as Vrabcha I. It formed the government in 1931, by a large margin, though the elections themselves were interfered with by the government in power.

    Objectively, it represented the aspirations of the democratic bourgeoisie, those who were interested in the development of the national capitalist class.

    PEOPLE'S CONSTITUTIONAL BLOC (PCB).
    After the 1934 coup, all the parties were severely repressed. Under Tsar Boris' personal regime, established after Boris had managed to sidestep the generals, severe repressions continued. Democratic opposition forces (The Petorka), led by Dimitur Gichev, Pastukhov, Georgi Genov, Boian Smilov and Grigor Vasilev formed the People's Constitutional Bloc. They petitioned the Tsar Boris for return to constitutional law.

    Objectively, it represented the aspirations of the democratic bourgeoisie, those who were interested in the development of the national capitalist class.

    BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY (BCP)
    The Bulgarian Communist party was an offshoot of the Bulgarian Party of Russian Social Democrats founded in 1891; by Dimitur Blagoev.
    It was heavily influenced by Georgii V. Plekhanov.
    Blagoev soon joined forces with Yanko Sakhuzov, and Nikolai Gabrovski. They formed an open party in 1891. But repressions ensued, and Sakhuzov split off to form a Social Democratic Union. Both wings faced repression from Prime minister Stambolov's ruthless police, and they decided to re-unite, forming the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party in May 1893. As a charter they took Blagoev's adaptation of the Erfurt Programme. For a paper they had Gabrovski's Rabotnik (Worker), Sakhuzov's Den (Day), and Drugar (Comrade).

    But deep differences soon came to the fore. In the most they centred on the tactics towards bourgeois parliament; and the role of the peasantry. In Sakhuzov's and Gabrovski's view, both parliament and the peasant had to be viewed as arenas of legitimate work for the Marxists. But Blagoev disagreed. He thought parliament was corrupting; and moreover that work amongst the peasants was being purely "Socialist".

    The differences on the attitude towards the peasantry were critical in such a country as Bulgaria, and the two wings had very different lines towards the peasantry.

    Thus whereas Sakhuzov argued :

    Blaghoev on the contrary argued that : In 1903, these differences matured into a split. Two factions "Broad Socialists" and "Narrow Socialists" were formed. The names derives from their conceptions of work, the Narrows claiming to be "purely" worker orientated. Blagoev stated that the Sakuhoz led faction was "Broad and engaged in social collaboration".

    The Broads led by Sakhuzov, stated they also wished to work in other movements as well as the proletarian movement, saying Blagoev had: "Interpreted socialism narrowly".

    The Narrow Socialist faction was led by Dimitur Blagoev, and formed the nucleus of the later Communist party. It took part in the formation of the Third Communist International (CI) under the name of the Bulgarian Communist party (BCP). Numerically it was much smaller than the BANU, and numbered about 30,000. Georgi Dimitrov and Vasil Kolarov were prominent supporters of the Narrows.

    The immaturity, inexperience and tendency to sectarianism of the Narrows manifested tiself soon.  It was reflected by its poor handling of the peasantry, its extreme sectarianism was reflected in the Radomir Rebellion, and finally the September 1923 uprising.
    After the failed uprising, a turn to ultra-leftist individualist terrorism occurred with the 1925 attempted assassination of Czar Boris of Bulgaria in the Sofia Sveta Nedelia cathedral (see below).
    Following these debacles, Georgi Dimitrov left Bulgaria for exile. He firstly went to Moscow, and then entered into struggle for the control of the Bulgarian party. During this process, he was placed in Berlin to oversee the affairs of the Communist International.

    After the Comintern was formed in 1919, the Narrows voted unanimously to join. The name was changed to the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) 'narrow socialists', and the 22nd Narrows Congress became the First BCP congress. It endorsed the goal to be the "Dictatorship of the proletariat". But Blagoev had learnt from some of the prior errors, and also claimed that socialist revolution in Bulgaria depended:

    The Broad Socialist faction were led by Sakhuzov. He had already founded a journal called Obsshto delo (Common Cause), and aimed to expand the peasant support for socialism. But this party was heavily based on the revisionist ideas of Eduard Bernstein. They continued to approach the Narrows to unite. The Socialist International in 1910 heard an appeal from Sakhuzov to mediate, and sent Rakovski and Leon Trotsky. This attempt at mediation was unsuccessful. Within the Narrows, various calls for unity from small factions, led to these factions being expelled.
    The Broads later formally became known as the Social Democrats.

    Both parties grew slowly. The membership by 1910 of the Narrow was 2,126 (J.D.Bell Ibid, p.12). The Broads by 1911 numbered 3,000.

    The class position of the BCP is discussed after the following sections.



    8. WORLD WAR I AND POLITICAL EVENTS UP TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR

    i) Attitude to the First World War

    During the Balkan Wars, the Narrows had taken a strong anti-War position. But this had stopped short of a revolutionary solution to the Balkan Wars. But, there can be no doubt that the Narrows took in the main, a principled line in relation to the First World War. Blagoev analysed the war, as being caused by the "relations between the European powers created by the development of capitalism" (Bell, Ibid, p.18).

    Blagoev even publicly criticised Plekhanov, (until then his hero), for supporting the "patriotic" camp. But at the International Socialist Conference at Zimmwerwald (September 5-8th, 1915), the Narrows did not grasp Lenin's notion of creating a New International and converting the war into a revolutionary war.
    The Narrows voted for the Majority resolution calling simply for a condemnation of the war. In fact, the Narrows (delegate Vasil Kolarov) voted against Lenin's resolution at Zimmerwald in September 1915. But in the Bulgarian National Assembly, the Narrows were the only party to vote against the war budget.
    Nonetheless they did not call for a revolutionary solution to the inter-imperialist war.

    It was actually Stamboliskii, of the BANU, who called on the troops to dis-obey the mobilization order. In fact, throughout the war, the Narrows were tolerated as a marginal opposition, and even its organ Rabotnicheski vestnik was continuously, openly published, except occasionally at the front (Bell Ibid. p. 20).

    ii) The Radomir Rebellion

    After World War I, a Leftward drift of the people's of Bulgaria was reflected in the elections of 17 August 1919, when the BANU took 85 deputies, and 28% of the vote. This all led to the RADOMIR REBELLION of 15 September 1918.

    As the Allied Expeditionary Force on the Macedonian Front broke through the Bulgarian defence at Dobro Pol, there was disarray. Bulgarian troops rebelled and moved back to march on Sofia to punish those "responsible for the war". By 24 th September, they had reached Kiustendil, a critical rail center.

    At this stage Prime Minister Malinov released Stamboliiski from his sojourn in jail, and suggested a joint government of "national unity" until an armistice was signed. Stamboliiski refused. But instead, on the 25th September, Stamboliiski sought out Blagoev (BCP) and proposed an alliance to overthrow Ferdinand, saying :

    This was an offer that can be termed a Worker-Peasant Alliance.
    Yet, unfortunately Blagoev refused, citing "irreconcilable differences".
    Stamboliiski even offered to take up the whole of the Narrow Programme - except the stand on private property for peasants. Blagoev still refused.

    So Stamboliiski went by himself to meet the troops, and arrived at Radomir, where the head of the troops were and placed himself at the head, declared the monarchy overthrown and declared Bulgaria to be a Republic with himself as President. But as the armistice was signed rapidly after, on the 29th September, the troops laid down their arms and returned home. German and loyalist troops repulsed the remainder.

    iii) STAMBOLIISKI'S Coalition Governement And the Fascist Coup: The Ultra-Left BCP Watches On As Fascist Crush Agrarians.

    After the crushing of the Radomir Rebellion, Ferdinand was forced to abdicate by the Allies. He did so in favour of his son, Boris who became Tsar. Malinov continued as Prime Minister, enlarging the Cabinet to include some BANU and Broad Socialist elements. Through this period, the Narrows grew in size.

    At the first post war elections of 17th August 1919, the BANU was dominant with 85 (28% of the vote) deputies of 233 elected. The BCP gained 47 deputies (18 % of the vote), the Broad Socialists won 36 deputies (13% of the vote). The other parties winning seats were the Democrats (28 seats) Nationals (19 seats), and the Progressive Liberals (8 seats), Liberals (2 seats) and Radicals (8 seats).

    But the BCP refused to join a coalition government. That left the Broad Socialists who agreed, but demanded the ministries of the interior, war, commerce, rails, post and telegraph. Stamboliiski found these demands excessive, and turned to the National Party and the Progressive Liberal party to form a Government.

    Soon the BCP called a General Strike. But after the army was sent to the Piernik coal mines, which was a stronghold of the BCP, the strike collapsed. But Stamboliskii scheduled new elections. The BANU doubled its vote and could even form a one-party Agrarian cabinet.

    This promulgated wide reforms including: land reform with ceilings at 30 hectares of arable land per family; educational access; compulsory labour service instead of military service; renouncement of the erst while goal of a Strong Bulgaria.
    But the BCP was hostile and characterised the regime as:

    Unfortunately this ultra-left sectarian attitude presaged even worse problems. The reform plans of the Agrarians may not have inspired the BCP, but they had certainly antagonised the reactionary and conservative elements in Bulgaria. The National Progressive, Democratic and Radical Democratic parties formed the Constitutional Bloc which at elections, won a third of the vote.

    By the end of 1921, the fascist Naroden Sgvor had been formed under the leadership of Alexander Tsankov. Moreover the other Bulgarian conservative parties were regaining electoral strength. The Fascists had the support of the Tsar Boris, the Military League, the Naroden sgvor, and the IMRO. With The Constitutional Bloc, they organised a coup. At the beginning of August, Atanas Burov (Constitutional Bloc) announced that the Bloc would take to the streets to drive out :

    The BCP did, it is true, modify slightly its sectarian approach to the Agrarians. At a secret meeting, they pledged to support the Agrarians in the event of a coup. Unfortunately, as the BCP never made this public, this was a rather ineffective pledge. One moreover, that when the need arose was not even lived up to.

    At Turnovo, the Agrarians confronted the Constitutional Bloc mass meeting. The train carrying the members of the Constitutional Bloc was stopped by peasants, who arrested the Bloc.
    It was only belatedly that the BCP offered help. But even this willingness to help soon vanished. With the apparent victory at Turnovo, the old attitudes of the BCP re-surfaced in regards to the Agrarians. This can be seen from their statements. The BCP stated in council (January 21-22 1923), to discuss various recent Comintern resolutions:

    It is true that the Comintern did not address the issues of coalition with the Agrarian parties.
    But the Comintern's deliberations, did address the very policies that the BCP had deliberately set itself against.
    ie. Joint work with the poor and labouring peasants. The 4th Congress of the Comintern (the last attended by Lenin) had stated that the tactics of the United Front were to be applied to the peasantry. "The Comintern Agrarian Action Programme Theses" adopted by the November 1922 4th Comintern Congress, stated that: In a new election, the BANU was able to form a majority Assembly (212 deputies elected for the BANU out of 245 in total). The coup began on 9 June, 1923. Tsar Boris declared Tsankov as Prime Minister. Physical attacks intensified, and Agrarians were defending themselves. In this charged atmosphere, Stamboliiski asked the BCP for aid. The BCP's CC instead issued a proclamation that: The BCP had adopted the line that the coup was part of a war between two wings of the bourgeoisie. It therefore advised and took a "neutral line".
    The BCP had calmly watched, and worse had sabotaged active defence of the Agrarian masses. Remembering the words of the Comintern at the 4th Congress: The Comintern reacted adversely to the news of the coup.
    Zinoviev compared the situation to the Kornilov Affair where the Bolsheviks had supported Kerensky, and stated that support to Stamboliiski at that juncture would have been imperative. It should be remembered that at this stage Zinoviev led the Comitnern and as yet had not adopted a revisionist track.
    Karl Radek demanded that the BCP consider now an alliance with the BANU "from above"; and Kolarov (Member of the CC of the BCP) was sent back to Bulgaria to discuss these issues. Despite being caught at the border by the police, and his standing as "One of our best comrades in the ECCI", according to Zinoviev - (See Jane Degras : Ibid, Volume 2: p.27), he was freed.
    Bell comments : The ECCI, as yet not fully in revisionist control, clearly condemned the mistaken policy of the BCP.

    THE ECCI IN FACT CHANGED THE WORDING OF THE SLOGAN "WORKERS GOVERNMENT" TO "WORKERS AND PEASANTS GOVERNMENT".

    To explain the new slogan, it also carried a resolution explaining its meaning (See p.27 Degras J, Ibid, Vol 2.). In its ECCI Appeal To The Workers and Peasants of Bulgaria To Oppose The New Bulgarian Government (printed Inprekorr, iii, p.985, 5 July 1923), the ECCI pointedly stated :

    Nonetheless, the party CC met and still endorsed the neutrality policy by a vote of 42 to 2. Thereafter, even after still further criticism by the ECCI, the CC of the BCP on 10 July, still held to their line, saying that the ECCI did not have "full information" (See Degras, Ibid, Vol 2, commentary p.48). The CC of the BCP even disowned some of its local communists who had been arrested and tried by Tsankov for resisting; four of these were later sentenced to death.

    Upon Kolarov's release and arrival in Sofia, he managed to reverse the BCP-CC line after installing four new members.

    He then began to organise a counter-coup, approaching the Agrarian Union, the Broads and even members of IMRO. The Broads rejected this approach, a member of theirs - Dimo Kazasov having joined Tsankov's Cabinet. The IMRO fascists also rejected the offer. Only some Agrarians agreed. But Tsankov's police swooped on 12 September arresting most key players.

    In this precarious situation, it is extremely dubious that any call should now have been given, to rise. But a final decision was left to a committee, consisting of Kolarov, Dimitrov, Lukanov and Todor Petrov. They moved near the border, and against Lukanov's solitary vote, a decision to commence a rising was taken.
    But no preperations had been made.
    The 22-23 September was not surprisingly then, a fiasco.
    Many units did not rise, leaving isolated revolts to be bloodily suppressed by IMRO and government troops. As Bell, with some justice says:

    TO SUMMARISE: One final Ultra-Left posture was the bomb blast in 1925 in Sveta Nedelya Cathedral in Sofia, which aimed to kill Tsar Boris, but it failed in even doin this. However, teh blast did succeed in killing 128 people and wounding 300 people.
    Marxist-Leninists distinguish between solitary acts of individual terror, and mass movements that use revolutionary terror. The latter is necessary. The former is counter-productive and acts to isolate the perpetrators of the individual terror. Therefore Marxist-Leninists condemn individual terror. The Sveta Nedelya bombing was conducted without a mass base, and was an act of individual terror.

    Dimitrov claimed firstly that there was no BCP involvement in the decision to place the bomb in Sveta Nedelya; but he then accepted the bomb was the work of an ultra-left faction of the BCP. But, subsequently the testimony of Petur Semerjeev (Then on the Central Committee), given to Bell, states that Georgii Dimitrov himself gave the order for the blast (See Bell, Ibid, p.41).

    The next phase of much of the history of the BCP, is the story of the battles within various factions of the party to gain control of the BCP.

     
  • We can not enter this labyrinth of factional fights, for the purposes of space, in this article.



  • 9. DEBATES ABOUT BULGARIAN INDUSTRIALISATION IN THE BULGARIAN RULING CLASS - BEFORE THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

    German and French capital had effectively prevented the development of industrial capital in Bulgaria. They blocked the use of the former Oriental Railway Company, which had fallen to the Deutsche Bank, who prevented Bulgarian railways from establishing an independent route. But this was just a symptom of colonisation.

    For the Bulgarian merchants and capitalists who had designs on furthering themselves, capital investments proved difficult. The debate about how to finance the growth of Bulgarian industry centred on the inability of the native banks to fund them. Foreign capital deliberately kept Bulgarian under-financed. Most sections of the Subranie wanted industrial investment. Even the earlier opposition to industrialisation by the Agrarians had now become transformed into a desire for state ownership. This was articulated by Stamboliiski's statement in the Subranie (National Assembly) (Lampe Ibid, p.39).

    This is also why, later, the un-concealed capitalists would indeed join the battle for "building socialism" under the Fatherland Front.
    They knew the need for a state sponsored investment programme. That is why the speeches of Dimitrov accented the need for these capitalists to "ensure their future" by turning themselves into state functionaries (See below).
    There were other precedents in the Bulgarian State for a widespread policy of nationalisation.
    For example, there was the co-operative movement in agriculture organised very largely by state assistance; secondly there were the attempts to building up native industry behind protective barriers and state assistance; thirdly there was the state role in the banking system outlined below.

    During World War I, the State took control of much of the labour force, and the agricultural reserves. But trade agreements with militarist Germany obviously favoured the drain of Bulgaria's resources. By the end of the First World War, the people were penurious and starving. Now the Allied War Reparations were an additional problem. But by the late 1920's comprehensive, protective Tariffs had been put in place by Liapchev. This ensured some further development of industry. But this was destroyed by the new world wide depression (excluding the Soviet Union). The elections of 1931 brought down Liapchev's Democratic Concord. Now the National Bloc took over, but their goals were no different. The new prime Minister (Aleksandur Malinov, then Nikolai Mushanov); was supported by Dimitur Gichev of the Vrabcha I wing of the Agrarian party.

    But an increasing fascisisation led to the Zveno movement (founded in 1927), who aided by the Military League, staged a successful bloodless coup on 19 May 1934, seizing power. Their leader Kimon Georgiev became Prime Minister. They tried to continue "modernisation" (Lampe p.79). Over this period, private banking virtually collapsed, apart from the Banka Bulgarski Kredit. This latter bank, had been formed as a new state institution from 19 private banks by the Zveno regime. The collapse of most private banks left the state central bank (Bulgarska Narodna Banka) and the Bulgarian Agricultural Bank (BZB); along with the Banka Bulgarski Kredit (another state institution) in control. Simultaneously, European banking capital assets in Bulgaria fell drastically (Lampe Ibid, pp.90-93).

    By the beginning of the Second World War, import substitution had allowed a certain amount of growth for the Bulgarian industry. Real output increased by 52% between 1929 and 1938, at an annual rate of 4.8%. Contrasted to this was the European average of 1.1. But manufactured goods were still low in this output, as opposed to processed foodstuffs (Lampe Ibid, p.94). Actually, artisan based industry appeared to have done better than mechanised industry in firms of 10 or more employees. Over 1926-1938 the share of artisan production went from 5 to 9.3%; whereas the share of labour force in the mechanised industries went from 13 to only 14%.

    By 22 January, 1935, Tsar Boris and the military high command had carried out a counter-coup. Tsar Boris restored a limited and shame democracy. He established Subranie membership from "approved lists", and an election in 1938 was allowed without any party labels and thus participation. Now the economic objectives of the State, did indeed change. For Tsar Boris, now aimed to turn Bulgaria into a more compete dependency of German imperialism. Boris turned the state towards an alliance with Germany. The German share of all Bulgarian exports was now 36 % in 1931, but by 1939 was 88% (Lampe Ibid, p.89). Now Bulgaria entered the Second World War as an ally of the Germans, its ruling class having been bribed by Germany's invitation to occupy Macedonia and Thrace.

    IN INTERIM CONCLUSION :



    10. BCP ATTITUDE TO THE OTHER PARTIES PRIOR TO THE WAR

    Of course, after the rebukes recieved at the Comintern, the BCP tried to follow the Comintern closely.

    BUT AFTER 1928, THE COMINTERN HAD FALLEN FULLY INTO THE CONTROL OF HIDDEN REVISIONISTS LED BY KUUSINEN AND MANUILSKY.

    In the period before the 7th World Congress of the Comintern, for the BCP, this meant pursuing the line of "Class Against Class". This line was elaborated by the perversion of correct United Front tactics, by the revisionist 10th Plenum of ECCI, in July 1929. Here Otto Kuusinen had distorted Stalin's thesis on fascism. In September 1924, Stalin had said :

    But Kuusinen introduced the term 'social-fascist', standing for social democracy, and declared that : UPON THIS INCORRECT ASSUMPTION - THAT ALL SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS WERE IN REALITY FASCISTS- WAS DEVELOPED THE PSEUDO-LEFT STATEGY KNOWN AS "CLASS-AGAINST-CLASS" : The social democrats were represented now as the 'main bulwark of the capitalist class' and so as 'the main enemy' of the working class, against whom the main blow should be directed. At the 12th Plenum of the ECCI, in August/September 1932, Otto Kuusinen said: IT IS NOT SURPRISING THEN, THAT THE BULGARIAN BCP ALSO ADOPTED AN ULTRA-LEFT, OR PSEUDO-LEFT ATTITUDE : Indeed the Comintern statements on Bulgaria concurred stating that : This mitigated against the possibility of a United Front. In fact the calls for a United Front were specifically and only directed at a United Front from below, instead of a United Front from below and from above. The party was, in any case convinced that: This perpective made the percieved need for a United Front seem less acute. In fact, the missed opportunities were poignant. The political parties of the Agrarians, the Democratic Party and the Social Democrats (previously the Broad Socialists): This sectarian and pseudo-left line of the BCP, continued until December 1934. By this time, it was clear that the Right wing of the Military League and IMRO threatened the existence of the Georgiev government itself. This made the line of the BCP seem even more outlandish. Only by January 1935, did the BCP really seek a United Front. It now said : After the BCP failed to initiate a correct United Front earlier, when it did suddenly start to push for one, it met with much scepticism. Under these circumstances, an effective anti-fascist front was not possible, it had already been sabotaged.

    By the time that Tsar Boris felt himself able to take more overt control of the Government, in July 1934, the new cabinet under Kioseivanov felt secure enough to hold elections.

    The Petorka (quintet) of 5 party leaders Gichev (Agrarians), Hrustiu Pastukhov (Social democrats), Professor Genov (Radicals), Smilov (Liberals), and Grigor Vasilev (the left elements of the Democratic Alliance); established a "Popular Front" of their own. Even the more left wing of the Pladne Agrarians now withdrew from collaborations with the Communists.

    In fact the BCP itself, was forced by reality, to back the Petorka's 'Popular Front', which evolved into the People's Constitutional Bloc. This provided a forum for the BCP to work within, and was predominantly fighting for a return to full democracy.

    But the next set of elections were in 1938, where a Right perversion of correct United Front tactics were displayed by the BCP. Here the ECCI and the BCP Buro-in-exile (led by Dimitrov) instructed them to :

    BUT OF COURSE, THE COMMUNISTS DID HAVE ANOTHER CHOICE, AND THAT WAS TO MAINTAIN THEIR INDEPENDENCE OF CRITICISM AND IDENTITY.
    THIS IS HOW STALIN ADVISED COMMUNIST PARTIES TO BEHAVE IN A UNITED FRONT.


    11. THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FATHERLAND FRONT

    After fascist Germany had commenced World War II, Bulgaria declared war against Britain and the USA in December 1941. Bulgaria under the rule of Czar Boris, allowed the Germans to occupy her territory. But Bulgaria did not declare war on the USSR. This would have been very unpopular with the Bulgarian peoples. But, by allying with the German fascists, Bulgaria recovered territory that had been lost in the Balkan Wars and World War I. This bribe formed a major reason for Tsar Boris to ally with Germany. Bulgaria was invited by Germany to occupy, and thereby regain South Dobrudja from Rumania, and Macedonia from Yugoslavia, and parts of Thrace, from Greece.

    Even under the Popular Bloc Government of 1934, that took power in a coup, the BCP and its legal front - the Workers Party were banned. Anti-Communist repressions intensified very sharply, such that the International Red Aid estimated by 1937, that there were 1,500 political prisoners, mainly communists in jail (Orens, Ibid, p.103).

    The BCP had dwindled in the mean time.

    The party was still largely non-proletarian in composition. Industrial workers accounted for 10.2% of members in 1919, and 11% in 1935. Most party members were peasants (Orens, Ibid, p.109).

    Despite later claims of the BCP, most authorities accept that the Bulgarian resistance was relatively weaker and less effective than many of the surrounding Balkan areas such as Albania and Yugoslavia. Even though the BCP was committed to an anti-fascist war, this was NOT seriously implemented until after Stalingrad and the Soviet victory in 1942. The most effective Bulgarian Partisan Commando unit was led by Slavcho Trunski; and Dobri Terpeshev also played a prominent role. But it was only when the Soviet troops had entered Rumania and begun to approach the Bulgarian border, that there were militarily significant actions.

    But the BCP did try to set up an anti-fascist coalition. The Fatherland Front was meant to be a broad United Front against fascism. During the war years, a correct anti-fascist policy was undertaken, with the anti-war effort being characterised as a national struggle:

    As part of this policy the FATHERLAND FRONT PROGRAMME was broadcast on July 17th, 1942, from the Soviet based radio "Hristo Botev". This set out, that the urgent tasks were to prevent Bulgaria from being dragged into the Nazi war, to withdraw the Bulgarian troops, and to disband local fascist troops; and to disrupt the Nazi war machine heading to the USSR; and to tear up the Axis agreements of alliance with Nazi Germany and to substitute an alliance with the Soviet Union Great Britain and the USA and other peace loving nations.

    It then also stated that it would:

    ALL MARXIST-LENINIST WOULD AGREE THAT THIS POLICY OF NOT PLACING SOCIALISM AS A CENTRAL GOAL, AT THIS TIME WAS CORRECT.

    The principal other parties to whom the Fatherland Programme was directed at were :

    But these leaders were intransigent, and would not be drawn into support of the joint programme. However, sections of their parties, and yet other leaders and parties were willing : MARXIST-LENINISTS WOULD AGREE THAT IT WAS CORRECT THAT THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN NO PROGRAMME FOR SOCIALISM AT THE START OF THE FATHERLAND PROGRAMME IN 1942.

    BUT BY SEPTEMBER 9TH, 1944 THERE HAD BEEN A MAJOR CHANGE IN THE OBJECTIVE CIRCUMSTANCES, As DIMITROV HIMSELF NOTES:

    BUT, LET US LISTEN FURTHER TO DIMITROV: WHAT ELSE DOES DIMITROV SAY ?
    Well, first he does reassure the unconvinced, and perhaps nervous bourgeoisie that there is indeed, a peaceful road to socialism. Moreover, it may be many, many moons that are passed before socialism is here, because it is a "march", who knows "when and how" the people will reach the end of the "march"? In January 27th, 1947 (ie. A full two years after the end of the war), in a speech to the Association of Bulgarian Merchants, "Private Trade and Industry Stand In Need of Partial Reform" Dimitrov further reassured the good burgers of the association. He made it perfectly clear to the waverers of the bourgeoisie that the Bulgarian Communists were going to follow their own path, and that this was not the same as the Russian or the Albanian path. But this path would include nationalisation. But, this path of nationalisation, did not need to provoke too much anxiety in the hearts of the industrialists. In fact Dimitrov wanted to hear the advice of the Association of Bulgarian Merchants : Of course the general strategy being laid out was to reassure the merchants that in the new Bulgarian nation they could also find a comfortable niche.

    IN FACT, DIMITROV WAS VERY FRANK, GIVING THEM SEVERAL CLEAR DIRECTIONS AS TO HOW THEY MIGHT FIND THEIR PLACE AS TRUE "NATIONAL BULGARIANS" :

    A. THEY SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHICH SECTIONS OF PRIVATE TRADE TO FORGO:
    They were enjoined to discuss :

    B. THEY SHOULD RECOGNISE THAT THERE WOULD BE SURFACE CHANGES IN THE MAIN CONSISTING OF A STATE NATIONALISATION; BUT THIS WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED SLOWLY:

    For those sectors that would have to taken over, and indeed that would happen, but slowly:

    BUT THEY SHOULD BE CLEAR ALSO, THAT THE FACADE BEING IMPOSED, DEMANDED THERE BE A PRIORITY TO THE STATE SECTOR:
    There were clearly going to have to be changes: But, as shown above, the key sections of the bourgeoisie had long ago realised that they needed to capitalise the industrial base, using state resources. Therefore, of itself, this was not a stumbling block.

    C. THE BOURGEOISIE SHOULD TRANSFORM THEMSELVES INTO THE STATE BUREAUCRACY AND THEREFORE ENSURE A THEY HAD A "BETTER LIFE THAN THEY HAD BEFORE".

    Despite the inevitability of changes, they could re-paint themselves, from private capitalists into "state managers and directors" for a "much better off" future than before. It would be necessary for them to think out what to do:

    Indeed changes were needed to ensure that the "people in private trade" would not become "despondent": D. FINALLY THEY WERE ASSURED THAT ALL PRIVATE TRADE WAS NOT BEING ABOLISHED:

    So as to fully reassure even the mentally slowest of the capitalists - Dimitrov also stated:

    E. FURTHERMORE, DIMITROV DID NOT HAVE ANY THOUGHTS OF THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT : EVEN BY JUNE 1947, DIMITROV WAS STILL INSISTING THAT THE INDUSTRIALISTS AND MERCHANTS COULD WORK TOGETHER WITH THE WORKERS AND PEASANTS: BUT DIMITROV HAD NOT BARGAINED FOR STALIN'S INTERVENTION.


    12. STALIN ACCELERATES THE PACE OF SOCIALIST DEVELOPMENT IN BULGARIA

    There can be little doubt that the path being followed by Dimitrov was to delay and retard the development of both the class struggle, and the transition to the socialist stage of revolution.

    As the following facts show, Stalin had well understood this "delaying and stalling" of Dimitrov. Because facts show, that it was only the direct intervention of Stalin, and later the more indirect interventions of the Cominform, that accelerated Bulgarian development towards a Marxist-Leninist path.

    On 6 June 1946, Dimitrov, Kolarov and Kostov met with Stalin and Molotov in Moscow to discuss among other things:

    The return of the BCP CC was marked by a major change in the approach of the BCP. Now a more militant stand was taken. This path also had been adopted, by the Party of Labour of Albania. But the PLA had not required Stalin's prodding. The PLA had independently taken similar steps some two years earlier. These steps are described by Bell: The Cominform was founded in September 1947, at a meeting in Szlarska Poreba, in Poland. The Cominform had been formed by Stalin, primarily in order to fight resurgent revisionism, led by Tito of Yugoslavia, Palmiro Togliatti of Italy, Maurice Thorez and Jacques Duclos of France. (Talk to the Stalin Society By W.B.Bland; reprinted in Alliance M-L, North America, No.7, June 1994). After the CC of the BCP came back from Moscow, the changes instituted led to the disintegration of the other parties : Following the Founding Conference of the Cominform, the Bulgarians were again given specific instructions. During the briefing, held in Moscow, they were told that the Bulgarians had not moved towards the second stage of the revolution with any vigor, that they had in fact, not even "recognised the beginning of a socialist revolution": Only after this, was the former Turnovo Constitution, which had been adopted as the emblem of the bourgeois constitutional monarchy of Bulgaria, now changed. The model adopted instead, was the Soviet Stalin Constitution of 1936. This new form, was termed the Dimitrov Consitution. The framing of the Dimitrov Constitution, was assisted by the prescence of Soviet jurists (Bell, Ibid, p.97). However of course, the other parties and capitalists and merchants and bourgeois, had been alerted already by Dimitrov that serious changes were coming. Dimitrov made clear to them, that as a result, they should re-think their approach. They therefore circumvented the obstacles, by simply dissolving their parties and joining the BCP : This would obviously have two effects, one to dilute the worker and rural worker class conciousness inside the BCP; and secondly to provide shelter for the bourgeoisie.

    The initial nationalisation of German compradors, and of traitors decreed by the Peoples' Court had led to a sizeable increase of State property:

    There is little doubt that under Moscow's urging, the state sector expanded: Nonetheless, state industry was still not in a "commanding position.", in the words of Lenin. Moreover, disgruntled workers were leaving the state industries and going back to the land. The further Cominform decision to push even harder for nationalisation, was therefore not only an option bound to come because the Soviets were urging it; but it also aided the BCP, as it tended to relieve the labour problem: In accordance with the model of industrialisation followed by the Bolsheviks, whilst Stalin was alive, the BCP, followed an appropriate policy in relation to the development of heavy versus light industry: BUT FOLLOWING STALIN'S DEATH ALL THIS REVERSED. THUS IN JUNE 1958, THE BCP'S 7TH CONGRESS APPROVED THE THIRD 5 YEAR PLAN: Over the ensuing years, the disparity got worse, as the social imperialism of the Khruschev revisionists took more firm hold. This made the People's Democracies into the colonial base for the developing Russian new capitalist class. The following table shows the relative growth rates industry, agricuture and construction. As seen, following Stalin's death, the growth rates for industry fell:


    TABLE 3 ANNUAL GROWTH RATES BY SECTOR (in percent)



                                                   1949-1952     1953-1957      1958-60


    Net Growth                             8.4                 7.8                 11.6
    Industry                                 20.7                12.7                16.2
    Agriculture                             0.9                   4.9                 6.6
    Construction                         19.6                 7.1                 20.8


    (From Lampe Ibid, p.144).

    But even more revealing is the split between Heavy (Marx's Department A) and Light (Marx's Department B). This is an important consideration for the development of a country's industrial, and economic independence. As Stalin said:


    TABLE 4: BULGARIAN RESOURCES FOR HEAVY VERSUS SLIGHT INDUSTRY


    YEAR                         1951-60    (In %)         1960 (In New leva)

    National Income           100                                   4,457,000,000.

    Total Industry               300                                   4,838,1000,000

    Heavy Industry             420                                    2,416,500,000.

    Light Industry               220                                   2,421,600,000.



    (From Brown J.F. "Bulgaria Under Communist Rule" Ibid, p.147).


    As Table 4 shows, whilst in the earlier period, there was approximately a 2:1 ratio of resources invested, favouring heavy industry to light industry. However, in the later period there was approximately a 1:1 ratio, as expressed in the (admittedly different) units, of new leva.
    Consumer industry (or light industry) was preferentially treated following Stalin's death.
    This reversal of the correct Marxist-Leninist attitude to industry, was associated with the transformation of Bulgaria from a country developing towards socialism, into a country developing towards a neo-colonial dependency upon the now capitalist former Soviet Union.


    13. DJILAS AND DIMITROV VERSUS STALIN AND MOLOTOV - ON BALKAN FEDERATION

    The idea of Balkan Federation, in Bulgaria was not new, and had been supported by the Narrow party previously :

    In fact Blagoev had a historical explanation for the backwardness of Bulgaria, for which the remedy was Federation. It was this perspective, that blinkered the Narrows at the Zimmerwald Conference (See above), and prevented them from voting for Lenin's resolution on converting the inter-imperialist war into a revolutionary war: When Dimitrov went back to Bulgaria he embarked upon the resurection of this old idea. But with Tito in power in Yugoslavia, this would have meant something quite different, from a socialist Federation of Republics.
    Enver Hoxha has described how Stalin gave the fledgling socialist state of Albania the full support it needed to prevent Yugoslavia, in truth "swallowing Albania". (See Enver Hoxha "With Stalin"; Tirana; this is discussed also by Alliance 10/11, See H.Kirkland, "J.V.Stalin and Enver Hoxha".) It is quite in keeping with Hoxha's account then, that Stalin vehemently objected to a federation between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.

    THERE WERE TWO MAIN REASONS FOR STALIN'S OPPOSITION:

    1. Stalin recognised that the imperialist hold on the Balkans would be aided, if Yugoslavia was enabled to become even more dominant.

    2. There would be a further effect on all the People's Democracies, where the transition from the National Democratic Revolution (victory over fascism); to the socialist revolution might be even further delayed.

    Stalin demonstrated his opposition to the process rapidly.
    Firstly Pravda condemned the moves by Dimitrov in public.
    Secondly, Stalin and Molotov met the Yugoslavs and the Bulgarians in Moscow. Thirdly, the movement towards the full exposure of the Yugoslavs was accelerated under the Cominform (See Speech W.B.Bland to the Stalin Society, UK, : Reprinted Alliance 7).

    Before the final exposure of Yugoslav revisionism however, Stalin had already shown his tactics. This was to provoke the Yugoslavs, into showing their hand, by baiting a trap. Stalin displayed this tactic first, with Milovan Djilas when Stalin "suggested that the Yugoslavs "Swallow Albania".

    Milovan Djilas, was a member of the Politburo for the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) during the Second World War, and immediately after. His subsequent career descended into frank support for bourgeois democracy. He fell out with Tito on whether to maintain the facade of Yugoslav revisionism, or to drop the facade and openly become a bourgeois democratic state. The dictatorial aims of Tito were incompatible with Djilas' expressed views, and Djilas was expelled from the CPY.

    Earlier on however, Djilas was a trusted emissary of Tito's to Moscow, where he met Stalin several times. During these meetings, the topic of Dimitrov naturally cropped up. For this article, there are three main relevant meetings concerned. The first relevant meeting, took place on the eve of the Allied landing in Normandy. Djilas reports here, the stated views of Stalin upon the Comintern just prior to its dissolution :

    Obviously, the bulk of Djilas' memories of these meetings concern the period leading up to the Soviet Union exposure of Yugoslav revisionism. Post-war, Stalin and Molotov became increasing aware that the Yugoslavs were pursuing a treacherous route. They watched Yugoslavia bullying Albania. (See "Enver Hoxha and J.V.Stalin." in Alliance 10/11; plus The Formation of the Cominform" CL Compass, Number ; reprinted in Alliance Number 7). Stalin was convinced that the Yugoslavs had expansionist aims, by the time of the suicide of Nako Spiru, in December 1947.
    Spiru had been a Central Committee member of the Party of Labour (PLA) of Albania. Unfortunately, Spiru had once been a Yugoslav agent; but he regretted this serious treachery. In his remorse, Spiru committed suicide, when the Yugoslavs pressured him into further treason that involved the betrayal of Enver Hoxha, the General Secretary of the PLA.

    So convinced was Stalin, of the territorial ambitions of the Yugoslavs, that he tried to provoke the Yugoslavs into an overt demonstration of their underlying hidden designs. This is described by Djilas, when Stalin set a baited trap, in the famous incident when :

    Djilas himself admits: THAT DJILAS, HIMSELF A WILY MAN, HAD IN REALITY FULLY UNDERSTOOD THE REAL AIM OF STALIN'S PLAY ACTING THAT NIGHT, IS CONFIRMED WHEN HE RELATES HOW HE REFUSED TO SEND A REQUESTED DISPATCH: The third meeting of direct relevance to Dimitrov; was on February 8, 1948. This involved Dimitrov also in a meeting with Stalin. It was concerning the issues of the proposed BALKAN FEDERATION. Here Stalin and Molotov clearly demonstrated in a very heated meeting, their opposition to the plans of the Bulgarians and the Yugoslavs.

    As related above, Pravda had first blown the whistle:

    Obviously from what transpired, Pravda's critique had been prompted by Stalin himself: Dimitrov protested that it had not been the case that he was proposing a customs union; but that he had only spoken of federating in general terms, and not in specifics, especially with Rumania. This was bluntly criticised as untrue by Stalin and Molotov: But Dimitrov still continued to tried to maintain that the Treaty at Bled was: Dimitrov then tried another tack, arguing that: Again in response to Dimitrov's excuses, Stalin said: Then Kardelj (another prominent member of the CC of the CPY, also present at this meeting) stated that the Yugoslavs always consulted with the Soviets on foreign policy. In reply, Molotov : STALIN NOW AGAIN BAITED A TRAP.
    HE SUGGESTED SEVERAL TIMES THAT YUGOSLAVIA AND BULGARIA SHOULD FEDERATE, AND THEN JOIN WITH ALBANIA: The next day: AS DJILAS HIMSELF RUEFULLY NOTES, STALIN'S PROPOSAL WAS INDEED A TRAP: BOTH JUST BEFORE, AND AFTER THE OPEN SPLIT BETWEEN THE SOVIET UNION AND THE YUGOSLAVS, DIMITROV CONTINUED TO HAVE SUPPORT YUGOSLAVIA SURREPTIOUSLY ACCORDING TO DJILAS: WE SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT IT HAD BEEN DIMITROV WHO HAD BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN OBTAINING TITO'S APPOINTMENT AS SECRETARY OF THE YUGOSLAV PARTY:

    14. CONCLUSIONS : WE SUGGEST THAT MARXIST-LENINISTS MUST NOW TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT GEORGII DIMITROV WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SERIOUS ERRORS IN THE MOVEMENT;
    BOTH INTERNATIONALLY, BUT ALSO IN BULGARIA.


    15. BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR THIS ARTICLE

    Bland, William B :The Restoration of Capitalism In the USSR. Wembley, London, 1980. ISBN: 0 86237 000 0) 1944." London, 1971.

    Bell J.D., "The Bulgarian Communist Party From Blagoev to Zhivkov", Stanford, 1986.

    Brown, J.F., "Bulgaria Under Communist Rule", New York, 1970.

    Fernando Claudin : "The Communist Movement. From Comintern to Cominform". Harmondsworth, UK, 1975.

    Dimitrov Georgii, "Selected Works", Sofia Press, Sofia nd, Volumes 2 and 3.

    Djilas, Milovan : "Conversations With Stalin," New York, 1962.

    Djilas, Milovan : "Rise and Fall", New York, 1985.

    Degras Jane : "The Communist International. 1919-1943", London, 1971, Volume One, and Volume 2.

    'International Press Correspondence'. Various issues.

    Degras Jane : 'United Front Tactics In the Comintern', in David Footman (ED): "International Communism", London, 1960.

    Kuusinen Otto, "The International Situation and the Tasks of the Sections of the Comintern", in '12th Plenum of the ECCI', London, 1932.

    Lampe, John R : "The Bulgarian Economy In the Twentieth Century", New York, 1986.

    Oren, Nissan, "Bulgarian Communism. The Road To Power. 1934- 1944", New York, 1971.

    Stalin J.V.S. 28 May, 1928. "Speech to the Institute of Red Professors, On the Grain Front", 'Works', Volume 11, Moscow 1954.

    Stalin J.V.S. War Speeches, Orders of the day and answers to Press Correspondents During the Great Patriotic War: July 3rd, 1941-Jun 22, 1945', London, 1956.



    16. OTHER RELEVANT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE MARXIST LENINIST ORGANISATION OF BRITAIN; OF COMPASS (COMMUNIST LEAGUE) AND ALLIANCE (MARXIST-LENINIST) (NORTH AMERICA).

    1. MARXIST LENINIST ORGANISATION OF BRITAIN
    Report of the CC of the Marxist Leninist Organisation of Britain: Origins of Modern Revisionism. Revisionist betrayal at the 7th World congress of the Comintern. 1971.

    2. COMPASS (COMMUNIST LEAGUE) ISSUES :
    January 1977. Revisionism In Germany. Part 1: to 1922.
    April 1977, M.N.Roy and the colonial Question Part 1.
    December 1977 M.N.Roy and the Colonial Question, Part 2.
    February 1994. No. 110 The assassination of Trotsky.
    February 1994. No. 111 United Front Tactics.
    March 1994. No. 112 Georgii Dimitrov, Tool of imperialism
    April 1994. No. 112 The "popular Front" in France.

    3. ALLIANCE (MARXIST-LENINIST) ISSUES:

    Summer 1993. No 4. Contains : "Origins of Modern Revisionism", reprint of the article by the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain, listed above.

    October 1993. No 5 : The role of the Bourgeoisie In Colonial Type Countries. What Is the Class Character Of The Indian State? Part One : Changing the Line, Revisionists Distort Lenin and Stalin.

    December 1993, No.6. Contains : Stalin - The myth and the Reality. Reprint of Communist League article.



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