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New Class:Analysis Of Communist System: An Analysis Of The Communist System (Harvest/HBJ Book) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest/HBJ Book
  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (December 30, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015665489X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156654890
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Milovan Djilas (1911-1995), dissident Yugoslav Communist leader and writer, born in Polja, Montenegro. He studied law at the University of Belgrade, where he embraced Marxism, and was subsequently imprisoned for political activities. He became a good friend of Tito and by 1940 was a member of the Politburo of the Yugoslav Communist Party. Fighting with Tito's partisans during World War II, he held numerous high posts in the postwar government and was a leading supporter of Tito's break with the USSR in 1948. By 1953 he was vice president under Tito and widely believed to be his chosen successor. Djilas's criticism of Communist rule, however, led to his loss of all positions and his expulsion from the party in 1954. He was imprisoned in 1956. Upon publication in the West of his The New Class (1957), an exposé of the Communist hierarchy, his sentence was extended. His Conversations with Stalin (1962) cost him another four years in jail. Finally released in 1966, he continued to write and publish. Among his other books are Land Without Justice (1958), and Rise and Fall (1983; trans. 1985), an account of his own government career. The New Class was published in Yugoslavia in 1990.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on July 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Djilas' book written in the nineteen fifties was a real bombshell for the top of the CP's and in leftist circles in Europe. It exposed the communist countries as regimes ruled by a very small oligarchy of high level party members (sometimes by only one person, the party secretary). They were totalitarian dictatorial States.

One bitter joke went around that the world's history could be summarized by three 'at' stages; matriarchat, patriarchat and secretariat.

This small oligarchy built around itself a heavy State bureaucracy (later named the Nomenklatura), through which it controlled the whole country, politically through the one party system, economically through State monopolies and ideologically through an absolute control of the media.

In fact, the masses were exploited with an iron fist.The Nomenklatura disposed of all the wealth. Everybody else had a job but lived in poverty.

Djilas' book gives a cynical picture of the functioning of a totalitarian State with its corruption, its enormous differences in living standards and its complete resistance to change.

For Djilas, communist regimes were slumbering civil wars between the government and the population. The government could only keep control by using physical (knocking down insurrections, incarceration and show trials) and ideological (censure) violence.

Djilas also analyzes the role of Lenin and Stalin in the creation of this State bureaucracy.

The Hungarian Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz defined the difference between fascism and communism as follows: fascism was a reality, communism a utopia, but both were characterized by the ruling of one party which wielded uncontrolled and unlimited power. Both were a disaster for the population.

Djilas' book is the 'classic' about totalitarian bureaucracies. A must read, not only for historians.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
Djilas explains from firsthand experience how the CP went from being a revolutionary vanguard to the new ownership class in the societies that they created. They didn't own the factories, mines, and fields by law, but they became the defacto owners (i.e., enjoying the benefits of having control) of these productive assets. Perhaps the CP bigshots and their bureaucracy didn't own title to these assets but they certainly acted and benefited from being in control of them all the same. And given human nature, perhaps this is inevitable too. That was Djilas' point.

Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot just to name a few, all tried to prevent this but were unable to halt the evolution of the CP and it's bureaucracy into acting as a new ownership class. Look at the nominally Communist states that still exist: The so-called "People's Republic of China" is really a State-Capitalist enterprise; Orwell's Animal Farm as state policy. And Cuba and North Korea are simply monarchies under a nominally communist party. Witness the way Castro turned the State over to his brother Raul, and Kim Il-Sung turned control of N Korea to his son Kim Jong-Il.

And for all his prescience Djilas spent years in Yugoslavian labor camps too. This critique is far more effective at exposing the fallacies and failures of Marxism-Leninism in practice than all the screeds written by the Cold Warriors back in the day.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By rjones2818 on October 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Djilas was on of the top brass in Tito's Yugoslavia in the 50's and then he published this book, which was meant as a critique of where the Yougoslav Communist Party, and others, were going. The great thing about the books is that you can apply it to any particular power group and understand what is going on with them (I think it applies quite well to the corporate state as well as to the communist one). Quite an excellent read!

Highest reccomendation!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Wayne Heckert on November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written by one of Tito's chief leaders who was with Tito from the days of WWII when their Partisans won out over other factions as a result of a civil war fought concurrently with WWII. After the war he helped build the Communist system, of which he was an adherent. Follow the man into disillusionment as he watches a new class of oppressor muddle his idealism; then he ultimately abandons the core principles of communism. As valuable and as useful today as the day it was written.
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Communism was sold as a means eliminating all class distinctions in society. Djilas, a true believer, got a chance to see the system put into practice in both the Soviet Union and his own Yugoslavia. When he noticed the emergence of a new aristocracy of the Party, and had the nerve to mention it, he became an outcast and was lucky to escape with his life.
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