|Prof. Denitch offers a study of the process by which the comunist takeover and regime managed to establish a legitimate position before Yugoslav society from 1941 onwards through the promotion, with its twists and turns, of an official multinationalism, ultimately legally justified in 1974 Constitution. He points to three specific periods of legitimizing the revolution: the stage of consolidation of power (the liberation and the civil wars); the struggle for national independence and for a distinct socialist identity within the communist champ; and the development of a social and political system based on the institution of workers’ self-management. As a result of this development, the workers’ self management became not only a means of economic organization, but the very social fabric of Yugoslavia, for it was the fundamental feature of the political culture characterizing the Yugoslav alternative to the Soviet model. Consequently, the author states that the regime was partially legitimate toward a highly compliant seldomly coerced society, in which it found most support among the working class and the technical intelligentsia as the “peasantry was hardly outside the political system”.
Prof. Denitch considers that Yugoslavia represented a “transitional system” halfway between a “politically controlled” and a “free” society. When making estimations for the future, he emphasizes the necessity of keeping the balance between legitimate national interests both at the federal and republican level. He thus anticipates the conflict for legitimization of interest and prerogatives within Yugoslavia, which took place in the 1980s and which unraveled the socialist system and led to the wars of secession. Of additional interest is the fact that Denitich’s predictions at the time were optimistic. Thus, for comparative purposes, it is important to retrospectively evaluate his rationale for successful legitimation of state socialism in order to understand what elements came into play in order to provoke loss of support and recognition form the Yugoslav society. The manner of re-institutionalizing the revolution through the actions of a new wave of political elites (1971-978) opened ambivalent possibilities of identitarian discourse, beyond the systemic ethos of self-management and multinationalism.