Politics and Symbols. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia and a Multi-Ethnic Community. The Example of Subotica (Voivodina)
The article discusses the post-war political praxis of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia vis a vis nations living in this multiethnic state. Subotica was chosen as an example of a local community which, due to the transformations which took place in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, became divided into conflict-ridden ethnic communities. The latter competed for power, a process which left its imprint upon the public life of the city. The author presented two stages in the policy pursued by the Yugoslav communists in relation to Subotica and its population. During the first stage, the only legitimate citizens of the town appeared to be the Serbs (Serbs and Croats), and assorted steps were made for the exclusion of the Germans and Hungarians from the political community. During the second phase, the communists aimed at equal representation. This 'national key' policy, rather untypical for a people's democracy, was supposed to provide everyone with a feeling of being represented in the new reality, and to increase support for the undertakings of the advocates of the post-war order. Important contexts for the national policy of the Communist Party included a changeable attitude towards assorted creeds, and especially the dominant Catholic Church, various attempts at a total and direct subjugation to the Party of all cultural associations and the administration, and the impact of the national policy upon the symbolic of various national groups in the public life of Subotica.
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