Fraud in Belgrade

In a century of socialist failure, Yugoslavia has shown remarkable staying power as a model of "socialism with a human face," an "independent" Communist country that actually works. But is it independent, and does it work?

Last year, 14 émigrés and dissidents from Yugoslavia got together to discuss the state of their native land. Yugoslavia: The Failure of "Democratic Communism" is essentially a transcript of that meeting, organized by the New York-based Freedom House.

The group included, among others, Mihajlo Mihajlov, Vladimir Mijanovic, Momcilo Selic, Mathew Mestrovic, and Rusko Matulic of the Committee to Aid Democratic Dissidents in Yugoslavia. Many of those present had been jailed for their writings or dissident activities, and one, Sami Repishti, has seen the inside of slammers in Yugoslavia and Albania. One can understand why they landed in such places.

As with most dissidents from socialist regions, their minds are largely untainted by Marxist superstition. Indeed, the only places one finds enthusiasm for Marxism would be Western university faculties, or the old-line Protestant denominations, a kind of First Church of Christ, Socialist, where liberal clergy stumble on this decrepit ideology with all the joy of Archimedes. But as far as these products of the system are concerned, Marxism is dead. These are people who see clearly and talk plainly; they...

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