Laqueur, Walter Z.
April 1962
Foreign Affairs;Apr62, Vol. 40 Issue 3, p360
Academic Journal
This article focuses on communism. Polycentrism, a term apparently first used by Palmiero Togliatti in June 1956, is not yet in the dictionaries, but it has become a most important fact in world politics. In 1948, when Yugoslavian Prime Minister Marshal Tito broke with Joseph Stalin, it was no more than a small cloud on the horizon; in 1956, after the Polish "October" and the Hungarian revolution, it had become a full-size specter in Communist demonology. Five more years sufficed to turn what was, at least outwardly, a united Communist camp into a battlefield for ideological supremacy and political leadership between two major and several minor centers. It even is no longer certain whether this struggle will not break the existing polycentric framework and move on to a lasting, irreparable rupture. Even if the Sino-Soviet conflict were somehow to be resolved, world Communism will never be the same again, for meanwhile other Communist parties in both Eastern and Western Europe have staked out their claims to independence and self-determination, and the national Communists in Asia and Africa have gone even further. Communist ideologists had spent much time developing their theories about the emergence of Communism as a world system, a social, political and economic community of free and sovereign peoples united by close bonds of international proletarian solidarity, by common interests and objectives.


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