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Aporias and Contradictions of the (Post-)Yugoslav Left: Orthodoxy in a Praxis Way

Milivoj Bešlin (University of Belgrade), Gazela Pudar Draško (University of Belgrade), and Balša Delibašić (University of Belgrade)

Kontradikce. Časopis pro kritické myšlení V, č. 2 (2021): 107–120

Keywords: Socialist Yugoslavia, Praxis, dissidents, Mihailo Marković, Miladin Životić, 1968 student demonstrations

We address the specific, leftist dissent in socialist Yugoslavia that was centred around the Praxis intellectual school. Our aim is to show the divergent paths that strongly marked the legacy of the group’s Serbian wing. Tracing the intellectual engagement of two prominent figures that ended on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum – Mihailo Marković and Miladin Životić – we want to show that the inception of Yugoslavia’s bloody dissolution can be traced back to the very core of what could be called orthodox left dissent. We analyse the “truly leftist” politics of Mihailo Marković during the 1968 protests, which devolved into support for the police and apologia for war and nationalism in the 1990s. We compare his central intellectual role in instituting a nationalist brand of socialism in Serbia to the public engagement of Miladin Životić, whose marginalization stands as reminder of those who dared to oppose the dominant nationalist narratives and offered a vision of life together.

doi: 10.46957/con.2021.2.6

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