Research on Marxist centers in Yugoslavia

If you have been following this blog, you surely know about the Marxist research centers in Yugoslavia. Now I wanted to see if I could extend the research to the rest of Yugoslavia, as time and resources allow. And for that I would need help. Since there are admittedly no institutions that have an interest in preserving the legacy of Marxist research centers, I decided to experiment and do something for the first time – crowdfunding for a research – so, let’s see where that leads, if anywhere! The description is below:

Socialist Yugoslavia had a network of Marxist Centers that have not been researched or reported on to date. But the “Centers for Marxist Education and Ideo-Political Training” – as they were called – were far more than ideological institutions. On the contrary, this decentralised network was responsible for ensuring that people received the training necessary to become full participants in the system of self-management. With roots in the Tito-Stalin split of 1948, they trained over 45,000 students, workers and party cadres a year in the province of Vojvodina alone, but could be found all over Yugoslavia. Suddenly, they were closed overnight with the rise of Milošević in Serbia and subsequently shared a similar fate in other former Yugoslav republics. Most of their former staff are now 80 and 90 years old and forgotten, while some (like Slavoj Žižek, whose work at the Marxist Center in Ljubljana began after his doctorate and is a part of his biography which remains to be written) have become world-famous thinkers themselves. Yet, nowhere was anything written down about them – the fact that they are still unjustly stigmatised for working at Marxist institutions is one among the many malevolent consequences of the restoration of capitalism in former Yugoslav republics.

To counter that, I want to revive that legacy by writing their proper history. And for that, these years are crucial. Firstly, since their former collaborators will not be with us forever, research needs to be done at this particular moment; otherwise no-one will be left to tell the story, so to speak. Secondarily, because of the coronavirus pandemic, crossing borders and gaining access to archives in other former Yugoslav republics has become increasingly difficult. Thirdly, there is no official financial support that would have an interest in funding a study of Marxist institutions in former Yugoslavia and the tasks are many – the digitization of archival material, trips to former socialist states and countless interviews with their seniors. As I lack the means to finance everything myself, it will not be possible to achieve the goal of this research without external financial help.

So far I’ve been looking at archives in Novi Sad, the center of Vojvodina province, where Marxist centers focused on mass education for mostly rank-and-file agricultural, steel, and chemical workers. But if I have the opportunity to get the right support, I can extend my existing research to the whole of the former Yugoslavia, as planned. 

In concrete detail, I plan to go to Slovenia to visit the State and City Archives in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and in Priština (Kosovo). For the second party of my study I would visit Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Zagreb (Croatia) and Skopje (Macedonia), to name only the most important ones. Depending on how the support turns out, I will produce books and articles and digitize materials from both state and personal archives that will be available to other researchers in the future. I have also activated the Data Center at the Institute of Economic Sciences where I currently work, to digitize the material (regardless of whether it is scanned or recorded in terms of video or audio) and make it available for researchers in the future for free.

Since no international crowdfunfing websites operate in Serbia (except for Patreon), I have decided to ask for help in this manner. In return for the support, you would be the first to receive reports on unpublished material from the archives and have the opportunity to participate in Q&A Zoom sessions that I will organize, giving you the opportunity to personally influence the direction of the research.

You could either support me through Patreon here.

Or, for those of you who want to make a one-time contribution without further obligations, my Paypal is

My personal account is:

  1. Domestic (Serbian dinars) account: 3229163298
  2. Foreign currency account: 7647298055. For international installments, my SWIFT CODE: GIBARS22. My IBAN: RS35340000003224418252. ERSTE BANK A.D. NOVI SAD

Yours kindly,

Aleksandar Matković

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