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New Left Review I/86, July-August 1974


Pekka Haapakoski

Brezhnevism in Finland

Finland today presents the unique spectacle within the advanced capitalist world of a mass Communist Party that is now vertically divided into two hostile blocs on a semi-permanent basis. For over six years, Finnish Communism has lived amidst institutionalized schism, but has not yet formally split—unlike Greek or Spanish Communism. At the same time, Finland has witnessed the bizarre paradox of a youth radicalization that since 1968 has taken the form of a virulent Brezhnevism—something unknown beyond the shores of the Baltic. The lessons of this experience for an international typology of the decomposition of latter-day Communism are important for socialists everywhere; while for Finnish Marxists, an uncompromising historical balance-sheet of the whole record of the major party of the national working class is a precondition of any revolutionary advance at home. This article will be somewhat more limited in scope, devoted mainly to analysing the peculiarities and deformities of the Janus-phenomenon of the dual Communism that has developed in the last decade. Some recapitulation of the principal phases of the prior experience of the Finnish Communist Party is, however, a necessary prelude to a discussion of the present situation.

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