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Crackdown in Yugoslavia

To the Editors:

Your readers may be interested to know of the difficult situation of philosophers and sociologists in Yugoslavia today, particularly those associated with the international journal Praxis and the Korchula Summer School. Since the occupation of the universities by Yugoslav students in 1968. Tito has been calling for the dismissal of eight professors as critics of the government and corrupters of youth. So far the universities, relying on twenty years’ experience of self-management, have turned a deaf ear to these political attacks. However, since last October Tito and the party regulars (using the momentum gained in the forcible crackdown on Croatian nationalists last year) have been bringing much heavier pressure to bear on the universities, including the open request that professors must possess “not only scholarly and pedagogical qualities but moral and political qualities as well.”

At its business meeting of December 29, 1972, in Boston, the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association voted to send the following open letter to Marshal Tito:

We have been following with great interest the building and democratic development of an equitable and free society in Yugoslavia during the last two decades. We are, therefore, alarmed and depressed by repeated reports recently appearing both in the Yugoslav press and other journals. It is reported that some Yugoslav publications are being suppressed, passports of Yugoslav citizens confiscated, and Yugoslav intellectuals put on trial, for the expression of their views. We are especially concerned by the report of a decision taken in local political organizations in your country to remove from their teaching positions eight professors—some of whom are internationally known—as well as editors of philosophical journals and their associates, on the grounds that their published views are allegedly incompatible with those of the Yugoslav League of Communists. We are writing to express our deep concern over such reports of violations of Academic Freedom.

We address you as an association of philosophers who are united in our profound hope that the present political changes will not lead to a deterioration of the conditions for scientific and cultural activities in Yugoslavia.”

Individuals or groups who are concerned about the cause of intellectual freedom in Yugoslavia are urged to write to Marshal Tito, President of the Federal Socialist Republics of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, with copies to the Presidium of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and to the Ambassador of Yugoslavia, 2410 California Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008.

Charles H. Kahn

University of Pennsylvania

Robert S. Cohen

Boston University

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