New class (20TH CENTURY)

Theory of elites in state socialist (communist) societies of the Yugoslav writer MILOVAN DJILAS (1911-1995).

Within state socialist societies a ‘new class’ of party officials – who exercise a command over resources similar to that exercised by capitalists – has arisen to frustrate the egalitarian intentions of the regimes’ founders.

Milovan Djilas, The New Class (London, 1957)

The term new class is used as a polemic term by critics of countries that followed the Soviet type of Communism to describe the privileged ruling class of bureaucrats and Communist Party functionaries which arose in these states. Generally, the group known in the Soviet Union as the nomenklatura conforms to the theory of the new class. The term was earlier applied to other emerging strata of the society.

Milovan Đilas’ “New Class” theory was also used extensively by anti-Communist commentators in the West in their criticism of the Communist states during the Cold War.

The term “red bourgeoisie” is a pejorative synonym for the term new class, crafted by leftist critics and movements (like the 1968 student demonstrations in Belgrade).

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