ORJUNA and Proletarian Action Units on the way to Trbovlje Cover Image

ORJUNA in PAČ na poti v Trbovlje
ORJUNA and Proletarian Action Units on the way to Trbovlje

on the history of physical violence in the context of political struggle

Author(s): Marko Zajc
Subject(s): Interwar Period (1920 - 1939)
Published by: Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino
Keywords: Slovenia;Yugoslavia 1918-1941; politics;physical violence;nationalism;ORJUNA; Proletarian Action Units (PAU);political struggle;

Summary/Abstract: The primary purpose of the article is to bring the attention to the dual nature of physical violence in the political struggle: it has general as well as particular characteristics. Physical violence always causes material damage and casualties, and it always results in irreversible damage: the consequences of physical violence can never be completely eliminated. On the other hand physical violence always takes place in historical contexts: it has its causes and effects, perpetrators and structure. The author analyses the ambivalence of the physical violence taking place during the political conflict between the Organisation of Yugoslav Nationalists (hereinafter Orjuna) with the communists in the 1920s. What is the difference between the discourses of violence in Orjuna and the Glas svobode publications? Both newspapers justified the violence of their adherents for defence purposes. Although both the supporters of Orjuna as well as communists argued in favour of violence for defensive purposes, they interpreted the concept of defence differently. Orjuna was an organisation for the »defence« of the Yugoslav nation. They used the concept of defence very broadly, as their »enemies« threatened the Yugoslav nation by their very existence. True defence may also involve offence. However, the discourse of violence in the communist newsletter had a completely different character. There the concept of »defence« was interpreted concretely, as defence from the »capitalist hordes« which kept attacking the workers and their organisations there and then. For the communists physical violence merely represented one of the methods of the proletarian struggle that had to be resorted to in accordance with the »true« interests of the working class. The paradoxical difference between the general characteristics of violence (violence is always the same: it brings destruction) and particular characteristics of violence (violence is always different) is »hidden« in every individual violent act (or events). The general and particular characteristics of violent acts cannot be separated.

  • Issue Year: 54/2014
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 101-123
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: Slovenian