File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1996/96-11-13.154, message 50


Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 23:35:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: M-I: Re: Hungary: Re-paving the Path to Power



Roxanne asks:

>...Why was the ruling Hungarian *apparat*,  apparently >so monolithic and
menacing,  blown >away like the clock off a dandelion?


By the time that the wind of change began whistling through the
superstructure run by the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party,  there was no
resistance and no believers left.    The party elite struggled insipidly
over who should manage the surrender and over whether they could rescue
anything from the ruins.   By midsummer 1989, not a single assumption which
had guided Hungary's post-war regimes held any sway at all.

In my opinion,  two decisions at the end of 1988 made change irreversible.
That autumn,  the party accepted the principle of private property and a
plural party system.    By this time,  the *nomenklatura* was so hard to
distinguish from the opposition that the agenda for revolution was written
at the top.    Once the party surrendered, nothing remained,  and the
superstructure of government quietly subsided.    Agnes Horvath and Arpad
Szakolczai write: "The party apparatus eliminated itself with a shy,
sorrowful,  contorted smile,  colored with a feeling of shame" (*The
Dissolution of Communist Power: The case of Hungary* [London,  1993:
Routledge]).

Louis Godena

see also: Nigel Swain's thoughtful *Hungary: The rise and fall of feasible
socialism* (London,  1993: Verso).    The beginnings of the rebound of the
reinvented communist party (Hungarian Socialist Party) are amply chronicled
in Bozoki,  Korosenyi,  and Schopflin,  (editors) *Post Communist
Transition: Emerging pluralism in Hungary* (London,  1994: Pinter).



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