Thursday, 17 July 2014

Thoughts on the 25th 'deathday' of Janos Kadar

25 years ago, on 6 July 1989, the death of Janos Kadar, the only (somewhat) admirable Eastern Bloc communist leader, occurred. Realistically I should have posted this 11 days earlier, but I have been preoccupied with other matters.

Despite the fact he was still a (somewhat) authoritarian communist, he was more moderate than other Eastern Bloc leaders, and in particular his point of 'he (or she, actually) who is not against us is with us.' rings true today for me. Sadly, this important quote has not been taken on board by left-wing groups in Europe properly, largely because he is little-remembered today, even though the case for united left alliances in Europe and elswhere, especially in Britain where the left has remained badly divided and fragmented over the last few decades, is stronger than ever. Unity of socialist organisations has proven to be very successful in European nations, most recently in Slovenia, and has worked well in Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, and Ireland (which was also traditionally weak for left-wing parties before the Great Recession started) over the last few years.

Even though Janos was the least bad of the Eastern bloc communist leaders, Hungary today has not only taken a decidely right-wing, somewhat Putinesque turn but also lacks a notable left-wing opposition (the Hungarian Workers' Party has low levels of support),in contrast to nations like the Czech Republic and the eastern provinces of Germany that once made up East Germany* where a reasonably useful left-wing alternative exists (* Die Linke is stronger in the eastern German states than in the western German states).

I believe now more than ever that across Europe, Greens and democratic socialists should take up the 'he (or she) who is not against us is with us' quote that Janos once spoke of and unite to encourage people to vote out the forces of neoliberal capitalism in future elections, and create a brighter, green, socialist future within Europe that has respect for people and planet, not money and corporations.



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