Tuesday, June 20, 2006

50th Anniversary Hungarian Workers Revolt

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956


2006 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising and Revolution of 1956. Following the savage repression of a demonstration on October 23 a general strike was declared, and directly democratic workers' councils sprung up across the country. In cities the workers armed themselves and fraternised with the troops, and managed to hold off Russian forces which invaded, but eventually the resistance was crushed by Soviet tanks.

It is not out of love for nostalgia that we are commemorating the uprising: Hungary '56 was a prime example of the working class itself reaching for power. Doubly significant, it took place in one of the mythical 'workers' states', where the Communist government claimed to represent the workers.

It showed for many, throughout the world, a new alternative to capitalism and Soviet "Communism" - read "state capitalism" - and it galvanised movements towards genuine revolutionary politics.

Below we reproduce the start of our history of the 1956 Revolution, and to the right are a selection of links to Hungary 56-related content on libcom.org.

The Hungarian revolt was preceded in 1953 by a General Strike and revolt in Eastern Germany. Like later revolts during the 1989 fall of the Soviet Union the first thing to be attacked in the Hungarian Revolution of 56 was the statue of Stalin in the main square.

And like other failed Eastern European revolts through out the sixties, seventies and eighties, the only successful one being the mass workers revolt in Poland that later became a CIA Vatican success. It was because all previous America Cold War propaganda campigns via the CIA and Radio Free America failed the revolts they encouraged, after publicly promising them arms and support.

Shades of Iraq. 1991 Kurdish Shia revolts promoted by Bush and Co. and then get slaughtered when no U.S. or allied support appears. Statue of Saddam is torn down in staged photo TV op by US tanks. Tanks roll into Baghdad and inssurection breaks out.

Now shades of Iran. As they encourage regime change, with no intentions of aiding such change. They have learned nothing since Hungary. Except to use unions as a forum to promote social democractic change in Irans Civil Society.

Missing the point that these unions are not interested in capitalist democracy or its state.

Real revolution is NOT about capitalist democracy and its parliamentary state it's about workers councils and mass worker revolt. Something Solidarity Poland understood and its leadership co-opted into a Nationalist Catholic movement to gain electoral power. That road has led nowhere.

The revolt in the Stalinst dominated East European countries of the Cold War, were the seeds of later revolts that led to the fall of the Stalinist State in Russia, but not of state capitalism.

And until there is a strong enough proletarian movement in the Middle East, then again narrow nationalism and parochial parliamentarism will be seen as the alternative to Imperialism.

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