a revolution which never was: from state socialism to multinational capitalism

by Tamás Krausz

Towards a historical interpretation of the change of regimes in Eastern Europe

The title summarizes the main argument that I will develop in my presentation. Eastern European mainstream literature sacrificed the historical approach in order to shamelessly glorify the events of 1989-1991. In the theoretical, historical, economic and political literature on the history and consequences of the change of regimes, there is a fierce struggle among the different schools (labeled as discourses and narratives) for the “right” terminology. Nonetheless, the free competition of ideas seems to me illusory. The mainstream literature dismissed Marx’s theory of social formation as an unverifiable “grand narrative”, and excluded it from the set of competing paradigms. This exclusion can be closely linked with a previous development.


In the 1980s, Marxist theory was equated with the legitimating ideology of the state socialist system, which was widely criticized at the time by Eastern European dissident intellectuals. After the change of regimes this criticism developed into a new legitimizing ideology, which was used to justify the rule of the new elite. The real aim of the attempts to discredit Marxist theory in general in Eastern Europe was to divert attention from the crucial issue of the transformation of property relations. The distribution of state property, which in the old times was called the property of the people, was inseparable from the issue of power relations. Therefore, the issue of the distribution of state property had a decisive role in the formation of the new nation states as well. Continue reading “a revolution which never was: from state socialism to multinational capitalism”

the workers’ councils of 1956 – by tamas krausz

A lecture by Tamas Krausz, a communist based in Budapest, about the 1956 Hungarian revolution, its workers’ councils and forms of workers’ self-management

1. Prehistory[1]

The history of the workers’ councils of 1956 cannot be understood without the history of the Hungarian working class. The intellectual-political and socio-cultural development of the Hungarian working class has been shaped by diverse and complex historical processes in the interwar period. The counter-revolutionary system of Horthy destroyed and criminalized the 1918-1919 revolutionary tradition of the workers’ councils of the Hungarian working class, it banned the communist party and it declared in the name of the sanctity of private property that communal property – which was defined as the essence of socialism from Marx and Lenin till Zsigmond Kunfi, Justus and Lukács – was a sinful idea. Continue reading “the workers’ councils of 1956 – by tamas krausz”

revolutionary strategy: reply by mike macnair

on friday 29th david broder posted a review of revolutionary strategy, a new book by the cpgb’s mike macnair. this provoked more than seventy comments, and mike himself has written a response, which we reproduce here. Continue reading “revolutionary strategy: reply by mike macnair”

new content in ‘ideas’

we have added more content to the ‘ideas‘ section of the commune.

first off is a piece on self-management in the struggle for socialism by michel raptis – also known as michel pablo and at one time a leading member of the trotskyist international secretariat of the fourth international – who in the late 1960s and early 1970s turned his focus towards workers’ self-management.

tamás krausz describes the struggle for workers’ self-management in action with his article on the workers’ councils in hungary in 1956, where workers mounted a revolution against the stalinist bureaucracy and tried to take power, only to be crushed by russian tanks.

then we reproduce kevin anderson’s essay on lenin’s engagement with hegelian philosophy during world war one, and his little-read hegel notebooks.

and in state capitalism or bureaucratic collectivism? chris ford introduces the debate in the united states workers’ party over the class character of the soviet union, and we republish speeches by raya dunayevskaya and max shachtman.