Eastern Europe

The fall of Stalinism in Eastern Europe — Workers' Liberty 3/25

Download as pdf, or read online below. Timeline Introduction 1. The risen people: Eastern Europe after the revolutions 2. What’s in the coffin at the funeral of socialism? 3. Lies against socialism answered 4. Stalin’s system collapses 5. Why socialists should support the banning of the CPSU 6. The triumph of unreason: market madness in the ex-USSR 7. What was the Bolsheviks’ conception of the 1917 revolution? 8. Why the workers want to restore capitalism 9. In the beginning was the critique of capitalism 10. An open letter to Ernest Mandel 11. Trotsky and the collapse of Stalinism 12. And...

"One should not pretend there is only one imperialism"

Pavel Katarzheuski from the "Fair World" party in Belarus talked with Pete Radcliff from Solidarity. Could you tell us about the work of the campaigns and organisations you work through? (Fair World etc.) I am a member of the Central Committee of the Belarusian Left Party "Fair World". It is the oldest left-wing party in Belarus. It was founded in 1991 under the name "Party of the Communists of Belarus" as the successor of the Belarusian section of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 2009 the party changed its name to The Left Party "Fair World" in order to avoid confusion with the...

Orban targets LGBT people

On 10 November, Hungary’s Minister of Justice Judit Varga unveiled a bill that will almost certainly become the ninth modification to the Basic Law of Hungary adopted in 2011. This reactionary piece of legislation adds to the already shameful article which defines the state’s conception of “the family” that “the mother is a woman, and the father is a man”. A further amendment proclaims that “Hungary protects children’s right to identify as the sex they were born with, and ensures their upbringing based on our national self-identification and Christian culture”. The Hungarian language does not...

Lukashenko's base narrows

Workers’ strikes expressing open defiance of Belarus’s dictator-president Lukashenko continue to grow, though only incrementally, in Belaruskali, Grodno Azot and the Belaz car works in Zhodino. Medical staff, who as in Hong Kong have been partly radicalised by the injuries they have seen inflicted by security staff on protestors, have taken to street protests. Workers are being sacked in many areas for defiance or for “Italian strikes” (“working to rule”). The numbers involved in such protests are difficult to quantify, but many oppositionists claim the action is seriously affecting industrial...

Belarus: anger still spreading

The weekend 24-25 October saw a targeted peak in militancy in Belarus, but the general strike called for by the opposition’s nominal head Svetlana Tikhanovskaya did not materialise. The time since then has seen some loss of momentum. Students across 13 universities have, however, continued to step up their organisation, with ongoing protest meetings on campuses. In factories and workplaces, a minority of workers remain on strike. In some places that number has increased. In the chemical plant Grodno Azot crucial skilled workers — the “technical intelligentsia” that Lukashenko has long claimed...

Belarus: solidarity and "imperialism"

A few days ago, following up on a suggestion I made to LabourStart’s mailing list that people try out the secure messaging app Telegram, I received an interesting question. I had mentioned that pro-democracy protestors in Belarus and Hong Kong were using the app intensively. The question I received was: “Is Telegram also being used in Bolivia?” When I replied that I didn’t know, my correspondent replied: “It’s just that it’s used in two places where the imperialist states are very much involved against the government.” Leftists who see Belarus and Hong Kong as countries under some kind of...

Not yet general strike, but bigger protests

On 13 October Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya made an ultimatum on behalf of the oppositional Coordinating Council. If Lukashenko didn’t resign, she would call for a peaceful nationwide rejection of his rule and a general strike from 25 October. The strike call gave a boost to the protests against Lukashenko. The weekly Sunday demonstration in Minsk on 25 October was larger than it had been for over a month, probably close to 100,000. It was met at the intersection of Orlovskaya and Novovilenskaya in Minsk with the most brutal attack yet from Lukashenko’s security. Stun...

Pro-Lukashenko effort is complete failure

Plans for a pro-Lukashenko mass rally of “250,000 to 300,000” in the Belarussian capital Minsk on Sunday 25 October ended up as a fiasco. Nominally, the rally had been called by the “official” Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB). But the FPB — which claims a membership of some four million in a country with a population of less than ten million — functions organisationally and politically as an extension of the government. Since the rigged elections of early August it has backed Lukashenko and denounced his opponents at every turn. FPB leader Mikhail Orda says: “ The most important...

Belarus: strike plans from 25 October

On 13 October, following increasing attacks and imprisonments on protestors in Belarus, exiled oppositionist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gave her “People’s Ultimatum” to president Lukashenko. Tikhanovskaya was the challenger to Lukashenko in the rigged 9 August election. She declared that if political prisoners (now running into thousands, including leaders of the liberal opposition, are not released); if Lukashenko doesn’t stand down; and if the attacks on protesters on the streets don’t stop, then she would call on Belarusians to “paralyse the life of our country” from 25 October. The following...

Belarus: crackdown and gestures

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, opposition candidate in Belarus’s rigged 9 August election, declared on Telegram on 13 October: “The regime has 13 days to fulfill three main requirements: 1. Lukashenko must leave. 2. Street violence must stop completely. 3. All political prisoners must be released. If our demands are not met by 25 October, the whole country will peacefully take to the streets with the People’s Ultimatum.” Evidently the opposition assesses that it is strong enough at least to have a chance of this “ultimatum” having at least some force. Sunday 11 October saw street protests again...

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