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...

Against Fortress Europe and Fortress Britain

At least thirteen people trapped on the Belarus-Poland border have died, the most recent a one-year-old child. Given the magnitude of the barbarism inflicted on these people, it could easily have been many more. Belarus’ noxious regime, which funnelled refugees to the border in order to exert pressure on the European Union over economic sanctions, is undoubtedly in large part responsible for this crisis. But so, equally, are the EU governments (and the UK’s, which has backed them up, including with troops!) This particular confrontation may fizzle out, as Belarus sends many of the migrants...

Morning Star’s Nick Wright praises Wagenknecht

In the Morning Star of 18 November, former Straight Left ultra-Stalinist Nick Wright, now rehabilitated into the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and a regular contributor to the paper, had a lengthy article headed “The truth about immigration waits at the Polish border” While rightly condemning Poland and the EU over the plight of the people at the border, Wright glosses over Lukashenko’s cynical manipulation of desperate migrants in his efforts to destabilise the EU (while his master Putin gloats from the sidelines), and reports of Belarusian troops forcibly turning back migrants attempting...

Poland: let the refugees in!

Speaking about the thousands of refugees stranded without shelter on the Poland-Belarus border, a Polish comrade told us: “There was a pregnant refugee, I think from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Polish border guards took this woman by her hands a legs and threw her back over the border like a sack of potatoes. She lost the pregnancy. The border guards have been made like gods, with power of life and death over people. “The persecution of the migrants divides people in the area. It is a very conservative region, and many are deeply hostile. But then there are people with good hearts who...

New anti-Orbán coalition in Hungary

The possibility of ousting Central Europe’s “Little Caesar” Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party is obviously to be welcomed. However, the announcement of a six-party coalition to contest Hungary’s elections coming in April or May 2022 does not inspire much confidence. The candidate for prime minister chosen by a coalition primary in September-October, Péter Márki-Zay, describes himself as “independent”, a “conservative Catholic”, and was once a manager of a multinational company. His only previous political experience appears to have been winning the mayoralty of Hódmezővásárhely, a sleepy one...

The Warsaw Ghetto uprising: a desperate last stand against the Nazis

In April 1943 the Nazis began their final assault on the Warsaw Ghetto, where 40,000 Jews were making a last desperate, heroic stand against Nazi barbarians determined to annihilate them. A mere remnant of Warsaw's once-large Jewish population, they had decided that it is better to die on your feet, fighting, than to die on your knees, unresisting. The Warsaw Ghetto was the first instance of an uprising by "civilians" in occupied Europe during the Second World War. Joan Trevor tells the story. In September 1939, Hitler's troops captured Warsaw, the capital of Poland. The Nazis now ruled the...

Kino Eye: A film from Georgia

Although a small country, Georgia has produced some brilliant film makers, Otar Iosseliani, Mikhail Kalatozov, Nana Jorjadze, Tengiz Abuladze and Eldar Shengelaia to name only a few. Shengelaia made Blue Mountains in 1983, an absurdist satire which lampoons Soviet bureaucracy and could be seen as a precursor to the “Glasnost” (“openness”) movement associated with Mikhail Gorbachev. Soso is an aspiring novelist who regularly visits the local publishing house, desperately trying to get someone interested in his latest writing. However, the staff are lazy, frequently out for lunch, boozing and...

It's time for Georgia to choose

Two weeks ago, far-right thugs attacked the LGBTI community’s “March for Dignity” in Tblisi, Georgia. Dozens of people, mostly journalists, were badly beaten. It was a tragedy that could easily have been foreseen — and prevented. And it has triggered a historic fight led by the journalists’ union with the full support of journalists’ unions around the world. The attacks were orchestrated by supporters of the ruling party in Georgia, whose leaders bear some responsibility for what happened. Prior to the march, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said it was “not reasonable” to organise such an...

Who will stop Orban?

The European Union is expressing itself more forcefully than usual over the issue of LGBTQ+ rights in Hungary. 16 EU leaders have signed an open letter vowing to fight discrimination. Not content with banning material that supposedly “promotes” homosexuality, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán now conflates homosexuality with paedophilia. A bill passed by the Hungarian Parliament last week bans gays from being depicted on prime-time TV, educational programmes and much else beside. Hungary’s stance on gay rights clearly contravenes the EU constitution and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte went...

Lukashenko, Orban and "enemies' enemies"

“Whataboutery” is an old trick favoured by Stalinists whenever difficult questions about human rights under “socialist” (or, these days, “anti-imperialist”) regimes are raised. So, in the old days of the Stalinist empire, they would respond “what about racism in the US?” to questions about the lack of democratic rights in the USSR and Eastern Europe. The other old trick of that sort is “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Some of the most blatant cases you’ll come across involve the Morning Star and its efforts to deny or justify the Chinese state’s treatment of the Uyghurs. The editorial (25 May)...

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