Shibdas Ghosh

On the Recent Incidents in Hungary

Source: Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) (used with permission)
First published Ganadabi, in its November Revolution Special Issue of November 15, 1956
HTML Markup: Mike B. for MIA, July 2007
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Written after the Soviet Red Army, at the urgent call of the lawful Government of Hungary, had to intervene and smash the counter-revolutionary uprising there and save the socialist state.

The recent incidents in the East European People's Democratic countries, particularly in Hungary, have caused a great stir among all sections of both the pro-communist and anti-communist people of the world. The enemies of communism and the Soviet Union have once again engaged themselves in anti-Soviet tirades in different countries of the world, centring round these incidents in Hungary. Leaving aside these reactionary cliques, it cannot be denied that even those who till the other day were supporters of the Soviet Union have, due to the present incidents in East European countries, become much apprehensive and sceptical about the goal and ideology of communism and the foreign policy of the USSR. The bourgeois press and their hirelings are making every effort to give a firm foundation to all these doubts and apprehensions. Even among a section of the communists of different countries, these incidents have caused various types of confusion about the role and character of the leadership of the CPSU and the Soviet Union. There is no doubt that all these have helped tarnish, even if temporarily, the image of the Soviet Union before the people of the world. At a time when the Soviet Union is the leader of the world peace movement and when its foreign policy is the guarantee to the peace loving and exploited people of the world against the machination of the Anglo-US-French imperialists to gag the emergence of resurgent nationalism in the Asian and African countries and to crush their struggle for independence, and more so against their conspiracy to unleash a global war — these doubts and apprehensions about the foreign policy of the Soviet Union, the role and character of its leadership that have cropped up in the minds of the people, including even a section of so-called communists, will, no doubt, to a great extent weaken the cause of the peace movement itself. Precisely for this, it is all the more important to make a correct and thorough analysis and appraisal of the recent incidents in Hungary and the role played by the CPSU leadership and the Soviet Union.

A close scrutiny of these incidents, free from the bias of either blind support or blind opposition, will reveal one point glaringly. The movement that was initiated to reinstate Imre Nagy in power and which marked the internal dissension among the communists, was in the long run seriously influenced by anti-Soviet reactionary national jingoism and as an inevitable outcome of that all types of reactionary slogans, alien to proletarian internationalism, such as demands for withdrawal of the Soviet troops, repeal of the Warsaw Pact, the taking of aid both from the Soviet Union and the USA to build the economy, declaring Hungary as a non-aligned country and so on and so forth, were raised! As the Nagy government succumbed to the demands of the reactionary nationalist forces, the majority of the communists who did not fall victim to these reactionary moves, whatever might have been their shortcomings, limitations and mistakes, being backed by revolutionary people, formed a new government under the leadership of Janos Kadar with ministers, most of whom were in the old Cabinet. Realizing the gravity of the situation this new government requested the Soviet army to quell this counter-revolution, establish peace and help protect the hard-won People's Democratic State. As per the Warsaw Pact, it is obligatory on the part of the Soviet Union to comply with the requests made by the new legal and legitimate government for restoration of peace in the country. Hence, those who are creating much fuss over it and branding the Soviet action as aggression on a foreign country and thereby engaging themselves in anti-Soviet tirade, are either totally ignorant or deliberately acting as the agents of Anglo-US imperialism. This apart, the doubts and confusions centring round these incidents that are now prevailing among a section of so-called Marxists or communists in different countries, are, in our opinion, mainly for two reasons.

First, it is the senseless obsession about the word 'people' and the impact of reactionary bourgeois ideology on nationalist movement. And secondly, their failure to realize that fighting the domineering attitude of the CPSU leadership over the communist parties of other countries (if at all it is a fact) has nothing to do with hostility to the Soviet Union or with the act of supporting or encouraging anti-Soviet hysteria. To fight against domination and interference by any other communist party, no matter what its stature is, is indispensable to build up dialectical relationship between the fraternal communist parties in place of a mechanical one. But for a communist, it is an unpardonable offence to take a hostile attitude to the Soviet Union or to indulge in any anti-Soviet bias since it goes against proletarian internationalism or for that matter the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism.

But after all these, a question still remains — how could the reactionary nationalist ideologies make so much headway even after seven or eight years since the establishment of People's Democratic State under the leadership of the Communist Party? So, any attempt to anyhow get over this problem immediately, without caring to resolve the fundamental questions involved is liable to breed the same problem in future and may worsen the relationship between the East European socialist countries and the Soviet Union.

We like to reiterate here only that aspect of the observation made by the Central Committee of our party on the Report of the 20th Congress of the CPSU to which we drew the attention of all communists abroad. There we showed that, while in the name of pointing out and fighting against the errors and mistakes of Stalin and upholding Leninism, they interpreted the Leninist concept of ''different forms of achievement of socialism'' virtually from the standpoint of reformist nationalist outlook. It is not unlikely for a communist party to be influenced by this reformist nationalist trend of thinking and outlook. And we shall not be at all surprised if these communist parties, as an opposite reaction to the present practice of dittoing, develop in them an ''ultra-independent'' and extreme trend of opposing whatever comes from the CPSU, on some pretext or other. Because, this extremely opposite trend is the inevitable result of blind authoritarianism that still influences the international communist movement, as before.

The nationalist feelings of the people of the Balkan States, suppressed for a long period during the oppressive and exploitative rule by Czarist Russia and the Western imperialist powers and accumulated, as it were, found a natural and easy outlet after the Second World War with the defeat of fascist Germany and establishment of People's Democratic States under the leadership of the communist parties with the help of the Red Army in these countries. The impact of nationalist feelings was also noticed to a great extent among the communist parties of these countries. Many of the leaders of the East European communist parties could not free themselves from this, although national jingoism is alien to proletarian internationalism. The demand for ''Separate Balkan Federation'' under the leadership of Tito was a glaring example of the presence of national chauvinism in the communist movement. This ultranationalist feeling which is alien to proletarian internationalism could not rear its ugly head during Stalin's lifetime both inside and outside the party due to a fierce ideological struggle conducted under his able leadership. But the way Comrade Stalin was criticized in the name of eradicating the cult of individual, lowered not only his prestige but also tarnished to a great extent the image of the CPSU in the estimation of different communist parties and the people of the world and more so before the people and the communist parties of East European countries. Moreover, as a result of change of attitude towards the Communist League of Yugoslavia and other Titoite communists of East European countries and also due to the nationalist reformist interpretation given by the Khrushchev leadership to the Leninist theory of ''different forms of achievement of socialism'', the pent up ultra-nationalist feelings so long kept subdued by intense ideological struggle, burst out in anger with redoubled intensity in the form of anti-Soviet movement. Comrade Stalin was condemned very much as bureaucratic by the Khrushchev leadership for suppressing the reactionaries with a strong hand but paradoxically, the same Khrushchev leadership resorts to hundred times more ruthlessness in suppressing the counter-revolutionaries of Hungary.

In fine, we would like to reiterate what we said earlier and appeal to the leaders of the CPSU and other communist friends of different countries to realize that the responsibility for eradicating the cult of individual does not end with a mere verbal declaration. It should be borne in mind that the cult of individual is still exerting its influence in diverse forms in the thought-process of the international communist movement. Blind authoritarianism in different forms is still influencing the thought process of the communists. In fact, it has developed almost into a system of thought. None of the shortcut methods of either dittoing or blindly opposing the Soviet leadership can save the communist parties from the impasse that has developed in their mutual relationship. The influence of ultra-nationalism or Titoism which manifests itself in the present trend of anti-Sovietism is nothing but the opposite reaction of blind authoritarianism. If we, the communists, fail to hold aloft collectively the banner of proletarian internationalism while there is still time, freeing the communist process of thinking and movement from authoritarianism and reformist nationalist outlook by conducting intense ideological struggle, then there is no doubt that our mutual relationship and understanding will deteriorate further.


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