Eastern Europe

Lukács legacy suppressed

Submitted by Matthew on 8 March, 2017 - 12:01 Author: John Cunningham

On 25 January, the Metropolitan Council of Budapest decided (by 19 votes to 3) to remove the statue of the Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács from the 13th District and replace it with a statue of King Stephen, the founder of the Hungarian nation. The proposal was put by a member of the neo-fascist Jobbik Party, Marcell Tokody.

Romanian anti-corruption battles

Submitted by Matthew on 8 February, 2017 - 11:11 Author: Keith Road

The attempts by the Romanian government to weaken anti-corruption laws have been pushed back by mass protests.

A proposed decree would have lifted criminal sanctions from public officials including MPs who benefitted from abuse of office, if their gains were less than 200,000 Romanian leu (£38,000). The government said this was necessary to comply with anti-corruption court rulings. Opponents believe this will just legalise corruption up to that level. Romania is ranked as the fifth most corrupt country in the EU.

History minus the workers

Submitted by Matthew on 11 January, 2017 - 1:25 Author: John Cunningham

Normally I wouldn’t have bothered with Sebag Montefiore’s three-part documentary on Vienna (broadcast December 2016). His approach to his topics is somewhat predictable and conservative. But when I lived in Hungary for nine years I tasted some of the splendours of the architecture and the cultural inheritance of the Hapsburgs, not to mention its many contradictions and unpleasantries, in Budapest, Pécs and elsewhere.

Miłka Tyszkiewicz needs help!

Submitted by martin on 21 November, 2016 - 6:42 Author: Marek Krukowski and Jόzef Pinior

Some comrades will remember Miłka Tyszkiewicz speaking at meetings in the UK in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The appeal below on her behalf is from Marek Krukowski and Jόzef Pinior.

Marek is a Director of the Warsaw based Foundation for Freedom and Peace. The legendary socialist Solidarity underground leader, Jόzef Pinior, later served terms as a Member of the European Parliament and the Polish Senate, elected on different party lists, but retaining his independent left status.

Polish women’s movement grows

Submitted by Matthew on 2 November, 2016 - 12:47 Author: Anastazja Oppenheim

Polish abortion laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. Abortion is completely banned apart from in a few exceptional circumstances. It is allowed on grounds of rape, incest, if there is a severe health risk to the pregnant woman, or if the foetus is severely deformed and has no chance of survival.

Rezso Kasztner and Zionism

Submitted by Matthew on 2 November, 2016 - 12:35 Author: Dale Street

Was Rezso Kasztner, leader of the Budapest-based Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee during the Nazi occupation of Hungary, a hero who saved the lives of tens or even hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust? Or was he a collaborator who knowingly played an indispensable role in assisting the Nazis in the deportation and murder of nearly 500,000 Hungarian Jews in a matter of weeks?

Clampdown in Hungary

Submitted by Matthew on 12 October, 2016 - 11:15 Author: Hannah Webb

On Sunday 2 October, Hungarians voted in a referendum over whether to accept their EU migrant quota of 1,294 refugees.

The referendum posed the question “Do you want the European Union to be able to mandate the obligatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the approval of the National Assembly?”. It was itself part of a long running campaign by Viktor Orbán and his government to retain popular support by positioning as the “defenders” of Hungary against foreign interference.

Polish women take to streets to protest against anti-abortion law

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 12:38

Mags, a Birmingham-based activist with the left-wing Polish group Razem, spoke to Solidarity about the Polish women's strike against restrictions on abortion rights.

In April this year a legal institute in Poland called Ordo Iuris put forward draft legislation for a ban on abortion.

Letter: No socialist content in Hungary

Submitted by Matthew on 4 May, 2016 - 11:22 Author: John Cunningham

Gemma Short is quite right in her comments on Steve Bloom’s review of The Two Trotskyisms (Solidarity 402): the nationalisations in Eastern Europe had no socialist content.

I lived in Hungary from 1991 to 2000 and in this time became acquainted with the giant Ózd steelworks complex near the border with Slovakia. I hasten to add that I never, unfortunately, visited the steelworks, but I knew a documentary filmmaker, Tamás Almási, who made a series of films on the workers there and their experience of going through privatisation and finally the closure of the works.