No. 81 | (Spring 2009)

In 2009 events were organised all around the world to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the systemic change in East Europe. The ruling elites of this region, following mainstream US "impulses" as well their own interests, have utilised all the media to deliver self-praising self-celebrations on the occasion. The media in Hungary push system criticising voices to the extreme right thus opening the way for the most violent protectors of the capitalist system. Now it seems that in 1989 all the forces that wanted a change were united solidly for the restoration of capitalism and the exclusive rule of bourgeoisie. The relevance of global trends is neglected and the new groups in power are presented as "freedom fighters". This is not only garbling the clear content of the past 20 years but also keeping the catastrophic impacts of the present global capitalist crisis justified, in a sense – paraphrasing the statement of Lukács in negative:"the worst capitalism is always better as the best socialism." The attempts and humanistic aspirations for finding the possible way between state socialism and capitalist restoration or between the unlimited state economy and the unlimited free market are consequently kept out of memory on the global scene. In the year of the "celebrations" it is especially necessary to show that there are such social and intellectual forces in Hungary that have foreseen the consequences of the systemic change and analysed them from a system-critical viewpoint, meaning they did not served the new elite in power. The basic goal of Eszmélet is to draw attention to those currents and political, organisational, theoretical and social achievements of that time that were both anticapitalist (or non-capitalist) and antistalinist. In issues of this year we would like to present – mostly by Hungarian documents, studies and analyses – that there was a maybe marginalised but nevertheless still existing "third way" of which importance can be seen now especially among the conditions of the present global crisis and in searching the actual way out of it.

A certain renewal can be noticed in this issue. On the one hand, reacting to the systemic crisis of capitalism this issue focuses on the alternatives to it and on the search of surpassing it stronger than before, at the same time also making theory and practice getting closer. Several articles address social self-governance in historic and present perspectives as well, that can contribute to the search of feasible alternatives. On the other hand, we are launching a new column on "culture" which has the challenge to show the devastation caused by the capitalist system in theatre, films, literature, everyday life and sports as well as showing the existing roots of and opportunities for humanistic culture but without falling back into the labyrinth of harmful nostalgia for state socialism. We have an interesting article on Fidel Castro casting new light on the Cuban intervention in Africa in 1961-1988. Our book reviews analyse the first volume of Beyond Capital from István Mészáros and denounce the specific misinterpretation of history that is going on in the Baltic countries.


Table of contents
  1. Announcement of the Left Alternative Association on Leaving the National Round Table Negotiations, on November 10,1989
  2. Krausz Tamás : Speech at the Last Assembly of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party (MSZMP) and the First Assembly of the Socialist Party (MSZP), October 7, 1989
  3. Samir Amin : The Road of Developing with Socialist Orientation
  4. Mészáros István : The Present Crisis (experpt from Beyond Capital IV)
  5. Lucien Sève : Communism of the 21st Century
  6. Michael Hardt : Common Weath
  7. Goran Marković : Social Preconditions of Self-Management
  8. Peter North : Constructing Civil Society? Green Money in Transition Hungary
  9. Hajdu János : Perestroika – Change or the Empires of the Evil?
  10. Szűcs Katalin Ágnes : Systemic change in the theatre
  11. Tütő László : Capital or What You do not Want
  12. Nagy László : Castrated History – Symptoms of Weimarization in the Baltic States
  13. Tütő László : On the Difference of Amending or Surpassing a System
  14. Ignacio Ramonet, Fidel Castro : The Battle at Cuito Cuanavale