Thursday, March 10, 2016

Odds and Ends: Totalitarian Hungary (1957)

From the February 1957 issue of the Socialist Standard

Totalitarian Hungary
Under the heading “Hungary to Have Only One Party,” the Sunday Observer reports from Vienna a statement of a Mr. Marosan, Minister of State in the Kadar Government, that:—
   “The Government will try to broaden itself by including non-Communist Party representatives of other former parties”
      “This does not mean that other parties will be admitted in Hungary” (6:1:57.)
There is to be only one legal party—the so-called Hungarian Communist Party. And this the Communists call a “ People’s Democracy!” After one of the bloodiest national revolts in recent years, and the greatest anti-communist rebellion in a Soviet controlled country, the Communists still carry on as though nothing had ever happened.


Shake, Rattle and Rock
Following the tremendous success (both from the entertainment and financial point of view) of the film “Rock Around the Clock,” another Rock 'n Roll film has been widely shown on the circuits. It is called “Shake, Rattle and Rock." It is fairly light-hearted and includes numerous Rock 'n Roll hits. But it also gives some background to the craze, its influence on teenagers and the attitude of the T.V. and Radio tycoons.

The “hero” of “Shake, Rattle and Rock" is a young disc jockey and youth club organiser in a slum area. His boss at the T.V. studio looks upon Rock n' Roll solely as a money-making gimmick, something to push and push ... and then drop when the public is no longer interested; when it is no longer a money-maker. To the young disc jockey Rock n' Roll is an art-form; a form of teenage expression like the “Charleston" and the “Blackbottom” of a couple of decades or so ago. But more important Rock n' Roll is a means of keeping the kids off the streets; of preventing them from becoming hoodlums in the pay of local gangsters.

The film comes to an end with a mock trial, at which a local “anti-Rock” vigilante committee claims that Rock n' Roll is decadent, savage and causes crime. But Rock n’ Roll emerges triumphant.... It is a harmless outlet for youthful energy—and, more important, a good money-maker.


Eating Out?
How pleasant it is to eat out. No need to cook an evening meal.

On Monday evening one can visit the Latin Quarter—Dinner, Cabaret and Dance—featuring Mimi Pearse and 20 beautiful girls, all for 21/- plus “booze.” And on Tuesday evening there is always the Pigalle with Dinner-de-Luxe at 27/6 (Saturdays à la carte, only 35/-!) And Wednesday evening finds one at the Green Street Club—“ The Club in Mayfair for the Connoisseur.” . .

And so on through the week.

Life can be so interesting and easy ... so long as you are “well loaded" with money. Of course, if you are just a clerk, ’bus driver, a school teacher, or a shop keeper; if, in fact, you are a worker like the majority of people, then you will have to go to Lyons Corner House, the A.B.C., or the Caff round the corner—or go home and cook the spaghetti yourself!!


Fact or Fiction
A book that this writer read just over ten years ago makes quite interesting re-reading. It is The Great Conspiracy Against Russia by Sayers and Kahn, two pro-Russian American writers.

On re-reading this book one can understand how so many young Communists were taken-in by it ten years ago. Much of Book I (section I that is) dealing with Western interference in Russian affairs, the activities of White Russian émigré organisation, etc., after the Revolution in Russia in 1917, is no doubt correct But much of the “Treason Trials” propaganda, the anti-Trotskyist tirades and the like in this book have now been exploded for ever. One example will suffice:—
“At the time of the Axis-supported Franco uprising in Spain, 1936-1938, Andreas Nin headed an ultra-leftist, pro-Trotsky Spanish organization called the Portido Obrero de Unificiacion Marxista, or P.O.U.M. . . .  when the P.O.UM. staged an abortive revolt in Barcelona behind the loyalist lines in the crucial summer of 1937 and called for 'resolute action to overthrow the Government,' it was discovered that Nin and the other P.O.U.M. leaders were actually fascist agents working with France and that they had been carrying on a systematic campaign of sabotage, espionage and terrorism against the Spanish Government. . . . Secret documents seized by the Barcelona Police established that P.O.U.M. members had been carrying on extensive espionage for the fascists; .. . ” (p. 296.)
That the P.O.U.M. wanted a different government no one will deny but to say, as do Sayers and Kahn, that the P.O.U.M.ists were a pro-Fascist organisation is typical of the pro-Stalinist fiction in this book. George Orwell in his book Homage To Catalonia, and Hugo Dewar in Assassins at Large, have both shown conclusively that the Communist allegations against not only the P.O.U.M., but also the Anarchists, in Spain, are pure fabrication's, having no basis in fact.

The Great Conspiracy is interesting reading . . . as fiction!
Peter E. Newell

No comments: