In Hungary, the entire leadership of the Communist Workers’ Party (HCWP) has been convicted of “libel in a public place”.
The charges against the HCWP are ludicrous. In 2005, the party’s congress voted to expel its former vice president, Attila Vajnai, who had led a faction that wanted to turn the party from a revolutionary to a reformist organisation. Following the congress, Mr Vajnai challenged his expulsion in a Budapest court and won his reinstatement – a totally unacceptable act of state interference in the affairs of a political party.
The leadership of the HCWP quite correctly denounced the court decision as a political judgement, calling it an act of revenge for the party’s role in initiating a public referendum against the privatisation of hospitals. The court, in turn, demanded that the HCWP officially retract its criticism and declare that the judgement had nothing to do with politics!
The leadership refused, and now the Hungarian state is attempting to use a ‘libel’ conviction to cripple and potentially liquidate the HCWP – just when the left and communist movement is once more gaining strength in the country.
The entire leadership of the party has been given a two-year suspended sentence (although the state was seeking lengthy terms of imprisonment), which means that they only need to be convicted of some other, equally specious, crime, to be locked up for two years.
This is a clear attempt to intimidate not only the country’s leading communist cadres, but also all those who work – or even just sympathise – with them.
These attacks are part of a spate of anti-communist actions by states across Europe. The Czech Republic has banned the Communist Youth Union (KSM) in that country, while legal attacks are also being made on the CPs in Ukraine and Lithuania.
Meanwhile, Professor Jose Maria Sison, a founder member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and now the chief advisor to the National Democratic Front, was arrested on trumped-up charges in The Netherlands last August and held in solitary confinement for three months before being released following an international campaign.
While state repression of left forces must be vigorously opposed and condemned, there is a positive message to be gleaned from the rising tide of anti-communism, for it reflects real alarm on the part of the European bourgeoisie at the resurgence and growing strength of a communist movement that only yesterday they had proclaimed as being dead and buried forever.
A decade and a half after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the East European socialist republics, the peoples of the region have had ample opportunity to find out for themselves about the true wonders of capitalism, which were painted in such bright colours by the capitalist roaders.
The great ‘freedoms’ that were promised have vanished like the mist, leaving behind a harsh reality of ever-lowering conditions of life. Hand in hand with the total destruction of public health care, education and housing provision that was once the envy of the world, has come the destruction of pensions, the slashing of salaries and the reintroduction of unemployment – and the consequent meteoric rise of alcoholism, drug addiction and prostitution.
No wonder the peoples of East Europe are beginning to look once more to the revolutionary communist forces as their only means of escape from the nightmare in which they find themselves.
Despite the actions of the bourgeois governments, however, we in the CPGB-ML are confident that the communist parties of eastern Europe will continue to gain in support and popularity. Progressive people in Britain look forward to the day when the counterrevolutions of the USSR and eastern Europe are overturned and socialism is restored. Meanwhile, we must work towards the day when we, too, can hold our heads up high and proclaim that the exploitation of one human being by another has finally been done away with here.