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(en) Hungary, Anarchist Barricade Collective on Ervin Szabó 1877-1918

Date Wed, 22 Jun 2005 20:44:12 +0300

Nowadays the class struggles and within these the
viewpoint of some groups are alarmingly insular
minded. These groups throw the experiences of the past
– which have already been accumulated – away, and
focus only on present times. This thing wouldn’t be
surprising if we could fight this struggle in unity
against the ruling class and after in bed of roses we
would enjoy the bearings of communism. Who would be
that foolish person that time dealing with the spirit
of the past… But we are living in capitalism and our
class is very devided, which thing has very
arborescent reasons – from the scarcity of
class-solidarity to the abscence of class
cosciousness. Not long ago we have sent a text to a
libertarian communist activist, who after reading that
text has asked why we are dealing with such an old
text. (It was written in the nineteenth century.) We
have answered in our letter: „What have changed
between now and then connected to capitalism and
proletarian struggles?” We cast everything away which
rejects dialectic and throws our struggles to the
space and wrest them from their historical context. We
don’t want to argufy but go to blazes those banzai
self-advertising actionism and other craps, which make
only press-material for media and enhance capital’s
terror which thing could go with imprisonment and
liquidation of thousands of comrades. Of course, we
are not against the organised or spontaneous street
fightings or looting, sabotage, demonstration, strike.
We just want to emphasize, that the most important
thing is to do these actions in organised form and
orderly in case if it has spontaneous aspect to avoid
For us there is no „past” and „present” divided into
two different parts, just the whole of the struggle in
its continuity. Therefore it’s important to integrate
„preterite struggles” as the experiences of the
future. This is the reason why we publish this text.

Ervin Szabó had an especial walk of life. His writing
which is published here shows great perspicacity. At
first he makes a wild rush at social democracy with
which he was arguing all along his life and condemns
its personalities and its hatred of anarchism. On the
one hand this conflict can originate to Marx and
Engels. On the other hand Bakunin and the anarchists
were responsible for the dividing of the revolutionary
movement. He has written this article to establish the
unity. It’s important to point out this because at
present working class is divided at many walks of
bourgeois „life”, despite of their common interests.
Because of this, we think it’s necessary for
proletarians living in the West to get to know the
writing of comrade Szabó.

Szabó shows in his article that the „two tendencies”
agreed in most of the principles of the Ist
International, the only difference between them was in
the question of centralization/decentralization. Marx
supported the centralization against Bakunin’s
federalism but this is only a half-truth, because
Bakunin and his associates established a centralized
communist organization with the forming of Alliance.
Its statues had romantic elements but other parts of
it compose an integral part of the communist platform.
At the same time the two tendencies accused each other
with authoritarianism, and personal remark empoisoned
the atmosphere. This irresponsible trifling have
divided the revolutionary working-class movement. Thus
we have to argue and explain the basic differences
between communism and bolshevism as well as anarchism
and liberalism yet again.
We do not agree with some of the author’s false
statements – for example the partition of „scientist
and fighter”, the identifying of social democracy with
socialism. After all, social democracy had never
maintained the struggle of the proletariat but it had
tried to inactivate it. Altogether the article is
progressive for our struggle because it tries to
enhance unity despite of its ambiguous parts.

Ervin Szabó was born in 1877. From 1899 he admits
himself anarchist, in after years Marxist. The Russian
revolutionists and the Hungarian-German social
democracy had great affect on his viewpoint. With the
latter he encountered soon after – because of its
reformism. He was publishing regularly all along his
life and was all attention to the revolutionary
movement in which he was taking part, too. It’s due to
him that socialist pieces have become accessible in
the public libraries in Hungary. Cultural orientation
had a great importance his whole lifelong through. He
made an important role in translating, publishing
Marx-Engels’ selected works and wrote divine
forewords. He was forming connections with Italian and
Russian anarcho-syndicalists but he has never been
touched by the waves of nationalism. The experience of
syndicalism hurt him, namely he become syndicalist in
1909. In the next year he wrote the manifesto of the
syndicalist propaganda-group (in his syndicalism he
always rejected the unions and attended to independent
workers’ organizations). He wrote his paper named „The
struggle between Capital and Labour” in 1911 and along
about the first world war he had been the determinant
theoretican of the Hungarian „Zimmerwaldists” and
Revolutionary Socialists, but had kept himself in the
background. He had been writing internationalist
pamphlets, had been giving piece of advice connected
to conspiracy. Anarchists and communists had been
working together inside this group, they had had no
divergencies. Later the Hungarian Communist Party was
formed from this movement, which had been appropriated
by Kun and his associates afterwards and made an
advance to bolshevism. Ervin Szabó couldn’t see this
because he died in 1918. He was waiting for the
revolution his whole lifelong through, he saw
expectantly the revolution in Russia but he avoided
bolshevism because he had a flair for this and due to
his non-Leninist Marxism. Truly Ervin Szabó had never
been eclectic – although he tried a lot within the
spectrum of the working-class movement. He was an
anarcho-Marxist whom both liberalism and bolshevism
tried to appropriate. We are sorry he died before the
proletarian revolution of 1919 in Hungary which he was
fighting actively for.

Barricade Collective 2005.June
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