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(en) US, WAR AND REVOLUTION: The Hungarian Anarchist Movement in World War I and the Budapest Commune (1919)

Date Fri, 14 Jul 2006 17:13:34 +0300

The latest KSL pamphlet gives you a chance to learn about Hungarian
anarchists in the Budapest Commune of 1919, and the stories of figures
like Ervin Szabo (anarchist librarian and anti-war conspirator), Otto
Korvin (agitator) and Ilona Duczynska (the assassin who didn't).
New pamphlet: "War and Revolution: the Hungarian Anarchist Movement in
World War I and the Budapest Commune, 1919" by Martyn Everett
The First World War ended in 1918 - everywhere that is except Hungary - where
the fighting continued. War and economic collapse created a revolutionary situation.
In spite of its size the tiny Hungarian Anarchist movement played a
significant part in opposing the blood and slaughter of the First World
War. Working with Marxists and Left Communists they kick-started a
revolution that culminated in the formation of the Budapest Commune, but
were unprepared for the encounter with Bolshevism, and were among the
first victims of the White Terror unleashed against the Commune.

The Budapest Commune of 1919 has been neglected by the historians of
anarchism, yet it provides an important and fascinating opportunity to
understand the anarchist movement at a crucial historical moment. We can
see how and why anarchist fortunes declined after the end of the First
World War, as anarchist organisations fused with Marxist parties, or were
crushed by protofascism.

The Commune also raises issues with contemporary resonance such as the
role of anarchists in revolutionary situations, and the part played by
anarchism in shaping what has been described as "Western Marxism",
although both of these subjects are complex enough to require their own
studies. In piecing together the history of the Hungarian anarchists, I
have also been forced to think about the way ideas about anarchism
circulate within the British anarchist movement. This last point is of
particular interest, because although many of the foremost theorists of
anarchism have been European, contemporary anarchist thought often appears
subject to a form of cultural imperialism that parallels the cultural
imperialism of the dominant system. We remain unaware of important aspects
of our own and European history while our ideas and priorities are often
influenced by the cultural values of the anarchist movement in the USA.
Because of a common language ideas are easily circulated across the
Atlantic, whereas language barriers separate us from the influence of
European anarchism. This can cause real problems for the development of
anarchism as an effective social movement. A classic example of a missed
opportunity was our failure to support the newly emergent anarchist groups
in Eastern Europe after the collapse of Stalinism."

ISBN-10: 1-873605-382
ISBN 13: 978-1-873605-38-7
Anarchist Library Series#14 ISSN 1479-9073
28 pages, illustrated with portraits of Hungarian anarchists. £3 (£2 to
subscribers) / $3.

Available direct from the publisher
Kate Sharpley Library, BM Hurricane, London, WC1N 3XX
Kate Sharpley Library, PMB 820, 2425 Channing Way, Berkeley CA 94704, USA
or from good bookshops.
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