The article introduces the reception of Isaac Deutscher’s work in Eastern Europe in a historical context and shows how deeply this reception was connected to the various transformations of the system, which had been established after the victory of the Russian October Revolution. The author gives a Marxist analysis of the historical development of state socialism and the various changes in Eastern-European Marxist thought which accompanied this history. He belongs to that school of thought which defines this system as state socialism, and he gives a theoretical analysis of its main characteristics, adding that 1989 failed to fulfil the expectations and hopes of many Western and Eastern-European Marxists.
DavidsonNeil‘Isaac Deutscher: The Prophet His Biographer and the Watchtower’International Socialism2004104available at: <http://isj.org.uk/isaac-deutscher-the-prophet-his-biographer-and-the-watchtower/>
DeutscherIsaac‘Az orosz forradalom és a zsidókérdés [The Russian Revolution and the Jewish Problem]’Zsidókérdés Kelet- és Közép-Európában. Fejlődés-Tanulmányok [The Jewish Question in East-Central Europe: Studies on Developments]1985BudapestELTE, ÁJTK Department of Social Sciences
JacobsonJuliusJacobsonJulius‘Isaac Deutscher: The Anatomy of an Apologist’Soviet Communism and the Socialist Vision1972 New Brunswick, NJ.Transaction Booksavailable at: <https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/jacobson/1965/10/deutscher.htm>
KrauszTamás‘On the Workers’ Councils of 1956’Hindu istenek sziámi tigrisek Balogh András 70 éves [Hindu Gods Siamese Tigers: For the Seventieth Birthday of András Balogh]2014BudapestELTE, Új- és Jelenkori Egyetemes Történeti Tanszék
LeninVladimir Ilyich‘Draft Theses on the Role and Functions of the Trade Unions under the New Economic Policy’Collected Works1971 Volume 42MoscowProgress Publishersavailable at: <https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/dec/30b.htm>
ZimmermannSusanBeckerJoachimWeissenbacherRudy‘Geschlechterregime und Geschlechterauseinandersetzung im ungarischen “Staatssozialismus” ’Sozialismen. Entwicklungsmodelle von Lenin bis Nyerere2009ViennaPromedia
ZimmermannSusan‘In and Out of the Cage: Hungarian Historical Writing on Women and Gender, late 1940s to late 1980s’Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central Eastern and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History20148125149
In1985a young Hungarian author saw a highly important methodological advantage to be drawn from the message of Deutscher’s works on history: ‘Unlike some of Collingwood’s pupils however Deutscher rejects the subjectification of history. The chance elements of history cannot be ignored when historical events are under examination he says in his critique of Carr’s volume History of Soviet Russia. To pretend that history is only furthered by the great necessities is equivalent to squeezing history into abstract theoretical models rather than observing it impartially in its animate flow.’ (Bánfalvi 1985 p. 64.)
Lukács1978bp. 159. (For the original Hungarian see Krausz (ed.) 2010.)
Cliff1963p. 20: ‘Deutscher is a puny figure compared to Herzen. The blood of workers spilt in Budapest does not prevent him from proceeding with his toast to Khrushchev. Deutscher opposed all the popular uprisings in Eastern Europe from June 1953 in East Germany to October 1956 in Poland and Hungary. He declared the latter to be counter-revolutions trying “unwittingly to put the clock back”. He cheered the Russian tanks which smashed the workers’ uprisings: “Eastern Europe (Hungary Poland and East Germany) found itself almost on the brink of bourgeois restoration at the end of the Stalin era; and only Soviet armed power (or its threat) stopped it there.” ’ In regard to 1956 Isaac Deutscher framed the question as that of a choice between socialism or capitalism. See Deutscher 1970b as well as its Serbo-Croat and German translations.
Jacobson1972p. 93. ‘The Hungarians driven to heroic frenzy by justifiable grievances were unwittingly turning back the clock of revolutionary progress as the insurrection moved into its counter-revolutionary “Thermidorean” phase; while the Russians sought to rewind the clock with bayonets. Not content with paradoxical clocks Deutscher also repeated in more civilized and temperate manner some of the most malicious Communist canards against the Hungarian revolution. “The ascendancy of anti-Communism found its spectacular climax with Cardinal Mindszenty’s triumphal entry into Budapest to the accompaniment of the bells of all the churches of the city broadcast for the whole world to hear. The Cardinal became the spiritual head of the insurrection. A word of his now carried more weight than Nagy’s appeals. If in the classical revolutions the political initiative shifts rapidly from Right to Left here it shifted even more rapidly from Left to Right. Parties suppressed years ago sprang back into being among them the formidable Smallholders’ Party.” ’.
See also van der Linden2007pp. 50–1. In Eastern Europe and especially Hungary Poland and the Soviet Union we cannot speak of a notable influence upon the circles of ‘critical Marxists’ by the theory of state capitalism which cannot be adapted to Marx’s theory of social formation since it is simply impossible to describe the Stalinist system of profit generation as a capitalist market economy in which accumulation of private ownership is carried on in the interests of a state bourgeoisie with any arguments in favour simply unacceptable on empirical grounds since the bureaucracy could not inherit even a holiday home.
See on this van der Linden2007p. 119.
Tőkei 1965 and1968. On the debate in the Soviet Union see Krausz 1991 pp. 162–6. The purges of the 1930s took their toll in this field as well one of its victims being the excellent Hungarian thinker Lajos Magyar.
Fehér Heller and Márkus1984pp. ix and xiii. ‘The socialist (but anti-Leninist) brand of East-European opposition that our theory represents will perhaps appeal to those Leftists whose objective is socialism as radicalised democracy not as dictatorship of any kind.’
Bence and Kis1983. In Hungarian: Heller Fehér and Márkus 1981.
Krausz and Tütő (eds.)1988pp. 209ff.
See also Lukács1976bpp. 270–1.
See also Mészáros1995‘the extraction of surplus-labour is regulated politically and not economically’ (pp. 630–1).