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New pamphlet: "War and Revolution:

category hungary / romania | history of anarchism | press release author Friday July 14, 2006 17:26author by KSL - Kate Sharpley Library Report this post to the editors

the Hungarian Anarchist Movement in World War I and the Budapest Commune, 1919" by Martyn Everett

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).

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."

The Hungarian Anarchist Movement in World War I and the Budapest Commune (1919)
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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