THE POSTCOMMUNIST HERITAGE
Csaba Varga: »Slouching towards Gomorrah« Communist Degeneration of Legal Theorising in Post-war Soviet Union and its Satellites
The fate of Marxism in the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies as the former’s extension owing to post-WWII occupation was from the beginning sealed by Bolshevism, that is, the politico-ideological domination and use of the scholarly domain as well, made to self-close in a merely justificatory role. There may have been attempts at opening, even if only conceivable within—i.e., preserving at the same time—this framework function. In the present conspectus, the limiting positions are occupied by the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, completed by after-1968 Czechoslovakia, as well as Yugoslavia and pre-1968 Czechoslovakia, representing the substitute-to-religion dogmatic side, exclusively politically motivated in the former and subordinated to a humanising tendency in the latter case, on the one hand, and Poland, dedicated to a purely analytical approach, in which Marxism has simply no relevance, on the other. Hungary, treated in an earlier paper by the author, was in-between, taking Marxism seriously but mostly as a methodology, and thereby able to foster live debates. All that notwithstanding, there has been quite a few progressive moves also in Romania and Bulgaria in this specific academic field. Turning topoi of the discussions were, chronologically but recurrent transubstantiatedly, the exclusivity of Vyshinsky’s socialist normativism, the consequences ensuing from the law’s superstructural nature, the discontinuity vs. continuity of law in historical development, and, in the background, the dilemma of the ontological/epistemological understanding of Marxism, the latter standing for a rigid Leninist reducibility of law to its material substratum as the product of sheer reflection, and the former enabling to develop the law’s relative autonomy as in Lukács’ posthumous ontology. On the final analysis, all these forced paths made a whole region’s efforts to be belated as compared to international developments, the fact notwithstanding that outstanding achievements were born especially on the fields of legal ontology and sociology, as well as the legal methodology and particularly that of the comparison of laws.
Adomas Vincas Rakšnys and Arvydas Guogis: Changes in Public Administration and the Development of Postmodernity
The objective of the article is to analyse the influence of the cultural context on the changes of the models of public administration with the capitalist societies of the world moving from the modern state of 20th century towards the postmodern state of the 21stcentury. By using the methods of literary analysis and a comparative method, those essential features of public administration that form its context, which make the current era more and more different from the modern period of the 20th century, are formed. New tendencies are prevailing in modern society – one cannot trust the hierarchical government and technocratic rationality anymore, new needs emerge, which are based on participation, communitiarianism and consensus. In the context of organization and implementation of work the common uniting meanings disappear, and the values fade out. However, the postmodern epoch suggests not only to reassess the old values and to deconstruct them, but to also use the factors of creativity or irony, which best reveal the needs of modern society and the forms of its thinking and life.
Tihomir Cipek: Confronting Croatia’s Communist Past
This text deals with the confrontation with the communist past in Croatia, which is characterised by the absence of a lustration process. This is explained by the ideology and structure of the Croatian governing party in 1990 – HDZ – whose politics defined the first decade of democratic transition. The leadership of the party which was mostly made up of former communists advocated for the politics of national reconciliation, which tried to use Croatian nationalism to reconcile communists and anti-communist, for which it received support of the very influential Catholic Church. The other reason was the Croatian defensive war against Greater-Serbian aggression. President of Croatia Franjo Tuđman considered participation in the war to be lustration of a sort. Former members of the Yugoslav People’s Army or the communist secret police performed a kind of self-lustration by taking an active part in the war on the Croatian side.
Tamás Fricz: The Central European Party Systems and the Cleavages
Clearly the image is extremely variegated and also changing; yet two things can be stated. One is that wherever the anticommunist and/or ethnic cleavages appear and survive it mostly depends on the actor-focused motivations of the elites whether the party system and the entire political life move towards moderation or extremism, and it is natural because of the central role of parties. But where the two cleavages have been weakened and are disappearing, only the party elites can damage the situation at the most, because the condition of the cleavages helps the emergence of moderation as it is shown by Slovenia and the Czech Republic. In summary, even the gravest confrontations can be managed through the behaviour of the political actors, as it is shown by the example of several West European countries, but surely the past twenty years were significantly the period when the historically suppressed specific conflict lines and cleavages, put into parentheses in Central and Eastern Europe earlier in many respects kept on surfacing, and once again, it could only happen in democracy. Hence, setting out from an excessively theoretical stand it cannot be said that because of the sharpness and lack of solution of these confrontations they should be once again violently pushed into the background because they reduce the indicators of democracy of the given countries. Neither anticommunism more the ethnic–national conflicts can be underestimated, and nor a neutral position in a given case (”everyone is right and everyone is wrong”) helps understanding as there can or may be real grievances, lack of processing and injustices along both cleavages the dissolution of which is inevitable to some extent, therefore everything cannot be ‘glossed over’.
Carlos Flores Juberías: Short notes about EP Election, Russia, Crimea and Ukraine
The author analyze 3 different topics, manly: 1. European Popular and Socialdemocratic Parties after the EP elections: Forced to Get Along; 2. Russia and Crimea: not “just as special” as Kosovo; 3. Ukraine: Landscape after Battle. EU Populars and Socialdemocrats are now chained to each other, and pursued by a growing critical mass, larger, closer, and angrier than ever before. And in such circumstances we know that cooperating and consensus is the only sensible strategy. European Union. Just as repudiating the traditional dominance of all relevant EU institutions by these two major parties does not mean being able to form a political alternative, strong enough to remove them from power. it is highly unlikely that the international community will treat Russia –the winning part in this conflict– in 2014 as it has been treating Serbia –the looser in the Kosovo case– since 2008. The constant pressure on Serbia in order to recognize the government in Prishtina is highly unlikely to be repeated with Russia in order to have Crimea returned to Ukraine. Surely the EU and the US will keep condemning the absorption of Crimea, and they will impose some sanctions on Moscow, but sooner than later the annexation of Crimea will become a “fait accompli”. What necessarily leads to the conclusion that any prospective solution for Ukraine passes through parliamentarism and –most probably– will also imply federalism in Ukraine. In a time when the Union’s budget does not go through the best of times, and when the very idea of considering even the medium or long-term incorporation of a country like Ukraine –with the Turkish candidacy still in a limbo, and the Balkan enlargement moving at such a slow path– appears to be as timely and desirable as a toothache.
Juan de Dios Torralbo Caballero: Examining the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos as a reflection of the political undertones present in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels: “to inform and to instruct mankind”
This article investigates the political content in Gulliver’s Travels, focusing primarily on the fourth part, “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms”, in order to examine the contrast between the Yahoos and the noble, intelligent horses. At the same time, a comparison is drawn between the horses (Houyhnhnms) and the human race. These dichotomies allow us to further explore certain political concepts and questions on a universal level (for example, wars and their causes) as well as examine political matters on a national scale that Swift references in his work (James II, William of Orange, Walpole, etc.). In addition, we will analyse Swift’s criticism of experimental knowledge (Bacon) and speculative knowledge (Descartes) which the author evokes in the visit to the Academy of Lagado, which recalls the Royal Society, headed by Newton.
József N. Szabó – Zoltán Császár: The Role of Hungarian Literature in Establishing Relations with the West (1945 – 1947)
During a period of historical and political changes literature serves a different function and authors play different roles in the transformed system of international literary relations, as well. This change was especially noticeable in the post-World War II Hungary, where the international isolation caused by the loss of the war was paired with the severe identity crisis of the Hungarians. The country’s international reputation was worsened by the generally negative image of Hungarians, which had to be changed. Literature played an important part in dismantling prejudices and stereotypes caused by the failed former politics. This research has discovered that France was in the centre of Hungary’s western literary diplomacy. We can also learn from it that Hungarian literature had a very important mission to accomplish in Switzerland. It is also clear from this thesis that literary relations which Hungary had established with Anglo-Saxon countries had no political nature; these relations were only significant in shaping literary culture and intellectual recognition. We can also see from this thesis that the good Hungarian-Italian literary cooperation continued even after the war. Culture’s opportunities were better in this situation, because intellectuals and authors – although some of them committing betrayal – were the only people capable of recognizing a nation’s values, understanding them, and creating a realistic image of the nation.