Gyula Thürmer (Hungary) – Twenty Years of Hungarian Capitalism and The Revolutionary Perspective In Hungary

Contribution by Dr. Gyula THÜRMER, president of the Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party

The forces of capitalism both in Europe and Hungary make enormous efforts to hidden the fact that the contemporary capitalism is in a deep crisis. They cannot deny the existence of serious problems of capitalism but try to demonstrate that all problems can be solved in the frameworks of capitalism by capitalist reforms. But the truth is that the serious internal crisis of capitalism cannot be solved by the traditional capitalist reforms. The revolutionary perspective of solving the problems of capitalism is getting more and more reality.

The Crisis Of Hungarian Capitalism

The Hungarian capitalism is in crisis and the general crisis of international capitalism makes it even deeper. The crisis of contemporary Hungarian capitalism can be explained by the following factors:

1. The overwhelming majority of the Hungarian economy, industry, financial system, trade and services have been sold to foreign capital.

Hungary was the first ECE country to open its economy to foreign investors in 1989. According to the statistics of the UN organisation UNCTAD, also dealing with foreign investments, at the end of 1990 foreign direct investment (FDI) in Hungary accounted for 1.7% of the GDP. Today this ratio is over 70%. In the EU this ratio is just 40,9%, in Romania 36,7%
There had not been a strong Hungarian capitalist class. The new capitalist class was created partly from the elements of the former ruling elite of the socialist system which used their political position to take active part in the privatisation of state property, partly from intellectuals and enterprisers of the socialist period, partly from new generations which appeared on the scene during the last two decades.
All Hungarian governments have supported foreign investments by giving cash subsidies assessed by individual government decision, development tax allowances, training subsidies, job creation subsidies etc.
The Hungarian capitalist class consists of different groups. First, a small but influential group of big capitalists which have position in financial area, trade, services. They are closely connected with multinational capital. Second, hundreds of thousand micro, small and middle size enterprisers which are engaged in industry and trade. Their position is very weak. They are under a double pressure of EU-capital and Chinese capital. Without a strong support from the side of the state they are sentenced to death.
These developments have serious consequences now when capitalist system is in crisis. First, the foreign capital controls the basic areas of Hungarian economy. They have absolute power in financial area and they control the most sensitive area, internal trade. As far as there is not any strong national production, there are very limited possibilities to defend Hungary by its own means. It can be clearly seen that the multinational companies trying to solve their own problems reduce production and closing in Hungary which contributes to the rising of unemployment.

2. The gap between the wealthy and the poor groups of society has widened enormously. This is one more reason of the crisis of Hungarian capitalism. The original accumulation of capital meant that people have been depraved of their resources. It is the result of the inflation-policy, tax policy, credit policy of the capitalist governments of the recent 20 years.

Hungary has a population of 10 millions. 9 millions can be considered as people living on a very limited standard of living or even under poor circumstances, and only one million can consider themselves as winners of the social changes, EU-membership etc.

3. The third reason and characteristic feature of the crisis of the Hungarian capitalism is the extraordinary high level of corruption.

The reasons of these phenomena are connected with the Hungarian capitalism itself. First, the privatisation of the state property meant practically free robbery. Now the different political and economic circles fight for a greater share from EU-money, state orders, and central investments. Second, the system of laws is very confusable which is beneficial for those in the black economy. Today about 30% of GDP is produced in the black economy. Third, the actual political and juridical system is a result of compromises concluded 20 years ago between different groups of the capitalist class. Many of its elements have already lost its vitality. As a result of this situation the capitalist state cannot fulfil some of his basic functions, including the work of police, local administration etc.

Possible Ways of Development

The future development of the Hungarian capitalism depends on the development of the international capitalism and the processes going on in the different social groups of Hungary.

There are two basic ways the Hungarian society can go on: the way of capitalism and the way of socialist revolution.

From the point of view of capitalist alternative of a desisive importance is the fact that
the field of action of Hungarian capitalism is principally determined by enormouse influence of multinational capital in the Hungarian economy, by political, military and ideological dependence of Hungary from USA, NATO and EU.
Within the capitalist development – we emphasize, inside the capitalism and not as alternative to it – different courses are possible. One of it is a further subordinating of Hungary to the IMF, EU and other capitalist centres.
The Hungarian governments will serve the interests of multinational capital by liberalising fully all areas of the Hungarian market, liquidating the rests of the Hungarian enterprises, suppressing all forms of protest of the working classes. It is the way of giving up fully the national sovereignty of Hungary, the way of limitation and oppressing the democratic rights.
This policy will continue if the socialists remain at the power. They declare about it clearly and demonstrate it in the actual policy.

We have no illusions and we can not have any: this policy can be revived in some form even if the Fidesz comes to power. The Fidesz is also the party of big capital just as the MSZP, the only difference between them is that in the social base of the Fidesz are much more representatives of small and middle bourgeoisie.
The Hungarian communists should not and will not support this way. The communists should know that the neoliberal, pro-IMF way will worsen the conditions of the people, and can lead to a further radicalisation of the masses. The communists should prepare for this situation. We should fight against such development which would lead to a radical right turn in policy. There is not a real danger that fascist or even radical right forces would come to power. The actual extremist right forces are not strong enough and such a development would lead to an immediate intervention of the EU, as we could see in Austria some years ago.
But there is a real threat that the capitalist forces would use the crisis in Hungary and the strengthening of extremist right forces for establishing a “democratic dictatorship” in order to “save democracy”.
Within capitalist way of development we can also imagine such a course, which provide more opportunities for national capital, for Hungarian small and middle enterprises. Neither can we rule out the possibility, that in order to avoid mass resentment and outbreak of large-scale social conflicts capital will make some concessions to masses, will try to mitigate social and economic problems of people. In foreign policy also can happen that Hungary will pursue more balanced course while keeping main commitment to EU and NATO. For example will develop more close relations with Arab and Latin-American countries. We can observe the development of similar alternative within the capitalist system in a number of Latin-American countries.
This way is possible under the circumstances of capitalism. The actual government and the Hungarian Socialist Party are against it. The main oppositional party, Fidesz representing the interest of the Hungarian middle capitalists expresses its readiness to limit the multinational capital, to support the Hungarian enterprisers, to limit the incomes of the big capital and to give more to the wide masses. It is a question whether the Fidesz – coming to the power – will really do it or will look for a compromise with the international capital.
This way does not fulfil fully the interests of the working class and means only provisional improvements. But this way means some improvements for the working masses. It allows the HCWP to cooperate with small and middle bourgeoisie on the basis of common fight against multinational capital, supermarkets, foreign exploitation.
This course is successful if we are able to turn people resentment into organised force and thus to force capitalist governments to restrict the capital. The Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party takes part in trade-unions fight, in the movement of “home defenders” (against evictions), in the civil actions in order to increase the influence of communists and to institute the forces of mass resentment.
Lenin wrote in the Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution: „The proletariat must carry to completion the democratic revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush by force the resistance of the autocracy and to paralyse the instability of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie and to paralyse the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie.”

Another way is the way of socialist revolution. It is clear that the basic problems of the working class can be solved only on the way of the socialist revolution by overcoming capitalism. The Hungarian communists have always been on this position but since the capitalist counterrevolution in 1989-1990 we did not speak about the possibility of the socialist revolution. Now we should do it!
“The current crisis is an expression of a deeper crisis intrinsic to the capitalist system which demonstrates the capitalism’s historical limits and the need for its revolutionary overthrow.” – We can read in the common declaration communist and workers’ parties in Sao Paolo. Our parties have also declared: “Emphasizing that the neo-liberalism’s bankruptcy represents not only the failure of a policy of management of capitalism but the failure of capitalism itself, and confident of the superiority of the communist ideals and project, we affirm that the answer to the emancipatory aspirations of workers and peoples can only be found in the rupture with the power of big capital, with the imperialist blocs and alliances, and through deep transformations of a liberating and anti-monopolist character… Certain of the possibility of another world, a world that is free from class exploitation and the oppression of capital; we declare our commitment to continue the historical path to building a new society free from class exploitation and oppression that is Socialism.”
The Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party will go on the way of socialist revolution. Now we consider our basic and most important task to demonstrate to the Hungarian people that capitalism is not the only way of living. We should demonstrate that capitalist will never give to us better life, never will give us any place in the parliaments. We should get them by consequent and serious fight. But this way is a realistic way and we can create a new world, socialism.
We consider our main task to prepare the communist party for such a situation. The historical experiments show the real revolutionary situations remain unused if the subjective circumstances do not exist at due time.
We strengthen our Marxist-Leninist education. The members and activists of the party should understand the current situation and the real meaning of the revolutionary way.
We study the historical experience of socialist revolutions in Hungary with the aim to use those experiences which can be applied today.
We study the experience of the communist parties of Greece, Portugal, Brazil, Venezuela and other countries how to organise and stir to greater activity the masses.
The party organises its leading bodies on a new basis. We are creating „local revolutionary centres” with necessary mobile informational equipments.
We create mobile „combat groups” which can participate in different demonstrations, street-actions, and solidarity-events.
We build up a new youth organisation with young people deeply devoted to idea of revolution.
We began to go directly to the factories to meet the workers. The experiences are very positive.
We are opened to all anticapitalist, antimonopoly initiatives and participate in all social actions which fight against supermarkets, against neoliberal housing policy, against ejections of those who cannot pay for gas and electricity.
We create a more effective system of alternative media, using the weekly paper Szabadsag, internet and other means. We build up a wide system of homepages of local organisations, using You Tube technology, and other modern internet-technologies.
We fight for a more effective cooperation of communist forces on the international area. The HCWP has left the European Left Party because we do not agree with the revisionist and opportunist policy of the EP. We are convinced that we need not a “new European political culture” but a very consequent fight against capitalism, for rights of the working masses. We should not only criticize capitalism but we should organise the everyday fight of the workers. We want to liquidate capitalism; the European Left wants to make it better. We are standing on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, theory and practice of the fight of the classes, the principles of proletarian internationalism. The European Left unfortunately is standing on the basis of reformism. The European Left fights against capitalism only in phrases, but in the practice it helps to strengthen the “democratic” image of the European Union, the European Parliament, and the capitalist system generally.