By Matias Rakosi
The past 12 months witnessed a decisive turning point in the development of the people’s democracy in Hungary. The democratic forces won a series of victories, while reaction suffered one defeat after another. Taken singly, the resultant changes were not decisive, but in their aggregate they produced profound structural reforms in the political and economic life of the country.
A year ago the struggle was at its height. Hungarian reaction was entrenched in the independent Smallholders’ Party, which had a clear majority in Parliament, and in effect dominated the party. Reaction organized a conspiracy against the democratic forces. They banked on isolating the Communists and then, at the opportune moment on excluding them from the administration of the country. This plan was particularly dangerous because the Social-Democratic party harboured an anti-Communist and anti-Soviet element which actually collaborated with the right wing of the Smallholders’ Party.
The exposure and resignation of one of the leaders of the anti-democratic conspiracy in Hungary Prime Minister Nagy, marked a turning point in the struggle against reaction. The conspirators were denounced and the leadership of the Smallholders’ Party passed into the leadership of the Left elements.
In the elections last August the Communist Party emerged the leading party in the country, while the democratic coalition polled more than 60 per cent of the vote. However, the fact that the fascist party, hurriedly formed under the leadership of Pfeiffer was able to poll 15 per cent of the vote, revealed the flexibility of reaction which refused to give up power. Only two of the four coalition parties consolidated their positions: the Communist and National-Peasant parties. The Social-Democratic vote declined by 10 per cent, the Smallholders’ Party by 67 per cent. The reactionary elements, declaring that the defeat of these parties was due to their participation in the coalition, tried to capture the leadership of the two organizations. The Right Social-Democrats led the attack. They would remain in the coalition only on conditions which actually spelt the removal of the Communists from all responsible administrative posts.
The Communist Party, jointly with the Left Social-Democrats waged an open struggle against the Rights. The decisions of the conference of the nine Communist Parties in Poland greatly contributed to this struggle. In October the Communist Party began a counter-offensive which resulted in the expulsion of the Pfeiffer party from Parliament. This signified not only a change in the relation of forces in Parliament in favour of the left wing, but also the defeat of reaction. The dissolution of the fascist party was immediately followed by the nationalization of the banks and the setting up of courts comprised of workers only. These two measures increased the influence of the Communist Party and accelerated the purge inside the Social-Democratic party.
In December an open struggle broke out inside the Social-Democratic Party, which lasted throughout the winter and in March, on the urgent insistence of the lower bodies, the Social-Democratic Party held a congress.
It was only in the course of the internal party discussion that the Social-Democratic workers learned of all the crimes committed by the Rights against democracy. The Social-Democratic workers saw for themselves how correct was the line of the Communist Party and the irreparable damage that the Rights could cause by a rival struggle between workers’ parties. Quite spontaneously the Social-Democratic workers urged the formation of a united workers’ party. Refusing to wait until the congress would adopt a decision on fusion, they flocked to the Communist Party by the thousands. Simultaneously, peasants and intellectuals began to join our Party en masse. This spontaneous mass movement reached such dimensions that the Central Committee was forced to close admittance into the Party from February 22 to March 15, since it could not guarantee even the most elementary selection.
On March 7 the congress of the Social-Democratic Party authorized the new, Left leadership to enter into negotiations with the Communist party in the matter of fusion. In its resolution the congress noted that Marxism-Leninism must be the ideological bassis of the new united party.
Following the congress, the leadership of the two workers’ parties set up mixed political and organizational committees. On June 12 the Communist Party congress will take place and will decide the question of fusion. The Central Committee has resumed recruiting to the Party, which is being joined by thousands, not only by workers and small peasants, but even by medium peasants.
Meanwhile, the Social-Democratic Party is removing the Right elements from its ranks – between 8,000 to 9,000 have been expelled, already. A thorough purge has been carried out in the Parliamentary fraction where 33 of the 68 deputies have been recalled or expelled from the party. When the fusion of the two workers’ parties is accomplished the new party will hold 46 per cent of the seats in Parliament.
The unity of the workers’ parties has enabled Hungarian democracy to carry out yet another important measure: at the end of March all enterprises employing upwards of 100 workers were nationalized. Nationalisation was effected without any economic upheavals and with the enthusiastic approval of the working people.
The democratic forces have consolidated their positions also in other parties of the government coalition. A number of leaders have been expelled from the National Peasant Party and a Left leadership elected prior to the congress of the party. The same holds true for the Smallholders’ Party. Thanks to these measures the democratic coalition is cooperating more closely. Unity of the youth and women’s organizations was secured parallel with labour unity. These developments are paving the way for the building up of a new, national democratic body which, in all likelihood will be formed this year.
Only now are the industrial workers becoming really aware of their leading role in industry. The Party slogan “This is your country, build it up for yourself” is taking firm root. The attitude of the workers to labour has changed: never since the liberation have they displayed such discipline and enthusiasm. This is expressed in the rapidly spreading labour emulation which will make it possible to complete the Three-Years’ Plan in two and a half years. There has been no deficit during the past 8 months, and the crops are in fine fettle. Food deliveries to the capital are higher than in previous years. Living standards are on the upgrade. Food supplies between now and the new harvest are guaranteed.
The consolidation of democracy has strengthened our international position and has resulted in closer bonds with the neighbouring fraternal peoples. The treaties of mutual assistance signed with neighbouring states and, in the first place, with the mighty Soviet Union became possible only after Hungarian democracy had defeated reaction and delivered a crushing blow to the agency of the foreign imperialists. The American imperialists who only a year ago planned the expulsion of the Communists from the Hungarian Parliament, have been forced to write off Hungary as a loss.
The working people have seen for themselves that Hungarian democracy is on the right path, that it has achievements to its credit both in economic and political life. Even those doubtful peasants who at first decided to wait and see, are becoming more and more convinced of the stability and soundness of the present order. The workers and peasant alliance is being consolidated. The democratic sentiments of the peasants find expression not only in their good cultivation of the land but also in the fact that they are sowing a much bigger area than was the case before the war.
True, we have our difficulties. The Communist Party has grown enormously. This growth calls not only for raising the theoretical level of the membership but also for corresponding organizational measures, strict registration, recommendation for new members accepted by the Party, and a period of probationary membership for all applicants. These measures will save the Communist Party from being turned into a huge non-partisan mass organization and will secure the successful realization of its tasks as the vanguard of the working people.
We have yet to solve the question of the relations between the church and democracy and to reorganize the State administration and the ministries in accordance with the needs of people’s democracy. At the moment we are busy getting State factories going which will manufacture agricultural machinery; producer cooperatives likewise are being organized in the countryside.
There is plenty to do and here are plenty of difficulties. Not for a
moment do we forget the danger that threatens peace and democracy. We
are conscious of our strength and of the growing power of the people’s
democracies. We sympathise whole-heartedly with the Greek fighters for
freedom and with the Chinese people. On May 1, when the working people
of Hungary review their forces, the working people of Hungary will
again look to their liberator, the Soviet Union and to its great
leader, Comrade Stalin. Thanks to the fraternal assistance of the
Soviet Union, Hungary, like the other new democracies, is free and is
successfully fighting for socialism.
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