Breaking open the Continuum
Is there a better model of the refusal to accept that history is closed, a better refusal of museum culture, than the events in Hungary over the last few days? Than rioters taking a Soviet tank from its embalmed state in an exhibition and driving it at riot police?
Or is there a better illustration of the sheer bloody impotence of the European left than their refusal to support the demonstrations? The Hungarian 'Socialist' Party, like in much of the area at the spearhead of privatisation because/despite being the outgrowth of the old Communist Party, is pro-EU and professedly social democratic, so is accordingly beyond criticism, despite the (unusually honest) confession of 'lying in the morning and lying in the evening'. This article by G.M Tamas points out this depressing absurdity, akin to the silence over the banlieue Riots a year ago. There were rightwing elements in 1956- there were Communists attacked in the street, and Hungary had a pretty poor record for anti-fascism - but if that didn't stop the Left noticing a workers' revolt when it saw one then, it certainly shouldn't now.
As going along with this is a spun narrative whereby the 1956 revolution is apparently 'anti-communist', despite being led by Imre Nagy - see the memoirs of Communist police chief Sandor Kopacsi, who took the side of the revolutionaries, In the Name of the Working Class is key on this - and having in its number no more obvious a communist than Gyorgy bleedin Lukacs (who was of course also a minister in the 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic, along with Bela Lugosi- with Ernst Toller leading the Bavarian Soviet Republic at the same time, this was an unusually fun time to run a revolutionary government). The propaganda of the post-56 Stalinist regime still has a pervasive effect, particularly now that it's useful for neo-liberal purposes.