Communism Publications

32. The Significance of Political Elites in Post-Communist Poland

Jul 07, 2011
This paper analyzes the disintegration of communism in Poland and the formation of a new socio-economic and political system. The actions of political elites have been pivotal in this process. One of the basic conclusions of the analysis that follows is that, because of the weak articulation of the structures of civil society, political elites were not subjected to precise social demands and pressures. more

233. National Political Ideas and Regime Changes: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe After WWII

Jul 07, 2011
May 2001- When speaking about the former communist Europe, understanding its history and the emerging ideologies provides a key to comprehending its present. This paper presents some of the ideas that contributed both to shaping dissident movements after 1950 and to the collapse of totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. I will focus particularly on the role of the intelligentsia in their respective societies' emancipation and transformation from objects into entities able to engage in the struggle for their interests. more

290. Ethnic Cleansing, Communism and Environmental Devastation in Post-War Czechoslovakia

Jul 07, 2011
January 2004 - In the aftermath of World War II, Czechoslovakia expelled close to three million ethnic Germans into occupied Austria and Germany. These so-called Sudeten Germans had long lived in borderland regions ringing the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, with the heaviest concentration inhabiting the industrially advanced north and west of Bohemia. During and after the expulsions, over two million Czechs settled in the formerly German areas, taking over houses, businesses and factories. The popular Communist Party controlled the resettlement process from the beginning in 1945, using its influence to create a web of patronage in the borderlands. This helped the Party win over 50 percent of the vote in north Bohemia in free elections in May of 1946. Even before Stalinism took hold in Czechoslovakia in 1948, north Bohemia's coal mining, power production and chemical industry were renowned. With the onset of a Communist policy of heavy industrialization, north Bohemia's industry became a model for the entire country. By the 1960s, north Bohemia also became known for its almost unrivaled pollution, with air and water so foul that trees died in waves and children decamped to the mountains for doses of clean air. more

25. Understanding National Stalinism: A Comparative Approach to the History of Romanian Communism

Jul 07, 2011
In this paper, the author examines the case of the Romanian Communist Party (RCP) and its most recent leader. Until the violent upheaval of December 1989, the RCP epitomized adamant anti-reformism. Its complete collapse cannot be explained without reference to its Obstinate refusal to engage in de-Stalinization. more

146. One More Reason For Communism's Collapse: Television In Poland, 1951-1989

Jul 07, 2011
The Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP) believed television had a specific function in socialist society. November 1997 - From the earliest days of the medium, party leaders sought to use TV as a vehicle to transmit socialism to the masses. They found out, however, that television was a very problematic device. The inability to control television fully and completely (try though the party may), and perhaps more importantly, the party's misunderstanding of the myriad functions of TV in society, prevented it from achieving its goals. In fact, one can even suggest that the government's television policy was a contributing factor in the collapse of the Polish socialist state. more

262. Gendered Entanglements in the Time of Marxism: The Friendship of Wanda Wasilewska and Janina Broniewska in a Man's Revolution

Jul 07, 2011
March 2002- During the bleak Polish winter of 1922, the young poet Wladyslaw Broniewski was dreaming of a fantastical romance with a demonic woman; instead he fell in love with a pretty girl named Janina Kunig. Broniewski lived in the elegant prewar city of Warsaw, where he would spend his evenings with a small group of young writers – including Aleksander Wat – who gathered on the upper floor of Cafe Ziemianska. The young poets were, for the most part, Poles and cosmopolitans – "non-Jewish Jews." Broniewski, in this respect, was an exception, an ethnic Pole, of all of them the most tied to the Polish romantic tradition. It was Broniewski who came out of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski's military Legions, who fought against the Soviets in his youth and later became a proletarian poet. He wrote Janina love letters in a language reminiscent of the knights and castles of premodern chivalry. Janina loved him as well, with an affection and concern that would last her entire life. Her greatest, most undying love, though, was for Wanda Wasilewska, who in the 1920s was a promising young leader of the Polish Socialist Party to which her father had devoted his life. She lived in Cracow, where she drank endless cups of black coffee and chain-smoked and wrote poems for a newspaper called Robotnik (The Worker). She was a very tall woman with a large voice in a man's world, and she and Janina would come to mean more to each other than any of the six husbands they had between them. more

306. The End of Postcommunism

Jul 07, 2011
September 2004 - On May 1, 2004, ten countries joined the European Union (EU). On the day of the accession, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary all had Central-Left governments in power. One day later, Leszek Miller, the Polish premier was forced to resign. In June, Czech social democrat Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla followed suit, and in August, the head of the Center-Left government of Hungary, Peter Medgyessy, was also forced to resign. "Too weak," "lacks energy," "cannot communicate effectively"—these were some of the accusations lodged against them. In spite of the fact that all three leaders where very popular at the beginning of their terms, it appeared that the initial success of their materialist-redistributive politics faded quickly. None of these countries was in bad shape economically—on the contrary, they were experiencing economic booms—yet political observers sensed that there was a crisis in the leadership. This situation had clear ties to EU accession. A national consensus supported the European accession almost everywhere: EU membership seemed logical and would clearly serve the common good. So, once the long-held goal of EU accession was achieved, why did these governments collapse? Was it just coincidence that all three were replaced by much younger prime ministers with very different outlooks from their predecessors? The answers to these questions are directly related to the fact that EU enlargement has brought the region to a new stage in its development, and one in which the former communists need to redefine their political roles. Indeed, this stage could be interpreted as the end of postcommunism. more

5. From Bolshevism to the Ideology of "Real Socialism"

Jul 07, 2011
Communist parties have inherited from Lenin and other great Bolsheviks an ideal-logical paradigm. In terms of this paradigm the Bolsheviks understand themselves and the world, which they try to disqualify ideologically and to change through revolutionary activity. more

31. Lessons of the East European Revolutions of 1989

Jul 07, 2011
There is little doubt what the greatest lesson of 1989 is: communism failed. Recent commentary to the contrary, this failure is not a parochial event limited in its significance to Eastern Europe, to the resolution of the Cold War, or to Western policy initiatives, but rather a moment of global importance in the most important family of events of the last few hundred years. These events do not have a satisfactory name, even though we all know how fundamental they are. Instead of calling them the industrial revolution, modernization, the great transformation, the single transition, or the emergence of capitalism, the author here explores their definition as the energy revolution. more

210. Twenty Years After Solidarity: The State of Democracy in the Post- Communist World

Jul 07, 2011
September 2000 - In his opening remarks, Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined three categories of democracy: functioning, malfunctioning, and fictitious. Functioning democracies are characterized by political and economic pluralism. Poland represents one of the most successful "functioning democracies" in the post-communist world. Malfunctioning democracies, such as many former Soviet states today, may aspire to democracy, but are crippled by legacies of the communist past. In fictitious democracies, the organs of the Communist Party remain but the regime pursues limited, reformist economic and social policies, such as in China. Brzezinski also pointed out that wide-scale, growing poverty impedes the movement toward democracy in many post-communist countries. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.