“Communism to us was what Heaven is to a Believer” Cover Image

“Communism to us was what Heaven is to a Believer”
“Communism to us was what Heaven is to a Believer”

Author(s): Rainer Girndt
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Nomos Verlag
Keywords: Sándor Gáspár; Hungarian trade unions;

Summary/Abstract: This article contains the report of a conversation with Sándor Gáspár, former General Secretary of SZOT (the Hungarian communist trade union) and President of the communist World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). It is exactly a decade ago that Sándor Gáspár, to the last moment a member of the closest leading group around the Hungarian party chief, János Kádár, had to give up all political and union positions that had made him one of the most influential personalities of his country. The last time I met him was in Düsseldorf at the beginning of the 1980s – at the height of his political career. He explained to the audience, the staff of the national board of the DGB, how work was shared between the party, the government and the unions in the political system of Hungary: none of the three poles should require infallibility and, for that reason, they were not subordinated to one another but were of equal status. These statements were challenged critically, but Gáspár’s remark on the “true social dissatisfaction” in Poland captured the attention of his audience. For the first time in the East of Europe, a new union movement, independent from the ruling communist party, was emerging from a broad social base. “Should unions not have the opportunity to speak and act on behalf of employees, it may come to a social explosion,” acknowledged Gáspár in Düsseldorf and added, “Basically, the Polish colleagues are right,” because the political leadership of their country was “foolish.”

  • Issue Year: 1998
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 129-138
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: English