The Forgotten Revolution: The 1919 Hungarian Republic of Councils

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    Andr√°s Gollner (ed.)

    Publisher: Black Rose Books

    Year:

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 225 pages

    ISBN: 9781551647159

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After the ravages of World War I and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Budapest was engulfed by revolution and marauding foreign armies in 1919. Factory workers, disillusioned ex-soldiers, landless peasants, artists, and intellectuals began forming grassroots councils to get the country back on its feet. This groundswell produced a unique cross-class alliance in pursuit of social justice, constitutionalism, and sustainable economic development, which quickly led to the formation of the Hungarian Republic of Councils on March 21, 1919. After only four months, however, this radically new experiment in self-government ended in tragedy. Over time, the revolution has been smeared by a series of counterrevolutions that followed and remains misunderstood and largely forgotten to this day by the rest of the world. What makes this journey back in time and space so special is its use of a new, non-ideological, universally valid moral compass, or view-finder that enables us to connect the dots between the past, the present and the future for those who believe that ecologically sustainable communal well-being, based on universal principles of justice and equal rights, matter.

The Forgotten Revolution sets a precedent, by not only revealing details that our earlier, ideologically driven view-finders had obfuscated but by exposing the roots of the current autocratic government of Viktor Orb√°n that derives its essential nutrients out of the counterrevolution that buried the 1919 Budapest Commune.

This is how Professor András B. Göllner, the editor and one of the contributors to the book, speaks of this collective enterprise:

‚ÄúThe wall of ignorance surrounding the 1919 Hungarian Republic of Councils had become as impenetrable as those thorn bushes that entombed Sleeping Beauty for a century. The Hungarian Republic of Councils had not been treated kindly during the past century by the historians or the political regimes that succeeded it from either the Right or the Left, for fear that full disclosure of its true character may spark a repeat performance and destroy them all. It was time for a fresh approach, a new take on this long-neglected, archetypical quest of working men and women to be masters of their own destinies, and to rid themselves of the fortune hunters who profit from the affinity-fraud that deprives human beings of their ability to distinguish illusion from reality. Ours is a tribute to those who, a century ago, gave their lives to an idea that refuses to die.‚ÄĚ

These essays bring together internationally respected scholars from Europe and North America, including: Christopher Adam, the late Magda Aranyossi, Lajos Csoma, Péter Csunderlik, András B. Göllner, Marie-Josée Lavalleé, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Raquel Varela, Dimitrios Roussopoulos and Susan Zimmermann.


What People Are Saying

"The Forgotten Revolution should be required reading for anyone engaged in the struggle against the fortune hunters who derive their profits by destroying the ability of working men and women to distinguish illusion from reality." Valério Arcary, a leading voice of the Brazilian labour movement, Emeritus Professor of History of the Federal Institute of São Paulo (FSP), author of numerous critically acclaimed books, including O Martelo da História (History’s Hammer) (Sundermann: 2016).

"This is the first book in any language to tell the true story of what happened in Hungary in 1919 and under the counterrevolutions that followed, including the current one under Viktor Orbán’s leadership." András Bíró, born in Bulgaria to Hungarian-Serbian parents, writer and civil rights activist, winner of the Right Livelihood Award for his activities concerned with the environment, minority rights, poverty alleviation, and the promotion of civil society and grass-roots democracy in post-communist Hungary.

"This volume sheds new light on the Councils’ Republic in Hungary, including the important parts played by women and women’s organisations in the plebeian revolt that shook bourgeois order in Central Europe for an exhilarating moment in 1919. A welcome addition to the literature on the lost revolutions of 1918-23." Gareth Dale, Senior Lecturer in politics and history at Brunel University, London, whose writings have been translated into several languages, including the definitive biography: Karl Polanyi. A Life on the Left (New York: Columbia University Press. 2017).

"Obscured for more than a century, the true story of a people‚Äôs heroic and spontaneous seizure of power is vividly displayed in this important book that illuminates the direct democratic character of the 1919 Hungarian Republic of Councils. The Forgotten Revolution reminds us that working men and women are fully entitled to be lead actors on the centre stage of modern history." George Katsiaficas, Professor of Humanities (ret) Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, a global authority on ‚Äúpeople power‚ÄĚ, the author of 14 books including the American Political Science Association‚Äôs Michael Harrington Book Award winner, The Subversion of Politics (AK Press 2001) and The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968

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"These essays offer a new compass for exploring the policy universe of the revolutionary states of the modern and post-modern world. They present a paradigmatic shift in our view of 'People Power'. A fresh voice in the public debate on the road forward from Dead End Capitalism and the perils of global warming." Ilan Ziv, Israeli born filmmaker, director of Srebrenica (Silver Nymph and International Jury prize, Monte Carlo Television Festival); Human bombs (special mention, Prix Europa, Berlin International Film Festival); The Junction (Best Documentary, Haifa International Film Festival) and many others including Capitalism; People Power; and Tango of Slaves.

About the Editor

Andr√°s B. G√∂llner is a Hungarian born Canadian Political-Economist (PhD, The London School of Economics). One of the Founders of Concordia University‚Äôs School of Community and Public Affairs, he is now an Emeritus Associate Professor of Political Science at Concordia and an active civil-rights advocate. He was the Founder of the Montreal based civil-rights advocacy group, the Canadian-Hungarian Democratic Charter in 2011. Dr. G√∂llner is the author/editor of five books, including Social Change and Corporate Strategy (Stamford. IAP 1983) and Ilona: Portrait of a Rebel (2022 forthcoming). G√∂llner‚Äôs writings have appeared in numerous scholarly journals as well as in the mass and on-line media in Europe and North America, including Hungarian Cultural Studies, The Journal of Parliamentary Law and Politics, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, The National Post, Social Europe, √Člet √©s Irodalom (Life and Literature) etc., His current research focuses on the political language of cyber-capitalism.

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