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The Specter of Communism

Denmark, 1848

Bertel Nygaard

Among all the new phenomena in recent times, none have appeared as radical and comprehensively subversive as socialism and communism. In France, the center and starting-point of all political movement, socialism and communism has proven to be the

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Harriet Evans

From many perspectives, the Chinese Communist Party’s approach to gender equality and feminism offers a shining example of communism’s ideological limitations, and its historical failure to serve women’s interests. From its earliest days, Chinese communism upheld a platform of ‘sexual equality’ (nannü pingdeng), and implemented numerous policies to protect women’s equal rights. Yet its attacks on the epistemological foundations of Western feminism and its denunciation of the latter as little more than ‘bourgeois individualism’ give clear evidence of Miheala Miroiu’s ‘contradictio in terminis’.

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Feminism and Communism

Notes on the Greek Case

Angelika Psarra

If we want to situate the Greek case in a wider discussion as to whether the notion of a ‘Communist Feminism’ constitutes a contradiction in terms, it would be productive, in my view, to shift the question to focus on those aspects which might help us clarify the features specific to Greek history. As is widely known, communism in Greece has not been part of the political establishment and has been subject to harsh and systematic persecutions throughout the twentieth century. Consequently, the question is whether we can characterise the Greek version of communist theory and praxis, as it was expressed by the main source of communist ideas in Greece, the Greek Communist Party (KKE), as ‘feminist’ in any way. To answer this question, however, we should first define exactly what we mean by the term feminist, or whether feminism also includes a communist constituent.

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Larry Busk

This article considers Sartre's perspective on political violence with reference to his 1948 play Dirty Hands. Focusing on the concrete political questions that confronted Sartre in his context, it traces the development and result of conversations with Merleau-Ponty, Camus and the Marxist tradition that shaped his thinking on this subject. At the end of this dialectical process, Sartre arrived at a position that refused both bourgeois humanism, with its disavowal of political violence, and what is here termed Official Communism – the prevailing Manichean politics of his day and the institutionalized repression that went along with it. In other words, he affirmed the violence of the political without by that token affirming the politics of violence. It is argued here that these conversations and this conclusion are dramatically illustrated in Dirty Hands.

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Who Is a Victim of Communism?

Gender and Public Memory in the Sighet Museum, Romania

Alina Haliliuc

The Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance is the main museum of communism in Romania. This article a ends to this museum's politics of representing gender and argues that its exhibits reify resistance to and victimization by the communist regime as masculine. The museum marginalizes women, in general, and renders unmemorable women's lives under Nicolae Ceauşescu's pronatalist regime, in particular. The absence is significant because Romania is the only country in the former communist bloc where women experienced unique forms of systematic political victimization under Ceauşescu's nationalist-socialist politics of forced birth. This article illustrates how the museum's investment in an anti-communist discourse creates a gendered representation of political action under the communist regime.

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Daniel F. Ziblatt

The collapse of communism did not follow any single path in east

central Europe. In Hungary and Poland, the transition was marked

by early negotiations between opposition elites and the ruling Communist

party. In East Germany and Czechoslovakia, the regimes fell

victim to a sudden and quick implosion. In Romania and Bulgaria,

internal coups replaced the ruling communist elite with other members

of the nomenklatura. The transitions away from communist rule

diverged from each other in timing, manner, and degree.

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Susanna Trnka

Twenty years after the end of communist rule in Czechoslovakia, numerous public and private acts of remembrance both hail the end of state socialism and rally Czech society to be on guard against its possible return. This article compares three sets of remembrances-official commemorations sponsored by the state and/or private corporations, activists' alternative memory acts, and personal accounts of Czech citizens-to reveal how each of these give voice to fears and anxieties over the possibilities of “forgetting“ communism. Promoting a vision of the nation as united in ensuring that the future remains “communist-free“, widespread concerns over social amnesia and civic apathy become, I argue, a means of bonding citizens together and to the state. What, however, exactly characterizes a “noncommunist“ society is left necessarily ambiguous.

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Karl Cordell

This paper seeks to offer an assessment of the nature of identity among Poland's German minority and to investigate why since 1950 large numbers of that minority have migrated to Germany. It does so by examining the nature of identity in the historic Polish-German borderlands, by recounting the experiences of those Germans who remained behind in Poland after the post World War Two expulsion process was completed in 1949, and by examining the continued salience of negative stereotypes of Germans and Germany among elements of Polish society. The paper highlights a number of salient factors of importance for members of the minority in deciding whether or not to stay in Poland or to migrate to Germany.

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David Lethbridge

Sartre's interventions at the Vienna, Berlin, and Helsinki Congresses of the World Peace Council are examined in depth. Neglected and overlooked for over a half-century, it is argued that the themes Sartre elaborated in these speeches were consonant with the political and intellectual projects he had been developing since the mid-1930s. Although Sartre spoke as a Marxist who had allied himself with the Communist Party, his deepest concern was to build international unity in opposition to the escalating threat of nuclear war, and to restore political and economic sovereignty to a Western Europe crushed by dependency on America. Freedom for all the world's peoples, Sartre argued, depended on mutual interdependence between nations, built from the ground up by the popular masses.

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Wesley Gunter

Sartre's thoughts on the eighteenth century are ambiguous and schematic at best but they do contain an interesting analysis of materialism that continues from this period through to the early 1940s. Even though Sartre refers to the eighteenth-century as a paradise soon-to-be lost, it is argued here that his condemnation of atomistic materialism as it was conceived during this period is directly linked to his rejection of the dialectical materialism of the Communist Party and bourgeois ideology. This article examines the relationship between these different modes of thought and seeks to demonstrate how Sartre's take on the eighteenth century provided a stern warning to the communists about the pitfalls associated with basing a revolution on materialist doctrine.