Politicamente Incorrecto – Vida no Socialismo Húngaro (anos 70-80) – Verdade ou Fantasia de Quem lá Viveu?


Enquanto não sai Goulash And Solidarity, por Zsuzsanna Clark, saiu uma entrevista à autora, publicada em MailOnline:

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1221064/Oppressive-grey-No-growing-communism-happiestlife.html 

 
Escreve ela que nas «duas últimas décadas ganhámos democracia multipartidária, telemóveis, centros comerciais e internet, mas perdemos muito mais.» Muito mais o quê? Não são essas coisas que são importantes?

Além do mais, trata-se de recordações de infância. É sabido que os totalitarismos idolatram as crianças e os jovens: são energias ainda indefinidas que, por isso, podem facilmente orientar. Não esquecendo que a infância e a adolescência são idades inconscientes e vulgarmente felizes, a angústia existencial nada mais sendo do que o efluxo dérmico das borbulhas de crescimento.
Mas, ironicamente, o utilitarismo burguês, individualista e cioso da liberdade da pessoa na sua palavra e na sua bolsa, nos seus movimentos e no exercício da influência do seu poder, da democracia da maioria que os factos esmagadores construem, ideologia e moral dominante da ordem social do nosso tempo pós-racionalista (no qual a Felicidade Máxima é confundida com a Razão Prática, desprovida de qualquer ideal do Fim Último do Homem, a não ser o do Our Ford apoiado pelo Estado), apresenta também um potencial totalitário que não escapou a ensaístas e romancistas como Aldous Huxley, para não falar de filósofos como Lukács, Horkheimer, Goldmann, Marcuse e Lefebvre.
Huxley, num Prefácio 1946 ao seu livro O Admirável Mundo Novo, paródia negra ao utilitarismo e ao pragmatismo burgueses, escreveu que «Um estado totalitário verdadeiramente “eficiente” [portanto nem o fascista nem o comunista, bela palavra] será aquele em que o todo-poderoso comité executivo dos chefes políticos e o seu exército de directores terá o controlo de uma população de escravos que será inútil constranger, pois todos eles terão amor à sua servidão.», de tal maneira que essa ditadura consistirá na liberdade e democracia em que cada um acredita viver.
«Fazer que eles a amem, tal será a tarefa, atribuída nos estados totalitários de hoje aos ministérios de propaganda, aos redactores-chefes dos jornais e aos mestres-escolas.», continua Huxley, que conclui a descrição dos totalitarismos democráticos do nosso tempo, assinalando que a melhor maneira de convencer as pessoas da bondade do mundo em que vivem e da sua própria felicidade não é elogiar o que existe mas deixar os factos falarem por si: «Os maiores triunfos, em matéria de propaganda, foram conseguidos, não com fazer qualquer coisa mas com a abstenção de a fazer. Grande é a verdade mas maior ainda, do ponto de vista prático, é o silêncio a respeito da verdade.», ou seja, calarem-se os argumentos contra a força dos factos.
Todavia a ficção ideológica não basta para fazer amar aos indivíduos a sua servidão. Necessitamos do ilusionismo da realidade. É preciso que os factos se mostrem favoráveis às vontades condicionadas dos indivíduos, posto estas estarem determinadas pelos factos que uma ordem perfeita deve compreender na sua totalidade, tal que pareça haver uma harmonia pré-estabelecida entre os desejos e a realidade, únicos desejos possíveis para uma única possível forma de sociedade.
Tal é a unidade entre a segurança económica e o amor pela ordem que a garante. Essa ordem consiste no sistema económico e político que satisfaz as precisões físicas (alimento, vestuário, habitação, saúde) e espirituais dos indivíduos no plano do divertimento (turismo, cinema, música ligeira, literatura com finais felizes). Por exemplo, o sistema perfeitamente satisfatório de equidade (John Rawls!), regulamentado e executado pelo governo, em que é possível, na segurança, enriquecer e criar riqueza para os pobres serem menos pobres e se motivarem, por via da redistribuição de parte dos bens dos ricos, a enriquecerem também. Isto, junto com a motivação económica cientificamente compreendida e aplicada, de acordo com as capacidades de cada um, analisadas, ou até desenvolvidas, por meios educacionais e genéticos, que os vão destinar às profissões exigidas para a manutenção do todo social.
Os indivíduos são, a partir do conhecimento desses factos, manipulados, com a inconsciência desejável para acreditarem que só podem ser da maneira como existem. São assim levados a agir em conformidade, de modo a serem parte duma engrenagem global que é, para cada um deles, e efectivamente para o todo social, o fundamento e o destino de toda a existência singular. Na verdade, deixa de haver a possibilidade para existir singularmente, mesmo que através da cooperação – mas essa é uma questão resolvida.
Exige-se, pois, à elite política, científica e tecnológica, segundo escreve Huxley, «um conhecimento científico e perfeito das diferenças humanas que permita aos dirigentes governamentais destinar a todo o indivíduo determinado o seu lugar conveniente na hierarquia social e económica». O governo torna-se uma espécie de divindade que mantém a harmonia das mónadas, indivíduos actuantes mas, no seu isolamento próprio, mantidos numa totalidade que os ultrapassa na sua vontade, conduzindo-os pela via duma razão de Estado (Leibniz) na qual, por paradoxo compreensível, crêem estar a sua natureza mesma.
Como compensação para o tédio de uma existência predeterminada por um todo que é mais do que o conjunto das suas partes, como saboroso viático contra o aborrecimento de conhecerem de antemão o seu próprio destino – sem lugar para um Édipo -, tirar-se-á o freio à sexualidade. «Juntamente com a liberdade de sonhar em pleno dia sob a influência de drogas, do cinema e da rádio, ela contribuirá para reconciliar os seus súbditos com a servidão que lhes está destinada.» Tudo em prol da máxima e melhor felicidade.
Não há, pois, mal que não venha por bem.
E, além do mais, não será esse o melhor dos mundos possíveis?
Mas felizmente que o capitalismo é, por natureza, imperfeito e fonte de desordem económica e social. Por causa disso, ainda há lugar para a diferença singular, para percursos de vida imprevisíveis e inesperadamente inventivos, assim como para a riqueza e para a miséria, para a paixão e para o ódio, para a verdade e para a mentira, para a imposição organizacional externa e para o acaso, para aquela diferença que não consiste apenas no lugar que a estrutura e a necessidade social global num determinando momento destinam a cada um de acordo com as suas capacidades inatas ou adquiridas, ou tecnologicamente desenvolvidas.
Tudo isto, como para o Candide de Voltaire, resultando na maior e melhor felicidade possível.
Portanto, para que precisamos de ideais comunitários e igualitários como os do comunismo? Esse Fim Último da Humanidade onde também todos se aborreceriam de saber que teriam sempre um trabalho interessante e não fatigante, direito à saúde, a ter um trajecto de vida singular no seio de uma colaboração não forçada mas espontâneamente assumida porque coordenada com os interesses particulares, etc.
Esta senhora, que se prepara para publicar loas ao socialismo deve estar a ser vítima de visões impressionistas da infância.

«Oppressive and grey? No, growing up under communism was the happiest time of my life.
By When people ask me what it was like growing up behind the Iron Curtain in Hungary in the Seventies and Eighties, most expect to hear tales of secret police, bread queues and other nasty manifestations of life in a one-party state.
They are invariably disappointed when I explain that the reality was quite different, and communist Hungary, far from being hell on earth, was in fact, rather a fun place to live.
The communists provided everyone with guaranteed employment, good education and free healthcare. Violent crime was virtually non-existent.
Golden years: Zsuzsanna, right, aged 14 with a friend.
But perhaps the best thing of all was the overriding sense of camaraderie, a spirit lacking in my adopted Britain and, indeed, whenever I go back to Hungary today. People trusted one another, and what we had we shared.
I was born into a working-class family in Esztergom, a town in the north of Hungary, in 1968. My mother, Julianna, came from the east of the country, the poorest part. Born in 1939, she had a harsh childhood.
She left school aged 11 and went straight to work in the fields. She remembers having to get up at 4am to walk five miles to buy a loaf of bread. As a child, she was so hungry she often waited next to the hen for it to lay an egg. She would then crack it open and swallow the yolk and the white raw.
It was discontent with these conditions of the early years of communism that led to the Hungarian uprising in 1956.
The shock waves brought home to the communist leadership that they could consolidate their position only by making our lives more tolerable. Stalinism was out and ‘goulash communism’ – a unique brand of liberal communism – was in.
Janos Kadar, the country’s new leader, transformed Hungary into the ‘happiest barracks’ in Eastern Europe. We probably had more freedoms than in any other communist country.
One of the best things was the way leisure and holiday opportunities were opened up to all. Before the Second World War, holidays were reserved for the upper and middle classes. In the immediate post-war years too, most Hungarians were working so hard rebuilding the country that holidays were out of the question.
In the Sixties though, as in many other aspects of life, things changed for the better. By the end of the decade, almost everyone could afford to go away, thanks to the network of subsidised trade-union, company and co-operative holiday centres.
My parents worked in Dorog, a nearby town, for Hungaroton, a state-owned record company, so we stayed at the factory’s holiday camp at Lake Balaton, ‘The Hungarian Sea’.
The camp was similar to the sort of holiday camps in vogue in Britain at the same time, the only difference being that guests had to make their own entertainment in the evenings – there were no Butlins-style Redcoats.
Some of my earliest memories of living at home are of the animals my parents kept on their smallholding. Rearing animals was something most people did, as well as growing vegetables. Outside Budapest and the big towns, we were a nation of Tom and Barbara Goods.
My parents had about 50 chickens, pigs, rabbits, ducks, pigeons and geese. We kept the animals not just to feed our family but also to sell meat to our friends. We used the goose feathers to make pillows and duvets.

Star pupil: Zsuzsanna aged seven at elementary school in Hungary
The government understood the value of education and culture. Before the advent of communism, opportunities for the children of the peasantry and urban working class, such as me, to rise up the educational ladder were limited. All that changed after the war.
The school system in Hungary was similar to that which existed in Britain at the time. Secondary education was divided into grammar schools, specialised secondary schools, and vocational schools. The main differences were that we stayed in our elementary school until the age of 14, not 11.
There were also evening schools, for children and adults. My parents, who had both left school young, took classes in mathematics, history and Hungarian literature and grammar.
I loved my schooldays, and in particular my membership of the Pioneers – a movement common to all communist countries.
Many in the West believed it was a crude attempt to indoctrinate the young with communist ideology, but being a Pioneer taught us valuable life skills such as building friendships and the importance of working for the benefit of the community. ‘Together for each other’ was our slogan, and that was how we were encouraged to think.
As a Pioneer, if you performed well in your studies, communal work and school competitions, you were rewarded with a trip to a summer camp. I went every year because I took part in almost all the school activities: competitions, gymnastics, athletics, choir, shooting, literature and library work.
On our last night at Pioneer camp we sang songs around the bonfire, such as the Pioneer anthem: ‘Mint a mokus fenn a fan, az uttoro oly vidam’ (‘We are as happy as a squirrel on a tree’), and other traditional songs. Our feelings were always mixed: sad at the prospect of leaving, but happy at the thought of seeing our families again.
Today, even those who do not consider themselves communists look back at their days in the Pioneers with great affection.
Hungarian schools did not follow the so-called ‘progressive’ ideas on education prevalent in the West at the time. Academic standards were extremely high and discipline was strict.
My favourite teacher taught us that without mastery of Hungarian grammar we would lack confidence to articulate our thoughts and feelings. We could make only one mistake if we wanted to attain the highest grade.
Unlike Britain, there were ‘viva voce’ exams in Hungary in every subject. In literature, for example, set texts had to be memorised and recited and then the student would have to answer questions put to them orally by the teacher.»
High spirits: Zsuzsanna enjoys a day out with her cousins during their childhood in Hungary
«Whenever we had a national celebration, I was among those asked to recite a poem or verse in front of the whole school. Culture was regarded as extremely important by the government. The communists did not want to restrict the finer things of life to the upper and middle classes – the very best of music, literature and dance were for all to enjoy.
This meant lavish subsidies were given to institutions including orchestras, opera houses, theatres and cinemas. Ticket prices were subsidised by the State, making visits to the opera and theatre affordable.
‘Cultural houses’ were opened in every town and village, so provincial, working-class people such as my parents could have easy access to the performing arts, and to the best performers.
Programming on Hungarian television reflected the regime’s priority to bring culture to the masses, with no dumbing down.
When I was a teenager, Saturday night primetime viewing typically meant a Jules Verne adventure, a poetry recital, a variety show, a live theatre performance, or an easy Bud Spencer film.
Much of Hungarian television was home-produced, but quality programmes were imported, not just from other Eastern Bloc countries but from the West, too.
Hungarians in the early Seventies followed the trials and tribulations of Soames Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga just as avidly as British viewers had done a few years earlier. The Onedin Line was another popular BBC series I enjoyed watching, along with David Attenborough documentaries.
However, the government was alive to the danger of us turning into a nation of four-eyed couch potatoes.
Every Monday was ‘family night’, when State television was taken off the air to encourage families to do other things together. Others called it ‘family planning night’, and I am sure the figures showing the proportion of children conceived on Monday nights under communism would make interesting reading.
Although we lived well under ‘goulash communism’ and there was always enough food for us to eat, we were not bombarded with advertising for products we didn’t need.
Throughout my youth, I wore hand-me-down clothes, as most young people did. My school bag was from the factory where my parents worked. What a difference to today’s Hungary, where children are bullied, as they are in Britain, for wearing the ‘wrong’ brand of trainers.
Looking back: Zsuzsanna Clark
Like most people in the communist era, my father was not money-obsessed.
As a mechanic he made a point of charging people fairly. He once saw a broken-down car with an open bonnet – a sight that always lifted his heart. It belonged to a West German tourist.
My father fixed the car but refused payment – even a bottle of beer. For him it was unnatural that anyone would think of accepting money for helping someone in distress.
When communism in Hungary ended in 1989, I was not only surprised, but saddened, as were many others. Yes, there were people marching against the government, but the majority of ordinary people – me and my family included – did not take part in the protests.
Our voice – the voice of those whose lives were improved by communism – is seldom heard when it comes to discussions of what life was like behind the Iron Curtain.
Instead, the accounts we hear in the West are nearly always from the perspectives of wealthy emigrés or anti-communist dissidents with an axe to grind.
Communism in Hungary had its downside. While trips to other socialist countries were unrestricted, travel to the West was problematic and allowed only every second year. Few Hungarians (myself included) enjoyed the compulsory Russian lessons.
There were petty restrictions and needless layers of bureaucracy and freedom to criticise the government was limited. Yet despite this, I believe that, taken as a whole, the positives outweighed the negatives.
Twenty years on, most of these positive achievements have been destroyed.
People no longer have job security. Poverty and crime is on the increase. Working-class people can no longer afford to go to the opera or theatre. As in Britain, TV has dumbed down to a worrying degree – ironically, we never had Big Brother under communism, but we have it today.
Most sadly of all, the spirit of camaraderie that we once enjoyed has all but disappeared. In the past two decades we may have gained shopping malls, multi-party ‘ democracy’, mobile phones and the internet. But we have lost a whole lot more.»

• Goulash And Solidarity, by Zsuzsanna Clark, is awaiting publication.
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