The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was the first full-blown workers’ revolution against a Stalinist dictatorship in Eastern Europe, sending shockwaves through the Eastern Bloc and the Stalinised Communist Parties of the West.
Although ultimately defeated, the resistance of Hungarian workers shattered the myths prevailing around the world that the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries were in any sense “socialist”, and that workers living under Stalinist rule were too cowed and brainwashed to stand up to tyranny. Hungary’s working class cracked open the Stalinist monolith and paved the way for future revolts.
Andy Anderson’s book, first published in 1964, is a useful companion to Peter Fryer’s classic eye-witness account, Hungarian Tragedy, highlighting the courage and capacity for organisation of Hungary’s workers, students and dissident intellectuals.
Andy Anderson was a member of Solidarity, a small libertarian socialist organisation that existed in Britain from 1960 to 1981. Solidarity espoused “council communism” and was known for its emphasis on workers’ spontaneous self-organisation and for its hostility to Leninism.