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41. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 2
Valentine Lomellini Reassessing the Communist utopia? Eurocommunists at the mirror of „developed socialism”
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This article tries to provide some food for thought on the identities of the PCI and the PCF about the developed socialism, taking into consideration some relevant turning points in the ‘70s and three different case studies (the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Poland). Although it does not offer a complete analysis of Western Communist thinking on the image of developed socialism, it rather tries to reassess the common interpretation of some central features of the legacy of the developed socialism with respect to the two main Communist Parties of the Western bloc.Firstly, it argues that though many factors lay behind the strong tie between Western Communism and the Eastern communist states, the belief that developedsocialism was reformable, mattered a great deal and, indeed, many leaders endorsed such a conviction. Th e Western leaders, and especially those ofthe Italian Communist Party, were arguably aware of the failures of developed socialism: particularly during the mid-‘70s, pessimism grew and was decisivein the creation of Eurocommunism. Nevertheless, the important role played by the Soviet Union in détente, and the conviction that the contradictionsof the developed socialism could be resolved if the new course of the 20th Congress were restored, proved central in defi ning the image of developedsocialism for Western Communists.Secondarily, the paper argues that historiography makes much of the differences between the PCI and the PCF: the first is usually considered more open,more democratic and capable of serious and genuine ideological evolution; while the latter is seen as a pro-Soviet Party, which used Eurocommunismas a tactic, and that lacked the capacity for autonomous thought. Though substantially agreeing on this distinction, more information is needed. We should stress that the thoughts of both Parties were based on the idea that a new political ruling class would have been able to change developed socialism. It would have brought about a new course, combining socialism and democracy or, at least, solving the contradictions within real socialism. Leadership was considered to be the key to changing the system. New Eastern heads and maybe also the Eurocommunist leadership would have been able to transform the system and set out a new path to socialism.The paper is based on archival resources recently made available, those of the Archivio Centrale del Partito Comunista Italiano – Fondazione Gramsci and of theArchive du Parti Communiste Français de la Seine-Saint Denis. Particular attention is given to press sources and interviews with former communist leaders.
42. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 2
Cosmina Tănăsoiu Revisiting Romanian Dissent under Communism. The Unbearable Lightness of Solitude
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Explanations for the relative silence of Romanian intellectuals between 1945 and 1989 vary, though all centre upon the regime’s ability to coerce and control intellectual circles through its repressive and manipulative tools, such as its political police (the Securitate), a nationalist discourse that equated opposition with betrayal and an incentive-based approach (economic and social benefits). While structural constraints as well as a particular nationalistic culture, explain the limited dissent, they do not account for why dissent happened at all. This article focuses on agency as well as context examining not just the factors that influenced dissent but also analyzing the various forms of dissent which occurred during communism. It takes a historical analysis approach and relies upon a dataset obtained through original, open-ended interviews with leading Romanian intellectuals and primary sources (i.e. memoirs, open letters) to explain and analyze intellectual dissent. The article argues that individual acts of dissent show that despite the sophisticated mechanisms of indoctrination, propaganda and control, the party’s ability to atomize society was not absolute. Such Quijotic acts provided society with reference points outside the sphere of the Party itself and the grey zone of ethical minimalism.
43. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 2
Andrei Muraru Charles King, Odessa: Genius and Death in the City of Dreams
44. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Sławomir Łodziński Towards the Polish Nation-State. National Minorities in Poland Between 1945 and 1989
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The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of communist policies upon ethnic relations within a multinational state. I use the case of Poland in order to identify the general shifts and dynamics in nationalities polices in this country between 1945 and 1989. The study’s main focus is the processes by which Polish society was ethnically homogenized. I subsequently discuss the successive ways of building the Polish nation-state, from one phase of the communist regime to another, and the national mythologisation of historical memory, especially in relation to World War II. The paper also draws attention to a phenomenon, often ignored by scholarly literature, which took place in postwar communist societies within minority ethnic groups. I am referring to the preservation of minorities’ identities in the form of “a hidden ethnicity” in the context of group exclusion from the public sphere and of the disenfranchisement of specific ethnic historical memories within the wider societal narratives.
45. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Notes on contributors
46. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Call For Contributions 2013
47. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Marco Abram 20.Oktobar – Narratives of Identities in the Celebrations for Belgrade’s Liberation Day (1945-1961)
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The aim of this paper is to explore the relationships and interactions between socialist ideology and national narratives in Tito’s Yugoslavia, focusing on the peculiar case of Belgrade. Taking into account the representative role of the capital city, narratives of identity are analysed from the point of view of the ideology involved and displayed in the celebration of the post-war city’s holiday: the 20th of October, anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation during the Second World War. Using both archival material and reports published in different newspapers as primary sources, the research studies these celebrative practices as an extremely concentrated expression of the state’s ideology but also as occasions of tension and negotiation between different representative meanings: from the attempt of Sovietization of the country – reinforced also by the role of the Red Army in the liberation of the city – to the strengthening of the Yugoslav socialist patriotism after the split between Tito and Stalin and the permanence of Serbian and local identity’s narratives.
48. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Enis Sulstarova Constructing Albanian Communist Identity Through Literature: Nationalism and Orientalism in the Works of Ismail Kadare
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The communist regime in Albania considered literature to be one of the main ideological vehicles for the formation of the “New Albanian Man”. To this aim, a great part of literature in post-war Albania spoke of how not only did the Albanian people preserve their national identity throughout history, but also of how they fought on the side of European civilization and progress. In this process, a series of barbarian Others were constructed, because if national resistance and communism were to be linked together in a progressive tradition, then the Turks, counter-revolutionary social classes, capitalism and even “revisionist”betrayers of Marxism-Leninism represented the regressive tradition. By taking as a case study the literary works of Ismail Kadare, this paper argues thatKadare, in his depiction of the Turks as the Oriental other of the Albanian nation, employed the clichés and stereotypes borrowed from the European Orientalisttradition, in which the Turks largely are presented as the barbaric mirror to Europe. Later on, the danger coming from the “social-revisionism” of the Russianand Chinese communist states were portrayed in Kadare’s novels as the continuation of the “Asiatic threat”. The intended effect of Orientalism in Albanianliterature was to emphasize the modernity of Albanian socialist society and to culturally justify the lonely road of Albanian communism.
49. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Paul McNamara Competing National and Regional Identities in Poland’s Baltic “Recovered Territories”, 1945-1956
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The article analyzes the manner in which Poland’s Baltic “Recovered Territories”, the three provinces of Szczecin, Gdańsk and Olsztyn, were incorporated into a re-constituted Polish state following the Second World War. It shows how the organic formation of a regional identity in the three Baltic provinces faced continuous interference from a regime with little or no understanding of the effects its state-building policies had upon their specific ‘transnational’ social, cultural, and demographic particularities. Despite the internal divisions in what was a fledgling pioneer society, the communist state never allowed for settler and indigenous groups to iron out their differences at their own pace and in their own way. Between 1945 and 1956, Polish settlers and indigenous groups in the Baltic Recovered Territories managed to form only a weak common identity not due to the policies of Poland’s Communist regime but in spite of them.
50. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 3
Humberto Cucchetti Communism, French Patriotism, and Soviet Legitimacy in France: Social Trajectories and Nationalism (1945-1954)
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The following contribution analyzes the specific spaces for the legitimization of the defense of the “Soviet model” in France. To do so, rather than examining the policies of the Communist Party itself (often analyzed by French historiography), the paper approaches a vast set of organizational networks that have been commonly known as “transmission belts” of communism in France. Thus, the paper presents a universe of situations, individual trajectories, and associative frameworks that are deployed in defense of the Soviet Union, from 1945 until 1954. In all these different areas and situations the paper points out instances of an intense militancy. As a result, there was a non-contradictory overlap between French patriotism, nationalism and the justification of Soviet hegemony in the context of the communization of Eastern Europe and of the Cold War.