Gáspár Miklós Tamás

“Undoubtedly, leftwingers exist who can find excuses for the Soviet penal universe. But I don’t regularly discuss matters with them”. The Hungarian political scientist Gáspár Miklós Tamás responds to Romanian philosopher Andrei Plesu’s assertion in Dilema veche 243 (2008) that “The Left […] hides the Gulag behind a veil of intelligence, nuance, and ‘historical necessity’.”

State socialism in eastern Europe, though intolerably authoritarian, offered security and the opportunity for upward mobility, writes G.M. Tamás. Members of the middle class resist becoming déclassé but cannot identify with the communist institutions to which they owe their status. In order to defend social relations before 1989 without losing face, they portray the neoconservative destruction of the welfare state as the work of communists. The new counter revolutionaries can, then, be described both as left- and as rightwing – as the anti-communist enemies of communist privatizers and globalizers.