Spontaneous Proletarian Organisation
on the Territory of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, 1918-19.
In the previous 40 years of Stalinist-Kadarist capitalism, the proclamation of the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 21 March, 1919, was considered a holy day. Under the present period of liberal capitalism, we have crossed over to the opposite extreme, so that only with the harshest of invectives does one now refer to this recurrence. The reality is that both sides represent bourgeois views, regardless of their seemingly contrasting opinions. One group explains the series of events according to the actions of historical figures, while the other does not see a process, but only sharply distinct periods. They declare that a civil democratic republic came into being on 31 October, 1918, while the 21st of March represents the beginning of communist society. Through this they wish to tear asunder from history the proletariat’s permanent class struggle and thereby negate its existence. The fact that the proletariat continued waging war against the bourgeois system after that date divests the anniversary of any significance. The above-mentioned insignificant events did not bring about any positive result for the proletariat's movement, but precisely its opposite.
What then happened on that day? On the night of the 20th of March, some leaders of the MSzDP (the Hungarian Social Democratic Party) visited Béla Kun, the KMP (Hungarian Communist Party) secretary, in his prison cell. They invited him to become part of a unified leadership. The bourgeoisie had another ace up their sleeve before the eruption of the revolution. This young so-called communist party had not yet lost the confidence of the proletariat. The aim was simple: to defeat the global revolutionary wave which was sweeping Hungary as well. At the last moment, the communist party was to stand for the proletariat in order to stymie the centralisation of its struggle and the development of the workers’ autonomous revolutionary leadership. They were to prevent the workers organising into a party and destroy the capitalist system, democracy, and workers’ society with the use of a violent dictatorship of the proletariat. The 21st of March thereby turned into a special day in that the proletariat apparently had fulfilled the aim of achieving a communist society. The term sounds good, the workers might have thought, but what were the imperatives and decrees of the “revolutionary communist leadership”?
– Anyone who steals or loots is to receive the death penalty.
– The retail, trafficking, and consumption of alcoholic products is forbidden.
– Weapons of any sort will only be carried by the military, the police, the gendarme, the guards, the people’s guard and other legitimate entities, as well as members of factory- and worker-guards.
– Work! Order!
These decrees speak of the protection of property, order, work; they cannot be called revolutionary communist in the least. The workers’ movement could not be struck down so easily, though. The proletariat still possessed formidable force, which unfortunately remained under the influence of the bourgeois counterrevolutionary leadership (as a consequence of a lack of independent leadership).
Regardless of bourgeois leadership, they accomplished much that was revolutionary: they sabotaged workplaces, they looted, and destroyed any bourgeois elements they saw without mercy or any idiotically limiting humanistic principles. But without any autonomous centralisation they could not destroy the state, which proclaimed itself as the repository of communal property. Thus, instead of the dictatorship of the party of the revolutionary proletariat, a political party played the role of the proletariat through Leninist means. The state became stronger and intensified the reduction of worker power. After 133 days, when social democracy played out its role the raging Horthyist terror annihilated the handful of revolutionary minority that remained active. The political history of the Soviet Republic was nothing but the continuation of the social-democratic bourgeois clique’s attempts to isolate the anarchist-communist movement, which in spite of its radicalism reaped the unfortunate lesson of its compromising ability.1
I. The Zöld Gárda (Green Guard)
What follows is an article entitled “About the Green Guard”, which appeared in Szociális Forradalom (‘Social Revolution’)2, 28th of September, 1918. It originates from an article entitled “Revolutionary ‘bands’ in Croatia”.
The continuing struggle with the patrols and gendarmes in the monarchy is waged with increasing cruelty. As long as the military court executes deserters, as long as orders overstep the law, shooting people down all over the place, pursuing to the wilds those exiled soldiers nauseated by war, the more deserters will persist, the more people will join the “Green Guard”. They get involved in armed conflict with the persecuters but it is not always the case that they become the vanquished. On the contrary, they can just as often mount successful attacks.
These soldiers of the Green Guard are principally situated in Croatia and the Szerémség. True “revolutionary bands” are fighting against the armed slave-drivers of state power, despite the harshness of the struggle. On the 5th of September, such a deserting group attacked the gendarme captain, József Radosevics, and the head of the guards, Pál Androvics, while on patrol in the area of Grabovci. The deserters executed the two gendarmes and destroyed their weapons. On the 6th of September, as the official news stated, “revolutionary bands” executed the gendarme Mile Utyesanovics in Erdevik. The band also destroyed their firearms and weapons. On the 8th of September the same band “with a greater number of men” found two gendarmes in the village of Velika Bastaja. One was headed to patrol the village, while the other remained in the municipal building. There, they executed the gendarme fraction leader, Miksa Deutsch, while they gunned down the night patrolman and the municipal policeman. The band members gathered all the weapons in the municipal building and took them away with them.
The Green Guard “revolutionaries” also made a visit to the small town of Indija, in the Szerémség. They requisitioned 20.000 Crowns worth of wheat flour as tribute from the immensely wealthy Jakab Müller, taking his entire stock of flour. Mihály Motz, a wealthy land owner, and his associates paid the fearsome men 100.000 Crowns worth of goods, knowing full well that the gendarme would not come to their rescue. The armed deserters looted and exacted tribute from every propertied man, clergy, clerk, and wealthy land-owner from Petrovicic, Karlovcic, Dec and Kupinovo. All this within the span of a week.
So recounts the newspaper Népszava, referring to a report from the Reichspost. It appears clearly form the information, regardless of the censor’s scissors, that the occurrence cannot refer to simple robbery. The article is not referring to a criminal group or a band of thieves, but, as Népszava remarks, of a series of events “judged to be of serious political significance”.3 The armed Szeremség deserters were not merely fighting to their deaths in self-defense against their persecutors. They were obviously surging in armed revolt against the oppressing class-based state, its hangmen, and the bourgeoisie. There in the Szeremség, where the “revolutionary bandits” of the Green Guard instilled fear, lay the first fiery nest of open armed insurrection in the lands of the monarchy…
II. The Lenin Youth
Before the Soviet Republic and during its era many terror squads were organised (e.g., the Green Guard) by the proletariat towards a dictatorship over capitalist relations and their activities peaked during the ruthless struggle against the bourgeoisie. The most famous among them were the Lenin Youth. The organisation, after its spontaneous development, was subordinated to the Political Inspectorate of Interior Security. Yet after a while, the inspectorate was unable to direct the activities of this organisation at all. Two communist “leaders”, Tibor Szamuely4 and Ottó Korvin,5 could manage to influence it in certain actions (but, of course, only when it conformed to their aims as well).
Their appearance onto the scene is already wrapped in legend. They had the following provisions: leather trousers, leather coats, leather boots, service caps, a rifle, a Steyre pistol, a bayonet, and a hand grenade. But the real legend is wrapped in ruthless anti-bourgeois struggle. Generally, they demolished the movements with the joint forces of the local proletariat, for instance, at Szolnok on the 1st of May, at Hatvan on the 2nd, at Devecser on the 7th, at Dunaföldvár on the 1st of June, at Dömsöd on the 21st, at Szekszárd on the 22nd etc., and they contributed their share in the defeat of counter-revolutionary organisation as well. “The Hungarian Soviet Republic even in its most extreme form of power is always more humane than those governments which bring the horrors of war to humanity”, declared Béla Kun,6 and attempted to turn proletarian anger into a purulent humanism. However, Szamuely’s words stood closer to the Lenin Youth: “Everywhere counter-revolutionaries run about and swagger; beat them down! Beat their heads where you find them! If counter-revolutionaries were to gain the upper hand for even a single hour, there will be no mercy for any proletarian. Before they stifle the revolution, suffocate them in their own blood!” (Vörös Újság (‘Red News’), 11th of February, 1919).
Of course, the self-proclaimed communist Revolutionary Governing Soviet mounted intense armed attacks against their actions in some places. “Judgements carried out in spite of laws and decrees and primarily unspeakable murders that some have perpetrated without government consent, carried out by free brigades and maximalists not belonging to the military or the Red Guard. These criminal activities have been first and foremost against the laws of the revolution. They have stained the purity of the revolution. The revolution and the revolutionaries do not claim responsibility for these acts”, Vilmos Böhm,7 the Soviet Government Military Commissar wrote. The maximalists did not for this reason desist. Under the leadership of József Cserny,8 they still seized the Batthyány fort, at the busiest area of the capital. “The terror squad of the Revolutionary Governing Soviet” was inscribed on the gates of the fort. Government officials recognised the event in astonishment. They had never given any such standing to such an organisation and if any official knew of their activities, she or he had not expected such an outcome. On the 3rd of May, with Cserny’s knowledge, a pair of steel workers killed István Návay and Béla Kis, a town clerk, and eight other members of the bourgeoisie. Their killing particularly horrified the government because, despite their gentry status, they had extremely democratic feelings and had not taken part in counter-revolutionary activities, or so they claimed. They soon avenged the incident and executed the culprits. They decreed that they immediately punish any spontaneous maximalist action. They entrusted the social democrat József Haubrich with the duty of carrying out punishment as head of city military police.
The other main activity of the maximalists was hostage-taking. This sort of activity is otherwise rather useless, but the Lenin Youth made the crucial mistake of not completely separating themselves from the government, so that they started hostage-taking at the order of the Department of Political Investigation. It is worth mentioning, nevertheless, that on some occasions they overstepped government influence. As a result, the Governing Soviet forbade hostage-taking on the 24th of May. It is an interesting datum that the largest hostage release did not take place through right-wing Social Democratic intervention, but through the efforts of Béla Kun, the leader of the KMP, who saved several aristocrats from the claws of the Lenin Youth.
In early July, the “left-wing” communists began independently organising for a new compromise-free communist party. This initiative found adherents in the members of the Soviet of District I., the Workers’ Soviet of District IV., Ferenc Stark, Fülöp Englander, Ottó Demény, two Ukrainian revolutionaries (Jefimov and Jukelson), Ottó Varga and other anarchists, as well as Szamuely and the Lenin Youth detachment faithful to Szamuely. The organisation did not go beyond discussions and planning. Szamuely planned to start a newspaper entitled Kommunista (‘Communist’).
Jefimov and Jukelson were sent officially by Rakowski in order to organise Russian war prisoners for the sake of the Soviet Republic. Having stepped beyond these activities, they entered the country in a special train and agitated against the Governing Soviet. They organised people against the government in the countryside as well, in Abony and Sátoraljaújhely. The “left-wing” communists declared that there was no dictatorship of the proletariat, but rather a capitalist one. They further claimed that it was necessary to remove the fake leadership of the revolution, the Social Democrats, and the reformist wing of the KMP together with Béla Kun. On the 20th of July, the organising was suppressed by Kun (who otherwise had stepped up efforts against Szamuely’s radicalism, which had been until then unsuccessful). Many members were executed, while the two Ukrainians were hurled into the Danube. They tried to push Szamuely’s activism into the background, but they did not dare to do more than that since he had much influence within the party. The armed section of the Lenin Youth had been part of it, after all. It is worthy of historical note that Kun, depicting himself as a consistently firm revolutionary fighting against the Social Democrats, proclaimed in 1934: “Though tardy, we have nevertheless started the movement which aimed at the integration of the cadres of a new communist party in secret and illegallity.”
The Lenin Youth detachment was targeted for dissolution already at the moment of its formation (even by means of armed struggle, if necessary). Böhm gave out an order on the 30th of April, stating that
It has come repeatedly to my attention that in the name partially of some commanders and partially of some worker and military soviets, groups are being recruited and formed in areas of operation as terror squads, local red squads, and others. They are exploiting the various armed force and revolutionary Governing Soviet decrees for purposes beyond their original intention. No one has the right to recruit groups according to the revolutionary Governing Soviet decrees except the military and interior commissariat. Every other form of recruitment, even in its best intentions, may easily serve the ends of counter-revolution. Hence, I decree that in areas of operation all the so-called political terror squads or groups named otherwise which do not belong to the army or to the Red Guard are to be immediately disbanded. All soldiers there standing are to be conscripted into Red Army units. In the future, anyone who forms such maximalist political terror squads or anyone who leads them or anyone who takes part in them is to be immediately and summarily court marshalled …
On the 19th of May, the Lenin Youth were officially decommissioned. On the 23rd of May, Böhm was the target of an unsuccessful bombing attempt by the Cserny group.
Böhm expressed the view of the Governing Soviet on the dictatorship of the proletariat with almost perfect bourgeois sincerity:
The dictatorship of the proletariat emanating from the will of the majority of workers means that the laws thereby formed are to be applied as the ruling order. Even the most fanatical adherents to the dictatorship acknowledge that it can only be applied according the laws, decrees, and regulations established by the proletariat through its legally elected representatives and it can only be applied against the bourgeoisie as a class not against single persons.
The autonomous forces of the proletariat previously had already attacked this form of social democratic politics, which only seeks to transform the workers into an acquiescent voting citizen:
The interior minister Vince Nagy,9 this impudent child, ordered the pogrom against Red News. His own state secretary, Péter Ágoston, is in Székesfehérvár for the counter-revolutionaries who openly wish to bring back the monarchy. He is not phased by this in the slightest. The counter-revolution openly raises its head in a definitely anti-proletarian manner. It does not discern, it does not ask whether the worker belongs to the social democrats or to the communist party. It does not look at whether he listens to the words of the apostles of class collaboration, whether he wants the revolutionary class struggle, and whether he wants to toll the death-bell above the bourgeois class. The mass of the bourgeoisie do not want any collaboration; the democratic state is already teeming with them and it is no secret that they wish to establish their own dictatorship. The counter-revolution displays what democracy leads to. The interior minister orders a pogrom against the communist revolutionaries and the social democratic state secretary returns from Székesfehérvár to Budapest without enchaining count Károlyi, the bishop Prohászka, Széchenyi, count Cziráky, the clergy and government officials. Vince Nagy, this impudent child, does not hesitate when it is necessary to order a pogrom against communist revolutionaries. Yet the state secretary Péter Ágoston returns to Budapest without bringing the head of count József Károlyi in his travelling suitcase. The lesson: the proletariat can only free itself and only the masses themselves can destroy bourgeois counter-revolution. Against the counter-revolution there is only one guarantee: the further continuation of the revolution and the unremitting revolutionary class struggle until the complete destruction of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and beyond that, until all class differences cease to exist, until socialism. The defence of the revolution is only the armed proletarian class struggle. Arm yourselves! Workers, to arms! The counter-revolution, which is already bearing its best fruit, cannot be extinguished in its infancy anymore. Yet cut out its roots as well. Eradicate it without mercy, destroy the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie because otherwise it destroys you. If you do not wish to have only your own blood spilled, spill the blood of the counter-revolutionary bandits. Workers, arm yourselves! Have Salgótarján,10 Tiszadob,11 Makó12 not yet been sufficient warning signals for you? Look, in Székesfehérvár they are already openly trying to bring back the old system, relying on the government, which ordered the slaughter of the workers, to protect them against the proletariat. They were not disappointed. In the county hall of Székesfehérvár, the commissioner did not allow a chance to speak for those opposing counts and bishops and the return of the monarchy. The commissioner stopped the speaker who supported the republic. The minister of the interior, Péter Ágoston, returned to Pest in order to place a report for the pogrom-perpetrating Vince Nagy, the head commissioner of Székesfehérvár. To hell with this system of bourgeois democracy which feeds the counter-revolution. To hell with parliamentary republicanism which renders impossible the independent activity of the proletarian masses. Long live the Soviet Republic of the workers, the soldiers, the peasants, and the land-working poor, which alone ensures the empowerment of the exploited. A state of proletarians in arms: this is the limit to the counter-revolution! Workers, in arms: against the counter-revolution and for the sake of the empowerment of the workers, the soldiers, and the poor peasants! Proletarians, in arms! (Tibor Szamuely, “Proletarians, in arms!”, 6th of February, 1919).
After the counter-revolutionary activities of the 24th of June, Cserny’s voice was heard even more powerfully:
The dictatorship of the proletariat is in danger! The counter-revolution rages in Budapest and it's due to my people that it did not prove triumphant… The last three days have shown that it is necessary to wade through with bloody hands and that the counter-revolution must be drowned in blood. One must organise the gunners detachment of the Red Guard. To this end, I ask out of the the 200 members, 80 investigators, 35 border guards, and 25 staff. These need to be supplied with 16 cannons, 12 machine guns, and other firing weapons. Leave at their disposal an appropriate building. I will take command and choose the men. After the formation of the detachment, hand over to us the flotilla as well. To be or not to be is now the question! Let us not vacillate, take the reins over firmly.
They occupied a determined position against the social democrats. In their dull hours in the Batthyány fort they often sang, “Jakab chief editor, we will chop off your head.” Naturally, they did not only live out their anger in such a “humanist” way. They made bombing attempts against various social democratic politicians, such as Kunfi, Erdélyi, Rónai etc. They sent the following letter to the above-named Welter Jakab, the editor-in-chief of the social democratic newspaper Népszava (‘The People’s Word’): “You have two days left. Watch out because your hours are numbered. I'm wearing grey glasses; when you see me, run away immediately.” On one occasion (the source does not furnish the time), the government sent someone by the name of Vadász, who minded the accreted valuables in the Park club. Vadász prevented the workers from redistributing those valuables. The Lenin Youth prevented Vadász from doing this; he was freed from the fort prison after a long captivity. Some other stories could be written about them, none of which may be entirely reliable. But this question may be of primary importance for historians only.
The crux of the issue is the group’s revolutionary direction. It would be a mistake to list only the positive outcomes of the movement. It is a fact that they played the role of an avant-garde in this revolutionary wave and they were the most radical elements. But like the entire global revolutionary wave of 1917-23, they could not completely detach themselves from Bolshevism. In certain cases they discovered the counter-revolutionary nature of Bolshevism and even stepped beyond it. Yet they could not really identify this internal enemy, so that illusions were integrated within their overall direction. Due to this they attacked mostly the right-wing (historical) social democratic section of the Soviet Government, while they trusted the not very different Kun faction. They allowed space to Bolshevik and Leninist ideology in their ranks. It would be difficult to form an absolute judgement on them, since the Soviet Republic and the Lenin Youth movement were suppressed on the 1st of August, only 133 days later of its proclamation. It's a very short period to expect them to realise the counter-revolutionary character of Bolshevism (mainly because many workers believed strongly in Bolshevism).
Although history does not know the question “what would have happened”, it can nevertheless be said that Szamuely and the Lenin Youth would have turned away from the politics of the KMP within a few months, as there were such attempts. Hence, it is not accidental that after the capitulation, Ottó Korvin, Szamuely, and the Lenin Youth remained in the country for the struggle, while the party leadership fled (Cserny’s group had planned banditry from the Bakony mountains until a more favourable revolutionary situation would arrive). It was in this way that many were killed through the White Terror.
Everywhere we intensified efforts with strength and determination in defense of proletarian power, wherever the counter-revolutionary hydra raised its head. We continuously suppressed counter-revolutionary attempts, but unfortunately we could not prevent the fall of the first Hungarian Soviet Republic and this was not solely as a result of our actions. Part of the reason for the failure is attributable to the dictatorship of the proletariat not being sufficiently consistent or resolute against the enemy of the people. The right-wing social democrats sided with the ancien regime and foreign imperialists from the very beginning. Böhm, Kunfi, and their comrades saved the counter-revolutionaries at every instance and they spoke of humanism whenever such enemies destroyed our lives. They endeavoured to keep down the fist of the proletariat with full force so that it could not strike more powerfully. They led the attacks against comrade Szamuely and his group and they were the ardent disseminators of filth upon us … Böhm also stayed there and we arranged matters at the town hall. Then Böhm came to us and horrified comrade Tibi with his pessimistic speech. We and Tibi were so much against this speech that afterwards, after a great divide had developed, Böhm also spoke at the subsequent meeting, following Tibi. It seemed that it was useful that Tibi previously had expressed his opinion so well. And when Böhm went away, comrade Tibi added that the workers need whole-hearted simple comrades and not agents, who just speak and do nothing. After this, we continued to confer on the train. Our also unforgettable comrade Árpád Kerekes13 noted that we need to struggle more against these kinds of speeches, just as against the enemy, and that we wait in vain for help from the West. Such so-called proletarian leadership does not strive for struggle because they fear it. And what would happen if they were not leaders. To this, comrade Tibi said: ‘We did not go with them to the Soviet Government willingly and the removal of these leaders is of primary importance for the sake of the workers' movement.’ (Antal Gábor’s14 memoirs)
III. Another interesting document
“Never look back!” Miskolci Munkás (‘The Miskolc Worker’), 1st of July, 1919.15
If there are still half-hearted people and if there still exists a hopeful bourgeoisie, let us scream to them a hundred times: ‘There is no more going back!’ Let no one raise vain hopes and let no one believe in the beautifully colourful picture of a return, if there are still such people among us. Democracy, whether “bourgeois” or “social”, cannot find any more believers. Let those think of the past who in the absence of revolutionary fire still wish to flirt with a democracy based on humanistic ideals. The most hideous acts of the past, exploitation, the formation of national class-based states, and the imperialist wars between them, all of these happened with the blessings of democracy. Let us be clear, then, that democracy understood in humanistic terms, as the enemies of the proletarian dictatorship would like to proclaim, is nothing but a swindle and a bunch of lies. This is the lesson of the past. But let us stand firm that any return to the past, in whatever form it may take, cannot stand for social democracy, but leads again to the most complete of bourgeois dictatorships. Let us never forget that the most dangerous slogan and trap of the hiding counter-revolution today is democracy. Let us be on the alert! Those speaking of democracy today, with whatever unctuous blessed words, are the workers’ deadly enemies. And let us watch out for the counter-revolutionary provocateurs because once below their proletarian red mask you can really get to know them for what they really are. The Constitution of the Soviet Republic expresses the principle of the proletariat’s internal democracy. But we shall not allow the counter-revolutionaries infiltrated into the ranks of the proletariat to use this slogan to turn the wheel back which was once grasped and turned forward by the real proletariat. The proletariat itself within its ranks seeks to realise the most complete democracy. The proletariat accepts anyone to its ranks who rejects the principle of exploitation and becomes proletarianised also in mind and places oneself on the ground of work. But woe unto those who abuse the generosity of the proletariat, woe unto those who after proclaiming themselves proletarian seek to use the workers’ good faith to continue machinations from within, the failures of which have already been observed from the outside. The workers today are generous and of good faith. It depends on them whether this will continue. However, we especially warn those newcomers who assert the slogan of democracy, even if they speak “only” of the proletariat’s internal democracy. The old, veteran fighters themselves will build up this internal democracy and there is no need for any help that may easily hide a bourgeois intent. There is no and there cannot be any turning back!16
1 The fact that they did this unconsciously can only awaken our sympathy. It's also a mistaken conclusion that we should not judge them because it was impossible for them to recognise this in 1918-19. On the one hand, there were proletarian struggles waged against the Bolsheviks throughout Russia already in 1918 (e.g., the Left SR rebellion or the Makhnovist anarchist-communist movement). In Germany, such communist forces almost since Zimmerwald attacked the Bolshevik-styled Spartacus Group and Confederation and later the Bolshevik KPD. For instance there were Johann Knief, Otto Rühle, Appel, J. Borchardt or the Bremen-based left-wing ISD (the German Internationalist Socialists), the KAPD (the Communist Workers' Party of Germany), the AAUE (the General Workers' Association and Union), among others. On the other hand, the proletarian fighters are not unassailable heroes, but simply fighters. We would neglect their struggles (as the Leninist-Stalinist historiography did by the heroification of the „great workers' fighters”) if we did not draw conclusions from their activities. We can thereby find use of their experiences for ourselves. The proletarian revolutionary struggle is made continuous also by that if the activities of its participating comrades are brought under constant scrutiny. An apparently theoretical activity thus becomes a direct part of practice.
2 Béla Kun and Tibor Szamuely were the editors of Szociális Forradalom (Social Revolution) from the 3rd of April, 1918. The newspaper was published by the Hungarian faction of the Russian Communist Party in Moscow.
3 It needs to be noted that the Népszava article (18th of September) was not particularly favourable to the Green Guard. Their mildest characterisations consisted in calling them „villainous evildoers”. What is even more significant is that the proletariat revealed itself openly against all property with the killing of exploiters, lootings, robberies. Without waving any red flags, they were a hundred times „more revolutionary” than any red-painted revolution-sounding bourgeois-Bolshevism ever was (which was in any case counter-revolutionary). It is necessary to bring this to notice because the writers of Szociális Forradalom also wanted to ensure the readers that the Guard was not revolutionary simply out of its own actions, but that it was so because of the political manoeuvres hidden behind their activities. In so doing, the newspaper writers wished to reveal that these „mere” thieving and looting proletarians were just plain criminals. Thereby they could command the moral high ground to intervene and guide the struggle: „it is not merely out of egoistical interest, but in the interest of the betterment of society”, the writers could state. Thus, as every moralist, they deduct the processes from consciousness (from the proper acquirement of the communist consciuosness) not from existence. Of course it would be a mistake to declare that the spontaneous force of the proletariat suffices in the srtuggle for revolution. Thus, beside a mere spontaneous action it is very important to wave red, not just national flags. And they thereby know the reasons for what is done. Yet this consciousness is not taught by a superior power or by some form of elite but it comes out of the struggle and everyday life of the prloletariat. In other words, such consciousness originates from the proletariat itself. And this was precisely what mainly characterised the autonomous organising of the Green Guard.
4 Tibor Szamuely (1890-1919), a journalist, was member of the Hungarian Social Democratic Party before WWI. In 1915, he landed in a Russian military prison. In the prison camp he was very active as a revolutionary agitator. After the Bolshevik putsch of November 1917, he became a member of the Russian Communist Party and one of the leaders of its Hungarian group. He took part in the editorial board of the Hungarian-language newspaper Szociális Forradalom. He was one of the organisers of the internationalist groups formed from war prisoners struggling against the interventionists. He returned to Hungary in January, 1919. There he became member of KMP Central Committee and an editor of Vörös Újság (Red News). He opposed the coalition between the MszDP and the KMP from the very beginning. Following the proclamation of the Soviet Republic on the 21st of March, 1919, he acquired the position of vice-commissar for military affairs. His duties were to liquidate counter-revolutionary movements behind the front lines. He was recalled many times because of his alleged excesses. On these ocassions they foisted on him responsibilities concerning social activities (organising holidays at Balaton for working-class kids, dealing with housing questions). After the defeat of the Soviet Republic the Austrian social democratic government did not want to provide asylum for him unlike for other members of the leadership. Either Austrian or Hungarian border guards killed him while he attempted to flee the country. In fact Szamuely should not be mentioned separate from the Lenin Youth since he also consistently wiped out bourgeois elements in collaboration with the terror squad.
5 Ottó Korvin (1894-1919) was an employee to a private firm, a bank clerk in 1917. At this time he was involved in the activities of the left wing of the National Union of Bank Clerks. He was a member of the anti-militarist Galilei Circle which he led in 1918 along with its syndicalist workers' group (Revolutionary Socialists). His group distributed leaflets calling for the establishment of workers' councils and for revolution. He was working for the unification of the different communist forces and took part in the foundation of the KMP. He was member of its first Central Committee. Like Szamuely he also opposed the unification of the MSzDP and the KMP. After the 21st of March, 1919, he became the leader of the Political Inspectorate Department of Commissariat for Home Affairs. With the help of the Lenin Youth he was able to crush counter-revolutionary organising. Although he had attacked earlier not just parliamentarism but also the so-called „workers'-parliamentarism” and was a „left communist” like Szamuely the governing council placed him in a post where he really had to struggle against reactionary forces. Thus he could not realise that the governing council itself was counter-revolutionary. After the fall he was left behind to reorganise the KMP. However, being a hunchback, he was quickly discovered (how fortuitous!) and after lengthy torture he was executed.
6 Béla Kun (1886-1939) was a journalist. Until the war he took part in the workers' movement in Cluj/Kolozsvár as a member of the MSzDP. During the war he was imprisoned in a Russian military jail. He later became one of the leaders of the Hungarian and international war prisoner movements in Tomsk and in Moscow. He was a founding member of the Hungarian section of the Russian Communist Party and one of the editors of Szociális Forradalom. He returned to Hungary in November, 1918. He was one of the founders and later secretary of the KMP and an editor of Vörös Újság. He was one of the main initiators of the two-party coalition (MSzDP-KMP). He acquired the position of the commissar for foreign affairs and later for military affairs. He saved many capitalists and aristocrats from the hands of the revolutionaries. He contributed actively to the demolition of the proletarian revolutionary wave, as well as being one of the annihilators of the Lenin Youth. Furthermore he was responsible for Szamuely’s death. After the fall he escaped to Austria and later found refuge in Soviet Russia. There he helped to crush the Makhnovist movement. An arse-licking Stalinist who was a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern until 1936. He did not understand the popular frontist politics in time at the 7th Congress of the Comintern so he was arrested in 1937 and died in prison.
7 Vilmos Böhm (1880-1949) was a technician and a right-wing social democrat. Before the war he was a member of the MSzDP leadership. After the formation of the bourgeois democratic government on the 31st of October, 1918, he was an under-secretary for military affairs in the Károlyi government. From January to the 21st of March, 1919, he was secretary for military affairs in the Berinkey government. During the Soviet Republic he became the head of the nationalising committee, the commissar for military affairs and the supreme commander of the Red Army. Already a reactionary enemy of the proletariat and he represented such political tendencies until the end of his life.
8 József Cserny (1892-1919) was a shoemaker's assistant. During the war he served in the navy. In 1918 he went to Soviet Russia where he got in contact with the internationalist movement. He graduated in an agitator training course and went to Hungary in December, 1918. He joined the naval unit of the National Guard and in early 1919 he became the „leader” of a detachment made up of worker-soldiers and sailors. He was a founding member of the KMP and he had the responsibility to defence the headquarter of the party situated in Visegrádi street. After the 21st of March, 1919, he became the „leader” of a Lenin Youth squad consisted of 180-200 people. Following the fall he was captured and tortured and finally he betrayed his comrades. Because of this some of the leaders of the Soviet Republic, for example Böhm, later called him a traitor. The left-wing writer József Lengyel had an apposite observation concerning the three annihilators of the bourgeoisie: „the red terror is a necessary good for Cserny, it is necessary evil for Korvin, and for Szamuely is was just plain necessary.” Though all of them completed their tasks very well, the most attractive is for us what was written about Cserny.
9 Vince Nagy (1886-1965) was a bourgeois liberal politican. He was the Minister of the Interior between the 21st of December, 1918 and the 21st of March, 1919. He was responsible for the arrest of the KMP leadership in February, 1919.
10 On the 1st of January, 1919 the workers of Salgótarján joined the KMP. Two days later the Workers' Soviet decided to take the power. The government sent troops to defeat the revolt. On the 4th of January the slaughter started. The action was led by the social democrat Károly Peyer whose reign of terror lasted till the end of March.
11 In December, 1918 the needy inhabitants of Tiszadob started to hunt in the warren of the Andrássy castle following the proposal of the local constable. In February, 1919 a detachment was sent there to persecute the peasants.
12 In January, 1919 the socialists in Makó demanded the gendarmerie to leave the town and the disarmament of them. In fear of this action, the leader of the gendarmerie equipped his troops with automatic guns what they took from the local artillery corp. The soldiers demanded their weapons back. The leader of the gendarmerie told them that the weapons would be returned 24 hours later. The leaders of the Workers' Soviet sent an armed troop without munitions to get them back. The gendarmerie opened fire on them so many were killed. After this the gendarmerie was chased out of the town.
13 Árpád Kerekes (1896-1919) was a turner. He ended up in the navy during the war. He took part in the Cattaro sailors' insurrection in February, 1918. In December, 1918 he joined the KMP. During the Soviet Republic he belonged to the Lenin Youth contingent. He was executed on the 29th of December, 1919. „... Seeing the danger I soon dressed up in black leather clothes which later became the peril of the bourgeoisie. We, together with many proletarian brothers, started to act against the ruling class with a strong determination to defend the endangered dictatorship of the proletariat. ...” he wrote in his final note.
14 Antal Gábor (1896-?) was a locksmith. He deserted the army in 1918 and returned to Budapest. He joined the KMP in January, 1919. He was a member of the Lenin Youth during the Soviet Republic. He travelled throughout the country by Szamuely’s armoured train. After the fall he was imprisoned and later freed by a French journalist. He fled to Romania and finally reached Austria. He took active part in the Austrian workers' movement.
15 Miskolci Munkás was the afternoon paper of the Hungarian Party of Socialist-Communist Workers in Miskolc.
16 Democracy, as the basis of capitalist society, is the institution of free exchange of commodities. It endeavours always against the proletarian movement. Although it's positive that the writers of the leaflet recognised that bourgeois democracy and even social democracy is counter-revolutionary, this implies also a weakness since they differentiate „bourgeois” and „social democratic” forms of democracy. Moreover they wrote about „proletarian democracy” which is organised „from within” that is from below. It is also proclaimed that they want to defend this „proletarian democracy” against attacks coming from outside hence they think in terms of an absolute proletarian nature. But we have to bear in mind that only one type of democracy exists even if it's called „workers' democracy”, „socialist democracy” etc. It does not matter who runs democracy since democratic functioning itself (under whatever term) means exploitation. Democracy could only borrow terms from the proletariat but the ruling class has never ever been abolished by it. Disguising democracy this way can only serve to defend private property against the proletariat. Consequently we stress that the organised struggle of the proletariat has to abolish the democratic existence of freedom, equality, fraternity, that is the society of capitalism (wage work). The throats of those bourgeois defenders of capitalism who hide in different red garbs have to be bitten through (what will be an absolutely enjoyable activity) in order that humanity could live a true communal life without authority and democracy.