The EU question

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Apr 30 10:39:02 MDT 2001

Julio Huato:
>Guatemala is not a member of NAFTA.  Mexico is.  Now, despite the historical
>differences between Mexico and Eastern Europe, Mexico's per capita output,
>per worker output, and several other measures of social-welfare are rather
>similar to those in Eastern Europe.

Last night I saw a segment on "Sixty Minutes" about the criminal thug
running the Ukraine. He is close to Putin and regarded as a "friend of the
west". Mark Jones wrote an excellent piece on how opposition from the left
is growing. Today's NY Times reports on the fear of spillover from
Ukraine's political turmoil into Hungary:

BUDAPEST, Hungary, April 29 - Viktor Orban, at 37, is one of Central
Europe's most unusual politicians, leading a political and cultural
counterrevolution against what he considers the residue and inheritors of
Hungary's Communist past.

He became famous in 1989 when, as a scruffy opposition leader, he called
for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary, articulating the desires
of the whole region.

Born in the provinces, he retains a visceral dislike for the tainted elites
of the capital who he says collaborated with the old Communist government.

He has moved his party, Fidesz, to the enter-right, hoping to create a
lasting alternative to the Socialists, all the while plucking at Hungarian
nationalist heartstrings.

He has pressed hard for entry to the European Union, sided firmly with the
United States on a range of security issues and says Hungary, as one of the
alliance's newest members, feels secure within NATO, which he would like to
see expanded to Russia's borders.

But just now, in his third year as prime minister and as he prepares to
meet President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for the first time this
week, the new reach of President Vladimir V. Putin's Russia and the
political turmoil in neighboring Ukraine seem uppermost in his mind.

"Ukraine is the key country in the whole new European security structure,
and probably Ukraine deserves more attention," Mr. Orban said in an
expansive interview, suggesting that it would be a prime topic for him in
ashington, where the new administration has had little to say so far about

"Without the guaranteed independence of Ukraine, the whole post- cold-war
security architecture of Europe is in danger," Mr. Orban said. "For Ukraine
to maintain its independence, in all senses, especially in political and
security terms, is vital for all of Europe."

Mr. Orban's fiercely anti-Communist Fidesz party is running even in opinion
polls with the Socialists, who are the reformed Communist Party, with about
a quarter of the vote each.

All other parties, including the Liberals, who were once in coalition with
the Socialists and could be again, get less than 5 percent, and more than
40 percent of voters interviewed say they are undecided.

It seems to me that rather than dwelling on the question of whether or not
to join the EU, Eastern European Marxists should raise the question of a
return to the economic institutions that formerly united the Soviet bloc.
The idea, of course, is to raise this within the context of a revolutionary
movement that extends across borders, in the spirit of the Third
International but without the authority vested in some directorate which
led to its undoing. There are obviously yearnings for something like this
all across Eastern Europe, from Belarus to Hungary to Bulgaria. Given such
openings, the more advanced sectors of the working class have a
responsibility to popularize socialist solutions rather than line up one
way or the other on essentially bourgeois trade agreements.

Louis Proyect
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