Insurrection!

These images made Mátyás Rákosi’s peers, the other little Stalins, all those butchers of their nations named Gheorghiu-Dej, Novotny, Hoxha, Ulbricht, Zhivkov, but also Khrushchev and Mao, tremble. Neither were Gomulka and Tito happy with the spontaneous outburst of mass revolt against tyranny. Leninists have always resented and abhorred stikhiinost. Moreoever, for all of them the crucial role played by students and intellectuals in the revolution was intolerable. According to historian Lars Lih, the Russian term stikhiinost contains the meaning of the English “spontaneity” combined with a sense of an elemental force…

Image: October-November 1956. Budapest. On Vaci Road was the Soviet Cultural shop, members of the insurrection looted it and destroyed the propaganda material. Photo by Erich Lessing (Magnum)

 

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