In memoria Monicăi Lovinescu şi a lui Virgil Ierunca, membri ai Comisiei Prezidențiale pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din România, figuri paradigmatice ale spiritului civic-liberal: “Poate că aspectul cel mai frapant al posteritații comuniste este inocentarea ideologiei şi a partidelor care, in numele comunismului, au practicat ceea ce in cazul nazismului a fost denumit ‘crimă impotriva umanității’. Incurajați de placida indiferență a ‘maselor largi populare’, fostii comunişti, vechi tovarăşi de drum sau oameni de convingere pur şi simplu–revizioniştii–isi articulează din ce in ce mai limpede un tip de discurs care fie separă net ideologia marxist-leninistă de practica partidelor care s-au reclamat din ea, fie reabilitează insăşi politica acestor partide”. (H.-R. Patapievici, “Politice”, Ed. Humanitas, 1996, p. 205) Raportul Final al CPADCR, ale carui concluzii si propuneri au prezentate de Presedintele României, Traian Basescu, in sesiunea comună a camerelor Parlamentului din 18 decembrie 2006, a reprezentat şi va continua să reprezinte opusul negaționismului şi al revizionismului. A fost o onoare pentru mine să colaborez la scrierea “Introducerii” la Raport cu Monica Lovinescu şi cu H.-R. Patapievici. Toti membrii CPADCR, fără exceptie, si-au asumat Raportul Final in spiritul şi litera sa.
Burning self-scrutiny, old Cioran on young Cioran: “We were a band of desperate individuals in the heart of the Balkans. And we were doomed to fail; our failure was our only excuse… [The Iron Guard] was the only sign that our country could be anything but a fiction. It was a cruel movement, a mixture of prehistory and prophecy, mystique of prayer and of revolt. And it was persecuted by all authorities, and it wanted to be persecuted … It had been founded on ferocious idea…s: it disappeared ferociously. Whoever between 20 and 30 does not subscribe to fanaticism, to rage, to madness is an imbecile. One is a liberal only by fatigue, and a democrat by reason.” (E.M. Cioran, “Mon pays,” cited in Alain Finkielkraut, “Cioran mort et son juge,” Le Messager Européen, no. 9, Paris: Gallimard, 1996, pp. 66–67)
This passage is included in my essay titled “The Metapolitics of Despair: Romania’s Mystical Generation and the Passions of Emil Cioran,” and will be appear in the volume “Ideological Storms of the Twentieth Century,” co-edited with Bogdan C. Iacob
It is not my intention to offer here a biography of my close friend Adam Michnik. I just want to offer some responses, hopefully informed, to the following question: Why does Adam Michnik matter? He matters because in times of infamy, he raised his voice and suffered for this. He matters because he has a moral compass and some of us regard it as persuasively indispensable. He matters because he does not yield to nativism, tribalism, clericalism, militarism, Orbanism, Putinism, LePenism, Trumpism, populism, and other political pathologies. I dedicate this thext to the memory of Leonidas Donskis.
Adam Michnik in Vilnius, Lithuania
One would have turned eighty on October 5. The other will turn seventy on October 17. One wrote “The Power of the Powerless,” the other one “The New Evolutionism.” These two essays defined the goals of East European dissident movements, their vision of liberty, and their ethos. They both deserve our gratitude. Their names: Václav Havel and Adam Michnik.
I offer here a brief operational definition which I first put forward in a text titled “The politics of charismatic protest” which came out several years ago, together with pieces by Marc Howard and Cas Mudde, in the quarterly “East European Politics and Societies.”
Populism is a political strategy meant to generate mass mobilization and enthusiastic support for a leader and a party (or movement) among heterogeneous social groups by opposing the established political arrangements and pledging their fundamental regeneration, often at the expense of minority and human rights and liberties, social, economic, and political life.