Stalinism for all Seasons


The Communist Party of Romania (section of the Third International) was founded on May 8, 1921. For all its existence, legal, clandestine, in power, it was deeply committed to the Stalinist mythology and viscerally opposed to any liberal temptation. In 1956, the Romanian communist leaders rejected de-Stalinization and embarked, first timidly, then openly in de-Sovietization without liberalization. Once Ceaușescu came to power in March 1965, succeeding Gheorghiu-Dej, he stimulated, manipulated, and exploited nationalist emotions, including anti-Semitism and Hungarophobia. In this respect, as we try to to demonstrate, Marius Stan and I, in a paper we are working on, there were significant features that defined what we call National Stalinism in Romania, Poland (Mieczysław Moczar and his Partisan faction), and Enver Hoxha’s Albania. 1968 was a crucial year in highlighting the major differences between Titoist national Communism, Dubček’s socialism with a human face, and the ethnocentric National Stalinism.


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Le jour de gloire…


And when man faces destiny, destiny ends and man comes into his own. (André Malraux)

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Destiny, Mystery and Obsession: The Lost City of Z


A fully deserved superlative review of a hauntingly beautiful film. I saw it yesterday at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring, the perfect place to enjoy such a great experience: cinematography, acting, score, mystery. Highly recommended to all those who think that there is always a secret underneath the surface of things. If this is an obsession, so be it…Image result for the lost city of z

Gdańsk (Danzig)…


If there is one city in Europe that symbolizes both the cosmopolitan dream and its fiends, it is Gdańsk (Danzig). Picture taken on March 31, 2017. In memory of a great dinner, in the late 1980s, at my friend’s Radu Stern‘s and his wife Wanda Brauner’s place in Lausanne, when I met Carl Burkhardt’s daughter, married to the phenomenologist philosopher André de Muralt. She had taken piano lessons with Dinu Lipatti. Her father, the Renaissance historian Jakob Burkhardt’s nephew, had served in the 1930’s as the Free City of Danzig’s High Commissioner…


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Sites of memory: Gdańsk , April 2017


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Photo credit: Marius Stan

Le Pari français


This post is dedicated to the memory of two Andrés: Malraux (1901-1976) and Glucksmann (1937-2015). To be or not to be European? This is question. The French elections are about modernity versus traditionalism, inclusion versus exclusion, civic patriotism versus atavistic xenophobia, hope versus fear, confrontation with the ignoble pages of the past versus revisionist denial, tolerance versus intolerance, Enlightenment versus Counter–Enlightenment, the France of Jean Jaurès, Léon Blum, Jean Moulin, Jean Monnet, Pierre Mendès-France, René Char, and Albert Camus versus the France of Charles Maurras, “L’Action Francaise,” Drumont, Vichy, les collabos, Doriot, “Je suis partout,” and the neo-Poujadisme. The very fact that Emmanuel Macron is a member of the editorial board of the monthly journal “L’esprit” indicates a political philosophy committed to the open society. I definitely support him and I do hope that he will be the winner!


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A joke for the deadly jester…


When the deadly jester, as Adam Kirsch called Slavoj Žižek in a December 2008 article, pontificates that there is no real difference between Le Pen and Macron (maybe for him there is a surreal one, who knows ), I can’t resist sharing with my friends here the old and, alas, still so timely joke. What’s the difference between a democracy and a people’s democracy? The same as the one between a chair and an electric chair. Or, if you prefer, the one between a jacket and a straitjacket…


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