Ferenc Feher (1933 - 1994), Reflections on a Member of the Lukacs School
The news of Ferenc Feher's death at the relatively young age of sixty in last June shocked a number of people all over the world. The evolution of his philosophy and the development of his political thought can be related to an analysis of Central - and East-European history, of the sociological and political conditions under which Marxist ideology took shape in some sections of the Hungarian and East-European intelligentsia before and after the fall of socialism in Hungary.
Ferenc Feher, a member of the Budapest School of Gyorgy Lukacs along with his wife Agnes Heller, Gyorgy Markus and Mihaly Vajda, was bom in Budapest, in 1933.1 His childhood was spent in the years of fascism his father was killed in the concentration camp in Auschwitz.2 The years of his youth and education coincided with various phases of the history of East-European socialism:
1. 1945 - 48, the years of popular front gradually leading to the seizure of power by the Communist Parties
2. 1948 - 56,markedbynationalisation,industrialisationand collectivisation and show trials framing leaders and members of all political parties, also of the Communist Party
3. 1956" 62, the 1956 popular uprising and its aftermath leading to Janos Kadar's (a former victim of the show trials) appointment into the leadership of the Party, the strictest retaliatory measures taken against participants in the Uprising
4. 1962 - 68, mass-pardoning of those sentenced for participation in the 1956 uprising followed by economic reformss and an upheaval in the economy
5. 1968 -1988, demands of political reforms in Czechoslovakia foiled by the invasion of Warsaw Pact armies, withdrawal of reforms in industry, gradual disappointment of all hopes of a democratic 'socialist' reform, political changes leading to liberal parliamentarism.
This periodisation does not adequately reflect the combination of modifications, reform-plan^ and changes of models which the Kadar-system followed
Senior Fellow, Indian Council of Historial Research, New Delhi.
Social Scientist, Vol. 23, Nos 4-6, April-June 1995