Caroline took a trip to the Szorborpark in Budapest. Here is what she saw:
European membership had been the ambition of successive Hungarian Governments since the fall of Communism in 1989-90, when the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party realised the jig was up and hung up their hammers and sickles in a peaceful abdication from political power. To meet the criteria for EU membership many changes took place in the subsequent years, including much privatisation, the opening of the Budapest Stock Exchange and purging the city of Soviet symbols. This included the removal of communist statues from various city squares and streets.
Statues of revolutionary heroes, socialist philosophers, and the odd Communist dictator or tyrant, as well as sculptures depicting workers’ solidarity or victorious Soviet soldiers were taken from their prominent positions in town and banished to a bleak park on the outskirts of Buda.
A thin layer of snow covered the park - a barren plain surrounded by dreary grey council blocks. The setting is an inspired piece of anti-communist propaganda, as if to say ‘old communists don’t die they just get made to live in a council estate’.
Marx , of course, was the moustachioed, cigar-smoking, wisecracking star of early Hollywood comedies such as Duck Soup. Or, in fact as I check my notes more closely, Marx was the German philosopher, economist and social and political theorist whose seminal work Das Kapital identified modes of production as the site of class struggle and who, along with his sidekick Frederick Engels wrote the inspirational and tremendously influential Communist Manifesto – in which the plans are laid for the proletarian revolution against capitalism with the as yet to be realised aim of a classless society.
And finally, the very large and impressive Republic of Councils Monument which is absolutely enormous. It was designed from a poster calling workers to arms. The statue is screaming "Fegyverbe, Fegyverbe" which in Hungarian means "To Arms! To Arms!"