Hungary 1956: Resolutions and statements

A Rough Guide to the Future workshop (21 October 2006)

16 points adopted by Budapest Technological University students on 22 October 1956

  1. We demand the immediate evacuation of all Soviet troops, in conformity with the provisions of the Peace Treaty.
  2. We demand the election by secret ballot of all Party members from top to bottom, and of new officers for the lower, middle and upper echelons of the Hungarian Workers Party. These officers shall convene a Party Congress as early as possible in order to elect a Central Committee.
  3. A new Government must be constituted under the direction of Imre Nagy: all criminal leaders of the Stalin-Rákosi era must be immediately dismissed.
  4. We demand public enquiry into the criminal activities of Mihály Farkas and his accomplices. Mátyás Rákosi, who is the person most responsible for crimes of the recent past as well as for our country’s ruin, must be returned to Hungary for trial before a people’s tribunal.
  5. We demand general elections by universal, secret ballot are held throughout the country to elect a new National Assembly, with all political parties participating. We demand that the right of workers to strike be recognised.
  6. We demand revision and re-adjustment of Hungarian-Soviet and Hungarian-Yugoslav relations in the fields of politics, economics and cultural affairs, on a basis of complete political and economic equality, and of non-interference in the internal affairs of one by the other.
  7. We demand the complete reorganisation of Hungary’s economic life under the direction of specialists. The entire economic system, based on a system of planning, must be re-examined in the light of conditions in Hungary and in the vital interest of the Hungarian people.
  8. Our foreign trade agreements and the exact total of reparations that can never be paid must be made public. We demand to be precisely informed of the uranium deposits in our country, on their exploitation and on the concessions to the Russians in this area. We demand that Hungary have the right to sell her uranium freely at world market prices to obtain hard currency.
  9. We demand complete revision of the norms operating in industry and an immediate and radical adjustment of salaries in accordance with the just requirements of workers and intellectuals. We demand a minimum living wage for workers.
  10. We demand that the system of distribution be organised on a new basis and that agricultural products be utilised in rational manner. We demand equality of treatment for individual farms.
  11. We demand reviews by independent tribunals of all political and economic trials as well as the release and rehabilitation of the innocent. We demand the immediate repatriation of prisoners of war (WW2) and of civilian deportees to the Soviet Union, including prisoners sentenced outside Hungary.
  12. We demand complete recognition of freedom of opinion and of expression, of freedom of the press and of radio, as well as the creation of a daily newspaper for the MEFESZ Organisation (Hungarian Federation of University and College Students’ Associations).
  13. We demand that the statue of Stalin, symbol of Stalinist tyranny and political oppression, be removed as quickly as possible and be replaced by a monument in memory of the martyred freedom fighters of 1848-49.
  14. We demand the replacement of emblems foreign to the Hungarian people by the old Hungarian arms of Kossuth. We demand new uniforms for the Army which conform to our national traditions. We demand that March 15th be declared a national holiday and that the October 6th be a day of national mourning on which schools will be closed.
  15. The students of the Technological University of Budapest declare unanimously their solidarity with the workers and students of Warsaw and Poland in their movement towards national independence.
  16. The students of the Technological University of Budapest will organise as rapidly as possible local branches of MEFESZ, and they have decided to convene at Budapest, on Saturday October 27, a Youth Parliament at which all the nation’s youth shall be represented by their delegates.

A Parliament of Workers’ Councils resolution adopted on 23 October said:

“The delegates of the factories represented here, in the interests of achieving socialist democracy, put forward the following list of points:

  1. The factory belongs to the workers. The latter should pay the state a levy calculated on the basis of the output and a portion of the profits.
  2. The supreme controlling body in the place of work is the workers' council elected democratically by the workers.
  3. Workers' councils elect their own leading committees composed of 3-9 members, which carry out the decisions of the council and which will carry out other jobs which these decide on.
  4. The director is employed by the factory. The workers' council elects the director and the highest employees. This election takes place after a public meeting called by the executive committee.
  5. The director is answerable to the workers' council in every matter which concerns the factory.
  6. The workers' council itself reserves all rights to:
    a. decide on the plans of the factory;
    b. decide the rates of pay in the enterprise;
    c. decide about all foreign contracts;
    d. decide all matters involving credit.
  7. In the same way, the workers' council resolves any conflicts about the employment of any worker.
  8. The workers' council has the right to examine the balance sheets and to decide on the use to which the profits are to be put.
  9. The workers' council handles social questions in the enterprise.

The Revolutionary Councils of the factories, offices, institutions and universities of Budapest, 90 per cent of their Revolutionary Committees, and the Peasant Alliance being set up, representing five administrative areas, have already accepted these proposals and have taken the necessary steps to put them in operation.”

Proclamation of the Hungarian Writers’ Union (23 October 1956)

We Hungarian writers have formulated the demands of the Hungarian nation in the following seven points:

  1. We want an independent national policy based on the principles of socialism. Our relations with all countries and with the USSR and the People’s Democracies in the first place, should be regulated on the basis of the principle of equality. We want a review of international treaties and economic agreements in the spirit of equality of rights.
  1. Minority policies which disturb friendship between the peoples must be abandoned. We want true and sincere friendship with our allies - the USSR and the People’s Democracies. This can be realized on the basis of Leninist principles only.
  1. The country’s economic position must be clearly stated. We shall not be able to recover after this crisis, unless all workers, peasants and intellectuals can play their proper part in the political, social and economic administration of the country.
  1. Factories must be run by workers and specialists. The present humiliating system of wages, norms, and social security conditions must be reformed. The trade unions must truly represent the interests of the Hungarian workers.
  1. Our peasant policy must be put on a new basis. Peasants must be given the right to decide their own future freely. Political and economic conditions to make possible free
    membership in co-operatives must at last be created. The present system of deliveries to the State and of taxation must be gradually replaced by a system ensuring free socialist production and exchange of goods.
  1. If these reforms are to be achieved, there must he changes of structure and of personnel in the leadership of the Party and the State. The Rákosi clique, which is seeking restoration, must be removed from our political life. Imre Nagy, a pure and brave Communist who enjoys the confidence of the Hungarian people, and all those who have systematically fought forsocialist democracy in recent years, must he given the posts they deserve. At the same time, a resolute stand must be made against all counter-revolutionary attempts and aspirations.
  1. The evolution of the situation demands that the PPF [Popular People’s Front] should assume the politica lrepresentation of the working strata of Hungarian society. Our electoral system must correspond to the demands of socialist democracy. The people must elect freely and by secret ballot their representatives in Parliament, in the Councils and in all autonomous organs of  administration.

Géza Losonczy , rehabilitated Communist and member of the new coalition government, said:

“The Government declares that it does not desire to let any of the gains of the past period be lost: the agrarian reform, the nationalisation of factories, the social achievements. It desires also to maintain the consquences of the present revolution: national independence, equality between nations, the building of Socialism on a democratic and not a dictatorial basis. The Government is unanimous that it will not permit the restoration of capitalism.” 

On November 1, the Socialist leader Anna Kéthly wrote:

“The Social-Democratic Party . . . has won its chance of living, and it has won this from a regime which called itself a popular democracy, but which in form and essence was neither popular nor democratic. We greet with profound respect the heroes who have made possible the rebirth of the party, thousands of young intellectuals and workers who have fought, starving and in rags, spurred on by the idea of a free and independent Hungary. . . . Freed from one prison, let us not allow the country to become a prison of another colour. Let us watch over the factories, the mines and the land, which must remain in the hands of the people.

On October 31, the leader of the Smallholders' Party, Béla Kovács said:

“No one must dream of going back to the world of counts, bankers and capitalists: that world is over once and for all. A true member of the Smallholders' Party cannot think along the lines of 1939 or 1945.”

On November 3, Ferenc Farkas, general secretary of the Petöfi Party, and one of its members in the Nagy government said there were a number of points on which the Government was unanimous, including the following:

“The Government will retain from the Socialist achievements everything which can be, and must be, used in a free, democratic and Socialist country, in accordance with the wish of the people. We want to retain the most sincere and warmest friendly economic and cultural relations with every Socialist country, even when we have achieved neutrality. We also want to establish economic and cultural relations with the other peace-loving countries of the world.”

UN General Assembly report 1957

“What took place in Hungary was a spontaneous national uprising, caused by longstanding grievances. One of these was the inferior status of Hungary with regard to the USSR; The uprising was led by students, workers, soldiers and intellectuals, many of them Communists or former Communists. Those who took part in it insisted that democratic socialism should be the basis of the Hungarian political structure, and that the land reform and other social achievements should be safeguarded. It is untrue that the uprising was fomented by reactionary circles in Hungary or that it drew its strength from ‘Imperialist’ circles in the West.”

“No aspect of the Hungarian uprising expressed its democratic tendencies or its reaction to previous conditions more clearly than the creation of Revolutionary Councils in villages, towns and on the county level, and of Workers’ Councils in factories. Within a few days, these bodies came into existence all over Hungary and assumed important responsibilities. Their chief purpose was to ensure for the Hungarian people real, and not merely nominal, control of local government and of factories, mines, and other industrial enterprises. There was even a suggestion that a National Revolutionary Committee might replace the National Assembly, while another proposal was that a Supreme National Council could exercise the prerogative of Head of the State.”

Bookmark and Share