Tag Archives: Soviet System

One Minute to Midnight, My Recent Travels and the Importance of Heroes

One Minute to Midnight, My Recent Travels and the Importance of Heroes

Within the past week, I was hacking in the square of St Steven’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.

Just a week before that, there had been a Gay Pride March on the streets very near which had been cordoned off, blocks away, preventing attendance from marchers and non-marchers alike, with the planned route diverted at the last moment to decrease participation that much more. Professionals… especially those in the employ of the state, risked their jobs and social position to stand up for their right to express their affections for those they love.

The day before that, I ran in to Kate Mckinnon, of SNL, on the street… she is apparently shooting a movie there. Budapest is a popular place for movie shoots as well as tourism, possibly for the same reasons, it is less expensive than other places and it is simply a beautiful city.

Another issue of note was a huge anti-Soros campaign with hints of anti-semitism, translated as, “Don’t let him get the last laugh,” with a large picture of him laughing. The campaign with the sense and semiotics of an anti-immigrant position is ostensibly against the Central European University founded by Soros–w/ an endowment of $880 million, accredited in the US and students from a hundred different countries. Such slogans as, “dirty Jew” have appeared in graffiti on the posters and other outlets aside from the blue street posters featured faces of people with, obviously, other than Hungarian ethnicity.

But the point of my thread-post is about a set of cousins I met while I was hacking in the square of St Steven’s Basilica. They were travelling on vacation from Istanbul. One came up to me and asked to join my game, which, as any hacker knows, is always open to participants. The two were friendly and intelligent, and well informed, especially for their age. The one was wearing a t-shirt which said simply, “Hero,” on it. When I asked them about the current political atmosphere in Turkey… I was told that wearing a t-shirt such as the one this young man was wearing was enough to get one detained by the police in the current crack-down happening there.

In the Czech Republic, I met a young military officer who told me that one of the figures of influence and concern in his own country was an oligarch with ties to the old Soviet secret police named Babish… It seems that ultra wealthy oligarchs and autocrats are springing up everywhere these days.


Life on Mars, by cfjurgus… ~2005




Nicolae Ceaucescu’s Last Speech

Nicolae Ceausescu’s Last Speech (posted by Avocatul Poporului)

A response…

He started a land reform policy which forced people out of small communities into the major cities using siege tactics by shutting off utilities and shipments. The citizens of these communities became refugees in their own country and were forced to pick up what they could carry and head for the nearest big city. In these cities no proper accommodation was made for them and their misery increased.

The problem has less to do with the man’s character and more to do with the type of system he tried to establish. Perhaps, because of the immense tension from the pressure of the Soviet System and the Cold War with the west… there was created in the Romanian society an “Embunkered Mentality”. That is, everyone outside the society had to be viewed with the suspicion of a military unit besieged. And correspondingly, anyone within the society who did not follow the dictates of the power structure… no matter how absurd and destructive… must be viewed as an enemy.

Ceausescu became known for his violence and use of terror. He would dress people in bear suits and hunt them like animals, literally… dress them like bears and kill them in a hunt. His police agencies were known for their use of terror tactics. There is a really bad Kevin Spacey movie–one I watched in Bucharest just this past week on tv–called The Life of David Gale, in which one of these terror techniques used in state sponsored murder is staged.

The problem with such regimes, as pointed out in the work written by Lewis Mumford on “Mega-Technics”, is that such regimes seize power by establishing a power center around some efficiency or capability. This power center seizes power by selling or coercing adherence to it’s demands and hierarchy. And as the empowered regime commands resources and loses the novelty or effectiveness of whatever strategy or efficiency brought it to power it allocates more and more resources to the maintaining of that power creating a more and more inefficient system which meets the needs of the population to less and less degree. This power tends to resort to the institution of reducing as many people to a state of slavery or simply steals their wealth and asset to maintain itself–trying to maintain a privileged constituency isolated from the system’s inefficiency, theft and brutality. In such a system, the stakes of failure rise as those in power sense that they will be killed if they ever lose power.

In a healthy system, all decisions are not rendered from the top down–far from the point of human engagement. Instead, people are cultivated to meet the demands of their occupations with a sense of the “bigger picture”–an understanding of how their efforts effect the greater community and a sense of obligation to that greater community. Such complicated and demanding decision making requires the development of a sense of dignity and cannot be inspired by fear. The use of intimidation to motivate participation is tantamount to slavery, and slaves must either be reduced to a state of stupidity to render them compliant–eliminating their capacity for decision making–or they must be guarded against as an internal enemy waiting to strike. It is not a sustainable system… or if it were made to be sustainable, eventually it would kill the society like a cancer at slow but deliberate work–only polluting human culture with it’s attendant indignities, absurd idiocies and legacies of brutality.

Today, in Romania, it seems that no one remembers the horrible things Ceausescu did, or the absurdities of his incompetent management of the society. All they remember is that when Ceausescu was in power, he built things, roads, buildings, etc. And they are only far too aware of the dearth of economic stability and lack of opportunity especially with the images of wealth and security some enjoy–as though it were the standard–propagated through the media. The old Soviet order could very possibly be re-established through a chimera of promise and under the guise of western capitalism through banking scams, political corruption and industrial determinism.