Kołakowski : In Stalin's Countries: Theses on Hope and Despair (1971)
16 September 1971
KOLAKOWSKI'S " THESES ON HOPE AND DESPAIR" (1)
Summary: The French dissident-Communist magazine Politique Aujourd'hui has published the full text of a penetrating analysis of the prospects for political change in EasternEurope, which the exiled Polish philosopher, Leszek Kolakowski, wrote for the review Kultura.
In his " Theses on Hope and Despair " Kolakowski examines the argument's for holding that the present system of "despotic socialism," based on the Soviet model, is " unreformable "
-- notably that bureaucratic repression ( directed primarily against the working class ) is a built-in feature of a hierarchical power system which controls all domestic sources of information, can prevent free discussion and the growth of political pluralism, and does not dare to take the risks inherent in " democratization."
But, he goes on to argue, the inescapable contradictions of the system itself and the gap between dogmas and realities do nevertheless open up a perspective of gradual change toward a more tolerable social order
-- provided the regimes are subjected to the steady pressures of a public aware of the possibilities of resistance to the status-quo.
Following is the full translation of an article by Leszek Kolakowski, entitled " In Stalin's Countries: Theses on Hope and Despair," which appeared in the July-August 1971 issue of
the French dissident-Communist magazine Politique Aujourd'hui (Paris).
The Polish original appeared in the Paris Kultura, No. 5-6, 1971. Footnotes, emphasis and sub-heads are those of Politique Aujourd'hui.