Questions to the narrator
- 00:06What led to his removal from the party?
- 01:03What’s the process he went through during his expulsion, was it a fair process, was it even-handed, or was it rather biased?
- 02:06Have other parties, other party members always been treated in the same way, or was he treated differently?
- 02:35Would a higher official, a first or second secretary or someone at that level be treated the same as he has, or would they be treated differently?
- 02:57How would they be treated differently?
- 03:16Why did you join the party, and do you still have faith in the ideology of the party, or in its system, what’s your opinion on this?
- 05:15Do party leaders pay enough attention to what the members think, or do they just ignore what the members think?
- 06:39What are the benefits of party membership for ordinary average members, what do they gain from party membership?
- 07:38Are party members serious about their responsibilities, or are they looking for benefits, privileges?
- 08:40Does he have, does he feel he had a fair trial, a fair hearing? The factory meeting, when his case was discussed in the company?
- 09:24Is it easy to leave the party, is it easy for some people to leave the party, or is it difficult?
- 10:07How interesting are the meetings, are they very useful, are they interesting, or are they not very exciting?
- 11:05At the meeting he was expelled from, was that the same atmosphere?
TranscriptPlease note that this transcript is based on audio tracks and doesn't have to match exactly the video
What led to his removal from the party?
Well, this expulsion from the party was for drunken driving. I was caught driving a car while being drunk, that’s why I was expelled from the party. Well, what happened here was that things did not go to the end, they did not wait to see the final decision, because fines and everything else, so they did not wait, so I only got a fine, so then they immediately, before judgement was passed, they had already decided that I had to be expelled from the party.
What’s the process he went through during his expulsion, was it a fair process, was it even-handed, or was it rather biased?
Can you tell us the whole process, how it happened? So when you got caught, where did you have to go to trial afterwards?
This was a thing that they really had nothing to do with it yet, because the case was still with the police, when they had already made their decision about the expulsion, and they... ah, well, somebody told me that they were saying that thieving is a less serious crime than driving under the influence of alcohol. And this really bothered me, and the person who said this is a leading member in the party, and heaven knows what else.
Have other parties, other party members always been treated in the same way, or was he treated differently?
Not every party member gets expelled like this. Party members in higher positions do not get this treatment. They are treated differently, no one learns about it, it will be just smoothed over.
Would a higher official, a first or second secretary or someone at that level be treated the same as he has, or would they be treated differently?
How would they be treated differently?
Naughty-naughty. They would’t even present their case to the members, as we already had examples of this. Within the, company. The other members didn’t even know. That’s the truth.
Why did you join the party, and do you still have faith in the ideology of the party, or in its system, what’s your opinion on this?
I have faith in the party’s ideology, only the truth is that by the time the decision is passed down from above, from the party leadership, from the Ministry, then the party heads at the firm, or the managers of the companies, or even the heads of companies arrive at a totally different decision. The truth is, when it arrives to county level and everything, by the time it gets to a company, the decision has been changed. But already on county level. Because if he is the party secretary of the county, he feels he can do what he likes. One-man rule, very simply, even the party secretary at a firm, he feels the one-man rule, because he is the master. He should simply join in the production, and then he can practice his one-man rule. This is my opinion, let him join in the production, and that’s it. Then he can practice his one-man rule, but until then he just goes here and there, everything can’t be sorted out by party business, and with, well, I don’t know, I presume you have seen what type of building the town’s party committee uses for its offices, you cannot realize the country’s improvement like this. The country can be improved by everybody working, and then that’s it, look, at this point our country, that’s how I feel, is in a rather difficult financial situation. Because debts here and there, there is quite a crisis now in Hungary, there is quite a crisis going on. I feel that to overcome this many things will have to happen, many things.
Do party leaders pay enough attention to what the members think, or do they just ignore what the members think?
Well, in my opinion, they don’t pay any attention already at company level. Rather further up, on ministerial level, well, up there, now I shall mention, Comrade Kádár said it last, on his birthday, not five years’ thinking time is needed to reach a decision, but immediate action is necessary, a permit has to be handed out immediately when somebody has a new idea, or anything else, this cannot be done once every five years, so for five or six years a new idea only to spend fortunes on it, within the company, too. Five, six years, and then we still have to buy from capitalist countries, we have to buy the materials. Comrade Kádár said, on his seventieth birthday, that decisions have to be made. And he is quite right in this. By the time it comes down whatever thing it is, that is the direction, the command, by that time it is done in a totally different way. This is the core of the whole thing.
What are the benefits of party membership for ordinary average members, what do they gain from party membership?
My only advantage is that we rent a flat. I have no advantages whatsoever. If somebody is a member of the party committee, or has a higher position within the company, then he has advantages, because he can get a flat for himself, he can sort out his problems, and this and that. Because he is already at the county party committee, he is there because they know him there, or whatever. A simple party member has no advantages whatsoever, no advantages at all. The fact, that, even that, they even envy that he works the soil, or anything else, any other extra jobs, they even envy that, the party members in higher positions.
Are party members serious about their responsibilities, or are they looking for benefits, privileges?
Well, this is such a question, one part feels responsible, the other does not. Is this about how many percent? Fifty percent maybe. Fifty percent can be said to feel responsible for something, the other does not feel responsible for anything. They rather live with their right that, they are people in leading positions, and then they bring whatever decisions they like.
Does he have, does he feel he had a fair trial, a fair hearing? The factory meeting, when his case was discussed in the company?
Injustice happened there, because more serious crimes than this have already been committed by people in higher positions, and they have not been brought before such a disciplinary committee. That’s all I can say about this.
Is it easy to leave the party, is it easy for some people to leave the party, or is it difficult?
I can tell you honestly, I have not come across this within the company, because, well if someone wanted to leave the party, he would rather leave the firm, because this was already mentioned in advance, one or two, well some people already whispered it in advance, that it is not very fortunate to leave the party.
How interesting are the meetings, are they very useful, are they interesting, or are they not very exciting?
Well, these party meetings cannot be called exciting. It is rather simple. Some people take a nap, well, what do I know? Well, no, they are monotonous, they are altogether monotonous, about one thing, the economic situation, they talked about just one topic, that’s it, when there are these conferences then they bring those up, the same thing that was already in the upper part of the party committee, or in the Ministry, up there, the same thing, they more or less repeat it again, the things people hear on TV or on the Radio, they repeat the same. That’s what happens. They always speak about the state of the economy, that’s all, that’s it.
At the meeting he was expelled from, was that the same atmosphere?
Well, I was not present at that meeting, no, precisely because I knew what was going to happen, and then well, one or two people in higher position did not agree with the expulsion, but they wanted me to stay on, but then the others just raise their hands, so to expel, and that’s it. This was not a unanimous vote. Roughly, this is what happened.
István Tilinkó (?)
István Tilinkó, a Hungarian member of the working class was expelled from the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party in the late eighties for drunk driving. He claimed that the exclusion was unfair because he received his fine, but the police investigation was still on when the exclusion took place. He believed a party member in a higher position would not have received such a punishment, he would have surely gotten away with a minor warning. He also complained that as a simple party member he does not enjoy any benefits, he is not listened to, the party is not interested in listening to his opinion. However, it is not possible to leave the party voluntarily, because then there is a good chance that the employee will also lose his job.