Apor, Péter

Immortalitas Imperator:
The birth of the Pantheon of the Labour Movement in Budapest

The present study concerns itself with the construction of the largest project in commemoration during the communist period of Hungarian history: the Pantheon of the Labour Movement in Budapest. The paper relates its birth to the return of historical consciousness after 1956. One of the main arguments for defining the anti-Stalinist uprising in 1956 as counterrevolution was the thesis that it meant a second edition of the counterrevolution and white terror after the fall of the First Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919. From the perspective of 1956, the events of 1919 meant the starting point of a special history. This historical narrative was based on the putative constant struggle between revolution and counterrevolution. This imagination made it possible to construct a continuous narrative of modern Hungarian history. However, as a story with a well-defined beginning and end the interpretation formulated a temporal process, thus ordering the past and the present according to the Enlightenment mode of historical consciousness. The sepulcher of the communist martyrs represented through the chronologically perceived sequence of the actual corpses this particular historical interpretation. Apart from that the study analyses the nature of this continuity and argues that communists attempted to create a perpetual and immortal continuity – corpus mysticum – that was independent of the individual characteristics of its constituents. This technique of representation permitted the party to claim its continuity from its foundation in 1918 and, at the same time, the discontinuity with the widely hated Rákosi-regime that was overthrown by the revolution in 1956. This body politic, however, existed only in its material representations, thus in intangible body natural. - the actual corpses and tombs. The study concludes that without the material form no fundamental identity for the exercise of power could be constructed.

Ugrás a lap tetejére

Szeged, 2001.03.21.

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