Negotiating the Transition in Poland

The great transformations of 1989 began with the announcement early in the year that the Polish government would begin Round Table negotiations with the Solidarity trade union movement. It was an unprecedented move. There had been uprisings from below and crackdowns from above. There had been revolutions from within and interventions from outside. But for the first time in the Soviet bloc, a...
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Why 2014 Wasn’t So Terrible

In bidding farewell to 2014, most of us gave the year a swift kick in the rear end as it exited the calendar. On foreign policy in particular, few people had nice things to say about the recently departed. After all, it was a banner year for all manner of evils. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa dominated the headlines, and the trumped-up fear of the disease’s spread to the United States even...
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Hong Kong: The Future of People Power?

In 2000, I organized a meeting in China that brought together independent trade unionists, campaigners for corporate codes of conduct, and human rights advocates. We had spirited conversations about strikes and labor organizing and how to deal with the Communist authorities in Beijing. We didn’t worry about the government monitoring or breaking up our meeting. True, we were in China, and the...
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Jobbik: Looking East

In the recent Hungarian elections in early April, the one party that increased its popularity with voters was Jobbik, the radical party that stands to the right of the Fidesz government. It increased its vote count from roughly 16 percent to over 20 percent. Jobbik is now the largest radical right party in Europe in terms of the percentage of appeal within the electorate. Jobbik often votes...
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The Disappearance of the Political Middle

Hungary has long been divided between its liberal and cosmopolitan capital and the more conservative countryside. During the Communist era, a small democratic opposition emerged that eventually, by the end of the 1980s, split into two political forces: the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz) and the more nationalist Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF). In the first free elections in Hungary...
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