About the occasional death of a friend
“I had a very interesting feeling that TGM and I belong to the same family.” Franco-Romanian intellectual Nicolas Trifon shares his memories of the recently deceased Hungarian philosopher Gaspar Miklós Tamas.
I met Gaspar Miklós Tamash (TGM) for the first time in 1984 in Budapest. I published in Iztok, A libertarian view of Eastern countries French translation of the preface to the book eye and hand where he declared his commitment to libertarian socialism through an anarchist and unionist association. The book had just been published in samizdat, or rather by independent publications, which, given the permissive climate prevailing in Kadar’s Hungary at the time, was, in some ways and all things considered, more permissive than under Orban.
Hungarian left-wing intellectual Gaspár Miklós Tamas has died
On the way to her apartment, I met her mother, a very old lady who worked in the kitchen and who I learned was politically educated by my grandfather, Eugen Rozvány (Rozvány Jenő), who was once a co-founder of the Romanian Communist Party and a member of parliament. For Bihor and was executed in Moscow in 1938. He struck me as a kind of Stalinist, disgraced by Ceausescu’s nationalist turn and decision to move to Hungary in 1978. Also, from the beginning and the last time we saw each other until the summer of 2018, I had a rather interesting feeling that TGM and I belonged to the same family, not by “blood” of course, but tensions and inevitable in a social structure such as the family he doesn’t want to belong to conflicts.
In Budapest, dissidence was more Marxist under the patronage of prominent communist intellectuals who had distanced themselves from the regime at the time. TGM’s libertarian commitment was a special case. So we decided to translate his book in France, and we did it the next year with the help of Marianne Enckell from Lausanne. Sociologist István Kemény gave us the information about TGM. A friend of the recently arrived French social democrat François Fejtö, he was an anarchist militant in Hungary until 1947, when he was still able to show himself publicly and take part in the 1956 uprising. Iztok with him for a while.
When the book was published in 1985, the reaction was mixed, some parts were so absurd that they were incomprehensible to the average reader. I, for my part, was so involved in militancy, and so passionate about the dynamics in the East as a result of the banning of the Solidarność trade union in Poland, that philosophical concerns were not my cup of tea.
I hosted him at his house for a while when he returned from a stay in Great Britain and the United States, where GMT was a recipient of a scholarship, and in our always pleasant discussions I could observe that his anti-statism was more of a libertarian, right-wing anarchist inspiration, which only half surprised me. Being so preoccupied with the burning news of the times, as TGM I was not prepared to dwell on the unexpected evolution of a brilliant intellectual and quite a snob in my eyes at the time. In 1990, he was also elected a member of the SZDSZ (Alliance of Free Democrats) and served in parliament under this label for several years. We haven’t seen each other all this time.
Much later, in 2004, I came across one of his articles, translated into French by Claude Carnoux alternative, a magazine devoted to human rights. It made a big impression on me. I rushed to spread it and talk about it, and then I had to write about it several times. Despite its author’s certain Marxist conceit, this analysis remains, in my view, most relevant to the popular transition from socialism to pure and simple capitalism, which did not really exist.
Five articles by Gáspár Miklós Tamash published in the Hungarian press and translated into French can be found here.
As a result, we saw each other several times, the last time was four years ago when I interviewed him in Hungary. Central European Post. In the apartment where he lived with his daughter, as he likes to remember it, in a middle-class Jewish quarter of Pest, there were many books on the walls, which reminded me of a scene that took place in my own home. , in Paris, in the Faubourg Saint Antoine district where he stayed. A visiting friend, the architect Laszlo Rajk – the son of a communist interior minister executed by the communists after a sham trial in 1949 – made an unpleasant comment. ” Typically Central Europe! – he shouted and looked at my library full of books and magazines. It pissed me off at the time, but made me think a few years later as I started doing more and more radical weeding. Apparently, this was not the case at TGM.
In recent years, it has become increasingly isolated. He once hinted to me that it was even more isolated than Ceausescu’s Romania, which he left at the age of twenty. I don’t know if books can help him. Sad. Very sad. Now that he’s gone, I realize that we were more than friends, members of the same “family”. Comrades on break, but friends above all else. I think of the girl who seems very attached. I hope he is ok.
PS: This text also appears in Romanian on the “Pagini libere” website.