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Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, ISSN: 1584-2525 Vol. 17 (August 2012), pp. 5-42

‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘nationalinternational relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism
Emanuel COPILA
*

Keywords: revolutionary workers democracy, socialist ethics, education, revolutionary socialist patriotism, democratic centralism, personality cult, socialist economy Abstract The present paper tries to bring forward an ideological reinterpretation of the Romanian communist ideology from the „golden age”. „Romantic Leninism” implies an apparently incompatible ideological hybridity between Leninism, Romanticism and even Fascism, endemic with reference to the other communist regimes from Eastern Europe and even the whole world. Without neglecting its international manifestations, the accent lies here on several concepts considered to be the theoretical backbone of what I have named romantic Leninism. Following the analysis of the ideological structure of romantic Leninism, this part of the paper deals with Nicolae Ceau escu’s personality cult and the particular type of socialist economy implemented during his leadership, both underlined by the heroic-romantic ideal of „building socialism”. On the whole, I intend to prove that romantic Leninism represented, under different appearances, a unified assault over the „bourgeois” conscience of Romanian society, in the attempt of replacing it with another type of conscience, that of the well-known „new man”, robotized and following exclusively the party’s goals, which he accepts as his own.

Romantic Leninism. A brief introduction
adiating from Moscow, the Leninist ideology was absorbed by East European communist regimes in different forms and intensities. Some have adopted it uncritically, without processing it, like in the case of Eastern Germany; others have followed it integrally in foreign policy in order to obtain a certain space of maneuver in domestic policy (Hungary), while states like socialist Romania fully obeyed its forms of manifestation and only partially its content in domestic policy, while considerably distancing themselves from Moscow’s politicalideological directives in international relations. Romantic Leninism, the main topic of this paper, represents a unique ideological combination consisting in Leninist, Romantic, Fascist or nationalist elements. It appeared more or less with Nicolae Ceau escu’s rise to power, but it certainly does not equate his thinking, including social tendencies, mentalities, bureaucratic inertias and ideological fidelities with a much larger application framework. The ideological components of romantic
*

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Assistant, University of Timisoara, e-mail: copilasemanuel@yahoo.com.

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Emanuel Copila

Leninism, although contradictory, manage to coexist and even reciprocally potentiate themselves, the result being a schizoid ideology in whose theoretical texture one can find modern or ultramodern conceptualizations (Leninist ones, like the orientation towards future as a legitimizing source for the present or exacerbated positivism, the regime considering it has the scientific mission to lead Romania on the road of ‘building socialism’, but also fascist ideas, Fascism being on its turn a modern phenomenon, and here we could include the diminishing role of the party in relation to that of the leader, xenophobic discourses or the affinities for military theories and activities), respectively pre or antimodern conceptualizations (romanticism exemplified trough the cult of heroism or the exaggerated nationalism through which the regime tried to mobilize the apathetic population, purging it in the same time of its ‘bourgeois’ or ‘counterrevolutionary’ categories).1

Aspects regarding the ideological content of romantic Leninism
Confronted with the danger of dismemberment for the young Soviet state due to its centrifugal nationalist forces, Lenin advanced the formula ‘national in form, socialist in content’, a compromise through which the cultural and national particularities of the Soviet republics, the former Tsarist provinces, were recognized along with their economic, social and political transformation according with the main ideas of the Bolshevik revolution.2 Referring to Ceau escu’s Romania, George Schöpflin considers that the Leninist desideratum had metamorphosed so much until it became ‘socialist in form’ and ‘national in content’.3 No matter how percussive this expression, I argue that it does not fully reflect the ideological content of romantic Leninism. On short, Leninism, in its post-revolutionary form,4 was never inferior to Fascistic nationalism, even if sometimes its visibility was lower; within romantic Leninism, nationalism and Leninism have approximately the same share. The attempt of comparing them can only provide disappointing results. Next, we shall shortly analyze the main political concepts of romantic Leninism, respectively their international equivalents. We will start with ‘revolutionary
I widely analyze romantic Leninism in my doctoral thesis entitled Geneza leninismului romantic. O perspectiv teoretic asupra orient rii interna ionale a comunismului românesc, 1948-1989, defended in December 2011 at the Babe -Bolyai University. 2 Emanuel Copila “The «Moscow centre» and its peripheries: an ideological overview of the Soviet’s Union difficulties as a multinational state”, Political studies forum, 1 (2009): 113-146. 3 George Schöpflin “Gorbachev, Romania and «Leninist nationalities policiy»”, Background Report. Eastern Europe, no. 96, 12 June, Arhiva 1989, 3. 4 I have advanced, in the article Counter-idea of the 20th century. Varieties of Leninism in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, under review at Communist and Post-Communist Studies, a typology of Soviet Leninism as it follows: revolutionary Leninism (classical), post-revolutionary Leninism (Stalinism), Europeanized Leninism (Khrushchevism), systemic Leninism, (Brezhnevism) and post-Bolshevik Leninism (Gorbachevism). Without entering into details, I consider the first three types as revolutionary, in the sense that, in different degrees, appreciated the global revolution as unavoidable and acted, in different ways, for its reification, while at the last two types the revolutionary substance disappears, in the first case because of using strict political means and of the slow renunciation of ideology (global revolution) in the relations with ‘imperialism’, and in the last case due to the repudiation of the Bolshevik dimension of Leninism, of the ‘democratic centralism’ which instituted the infallibility of the communist party and its role as the unique guide of the revolutionary process.
1

‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism

working democracy’ or ‘working democracy’, a phrase introduced by Ceau escu at the beginning of the 1980s in order to replace the now obsolete ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.5 Ceau escu operated relatively late this ideological modification, without forgetting to criticize the communist parties which already gave up the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, like the French Communist Party (FCP). Let us see the ideological justification of the new concept: Defining the state in other way than the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat is highly legitimized by the realities of our society. Therefore, in Romania there is no longer a proletariat in the classical sense of the term, as an exploited and lacking means of production class, because, once obtaining power and liquidating bourgeois exploitation, the working class has gradually changed its situation in society becoming, along with other classes and categories of working people, the owner of political power, owner of the main means of production, the beneficiary of work’s results. Starting with the historical moment of eliminating the exploiting classes, the state power of our country does no longer have a dictatorship character, in the sense of domination of one class over the other, because the social structure of the country includes only classes and social categories with socialist features, between which there is a strong unity, based on the community of fundamental interests, which determines their closeness and, with time, their homogenization.6 Just because the abolishment of ‘class antagonism’ of the ‘working democracy’ has been superior to the ‘bourgeois’ one: because it considered itself to be truly representative. Capitalist societies, whose politics is the result of conflicts between political parties which do not reflect nothing but social polarity and the superficial and limited character of the democracy they pretend to embody, their electoral system being but a manipulative farce through which the attention of the ‘masses’ was drowned from the most important problems – would not have had, on the long term, any other alternative but to embrace the socialist model of development.7 In the Romanian Socialist Republic (RSR), the social model was based on the primacy of the ‘working class’8, the most important class according to official
Constantin Cuciuc, Sistemul democra iei socialiste, (Bucure ti: Editura tiin ific i Enciclopedic , 1986), 20. Manea B bu , “Rolul i func iile statului nostru socialist – stat al democra iei muncitore ti, revolu ionare”, in Tematici i bibliografii pentru cercurile politico-educative (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1985), 7172. Emphasis in original. 7 Gheorghe Marinescu “Problematica democra iei în cadrul confrunt rilor ideologice contemporane”, in Confrunt ri ideologice contemporane, coord. G. Marinescu, A. T nase (Ia i: Junimea, 1981), 162-199; “Programul P.C.R. despre criza democra iei în capitalismul contemporan, combaterea teoriilor burgheze despre democra ie”, in Socialismul tiin ific i problemele dezvolt rii economico-sociale a României, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1977), 117-125; Aristide Cioab , Func ia ideologic a partidelor politice din societatea capitalist actual , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1988); Marcel Negreanu, “Democra ia burghez – între apare e i realit i”, in Capitalismul, orînduirea exploat rii i asupririi umane, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1981), 92-97. 8 Gheorghe Surpat, Clasa muncitoare: for a social conduc toare în România socialist , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1974).
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Emanuel Copila

ideology, the other ones either gradually disappearing or conforming to its pretensions; however, the ‘classes’ were nothing more than some ideological constructs that distorted the social dynamics the Romanian Communist Party (RCP) itself had put into practice, by simplifying it excessively. ‘Working democracy’ was intended therefore as an expression of the transformative force of the ‘working class’. In order to understand ‘revolutionary working democracy’, we must start with a discussion about ‘democratic centralism’, an idea of Leninist extraction regarding the main principles which should guide the activity of every communist party. As only the RCP considered itself the force able to create a ‘democratic’ regime for the ‘popular masses’, the manner in which the party defined its internal functionality and the sense it attributed to democracy as an instrument of management is highly important in order to interpret the applicability of the concept at the social level. The centralist dimension of the concept, was considered, ‘ensured the unitary elaboration of the party’s program and policy, the unitary coordination and leadership of the activity of party organs and organizations from a single center, the respecting of the unique discipline by all communists, the requirement of fulfilling the decisions of the higher organs of the party by all communists, by all party organs and a organizations’. On the other hand, the democratic dimension involved ‘the participation of communists at leading and resolving the party’s work, at debating and founding its internal and international policy; equal rights for all party members; the eligibility of leading party organs; collective leadership and work; the use of critique and self-critique, the control of party members over the elected organs etc’.9 Centralism and democracy would have made sense only together. They were, in other words, ‘undivided’, one in the absence of another could not have led but to invalidating the ‘historica mission’ the concept incorporates. Therefore, ‘Without a central leadership, democracy can degenerate into anarchy, which would endanger the sole revolutionary substance of working class’s party, the same way as, without a democracy to go through every fiber of party life, central leadership would risk to bureaucratize, which would paralyze the initiative spirit and the combativeness of the party’.10 Although propagandistically the original sense of ‘democratic centralism’ was maintained, free debates followed by a decision with law value, the gesture of discussing it further equating with a ‘counterrevolutionary’ stance – romantic Leninism kept only ‘centralism’; democracy, understood as free conversations and even polemics, disappeared in its entirety. On the other hand, Lenin’s ‘party discipline’ was highly valued by RCP, consisting in the essence of ‘democratic centralism’ in romantic Leninist meaning.11
9 “Centralismul democratic – principiul fundamental al structurii organizatorice i a activit ii partidului”, in Probleme fundamentale ale activit ii de partid i de stat (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1977), 68; Ion St nescu, Democra ia intern de partid (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1977), 7-28. 10 “Centralismul democratic...”, 68-69; Iovan Gheorghe, “Centralismul democratic – principiul fundamental al structurii organizatorice i al activit ii partidului. Principalele direc ii ale dezvolt rii centralismului democratic în etapa actual”, in Probleme fundamentale ale statutului P.C.R., ale normelor muncii i vie ii comuni tilor, (Bucure ti: Sec ia de propagand a C.C. al P.C.R., 1980), 59-60; Perfec ionarea organiz rii i conducerii vie ii sociale. Rolul statului socialist (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972), 17-18. 11 St nescu, 57-82.
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‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism

Outside the party, at the social level, ‘democratic centralism’ was meant to integrally elaborate and guide the directions of development, respectively ensure the active participation of the population in this process.12 We can talk now about ‘revolutionary working democracy’, ‘a superior unity stage between socialism and democracy’13, in which the people, through the party, actively contributed to ‘building socialism’. However, this type of democracy ‘is not limited to being the echo of the transformations from economy and social life’; on the contrary, it had to bring its active support to impelling the metamorphoses that guide the road to communism. The desideratum basically proves the apathy and indifference of the population towards the official ideology. Romantic Leninism could not tolerate, at least not for long, this kind of attitude. Its revolutionary substance, which never left it, imposed a both militant and integrative behavior: it was not sufficient for the population to resign in relation to the apparently irreversible power of the regime; it was to become an active and conscious part of its ideological project. That is why ‘in the whole system of socialist democracy revolutionary spirit must be manifested, in order not to institute immobility, commodity in thinking, formalism, bureaucracy, the lack of discipline and order, the disrespect for laws’.14 Moreover, the responsibility and duty towards the community represented the sole warranty of ‘working democracy’, through which ‘working people’ contributed to ‘overcoming necessity and stepping in the realm of freedom’.15 The RCP, through the state, at the political level, and through the Front of Socialist Unity, renamed in the 1980s the Democratic Front of Socialist Unity – at the social level, exercised its leadership directly and discretionary over the whole ‘mass and common’ organizations, on their turn part of the Front.16 In this way, we can understand the party’s ability to thoroughly manage the form of society, arguing that ‘political decision is not the sum of individual acts, but the collective, general will, expression of the fundamental interests of the people, of the nation’17; the ‘small bourgeois’ content of society, on the other hand, remained unbeatable for the regime. Let us see what Ceau escu himself understood trough ‘working democracy’ and democracy at large.

Constantin Popovici, “Centralismul democratic – principiu fundamental de organizare i de conducere a vie ii social-politice”, in Introducere în tiin a conducerii societ ii socialiste, coord. M. Constantinescu, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1974), 54. 13 Constantin Cuciuc, Sistemul democra iei socialiste, (Bucure ti: Editura tiin ific i enciclopedic ), 25. 14 Ibid., pp. 27; Vasile Nichita, “Democra ia muncitoreasc , revolu ionar – cucerire istoric a poporului român condus de Partidul Comunist Român, expresie a superiorit ii orînduirii noastre socialiste”, in Tematici i bibliografii pentru cercurile politico-educative (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1985) 81-91. 15 Cuciuc, 65. 16 Stana Buzatu, Frontul unit ii socialiste, expresie a unit ii întregului popor, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1975); Cuciuc; Gheorghe Butaru, Organiza iile de mas i ob te ti în via a social-politic a României, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1987), 148-158; Programul Partidului Comunist Român de f urire a societ ii socialiste multilateral dezvoltate i înaintare a României spre comunism (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1975), 135-136. 17 Ioan Ceterchi, “Participarea maselor la conducerea societ ii – esen a democra iei socialiste”, in Statul socialist romîn în etapa actual (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1976), 109.
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Party democracy, the development of socialist democracy in general are highly bound and must be conceived in close relation with the growth of the sense of responsibility for everyone, of party order and discipline. These do not only contradict, but condition themselves: they cannot be conceived one without the other. Party democracy cannot be conceived without order and discipline, without working responsibility, as party responsibility, order and discipline cannot be conceived without a high political-ideological level of understanding, without conscious action carried in whole sectors of activity. It is not about blind discipline. It is about that everyone, entering the communist party, becoming activist of a revolutionary party which proposes to transform the world, engaged itself to be militant, a soldier of this party, to exemplarily carry out the duties entrusted to him. This in a conscious manner!18 ‘Internal party democracy’ or ‘democratic centralism’ and, socially, the ‘working democracy’, are not to be confounded with ‘socialist democratism’, although all three of them have the same ideological source, romantic Leninism. The last concept refers to the ‘socialist state’ which, subordinated on its turn to the RCP and progressively indistinct with reference to it, would have been structured by a real democracy, understood as ‘governing of the people by the people’ and expressed ‘in our electoral system, meant to ensure election in the supreme organs of state power, as well as in local organs of state power of the best and most competent of the working people’.19 In the field of international relations, the RCP attributed in general the same sense to democracy; however, one must take into account that it had to act in an ideological hostile environment, in the last years of east-European communism managing to turn against it the majority of ‘brotherly countries’, over which the ‘bourgeois influence’ was increasingly visible. When it pled for ‘democratizing international relations’, romantic Leninism was not at all in ideological discontinuity with its internal orientation. On the contrary, it manifested a tireless will to emphasize the growing role of ‘small and medium states’ in global decisions, which were not moral to reach in the absence of consensus, to equalize the political powers of states in a way that the underdeveloped or ‘developing’ ones – because RSR imagined itself, along China, as a model – to slowly but surely counter the hegemony of ‘imperialism’. The main international organizations, UN for example, had to be ‘democratized and rationalized’ as to equitable reflect the new international realities.20

Nicolae Ceau escu, Democra ia socialist în România, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1979), 79-80; see also Dumitru Iacob, “Democra ia socialist . Adîncirea democra iei – legitate a f uririi societ ii socialiste multilateral dezvoltate, a înaint rii României spre communism”, in Curs de socialism tiin ific, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1979), 406-426. 19 Ceterchi, art. cit., p. 115. 20 Ion Datcu, “Organiza ia Na iunilor Unite în sistemul rela iilor interna ionale contemporane”, in Probleme interna ionale. Agenda 1980, coord. T. Caraiuc (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1980), 96-116; Romulus Neagu, O.N.U. Adaptare la cerin ele lumii contemporane (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1983).
18
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‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism

„President Nicolae Ceau escu conceives the democratization of international relations as a process with ethical valences that claim the actions took within its framework not to be orientated against anyone, but to equally serve the interests of all states. Therefore it demonstrates the repudiation from international life of equalities, hegemonism and of the whole system of institutions, norms and methods created on this basis, which offer advantages to some and disadvantages to many. This presupposes, as our party’s general secretary repeatedly underlined, the making of structural mutations in the international field, in the sense of a full accordance between the principal affirmation of the adhesion to humanity’s great ideals – pace, security, cooperation – and the action of transposing them into practice.21 Of course Romania’s permanent aims were rather propagandistic that practical, aiming to discriminate the politics of ‘imperialism’, which was not eager at all to fulfill its objectives. But their recurrence indicates Ceau escu’s firm conviction in the process of internationally expanding socialism in the absence of a ruling center (like Moscow used to be), and in the possibility of speculating new tendencies, real or imagined, for its own political-ideological purposes. ‘The conception that the fate of humanity lays exclusively in the hands of great powers corresponds no more to the new conditions of social developments’, Gheorghe Dolgu writes, therefore ‘the edification of relations between states’ should have been envisioned ‘on the foundation of principles, norms, policies and decisional mechanisms which to guarantee and factually ensure full equality in rights for nations, respect of independence and national sovereignty, noninterference in domestic affairs, mutual advantage’. Dolgu goes on: ‘The world force ratio is favorable to innovating changes. Socialist countries, with their growing weight on the world arena, developing countries, strong trough the processes taking place both within them, and in the world economy, to the consciousness of their specific interests and the force of their front, national liberation movements, the movement of nonaligned countries, the activity of small and medium countries, the ascension of left forces, of democratic and progressive movements in Western countries, are all potential or real forces of change’.22 Romantic Leninism was convinced of its international perseverance power and its persuasive capacities. But between its militancy, on one hand, and its political weight, on the other, existed an outphasing that, instead of diminishing or at least remaining constant, it will gradually increase. In terms of socialist morals or ethics, RCP’s propagandistic activity offered them a central place in the process of creating the ‘socialist consciousness’ of ‘masses’. In Leninist regimes, morality was permanently subsumed to the political objectives of the governing party. Ethics as well, meaning the moral progress of society in accepting the Leninist Weltanschauung. In other words, the distinction between good and evil,
21 22

Mic enciclopedie de rela ii interna ionale pentru tineret (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1984), 62. Gheorghe Dolgu, “Independen i interdependen , obietive i c i ale edific rii unei noi ordini economice interna ionale”, in Concep ia pre edintelui Nicolae Ceau escu despre noua ordine economic interna ional , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1976), 70-106.
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Emanuel Copila

between values and non or anti-values could be understood only in relation with political power, whose projective finality constituted the global revolution. ‘Over morale and ethical thinking exercise a strong influence political and ideological conscience’, writes I. Bonis. Consequently, ‘communist morale forms under the influence of the political conscience of the proletariat, weighting and valuing moral acts, in any society, being made, actually, from the point of view of political aspirations and interests’.23 Without their own means of evaluation, counting only as political efficiency, morale and ethics are semantically embezzled and became part of the Leninist arsenal against ‘bourgeois’ reality. ‘Communism gave man not only the highest ideal from the history of mankind’, we can read in a RCP’s propagandistic brochures, ‘the full emancipation of all oppression and exploitation, conquering human dignity, opening the road to happiness, but it laid the basis of a morale in accordance with this ideal’.24 ‘Socialist ethics’, on the other hand, understood as socially extended morality, would have differentiate from previous types of ethics by its ‘new social content’ and trough ‘liquidating the social relations based on private property, on the exploitation of man by man, on inequitable relations between men, on national and racial discriminations’; the new etic had as central objective ‘building new social relations, based on equality among humans, on people’s collaboration in the working process, creating a new social-political, juridical and economic order’.25 On the whole, the morale and ethics of Leninist regimes aimed at the dismantling of the ‘old’ ‘bourgeois’ mentality and its replacement with a ‘socialist conscience’, which to guarantee the active integration of its subjects in the Leninist ideological project. While during the 1970s and 80s, the Soviet Union and most of the east-European states stopped believing in the validity of Leninist norms and lowered to a great extent the ideological guard, an imprudence which will prove, corroborated with other factors, fatal – the ‘revolutionary’ combativeness of RSR was maintained at high quotas, even radicalized. According to the romantic-Leninist meaning of ‘socialist morality’, the communist truth must prove ‘principledness’ permanently advocating the affirmation and imposition of the political priorities and ideological orientation of RCP. Our party cannot admit within its rank partisans of ‘double accountability’ – principled at work, unprincipled after work. Principledness must belong to the whole activity of a party member. The principles of communist morale must not be abandoned after work, as an overall; shameful behavior in family life, in social relations discredits in the same extent as abuses in exercising do. The communist does not have two lives – a public and a personal life; he is not and cannot be principled only in working hours or meetings; he does not know morale at work and another at home.26

23

I. Bonis, Morala socialist (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972), 15. Etic i echitate socialist (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972), 402. 25 Ioan Grigora , Principii de etic socialist (Bucure ti: Editura tiin ific , 1974), 138. 26 Etic i echitate socialist , 403.
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‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism

Besides ‘principledness’, the communist must have proved ‘intransigency’, relentlessly ‘unmasking’ the enemies of the people. Although it argues that it strengthens the community bound, romantic Leninism has only worked against it and create the exact duplicitous mentality which it accused in the above lines. Where lays then the inadvertency? In understanding the fact that romantic Leninism advocated in favor of a community made of members with an already formed ‘revolutionary conscience’, ideologically mature and faithful to party discipline. Collectivity aggregated around ‘bourgeois’ values and principles abhorred romantic Leninism. But, as any society, the Romanian one was founded too on the same non-Leninist axiological bases. The struggle for transforming it into a party consisting in idealized members, militants, disciplined, consequents and intransigent – will represent one of the main objectives of romantic-Leninism. Not being able to reach it, it will become more and more hostile to the ‘bourgeois’ tendencies existent at the social level, by which it will be overwhelmed in a not so distant future. Most of the times, ‘allowance’ and ‘tolerance’ regarding the violation of the norms of our ethic is justified trough ‘humanly’ considerations, trough help offered for the ‘moral recuperation’ of some people. Undoubtedly, when it comes to mistakes, random, minor deviations, unimportant for the moral profile of the person in question, tact and measure is imposed in the way we intervene. But one must never forget that, by deceiving the thrust offered to them, exploiting the moral credit they received, some specialize themselves in committing recurrent ‘mistakes’, which they ‘regret’ every time, only to resume them once they consider themselves free of control. No abuse, no injustice, no violation of social norms can let a party member indifferent; he must decisively combat the tolerance mentality for abuses and illegalities, a mentality which contributes, in fact, to their perpetuation an encouragement. It is the duty of every communist not to expect the appearance of ‘unpleasant situations’ in order to intervene, but to create everywhere an atmosphere of exigency and party-like combativeness. Sadly, there still are party members which neglect the activity of systematically communist education of people, limiting themselves to intervene when violations that require severe measures are signaled. It is clear that, through this kind of ‘campaign’ character, the efficacy of the communist education work is highly diminished. In many cases, the negative evolution of some party members could have been avoided if it would have been understood in good time that exigency and not the attitude of allowance means, in fact, solicitude and party-like spirit.27 Behind personal and inter-personal aspects, the corner-stone of ‘socialist ethics’ remained the fidelity towards the ‘motherland’. Therefore, the nationalism romantic Leninism contained is fully making its ideological presence felt, becoming, paradoxically, if we take into account the internationalist principles of revolutionary
27

Ibid., 410-411.
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Leninism – a defining criteria in appreciating the quality of a communist. ‘Nothing seems to attract preciousness and esteem more sacred for man’, Ioan Grigora writes emphatically, ‘as its infinite devotion for the motherland, its patriotic heroism, its spirit of sacrifice which can go to the supreme sacrifice for the defense and good of the motherland’.28 Or, as Paul Popescu-Neveanu argues, „The supreme moral law of communists, al all new men, is serving with a selflessness carried on to sacrifice of the life interests of the people, of the socialist Motherland’.29 The communist, a disciplined member of the party, was either a member of the ‘working class’, either it made everything possible to ideologically connect the workers, along with the class they were part of, to the RCP’s imperatives. Generally, the ‘working class; was imagined as consisting in devoted communists, with a corresponding moral and political profile. Vanguard of ‘building socialism’ in the RSR, the ‘working class’ would have possessed a ‘social ideal’ that ‘through its specific features and values, exercises a considerable influence over the numerous aspects of human activity and consciousness’. But, in classical Marxism, ‘social existence’ determines ‘social consciousnesses. Within Leninist regimes, especially when they enter a period of stagnation followed most of the time by decline, the ratio is reversed, ‘social conscience’, never fully established, being called for to create a imagined social reality, normative-Leninist, in established to counter their societies expansive ‘bourgeois’ tendencies. The process was fully experienced by romantic Leninism. ‘The ideal determines and modifies attitudes, concentrates the superior initiatives and attitudes, which orient appreciation and determine the critique and negation of everything proven inefficient or worthless in the real process and in the future perspectives’.30 The ‘ideal’ becomes therefore more important than reality, which obstinately remains ‘bourgeois’, and romantic Leninism, sieged both internally and externally by the ‘bourgeois’ ideological counteroffensive, resists by progressively amplifying its revolutionary intransigence. Behind socialist ethic and morale was the ‘revolutionary spirit’, meaning the ‘ideal followed by the proletariat’ and ‘the cause for which it and the masses following it fight’. Inherent to the ‘revolutionary spirit’ were the ‘dedication, devotion and total engagement, even to sacrifice, for the cause of the revolution’.31 Another proof supporting the hypothesis that for Leninist regimes, ‘social conscience’ becomes more important than ‘social existence’ can be found in the next quote: ‘Socialism (…) requests more and more a perspective over what must to be done, a prospective conscience, supported by scientific knowledge of present and future existence and by a just relation between individual and social interests’.32 Or, in the words of E. Damian, ‘as the tasks become more complex, the request of strengthening the
28

Grigora , 254. Emphasis mine. Paul Popescu-Neveanu, Am gire i adev r în moral , (Bucure ti: Editura tiin ific , 1968), 101. 30 Gheorghe Berescu, “Responsabilitate i competen în exercitatea activit ii profesionale; idealurile sociale i etice ale casei muncitoare”, in Gheorghe Surpat, op. cit., 198. Emphasis mine. 31 Grigore Zanc, Etica spiritului revolu ionar, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1975) 18. Emphasis in original. 32 Ibid., p. 38; see also Ion Berceanu, “Spiritul revolu ionar”, in A tr i i a munci în chip comunist, ed. M. Iord nescu, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1976), 52-62.
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‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism

revolutionary character of the whole party work becomes more stringent’.33 Romantic Leninism always subordinated the real to the ‘ideal’, to which the first would unavoidably tend. That is why, within revolutionary, non-‘bourgeoised’ Leninist regimes, the social and implicitly the economic are permanently subsumed to the ideologically determined political. Using a counter factualist, but scientifically fertile argument, despite the methodological limit it encounters, we can affirm that Karl Marx would have condemned the 20th century Leninist regimes as forms of a new kind of despotism, legitimated on the basis of distorting the emancipator and morally living ideas extracted from his and Engels’s work. Internationally, socialist morality and ethics consisted not in openness towards values or general behavior or even universally accepted norms, but in ‘strategic alliances’ with ‘progressive forces’ and ‘communist parties’. In this case as well, relations had to be concluded exclusively through the party, meaning under the direct surveillance of Ceau escu himself, because the danger of ‘bourgeois’ ideological intrusion was ubiquitous, both externally and internally. The above quotes fully demonstrate this. And this is why, without a sufficiently developed socialist consciousness’, neither the great majority of party members was not considered able to manage such a task.34 In Kenneth Jowitt’s terms, the RCP was a real ideological ‘fortress’, penetrated on its turn by ‘counter-revolutionary’ ideas and orientations, and which made everything possible to isolate itself with ratio to the society it governed and the outside world, trying in the same time, trough different means, to imprint them its own ideological mould.35 Education represents another major component of the romantic Leninist project. Conceived as to structure the thinking, attitudes and behavior of children according to the ideological requests of the RCP, education extended also over adults. For the ‘transformative’ ambitions of romantic Leninism, education could only be ‘permanent’.36 We are not talking about classic education in this case, but Leninist education, its central objective being just the narrowing of thinking capacities and free development, their confiscation and instrumentation for achieving the impossible revolutionary ideal. Not surprisingly, ‘the functions of education must be redefined in order to correspond to the bold but realist projects of connecting the actual possibilities to the future alternatives’. The learning process becomes synonymous with an ‘unchaining of human potential, a stimulation of intellectual and affective forces, a development of capacity that is not founded on past or present (‘bourgeois’, m.n.) experience’, having as characteristics ‘the cultivation of self-trust’, ‘self-renewal’, ‘independence’, ‘responsibility’, ‘transformative spirit’ and, maybe the most important aspect, the ‘sense for future’.37

33 34

E. Damian, Stil i metod în munca de partid (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1975), 37. Politica interna ionalist a Partidului Comunist Român (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972). 35 See Kenneth Jowitt, New World Disorder. The Leninist Extinction (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1993). 36 E. Dimitriu, Educa ia permanent – educa ie a întregului popor (Bucure ti: Editura tiin ific i Enciclopedic , 1978). 37 Ibid., 28. Emphasis mine.
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As a future flag carrier of romantic Leninism, ‘youth’ represented a specific social category for RCP’s propagandistic activity, whose ideological enrolling was considered vital for ensuring the continuity of ‘building socialism’. As in the case of socialist ethics and morality, from which it was inseparable, ‘permanent education’ of the ‘whole people’ was centered on safeguarding the ‘socialist homeland’ on whose altar nothing was too precious to be sacrificed. ‘We must raise he young’, Dimitriu writes, ‘to form generations of working people which will be ready anytime for any sacrifice and even give their life to protect the sovereignty and independence of the socialist homeland’.38 As the educative ambitions of the regime towards the young suffered growing deceptions, these opting in their majority for the Western cultural model as a prophylaxis against the attempts to turn them into ‘new men’39, the RCP propaganda amplified the presumptive miserable, lowering and degrading condition of capitalist societies immigrants, most of them young. These would have had only ephemeral and low paid jobs, marked by the chronically social and economic insecurity the West would have experienced.40 It was hoped that the nostalgy of the ‘socialist homeland’ will determine the young to return to the country. In th end, the articulation of ‘socialist consciousness’, where the ‘bourgeois’ reality was replaced by the fluid by means but teleologically determined reality of romantic Leninism, and where the West was on the verge of collapse and the RSR obtained amazing progress on every domain – did not require such an outstanding effort… Reflecting on the role of education in the ‘problems of contemporary world’, Mircea Du u argued that The objectives and dimensions of a new world order, the obsolete character and highly negative, multifaceted consequences of underdevelopment, the multiple and profound gaps which characterize the present world and the necessity to overcome them reflect themselves, under specific forms, in the education disciplines, in other school and extra-school activities. Numerous publications, the press, radio and television shows offer special attention to the presentation of new world order, to the actions took on different meridians in the direction of its expected settlement, o the initiatives and steps of socialist Romania, of president Nicolae Ceau escu regarding the settlement, in the interest of the peoples, of the great problems to which, in the present days, the whole world is confronted.41 Internationally, ‘permanent education’ would have contributed to the understanding, accepting and promoting the regime’s objectives: the ‘democratization

Ibid., 52; see also, G. V ideanu and A. Neculau, eds. Tineretul i lumea contemporan (Ia i: Junimea, 1985) and Mic Enciclopedie, 92-104. 39 Bogdan Barbu, Vin americanii! Prezen a simbolic a Statelor Unite în România R zboiului Rece (Bucure ti: Humanitas, 2006), 15. 40 Occident ’80. Destinul dramatic al tinerei genera ii, ed. R. N d an, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1989). 41 Mircea Du u, Educa ia i problemele lumii contemporane (Bucure ti: Albatros, 1989), 213.
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of international relations’, the building of the ‘new world order’ and, especially in the 1980s, the legitimation of RCP’s general secretary as a first hand international figure. ‘Working democracy’, socialist morality and ethics and permanent education were synergistically orientated towards the creation of the ‘new man’, completely ideological and capable, at the party’s request, of anything. The phrase can also be found in the discourses of Fascist regimes, having basically the same sense. ‘Educated’ or ‘formed’ as an ‘integral part of the opera of edification of multilateral developed socialist society and advance to communism’, the ‘new man’ constituted within romantic Leninist imaginary, the hero (not the Hero, that could only be Ceau escu) armed with ‘revolutionary vigilance’ and possessing ‘socialist consciousness’ and not hesitating to place itself at the party’s disposition, implicitly to Ceau escu’s, anytime, anyhow, anywhere, both in the country and outside it.42 In Octavian Fodor’s reading, „Self-forging” and ‘internal building’ represented the main coordinates of the ‘new man’s spirituality. ‘Internal building’ has the role of isolating the subject from the typically ‘bourgeois’ ideas and temptations, the process taking place within a tremendous revolutionary impetus. ‘Nothing exalts the will for better, the fervor, the spiritual powers of man than the vigorous affirmation of a personality purified trough intransigence’, Fodor continues. The ‘new man’ is, just like in the ideological program of the Iron Guard, a hero43 capable of enduring the worst deprivations in the name of the revolutionary ideal and permanently willing to resort to the ultimate sacrifice in this sense. And his heroism has nothing in common with a rational, quiet, calm way of living. No. Only the ‘bourgeois spirit’ is complacent in these ‘cheap satisfactions’ and aims obtaining ‘facile successes’, being therefore ‘followed by the risk of infatuation and softness’. The ‘new man’ succeeds in disciplining itself when the situation calls for it, also manifesting an overflowing enthusiasm regarding the party’s directives.44 If it would have succeeded in creating ‘new men’, Leninist regimes would have probably survived, no matter hw harsh the economic conditions, because the latter would have been completely immune to the ‘bourgeois’ reality’s temptations. ‘Revolutionary socialist patriotism’ expresses another way of combining Leninism and romanticism in post 1965 Romania. Understood as ‘the complex, concretehistorical reflection of the motherland, the sole patriotic consciousness objectivated in the thinking, conception, attitude and sense of men’45, the romantic Leninist version of patriotism meant, along with the above analyzed concepts, another form of social mobilization trough ideological coordinates. Furthermore, ‘revolutionary socialist patriotism’ aimed to contribute to the development of ‘socialist consciousnesses by
42

See “Cre terea rolului tiin elor sociale în procesul de educare i formare a omului nou, constructor con tient i devotat al socialismului i comunismului în România”, in Probleme ale materialismului dialectic i istoric i ale rolului tiin ei i tehnicii în progresul economico-social al rii, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1977), 368375. 43 Emanuel Copila , “Confiscarea lui Dumnezeu i mecanismul inevitabilit ii istorice. O compara ie între mitologia legionar i cea a comunismului românesc”, (I), Sfera Politicii, 135 (2009): 92-103. 44 Octavian Fodor, “«Autozidirea» con tient ”, in M. Iord nescu, op. cit, 31-38. 45 Constantin R ducu; Ecaterina Deliman, Dimensiunea contemporan a patriotismului revolu ionar socialist, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1983), 38. Emphasis in original.
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complementing it with a patriotic dimension. Two specifications are required. First of all, ‘revolutionary socialist patriotism’ is not to be confounded with ‘bourgeois’ nationalism which it attacked; expressing the interests and position of the ‘working class’, ‘revolutionary socialist patriotism’ would have had nothing in common with the type of nationalism met in capitalist societies, based on the embezzlement of national sentiments by the oppressive ‘bourgeoisie’.46 In romantic Leninist terms, nationalist meant ‘chauvinistic nationalist incensing’ or ‘national discord policy’. The RCP did not need something like this in order to pursue its own ideological utopia – even if, eventually, it brought up just those effects of nationalism - but peace and collaboration between ethnic minorities, both translated trough an increased yield in ‘building socialism’. And the ‘working class’, forcibly integrating from the point of view of means and illusory from the perspective of its success all ethnic and national groups from RSR, was credited as being able to put this desideratum into practice. As Ceau escu ranted at the Congress of Unions from 1976, Becoming a leading class in society, the working class has the high duty of protecting the freedom of the homeland, the independence and sovereignty of the people, to do everything for the nation’s prosperity and wellbeing, to ensure the building of the new social order according to specific historical conditions and will of the entire people. Ignoring the safeguarding of national independence, accepting the violation of the sovereignty of the people to which the working class belongs to, the communist party, are synonymous, in the last instance, with the abdication from Marxist-Leninist revolutionary principles, from the mission entrusted by history to communists, with slipping on the slope of cosmopolitism and national nihilism. This is why, despite the new ‘bourgeois’ theories of ‘mondialization’47 which relativized the importance of the national factor in the more and more complex and interdependent processes taking place in the world, ‘the nation, the strengthening of national independence are determinant factors of progress, of communism itself on our planet!’48, the general secretary of RCP argued. Second, ‘revolutionary socialist patriotism’ was considered to be fully ‘internationalist’. But what romantic Leninism understood trough internationalism had almost nothing in common whit the sense of ‘proletarian internationalism’ theorized by systemic Leninism (see note 4). For Brezhnev, ‘the principled importance of internationalizing the revolutionary experience’ resided, ritualistically invoking Lenin, in being aware of the fact that ‘every separate attempt to build a new (socialist, m.n.) society can suffer from an a form of unilateralism or another, from imperfection, that “integral socialism” is forged “on the basis of international cooperation of the

Na iunea socialist (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972). 179. Constantin R ducu; Ecaterina Deliman, op. cit., p. 54. 48 Nicolae Ceau escu, “Cuvîntare la Congresul uniunii...”, in Ap rarea patriei..., 343-344.
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proletariat from all countries”’.49 Under the legitimate guidance of the Soviet Union, one could add. ‘Internationalism’, in systemic Leninism’s vocabulary, has an almost identical sense when referred to the general semantics of the term. But for romantic Leninism, ‘internationalism’ could only begin from the national. Therefore, ‘revolutionary socialist patriotism’ represented ‘the guarantee of international solidarity, and it could not be interpreted as narrow nationalism or as a policy of national isolation, as, of course, internationalism remains incompatible with cosmopolitanism, hegemonism and great power chauvinism, with the denial or underestimation of the role of nation or of the national state’.50 The Soviet meaning of the term was therefore rejected as ‘great power chauvinism’ or ‘hegemonism’. In the same time, cultural and economic globalization, which gradually made its presence felt in the West, was labeled as ‘cosmopolitanism’, an artificial theoretical construct due to the absence of its anchoring in a national soil, the only measure unit accepted by romantic Leninism at the international level. Internationalism unconditionally presupposes the free and equal in rights existence of nations, the development of independent communist parties as a fundamental and decisive premise of their ties of brotherly solidarity. The duty of communists consists first of all in preoccupying themselves with the organization of the revolutionary struggle in their own country, and whey they are government parties in ensuring the building of socialist society. In no case the care for the progress and prosperity of their country is realized on the expense of other peoples, against or denying the interests of others, can be presented as an expression of nationalism. On the contrary, only in this way communists fulfill their role of vanguard and ruling force of their own people, they contribute to creating relations of respect and trust between all peoples – the basis of a real solidarity with revolutionary movements from all countries.51 Or, on an intellectual wannabe tone, Ceau escu continued: ‘the origin of the word internationalism is Latin, it is composed from the particles “inter” and “natio” and it etymologically means collaboration between nations. It is normal to conceive nationalism as relations between brotherly socialist nations, free, equal and independent. Only between free and independent nations we can speak of a collaboration equal in rights, of true socialist internationalism’.52 Romantic Leninist internationalism was intelligible exclusively through the prism of nationalism; in fact, it was nothing more than romantic nationalism projected internationally. Reversely, systemic Leninist internationalism, even if it synthesized Moscow’s external interests, it had nevertheless a different ideological content, much closer to that of revolutionary Leninism even if, by that time, its revolutionary substance was pretty much gone.
Leonid Brejnev, Scopul nostru este pacea i socialismul, (Moscova: Editura Agen iei de Pres Novosti, 1978), 207. Emphasis in original. 50 R ducu and Deliman, 52. Emphasis mine. 51 Na iunea socialist , 179-180. 52 Ibid.,163.
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In an article published in 1970, Kenneth Jowitt convincingly proves how the RCP ‘redefined’ internationalism. If in the period of post-revolutionary Leninism internationalism derived from Moscow’s power as indisputable and even legitimate center of the communist world, starting with the second half of the 1960s, Romanian communists reversed its meaning, transforming it into a national particularity: collective power would have begun from now on with the power of unities. In this way, Jowitt continues, preferring an approach based on ‘cooperation’, where the protagonists constructively interact in spite the differences separating them – to a ‘consensus’ based on voluntary and unconditional obedience towards the Moscow center, the RCP ‘replaced the notion of monolithic unity with a concept very similar to Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”’.53 The idea is fertile, being probably influenced by functionalism, an important current in international relations theory in the 1960s. Beyond theoretical details, the point is that romantic Leninism radically altered the Soviet sense of internationalism, another proof of its ideological independence in relation with the Moscow center. As in the 1980s the population furthered away from the regime while the latter consequently radicalized, ‘revolutionary socialist patriotism’ will be preponderantly orientated towards ‘defending the revolutionary conquests of the Romanian people’ (their expansion became less probable), whose ‘revolutionary consciousness’ was not in sight. The young, so much appreciated in official propaganda, became a Trojan horse for the pernicious ‘bourgeois’ ideas. ‘Assuming and living the revolutionary conception about world and life, of the policy of our party has a decisive role in overcoming pressures and reactionary national-chauvinistic bourgeois propaganda, in eliminating the old habits and prejudices which can touch certain members of our society, but especially the young, to which beside lack of experience, the predisposition of erroneous superficial, unselective appreciation of some realities is added’.54 All concepts discussed above – ‘revolutionary working democracy’, socialist ethics and morality, ‘permanent education’, the ‘new man’, ‘revolutionary socialist patriotism’ – express the desideratum of romantic Leninism to maximize its domestic and international power. Within them nationalism prevails, but not in the detriment of Leninism. Social militancy, ‘revolutionary’ intransigence, and the obsession of industrialization, about to be analyzed – all these are intrinsically Leninist categories. Furthermore, the nationalism found within romantic Leninism cannot be ideologically equated with ‘bourgeois’ nationalism, although their social effects are the same. ‘Revolutionary socialist patriotism’ is always oriented, in the virtue of its underlying Leninism towards the future, and its ideological attitude is much more totalizing and intransigent than in the case of usual nationalisms from which, at its turn, is inspired by. But it does it in order to overcome them, to create, in time, a nationalism free of the strait-lecas of any ‘bourgeois’ reference. In a ‘bourgeois’ to a great extent world, in which event most of the Leninist regimes were retreating and therefore involuntarily,
53 Kenneth Jowitt, “The Romanian Communist Party and the world socialist system: a redefinition of unity”, document of the Institute of international studies (Berkeley, University of California, 1970), 43. 54 Dumitru Popa, Ap rarea cuceririlor revolu ionare ale poporului român, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1987), 153.
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but surely, ‘embourgeoised’ themselves, romantic Leninism’s ambition to create an ideologically sterilized form of nationalism which would have confirmed its internal sovereignty and the much desired international independence could not have been more than an utopia. Maybe that is why it was persuaded, until the end, with irrational fervor. Last, but not least, RCP tried, as all Leninist parties did, to impose its own understanding of nationalism, respectively internationalism, as deriving directly from the works of Marx and Engels and Lenin. All three of them are integrated in the Marxist-Leninist category, despite the fact that between the first two and the last there is a philosophical difference of nature, while also between Marx and Engels there is a degree difference, one could say, the ‘Moor’ (Marx’s nickname) being much more intransigent and exigent than the ‘General’ (Engels’s nickname), which had in return a much more accessible style of writing.55 A useful theoretical tool for understanding the whole romantic Leninist and Leninist in general vocabulary was what the French scholar Françoise Thom named the ‘wooden language’.56 The ‘wooden language’, as permanent propaganda trough which Leninist regimes perceive and attack ‘bourgeois’ reality, is designed not to expand thinking and expressing, as any other language, but to reduce them, minimizing in this way the references to ‘bourgeois’ categories of thinking, even if it terminologically instruments them. Gradually, even if the population resists official propaganda, it will involuntarily absorb, it was hoped, terms, ideas and attitudes with Leninist content, its immunity towards propaganda therefore decreasing.57

The personality cult
The ideological program of romantic Leninism cannot be approached in the absence of understanding the personality cult that enveloped Ceau escu and whose implications exceeded by far the individuality of the general secretary of the RCP. As a short preamble of the domestic, respective external dimension of the personality cult, one should start with some psychological features of the character. Some of the most suggestive analyses of Ceau escu the man come from former communist officials who knew him in different extents. Let us start with Alexandru Bârl deanu. ‘Ceau escu was not happy at all’, he confesses, seeming ‘dry as tinder. Discording is that he liked romances, which denotes sentimentalism’. Furthermore, the Romanian leader ‘Had another odd characteristic: he could not stand happy people. Another one’s wellbeing made him physically sick. If you wanted to indispose him with something, you should only how good you felt at a dinner in the eve or how pleasant a certain woman is. In everyday life, he could not stand happy people. Only generally he continually spoke of

55

Marx, Engels, Lenin, Dialectica raportului na ional-interna ional în dezvoltarea istoric , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1987). 56 Françoise Thom, Limba de lemn, (Bucure ti: Humanitas, 2005). 57 Lavinia Betea, Psihologie politic . Individ, lider, mul ime în regimul comunist, (Ia i: Polirom, 2002); Emanuel Copila , “Confiscarea lui Dumnezeu i mecanismul inevitabilit ii istorice. O compara ie între mitologia legionar i cea a comunismului românesc” (II), Sfera Politicii, 39 (2009): 82-93.
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the good of the people’.58 Without taking into account the unavoidable resentments Bârl deanu held Ceau escu for being forcibly retired in 1967, this portrait contributes to understanding the fanatical, Leninist motivations underlying the political thinking and decisions of Gheorghiu-Dej’s successor. Another feature of Ceau escu was imposing an extremely austere ‘working style’. On the meetings where he participated smoking was forbidden. Even the ministers, in their own offices, had not been allowed to smoke. ‘It is said that they smoked like high school teenagers in the WC’s of their own offices’.59 In order to convince ourselves of these features, we should give the floor to Alexandru Budi teanu, Bucharest’s chief architect between 1977 and 1983, ‘the period when the dictator was filled with urbanistic enthusiasms’. Once he got to the yard, according to the already ritualistic ‘working visits’, Ceau escu and his wife started talking technical and esthetical enormities, asking for oversizing the projects already in work. ‘No one had the courage to contradict them, to tell them they talk nonsense…’. Moreover, the ‘activists’ surrounding Ceau escu ‘started thanking him for every nonsense, even told him that his words had abruptly enlightened them. I was exasperated’, Budi teanu admits, ‘but I have found a tactic. I also said, “yes”, “yes”, but I completed: “Is it not good to present you with another variant?’ He became curios and asked what was it about and we started some kind of trickery, from which to result that the technically feasible idea was actually his. I had to induce him that’ because the general secretary of the RCP, who became president of RSR in 1974, could not accept good ideas from other people. The fact that he and only he represents the unique source of a good idea was imperative. Budi teanu goes on: ‘If you told him that it was about futile financial and human sacrifices, that monuments, old buildings are being demolished, he became suddenly suspicious: “Comrades, who has the interest for this building not to be demolished?”’. About Ceau escu’s alleged belief in God, deriving from the rural superstitions that he could not get ride of in spite its Leninist education, Budi teanu offers a concise, simple and judicious diagnosis: ‘Some pretend that he would have believed in God. I say he believed himself in rivalry with him.60 Also, conceiving Ceau escu speeches was an entire adventure. They were structured along his indications, respective dates the ministries supplied according to the theme of the speech. Dumitru Popescu, chairman of the Culture Council, assisted by vice-president Ion Dodu B lan and Ion Brad, were responsible, at least in the 1970s, for the final form of the speech. Once typed, Ceau escu read the manuscript several times, having sometimes last minute interventions that required the mobilization of a full army of activists. In order to avoid the interruptions, babbles and blunders of the general secretary of RCP, which entailed severe repercussions, the latter tried to ‘put up phrases which do not pose big reading and pronouncing
58

Lavinia Betea, Alexandru Bârl deanu despre Dej, Ceau escu i Iliescu (Bucure ti: Evenimentul Românesc, 1997), 203. 59 “Despre stilul de munc al pre edin ilor RSR – de la Gheorghiu-Dej la Ceau escu”, confidential report, Radio Free Europe, undated, probably 1972, 2. 60 Toma Roman Jr., Ceau escu v zut de aproape (Bucure ti: Curtea Veche, 2008), 46-47.
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problems’. Furthermore, in order to avoid his reproaches, the ones who wrote the speeches deliberately ‘pumped up’ the numbers. The RCP leader ‘is therefore alarmingly lied to and it can be affirmed that in many times he makes good faith statements in his speeches’.61 I am not trying to present the thesis of an innocent, well intended and manipulated by his subordinates Ceau escu, but the consequences of a behavior typical to Leninist regimes. An interesting image of Ceau escu’s intimacy is offered by its former maid, Suzana Andreia . She remembers that, in family life, Ceau escu was extremely ordered and polite when he was not worrying about political problems and, in general, careful with Nicu, Zoia and Valentin, the dictatorial couple’s children. It seems that Ceau escu did not renounce the ambition of independence even in its personal life: ‘He washed himself alone, dressed alone, undressed alone, he did not need anyone. He placed his things in perfect order, did not threw them on stools or other places. Never’.62 Even if the former maid has an almost explicit admiration for Ceau escu, she also paradoxically express an open fear induced by almost thirty years of work in the villas of the Ceau escu couple. „Missis Maria”, she confesses to the interviewee, ‘I was rather forced to stay in the house of the Ceau escus. If I left, no one was allowed to hire me, nowhere. I had to stand always straight as a candle, not to bend over to the left or to the right’.63 Camil Roguski, an architect that has worked with Ceau escu, specialized in internal decorations, sustains that he and his wife were the followers of the extreme rigged out baroque style: ‘what was most rigged out or thoroughly worked was more beautiful. You will never see in his house a simple thing. Work meant for him beauty. The more sculpted, painted, marquetry, the smaller the flowers from a carpet, the more that art, furniture, setting object was interesting’. Regarding the residences build for the Ceau escu couple, ‘he liked what was bigger. He thought that is more beautiful’. Surely, more heroic too. From the testimonies of those who knew Ceau escu personally one can conclude that between his private and public life there is an undeniable continuity. Ceau escu lived as he thought: simple, rigid, dogmatic and pretended that everyone lived the same. Although in intimacy he would have been ‘very natural’64, it was probably a calculated attitude of the general secretary of RCP. Culinary and medically, he used only products that he got accustomed during his Scornice ti childhood.65 Probably that is where he learnt an atavistic, basic nationalism, too little ideologically understood or approached. Post-revolutionary Leninism constituted the ideological matrix, the ‘structuring structure’ in Anthony Giddens’s terms, which circumscribed Ceau escu’s nationalist attachment during a process that led, combined with numerous other factors like Romanian traditional nationalism Ceau escu’s capacity to
61 I.B., Q-124, “Cum sunt preg tite discursurile lui Ceau escu”, confidential report, Radio Free Europe, March 22, 1973, 1-3. 62 Maria Dobrescu La curtea lui Ceau escu. Dezv luirile Suzanei Andreia despre via a de familie a cuplului preziden ial (Bucure ti: Amaltea, 2004), 80. 63 Ibid., 170-171. 64 Dobrescu, 80. 65 Ibid.; Camil Roguski and Florentina Chivu, Ceau escu. Adev ruri interzise (Bucure ti: Lucman, 2005).
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construe its political position in time, with patience and meticulousness, and to name in very important administrative positions persons who owed him their career and were therefore, willingly or not, true to him, because their powers and privilege were proportional with those of Ceau escu himself – to the appearance, development and consolidation of romantic Leninism. As mentioned, romantic Leninism cannot be limited to Ceau escu’s thinking, although it finds in it one of its most important sources. Romantic Leninism represented an ideology ‘from above’, but which massively incorporated ‘from below’ prejudices, reflexes or attitudes. It cannot be exactly said which dimension is the most important, the Leninist ‘from above’ one, or the romantic-nationalist, ‘from below’ one, also found in the upper spheres of power. Such a question is pointless in the end, because romantic Leninism means an osmosis so profound between Leninism and romantic and also fascistic nationalism that any attempt to accentuate the importance of one over the other is useless. Returning to Ceau escu’s cult, the most plastic descriptions of Ceau escu psychology come probably from his former secretary, Silviu Curticeanu. ‘I do not believe that anyone from his entourage really loved him’, he writes. ‘It did not interest him! He loved only his heroic image in the perspective of history that he himself created, forgetting that the image is a fake. He was hated by many, but I cannot figure out if he knew and, especially, if it mattered to him’. The ‘revolutionary romanticism’ through which Ceau escu himself described the mobilizing attitude and fidelity towards the regime which he wanted to inoculate the population at any cost is confirmed once more. Regarding the ‘dominant feature of its character’, that was, in Curticeanu’s reading, ‘cunningness; he always appears in my image with a thousand faces and I cannot distinguish, even now, the mask from the true face. His cunningness was not that of a peasant, even if from the Olt region, but one almost diabolical, which exceeded, many times, even Machiavelli’s imagination; clever and cunning in every circumstance, he frequently became perfidious, meretricious and hypocritical’.66 About his intelligence, Curticeanu has no doubt. For him, Ceau escu ‘was equipped with a native intelligence, the affirmations regarding his “stupidity” being gratuitous. I have talked much with him in private and never, regardless of the field approached, did he leave me the impression of a man lacking intelligence’. Without intending to contradict Curticeanu, I believe certain confusion has arisen in this point. Ceau escu was cunning, skillful, shrewd, having an impressive political flair, I admit, but he was not capable to see and understand beyond the romantic veil which limited and ossified its thinking. From this point of view, his intelligence was in the service of the fanaticism with which it pursued its romantic and absurd ideal of implementing its own type of communism in Romania And the measure to which a fanatical is an intelligent person is another discussion. Furthermore, we can ask ourselves if Ceau escu’s pragmatism and ability were not contradicting its open romanticism. I would say no, because his pragmatism could not exist independent from romanticism, but on the contrary was instrumented from a romantic-Leninist direction, as were otherwise all Ceau escu’s energies.
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Silviu Curticeanu, M rturia unei istorii tr ite. Imagini suprapuse (Bucure ti: Historia, 2008), 117.

‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism

Another dominant feature of his character was harshness. Severe and austere, totally lacking sense of humor, Ceau escu used harshness to impose his points of view, whenever he appreciated that principles and cunningness are not enough. His harshness was not a simple nervous relaxation, common to many people, but a mean, many times simulated, to realize the same goal: the ensuring of an absolute personal authority. Harshness manifested itself through the ‘heaviness’ of words used: ‘you have put down industry’, ‘you have sold the country to strangers’, ‘you have disorganized party work’, ‘you have introduced turmoil at the chancellery’ etc. etc., the nuances being determined only by the concrete responsibilities of the particular victim. Other times, in more intimate circles, harshness was accompanied by true scenes of hysteria: then, his face contorted, his babbling accentuated until it made him unintelligible, he screamed like a madman, threw files on the floor, broke papers, punched his fist against the table, ready to break it. My God! I have assisted numerous such scenes, but I could not tell how many of them were real and how many simulated, because I have heard him screaming and cursing, just to see him, in the next second, laughing and cheerful.67 Maximizing its own power was not necessarily seen as a goal in itself, but as a vehicle for ‘building socialism’. Ceau escu was not, as Curticeanu observes,68 motivated only by sheer will of power; the logic of realpolitik is therefore insufficient for deciphering his political behavior and decisions, even if he nevertheless mastered it; his supreme objective was, as I have tried to prove so far, a teleological one: building the foundation for tomorrow’s communism. Domestically, Ceau escu’s personality cult reflected his megalomania, immense ambitions and his total will of power over the past, present and future of Romania. Ceau escu’s portrayal as a hero in direct continuity with legendary voievodes of Romanian participalities, armies of people organized in epic choreographic spectacles with the occasion of the main events the regime celebrated: 23 of August, 1 of December, 26 of January, 7 of January (the last two representing the birthdays of Ceau escu and his wife). Last but not least, Ceau escu was sometimes met, in cities with historical tradition, by propagandists dressed up in vintage uniforms. The present leader was therefore taking over from Mircea the Old or Vlad the Impeller, which solemnly saluted him.69 Within the country, Ceau escu’s cult had a mobilizing function, both social and ideological; however, progressively, this mobilizing function
Ibid., 119-120. Ibid., 122. 69 Vlad Georgescu, Politic i cultur . Cazul comuni tilor români, 1944-1977, (Bucure ti: Humanitas, 2008); erban Orescu, Ceau ismul. România între anii 1965 i 1989 (Bucure ti: Albatros Corporation, 2006), 126127; Anneli Ute Gabanyi, Cultul lui Ceau escu (Ia i: Polirom, 2003); Danièle Masson, “La Roumanie et l’epoque Ceausescu: edification d’un culte”, International Journal of Romanian Studies, 1 (1987), 53-59; Adrian Cioroianu Ce Ceau escu qui hante les Roumains. Le mythe, les représentations et le culte du Dirigeant dans la Roumanie communiste (Bucure ti: Curtea Veche, 2005).
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will regress due to Ceau escu’s growing insecurity in relation to the outside world, Romanian society and even his own party.70 Confronted with the gradual ‘embourgement’ of the ‘socialist camp’ starting with the end of the 1960s, going to the 1970s and becoming more and more visible in the second half of the 1980s – romantic Leninism narrowed its scaffolding, even if not its militancy, restraining itself around the thinking of Ceau escu himself, its origin and simultaneously most important dimension. Externally, Ceau escu’s personality cult had the same romantic content, presented however in a less strident propagandistic wrapper. The RCP’s leader was ‘sold’ as a very important figure in contemporary international problems and an ideal partner for great power leaders in managing tensioned situations around the globe. It is often said that the naïve West would have been constantly manipulated by a duplicitous Ceau escu which endorsed his ‘good communist’ image very successfully. But the nature of the relations between the West and a Ceau escu who permanently tried to win its financial goodwill is a little bit more complicated. Western leaders used on their turn the ‘genius of the Carpathians’ as a pressure tool against the Soviet Union. Generally, the image of a credulous and naïve West in relation to the Romanian leader is unlikely. But formally, polite remarks made o different diplomatic occasions were carefully compiled and offered to the public as irrefutable proofs of Ceau escu’s international reputation.71 In the politic, political economy and diplomatic dictionaries published in the 1970’s in RSR, at least several pages are dedicated to Ceau escu. But there are however nuance differences, interpretable through the prism of ongoing events and the regime’s ideological radicalization. Therefore, in the Political economy dictionary, the entrance for Ceau escu begins with the phrase: ‘eminent political man, Romanian Marxist-Leninist revolutionary thinker, outstanding militant of the international working and communist movement, personality of great prestige of international political life’.72 Not many differences when compared to the presentation from the Political Dictionary: ‘eminent Romanian political figure, outstanding militant of the working and communist movement, prestigious personality of the political international life’. However, the Diplomatic dictionary published in 1979 begins by enumerating Ceau escu’s personal positions: ‘general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party, president of the Socialist Republic of Romania, supreme commander of the armed forces’. Only afterwards the above formulas are enumerated, encomiastically continuing: ‘comrade Nicolae Ceau escu consecrated his energy and revolutionary passion to serving the fundamental interests of the Romanian nation, his life organically intertwining with the party and the homeland’s history, with the heroic path took by the Romanian people in the years of struggle against social injustice until the years of great victories in building the multilaterally
Mary Ellen Fischer, Nicolae Ceau escu. A study in political leadership, (Boulder & London: Lynne Riener Publishers, 1989); Ronald Linden, “Romanian foreign policy in the 1980s”, in Romania in the 80s, ed. D. Nelson, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1981), 225. 71 Gabanyi, 63-66. 72 Dic ionar de economie politic (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1974), 106.
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developed socialist society’.73 Also, one should take into account that in the Small Romanian diplomatical dictionary, Ceau escu’s name is no even mentioned.74 The personality cult, at least the extreme form we are used to, was not yet in the open. What could explain the partial deviation, in the Diplomatic dictionary, from the ritualistic formulas through which the political becoming of RCP’s general secretary was apotheotically described? I believe that internal dissidence movement, however fragile they were, and Ion Pacepa’s political asylum in the United States, the leader of Romanian espionage thus entailing an immense blow not only to Romanian espionage, but the prestige of Securitate and, most of all, to Ceau escu’s vanity and prestige - made the difference. Internationally, these events, corroborated with the growing oppressive character of social policies, led to the diminishing of Ceau escu’s Western reputation and his capacity to obtain credits from this part of the world. Correlative, the fascistic character of romantic Leninism, the centering on the leader against the party and the promotion af an aggressive form of nationalism, was growing. For Nicu Ceau escu, one of the Romanian dictator’s sons, his father had launched a true international theory bearing his name: the ‘Ceau escu doctrine’: The immense prestige Romanian foreign policy obtained, especially after the ninth Congress of the Romanian Communist Party (the founding moment of Ceau escuist mythology, m.n.), represents a concretization of the tireless activity of the general secretary of our party, the president of the Republic, comrade Nicolae Ceau escu, activity crossed by creative spirit, purposefulness and revolutionary firmness, by wisdom and courage. Eminent political figure, great personality of international life, president Nicolae Ceau escu, deciphers with farsightedness the goals to which humanity must aspire to, actively and decisively militates for carrying out the noble ideals of liberty, independence and social progress, of peace, friendship and collaboration among nations. The central shaft of his conceptions regarding the problems of international life, of the whole foreign policy activity of socialist Romania is constituted by the conscience of the high responsibility regarding the protection of sovereignty and national independence, over the establishment in the world of a climate of peace and security, of good understanding and cooperation’.75 The conclusion? ‘“România – Ceau escu – Peace’, a natural and brilliant twinning’”.76 In the romantic Leninist vocabulary Ceau escu meant Romania domestically and ‘peace’ internationally. Unfortunately, neither the ‘small bourgeois

Dic ionar diplomatic (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1979), 176. Mic dic ionar diplomatic român (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1967). 75 Mic enciclopedie de rela ii interna ionale pentru tineret (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1984), 56-57. 76 Ibid., 63.
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spirit’ of the Romanian society or the Western ‘bourgeoisie’ adopted the romanticLeninist semantics of the self-image in which Ceau escu relentlessly believed. Finally, before briefly taking into account the economical orientation of romantic Leninism, I cannot finish without quoting a fragment emblematic for the paroxysm to which the personality cult arouse during the 1980s. Author: Ion Bodunescu. Yes, we, Romanians, (…) had many brilliant men, founders of country and history, which took our fame everywhere. But none has lifted the name of the people from the Danube and Carpathians to such brightness. For the destiny of this people and its reflection in the world, president Nicolae Ceau escu represents – we are not the only ones telling it – what for Americans represented a Lincoln, for French a Napoeon, for Chinese a Mao Tse Tung, for Italians a Garibaldi, for Turks a Attatürk, for Indians a Ghandi. He represents, in other words, that providential man which, giving a new course to the history of its people, got involved, along with its people, in the great course of humanity, prompting it new increases or new patterns.77

‘Socialist economy’
Economy held a special place in the romantic-Leninist project of transforming society; its analysis, even sketched, being indispensable for an overall understanding of the Ceau escuist variant of Leninism. Starting from Marxist premises, Gheorghe Cre oiu and Ioan Zahiu argue that the economic factor is the most important in the constitution of any society. But, ‘On its turn’, the authors quickly complete, ‘the political does not passively reflect the economical, objective economic interests, but exercise an active influence over economic life, accelerating, or, on the contrary, hampering, totally or partially, its ascendant revolution ’Until here, nothing special. But, a few pages later, we find out that ‘In the present stage, simultaneously with the growing affirmation of the determinant role of the economic in the development of society, the decisive role of the political in the settlement and directing the economical is coming more and more to the forefront’. The deadlock is coined in the next phrase: ‘This objectively claims the leading role of the party, perfecting the whole political system at all levels, the deepening of socialist democracy’.78 We have subtlety arrived on Leninist grounds: the political becomes more important than the economical and, furthermore, than the social, which was priority to Marx. And political, in the RSR, meant party, homeland, people and, on top of the pyramid, who else but Ceau escu himself. Between ‘existence’ and ‘national consciousness’ there is no longer the same reciprocal relation, in which the metamorphoses of the former generated changes in the structure of the second, as it did on Marx’s works. Through a typical Leninist operation, presented however as the purest Marxism, the relation is inversed, ‘socialist consciousness’, the normative77 78

Ion Bodunescu, Diploma ia româneasc în slujba independen ei, vol. I and II, (Ia i: Junimea, 1988), 23-24. Gheorghe Cre oiu and Ioan Zahiu, Principiile politicii economice a Partidului Comunist Român (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1974), 12-13.
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‘Socialist in form, national in content’? The ‘national-international relation’ in the ideological economy of romantic Leninism

Leninist ideal being therefore ascendant with reference to the ‘existence’, which stubbornly resisted the Leninist tasks attributed to her. Ceau escu proves it clearly: Often, existent deficiencies in our ideological, political and culturaleducative activity, the negative phenomena which appear in social life, in the behavior of some people, it is tried to be justified trough the thesis over the consciousness being left behind by the development of material life. To accepts such a justification for our shortcomings means to encourage a passive, defeatist attitude, with profound negative repercussions over the development of society. We, the communists, study objective social laws not to adopt a fatalist position regarding them, but, on the contrary, because understanding their sense, to act in the interest of social progress, I the interest of the people, of the victory of socialism and communism. Without denying the least the essential role of production forces in the development of society, we start from the thesis, also Marxist, that on its turn conscience can exercise a strong influence over the advance of society, that advanced ideas, conquering the masses, become a huge material force of progress. Animated by this conviction we wish to intensify the ideological, political and cultural activity, the efforts for raising the socialist consciousness of the working people.79 According to the eleventh Congress of the RCP, Romania already entered the stage of ‘multilateral developed socialist society’, advancing towards communism. Here resides ‘The epochal historical meaning’, emphatically stated the RCP’s general secretary.80 The (RCP’s, m.n.) program scientifically fundaments the basic principles of multilateral developed socialist society, as a superior phase of socialism, in the process of gradual passing towards communism. (…) In this phase is ensured the harmonious, unitary and multilateral development of production forces, of all domains of economic-social life, a growing concordance between forces and relations of production and social is realized. In the multilateral developed socialist society material and spiritual conditions for the complete fulfillment of socialist principles of property and repartition are created. Work becomes more and more a necessity and a duty of hour. On this basis is ensured the growing satisfaction of material and spiritual requests – scientifically determined – of the entire people. In this phase the principles of socialist ethics and equity will be affirmed, the practical interpenetration of these with the principles of socialism will be realized. The passing from the multilateral developed society to communism will be realized within a unitary dialectical process, through the conscious activity of popular masses for removing the old, of that which no longer corresponds to the new production forces, by applying the conquests of science
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Rolul i atribu iile sindicatelor (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972), 130-131. Congresul al XI-lea al Partidului Comunist Român (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1975), 15.
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and advanced technology, through perfecting the new social relations, through the revolutionary transformation of society. The role of the communist party, as leading political force, is to consciously rule this complex process, to act in strong concordance with the objective laws of social development, in order not to allow the appearance or deepening of some contradictions, to promote the revolutionary spirit, the new, ensuring the triumph of communist society, fulfilling therefore its role in society.81 Before the ‘’multilateral developed socialist society’, which appeared with the 1971-1975 five-year plan, communist Romania would have experienced two distinct phases: the first, ‘inaugurated by the overthrowing of the monarchy and proclamation of the republic and ended during the 1961-1965 five-year plan’ had the central purpose of ‘forging the socialist society’, the second five year plan having the role of consolidating it.82 Romantic Leninism had already formed its perspective over the recent history of communism in Romania. Inside the country, the planning of economic strategy along the five-year plans had the purpose of social transformation, needed to successfully implement the romantic-Leninist principles. Economic development had there an undeniable ideological component. Only the ‘new man’, ‘relieved of retrograde mentality, of egoism and other negative manifestations, remains of the old order’ and ‘animated by the spirit of friendship and self-help in work and life’ could build the ‘multilateral developed socialist society’; this is why, Ceau escu insisted, ‘the political-educative work within the large popular masses, the new generation’ was extremely important.83 For Vlad Georgescu, the economic policy of RCP was part of the historical tradition of serfdom existent in Tsarist Russia and Eastern Europe. Marx named it ‘“the Prussian model”’. Antithetical with the ‘“English model”’, the east-European economic system was based on exploiting peasants by imposing burdensome working quotas and obstructing ‘social mobility’ in rural areas as a consequence of this fact. The same ‘anti-modern’ economic orientation was assumed the Ceau escu regime, which persecuted the population through the constant surveillance of ‘fulfilling the five-year plan’ and unhesitantly punishing deviations, regardless of the causes.84 But the ideological subsidiary of RSR’s economy was highly different from the above mentioned ‘Prussian model’. How? Prussia was a symbol of both absolutism and nationalism, and Ceau escu seemed only to bring it back to life, even if on other coordinates. Furthermore, the accent on industrialization, typical for Leninist regimes, has its roots in the economic nationalism of the great European powers from the 19th century, animated on their turn by the accelerate development of heavy industry. As Robert Gilpin writes, ‘nationalists believe industry has benefic side-effects over the entire
Ibid., p. 81; See also Societatea socialist multilateral dezvoltat , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972). Cre oiu and Zahiu, 20-22. 83 Congresul al XI-lea..., 77. 84 Vlad Georgescu, “Romania in the 80s: the legacy of dynastic socialism”, East European Politics and Societies 2 (1988): 75-76.
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economy and leads to eternal development’. Then, ‘they associate holding an industry with self-sufficiency and political autonomy’. Finally, ‘industry enjoys appreciation because it constitutes the basis of military power and plays in the modern world a central role for national security’. The most important aspect, nationalists are convinced that ‘economical activities are and should be subordinated to the goal of state development and its interests’.85 The description seems to be specially made for Ceau escu’s economic thinking. How could anyone still talk about Leninism, when nationalism is simply overflowing at all levels, not only the economical one? Meticulously analyzing the Leninist phenomenon, Alain Besançon argues that it lays at the intersection between a deformed image over religion, respectively a deformed image over science. Leninism is similar to a gnosis, because it believes to have discovered the final content of religion, actually inaccessible to the believer. Also, Leninism pretends to be scientifically legitimized, claiming it can explain the past, present and mostly future world on the basis of the dialectical relation between them. However, a scientific theory has always a limited purpose and is circumscribed to a relatively well defined domain; furthermore, it configures and reconfigures regarding the permanent dynamic of the phenomenon it analyzes. But Leninism, as we have seen, permanently assaults reality, without understanding, even condemning the empirical reexamination of its founding ideas, and the science it proposes is an exhaustive one, which can explain everything. And therefore nothing.86 Romantic Leninism, as any kind of Leninism, justified its industrialization ambition in ‘scientific terms’. The ‘multilateral developed socialist society’ would have appeared due to economic and social progress, ‘scientifically’ quantifiable, being led on its turn through ‘scientific’ means.87 Here is what firmly differentiates romantic Leninism of economic nationalism, orientated on its turn by other ideological principles. And the invincible belief in communist teleology: the movement towards the future always justifies resent imperfections. Ideologically, nationalism is very flexible, being present not only in right, but also left-wing political doctrines. Therefore it does not have a constitutive projective orientation, as Leninism fanatically does. Internationally, the RSR obtained during the 1970s and at the beginning of the 1980s some notable victories: it concluded commercial contracts with the International Monetary Fund, World bank or the European Community. In 1975 it will receive from the United States the clause of the most favored nation, thus the American market opening for certain Romanian products.88 Still, Ceau escu was not pleased. Although ‘the countries of the Common Market granted Romania, starting

Robert Gilpin, Economia politic a rela iilor interna ionale, (Bucure ti: DU Style, 1999), 50-52. Alain Besançon, Originile intelectuale ale leninismului, (Bucure ti: Humanitas, 1992). 87 Perfec ionarea organiz rii i conducerii vie ii sociale. Rolul statului socialist, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972), 94-126; Probleme fundamentale ale f uririi societ ii socialiste multilateral dezvoltate, coord. C. Moisuc; S. T ma , (Bucure ti, Editura Politic , 1972). 88 Bruce Courtney; Joseph Harrington, Rela ii româno-americane, 1940-1990 (Ia i: Institutul European, 2002); Mircea Carp, “«Clauza na iunii celei mai favorizate» i rela iile româno-americane”, in Anii 19731989: cronica unui sfâr it de sistem, ed. R. Rusan (Bucure ti: Funda ia Academia Civic , 2003), 918-921.
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with 1974, generalized customs preferences’, Ceau escu states in an interview for the French journal Les Echos, ‘one can say that they are not completely generalized, because for a series of products the old restrictions are still maintained’.89 Of course, no one can accuse the members of the European Community of protecting their own entrepreneurs, not so much threatened anyway by the low quality of Romanian products, and that they imposed some commercial restrictions to external states, especially less developed and ideologically hostile ones. It appears France was the most vehement voice in according generalized customs preferences to Romania, even convincing other more conciliator members of the Common Market, like the Federal Republic of Germany, to follow its example. Romania, it was argued, had economic ambitions that exceeded by far its real possibilities: it had an ‘enormous bureaucracy’, the transports and telecommunications were underdeveloped, not to mention metallurgy and food industry, it had no assets to pursue its irrational five-year plans for which it constantly bought technology from the West, a fact which on its turn caused massive problems because for this technology to really work, new structural changes were needed, and so on. This led to unreliable promises from each economic sector, fueling Ceau escu’s megalomania and deepening the country’s economic degradation. But most important, Romania’s relation with the Common Market failed due to ‘the doctrinal rigidity the Romanian government is making proof of’, one can read in a Radio Free Europe confidential report from August 1972. ‘Everything goes on like the Romanian government would want to cooperate as much as possible with the Western economy, but in the same time it fears the penetration of some currents brought by this cooperation and which would allow the population to compare the two economic systems. He (the government, m.n.) tries therefore to develop economic cooperation in certain ideological limits which would isolate it from the Romanian society. From here the enormous difficulties created and which are not compatible with a normal commercial cooperation’.90 Ceau escu praised ‘free commerce’ and incriminated this kind of ‘closed economic groups’91 because it aimed to obtain a capital as great as possible from exports and invest it next almost exclusively in heavy industry. The irrationality of this program becomes clearer if we take into account that raw materials like coal and oil, necessary for the functionality of huge plants like the Gala i one or for the petrochemical industrial branch managed by Elena Ceau escu – needed to be imported from China, India, Indonesia and, first of all, from the Soviet Union. In fact, in romantic Leninist terms it is not about irrationality, but the ‘building of socialism’: the ideological resorts of RSR’s economy are once again confirmed.92 The maximizations of exports meant a correlative diminution of imports: ‘It is necessary for imports to be limited at the essential, capitalizing at maximum the internal possibilities’, putting into practice in the same time ‘a better capitalization of
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Nicolae Ceau escu, Finan e – pre uri – moned , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1980), 102. V.R., Q-170, confidential report, Radio Free Europe, 3 August 1972, 2. 91 Perfec ionarea rela iilor de produc ie, a organiz rii i conducerii economiei (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972), 255. 92 Pleas for multiplying RSR’s access to global energetic resources are to be found Nicolae Ecobescu Resursele i noua ordine interna ional (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1981).
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Romanian merchandise at the export’.93 The population’s consuming needs will be most affected by Ceau escu’s, economic ideas, especially in the 1980s, when he decided to pay integrally the huge debt of the country. On the other hand, sustaining the industrial development of the RSR was, for all citizens, a ‘patriotic duty’, while deploring a normal consume could only be a sign of an insufficiently developed ‘socialist consciousness’, even ‘counter-revolutionary’. Consequently, Ceau escu urged, ‘we must take into account the actual possibilities of the economy, by the high patriotic duty – understood by our people with a profound sense of responsibility – to ensure the accumulations the rapid development of economy requires, to therefore place on a solid basis the wellbeing of today and future generations’.94 Some international objectives of RSR’s have become intelligible in relation with its economic interests. In this way, disarmament, nuclear and not only, reflects not only Ceau escu’s insecurity and its resentment of not possessing weapons of mass destruction, but also poorly managed capital. The ‘arms race’ consumed huge funds over which the ‘small and medium states’, also developing, issued indirect claims. ‘Only the transfer of sums allocated for arming to the developing small and medium countries would resolve the huge gap (between developed and developing states, m.n.) until the end of this century’, states Titu Georgescu.95 Similarly, the benefits of global technical and scientific progress should have been primarily channeled towards the same ‘small and medium’ countries, especially towards the ones ‘wronged by history’, the regime self-victimized.96 Beyond the general pertinence of these arguments hide the specific interests of romantic Leninism: creating a ‘new international order’, within all actors would have benefit by perfectly equal rights and decision powers. An impossible ideal, of course, but useful to the propagandistic machinery of the regime, supplied in this way with new reasons for condemning imperialism and tacitly justifying the country’s lack of economic progress. In order to finance the RSR’s industry, Ceau escu appealed massively to foreign credits. At the beginnings of the 1980s, the country’s foreign debt reached about eleven billion dollars, a huge amount for Romania’s budget. The creditors were simultaneously blamed for what cannot be called otherwise than a romantic impetus
93 Nicolae Ceau escu, Finan e, pre uri, moned , 103; Gheorghe Rusu, Promovarea exportului românesc. Tehnici de marketing industrial, (Craiova: Scrisul românesc, 1989). 94 Perfec ionarea reparti iei i respectarea echit ii socialiste. Utilizarea fondurilor sociale de consum, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1972), 43. 95 Titu Georgescu Argumente ale istoriei pentru o nou ordine interna ional , (Bucure ti: Editura tiin ific i Enciclopedic , 1977), 288; Ion u a, “Cursa înarm rilor nucleare i implica iile ei politice i sociale”, in Problemele p cii i ale r zboiului în condi iile revolu iei tiin ifice i tehnice. Necesitatea istoric a dezarm rii, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1977), 76-95; Mircea Bulgaru, “Popula ia i dezvoltarea economic”, in Concep ia pre edintelui Nicolae Ceau escu despre noua ordine economic interna ional , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1976), 266-277; Nicolae Belli, “Corela ia dintre noua ordine economic interna ional i cre terea economic a rilor în curs de dezvoltare”, in Concep ia pre edintelui Nicolae Ceau escu despre noua ordine economic interna ional , (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1976), 278-289. 96 Victor Duculescu, “Rolul revolu iei tiin ifice i tehnice în mecanismul rela iilor interna ionale”, in Revolu ia tiin ifico-tehnic i aplica iile ei în dezvoltarea social a României. Unitatea i interac iunea tiin elor naturii, tehnice i sociale, Bucure ti, coord. M. Dr g nescu; M. Voiculescu (Editura Politic : 1986), 185.
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in the direction of industrially developing the country, of growing its degree of independence and, in this way, its global recognition, especially that of the general secretary of RCP himself, without which the whole demarche would have been not only impossible, but inconceivable. ‘For covering the deficits, the developing countries must resort to foreign credits and loans, and these are mostly granted with an onerous character, with high interests, on insufficiently long periods of time. So it reaches the situation in which the pace of the public foreign debt growth of developing countries exceeds the pace of imports and the pace of production growth’, write E. Dijm rescu, A. Ghibu iu i M. Is rescu.97 Consequently, ‘excessive interests’ could not have been something else but ‘a form of neocolonialist spoliation of developing countries’. Contemporary capitalism would have been therefore as ‘imperialist’ as in Lenin’s times.98 Ilie erb nescu, succinctly analyzing the foreign economic policy of communist Romania, reaches the conclusion that, after 1965, Ceau escu left a relative advantageous energetic market, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA, economic organization including the majority of East European countries and the USSR), just to return in the 1980s to the economic geography of the ‘socialist camp’, when the disadvantages were predominant. In the first decade after the Second World War, the Soviet Union represented the provider of hydrocarbons for the East European states, importing from them finished products. But, as the satellites made their first steps towards growing economic authority, and thus pretending a new economic status - that of commercial partners, instead of ‘production plants for the Soviet Union’ – Moscow became aware of the disservices of the new centerperipheries economic relations. One of the main reasons Khrushchev proposed the ‘specialization of production within CMEA, and Romania successfully opposed it99, was the attempt of reducing the cost of East-European states energy supplies. Searching independence from a Moscow center not willing to finance its industrialization further, Ceau escu reoriented the RSR towards CMEA immediately after 1980, ‘when the prices of raw materials collapsed on world scale’. Within CMEA, ‘the prices of raw materials had to be the media of the prices on the world market in the last five years’. With these prices growing in the 1960s and 1970s, the price Moscow charged its East European satellites for energy was consequently lower. When the tendency of the growing hydrocarbon prices abruptly inverted, Soviet
E. Dijm rescu, A. Ghibu iu and M. Is rescu, Datoria extern a rilor în curs de dezvoltare i lichidarea subdezvolt rii (Bucure ti: Editura tiin ific i Enciclopedic , 1977), 31-32. 98 Ion Fîntînaru, “Dobînzile excesive – form de spoliere neocolonialist a rilor în curs de dezvoltare”, in Furtul creierelor. Dobînzi de tip neocolonialist, (Bucure ti: Editura Politic , 1982), 125-129; Capitalismul contemporan, coord G. P. Apostol, (Bucure ti: Editura didactic i pedagogic , 1973); Restructurarea rela iilor economice interna ionale, coord. Sorica Sava, (Bucure ti: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1978); Cooperarea economic interna ional , coord. A. Dete an (Bucure ti: Revista Economic , 1975); Principii i norme juridice ale cooper rii economice interna ionale, coord. D. Popescu (Bucure ti: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1979). 99 See Emanuel Copila , “Economical divergences and geopolitical opportunities. Romanian foreign policy in the last period of the Gheorghiu-Dej regime”, Romanian Review on Political Geography 2 (2010): 357-362.
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hydrocarbons became more expensive and therefore disadvantaged the ‘brotherly countries’, the RSR among them, whose access on the Western market was narrowed (due to qualitative and also humanitarian reasons), leaving it in a continuous struggle to ensure the energetic supplies its growing industry needed.100 An extra problem for the Romanian economy, already strained to its limits. With the other members of the ‘socialist camp’, but also with Asian Leninist regimes, the RSR engaged in commercial activities that varied according to the political pulse of the moment. Of course, the numbers published are not necessarily reliable, but, still, due to the fact that the types of imported or exported merchandise could not be so easily falsified, one can make an idea about the general trade carried out with each communist country. Foreseeable, the economic relations of RSR with the Soviet Union and the East-European communist states were more developed that with the Asian communist states. Even if the RSR started a policy of reducing imports and expanding exports – exacerbated in the 1980s – which consisted mostly in products originated from oil processing, chemical industry, different types of motors or ‘machines and equipment’, wood, textiles or aliments, it continued to buy different types of merchandise from neighboring countries, especially hydrocarbons and raw materials. The Soviet Union is mentioned as one of the main exporters of raw materials in the RSR, Bulgaria as an exporter of ‘transport equipment, electrical engines, agro alimentary products, non-ferrous concentrates, leather goods products’, Yugoslavia as an exporter of ‘textile products, medicine, some machines, energetic equipment’, Czechoslovakia as an exporter of ‘industrial equipment and installations, machine tools, transport means, ceramic and electrotechnical products’, Poland as an exporter of ‘coke, electrotechnical products, textile projects, some machines and equipment’. From the evasive language and extremely small paragraphs in Herbst and L etea’s book entitled The economic geography of socialist countries - on RSR’s commerce with the Democratic Republic of Germany and Albany, we can conclude that the political relations with these countries were not very friendly. As well as in the case of Hungary101, with which the RSR shared a considerably long border, the economies of the two countries being also potentially complementary: Hungary was starting to pay an increasing share to domestic consumption, while the RSR was concentrating on its limitation in the benefit of the ‘accumulations’ to be invested in the development of heavy industry. But Bucharest’s relationship with Budapest was tensioned, reaching even open conflicts in the next decade because of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania and Ceau escu’s plans for it.102

100

Ilie erb nescu, “Între C.A.E.R. i clauza na iunii cele mai favorizate”, in Anii 1973-1989: cronica unui sfâr it de sistem, ed. R. Rusan , (Bucure ti: Funda ia Academia Civic , 2003), 763-766. 101 C. Herbst; I. Le ea, Geografia economic a rilor socialiste, (Bucure ti: Editura didactic i pedagogic , 1976), 7-260. 102 See Emanuel Copila “Despre «poporul muncitor unic» i locul minorit ilor na ionale în cadrul «na iunii socialiste». Maghiari, germani i evrei în România lui Ceau escu” (I), Sfera Politicii,158 (2011): 6574, and (II), Sfera Polticii, 163 (2011): 84-89.
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Conclusions
This paper presented some ideological particularities of romantic-Leninism, Romanian communism during the ‘Ceau escu’ era, both in its domestic and international environment. It also argues that romantic Leninism and Leninism in general is a distortion of Marxist principles. Leninist movements are mostly politicalideological, while for Marx the social and economic dimension was by far most important. In other words, they are imposed ‘from above’ and do no appear, naturally, as a result of material and social changes, ‘from below’, as in Marx’s writings. In Marxist terms, Leninism is an ideological, superstructural movement; but, on the other hand, only the structure can produce revolutionary changes in society. This is not to say that Marx’s own writings were not problematic and did not possess as well a somehow discretionary core, along with an anxious disregard for human rights, sacrificed in the end to the emancipator process; Leninism however, amplified some latent dictatorial dispositions of Marxism and turned it into a political weapon subsumed to the preeminence of an all knowing vanguard party who could never make mistakes and labeled anyone who dared say the contrary as ‘counterrevolutionary’. The transition from Marxism to Leninism benefited the contribution of the Soviet leader Nikolai Bukharin, who argued that, in the first decades of the 20th century, ‘in the epoch of imperialism’ to be precise, ‘the political superstructure determined the economic base rather than the reverse’.103 This was an enormous ideological opportunity that Leninist regimes exploited for their transformative and propagandistic purposes. So did, as we have seen, romantic Leninism. The personality cult and the principles of socialist economy, both underlined by romantic-Leninist ideology, represent favorite domains for manifesting the nationalist-revolutionary obsessions of the RCP. Although it would seem that the economical domain is exempted from ideological inflexions in favor of a decent functionality, the situation is radically different. Leninist regimes preferred inefficient economies, but permanently under control, to promising and even prosperous economies, which could turn in time in potential sources of dissidence. Romantic Leninism was no exception in this sense: everything in its range was directly or indirectly ideologized and used for the goals of its megalomaniac and utopic ambitions.

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