The Betrayal of Workers. Counterrevolution in the 1980s: the Transitory Class and their Hegemony


1 October 2021


Volume 1 – Number 10

How to cite

Attila Melegh
Corvinus University



In dismantling a socialist, non-capitalist mixed economy Hungarian elites were following a clear line of neoliberalism with an almost unconditional West-centrism. In this process intellectuals and expert technocrats played a specific role and the paper argues that they formed a transitory “new class” which could start a large-scale privatization process in the name of “Europe”. This formation in a specific global historical moment can explain how the voices opposing the capitalist transformation and the critical left were silenced already in the 1980s. We can also see the specific circumstances of how and why the new class could establish hegemony through civilizational discourses for a while, and how their later control collapsed. This betrayal of workers by a supposedly socially minded professional and intellectual elite needs further analysis in order to understand how through a historic dialectic logic the later authoritarian/illiberal rule can consolidate its positions so easily at the end of a globalization cycle.


Transitory Class, Privatization, Hegemony, Intellectual Elite