Intellectual Unrest Behind the Iron Curtain
The Rebellion of the Communist Clerks
There is ferment among the intellectuals behind the Iron Curtain. It has so far manifested itself most dramatically in Poland and Hungary where a full-blown literature of rebellion emerged last year, but the symptoms of nonconformism among the literati are unmistakable in the USSR as well.
In this article I shall deal, not with the intellectual stratum as a whole, but with that section of it which carries most political weight: the party intelligentsia. By this I mean one of the key groups in Communist society: intellectuals (writers, artists, scholars, journalists) who are officially recognized as combining specialized skills with ideological competence. Their function consists in shaping people’s mental processes in accordance with the party’s ideological requirements. This is a task of some political significance, and the party intelligentsia accordingly enjoys a highly privileged status. But it has a relatively small share in decision-making and administrative power. That power largely belongs to the party apparatus, a corporation of bureaucrats whose qualifications are political rather than intellectual.
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