The Fight for the Family as a Constitutional Issue in the Countries of Eastern Europe

At the end of the 1950s, the prematurely deceased Serbian poet Branko Miljković wrote the famous verses in which he asked himself “Will freedom itself sing as slaves have sung of it?” The peoples of Eastern Europe generally saw the Soviet communist system as a Soviet communist occupation. This occupation was not obvious enough in the process of establishing “people’s democracies” immediately after the war. But after 1953 (the uprising in East Germany) and especially after the events of 1956 in Hungary, it was clear that this unnatural system stood over the peoples of Eastern Europe like a straitjacket, one which would nevertheless remain in place as long as the forces of the mighty Soviet army were present in their countries. The brutal occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 exposed this relationship, to the extent that left-wing intellectuals in Western Europe began to feel ashamed and sought a way out in Maoism, Trotskyism, Praxis, and other alternative forms of “returning to the original Marx.” With Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and similar events in Poland, it became clear that the only question was how long this mastodon would last. In 1989, we received a clear answer. But shortly after the initial fascination with their newly gained freedom, the peoples of the post-communist world began to realize that this new freedom, as in Miljković’s poem, did not sing as well as they had hoped. Eastern Europeans faced not only the standard transitional problems of establishing a fragile multi-party democracy, rapid privatization fraught with rampant corruption, a corrupt judiciary, and sharply increased social disparities. Rather, the ordinary people of Eastern European countries, after the first blow of the blinding world of advertising, consumption, and Western popular culture, were most shocked by the identity package that began to arrive in their countries under the framework of “European integration.” Beginning in the mid-1980s, George Sor
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