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New Left Review
Introduction to Miklós Haraszti
On 15 October 1973, the young poet Miklós Haraszti stood arraigned before a People’s Court in Budapest for ‘grave incitement’. He had ‘written a book liable to provoke hatred of the State’. The charge carried a possible eight-year jail sentence. The basis of the charge: Piece Rates, a brief monograph in which Haraszti describes what it is like to work in a major Hungarian factory. The extracts which follow are from this book, now published in the West.  In it Haraszti joins descriptions of his personal experience, careful analysis of hierarchy and procedures in the factory, and documentary evidence of conditions there, to create a reportage of great originality. There are many accounts, fictional and biographical, of prison camps in the Soviet bloc. Now, for the first time, there is an equally revealing account of conditions inside a communist factory.
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