East bloc reacts to its 'new wave' teens - but tone varies
Vienna — Too many young Soviets, it seems, don't read Lenin. According to Pravda, they show ''little interest'' in the teachings of the father of the Communist revolution, ''but much in the Western way of life.''
Everywhere in the East bloc, of course, Communist Party spokesmen and news media deplore youth's persistent indifference to Marxist ''truth'' and their disaffection from politics in general.
The tone varies. Communist leaders in hard-line Czechoslovakia and Romania, for example, invariably take a patronizing ''you never had it so good'' line, requiring young people to sing thankful songs about ''socialism'' or to trot cheerfully off to unpaid ''volunteer'' work on a construction site.
Hungary's attitude is different. This more liberal country may not wholly approve, but it doesn't seem to fear that the rock groups that have leaped into lively and popular existence are about to topple the regime. It also doesn't seem to hope that by moralizing them out of existence it will win young people for political programs.
Instead, Hungary looks openly for root problems - for which the government admits responsibility.
Istvan Huszar, director of the party's social studies institute, has said tensions among youth arise largely from the difficulties that still prevent them from becoming independent persons.
Young people, it was admitted, still cannot earn enough to buy a home. They have to depend on parents to help them, or even work double shifts to save the money.
According to official statistics, nearly 60 percent of young couples in the cities begin married life living with their parents. This housing shortage accounts for at least 40 percent of the breakups among young marrieds. Wisely, the authorities have given private craftsmen a green light; 40 percent of all housing construction in Hungary now is done by private builders.
This year Czechoslovakian authorities have put on a more vehement campaign against musical tastes among youth than over political protest by the dissident group Charter 77. This is because the young music scene commands much wider support, as the strongly negative reaction to the anti-rock campaign has shown.
After the theoretical weekly Trybuna labeled punk and ''new wave'' music as ''primitive musical trash,'' the party press frequently reported on the tide of youthful protest over the statement.
''For us, the 'new wave' is entertainment,'' wrote one succinctly. ''It's fun and games. It isn't great art, but that doesn't mean it is bad art.''
Another told Trybuna: ''You don't understand today's generation in the least. . . . (It) rejects the ideal of a successful person as one who follows a straight line marked out in advance . . . to (ensure) position and rank.''
The unexpected force and openness of this backlash have apparently caused the authorities to modify the public campaign. But behind the scenes pressure continues. Emigre sources in Vienna report a growing black list of ''not recommended'' groups, who are having a hard time finding someone brave enough to give them recording sessions or concert bookings.
Romania this year has seen severe party campaigning not only against ''degenerate'' youthful tastes in music, but also against the supposed moral ''corruption'' in the Western ''symbols'' - mainly names of universities or products - many young people sport on their T-shirts.