Right-wing discourse in Hungarian politics
is matched by the government’s regressive handling of gender issues, as
structural violence against the socially marginalised interplays with violence
After 1989, within two decades, the hitherto
‘dormant’ authoritarian, leader-worshipping, order-obsessed right-wing
mentality has gradually found its way to the surface. Its institutional shape
is precisely impossible to define.
Hungary is obviously moving towards autocracy. But we have to ask
ourselves two questions. Would it be useful for the EU to introduce measures
against a country with democratic problems? Secondly, is Europe in the moral, political
and economic state to be able to act? Both questions require thorough
Hungary’s Fidesz government may not have pursued a state-sponsored policy of anti-Semitism. However, it has indulged in outrageous historical revisionism; failed to censure anti-Semitism from high within its own ranks; and screwed up its official commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary.
Fidesz does not have any coherent ideology, but depending on the context, employs elements of various currents, mixing neo-conservative tropes (God, Patria, Family) with anti-globalization arguments (anti-corporation, anti-finance), classic populist slogans with anti-EU and anti-minority refrains echoed by extreme right groups.
did the police not take the investigation seriously at first? Why did the
political elite need six victims to admit that these people were murdered
because of their Roma identity, to acknowledge the neo-Nazi terrorist nature of
Viktor Orbán is a perfect
populist who exploits the chameleon nature of populism
like no other, from radical liberalism to his new 'illiberal state'. Worryingly his bravado is becoming a source of inspiration for many other European politicians. But what is he after?
The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, sent a frisson across the EU
with his boast last weekend that he is
building a “non-liberal” state, like in China, Russia or Turkey, free of
“western European dogma”—but then his steady destruction of liberty in Hungary
has gone largely unchallenged.
Especially in some
European countries, dealing with the dark sides of one’s history has become a
significant topos. Without such a change in cultures of commemoration of
the different European countries, a European Union would have been impossible.
Cities globally are starting to criminalize homelessness: banning begging and making free food provision illegal. I work within LGBTQ communities, whose multiple oppressions lead to a high level of homelessness. When I see police disrupting rough sleepers, I remember their life stories.
Now that the EU is
ready to embrace the new Ukrainian government, investing at least one billion
euros in the ‘revolutionized’ country, it is time to reinvestigate the question
of far right influence in Ukraine.
A response to the recent statements by Ms. Viviane Reding, European Commissioner, on the situation of Roma and the need from their side to integrate and to have a normal way of living. Read more from our You Tell Us bloggers.
Scepticism is healthy for democracy, but not when it degenerates into belief in conspiracy theories. Dieudonné and Jobbik are but two recent examples that the conspiratorial mindset is alive and well in Europe.
There is a central Hungarian political paradox: it is
the conservative governing party (FIDESZ) which has made successful use of the
rhetoric of anti-establishment social movements in other countries, and which
disposes of the means to do so.
The only electoral promise Fidesz has
fulfilled has been the “restoration of order”, through a myriad of laws,
decrees and regulations, a particularly harsh new Penal Code and several new
The drastic higher education reforms the Hungarian government has introduced in the last months of 2012 have sparked nationwide protests. But while the government continues to implement contradictory reform, resistance from below is gaining ground.
Does the EU
deserve its Nobel Peace Prize? 2013 is the European Year of
Citizens, dedicated to the rights that come with EU citizenship. It seems
utterly remote and removed from the reality facing millions of Roma across the
Amid nationalist resurgence and severe recession in Hungary, many observers fear that the reforms undertaken by Viktor Orban's government in the cultural sector will severely jeopardize the country's heritage.
Collusion between the press and politicians
is not confined to western Europe. Central and Eastern European countries are
also plagued by their own mini-Murdochs – and in these more fragile democracies,
they represent an even bigger threat.
takes creative and alternative forms in the street demonstrations, which may
appear, at first sight, contradictory – one week anti-government, pro-European,
the next week pro-government, anti-EU.
If we want to develop effective
co-operation within and among the member states of the EU, history should be
kept at a distance. Living in the past is not feasible, and this is equally
true for Euro-scepticism, the application of human rights as well as the fight
against racism and extremism.
The author seeks a right to reply to the three recent anti-Fidesz articles carried by openDemocracy (by Anton Pelinka, Gábor Schein and László Bitó). Politics in Hungary, he argues, are indeed vehement and passionate – but also free
When the Media Law of the authoritarian Hungarian government meets with strident
criticism in the free press of
the world, and from heads of established democracies, as a major attack on the freedom of
speech, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his people ask for time, arguing against the avalanche of criticisms that no one
should assume that the Media Council established in 2010 will
abuse the unheard of powers with which it was endowed until it has shown an
inclination to do so. Meanwhile they are eager to export their ideas.
The greatest concern with regard to EU criticism aimed at influencing the political course of Hungary is that without a good understanding of the political realities, even the best intentions may unintentionally play into the hands of Jobbik. Meanwhile Government statements are meant to convince those who are disturbed by the usurpation of power to give up all hope for the next forty years. Now the situation is more complex and in a way more precarious than in 1956.
Now whoever asks a question is arrogantly refused the moral right of posing the question at all, and is actually faced with a threat that has been openly codified in law. That’s new. But Hungary's authoritarians still have to speak to the outside world in ‘European’. Europe is key.