Election program of the Hungarian far right (I)

I have the feeling that I will spend several days on this subject because Jobbik's election program entitled "Radical Change" is 88 pages long, covering all facets of life starting with the economy, continuing with the state of society, foreign policy, and trade, and ending with "nation, community, man." In this detailed program Jobbik even managed to find space for domestic animals and their well being.

The program, consisting of seven chapters, follows a tightly structured outline form. For instance, under the heading "Eco-social economy" (explanation will follow tomorrow) that is Chapter III there are several subchapters, all numbered neatly. And then there are sub-subchapters. For instance, III.1 "Strong Hungarian economy" has twenty sub-subchapters III.1.1 to III.1.20. Each of these sub-subchapters is further divided into two parts: "The last twenty years" which were of course awful and "The better future." Actually, in Hungarian "A szebb jövő," and we'd better stop here for a second.

The Hungarian Guard, the paramilitary arm of Jobbik, after its establishment adopted the greeting: "Szebb jövőt!" to which the answer was "Adjon Isten!," loosely translated as "With God's help!" It took a little time for journalists, surely with the help of historians, to figure out the source of this exchange of greetings. It turned out that it was copied from the "Levente Movement." After World War I Hungary was forbidden by the Allied and Associated Powers to maintain a conscript army, and the size of the professional army was also greatly limited. Thus came the idea of a movement that would stress "the physical fitness" of boys between the ages of 12 and 21. Actually, the aim was to give them some military training. The boys who were forced to serve in the Levente Mozgalom came from the lower strata of society. Boys in gymnasium were free of the obligation. As time went by, the paramilitary nature of the movement intensified until by the end of the 1930s it was completely under the supervision of the army.

The adoption of the official greeting of the by now illegal Hungarian Guard in Jobbik's election program clearly signals the importance of the Guard in the politics of Jobbik. After all, it was the establishment of the Hungarian Guard that propelled Jobbik to the forefront of Hungarian politics.

Let's return to the program itself. Chapter I is Krisztina Morvai's "Greetings." After all, Jobbik, unlike the other parties, already named its nominee for the position of president of the republic. László Sólyom's five-year tenure will come to an end sometime during the summer of 2010 and it will be the next parliament's duty or privilege to name a new president. László Sólyom wouldn't mind serving another term, but in my opinion he will not have that chance. However, I'm even more certain that Krisztina Morvai will not be considered. Nonetheless, she already talks as if she occupied the post that is described in the constitution as the symbol of national unity.

First she wants people to understand that this is more than a program of one party. It is "the roadmap of the long awaited national solidarity and hope." She urges people to study it, to discuss its contents with members of the family, friends, and colleagues. She asks the farmers to study carefully the chapters on agriculture and the countryside. She calls on entrepreneurs to look at Jobbik's ideas on replacing the neo-liberal economic model with a new stimulus plan that would prove that "the Hungarian state is not an enemy but a friend." Wage earners should learn from this program that "they don't have to be exploited and defenseless because there is another model" that promises a a secure future. She suggests that if a person doesn't have time to read the whole thing, at least he should read the chapter that is applicable to his own situation.

Morvai reaches out to those who until now voted for some other party. In her opinion even in that case it is worth reading this program because the citizen will thus be able to compare Jobbik's program to others and decide which one suits him best. She calls on those people who have been quiet, who are not interested in politics. Perhaps they didn't even vote in the last elections. In this case they should study the pages of the Jobbik program to discover that there is a decent party, a political force that will not govern against their interests.

Finally, Morvai turns to the intellectuals and opinion makers. "Perhaps you are a newspaperman, a political analyst, or someone active in public life who is open to new ideas." In this case, you should be sick and tired of politics as it was conducted in the last twenty years. And she magnanimously adds: "You may not agree with everything in this program, but surely we both think that this material could be the basis of a discourse on the future of the country."

Morvai then addresses the members and even the leaders of other parties and asks them not to be prejudiced because Hungary "is our common fatherland and this common fatherland is in big trouble." Finally, she recounts her quest for justice as a lawyer who swore to uphold the truth. She says that she is a Hungarian whose "wish is that her country shouldn't be at the mercy of the great powers, that it would regain its right of self-determination." She mentions that she is the mother of three daughters and appeals for the equality of women.

Her ending words: "With God's help, a better future for you, for your family, and the whole country. With faith, with hope, and with love."

All sweetness and light, and therefore it is pretty jarring when one reads in Gábor Vona's address that he believes that "this program will give strength to those who have trusted us in the past; it will convince those who until now were not willing to listen, and finally will force those to retreat who don't consider Hungary their fatherland, and don't consider the Hungarian nation their own." Whom could he have in mind?

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Dr Balogh’s entirely non-partisan and objective assessment of Jobbik’s manifesto, Part I.
Total paragraphs: 11
Paragraphs concerning themselves with an attack on the Hunagrian Guard: 2
Paragraphs which deliver a character assasination of Prof. Morvai: 5
Paragraphs which take a pop at Vona: 1
Paragraphs which actually take as their subject an assessment of the actual substantive content of the Jobbik manifesto?: 0
Eagerly we await Part II.


“Paragraphs which deliver a character assasination of Prof. Morvai: 5”
It didn’t feel like a “character assassination” just a description of how she (Morvai) introduced their 88 page program. I may be a simpleton but it certainly didn’t give me a predisposition to dislike the Jobbiks, on the contrary. Not that I would ever favor a party that believes in overly right-wing ideas (this goes for the other side of the spectrum).
“Paragraphs which take a pop at Vona: 1”
Gee how dare she “take a pop” at this clearly loveing philantropist??
“Paragraphs which actually take as their subject an assessment of the actual substantive content of the Jobbik manifesto?: 0”
Very true, I was wandering when the article would actually touched the program itself. I think that this Part I is ment as an introduction to what is yet to come, I think she means to first give us a context. I don’t think Dr Balogh believes that her readers are complete fools.
Therefore I to await Part II with eagerness.


“Morvai then addresses the members and even the leaders of other parties and asks them not to be prejudiced because Hungary “is our common fatherland and this common fatherland is in big trouble.””
Of course, the “big trouble” in Hungary is the rise and growth of the extreme right, thanks in large part to the Fidesz and Viktor Orbán. If Jobbik supporters think that things are bad today, just wait until their “dream” materializes.
It’s obvious that Morvai can’t see the forest because of the trees!

Lord Amexos

“finally will force those to retreat who don’t consider Hungary their fatherland, and don’t consider the Hungarian nation their own.” Whom could he have in mind?” ”
Yeah, I wonder… perhaps Eva would like to elaborate on this, surely she is an expert on this matter. Also, it would be interesting to know who Eva thinks her audience is for this blog…

@Henry Though your assumed good faith is admirable, please don’t let it lapse into naivety. I am not overstating the case. Look for example at the last translated sentence, to which SO much emphasis is given, it is even rendered in italics for the benefit of any foreign non-Hungarian speaking journalist looking for an “authoritative” quote with which to give Jobbik a good old smear. “finally will force those to retreat who don’t consider Hungary their fatherland” But there is NO Hungarian word that means “Fatherland,” because the Hungarian language/people are not one of the group of cultures whose philology leads them to describes themselves in this way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatherland#Groups_that_refer_to_their_native_country_as_a_.22fatherland.22 I say again: this word does not even exist in the Hungarian language. The correct translation of the Hungarian word ‘hazájukként’ used by Vona in his sentence (pg. 7, para. 1, sent. 2), and which is quite intentionally and wrongly given here as ‘Fatherland’, is in fact ‘homeland’. The root of this word ‘haza’ is the Hungarian for “home”. Feel free to look it up. Dr Balogh is perfectly aware of this. If you only speak English it hangs together quite eloquently, but if you actually understand Hungarian and know the… Read more »

Good news: you need not worry that I butted on “fatherland”.
Bad news: You wrote most of your message for nothing… sorry old boy.
However I will add to this :”Look for example at the last translated sentence, to which SO much emphasis is given, it is even rendered in italics for the benefit of any foreign non-Hungarian speaking journalist looking for an “authoritative” quote with which to give Jobbik a good old smear.”
I honestly am not convinced, you really think next to her many paragraphs on how Morvai is showing her willingness to be open and a quote in italic, the latter has more scope on the reader than the former? Nay he will go as far as jump the whole article so that he may simply stop and read the italic bit. If anyone does that he is not worthy of note, I’m sure you would agree and I am sure that Dr Balogh would also be a bit peeved were they to do such a thing. Thrasymachus the world has made you a very suspicious man.
Now on to the part II and lets see what afoot.


nice piece of forensic linguistics, but
“finally will force those to retreat who don’t consider Hungary their homeland”doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable. As an English immigrant living in Hungary, my homeland is the UK. Is Morvai really going to force me to ‘retreat’? What does she mean?

Sophist, Nice to speak again. I really do hope they come out with an English language version soon. So all this deliberate linguistic massaging can be given the push and we can actually look at the content. Sadly I can’t stay and explain because I’m being sent to cover the Wilders trial. But I’ll just take a look at the sentence in question (which is from Vona, not Morvai) and try and give you a better translation. Hungarian: “Hiszem, hogy ez a program megerősíti azokat, akik eddig is bennünk bíztak, meggyőzi azokat, akik eddig nem mertek hallgatni a jobbik eszükre, és végül elbizonytalanítja és meghátrálásra kényszeríti azokat, akik Magyarországra nem a hazájukként, a magyarságra pedig nem nemzetükként tekintenek.” English: “I believe, that this manifesto will encourage those, who have chosen to put their trust in us thus far, will convince those, who until now have not had the confidence to listen to their better [here using the comparative “jobbik”] judgement, and will finally, both unsettle and compel the waning of those, who neither look on Hungary as their homeland, or the Hungarian people as their nation.” So to my mind there are two points to make here: 1. He is… Read more »

But I do appreciate that you might have fears. And my telling you that these fears are entirely unfounded and being deliberately cultivated by the machinations of people like this blog’s author may just come across as unfounded heresay.
So here’s Vona in his own words.
“But to get back to the original question, the reason why I see it as an outrage, is because I consider Hungarian people to be accepting, tolerant and open towards the cultures of others. This is what Hungarian people are. What our entire history is about, is that despite of whatever destruction, battle, or defeat has taken place here; afterwards we’ve accepted absolutely anyone who’s wanted to come here and live respectably amongst us. We haven’t looked at the colour of their skin, or what religion they are, or what country or culture they’ve come from: the only thing we’ve expected from them in the past, and continue to expect to this day, is that everyone abide by those societal norms which govern this country and this territory.”
(from 06:26 to 08:04)


Sorry, but Országh Laszló agrees with Eva on this one, “retreat” is the most straightforward translation – not that the idea of being “compelled to wane” seems any less unsettling.
On the bigger issue of Vona’s three groups. I would take issue that there is a group of Magyars, who do not regard Hungary as their homeland. His characterisation of his political opponents in this way is exactly what I – and my Hungarian wife – find so unsettling: If you don’t agree with me, you’re unpatriotic.
If this group isn’t foreigners living in Hungary, but Hungarians who serve international interests, what international interests are these? Are we talking about employees of international companies operating in Hungary; Hungarian officials working for the UN, EU, NATO, foreign embassies; Hungarians planning to emigrate? Who are these people?
Needless to say there also need not be any conflict between International interests and Hungarian interests, as Hungary’s membership of international organisations such as those given above suggests. So which international interests is he talking about?
As for, “we’ve accepted absolutely anyone who’s wanted to come here and live respectably” – it didn’t really apply to Jews, did it?

Not so. You are confusing literal with contextual translation. If he means physical retreat (which he doesn’t) his sentence will read somethign like, “I hope this manifesto will encourage our supporters, reaasure the doubtful, and make people we don’t like retreat out of Hungary.” How does that work? It doesn’t make sense as either a sentiment or as a sentence. How can a document make a physicial retreat? What it can do is damage your opponent’s cause. Cause a diminution, or recess, a shrinkage of their support. This is what he meant. For example in the English sentence, “But he retreated from his previously held position.” The word retreat does not have the physical conotation, does it? Forgive me, but professional translation was how a I subsidised myself through University. As for, “we’ve accepted absolutely anyone who’s wanted to come here and live respectably” – it didn’t really apply to Jews, did it? And yet Hungary has on Dohány Street Eurasia’s largest, and the world’s second largest synagogue. Does Britain? One, not the only, but one the main reasons the Nazis invaded was the Horthy regime’s refusal to carry out the Holocaust to Eichmann’s liking. Yet the British Police on… Read more »

I meant to add to the end of the 3rd paragraph that:
“And despite, the heinous, despicable, and utterly horrendous reality that the holocaust in Hungary undoubtedly was, the fact nevertheless remains that the end of WWII saw Hungary left with the largest Jewish population of Eastern Europe.
Pre-war European Jewish population:
comment image
Pre/Post war comparison of Jewish populations (data again from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum):
Poland: 3,000,000 (1933) – 45,000 (1950) 1.5% lived
Germany: 565,000 (1933) – 37,000 (1950) 6.5 % lived
Czechoslovakia: 357,000 (1933) – 17,000 (1950) 4.7% lived
Austria: 250,000 (1933) – 18,000 (1950) 7.2% lived
Hungary: 445,000 (1933) – 190,000 (1950) 42% lived
You see you don’t have to be a holocaust denier, to say that Hungary’s reputation on the anti-Semitism front is a lot more robust than people think. These numbers do not lie. There are two conclusions you can draw.
The first is disturbing, but the facts clearly demonstrate that the best thing that happened to Hungarian Jewry was Horthy’s alliance to the axis. Had he opposed, been invaded and overrun at the start as the likes of Dr Balogh would certainly have preferred: the Jewish population would clearly have been totally decimated as it was elsewhere.
The second is plain truth, the fact that these figures for Hungary are simply not possible were it not for the great sacrifices and risks a great great many Hungarians took to protect Jews during the terrible years of the 40s. I should know because my own grandparents played such a role too, and they were far from alone. Anti-Semites do not behave in this way. So the next time you mistake plain Hungarian bigotry for something more evil, just think about those numbers for a second.”

Thrasy, “Forgive me, but professional translation was how a I subsidised myself through University.” I’ll forgive you, but it will be for assuming I can’t understand “retreat” as a metaphor. “I am not pointing a finger or shirking responsibility”. One of most interesting things Jobbik is proposing is an attack on corruption. Ordinary Hungarians use exactly these lines of reasoning; “Look those people are stealing more”, or “everybody else is doing it, why shouldn’t I” to justify their own corruption. How as an apologist for Jobbik do you expect me to believe that Jobbik is seriously going to tackle corruption when you use these kinds of arguments to brush over what happened to Jews in Hungary as Jews between 1920 and 1944. Is it okay that only 58% of Hungarian Jewry was destroyed? I know from your postings as Bobs. that you are no antisemite; nor do I doubt Hungarians including your family took great risks too protect Jews during that time. I can even accept that personally Vona and Morvai are not antisemitic, they seem too sophisticated, Morvai apparently married a jew. The unfortunate truth is that the majority of my Hungarian friends, colleagues, acquaintences are. Despite you dashing… Read more »
Reducing an argument to counting paragraphs and labelling them negative is simply stupid. That is how Magyar Nemzet used to blacklist journalists, instead of bothering to address the arguments in supposedly ‘negative’ articles. Simply irritating is the needlesly pedantic playing on words. As any translator would tell you, it is not true that ‘haza’ cannot be translated with ‘fatherland’. This has nothing to do with linguistic roots of the word, but the emotion which it conveyes and in the context in which it is put. Translating is not exact science. In English the distinction between ‘fatherland’, ‘motherland’ and ‘homeland’ is not at all clear either. ‘Homeland’ is a fine translation, but so is ‘fatherland’. Take Russian for instance: ‘Rodina’ means Haza, and is translated as motherland, fatherland or homeland. (‘Great Fatherland War’).’Haza’ is in Hungarian an emotional term, unlike the related word ‘orszag’ (country). Hence ‘hazafisag’ = patriotism. It can be employed both as a subtly nostaligic term, like Heimat, but can also sound aggresive and exclusionary, depending on the context. It is usually associated with a tinge of national feeling, and rarely a neutral term. Haza is also used more emotionally in Hungary than ‘Nemzet’ (nation). Likewise, you are… Read more »
Dear Sophist, I would not make any assumptions about the lack of Vona and Morvai’s anti-Semitism. Both are completely obsessed by Jews and Israel. On Napkelte, Vona famously went of his rocker when he thought a journalist was pestering him with impertinent questions (‘would you recoomend your supporters to go to a Rudolf Hess commemoration’). Instead of simply saying ‘of course not’ and then attacking the journalist for slandering him(which any decent or clever politician would have done), he twisted and turned until he flipped: why don’t you go to Israel and ask these questions? Morvai, incidentally, similarly freaked out at a press conference given to the international media: ‘why don’t you go to Isreal?’ This does mean that they are going to murder Jews, but it does mean that they are infested with a latent anti-Semitism that is very common in Hungary. This does not have to translate into policy. I think Morvai and Vona are far to clever, and probably not interested in, engaging inactual anti-Semitic policies. Roma are the real ‘other’ in Hungary that have something to worry about. But the question is whether they can contain their bully boys in the Magyar Garda, HVIM, and other… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh

PassingStranger: “Dear Sophist, I would not make any assumptions about the lack of Vona and Morvai’s anti-Semitism. Both are completely obsessed by Jews and Israel.”
I wouldn’t either. The latest is that Vona attacked Orbán and Fidesz either yesterday or the day before, and among other things, he said that the orange in the Fidesz logo comes from Jaffa! Clearly, this was an allusion to alleged Jewish presence in or influence on Fidesz.


“Simply irritating is the needlesly pedantic playing on words.”
No, words, are important. Very important. It is important they mean what they actually mean and that they are not intentionally made to mean what they do not mean to forward an individual’s political agenda.
The deliberate and purposeful mistranslation of them is one of the main ways in which the liberal/left systematically misrepresents Hungarian affairs to the world.
They use this information asymmerty, by design, on purpose, and systematically. And if you are unaware of this, you know little of the realities of Hungarian affairs.
@Eva S. Balogh
Or the fact that, as we all know Jaffa oranges (orange being the colour of Fidesz), are seedless i.e. impotent.
These allusions you keep pointing to, are I’m afraid, very far from clear.


“No, words, are important. Very important”
Beautifully said, but why don’t you apply your strict standards to yourself?
First, when attacking Balogh you say retreat implies a “physical booting out”, and later, when contradicting Sophist, you say “retreat does not have the physical conotation”.
Which is it? You clearly adopt whatever meaning suits your argument better at the time.
I suspect you are a communist.


Gee, why would someone think ‘Jaffa’, a town in Israel, was a reference to Jews? Perhaps it was the comment by Vona that followed about the SzDSz, which, he said, Jobbik had “beaten it on its enormous arrogant nose,” during the European elections that made Balogh think there is a Jewish link here.
Balogh is not alone. The Hungarian press online also speaks of ‘hidden anti-Semitic references’ in this speech by Vona. What surprises me is not that they make this association, but that they call it ‘hidden.’
How was Wilders? Doesn’t he also constantly claim he is not a fascist? I presume you are taking a leaf out of his book.


I should, of course, have mentioned that on the far right ‘Fidesz’ is universally described as ‘Zsidesz’ (Zsido = Jew). Vona puts himself straight into this camp by playing into these associations.
Hilariously, Csurka Istvan, formerly an ally of Vona but now outclassed on the far right by Jobbik, claims that Vona Gabor is a sephardic Jew and that Morvai Krisztina is a Jew.

*sigh* It really is very simple. The word retreat in this case only has one definition: not holding a position previously held. But this definition can have a physical meaning and an intellectual one. The physical sense: e.g. “The enemy force retreated.” Which implies actual physical movement. Not holding the position, TERRITORIALLY, that was fully held before. So here, let us say a chess player actually picks up and moves his rook away from a previous position deep in the other player’s territory. The intellectual sense: e.g. “He retreated from his statement made earlier in the day.” Which implies changing your mind. No longer holding the position, INTELLECTUALLY, that was held before. Whereas in this case, our chess player changes his mind about a previously securly held conviction on what he thinks the other player is going to do next. Had Vona meant the first, physical, usage, he would be saying, “I want to see Jobbik’s opponents ejected from the country.” This is what Dr Balogh would have you believe. And it’s thoroughly dishonest for her to do so and makes no sense semantically either. Because it is clear that Vona meant the latter, intellectual, usage. That he hopes the… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh

PassingStranger: “The Hungarian press online also speaks of ‘hidden anti-Semitic references’ in this speech by Vona. What surprises me is not that they make this association, but that they call it ‘hidden.'”
Indeed, it’s not hidden at all.

@PassingStranger: On ‘magyarság’ there’s an old paper (1974) on ‘Hungarianness: the Origin of a pseudo-linguistic concept.’ by L.G. Czigány http://www.jstor.org/pss/4206909 The author’s name and the paper’s content all germane to the current discussion. And I agree with Thrasymachus too. There is a difference in the connotations and meanings of Motherland, Homeland and Fatherland. I have never met a Hungarian who thought in terms of a Fatherland. Casuistry perhaps, but I tested the question on 5 dual language friends (in HCI usability testing 80% of testing can be performed on a sample of 5 people and I apply that pretty universally on straw samples for anything – not definite, but useful satisficing) all of whom balked at Fatherland. The all chose Homeland, but said Motherland was Ok. The other words available are szülőföld (native soil) and anyaország (mother country). For Hungarians ‘szülőföld’ is closer to fatherland. Obviously there are enormous overlaps, but the differences are important. Also comparing the word to one from Russian makes no sense at all culturally. I get no sense of Fatherland in a Hungarian’s psych whether they are Jobbik or lib-dem. Anyway, on language in general anyone else uneasy about how un-Hungarian a lot of the… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh

Vándorló; “There is a difference in the connotations and meanings of Motherland, Homeland and Fatherland.”
The problem is that my blog is in English and therefore the different connotations of the above words are simply not applicable. In English it is quite simple. Here is Webster’s definition:
1 : the native land or country of one’s father or ancestors
2 : one’s native land or country
Period. How sensitively Hungarian speakers react to “fatherland” (most likely because of Hitler’s Germany) is meaningless.


Fatherland is wrong, homeland is correct. Period. Your bilinguality means you knew this, your education means you’re just too smart to make that kind of simple mistake.
The Hitler’s Germany connotation was not coincidental to your wrong use of “Fatherland” it was the reason for it.
And it is pretending otherwise, dear Dr B, that is meaningless.