Election program of the Hungarian far right (II)

I mentioned yesterday that Jobbik's election program starts with an introduction by Krisztina Morvai followed by a piece by "the prime minister designate," Gábor Vona. The differences between the two are striking in both style and content. Morvai chose a style that is conciliatory and reasonable, and her prose is well crafted. With Vona's introduction the situation is different. First of all, Vona's writing style is not the best and his message is anything but conciliatory. Already in the first paragraph Vona talks about the "merciless elimination of political criminals." Actually he uses the word "politikusbűnözés," coined most likely after their other favorite word, "cigánybűnözés." If there is "Gypsy crime" there must also be "political crime." In addition, Jobbik plans to "renew" the Hungarian police force and introduce the gendarmerie that used to ensure the "peace and quiet" of the Hungarian countryside before World War II. Jobbik, according to Vona, also promises "after sixty-five years at last true national politics" (nemzetpolitika). All that in the first paragraph.

How did Hungary end up in this sorry state? Jobbik asks: "Could it be coincidence?" In Vona's opinion it cannot be because after all Hungary is "endowed with excellent natural, geopolitical and national traits" and therefore Hungary's present situation "must have been created deliberately, knowingly, and in a planned way." Who were the villains? They must have been foreigners because in the next sentence Vona makes it clear that in this situation "we cannot rely on anyone in our struggle for survival but ourselves."

Vona believes that their program is a realistic plan for the future. Not chasing after dreams. They only want "order, economic well being, truth, and self-determination." The goal is "the resurrection of Hungary." This last reference to the resurrection harks back to the revisionist slogan of the Horthy period when in the style of the Nicene Creed a "Hungarian Creed" was written by Mrs. Elemér Papp-Váry, née Szeréna Sziklay (1881-1923) which had to be recited by school children daily. Jobbik has several internet sites that include the Hungarian Creed.Hiszekegy Therefore, although not openly admitted, revisionist impulses are also present in Jobbik's ideology.

Obviously the economy in a time when we have yet to bounce back from the international financial and economic crisis is uppermost in everybody's mind. Therefore it is not surprising that Jobbik's election program starts with the "Economic Program." The problem with Jobbik's economic ideas is that the party's economists build their policies on the faulty premise that "globalization based on the free movement of multinational capital failed the world over." The fact is that it didn't fail and shows no sign of disappearing. Therefore talking about a future Hungary that will be self-sufficient and stand apart from the global economy is totally misguided. Instead of "global capitalism" Jobbik wants to have a national economy based on the food industry. All that sounds very vague. At one point the authors of this chapter came forth with the startling observation that every country can produce enough to feed its people! "The social market economy" others are talking about is no solution. What must be introduced instead is "eco-social-national economy" (ökoszociális nemzetgazdaság). What is it? I will give a word for word translation of the explanation, perhaps you will be able to make more out of it than I did. "The economy must function in an environment fit for human kind (eco-), in living conditions fit for human beings (social-), and it must serve the interest of the nation (national-)." Wow!

Not only is Jobbik's report of the death of globalization greatly exaggerated, but Jobbik doesn't seem to care much about Hungary's international obligations either. They seem to forget about Hungary's membership in the European Union that obligates the country to have a free flow of goods and services as well as of people. Jobbik wants to support "Hungarian industry, Hungarian farmers, Hungarian commerce, Hungarian goods, and Hungarian markets." In addition, Jobbik wants to have the state play a prominent role in the economy. As they put it, "the state must safeguard the strategic national wealth, land, natural gas, forests, and in certain cases it must renationalize the squandered national wealth in order that the state could play its intended role as the stimulator of the economy and to take advantage of the country's comparative advantages." What are these comparative advantages? Agriculture and the food industry, "infocommunicative technologies," research and development, innovation, the building industry, logistics, and medical tourism. It's almost as if one were reading Péter Róna's articles, except that Róna (formerly a New York banker) is a left-wing socialist.  There seems to be little difference between the economic ideas of the far right and the far left.

One is not terribly surprised that Jobbik's economists are not satisfied with spreading the gospel only in present-day Hungary. "As far as Hungarian economic policy is concerned Jobbik is unequivocally thinking in terms of the Carpathian Basin. In other words it considers the Hungarian inhabited areas of the neighboring countries as one unified Hungarian economic zone." If that is not surprising given Jobbik's ideology and nationalism, it is more interesting to find that as far as trade policy goes Jobbik wants to concentrate on the East, "decreasing our country's dependence on the West." Well, that is interesting, indeed. What does Jobbik mean by the East? China, India, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia. The reference to the desirability of decreasing dependence on the West is a real change. After all, for centuries Hungary wanted to be part of the West. This was especially so after the Iron Curtain fell.

Endre Ady, the great Hungarian poet, was perhaps more farsighted. He called Hungary a "kompország" (komp = ferry, ország = country) that cannot decide whether it belongs to the West or the East. Jobbik obviously made its choice. Jobbik's emphasis on the Hungarians' eastern origin surely underlies the Hungarian far right's distaste of the West that exports all sorts of bad things to Hungary: liberalism, the secular state, and so on.

Finally, Hungarian economy and demography are interconnected. There is a "frightening demographic catastrophe which is aggravated by a drastic shift in the internal ethnic proportions." This is a polite way of saying that the Gypsy population is growing at the expense of the non-Gypsies.

As for the actual program, there are gigantic unfunded plans. The only reference I found to funding was in subchapter III.1.3. that indicates that Jobbik not only wants to renegotiate the terms of foreign loans but also has no intention of paying back some of the debt. If Jobbik did nothing else but fulfilled this promise Hungary's situation could become absolutely untenable. But there are other goodies as well that I will summarize tomorrow.

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Thrasymachus
Guest
Here we go, yet again. 9 paragraphs this time. And what do we get? Even more stuff about Horthy… naturally. A ringing endorsement that globalization has been a stunning success worldwide of late. As if Dr Balogh has been curiously blind to the small matter of the global depression that has decimated the reputation of neo-liberalism. (Very curious this, because when she is trying to call Jobbik far-Right she immediately, and always, takes the opposite tack and says “history is repeating itself, and like before an unprecedented economic downturn is resulting in a rise of the far-right.” Oh and there’s Endre Ady too. But when we finally get down to business, in the last two paragraphs no less, we get: “There is a “frightening demographic catastrophe which is aggravated by a drastic shift in the internal ethnic proportions.” This is a polite way of saying that the Gypsy population is growing at the expense of the non-Gypsies.” You see Jobbik can’t possibly mean what it says it means. Oh no!… ‘Hungarian Leaders Concerned About Low Fertility Rate’ http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/Europe/Sept-Oct-08/Hungarian-Leaders-Concerned-About-Low-Fertility-Rate.html ‘Hungarians Go Forth, Don’t Multiply in a ‘Catastrophic’ Trend ‘ http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aFx19EZULDDE&refer=home …certainly not. They’re actually, really being racists. By the way, of… Read more »
humptydumpty
Guest

@ Thrasymachus
I wonder how you will relativize the sentence: Jobbik, according to Vona, also promises “after sixty-five years at last true national politics” (nemzetpolitika)
?
good luck!
of course Jobbik is not a fascist party. They are just the victim of the international j…ournalist complot against them, just as hungary is. I mean, honestly, they are so thankful for having been gifted with their genetic “hungarian-ness”, so humble and god-fearing, how could they be racists? so democratic in preventing anti-holocaust-denial, anti-hate-speech-laws and other efforts taken by the left-wing-extremists now in government (MSzP), how could they be anti-democrats? No, they are just brave, innocent people, defending themselves against the threatening developments within and out of its, unfortunately very short borders.

humptydumpty
Guest

i’d rather add I’ve been sarcastic, just not to be misunderstood

Öcsi
Guest

“Therefore talking about a future Hungary that will be self-sufficient and stand apart from the global economy is totally misguided.”
And a sure way to totally impoverish the nation!
Whether we like it or not, modern nations are interdependent. Perhaps Jobbik should give Hungarians examples of prosperous, self-sufficient nations, if they want their votes. Perhaps our resident apologist can help them out.

Mark
Guest
“The problem with Jobbik’s economic ideas is that the party’s economists build their policies on the faulty premise that “globalization based on the free movement of multinational capital failed the world over.” The fact is that it didn’t fail and shows no sign of disappearing.” Jobbik’s economists – if they exist – are certainly guilty of overstatement, but I think your response to them is misguided, and as a political response it is utterly inadequate to the challenge that they pose. While in Mussolini’s prisons, the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci wrote of the climate that gave rise to his jailers: “The old is dead and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum, many morbid symptoms appear.” This quote is quite apposite to the situation in Hungary today – and Jobbik is definitely the prime one of those “morbid symptoms”. To try and deny that the old is dead (or that the deceased old order needs to be preserved) is not going to get you (or anyone else) very far against them. Internationally, we are not out of the crisis. The banking systems in the US and UK (and in a number of other countries) only exist at all because… Read more »
Öcsi
Guest

“I’m afraid it is this that is the new reality, and someone had better start thinking of some alternatives if they want to stand up to Jobbik.”
Well, if no one can stand up to Jobbik, let them win the election. Governing is much harder than criticizing from the outside. If they are as bad as I think they are they will fall flat on their face. Unfortunately, Hungary will become a pariah state while they hold power but that, in the long run, may be the best way to contain Jobbik.

Mark
Guest

Öcsi: ” Unfortunately, Hungary will become a pariah state while they hold power but that, in the long run, may be the best way to contain Jobbik.”
I’m rather hoping it doesn’t come to that, but in my more pessimistic moments I think you might be right.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Mark: “”The problem with Jobbik’s economic ideas is that the party’s economists build their policies on the faulty premise that “globalization based on the free movement of multinational capital failed the world over.” The fact is that it didn’t fail and shows no sign of disappearing.” Jobbik’s economists – if they exist – are certainly guilty of overstatement, but I think your response to them is misguided, and as a political response it is utterly inadequate to the challenge that they pose”
As I always tell you Mark. We will see who is right.

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