One Million for Democracy–Civic Control Association

A few days ago I saw an interview with Anna Vámos about whom I must admit until then I knew nothing. During her conversation with Olga Kálmán (Egyenes beszéd, June 6, 2011, ATV) I found out that she is co-chairman of a new organization called "One Million for Democracy–Civic Control Association." I also learned that the association was founded by a group of people who were involved with a Facebook community that organized several very successful demonstrations for freedom of the press. You may recall that on March 15th it was their demonstration that drew the largest crowd. Well over 50,000 people.

My only objection was that the organizers refused to have anything to do with politicians, present or past. They in fact asked them to stay away from their demonstrations. I thought at the time and still think today that a purely civic organization without connection to all democratic forces, including parties, cannot by itself be successful. That's why I was pleased to hear that "Milla" is joining the "clowns" who were called to the streets by Péter Kónya and Kornél Árok for a demonstration next Thursday. Since then practically all trade unions decided to join, and everyone is invited who would like to vote retroactively against Fidesz. So people will be there from all walks of life: trade unions, civic organizations, members of parties, and anyone else who would like to join this most likely massive demonstration.

Meanwhile I was lucky enough to get hold of the English translation of the new civic association's description of its aims which I would like to share with you. If you want to visit their site on Facebook you will find them at https://www.facebook.com/demokraciaert  The association also started a blog: http://demokraciaert.blog.hu/

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Who We Are

By having staged massive demonstrations with tens of thousands of participants, the 85,000 strong Facebook community „One Million For Press Fredom,” has shown that despite all arguments to the contrary, there definitely is an autonomous civic voice and an autonomous civic resolve in Hungary today.  

A number of the original organizers of the Facebook group along with some other members have recognized that the time has come to move beyond merely providing a platform for the voicing of views on certain civilian issues, as “One Million” (or “Milla”, as it has become commonly known) has been doing so successfully for months. The time has come to launch a movement that goes beyond single-issue politics and beyond general but vague protest. With that in mind, the group has founded an association under the name “One Million For Democracy – Civil Control Association”. The association is now in the process of being legally registered. The majority of the founders are former organizers and supporters of the original Facebook group. None of them has played a political role of any significance in the past. They come from the ranks of what is known as “civic society”.

The founders of the Association are united in their concern that the country is headed in the wrong direction. They want to live in a Hungary in the political vocabulary of which the word “opponent” is not synonymous with “enemy”. They imagine a country in which causes and issues are judged on their own merit and not on the basis of the political views of the people supporting them. They want to live in a country where those in authority do not try to capitalize on creating conflicts between the members of different social groups, by turning people with jobs against the unemployed, active workers against old-age pensioners, Hungarians living within the country’s borders against those living in the neighbouring countries. A country whose leaders pursue a genuine social dialogue on really important issues; where a change of government is by no means equal to a regime change; a country in which a new government taking office does not imply that from now on fat government commissions will go to a different group of companies.  They want to live in a country where promises are taken seriously and lies are unacceptable, and not only when they come from the mouths of those we did not vote for. They want governments that serve – but not their own narrow and selfish interests and those of their close clients but serve us, the people who empowered them. They want to live in a country where the checks and balances of democratic government are fully functional, and not the slightest doubt is cast on the independence of the judiciary from political power. 

The aim of our movement is to build a community from critically thinking individuals committed to the republic and to offer allegiance to all those civil, minority and professional organisations which regard the current state of public affairs as offensive and unworthy, to all those who, similarly to ourselves, believe that the staggering extent of voter dissatisfaction with a political elite which has been on the scene practically since the regime change is completely justified. 

In the past decades, voters were repeatedly duped by promises without real foundations by political parties whose actions in parliament and genuine objectives had become murky and impossible to follow for the average voter. The political parties and their leaders did not have the courage to face up to the declining social conditions of Hungary and the inadequacies of its institutions. They failed to dismantle the barriers limiting the income-generating capacity of the nation and failed to stop the widening of the gap between the country’s regions. Politicians lost all sense of responsibility in their battle for votes. Scapegoat-creating, exclusion and character assassination have become, for all intents and purposes, almost legitimate weapons of political warfare. As a consequence, the mental state of society has declined to a degree where the ability to face facts, the possibility of a joint search for solutions and the evolution of a sense of individual and collective security have become severely limited. By today, the members of society have either fallen into apathy and passivity or turned into obsessive deepeners of the gulf between “them” and “us”.

Given its current state, society is no longer capable of creative action, whether individually or in groups, let alone the exercise of control over politics and the powers-that-be. Quite to the contrary, it is falling prey to a degree increasing day by day to a political leadership which it elected and empowered precisely to act on its behalf. The Association is convinced that the starting-point and foundation of democratic politics is social dialogue. For that reason the most important of its to aims is to promote and provide a framework for such a dialogue as well as for the development of views based on a realistic assessment of facts, for the evolution of a democratic self-awareness.  

Plans include the establishment of “dialogue circles” and discussion forums where the different groups of society will be able to freely articulate and develop their views and even come to a consensus where possible. One of the major objectives of the Association is to create a nationwide network for discussions. The operations and events planned are meant to call attention to the common causes and to the fact that none of us can be immune from what is commonly called “’politics”.   

The Association is committed to the creation of an open and modern society in Hungary. Its members will stand up for the preservation of all individual and collective rights and freedoms. Rather than turning towards the glories and grievances of the past, it wishes to seek answers to the challenges of the 21st century. It wishes to exert an influence on all political actors and decision-makers whose activities affect and determine our daily lives and future. Let us have a new start. Let us reboot Hungary. Let us launch Hungary 2.0.   

10th June, 2011

Budapest


 

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Ron
Guest

Friends of mine lost faith in politics in Hungary, and some of them voted for Fidesz. Hopefully these current non-organizations will result in a political party or movement that will restore their faith. I am looking forward how this will develop.

Ron
Guest

Off-topic. I notice that in various Dutch newspaper the abortus campaign in Hungary upset the commissioner Vivian Reding of Justice, and she asked the removal of all posters relating to this campaign in Hungary, and perhaps repayment of the subsidy. The government is playing it down as a misunderstanding of the contract.
I wonder if this would happen in another country, whether she would do the same. I do not think so. OK the amount is only EUR 400,000 (for the EU a small amount), but it is another sign.

Paul
Guest

The terrible irony is that much of this ‘manifesto’ reads like something Fidesz could have issued a few years ago.
And, whilst we’re on irony, the people pushing this current anti-Politics (capital P) mantra, don’t realise that this is another Fidesz creation. Their black propaganda against Gy and the MSzP was so succesful that people have been persuaded that all politicians are corrupt and not to be trusted. And, as a result, now they are losing their faith in OV, they are unable to turn to anyone else.
If there is any chance of defeating OV (and I’m afraid I am still a pesimist on this front) it is not with a bunch of idealistic amateurs. OV will eat them for reggeli.

liberalANDproud
Guest

real amateurs….
where is a ferenc deak today?
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/De%C3%A1k_Ferenc

Odin's lost eye
Guest
Ron you write ** “Friends of mine lost faith in politics in Hungary,” **. This is precisely what Fidesz want. Their idea is that only their supporters vote at the next elections. After that elections will just be a formality to keep the stupid foreigners quiet. Paul you write ** “If there is any chance of defeating OV (and I’m afraid I am still a pessimist on this front) it is not with a bunch of idealistic amateurs. OV will eat them for reggel” **. ‘His Mightiness’ and Fidesz are beginning to taint with their corruption and propaganda almost everything. All forms of political, social and economic activity in Hungary will be controlled by Fidesz. You will only be allowed to see/hear/do those things which are approved of by the ‘Autocrat’ (OV). I have looked at both of these websites and I notice that one of them disables Google toolbar. This is so that we stupid foreigners cannot read it. This is a typical Fidesz trick. These web sites are both typical of a Fidesz ‘Black Op’. They will give the population a safety valve where only the mildest of complaints will be published. There will probably be a pro-Fidesz… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “the people pushing this current anti-Politics (capital P) mantra, don’t realise that this is another Fidesz creation.”
Odin: “Ron you write ** “Friends of mine lost faith in politics in Hungary,” **. This is precisely what Fidesz want.”
Yes, you’re right. The goal should be fervent support for democratic politics to combat a steady march toward dictatorship.

Johnny Boy
Guest

The aim for people to lose faith in politics is a basic MSZP strategy, and always was. Remember those claims? Medgyessy: youngsters don’t care about politics, they only care about their Cola and parties. Gyurcsány: people may protest, but sooner or later they get bored of it and go home.
Everything is pointing in the same direction. The voter with conscience is MSZP’s enemy because the more knowledgeable voters are, the more difficult they are to mislead and feed with propaganda. And that’s MSZP’s only strong point and always has: with their huge media superiority they kept themselves, despite being totally unworthy, in power. Now that this starts to fade, primarily because people tend to believe the media less and less, they cannot stand up from where they are now.

Member

Johnny “The voter with conscience is MSZP’s enemy”
Yeah, yeah, yeah … and whoever doesn’t share your views is the enemy of the country. This is the Orban’s war retoric. Enemies and friends. “Who’s not with us is against us”.
So are you actually saying that there is no apathy in Hungary? Come out of the bunker, Johnny!

Ida Kiss
Guest

Civic society organizations played a crucial role in the process towards democracy. After the first free elections the political parties – all of them – considered civils as enemies, and used many of them as their money laundry. Those organizations which refused to take part in these politicking games, were made impossible.The memory of the civil movements was wiped out from the picture of the shift to democracy. It’s time to rebuild the civil society.

Member

Johnny Boy: ” the more knowledgeable voters are, the more difficult they are to mislead and feed with propaganda.” Now, I understand why Fidesz is trying to rewrite history books. It is unfortunate the knowledge Fidesz provides are mostly false, and if anyone tries to do it otherwise Fidesz shots them down. So Johnny you are right, and you are the living proof what Fidesz does to people.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Mutt: how can you so perfectly misinterpret everything I write? That must be quite a stunt from you.
It is only in your mind that it is Orbán’s war rhetoric, what I said of the conscientious voter is from MSZP’s viewpoint. It’s them who treat them (rightfully) as enemies.
“So are you actually saying that there is no apathy in Hungary”
This is your own story, created by your imagination. I never said anything of the like, but that obviously doesn’t keep you from “arguing”.
“It’s time to rebuild the civil society”
Yeah, I see the word “civil” is now being used to build up the liberal opposition’s credible image. During MSZP governments, all civil movements were immediately labelled as Fidesz puppets, regardless of the persons or acts involved, now the “civil” suddenly became so desirable. Quite interesting!
“Fidesz shots them down”
I bet you can name those shot down by Fidesz, after all you need to prove it as all of the sane world seems to think that it was MSZ(M)P who shot others for differing opinions.

Member

Johnny Boy: “it as all of the sane world seems to think that it was MSZ(M)P who shot others for differing opinions.” Again you make no sense (your trademark).
“I bet you can name those shot down by Fidesz, ” I bet you can name them too. lol

Paul
Guest

“they get bored of it”
I’m sure Gy actually said “they get bored WITH it”, as his English is considerably better than yours, JB.
“The voter with conscience is MSZP’s enemy because the more knowledgeable voters are, the more difficult they are to mislead and feed with propaganda.”
Fidesz complaining about MSzP propaganda? Are you familiar with the English phrase “pot calling the kettle black”?
Straight out of the Fidesz manual, first page – don’t worry about the truth, just take reality and reverse it.
“If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth” rather a fitting quote under the circumstances.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“his English is considerably better than yours, JB. ”
His English is nowhere near mine, everyone can get assured by watching his miserable interview on CNN, but then again, until your Hungarian becomes at least somewhat close to my English, you can stfu.
Anyway, “bored of” exists and is accepted in English.
“Fidesz complaining about MSzP propaganda”
No, JB complaining.
“just take reality and reverse it.”
That’s what you are doing, all the time. It is clear that in 2002 MSZP won exclusively by propaganda, despite an acclaimed governance by Fidesz.

Jano
Guest
These Facebook organizations are nice, but it is incredibly hard to form a new party out of it. Gábor Török explained it several times how hard it is to found a new party. Actually, founding it is easy, but the turning it competitive against the organizational background of other well established parties is almost impossible. That is why Gyurcsány is fighting in MSZP instead of just leaving and that is why party splits are so rare in Hungarian politics. Of course, this is in the good interest of the already existing parties, so there is no real hope for change in this sense. Another reason why it is so hard to gain the popularity is a big trust issue towards any new formation. Fidesz and MSZP(-SZDSZ) were so successful in dividing the political field (I know, it was only Fidesz and their black propaganda, etc…) that any new party must face a big “whose trojan horse it is” question. Just look at LMP which is still fighting with the SZDSZ 2.0 accusations. Naturally, old parties take advantage of this. The reason behind the usual left wing pundits frequently turning up amongst these civil movements is not (just) because they so… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

JB: It is clear that in 2002 MSZP won exclusively by propaganda, despite an acclaimed governance by Fidesz.”
Fidesz lost because people didn’t like their style. They were arrogant, harsh, and created fear in people. They were also corrupt, ruined Hungary’s relations with the outside world. They tried to “buy” people’s votes by throwing money at them in the last two years but it didn’t work. People went out in record numbers to vote them out of office. That’s the truth.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Jano: “These Facebook organizations are nice, but it is incredibly hard to form a new party out of it.”
I don’t think that they are thinking in terms of establishing a party. What I’m hoping they will do is to make politics acceptable to those people who wouldn’t join a party and at that point not interested in politics.

Paul
Guest

Oh Johnny Boy (see what I did there?), how I missed you during my time away from HS.
Of course ‘bored of’ exists in English, it is one of very many awful misuses of the language by its uneducated native speakers. But it certainly isn’t accepted. It comes from the misunderstanding of the apostrophe in phrases such as “must’ve”, which can be misheard as “must of”. But, of course, any student of English will be able to tell you that such a phrase simply doesn’t make sense.
As for my Hungarian, you are right, it is shamefully appalling. But even if it was a ‘good’ as your English, I would never be big headed enough to instruct a native speaker in how their language should be used. Apart from simple not being an arrogant arse, I wouldn’t want to look that foolish.
I appreciate that this will be water off a duck’s back to you, but, as a non-Hungarian, I am optimistic enough to still give it a go.

peter litvanyi
Guest

Go Anna Go….
Dear Eva,
how about an update about Ms. Tetenyi Eva? She is one helluva woman!!!
” My only objection was that the organizers refused to have anything to do with politicians, present or past.” – I guess that leaves us with the politicans of the the future; no? I think that’s what they meant.
Peter Litvanyi

Jim
Guest

Hate to defend JB, but in fact “bored of” is an acceptable, if less common, alternative to “bored with.” Compare “tired of,” “weary of,” and the like. But that doesn’t make him not a nutcase.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“They were arrogant, harsh”
Somewhat true
“and created fear in people”
100% propaganda, they created no fear
“They were also corrupt”
Untrue, see the 0% efficiency of comrade Keller. And you say this whose lieblings were by far the most corrupt in the EU, see the prisons and custodies
“They tried to “buy” people’s votes by throwing money at them”
And you say this whose lieblings campaigned with 19 thousand HUF for the pensioners and an all-around, extremely low standard “more money for the people” slogan. Ridiculous. If anyone wins by outright buying votes, it’s you
“People went out in record numbers to vote them out of office.”
Easily because Werber’s propaganda fuelled them up, to act like a horde. And you like that because it conforms your low standards. That’s the truth.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“But, of course, any student of English will be able to tell you that such a phrase simply doesn’t make sense.”
During my studies, I’ve explicitly learned how “bored of” means enough of some fact or state being present, and “bored with” means enough of doing something.
“I would never be big headed enough to instruct a native speaker in how their language should be used.”
If someone is an arse here, it’s obviously you. I am never big headed about my English, except for the rare occasions when big headed idiots coming nowhere near the foreign language skills of mine try to educate me. And, especially, it takes a real moron to pick at someone foreign speaking your language.
It’s never late to see how your own language evolves, however. Visit http://www.googlefight.com/ and see how ‘bored of’ comes out when pitted against ‘bored with’. Almost equal.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

JB: “”They were also corrupt” Untrue, see the 0% efficiency of comrade Keller.”
You ought to add: Péter Polt, the chief justice, former Fidesz candidate to parliament, saved their skins.

Ivan
Guest

I think that our friend’s grammar is just about acceptable, or borderline acceptable, in a reasonably informal context like this. Actually, for a Fidesz man his English is exceptional.
No, it’s the style that’s oh-so-wrong.

Jano
Guest

Eva: I agree, I also hope that they are going to prove useful in terms of turning people towards politics and thus create more pressure on all the parties. It is my firm belief that the reason the US democracy is working better is that people care a lot more about politics and therefore it is a lot harder to thrust anything down their throat. My American friends (almost all of whom are <30) many times post political thoughts on Facebook or comment on political events. In Hungary, it is only "acceptable" in a sarcastic context. Talking about politics out of your peer social group is considered something lame.

Emma
Guest

Perhaps instead of throwing around ad hominem arguments we should focus on the issues at hand and the grave situation facing Hungary right now.

Ivan
Guest

“The grave situation facing Hungary right now.”
I live in that situation. It IS grave. It is frightening on a daily basis, as is the racism that we experience on a daily basis, and which is now ‘acceptable’.
But what can be done? Nothing, I fear, at least for as long as so many people still support Fidesz, mainly because (in part due to their monolingualism and Fidesz control of most of the media) they are terribly ignorant of either the truth or European democratic norms.
The only issue I have with Eva’s views is her positive appraisal of how people are turning against Fidesz. They really aren’t, in any significant numbers – and even if they are it tends to be only to apathy. For a party to have acted like this to its people and to still have such a commanding lead in the opinion polls is a worry. Even more worrying is that people will turn to Jobbik when they finally tire of Fidesz.
Which means, well, a repeating pattern from about, oh, eighty years ago.

Member

I think that these “new movement” will help people focus on what is important to them, without focusing on the platforms of various parties. As they seem to be independent, maybe just maybe, can provide a check and balance approach. Democracy requires opposing ideas, open debates (opposite parties) and respect. THe current “democracy” lacks almost all the items that required for democracy, and is working hard to create a one-party system. If the opposition is coming from a civil movement, maybe they will be more willing to implement changes.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Ivan: “The only issue I have with Eva’s views is her positive appraisal of how people are turning against Fidesz. They really aren’t, in any significant numbers”
You must keep in mind that I have an optimistic frame of mind. Mind you, some people call me Pollyanna.
But really for months now they keep losing and losing supporters. It can be considered a trend.

Kirsten
Guest

“Which means, well, a repeating pattern from about, oh, eighty years ago.”
But we are eighty years later, and there was a more liberal atmosphere in some years in between. A viable solution of how to live with “Trianon” has not yet been found. Also, a number of deeply felt ideas about the Hungarian nation appear to clash (more or less) with the idea of a modern state that is able to sustain even opposing interests of some groups of the society. For instance through the division of powers. But that means that a Hungarian can stand against another Hungarian without making one of them “less Hungarian”. This has to be sorted out, and it is (in my view of a complete outsider) somehow underway. Trial and error is a method of learning, even if costly (is not meant only sarcastically).

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