Celebrations of October 23, 1956? Hardly

It’s time to talk about the Solidarity Movement (Szolidarítás Mozgalom) because I have the feeling that we will hear more about it in the near future. The organizers have been very busy ever since October 1, 2011 when the movement came into being. The most active among them is Péter Kónya, a former army officer and trade union  leader. He is an energetic, articulate, and likable fellow who finished high school in 1987 and went to military academy. So, he is relatively young. Since he decided to take part in anti-government activities he is no longer a member of the Hungarian army. The other organizers are all trade union or former trade union leaders with a good sense of humor and great inventiveness. It was this group that organized the “revolution of the clowns,” a reaction to a comment by Viktor Orbán that only “an undersecretary of clowns would sit down and negotiate with the trade union leaders.”

The four leading trade union leaders of Solidarity

Shortly after its establishment Solidarity’s leaders moved into action and took part in all demonstrations until, on March 10, 2012, Solidarity managed to stage a demonstration on its own in front of the parliament building. It was large enough to be noticed by the foreign press. Reuters reported that there were about 10,000 people present and that Solidarity was a grassroots organization that “sprang up last year to fill the vacuum when the main opposition Socialists could not capitalize on the ruling party’s loss of support.” On March 15th Solidarity joined Milla in organizing another mass demonstration. The Solidarity leaders also put together a “democratic round table” (DEKA) that was joined by 300 civic organizations. Meanwhile they organized cells all over the country. They even publish a modest two-page pamphlet called “Dear Neighbor, Fellow Apartment Dweller” that informs people of the latest news and plans. Solidarity has a website where one can download their publications. Solidarity wants to turn the Orbán government out of office “based on the widest cooperation and with the active participation in defense of democracy.”

So, it seems that Solidarity is capable of getting a large crowd out on the streets. This time we’ll be able to judge its popularity because Solidarity supporters will start their demonstration on Adam Clark Square at 1:00 p.m. Once their program is finished, the participants will cross the Lánchíd (Chain Bridge) and will join Milla at the bridgehead of the Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth Bridge). Milla’s demonstration begins at 3:00 p.m.

The Solidarity leaders are good to their word. They are promoting the widest possible cooperation against Orbán’s undemocratic regime, and that includes the parties as well. Therefore party slogans and party logos are welcome at their demonstration. Moreover, unlike the Milla platform, there is no blanket condemnation of  the 1990-2010 period in Solidarity’s manifesto.

Demonstrations in Budapest on October 23, 2012
Népszava /Szilvia Kőszeg

What else can we expect tomorrow? MSZP told its supporters to attend the joint Milla-Solidarity demonstration, but officially the party will not be represented. Today an official MSZP delegation will visit Imre Nagy’s birthplace in Kaposvár and tomorrow morning Attila Mesterházy will place a wreath at the Imre Nagy House, the former prime minister’s residence before 1956. There will be a small gathering of the Budapest section of the Imre Nagy Association on Vértanúk tere (Square of the Martyrs) where there is a statue of Nagy. The Demokratikus Koalíció officially announced that they will not join Milla because of this civic group’s populist anti-party stance and because of its negation of the democratic achievements of the period between 1990 and 2010. However, DK’s own demonstration will take place at 11:30 a.m., so if DK supporters want to join Solidarity and later Milla they can certainly do so.

In addition, there are other opposition Facebook groups that are totally independent and their members number in the thousands. I understand they will join the demonstrations.  All in all, my feeling is that the crowd will be large.

Jobbik will have several gatherings throughout the country as well as in Budapest. Jobbik’s “central demonstration” will take place at 3 p.m. on Deák Square, a location that I consider too close to the Milla-Solidarity gathering, especially if the latter is as large as in the past when the crowd spread all the way to the Astoria Hotel. However, I have the feeling that Jobbik will have fewer people at their demonstration than the organizers hope. Lately, Jobbik has not only lost a lot of supporters to Fidesz but the party has been unable to turn out big crowds in Budapest.

The pro-government Peace March will start at 2:00 p.m. on Széna Square in Buda. The crowd will move from there all the way to Kossuth Square where the supporters will most likely hear another harangue against the European Union by Viktor Orbán at 4:00 p.m. The organizers compare the importance of their January Peace March to 1848 and 1956, a bold assertion. The goal is “to break out from the shackles of debt” and therefore they will endure “temporary poverty.” I am not sure whether this slogan will resonate, although since this Call was composed Orbán himself claimed that he would have been toppled by unnamed forces abroad if the first Peace March hadn’t demonstrated the strength of his support. So, it is possible that the faithful will march out again to defend Viktor Orbán. But one of the organizers, Zsolt Bayer, admitted that he doesn’t think that the size of the crowd will match the last one.

The petition on the Internet entitled “Support Hungary! Save Europe!” spells out an assortment of goals for the march. This document states that the supporters of the government are not only demonstrating to break out of the debt spiral but are also fighting for “freedom, cultural integrity, traditional values, and moral worth.” Hungary is portrayed as a symbol of resistance in Europe against an “oppressive empire,” the European Union. According to the authors of the petition, as far as the EU and the Western media are concerned, “the real crime of the Hungarian government is not so much its inept economic strategy as its promotion of cultural and political values that run counter to what is deemed correct in Brussels.” The document is full of references to the democratic Hungarian government and, by contrast, to the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. These unelected officials are unaccustomed to a country that tells “the IMF, the EU and Uncle Tom Goldman to get stuffed.” Why not a little antisemitism while we’re at it?

Of course, the above accusations are either based on ignorance or are designed to mislead. For instance, the “unelected” officials of the European Commission are nominated by the member states’ democratically elected parliament and approved by the European Parliament, whose members are also democratically elected by the people of the member countries.

There is practically nothing in the couple of documents I read about the details of the government’s plans to reduce the country’s sovereign debt except for half a sentence that mentions hope in Hungary’s recovery “if the bank system helps alleviate the current economic crisis.” Given the circumstances, I found that line hysterically funny. As for the rest of the government’s steps toward reducing the deficit, they all run counter to the promises Hungary made when it signed the  EU 2020 Strategy in June 2010 during the Hungarian presidency. For a detailed list of obligations see a well-informed blogger’s post.

These political enthusiasts don’t really care about facts. Their attachment is emotional. The question is how long they will be ready to stand behind a government that brings them mostly material hardship. Nationalist slogans can wear thin after a while.

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Bowen
Guest

Bizarrely, there are two separate government advertising campaigns adorning the streets and public transport of Budapest at the moment. One is promoting ‘Szabadsag napja’ (Freedom Day) and presents tomorrow as a series of ‘family programs’ culminating in a speech by Orban. Personally, I wouldn’t advise taking a chid anywhere near tomorrow’s heavily politicised proceedings, which (I would cynically suggest) seem far more focused in 2014 than 1956.

The other advertising campaign that is on big billboards around the city centre right now are the big blue “We won’t let them!” anti EU/IMF posters. Rather ironic that Orban and his ‘Peace March’ team are suggesting that Hungarians ‘endure “temporary poverty”‘ when they can evidently find ample money to propagandise to the nation.

Guest

Regarding that petition, it says:

“This is why the European Union, the United Nations, the IMF, and the leftist media hysterically attack Orban’s government, which was elected with an overwhelming majority. ”

So even the UN hysterically attacks Hungary ? Really strange. Never heard about that !

OT:

The children (and grandchildren)) took the chance for a long weekend here with us near the Balaton – lovely weather and my wife’s fantastic cooking are making it perfect …

For a few days nobody in the family worries about Fidesz – except me 😀

Paul
Guest

Sort of OT:

Hungary’s forgotten generation

“You know, there are two sides in Hungary that do not talk to each other, both of them say something different, none of them tells the truth, and it doesn’t make a fucking difference what you think. That is the system I live in. Besides, nagyon nem szeretek politizálni, I really do not like to talk politics.”

http://chronikler.com/europe/european-union/hungarys-forgotten-generation/ (link given on Contrarian Hungarian blog)

My aplogogies for the language.

Bowen
Guest

Anyone notice that the Hungarian version of the online petition mentioned above features Zsolt Bayer’s face very heavily? It even has a prominent advert where you can click and buy his book ‘Hizsek egy Hazaban’

It warms the cockles of my heart that Bayer is getting free publicity (and may be profiting nicely) out of all this.

cheshire cat
Guest
1.”Orbán himself claimed that he would have been toppled by unnamed forces abroad if the first Peace March hadn’t demonstrated the strength of his support.” That might be, by the way, somewhat true. The EU attacked Orban’s government quite harshly after the Hungarian EU presidency was over. He then (as I understand) practically threatened the EU leaders that if they don’t stop barking into his affairs, he will stir up anti-EU emotions and wind up the far-right. This was followed by the peacemarch, which Orban claimed not to have organized. The size of the peacemarch, in my mind, has resulted in the EU understanding that he has a lot more support that they had perhaps thought, and they decided that provoking Orban can be counterproductive. The EU’s line then became more to quietly isolate Orban and let the country get into (economic) free fall, wait for the Hungarians to realize what results his policies would bring. Merkel, Barroso etc were too afraid to risk being responsible for more trouble within the EU. (Second-line EU leaders, eg. Vivian Reding, Olli Rehn were more authoritative.) Now things have changed a bit – people in the “West” are a wee bit less pessimistic… Read more »
Bowen
Guest
@Cheshire Cat. That’s a good analysis. I think there is only one real reason behind these ‘Peace Marches’. It’s because on March 15th 2011, whilst Orban was giving a relatively small speech in front of the National Museum (with audience members paid to be there and cheer him), there was a massive demonstration just a short distance away. About 100,000 were demonstrating for media freedom near Erzsebet Hid. I think this seriously embarrassed Orban, and offended his ego. Then, in January 2012, another massive anti-government demonstration took place in front of the Opera where Orban and his party faithful were celebrating their new, undemocratic constitution. Despite this protest being ignored by the Hungarian state-controlled news, it got huge exposure in the international media, and raised a lot of doubts about where Hungary was headed. Again, I’m guessing that Orban’s pride was seriously hurt. So, the government pours huge resources into making their own ‘Peach March’. A simple case of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’. Taxpayers’ money is spent not only on huge advertising posters all over Budapest (and I guess the rest of the country) but, allegedly, on transporting people in for free from the countryside and… Read more »
Turkmenbasi
Guest

I was told as early as a year ago by an insider that the ’Invisible Legion’ will masquerade as a „civilian movement” in the coming period, as „people are fed up with parties”.

Indeed, has anyone ever seen a comprehensive CV on the head of MILLA?!

For those who speak Hungarian, the article below is an interesting read on this opaque game:

http://vastagbor.blog.hu/2012/10/22/szakitani_az_elmult_husz_evvel?utm_source=ketrec&utm_medium=link&utm_content=2012_10_23&utm_campaign=index

Paul
Guest

Cheshire cat – a good analysis, but I’m not convinced the EU is that organised.

By the way, did you mean “stop barking into his affairs”?

spectator
Guest

Don’t know about you, but I listening live broadcast from the events in Hungary – let me tell you, it’s really something!

Think about it: Milla – Solidaritas – Homeland and Progress just declared cooperation, DK and Gyurcsány declared support for Bajnai…!

Come on, folks, when in last time in history have you heard of such?

Let me tell you too, that Bajnai’s speech is pretty clear and civilized – finally an European approach!

Member

Orban just cannot say anything new. It is so unbelievably stupid speech, that only the unbelievably stupid people can take it seriously or those who would go with whatever Orban barks up last. Very much the same propaganda they feed as under Kadar about the dying western society, and how the interest of the West is the money, not like Fidesz’ new Hungary. For added support he brought up the 2006 horse attack. (He never gets bored of that…) The young people will all come back! blahblahblah No content just the same old, empty nothing.

Bowen
Guest
I visited to the three major demonstrations today, out of curiosity. The Jobbik one was fairly small, and the usual flags and black Trianon shirts. Sad to see parents making their kids wear them. The ‘Peace March’ I also saw for about five minutes in Alkotmany utca. It was very easy to join in. I even ‘marched’ with them for a minute! I could have gone across and shook Zsolt Bayer’s hand if I’d wanted (although someone would probably have dragged me away). Sadly, I had no time to go and see Orban’s sermon. In COMPLETE contrast, the anti-government demonstration was a struggle to join. At Astoria was some weird right-wing heavy metal gig on a stage, with police blocking the way. Every single side street right down to Vaci utca was cordoned off and blocked by hundreds of riot police standing in lines. At the Jegbufe area were about 200 people in Jobbik costumes (who put them there??), drinking alcohol and shouting, along with more riot police. However, we did get to the demonstration at Marcius 15 Ter, and the side streets there were jammed full of people, as was the Danube embankment. It reminded me of the January… Read more »
Thomas
Guest

I also listened to Milla. It would help if the speakers learnt public speaking. TGM was the by far best speaker, (I am not a fan of his rather leftist views most of the time, but I liked most of what he said today). Bajnai got better and better as he went, and he had said many encouraging things. I am not as optimistic as Eva, although I would like to be. But maybe, just maybe, something has started. Just hope that LMP and MSZP will not torpedo the beginning coalitions.

oneill
Guest

oneill,

Same experience here, it was actually difficult to get to Marcius Ter with Orban’s official Stormtroopers blocking many of the access roads and Orban’s unofficial Brownshirts hurling drunken abuse against all the usual targets. It was a young crowd as well compared to the sheep I saw heading towards at Orban’s event, although admitedly I was coming in the opposite direction from where most of them were setting off.

I think a lot of the paranoia that has been present on this blog re Milla recently has been over the top. It seemed today much more of a very much loose collective of opposition brought together by a hatred of what Orban and his henchmen are doing to the country. What is difficult for many of the traditional poltical forces to accept though is that these voices will not immediately transfer into an “Anyone but Orban” Party. Policies must be created, a realistic vision of the future must be sold to the people.

Guest

Thank you all for the info on today’s demos – we won’t watch them on the news tonight, because we might get angry again at the way Magyar TV reports them …

They really have a creepy way of misinforming or stressing the most unimportant things.

So not too much OT:

Is anyone thinking about an analysis of the way MTV now reports on political news ? The first thing about the news is of course that most time is spent on really unimportant things which are described at length from all possible angles like that 6 kg baby or a road accident, while political events (inside or outside Hungary) are often not reported at all or just mentioned in half a sentence …

petofi
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
I just finished listening to Bajnai. Today a fantastic Hungarian politician was born. There is hope.

Bajnai was impressive and passionate. I can see him ripping Orban to shreds in head-to-head debates.
But they were all good. The philosopher was, surprisingly, outspoken and angry (about time, too, that some people get angry over what Orban has wrought). Juhasz was
spotty but still ok. Only he and Bajnai mentioned corruption which I find important.
Konya was terrific,too…a born speaker.
Let’s not forget Gyurcsany who was abnormally restrained. Full marks to him for
throwing DK support behind Bajnai.

A great day.

In contrast, the banalities of Orban were stomach-turning. His boat is taking water..

petofi
Guest

wolfi :
Thank you all for the info on today’s demos – we won’t watch them on the news tonight, because we might get angry again at the way Magyar TV reports them …
They really have a creepy way of misinforming or stressing the most unimportant things.
So not too much OT:
Is anyone thinking about an analysis of the way MTV now reports on political news ? The first thing about the news is of course that most time is spent on really unimportant things which are described at length from all possible angles like that 6 kg baby or a road accident, while political events (inside or outside Hungary) are often not reported at all or just mentioned in half a sentence …

Orban and the KGB-type mind-games..
Orban stood before several huge flags with the middle cut out–the hammer and cycle signifying USSR–and, if that wasn’t enough of a sop to emotion, he goes on to connect himself and his listeners (not all Hungarians) to the heroes of 1956. He learned his KGB
lessons well.

Pete H.
Guest

I watched a live-stream of the first 20 minutes of Banjai’s speech and I was very impressed. He seemed very sincere in his concern about Hungary and his fellow Hungarians. Several times when he was speaking about the harm caused by the current government he seemed to get a bit choked up. I agree with Eva, this man seemed ready and willing to take the political stage and would make an impressive leader. Watching him also made me hopeful.

He also spoke with a vocabulary in which I could understand almost everything he said. When I listen to most Hungarian politicians they seem to talk in a language that is meant to impress the very well educated and half of what they say I can’t understand. Whether or not this styles matters to Hungarians, I don’t know. In the US such an approach can win you votes.

Louis Kovach
Guest

As somebody who actually fought on that memorable day, I find the so called “celebratory” speaches disgusting.

cheshire cat
Guest
Paul: “By the way, did you mean “stop barking into his affairs”?” I meant “if they don’t stop barking” = ha tova’bbra is beleugatnak abba, ami csina’l, probably not a good (or nice) way of putting it. They should let him do what he wants, or else – that’s what I meant. Thank you Bowen and ONeill about the personal experiences! I watched both speeches on the internet, here in drizzly-murky England (and saw the women wearing summer dresses…). I’m usually quite sceptical but I was moved once or twice by Bajnai’s speech. He was actually quite brave and refreshingly down-to-earth. I appreciate his approach of “I don’t care what your party is, even if it is Fidesz, let’s come and meet the in the centre”. I also liked his slogans of Fatherland, Progress, Solidarity and Europe. But of course, all depends on what manifesto they can make up and who they can unite. It’s a start and (though Bajnai is not a very talented orator yet) I was impressed. Also, good soundbites and successful “dumbing down” – technocrat economists sometimes make the mistake of talking academic to a crowd, but this was cleverly written. Orban’s speech was short and… Read more »
Pete H.
Guest

Jobbik supporters shouting racial epithets about jews, putting them in camps, etc. Beating up a journalist. You can watch the losers here: http://index.hu/video/2012/10/23/ferenciek_tere/

Name
Guest

Louis Kovach :
As somebody who actually fought on that memorable day, I find the so called “celebratory” speaches disgusting.

Louis Kovach :
As somebody who actually fought on that memorable day, I find the so called “celebratory” speaches disgusting.

Are you referring to Orban’s speech?

Breki
Guest
Petőfi: there will not be any debates between contenders Bajnai and Orbán in 2014. There wasn’t any in 2010 either. The incumbent is always in a more difficult position and Orbán was especially traumatized by his loss against Gyurcsány in the debate of 2006. He will not enter into any debates, I am almost positive. Note also that these events are interesting, but in order to win, one does not have to be especially charismatic in a public event to win (W or Zapatero of Spain come to mind). But it is true how people/politicians in Hungary cannot talk clearly and eloquently, to the point that a veteran like TGM with his sixty something years is the best. I heard once András Schiffer abojut a year ago and I could not figure out what he was trying to say, it was such a convoluted legalistic speech. Machinery will be paramount and in that Fidesz is unrivalled with its well-oiled, ready to roll machinery. LMP is lacking this machinery (and perhaps the management skills to manage such a machinery even if it had one). Jobbik has one (it was a very wide, grass-roots organization, but their ideology is not really mainstream… Read more »
oneill
Guest

“No, it wasn’t paranoia after watching the debate on ATV. Someone most likely told Juhász”

My point was that Milla is a very loose collective, Juhasz has no more power to deliver their votes than I do.

There is no central philosophy such as you would find in a normal political party beyond a large number of people very disgruntled for a number of reasons at the direction Hungary is taking. I think where we differ fundamentally towards Milla and other such groups is, despite the fact that both of us despise Orban and all his works, I don’t think that means automatically and unthinkingly votes should be delivered en bloc to any party which promises to do him the most damage but has very little else to say about what policies they would employ to root out the corruption, cronyism and bureaucratic incompetence which has blighted the country since democracy (of sorts) arrived in 1989

Bowen
Guest

The international news is starting to pick this up. Unfortunately for Orban’s ego, the story is ‘opposition groups unite to oust Orban’s government’, and not ‘Hungary protests against Brussels oppression!’

Equally, unfortunately, these news outlets are currently quoting the Hungarian Interior Ministry that there were 150K at the ‘Peach March’ and just 20-30K at the anti-government demo (which in my opinion is quite an underestimate).

spectator
Guest

There’s indeed hope – and i sincerely hope, it will last.
Much needed!

I was surprised too of TGM’s speech – I haven’t heard him in front of audience, only in TV-debates, – and it was a fresh sound what I’ve heard.

To me Bajnai came through as sincere, Gyurcsány as a clear minded pragmatist, the Milla and Solidaritas as organizations who understood their purpose – after all, this is the only way.

Somehow the biggest achievement of the day was the declaration of some kind of unity in public, which means that they may intended to keep their words too!

About the ‘paranoia’ regarding the Milla – I reacted to the signal-elements from Peter Juhász, and evaluated the events based on that, but usually I don’t dwell on previous events, as long as the present proves some progress – let’s focus on the future!

One more thing – I apologize being contemtptuous, but I wouldn’t shake hand with Bayer, even if he offered.

There are limits – so low I wouldn’t go, ever.

Pete H.
Guest

New group established on Facebook today called the “Együtt 2014 Mozgalom”. “Az Együtt 2014 Mozgalmat a Haza és Haladás Egyesület, a Magyar Szolidaritás Mozgalom és a Milla Egyesület alapította.”

In the about section they write about an electoral challenge to the current rule.

“Célunk, hogy létrejöjjön egy olyan választói szövetség,…. “”Our goal is to build an electoral alliance,….”

The start of an organized, focused, and effective opposition?

https://www.facebook.com/egyutt2014

spectator
Guest

Pete, this the one what Bajnai announced today, in his speech!
Great, that they moving forward with the momentum – that’s the way it is!

Louis Kovach
Guest

Name: “Are you referring to Orban’s speech?”

I am referring to ALL OF THEM!

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