The Hungarian far right today and in the 1930s

Not much of any political relevance happens over weekends in general but on a long weekend, as Easter is in Hungary, politics takes a real holiday. Today’s highlight was the resurrection of Hungarian football and the “great game” at Felcsút, with 4,500 fans in attendance. Ferenc Puskás Academy went up against Real Madrid’s football academy; both teams were made up of seventeen-year-olds. The final score was Real Madrid 1, Puskás Academy 0. At least it wasn’t a rout. Earlier Real Madrid beat Melbourne 10-1.

I’m taking advantage of the holiday to take a historical trip back to Hungary in the 1930s. Not that these were happier times. On the contrary, then just as now the Hungarian extreme right made considerable gains. One often hears from Horthy apologists that the governor and his conservative governments were just as hard on the extreme right as they were on the extreme left, i.e. the communists. This wasn’t the case. Politicians of the Horthy era were much more zealous when it came to the few hundred illegal communist party members than they were with representatives of the extreme right. Horthy and his friends had a blind spot when it came to the extreme right even though by all measures they were the ones who posed  a much greater threat to the regime than the weak and ineffectual communists did. Yet men like Mátyás Rákosi or Zoltán Vas received very long prison sentences while extremists on the right were rarely jailed. The longest sentence ever handed down for a right-wing extremist was three years, in the case of Ferenc Szálasi. Zoltán Vas, on the other hand, spent sixteen years in the infamous jail of Szeged.

Why did the interwar regime wage a half-hearted battle against the extreme right? Certainly not because government politicians found their racist ideas abhorrent. After all, more often than not they shared these people’s anti-Semitism. They found nothing wrong with nationalism; on the contrary, they pursued an openly revisionist foreign policy. What they found unacceptable was the socialism in “national socialism.” Official Hungary considered these men “revolutionaries” who wanted to turn the existing order upside down. Mátyás Matolcsy, a talented economist of extreme right views who died in jail after the war, didn’t mince words: “we must give up the idea of the sanctity of private property,” and “everybody can dispose of their property only so long as it does not infringe upon the universal interest of the nation.”  The Arrow Cross party program called for the introduction of  the Soviet system of a centrally organized planned economy. Their program also included total state control of the banking system. While Matolcsy wanted to expropriate only Jewish property, the Arrow Cross party was more  “egalitarian.” They would have taken away, for example, all agricultural lands from large landowners, including lands owned by the Hungarian Catholic Church. In 1938 the Arrow Cross party published a pamphlet on the fundamental principles and beliefs of the movement, which was intended to serve the needs of the swelling numbers of followers. In it the author explained that the party wants to exchange the liberal capitalist regime for a “collective economy.” So, it’s no wonder that contemporaries labeled the Arrow Cross leaders Bolshevik revolutionaries who presented a danger to the existing order.

Krisztián Ungváry in his latest book, A Horthy-rendszer mérlege: Diszkrimináció, szociálpolitika és antiszemitizmus  (The Balance Sheet of the Horthy Regime: Discrimination, Social Policy and Anti-Semitism in Hungary), quotes from a speech by the legitimist (opposition) Hugó Payr who visited a slum area full of unemployed workers. One of them said to him, “Sir, we are all Bolsheviks here.” When Payr inquired whether they were followers of  the Arrow Cross movement, the answer was in the affirmative. Payr warned his fellow members of parliament that the middle classes who had been stirred up to embrace anti-Semitic passions didn’t realize that they were in fact helping to establish a new proletarian dictatorship. He invited them to accompany him to working class neighborhoods where “people already talk about which apartments they will requisition or rob.”

I think that while we are grappling with the growing influence of the neo-Nazis in today’s Hungary we should keep in mind what transpired in Hungary in the 1930s. There the result of the economic crisis was not the growth of the Hungarian Social Democratic Party but the incredible spread of the ideas of national socialism’s local version, the Hungarism of Ferenc Szálasi.

Jobbik zaszlo

One has to assume that Viktor Orbán is unhappy about the growth of Jobbik because it may become a threat to his own party’s position, as was already seen at the election. If he has any sense, he will turn his attention to the poorest segments of Hungarian society and offer them tangible economic incentives. Until now he competed with Jobbik in the domain of nationalistic humbug, but surely that will not be enough.

The socialists have also neglected the poor and frustrated masses, whose numbers are growing. People talk about four million people under or very close to the poverty line. If one of the two major parties doesn’t take the initiative, Jobbik may triumph.

Moreover, until now the socialists and liberals refused to engage in a dialogue with Jobbik. After all, they are a racist and neo-Nazi group with whom the “better half” of society should refuse to conduct business. But this also meant that there was no public forum in which the ill-conceived ideas of Jobbik politicians could be confronted.

The socialists must pay more attention to Hungary’s poor as well as to the Hungarian extreme right. Those who voted for Jobbik must be convinced that Jobbik’s remedies are no remedies at all. On the contrary, they would mean a total collapse of the Hungarian economy and society. But at the same time the socialists have to offer about half of the citizenry a way out of their present misery.

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Member

The sad part of your entry Eva is that Orban / Fidesz maybe now will take notice because of the possibility of loosing seats for Jobbik. Yes, it will translate to more attention given to the neglected part of society, bit it will not be form the conviction of helping or of justice. It will come from a very selfish place of hanging on to power in order of economical and mental gain. Do not forget that Fidesz’s mantra was expressed by Janos Lazar (who’s carrier just rose after he said it), who was also the mayor of a town can be heard telling the city council in 2008 that “those people who don’t achieve anything through their life are worth just that much [nothing].”
Well, since then he worth a way more thanks to Fidesz and the Hungarian taxpayers.

Never again
Guest

Why the socialists? Another racist anti-Semite group, exactly like Fidesz. Who voted for closing the wells in Ozd? Who posted gypsy comments on Egyenlito blog ? Who had anti-semite comments on Braun and Konrad? Never again socialists, fidesz or Jobbik, the same anti-semite racist crowd

petofi
Guest

Never again :
Why the socialists? Another racist anti-Semite group, exactly like Fidesz. Who voted for closing the wells in Ozd? Who posted gypsy comments on Egyenlito blog ? Who had anti-semite comments on Braun and Konrad? Never again socialists, fidesz or Jobbik, the same anti-semite racist crowd

The whole country is, fundamentally, anti-semitic. For a long time, it was closet anti-semitism but Orban has given the signs that it’s fine to display it openly.

When you’re out to ruin a country you pick a few victims with which to distract the masses.
So it is. When the country will have imploded, the people will claim: “The bloody jews have done this to us!”

Hungarians–the sad sacks of the 21st century.

Zenga
Guest

Creme de la creme:

http://444.hu/2014/04/21/magyarorszag-szine-java/

Not surprisingly chief prosecutor Polt sits almost closest to Orban (but below him) at the opening ceremony of the Felcsút Pancho Arena.

Just so people get the message: the prosecution is owned by Orban.

latefor
Guest

@Petofi – “The whole country is, fundamentally, anti-semitic. For a long time, it was closet anti-semitism but Orban has given the signs that it’s fine to display it openly.”

I can see you are getting busy recruiting! Your comments are truly stomach turning!
(I’m glad you are smiling….job well done!)
Hungary needs a HERO to stop this vindictive name calling on both sides before she ends up with an English speaking, psychologically disturbed and therefore destroyed young generation.
LOVE before HATE!
Wake up Hungary!

karmester
Guest

@latefor, don’t be mad at @petofi. S/he’s calling it like s/he sees it (I don’t know if the writer using that name is male or female, sorry!). “Faith and optimism can be forms of denial that only prolong our suffering.” (from the summary of a recent NYT op-ed.. here’s the link: http://nyti.ms/1hXP0NU ) .. @petofi is just trying to be realistic.. and using history as a guide.

petofi
Guest

latefor :
@Petofi – “The whole country is, fundamentally, anti-semitic. For a long time, it was closet anti-semitism but Orban has given the signs that it’s fine to display it openly.”
I can see you are getting busy recruiting! Your comments are truly stomach turning!
(I’m glad you are smiling….job well done!)
Hungary needs a HERO to stop this vindictive name calling on both sides before she ends up with an English speaking, psychologically disturbed and therefore destroyed young generation.
LOVE before HATE!
Wake up Hungary!

Sorry if the comments are ‘stomach turning’, but the reality is a lot worse, I maintain.

Hungary does not need a hero: Hungary needs a return to real values, but for that to happen, the values have to be appreciated as leading to advancement, rather than the present case were lying, cheating, and sycophancy is what gets one ahead. The problem is deep and systemic. Cultural values have got to be brought in line with traditional virtues.

petofi
Guest

‘Holding up the mirror to Nature’….and the people get mad at what they see!

latefor
Guest

@karmester – ” “Faith and optimism can be forms of denial that only prolong our suffering.” (from the summary of a recent NYT op-ed.. here’s the link: http://nyti.ms/1hXP0NU ) .. @petofi is just trying to be realistic.. and using history as a guide.”

Thanks for the N.Y. Times link. I’m NOT an admirer of Nietzsche, I’m a Roman Catholic and Nietzsche hated God and Christianity.
Re: Simon Critchley – In his last sentence, he writes the following: “Often, by clinging to hope, we make the suffering worse”. I disagree with his statement as I believe in hope, that is hoping for something better, not worse. If you are hoping for something really bad to happen, yes, you can make your own suffering worse.

latefor
Guest

@Petofi – “Hungary does not need a hero: Hungary needs a return to real values, but for that to happen, the values have to be appreciated as leading to advancement, rather than the present case were lying, cheating, and sycophancy is what gets one ahead. The problem is deep and systemic. Cultural values have got to be brought in line with traditional virtues.”

May I ask dear Petofi: how is the return to cultural values will take place in your opinion? Do you believe that name calling on both sides will lead to enlightenment? It will create even more resentment and hate on both sides. And where do you think this will lead to? Civil war, maybe?
Whatever you say, I still believe in love and rainbows.

petofi
Guest

@latefor

Well, you now have a country in line with Bulgaria and Russia…where the mafia has taken over the government. How do you correct that? Damned if I know…

Gardonista
Guest

latefor :
May I ask dear Petofi: how is the return to cultural values will take place in your opinion? Do you believe that name calling on both sides will lead to enlightenment? It will create even more resentment and hate on both sides. And where do you think this will lead to? Civil war, maybe?
Whatever you say, I still believe in love and rainbows.

Hungary stood as an icon of decency during the mid to late 19th century. Maybe it was WWI that threw the country off course? There are good values in Hungary, even among casual Fidesz and Jobbik supporters.

As far as I can tell, the best way to fight Fidesz is to let them destroy themselves. Any long-standing government will eventually annoy the public, and we shouldn’t get in their way. We need to build up our side, regardless of what Fidesz does. We need to make our side intellectually deep, and fun at the same time.

latefor
Guest

@Gardonista – Hm…interesting concept.

Max
Guest

OT: a more relevant subject for investigation on contemporary HU affairs could be the hapless leader of MSzP. An influential left-wing weekly has reported over the weekend that he is on the paylist of Fidesz.

The allegation is not far-fetched. And that would indeed explain the impotence and inaction of the Socialist party leader.

http://www.vasarnapihirek.hu/fokusz/miert_kerdeztek_mesterhazytol_hogy_szokotte_talalkozni_habony_arpaddal

Plot
Guest

Max :
OT: a more relevant subject for investigation on contemporary HU affairs could be the hapless leader of MSzP. An influential left-wing weekly has reported over the weekend that he is on the paylist of Fidesz.
The allegation is not far-fetched. And that would indeed explain the impotence and inaction of the Socialist party leader.
http://www.vasarnapihirek.hu/fokusz/miert_kerdeztek_mesterhazytol_hogy_szokotte_talalkozni_habony_arpaddal

This was written about by tappanch two days ago. Most of this is probably BS.

More probable is that the party is really indebted, although why would any sane bank give unsecured credit to a party, I am assuming that the party does not have any significant assets. If that is true, and it has not been denied, then there is no way to pay back any loans and the party will be liquidated. The problem of the left-wing will solve itself.

tappanch
Guest

The former Supreme Court, renamed Kuria ordered a full recount of Budapest 15th election district today.

The Fidesz-dominated Election commission had allowed a recount in 2 out of the 76 precincts only.

Fidesz margin is 56 votes, and there are 394 invalidated votes in the district.

http://index.hu/belfold/2014/04/22/dontott_a_kuria_megint_ujraszamlalas_lesz_a_18._keruletben/

Major Tom
Guest

Fun fact of the day:

http://gorillavideos.tumblr.com/post/83501943425

The picture shows from right to left Bence György (news director at TV2), Zsofia Puka (publicist for Antal Rogan) and Fanni Kaminsky (publicist for Viktor Orban).

Another fun fact:

Remember that TV2, which has been ‘purchased’ recently by its CEO and CFO (for the uninitiated who act as strohmanns for Lajos Simicska/Zsolt Nyerges), is known to be more Fidesz-loyal than the official state tv, unlikely that statement is.

But interestingly Bence György is also the son of sometime MSZPnik Gabor György, who, besides having been once MSZP’s delegate in the board of directors of the state radio was also the CEO of Slager Radio and its point man in its efforts to secure the frequencies with MSZP. He did not succeed, as the desired frequency eventually went to Neo Radio which duly went bust a couple of years later and Slager Radio just lost its arbitration case against Hungary.

Member

@Major Tom, I am not sure what are you getting a. It is probably me, but I really do not understand the “fun fact”.

konyvelo
Guest

The blog writer is deserving a major price.
She has been a visionary, and her description of the 1930s is a revelation of the social illnesses of Hungary.

Gardonista/Raul is correct that the decency of the Deak-Szechenyi et co. was a an exceptional positivum in the Hungarian history. This inspirational group resurrected the dying nation for a short time. The dying started soon after again.

Fidesz is an embodiment of the dead Hungarian moral.

tappanch
Guest

More EU money will be skimmed by Fidesz “businessmen”. The aim is improve water quality.

It will improve the quality of life of a few people close to Fidesz, all right:

http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20140422-szuk-kornek-osztanak-csak-a-lapot-az-ev-bizniszeben.html

tappanch
Guest

It is only 140 billion forints.

tappanch
Guest

Announcement by the US embassy in Budapest about the German occupation memorial, which will be placed close to the embassy building:

http://hungarian.hungary.usembassy.gov/pr_04222014.html

In short, the Hungarian government should talk to the various layers of the society before proceeding with the memorial.

Louis Kovach
Guest

Petrovics writes: “The whole country is, fundamentally, anti-semitic. For a long time, it was closet anti-semitism but Orban has given the signs that it’s fine to display it openly.”

Hmm, from 2012 to 2013 tourism from Israel to Hungary increased by 60 %.

Member

tappanch :
It is only 140 billion forints.

I think it is important to point out that we are talking about 455,980,000 euros of Europen Union money.
AS you can recall Orban / Fidesz / COF from taxpayers money lobbied and protested against the European Union. Orban by his own words “told [the EU] off”.
The EU money now is given to Orban’s relatives and friends to “improve” water quality.
Let me translate this: Orban’s friends will pick-up the money, then subcontract the work out, and use the public work employees to do the work. The public work employees will work under minimum wage, and the companies who employ them will receive a tax break. THe EU will also provide some money incentives for companies who provide work to the under-employed.
As it turns out the option to tender out he contracts were taken away by Fidesz from the local governments, so they can award the contracts.

It will be no double-sipping here. It will be triple dipping.
I am not sure what happened with all the investigation the EU supposed to conduct regarding the EU contracts awarded w/o tender and such. Does anyone know?

Member
Louis Kovach : Petrovics writes: “The whole country is, fundamentally, anti-semitic. For a long time, it was closet anti-semitism but Orban has given the signs that it’s fine to display it openly.” Hmm, from 2012 to 2013 tourism from Israel to Hungary increased by 60 %. Probably even higher for 2014 with the Rabbi Conference that was held in Budapest this year to “protest” the revival of anti-semitism in Hungary. A survey carried out by TEV, the umbrella organization for combating anti-Semitism in Hungary, came up wit some very interesting numbers: “In the survey, Hungarians were asked about their attitudes toward the country’s Jews. The results were presented in a comprehensive study that analyzed the results based on various social cross-sections. Among the questions asked was, “Do Jews have too much influence in Hungary today?” – to which 27% responded positively. A full 34% agreed that there is “a secret Jewish conspiracy behind political and economic processes.” Anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary in recent years include the country’s chief rabbi being verbally abused on a Budapest street, anti-Semitic chants at a football match against Israel and pig’s trotters being placed on a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

Petofi made a correct comparison between Hungary and Bulgaria/ Russia in terms of the Mafia state. I find that Bulgaria is in particular very interesting because here in Chicago we have a very active Bulgarian Mafia. Bozhidar Lazarov who operated a Bulgarian credit card fraud operation out of Chicago was recently sentenced to 3 years in prison. Gheorgui ‘Mitsubishi’ Martov another leader of the Bulgarian Mafia in Chicago was caught on tape in a discussion with other Mafia leaders in Sofia that he was generating $200,000 a week in credit card fraud profits and laundering the money in Central Europe.

As I have discussed on this blog repeatedly there are criminal links between Hungarian criminal networks and the so called “red mafia” in Russia. In particular in relation to human sex trafficking, money laundering, and the drug trade. The Mafia links are not just at the political level in relation to Fedesz patronage, or Putin’s patronage, it also goes to a real criminal class. Martov for example was caught on tape threatening to cut another Bulgarian to pieces if he didn’t pay $20,000.

Guest

@Louis Kovach: It is always easier to tolerate visitors–they go home. In my visits to Hungary, often people have mentioned “he’s a jew”. Or “She’s a jew”. Never, “he’s a Calvinist/Catholic/Lutheran.”

Guest

Istvan: “The Mafia links are not just at the political level in relation to Fidesz patronage, or Putin’s patronage, it also goes to a real criminal class.”

Do you mean that corrupt Fidesz politicians and their accessories are not real criminals? Do you think that Fidesz legalized crime is not crime?

Mutt
Guest

Louis Kovach :
Petrovics writes: “The whole country is, fundamentally, anti-semitic. For a long time, it was closet anti-semitism but Orban has given the signs that it’s fine to display it openly.”
Hmm, from 2012 to 2013 tourism from Israel to Hungary increased by 60 %.

So did zoo attendance … You know, despite you posting here your regular anti-semitic crap, the readership of this blog is still increasing. It maybe the same thing.

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