Whither Jobbik?

I have a strong suspicion that Jobbik, Hungary’s extreme right-wing party, which has been experiencing unprecedented growth in the last year or so, may undergo some internal turmoil soon. The reason for a possible palace revolt or an outright split within the party is Chairman Gábor Vona’s turn toward a more moderate political stance. This new ideological shift stemmed from his belief that Jobbik will be successful only if it drops its anti-Semitic, anti-Roma verbiage and offers a political platform that is acceptable to large segments of Hungarian society.

The problem with this new orientation is that perhaps the majority of the party members in leadership positions are dissatisfied with Vona’s strategy even if some of them, like Tamás Sneider, claim that this ideological U-turn is only for show. Or, to use Gábor G. Fodor’s by now famous description, only a “political product.”

The Hungarian far right, ever since its appearance in the 1920s, has shown a tendency to form small parties of short duration which often fell apart only to reunite with other splinter groups. Ferenc Szálasi himself organized several small parties before his last one, the Arrow Cross Party, did exceedingly well in the 1939 elections. But even that party lost its appeal soon after.

As far as the present situation is concerned, the Hungarian far right already consists of three or four groups of various shades of far-right ideology. Since I don’t consider Fidesz a moderate conservative party similar to Christian Democratic parties existing in different European countries I count it among these groups. After all, Zoltán Balog, an important political figure in the Orbán government, looks upon the Hungarian right as one political bloc and considers the growth of Jobbik a plus for the right. To quote him verbatim, so there is no misunderstanding: “If we add Jobbik’s and our results and compare them to what the situation was ten years ago, we can see an incredible change. A real right-wing turn.” The message is clear. Jobbik is one of them, just a little more to the right than Fidesz.

People often compare Jobbik to the French National Front and, on the surface, their histories are similar in many ways. Jean-Marie Le Pen’s party also started as a youth movement, and LePen’s daughter, who took over the leadership of the party a few years ago, just like Vona, is trying to “de-demonize” the National Front. As far as ideology is concerned, the National Front is socially conservative and nationalistic, anti-immigration and anti-euro. But it is not an openly racist, anti-Semitic party like Jobbik is. I don’t think that it is an exaggeration to call Jobbik a neo-Nazi party, as László Karsai, a historian of the Holocaust, referred to it in 2013. Recently a Hungarian political commentator warned about comparing Jobbik to Le Pen’s party because, in his opinion, it is Fidesz that is the Hungarian equivalent of the French National Front.

The attempt to “de-demonize” Jobbik cannot be as successful as Marine Le Pen has been in France, mainly because of its neo-Nazi ideological base. The shift is too sudden and too radical. A large group in the leadership simply doesn’t buy it. When a Jobbik member of parliament is caught spitting into one of the “Shoes on the Bank of the Danube” or when the Jobbik candidate in Tapolca-Ajka tattooed an SS symbol on his body, it is hard for Vona to talk about “society’s need for peace and quiet.” There are “question marks” about his new strategy, as he himself admitted in a recent interview. Members of a party that has for years loudly promoted an anti-Semitic and racist discourse is now supposed to follow Vona’s advice about “sharing the sorrow of everybody, including the Jews.” Moreover, until now the party promoted a turn to the East, but now Vona talks about “a western opening.”

Gergely Kulcsár, Jobbik member of parliament, posing after he spat into one of the shoes

Gergely Kulcsár, Jobbik member of parliament, posing after he spat into one of the shoes

I believe that sooner or later Vona’s new political brand will result in a revolt by the majority of Jobbik political leaders, who joined the party because of its neo-Nazi ideology. This is especially likely if Lajos Rig, the Jobbik candidate in the Tapolca-Ajka by-election on April 12, does not do well. In this case, those Jobbik leaders who were leery of Gábor Vona’s new strategy in the first place might force him to abandon his “moderate course,” claiming that this new approach doesn’t bring tangible results. After all, the Jobbik candidate did poorly in the last by-election in Veszprém. The party may look good in opinion polls, but its candidates cannot win elections.

The outcome of an internal power struggle will depend on whether Vona’s camp is stronger than those who would rather follow Előd Novák, allegedly the editor-in-chief of kuruc.info.hu, where one can read about “holokamu” (the Holocaust swindle), Gypsy crime, and Jewish criminality galore.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member

I agree, Jobbik rank and file are too extreme plus stupid, to even understand a fake sanitization approach to get them an election win. They will splinter.

Recent observations:
Last Saturday I saw a small Jobbik protest in front of Budapest parliament, 200 people, mostly men, wearing para military uniforms. Interestingly, the ‘real’ army, the ones who usually guard the flag and the building where nowhere to be seen. This is odd, because on every other day they are omnipresent.

Two weeks ago, witnessed Jobbik canvassing outside a children’s playground, they had sweets for the kids and bottle’s of beer for fathers. Sinister.

exTor
Guest
Jobbik’s rank-and-file is not as stupid as you want it to be, BC. Even goons have brains. Whither Jobbik? Who knows, but there’s no chance that it will wither anytime soon. I enjoyed Éva’s most recent effort more than I’ve enjoyed most others, not because they were deficient in any manner, but because I could relate to this piece more, for some reason. The many scenarios posited were interesting and most seemed highly plausible, at least from this perspective. The various characterizations (eg: of Vona) were engagingly accurate, in some cases at least. The Roma are the niggers of Europe. In the West, where I’m from –Canada– the term Gypsies is not used, unlike in Hungary, where one is most likely to hear ‘cigányok’, the plural form of the Magyar for ‘gypsy’. The Roma are easy targets for hatred. Their skin marks them as a people apart. Blacks in the US own this. From where I sit, the Roma have it harder than the Jews. The problem of Jobbik is the problem of Hungary. Where or how does Jobbik fit into Magyar culture? I once read (perhaps a decade or so ago) that Poland was the most antiSemitic country in… Read more »
Member

I think Jobbik will split. Vona will “merge” with Fidesz in exchange for becoming the PM when the time comes. THis would serve Fidesz well, as I think they do know by now that they will not survive with Orban. Many people who are looking in favour of Jobbik, do like the party for its offering of bringing in non-corruption, giving the land back to those who deserve it, and restoring work opportunities.

Member

Vona is not suited for PM position. He would be rejected so much from the Union, that they would not dare to take this step. Hovewer, a merger with some of the sugar babies is possible. A condition is to get rid of hard liners in Jobbik. Even in this case they will get a hard time like with Haider coalition in Austria.

Webber
Guest

The EU’s treatment of the Haider coalition would be delightful for Vona. He’d be in heaven if he were treated that well. He is a real pariah in Europe at the moment. Even the FN’s Marine Le Pen isn’t willing to work with Jobbik. I quote: Le Pen “cited Jobbik, along with Greece’s Golden Dawn and Bulgaria’s Attack, as parties with whom she would not be willing to collaborate.”
http://www.politics.hu/20140606/le-pen-says-no-deal-between-national-front-and-jobbik/

Member
I am not sure what “Union” are you referring to. Can you clarify? I think any kind of sweet talk and promise goes a long way in Hungary. I believe public opinion towards a person or idea can change rapidly, but I also believe that the “special kind of “pay-off” system will not disappear. I am not referring to monetary payoff, but indirect or direct status, position, or benefit changes. Many-many Jobbik supporter I spoke with are not anti-semites but revisionist. Jobbik became popular as people were willing to not care about the anti-semite talk, as themselves never aligned with that sort of thinking. (I would not say the same for the ant-Roma behaviour as sadly I find this is more generally accepted, and even many Jews are anti-Roma.) People will want to hear that corruption will be dealt with, those who robbed Hungary blind will be held responsible, relationship with other countries will be restored, healthcare and education issues will be properly dealt with. Vona will offer this for sure. He is not stupid. I do think he is aiming high, and I do think he is negotiating at his best interest. Unfortunately any attempt from the left is… Read more »
Member

Some1,

G. Vona as a PM would be like crossing the Rubicon which will not happen, at least in my opinion.
Voters must be clever, they must understand what is at stake.
Fidesz is in ruins, at least could be right now.
What I cannot understand why aren’t the mass demonstrations, where are the organisers, etc.

An anti-Fidesz campaign is at hand.

An anti-Jobbik campaign shlould concentrate on the possibility of losing EU money. (by typing “Union” I definitely meant European Union.

Member

I think you are giving way to much credit of voters who are clever. With clever voters Fidesz would lost the election last year. I think “clever” is the wrong word and it should be replaced with “informed”. Most voters are uninformed and that is the problem. Fidesz successfully have been manipulating the news, and Jobbik is not much far behind. Vona’s distancing himself from the extreme right is simply a reshuffling the cards. Orban started as a liberal. Vona started as an anti-semite… I do not trust that Hungarian voters have all the information at hand, and frankly the left is doing a lousy job to get the truth out there. I am not sure if Vona is concerned about the Union, as he always wanted Hungary to quit. If he can show some “alternative”, people will buy into it. I do not trust that most voters do understand the financial implications of leaving the EU.

Member

I’m afraid you are correct!

However, fidesz has no media at this moment.

As an example: Viktor started to show up in ATV. Therefore, I still beleive or at least hope for a revival of democratic voters’ or opinion leaders’ creative activity.

Eg. I am fond of the proposal on hunting prohibition on Sundays!

googly
Guest

Jobbik’s members would most likely parade around in yarmulkes if they thought it would get them into the government (where we’ve seen that the real money can be made), and I’m betting that Fidesz is planning to count on Jobbik as a coalition partner in the next government. Fidesz probably contributes some of Jobbik’s funding, so they might have insisted that Jobbik clean up their act just enough to continue to act as bogeyman (Vona had to set up a ruse to support Fidesz during a 2/3 vote) while becoming more acceptable as a possible partner. I think that Fidesz would like to be able to use them in either capacity, depending on how the polls look during the campaign.

Guest

Surely, even in present-day Hungary, the sight of a Member of Parliament spitting and thereby denigrating a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust should lead to some sort of sanction? Has there been outrage in Hungary at this? Has he been censured by Parliament? In any other European country he would suffer the strongest possible rebuke and condemnation for such actions.

He seems like an unrepentant neo-nazi of the worst sort.

Member

🙂

Webber
Guest

Vona may be willing to see the party split and dump the extremists who can’t keep their mouths shut. He’d do this to position his reformed party to take the votes Fidesz has lost that he won’t get with the loudest and foulest on board. The strategy might work. Fidesz hasn’t been hurt much by the presence of overt anti-Semites in its ranks (Zsolt Bayer, and others who appear on Echo TV). Instead, Fidesz has been weakened by the increasingly powerful stench of corruption. Fidesz voters might just embrace a Jobbik that dumps the louts. The nudge-nudge, wink-wink anti-Semitism doesn’t bother these people – it feeds their psychosis, for they love to rage about nasty people calling Hungarians (actually, just them) anti-Semites.
They believe that they, individually, embody the nation and are looking for a party that confirms this and reinforces their personal “I am one with the nation – and the nation is great” illusions. Fidesz has fit the bill. Jobbik might, too.

doracsegei
Guest
On Thursday last week I had to go for an x-ray at the hospital. The x-ray technician was the mother of a young man I know. The young man is well-known as a big Jobbik supporter. So is the young man’s girlfriend. Hard-core people who hang out summer nights in front of the Jobbik-affiliated bar. Great haters of all the minorities they are supposed to hate. Wearing army-style boots around town. Also having shaved heads. You have probably seen the type! Anyway … the young man’s mother mentioned, while I was getting my x-rays, that her son is working and earning decent pay. And so is the girlfriend. Not-too-bad jobs in the civil sector. BUT … guess what? They’ve given their notice of leaving their jobs. Because, on the day after Easter, they are GOING TO LONDON! I couldn’t believe it. That guy in London? But it’s true. The mother of course offered the USUAL reasons for her son’s departure. Wants more money, wants a new car, etc. But I believe there’s something more to it. The guy had a decent job, so did the girlfriend. Could it be that — at the heart of it — they have grown… Read more »
Member

Well, lets hope, people can change! This country is either a playing ground or circus for these young folks…

Webber
Guest

Or, perhaps, these Jobbik supporters see no contradiction in moving abroad and hating minorities. A sociologist in Britain named Jon Fox, who has done work on attitudes of Hungarian immigrants to Britain, found that Hungarians living there were far more racist and far less tolerant of minorities than native Brits. The attitudes of these immigrants are unacceptable to the majority in their adopted society, and yet they keep them.

Guest

Yes, sometimes you find those immigrants to Britain on pol.hu – not stupid, quite decent English but horribly fascist attitude …

Member

Webber,

Before leaving or after coming back they have a pro-islamist stance, so that they could hurt jews. Abroad they become anti-islamist, anti-immigrant, this is just stupid!
I heard a story about a Hungarian Gypsy woman, who had a job and she was glad that Brits thought she was South American….

Member

I agree, many of these people have the nerve to go to many countries, even here in Canada and continue to spread their hatred. Even though they are immigrants, they still seem to think that they have the right to think they have a majority in their mindset. I rarely socialize within the Hungarian community here for just this reason. The arrogance and sense of entitlement is embarrassing. There are many here too that think it is “normal” to be a racist and hang with similar people. I don’t want any part of it.

Member

With brokers’ scandal mishandled by Fidesz, – Jobbik could have an XL chance lately. So its time for both civilian actors and real democrats to make steps!

Lupa
Guest

People should understand that anti-Semitism, fervent anti-gipsy politics (even if locally not in the mainstream media), hating foreigners, aggressive, menacing demonstrations, Greater-Hungary paraphernalia all work and people are totally OK with them.

Average voters either support these anyway (some 80% unequivocally hate gipsies and out of the remaining 20% 10% are gipsies themselves) or just don’t care and hear what they want to hear: ending corruption, jobs for the whites, regulating the bloodsucking multinationals owned by jews and preferring the rural (traditional Hungarian) way of life instead of the gay-rights pushing, urban way of life leading us to doom.

Only a leftist party may lose votes, a right wing party cannot so in some combination the right wing will continue with these, there’s no downside for them. The only downside is that they can’t appear in the mainstream media if they continue to be openly anti-Semitic and anti-roma.

Webber
Guest

“Only a leftist party may lose votes, a right wing party cannot…”
Says you.
Public opinion changes all the time.
There’s no telling which way it will go. As people become more and more disgusted with the corruption under Fidesz and associate that with the right, the left might just gain votes.
In any case, if you stick to such a simplistic view of voter preferences you will have no explanation for the results of the Hungarian national elections of 1994, 2002, and 2006, or for what just happened in Veszprém.

Guest

I think anyone who actually believes the Front national is not racist anymore is terribly wrong. Sure Marine Le Pen has been trying for a long time to get rid of this image, up to a point where any member who expresses himself in a racist way will be expelled from the party; yet let’s not be kid ourselves; the FN has always been a racist and anti-Semitic party and I don’t see why Marine Le Pen could be any different from Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father, who raised her. This attempt at making the FN look respectable is only a “political product” as Gábor G. Fodor’s would describe it.

Member

Still another question arises in the light of French self-government elections outcomes: as almost everything works inversely back in Hungary in comparison to “civilised right extremists” in Western Europe: will fidesz voters give their ballots to alternative civilian or leftist organisations or parties in order to block Jobbik?

Well, I don’t think so!

buddy
Guest

Some of you might know this better than me, but it was my impression that the Jobbik candidate in the Veszprém by-election was very weak. If memory serves, she didn’t even have much of a connection with the party and didn’t do much campaigning. I guess Jobbik didn’t have anyone else to run in that election for whatever reason but felt they had to go with somebody. So it doesn’t seem to me that Jobbik’s performance in Veszprém would be indicative of their standing nationwide.

Member

Out of topic:
Did anyone see the footage about the griefing in Singapore about the death of the ruler on Hír-TV yesterday? This guy could have been the real precedent for Viktor Orbán. Any observations?

spectator
Guest

I’ll gonna mourn him too – it shouldn’t be an obstacle following trough the precedent…

HiBoM
Guest

Off topic – but there is an article in Index saying that they won’t know until Thursday what public money was invested in the failed brokerage firms. From the caginess of the government, I am being to wonder if it might not transpire that billions of public money may have been lost in other ministries that was illegally invested (presumably with the profits distributed to Fidesz minions…)

Watch this space…

Taraskin
Guest

Everybody’s favorite Tóni Rogán is visibly getting exhausted and the bags under his eyes are getting bigger. Good. I like that.

http://index.hu/video/2015/03/30/parlament_korkerdes_quaestor/

buddy
Guest

They want to question Gyurcsány about Quaestor! Hilarious.

It reminds me of this crazy interview with Tamás Deutsch last October:

Deutsch: The main reason why Jobbik got stronger was because of the extreme governance between 2006 and 2010, so the extreme right got stronger as a reaction to this.

Reporter: “Gyurcsány’s to blame?”

Deutsch: You bet he is!

Decades from now, Fidesz will still be blaming Gyurcsány for everything that goes wrong with a straight face, mark my words 🙂

http://www.hir24.hu/nagyinterju/2014/10/31/deutsch-tamas-nem-csak-a-netadorol-fogunk-konzultalni/

Guest

I’d wonder if those Jobbik supporters going to London probably came across a poll which showed that a majority of Jews in the UK now believe that they have ‘no future’ anymore in Britain. It was noted that there was more anti-semitic attitudes than generally believed in British society.

If so and if they are tried and true ‘Jobbikites’ , perhaps it took something other than Fodors to influence their travel plans. Also wonder if they’ll read up on Sir Mosely.

Member

Mosley was a great actor, Oscar winner. Unftly not alive.

HiBoM
Guest

RIkard, I know far more English Jews than you do and that is just rubbish. There is anti-semitism amongst the religious Arab/Muslim communities but in nearly half a century (and my politics are more right than left, at least in economics) I’ve never encountered any anti-Semitic sentiments among my fellow countrymen that come within spitting distance of stuff you hear in Hungary on a daily basis.

I remember a Hungarian friend of mine being astonished that the Conservative candidate for prime minister in 2005 was a Romanian born Jew, Michael Howard. And while many people felt he had nothing to offer as a prime minister (myself included), his origins were not even remotely an theme or issue on any political side.

LwiiH
Guest

When I read about Spitting on a monument the only thought I had was, what a pig!

I don’t quite how it is that parties are able to campaign on a platform they have no intention in honoring. One would hope that the opposition would successfully expose the lies but things here are so broken it’s hard to imagine that happening.

Member

Believe me, it can happen in Hungary, shame on us!

hiii56
Guest

Let us start to understand that vona/orban/rogan/kover/morvai etc. have got no decency, no credibility, no integrity.

The voters must rejects them, and exile them to Siberia.

spectator
Guest

“WHITHER JOBBIK?”

Whiter – as in ‘white supremacy’ – if I got the color right.

“Vona in the disguise of a civilised European” – more like it. Its selling time, ladies and gentlemen, whatever it takes to grab some more supporters.
After all, Orbán moved over to the opposite side of the political spectrum for the very same reason and it worked quite well to him.

However, changing just as likely than in case of those spots on the proverbial leopard.

wpDiscuz