Tag Archives: Momentum

MSZP’s “generous offer” rejected

Let’s continue with party politics, especially since yesterday the socialists came out with an “extremely generous offer.” What is the party’s proposal? For the complete unity of the democratic forces, MSZP is ready to evenly share the 98 member party list with all parties that have a measurable following. Thus, on the basis of the opinion polls by the Republikon Intézet and Závecz Research Institute over the last six months, DK would receive 15%, LMP 13%, Momentum 8%, Együtt 6%, Liberals 3%, and Párbeszéd 2% of the available places. The offer was further sweetened by a more magnanimous allocation of the most desirable positions on the list. The first 32 places are the most coveted, 25 of which went to MSZP in 2014. This time these 32 places would be halved between MSZP and the others. According to István Botka, that would guarantee parliamentary representation to all parties. LMP and DK would likely have large enough representations to form their own delegations (frakció). Mind you, as things stand now, these two parties would be able to achieve this goal without Botka’s scheme.

The MSZP politicians who came up with this plan–István Botka, Gyula Molnár, and István Hiller–were convinced that their offer was so attractive that it was practically impossible to refuse. They urged the other party leaders to take their time to consider the offer seriously. The public announcement of MSZP’s latest scheme was accompanied by letters to each party’s top leadership. Zoom, an internet news site, got hold of the letter that was sent to the Demokratikus Koalíció, which didn’t impress the DK leadership. The letter can be divided into two parts. The first is about the general desirability of Botka’s proposal of having common candidates in 106 electoral districts and a common party list. The second was tailored to the specifics of DK. The stumbling block in this case is the person of Ferenc Gyurcsány, whose name, according to László Botka, should not be on the common list, allegedly because of his unpopularity. By way of compensation, Botka offered Gyurcsány Budapest’s District XV, which “is a DK success story with László Hajdu as DK mayor” where he could easily win. In this way his place in parliament would be ensured. The socialists urged DK’s politicians to “stop the pseudo-debates” and get to work.

The announcement of the “generous offer”

According to DK’s spokesman, the proposal doesn’t contain anything new. The sticking point is MSZP’s meddling in DK’s internal affairs with its insistence on the party chairman’s exclusion from the common list. In order to make certain that the party leaders’ hands are tied, a couple of weeks ago more than 70% of the approximately 9,000 full-fledged DK members voted to reject any negotiations with any other party whose condition is the exclusion of Gyurcsány from the common list. Apparently, 94% of those party members who participated voted with a resounding “no.”

Péter Juhász, chairman of Együtt, told Magyar Nemzet that Botka’s proposal is not new to him, but his party doesn’t believe in a single common list in the first place. Moreover, he is in the process of working out a list with those parties that did not exist prior to 2010. They are Együtt, Párbeszéd, LMP, and Momentum. These parties would have their own common candidates in all 106 districts. Unfortunately for Juhász, neither LMP nor Momentum shows much interest in his scheme.

LMP, as usual, said that the presidium will consider the proposal but most likely will reject it. The party spokesman indicated that László Botka had already approached them with a “generous offer” which they had rejected. As he put it, “one cannot remove Viktor Orbán with the actors of the past and the parties of the past which bear responsibility for the past 30 years.”

Momentum also rejected the offer. As far as they are concerned, there is no possibility of any cooperation with the socialists. “What Botka offers now is what Mesterházy offered in 2014. We still bear the brunt of the result of that so-called cooperation.” Moreover, Momentum’s participation in politics is not for the goal of gaining parliamentary seats but for higher ideals. They cannot be bought this way, they insisted.

Thus, as far as I can see, Botka’s proposal is dead in the water. Yet, according to Magyar Nemzet, MSZP still insists on having talks with DK, although Botka refuses to sit down with Ferenc Gyurcsány. Thus, Gyula Molnár and István Hiller will be the emissaries who will try to convince Gyurcsány to accept the offer. I think they could save themselves a trip because DK’s leadership as well as its members are adamant that no outsider has any right to interfere in the party’s internal affairs.

The Závecz Research Institute was on hand to conduct a quickie poll on the reception of MSZP’s latest offer. Two-thirds of the respondents responded favorably to the “generous offer.” After all, people are sick and tired of all the party strife. They have been waiting for more than half a year for Botka to move toward closer relations with the other parties. Unfortunately, these instant polls don’t tell us much, especially since Fidesz voters are also represented in the sample. It is also doubtful that the respondents knew much about the details of the proposal.

There is a lot to criticize about the way in which this offer was introduced. István Botka has the bad habit of making announcements without first discussing them with the people who will have to consider them. This time was no different. MSZP Chairman Gyula Molnár, in an interview with Egon Rónai of ATV, was at a loss to explain the lack of prior discussions with the parties, which are supposed to be part of the arrangement. Molnár tried to avoid the subject by saying “let’s not get into this.” When Rónai insisted, he couldn’t give a rational answer to this total lack of communication with the other party leaders. At about the same time that Rónai was trying to get a straight answer from Molnár, Olga Kálmán was talking to István Botka. Kálmán pressed him about the differences between the 2014 common list and his proposed 2018 one, without much success. Kálmán’s question about whether he would cede his place to another party’s candidate if that would be politically more desirable surprised him. He responded that he is the most experienced of all candidates and that Bernadett Szél and Gergely Karácsony “will receive important positions,” I assume in the next government which he envisages as a coalition.

György Jánosi, former deputy chairman of MSZP, wrote the following on his Facebook page about Botka’s offer. He wanted to know why the MSZP party brass didn’t share their far-reaching ideas with their hoped-for partners. He compared the manner of announcing the plan to a bone tossed from the table of the lords that the middle-sized or small parties can fight over. “It seems that László Botka and MSZP haven’t learned anything. Who will stop this flying blind? I’m afraid, no one. They don’t realize that this party has ceased to be a party that could offer a new government to this country.” Bitter words from a formerly important MSZP politician.

September 26, 2017

Alcohol and sex: The case of LMP’s Péter Ungár

We left the youthful leaders of Momentum, a new political formation with lofty ambitions, at their three-day festival, which was supposed to attract new followers and produce much needed cash for the fledgling party. Unfortunately, the number of attendees was low, and the festival was a financial flop. I also reported on the revelation that the party has had financial support from at least two businessmen, one of whom at least wanted assurances that Momentum would not cooperate on any level with MSZP or DK. In that post I also reported that Edina Pottyondy, a member of Momentum’s board of governors, quit her post two days before the festival’s opening. A few days later another board member resigned.

These two resignations cannot be a coincidence. There must be some very real differences within Momentum’s leadership for that to happen. At first I thought that perhaps the differences of opinion centered on the sources of financial support, but eventually I came to the conclusion that the bone of contention between András Fekete-Győr and some of the others in the leadership was strategic: to remain entirely independent or to work with others for the common goal of removing Fidesz from power. Péter Juhász of Együtt was trying to convince LMP and Momentum to join Együtt, Párbeszéd, and the Two-Tailed Dog Party to create a new political formation called “New Pole” (új pólus). The politicians of these smaller parties became really excited when an opinion poll indicated that such a formation could receive 16% of the votes nationwide. LMP showed some interest in the idea, but without Momentum the idea would have been stillborn.

If I had any doubts about the reasons for the departure of two leading members of Momentum, the news that “a vote of confidence was submitted against the whole board” confirmed my conviction that the internal strife had to center on the strategy of the charismatic András Fekete-Győr, who is adamant about total independence, which will in his view eventually lead to Momentum’s becoming the premier political force in the country. Fekete-Győr survived the vote of confidence. At the same time Momentum decided that not only is cooperation with other parties out of the question; so is even talking with politicians of other parties. Whether this decision was wise, only time will tell.

Concurrently with these happenings, there was an incident that elicited incredible interest from the media. On August 9 azonnali.hu, a trendy new internet site, learned that Péter Ungár, a member of the board of LMP, was thrown out of Momentum’s “Opening Festival” by security guards. A conversation with Ungár couldn’t shed much light on the subject because he had been too drunk to remember the details.

Péter Ungár is a very rich 26-year-old who a few months ago became one of the leading lights of LMP. At the age of 15 his father, András Ungár, died. His mother, Mária Schmidt, court historian of Viktor Orbán, his older sister, and Péter suddenly became exceedingly wealthy. Péter Ungár still has interests in the family enterprise, and from an interview I read it is clear that he has no intention of selling his stake.

Although it is difficult to find too many details about Ungár’s life, given his very recent appearance as a public figure, I learned that he most likely received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Edinburgh. At the age of 17 he had the opportunity to work for the 1998 campaign of Barack Obama. He published a series of articles on the American election in the old Hírszerző.hu, which in 2010 was purchased by HVG. In 2009 and 2010 he published a couple of articles in konzervatorium.hu, which as one can gather from its name is a conservative publication. Sometime after 2012 he enrolled in a master’s program at Central European University.

From Ungár’s conversations with the young crew of azonnali.hu it became evident that this is not the first time he has drunk to excess. Initially, the Momentum leadership was pretty tight-mouthed about the details of Ungár’s expulsion, not just from this particular event but from all future events Momentum organizea. Eventually, however, the public learned that he tried to crawl into the tent of a girl three times and that he told another girl how good he was in bed.

It was inevitable that sooner or later Ungár’s behavior would cause friction between Momentum and LMP, especially since two internet outlets connected to LMP stood by Ungár and made light of his behavior. Or, at least, this is what Tamás Soproni, vice-chairman of Momentum, claims. He showered vulgar epithets on the whole leadership of LMP, whom he called left-lib, pseudo intellectuals. Ungár’s friends and his party should at least remain quiet and not defend this kind of behavior, he warned. Some important people in the democratic opposition also considered the incident so serious politically and morally that they suggested Ungár’s immediate expulsion from LMP.

LMP is not rushing to follow this advice. They first want to have an investigation of the case, which apparently Ungár himself asked for. One possible reason for the party leadership’s hesitancy to act in haste is that reflektor.hu, a relatively new internet site that is close to the party, might be financed or even run by Ungár. I base my opinion on what Ungár had to say about his role in reflektor.hu, which has been full of articles critical of Momentum. He explained that there is an editorial board that is responsible for these published articles. He had nothing to do with them.

The case is embarrassing for LMP, which over the years has been sensitive to women’s issues. It is the only party in Hungary that has a female quota. LMP has a dual chairmanship, held by a man and a woman. The same is true of LMP’s parliamentary delegation. LMP is also one of the moving forces to get the Orbán government to ratify the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence,” normally referred to as the Istanbul Convention (2011). Hungary signed the convention in 2014, but a year later the ratification was voted down by the massive Fidesz majority. Nothing has happened since.

Some political scientists tried to concoct a political rationale for Momentum’s forceful position on the Ungár incident, viewing it as an excuse for Momentum to turn its back on any kind of cooperation with the smaller parties. I am certain that this is not the case. Momentum has been adamant from the moment it announced its intention to become a party that it would not negotiate with any other party. Fekete-Győr’s strategy is still in place, though, if you ask me, this is not the end of the story.

As for the coverage of the case, among the many editorials there was only one that was thoughtful. It was written by Adél Hercsel of HVG. She talked about the futile conspiracy theories that were invented and the relativization of sexual harassment and excessive alcohol consumption. The country is again in two camps: those who make light of the Ungár case and those who harshly condemn him. Empathy, which is in short supply in Hungary, is absent. This young LMP politician may be behaving the way he does because he has problems that should be addressed. I can recommend this thoughtful essay to those who are interested in this troubling case.

August 14, 2017

What happened to Momentum? The loss of youthful innocence

I think it’s time to return to Momentum, a new political formation that became an overnight sensation after their activists, with some help from left-liberal parties, collected 260,000 signatures in the dead of winter in support of a referendum about holding the Olympic Games in Budapest in 2024. The overwhelming support for the initiative forced the Orbán government to retreat and abandon one of Viktor Orbán’s most cherished dreams.

The last time I wrote about Momentum was in March, after a number of disastrous interviews that András Fekete-Győr, the leader of the group, gave to ATV and HírTV. I titled that post “What’s behind Momentum? Banal clichés.” I’m afraid nothing has happened since to make me change my mind. But, if we can believe Republikon Intézet’s telephone poll, Momentum is so popular in Budapest that 9% of active voters would vote for it at the next election. Momentum’s standing nationwide, as measured by several polling companies, is 2%.

Many commentators compare Momentum to the youthful Fidesz in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was also a generational party that came from practically nowhere. A few months later it won enough votes to be represented in parliament. In July 1989 Fidesz organized a three-four-day gathering that included political discussions. It was held in Bálványosfűrdő/Băile Bálványos, which over the years has become a gathering place for Hungarians, mostly from Romania, to listen to the political messages of Viktor Orbán. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the leadership of Momentum decided to organize a three-day gathering called “Opening Festival” in Bodajk, a town of 4,000 inhabitants in Fejér County. During the day they held panel discussions and at night it was all fun and games. Lots of music and dancing. The event, as we learned later, cost quite a bit of money, but the business-minded Momentum leadership believed that it was a good investment, even in financial terms. By all accounts relatively few people attended. According to the journalist from Index, on the first day there were no more than 200-300 people.

In March, when I looked at Momentum’s so-called program, it was practically nonexistent. Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t changed since. They promise a party program for October 15. Otherwise, Momentum’s strongest message is that it rejects not only the last seven years of Fidesz rule but everything that has happened in Hungary since 1989. As for the general political orientation of the party, Fekete-Győr likened Momentum to Emmanuel Macron’s “En Marche!” The general impression is that Momentum is neither on the right nor on the left, perhaps because so far it seems devoid of ideas.

It is almost impossible to figure out what Momentum actually wants. They made only a few concrete political announcements, the most important of which was that in no way would they consider cooperation with any other party unless “there is a danger of a two-thirds Fidesz majority,” as Fekete-Győr put it. This makes no sense to me. By the time it seems likely that Fidesz’s strength would result in a two-thirds majority, no cooperation among opposition parties could do anything to change the situation.

Momentum seems not to know whether it is a serious political party or a charitable organization. In the midst of talking about matters like Hungary’s place in the European Union and the benefits of the Eurozone, Fekete-Győr could tell his audience about a project of theirs to supply soap and towels to schools and hospitals where they are currently in short supply.

Árpád W. Tóta of HVG, whom I consider one of the most astute observers of the current Hungarian political scene, asked the leaders of Momentum some probing questions. What Tóta learned from Fekete-Győr was that the political profile of Momentum, which today is fuzzy, will be shaped by whatever the people want. Of course, this is a very dangerous populist notion which can lead a party to adopt even extremist views. This is exactly what happened in Fidesz’s case when Viktor Orbán discovered what people wanted to hear. I don’t think the leaders of Momentum ever thought through the dangers of such a populist approach to politics. I’m sorry that the video has no subtitles, but those who understand the language should definitely spend 10 minutes on Tóta’s conversations with the leaders of Momentum. It is worth it.

The “Opening Festival” was lavish, and questions were raised where the money came from to fund the event. Tóta himself in that interview asked Fekete-Győr about the cost, but the Momentum leader feigned ignorance of the amount. He maintained, however, that the only money they have comes from membership dues. Another student leader, Miklós Hajnal, on ATV claimed that the cost of the festival was a “trade secret.” Eventually Momentum announced the real cost. The party spent 23 million forints (about $89,000); the income received from the participants was only 11 million. Apparently, currently Momentum has 1,100 card-carrying party members who pay 1,000 forints a month as a membership fee.

The less than transparent finances of Momentum have aroused the interest of the media. A few days ago Heti Válasz, a right-of-center weekly, discovered that at least two well-known businessmen have helped the party financially. One is Gábor Bojár of Graphisoft, a software company, and the founder of the Aquincum Institute of Technology, who told the paper that he gave them one million forints. The other is György Raskó, MDF’s undersecretary of agriculture in the Antall government, who is now a successful agro businessman. The amount Raskó gave to Momentum is unknown, but there were strings attached to the gift. He wanted the party to include an education program that would be similar to the successful Finnish model. Apparently, he also wanted to receive assurances that Momentum would not cooperate on any level with MSZP and the Demokratikus Koalíció. In addition, Raskó also warned that he doesn’t want Momentum to become a “Budapest downtown liberal intellectual” party.

Momentum, right turn / Photo: HVG

Not surprisingly the government media attacked both Momentum and its wealthy supporters. Magyar Idők hypocritically expressed its concern over “the undue influence of entrepreneurs over party politics” and declared that Momentum is not an independent party but an instrument in the hands of men with definite political goals. But left-liberal publications aren’t exactly thrilled either. Pesti Bulvár, a relatively new internet news site, repeated the general dissatisfaction on the left with Momentum’s refusal to cooperate with anyone, which further weakens the anti-Orbán forces. Garai, the author of the article, titled “A party is for sale,” estimates that Momentum has already spent 100-150 million forints. He charges that the leaders of Momentum, by accepting Raskó’s demands, admitted that they don’t really want regime change because they ought to know that small parties running alone can lead only to Fidesz victory. Moreover, given Raskó’s political views, he says, Momentum is moving over to the right.

I have had heard interviews with both Bojár and Raskó and found most of what they had to say eminently reasonable. Raskó is normally asked to comment on matters related to agriculture, and he shows great knowledge of the subject. However, I must admit that his categorical refusal to make common cause with other anti-Orbán forces shows a shortsighted and rigidly ideological posture that is not in the interest of the country.

We don’t know how long Raskó has been supporting Momentum financially, but my feeling is that it has been from the very beginning. We know that he gave these young people money at the time of their signature drive for a referendum on the Olympic Games. Moreover, Raskó’s son is a member of Momentum. As for the extent to which Raskó has been influencing these young people’s ideas, that remains an open question. We know, for example, that Raskó is a believer in the establishment of large agro businesses instead of small family farms and that Momentum also supports this idea.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting advice from experts. In the case of Momentum, when I think back, I was struck how often András Fekete-Győr boasted about unnamed, very important advisers who worked with them. All political parties need experts in a range of fields, but in this case we have a bunch of young people without any political experience who may not know what to do with the advice they receive. And, of course, I am disheartened by Raskó’s advice of noncooperation. It is the worst advice he could have given the leaders of Momentum.

Finally, Edina Pottyondy, a member of Momentum’s board of governors, quit her post two days ago. She remains a member of the party and will be one of the organizers of the party’s efforts to recruit followers in the countryside, said the spokesman for the party. I cannot escape the feeling that the less than transparent handling of the party’s finances might have had something to do with her departure. In any case, whatever has transpired since July 22, the first day of the “Opening Festival,” has done a lot of damage to Momentum. The reputation of the seemingly innocent, young, bright boys and girls has suffered a serious blow.

August 5, 2017

Momentum’s András Fekete-Győr: “We have one year”

A few months ago I received a most welcome e-mail from Aron Penczu, a young Hungarian-born filmmaker and writer who lives in London, who offered his services as a Hungarian-English translator for Hungarian Spectrum. I eagerly accepted the offer. Here is Aron’s first contribution, a translation of András Fekete-Győr’s May 1 speech at a Momentum rally.

I have written several posts on Momentum’s impressive referendum drive, which ended in Viktor Orbán’s spectacular retreat from submitting a bid to hold the Olympic Games in Budapest in 2014.  I also published a more critical article on some of the political mistakes the inexperienced leaders of Momentum have made.

At the moment it is hard to predict the future of this young party, but their initial showing is impressive. According to the latest Závecz Research poll, Momentum has 3% support among active voters. They have, after a few months of existence, more potential votes than all other smaller democratic parties on the left.

♦ ♦ ♦

I’m here with you today to tell you what we need to do in the next year. We need to act. I’m tired of bemoaning what’s wrong instead of acting to make things better – because I’m responsible for my future, responsible for my fate.

At first I was alone and felt powerless. Then we began to grow in number, we founded Momentum, and I understood that in a community we’re strong. Powerlessness was superseded by the strength of action. And now I see that we’re many, and that this means nothing’s impossible: together, so many of us and more, we’re capable of starting Hungary up. We believe, unlike Viktor Orbán, that we need to start things up, not stop them.

He wants to stop Brussels. Stop it because he’s realized that under his leadership Hungary will never catch up with it. It won’t catch up with it because he doesn’t understand the 21st century, and he’s afraid that this’ll come to light. That’s why he closes universities, that’s why he holds Nobel prize-winners so cheap, why he destroyed Origo and the county papers, why he blacklists civil organizations and intellectuals.

Viktor Orbán inspires fear because he himself is afraid. He’s afraid that his incompetence will be exposed. He’s afraid of the press and he’s afraid of free elections, but above all he’s afraid of us, the people.

András Fekete-Győr at the May 1 rally of Momentum

Yet we drew closer than ever to finally beginning to catch up with Europe – which we’ve waited for centuries – when, 13 years ago, on the first of May, we joined the EU. But in his fear of being toppled Viktor Orbán is choosing the world of dumbphones, and instead of regulating Uber he’s chasing it away, he wants to introduce the internet tax, he eliminates IT lessons, and he blacklists everyone smarter than he is. He’s guiding the nation towards Moscow.

Instead of the rich, modern Europe he’s making a poor, underdeveloped and oppressed Russia the model for our home. But those of our generation who have come home and those who have stayed at home are taking our fate into our hands and changing that direction. We’ve been in London, Brussels, Berlin, across the whole world, and now the tide is turning: instead of foreign countries draining away valuable knowledge, WE BRING IT HOME.

We’ve come home to implement the models we encountered abroad, because it isn’t the Lőrinc Mészároses but the István Széchenyis who build the homeland. The time has come for those from Kazincbarcika, from Budapest, and from London, the right- and the left-leaning, the Christian and the atheist, the poor and the rich, the young and the old, to recognize our shared national fate, because we have a task. Let’s set aside our animosities, because we’re all patriots, because we’re all valuable constituents of Hungarian nationality, and our task is no less than this: building an entrepreneurial, cohesive, and modern nation in the Europe of the 21st century.

We’ll start Hungary up with the most important resource of the 21st century: the knowledge we’ve acquired. Instead of stopping Brussels, we’re going to catch up with it.

Viktor Orbán’s Hungary is a tenantless wasteland with a “Let’s stop Brussels” signboard at its center. Even if you can stoop lower that this, you can’t go further back. Viktor Orbán is building a system of fear on Putin’s model. But we won’t let him succeed. We’re going to dismantle this system and start Hungary up.

We’re not afraid of them and we’ll tell them that. That’s what we’ve been saying with all the past weeks’ demonstrations, and that’s what we’re saying here with you today. We won’t say that it’s easy or simple to overcome an omnipresent fear. But we want a country in which you can plan ahead to 2020 or 2030, not the 20th or the 30th.

They can send skinheads at us, but we’ll talk with them instead of growing afraid. We’re not afraid of them. They can fire us, but we’ll find another job, because unlike them, we’re not corrupt, parasitical politicians.* We are not afraid of them.

They can trot out our parents, our grandparents, our cousins once removed, they can tell us about what they did in ’94, and whom they voted for in ’98 – but we’re writing 2017 and we’re looking ahead, not back. We’re not afraid of them.

They can watch us, they can follow us, they can tap our phones, but unlike them, we have nothing to hide. They can send the taxman to investigate the places and the companies who host us or support us, but they won’t find anything because we’re not robbing the country blind. We’re not afraid of them.

The propaganda machine can lie about us, but this debases them, not us. Advertising companies associated with the government can threaten us, they can even put a policeman by every single poster, but all they’ll get is policemen giving us a hand with our stickers. We’re not afraid of them.

The dean, the director, and the mayor can place pressure on is, but we won’t bend because we aren’t spineless. We’re not afraid of them. And you shouldn’t be either!

We want to tell the girl from Komárom who didn’t dare enter our event when she saw the propaganda-machine outside – because she was afraid they’d see her there and fire her – not to be afraid: we’ll protect her. As we’ll protect those members who have been fired because they joined Momentum.

Don’t be afraid, because we’ll protect you. We’ll help. Together we are strong and loud, alone weak and quiet. Momentum is the kind of community in which we protect each other.

We’re not afraid of them. And nothing frightens them more than that: for seven years, no matter how shamelessly they’ve acted, most of the time everybody’s stayed dumb. They’ve gotten used to thinking anyone can be silenced or bought. But not us. We’re not afraid of them. As they sink lower, so we grow stronger.

Not being afraid is only the first step. The second is to act. We have exactly one year until the spring of 2018 and that’s exactly enough. In one year startups become world-corporations, teams marked for elimination become world champions, unknown poets become national heroes.

In the next year we, Momentum, are going to do everything to dismantle the system of fear. We’re going to work day and night. We’re going to continue touring the country and we’re going to get to every settlement to listen to people and talk with them. We’re going to gauge local and national problems, because we want to answer them together: we’re running a real consultation.

How are we going to achieve this? With you. In two months more than 1,000 people have applied to join Momentum, and we’ve built foundations for more than 100 local organizations. And the number is growing with every passing week. We’re building a nation-wide and active community.

We’re everywhere: locally, on the street, at demonstrations – and we’re going to run in the elections. With a program which offers real solutions to real problems. It’s going to be a program of knowledge brought home and local solutions, which we’re revealing to the country on October 15. We’re going to deliver it on time, as we delivered 266,151 signatures for February 17.

But we also know that a good program is only the beginning of starting Hungary up. We need cells of activity too, and people ready for action, because the state has forsaken us. Our healthcare, our education, and our transport are broken. Our weekdays have become dysfunctional.

Millions of Hungarians are uninterested in national problems because they feel they can do nothing to make things better. We’re sending them a message: we felt like that too, but then we learned that in community there’s strength. The cells of activity are going to yield local solutions to local problems out of local experiences. Join us!

A boy from a high school in Kecskemét told us of how IT studies aren’t offered at his school and so he can’t learn what he wants to. Two others already at university instantly offered to teach him how to program – this is what we call a cell of activity, where stories like this one are born. Because Hungarians want to act: only their hands been tied until now.

We’re starting with the basics, the local, tangible problems, and we’re starting Hungary up with the strength of a community. With the strength of a community – and that won’t work without you. It would be futile for us to pledge to work day and night over the next year to dismantle the system of fear, and to build a livable Hungary, if you don’t come with us. We’re going to rebuild, and we need your help.

Many people are fooled by the system of fear. Those reached only by fear-mongering and the propaganda-machine’s fake news. We can’t fight TV2’s lies, or the daily news on MTVA, or Lokál, but you can. You are our media.

You can get to everyone. Speak to the grandparent, the aunt, the cousin, the godmother, the family friend. You need to tell them that if they want to see their grandchild, and not just once a year, at Christmas, because he lives in London, we need renewal.

You need to tell them that you’re afraid of starting a business because if there’s a branch of the industry that works Fidesz takes a shine to it, expropriates it, and divvies it up among its members. You need to tell them that you’re afraid of settling, of growing roots, because who knows where you’ll live in a few years… You need to tell them that you’re afraid of creating a family, because they close schools, nationalize educational texts, and children can learn only what they intend.

We need to break the wall built around us! We’ve started, and with the success of NOlimpia we knocked out the first brick, but we can only succeed at dismantling it with your help. You are our media. Don’t be afraid of politicizing at lunch. A Hungarian never speaks but endures? Enough of that. We endure with full mouths (when we can fill them)? Never again!

And if you have influence, stand up and don’t be afraid. Raise your voice if you’re a musician and you can see we’re headed in the wrong direction. Speak out if you work at a big company, if you have reach others, because maybe in a few years you won’t be able to reach anyone anymore. Speak, if you’re a radio host and you know exactly where we’re headed.

Stand up if you have influence, whether you’re a gastro blogger, YouTube star, or a conservative intellectual. Don’t wait to realize in a few years that when you could have taken action you didn’t. Act now!

Everyone in their own way: what she has strength for, time for, a desire for. But act. Pin up symbols of Europe, support us, call your representative to account, participate in cells of activity, join us, or be our media.

As for this evening: there are Momentum members among you, ask them for stickers, we have thousands, and tonight let’s correct all the propaganda posters that fall into our paths! Let’s paste over them on the street, on the bus, on trams and on the subway too. Make your mark!

And one more thing. Believe in us. Believe that it can work, believe that one year is enough, and believe that Hungary can be started up. We believe it, and we believe you, and we’ll do everything for our collective goals: believe in our collective strength. Believe in us even if we make mistakes. Believe in us even if one day in a statement we say something stupid. Believe in us, believe in yourselves, because we can only succeed with you.

We have a year. We have hope. We have a choice. Come with us!

*Megélhetési politikusok. See http://hungarianspectrum.org/tag/hungarian-language/

June 9, 2017