Milla and LMP: Double curse of current Hungarian politics

A few days ago I made optimistic noises about a possible collaboration among democratic parties and anti-Fidesz civic organizations without which there can be no change of government in 2014. My optimism resulted from the joint demonstration by DK, MSZP, and Solidarity at the conclusion of the hunger strike of four DK members of parliament. Since then I have been awakened from my dream.

Only a few days after the hopeful signs of cooperation Milla, a civic organization that began on Facebook on December 22, 2010, announced that it is refusing to cooperate with another civic group, Solidarity, because the leaders of that movement want to cooperate with already existing parties. And Milla refuses to get involved in any political action that is supported by political parties. For all practical purposes, a contradiction in terms.

One of the leaders of Milla is Péter Juhász; he is the one who most often represents this civic movement in the media. He showed up on ATV back in August; he gave a couple of interviews on Klubrádió; and only a few days ago Vera Lánczos, one of the members of the Galamus Group, conducted a long interview with him.

Almost two months ago Vera Lánczos expressed her misgivings about the direction in which Milla was going under the guidance of Péter Juhász and his friends in an article entitled “The Milla: ‘Dilettantes, spare me!'”  I wrote about Milla and this article earlier. My opinion hasn’t changed since. I consider Juhász a very confused man who may end up inflicting irreparable damage on Hungarian democracy.

@conservativepress-us

The real problem is that Juhász seems to view the last twenty-two years of Hungarian politics as a steady march away from democracy. According to him, SZDSZ was and MSZP and DK still are just as undemocratic as Fidesz is. Thus he rejects any cooperation with them. In this respect he shares the opinion of the LMP politicians who are convinced that an overwhelming majority of the undecided voters reject both sides and want nothing to do with them.

But Juhász is wrong on several points. He is wrong about the composition of the currently undecided camp. There have been several studies lately that show that the majority of the undecided voters lean toward the left. These are the people who were dissatisfied with the way things were going between 2006 and 2010 and voted for Fidesz in the hope of a radical change for the better. Yes, there was radical change but not for the better. These people are still waiting, but when the chips are down they will most likely vote for one of the parties on the left. And some of them have already returned to the fold. After all, public opinion polls show a steady if slow growth in the number of MSZP voters.

Juhász is wrong on another point. In one of his interviews he emphasized that the Orbán government can be defeated only if the disappointed voters on the right can be persuaded to join forces with the civic groups. If they see that these civic groups are joined by political leaders, they will shrink from cooperating with them. I personally very much doubt that truly committed conservatives would in large numbers join Milla or some other civic group regardless of whether they refuse to cooperate with parties or not. Moreover, there are mighty few moderate conservatives on the Hungarian right.

As for the general anti-political rhetoric of Juhász, he is not very original. After all, this is exactly the position of LMP. The last twenty-two years were a total waste of time, money, and energy. All parties are rotten with the exception of LMP. It is pure and honest because its politicians were in no way responsible for the alleged sins of the past. After all, they are a new party. It seems to me that the only party Juhász would cooperate with is LMP. But there is a problem, and that is a big one. LMP was never a big party (it attracted mostly young Budapest intellectuals), and it is rapidly losing ground. According to the latest Ipsos poll LMP lost 4% of its voters in August and September. I believe the loss is due to the party’s refusal to cooperate with the other democratic parties. LMP managed to sink down to the level of the much maligned party of Ferenc Gyurcsány. Both DK and LMP have a 2% share of the electorate.

LMP needs a base, and I guess András Schiffer et al. believe that Milla will be an ideal vehicle for gathering voters around LMP.  Both organizations believe that all of the undecided voters share Milla’s skepticism about the older parties and they will vote en bloc for LMP. With a current popularity of two percent? Madness.

It doesn’t seem to matter what points Juhász’s interviewers bring up as valid arguments against his beliefs, he remains steadfast. He refuses to cooperate with Solidarity, a civic organization that is ready to join the democratic parties in their planned demonstration on October 23. He also seems to refuse to consider any demonstration against Fidesz’s attempts to limit the number of voters by introducing an absolutely unnecessary registration procedure. According to Juhász, demonstrations were useless in the past and they will be so in the future. So, let’s forget about them.

According to Juhász, Milla was silent during the summer but now its members are moving full force into organizational activities. They put, he said, a lot of energy into a website called MillaMédia. Well, I took a look at it and I agree with György Kakuk that the website is as confusing as their political views. Kakuk specifically brought up the stop sign with runic script. What do the leaders of Milla want to tell us with that? Colossal confusion everywhere.

I suspect that LMP is using Milla to its own political purposes, but the cooperation is unlikely to bear fruit. A tiny party aided by the confused leadership of a civic organization is unlikely to be able to defeat the well organized party of Viktor Orbán. There might be 99,810 “likes” on Milla’s Facebook page, but that means nothing in the harsh light of political reality.

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59 comments

  1. …reassuring to most people (who feel that they are “clean” at least in their expections even if not – because of the systemic nature – in their actions)…

  2. Democracy is not black and white AGK. It is not if you press the black button you are democrat and if you press the white then you are a dictator. If you followed lately what is happening in Hungary via Fidesz, it must be clear to you that the checks and balances are not in place. Fidesz keeps changing the components of the election in order to alter the outcome for their benefit. Just as Fidesz installed retroactive laws that did not harm their inner circle. Example retroactive tax only to a certain point, as if it would of extended further their own members would of been hurt. Orban made a public comment also regarding his intention to install an alternative system for democracy. He said this publicly. The various “surveys” the government sends out to voters are coded, so it is easy to trace it to each household.
    Let me tell you something, Fidesz would change everything in their favor BUT bringing attention to the possibility of Fidesz going to far may allow the EU to intervene in time. THis is the job of everyone who is alarmed. SO this is your answer. DOing nothing would provide a smooth sailing for Fidesz. Doing something would help to create pressure for Fidesz to try obey democratic principals, and then there is a possibility for fair election when a united opposition could change things.

    Truly. My point is, you cannot remove an anti-democratic force through democratic means. You seem to be saying: “We can put pressure on them to become more sensitive to democratic principles in hopes that they will change their ways and respect the will of the people.”
    I cannot agree. I think Fidesz will try to manipulate the will of the people AND the 2014 election results — IF they actually decide to hold elections in 2014.

  3. The sad fact is, that being truly innocent, good willing and God fearing individual – at one point of time – has no guaranties whatsoever, that these conditions last ad infinitum, not to mention that qualifying for policymaking and dealing with politicians, having character to establish and maintain adequatly strong leadership, etc., aren’t qualities which cosequently related to each other.
    In my experience, anyway.

    Only chance – I think – is to measure, evaluate, analize the need, what necessary characteristics the potential candidates must have, and try to assure, that we chose the right one this time. I hardly think, that Hungary can afford to experiment any longer – time goes one-way only, and we have less and less by the minute.
    Nothing new in this, though…

  4. Maria – where is the contradiction in my posts?

    I have been consistently arguing the same thing since Orbán came to power – he has to be got rid of, as quickly as possible. But the current ‘opposition’ will never get organised enough to do it. And I fear it is now probably too late to do it peacefully – or at all.

    To also point out that the current political establishment is too mired in corruption and the sins of the past to be able to effectively replace him, and that the knowledge of this has created a situation where the majority of the public think ‘a plague on both your houses’, and that what is needed is a real new start, in no way contradicts what I have previously said.

    Kirsten – I don’t fully understand your response to my post, but I suspect you misunderstood the part you quoted. I was not putting this forward as a policy of mine, I was reflecting the feelings I pick up from the Hungarians I know (and which I take to be representative) – and attempting to explain it.

    Despite my frequent predictions of dire consequences for Hungary and my ‘calls to arms’, I am personally an optimist and hope that Hungary will survive Orbán and quickly rebuild itself (although I can’t honestly see how at the moment). But I am hardly typical – optimism is not exactly a stereotypical Hungarian characteristic.

  5. Paul – yes, we agree that OV has to go as soon as possible. And I would gladly take the current opposition (apart from Jobbik), whatever their past sins (whether they still have a chance to take over in 2014 is another question, but we shouldn’t give up before we’ve lost).
    If you write people in Hungary think, “the next lot will be just as bad. And, I’m afraid, everything tells us they probably will be”, I interpret this as “the whole opposition is as bad as the present government”. If you really think that, why should anyone fight for change?

  6. ”If you really think that, why should anyone fight for change?”

    I don’t think that, I’m suggesting that they (the people) do – although I tend to agree with them. And why should anyone fight for a change, indeed. That’s exacly where we are and why we are there.

    What is the point of kicking Orbán out when the other lot have proven they are just as useless and corrupt? We may not agree with that, but this is a conclusion drawn by many Hungarians, based on 20 odd years of (very) hard experience.

    In many ways MSzP created Orbán – or at least the environment/situation that allowed him to come to power.

  7. Dear Eva!
    First of all I subscribed to your BLOG in July! And wrote this!
    July 11, 2012 at 3:02 am
    “Dear Eva! I highly respect all your efforts. Your daily blog and the Charta are both very important to our Country! After I subscribed, a few days ago, you always make my day! Thank you! K.Z.”

    After reading in english all your post, inspired me to start something in Hungarian. I realized we need something also in our native language, to collect the normal thinking Hungarians in a blog site. AND IT WORKS! This whole story of mz Blog is thanks to YOU!
    Since I started the Hungarianvirus.wordpress.com on the 1st of August. We had 36.6OO readers in August and 83.85O already in September, after published 15O articles. Within two month we had over 12O.OOO readers mostly from Hungary. And a lot of comments, and followers.
    I was also someone at home, but the FideSS-Mafia ruined my life and my carrier in 2OO3 creating a conceptional case against me. I was the supporter of the SZDSZ from the begining, till 2OO2. Organizing campaign election events, and collecting the supporters. I have many reason and even more imformation about the politicians and they actions, and the way, how this Political-MAFIA operating in Hungary. The FideSS have a list about all of their enemies since 1998, since they join their power with the oil-mafia in Hungary.
    The FideSS-MAFIA conected all of the case in the country. They are the „inocent white power”, fascist, populist virus and devided our fellow citizens to rule the country, based on the „devide and conquer” philosophy. It will be a civil war, if something will not happening soon.
    The Gripen-case is just one of the bribe and the top of the iceberg.
    We need help to swipe out this janus-faced gang.
    Prosecutor Pal Sinku is also a snake! I know him, he was one of the prosecutor, who creating the case against me and others. He, and all other top prosecutors in the country are FideSS fans. No question. He is friendly???? Yes, he is smiling to your face and he will kill you from behind!
    WE NEED INTERNATIONAL HELP!!!!!! WE NEED THE FOREIGN LIVING HUNGARIANS SUPPORT.
    EVA! YOU ARE THE ONE, WHO CAN HELP US!
    Please, EVA write about this, how many FCEBOOK groups are already supporting the 23. OCTOBER marching! We have a PETITION! If nothing will happens, it will be not a peaceful celebration for sure! You and your friends, who lived in 56’ defenetelly know much better than us, what is mean REVOLUTION! We don’t want to kill each-other because of an insane DICTATOR again!
    PLEASE translate our PETITION, and we will send it to the international media ASAP. My english is not perfect for it!
    We are more than 4OO.OOO member of oposition FACEBOOK civil groups. Also we are not member to any current parties. The existing civil oragnizations are also ready to join any alliance to save our beautiful country from this MAFIA-disaster!
    PLEASE HELP!
    WRITE ABOUT US!!!!
    Please write about the majority of the country, who would not vote to any of these creap parties, who were stollen our future in the last 22 years!
    Here is the list and my blog articles, about 23.OCTOBER! People read this and want to belive we have a chance, if the World will turn the intention to Hungary. The Axe-gate case was the last dropp in the glas. We don’t want to see again someone burning our flag!
    WE HAVE THE COUNTDOWN.
    If nothing will happens till 23.October, there is a high risk that our blod will be floating on the streets of Budapest. The head of the Mafia, Mr Sandor Pinter will give out the shooting order without any emotional problem.
    We want to send our message to the US government as well to the EU leaders!
    The FIDESZ has no more 2/3. They have only 16% pole statistic, lower than ever! They have no rights to kill us, but we have the right to send them to Hell!
    PLEASE HELP US!
    Here is the portfolio.hu article from yesterday about the parties preferencies: The independent voters % are increased again in the last two month from 52% went up to 55% !!!! We are in majority!
    http://www.portfolio.hu/vallalatok/tarki_a_fidesz_es_az_mszp_nepszerusege_is_csokkent.173404.html
    Thank you,
    Hunleonidas http://wp.me/p2BNDT-kV
    PETÍCIÓ A KORMÁNYNAK!
    Visszaszámlálás: még 27 nap van OKTÓBER 23-áig! TOP 110 FACEBOOK csoport a demokráciáért! Hungarianvirus.wordpress.com

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