The zeal of Viktor Orbán: Where will it lead?

In some respects the present political leadership reminds me more of the Rákosi regime than of the Kádár period. Before someone jumps on me, let me emphasize the words “in some respects.” First and foremost, I think of the zeal with which the Orbán-led political elite began to rebuild society. This entailed a radical change of everything known before. The Fidesz leadership seems to be very satisfied with the results. Just the other day László Kövér claimed that under their rule all the nooks and crannies of society that had developed since the regime change of 1989-90 were reshaped. Everything that came before 2010 had to be altered in order to build a new Hungary.

The last time we saw such zeal was in the late 1940s and early 1950s when the communists wanted to turn the whole world upside down or, to use another metaphor, to wipe the slate clean. As one of their songs promised: “we will erase the past.” And they began in earnest. They wanted to build an entirely new political system–immediately.

Such attempts usually fail because such rapid change cannot be achieved without ransacking the economy. If one lets the experts go for political reasons and fills their positions with people who finished at best eight grades, the results are predictable. If you get rid of the former manager of a factory because he is deemed to be reactionary and you hire a worker without any experience in management to run the newly nationalized factory, we know what will happen. And indeed, in no time the Hungarian economy, which had recovered after the war with surprising speed, was in ruins. Food rations had to be reintroduced in 1951 or 1952.

This is the same kind of zeal that one sees with the Orbán government. Only yesterday Tibor Navracsics proudly announced that in three years they managed to pass 600 new laws. He added–because Orbán and company can certainly compete with Rákosi and his gang when it comes to bragging–that these laws are of the highest quality. In fact, legal scholars are horrified at the poor quality of the legislative bills pushed through in a great hurry with last-minute amendments.

By contrast János Kádár, who became the first secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party (at that point called Magyar Szocialista Munkáspárt), moved slowly, hoping to gain acceptance after the failed uprising. In fact, the whole Kádár period was known for its cautious, deliberate move toward a less oppressive regime. It was still a dictatorship but it was based on an understanding with the citizens who were ready to make some political compromises in exchange for a better life. By the 1980s, although there were some taboo topics,  intellectual freedom was greater than in any of the other satellite countries.

Intellectual freedom. Unfortunately the present political elite’s attitude toward literature and art greatly resembles that of the Rákosi era when there was a long list of forbidden books and when, as far as art and literature were concerned, socialist realism was the only accepted form. The situation today is not very different. The government supports art and literature that is “national.” Modernity is out and the nineteenth-century classical style is favored. Fidesz politicians on both the local and the national level make sure that only theater directors who cater to their taste are appointed. The very successful director Róbert Alföldi lost out in his bid to continue with his work at the National Theater to a man who talks about the National Theater as a sacred place that he plans to have blessed by a Catholic priest. The plays he is going to stage are mostly written by Hungarian authors. The emphasis is on Hungarian, not on quality.

I could easily be charged with overstating the similarities between the two leaders and their governments. For instance, one could retort, don’t compare the poverty of the Rákosi regime to that of today. But don’t forget that in the late 1940s and early 1950s Hungary was still paying war reparations to Russia while today Hungary is getting handsome subsidies from the European Union. Believe me, without that money Hungary would not be able to meet its financial obligations. Another difference is that today there are still large foreign companies in Hungary which by the way are practically the only source of Hungarian exports. Without them the country would be in even greater economic trouble than it is now. However, Viktor Orbán is working hard to take over some of the foreign companies and banks. And if he continues with his onerous tax policy, the owners of these businesses will most likely be glad to sell to a state that seems more than eager to take them over and that, so far at least, has not balked at overpaying.

Viktor Orbán as some blogger sees him / ellenallas.blog

Viktor Orbán as a blogger sees him / ellenallas.blog

As for the clientele of the two regimes. The Hungarian communists in 1948 and afterwards wanted to obliterate the old upper and even lower middle classes and give power to the working class. The better-off peasantry was also considered to be an enemy of the people. They made  no secret of the fact that they wanted a complete change: those who were on the top would be at the bottom and the poor peasants and workers would be on top. They didn’t even try to hide their intentions. Orbán is undertaking the same kind of social restructuring, albeit with different winners and losers. His goal is a complete change of not only the business but also the intellectual elite. Those who sympathize with the liberals or the socialists will be squeezed out and politically reliable Fidesz supporters will take their place.

People I know and whose opinion I trust tell me that Magyar Televízió and Magyar Rádió had more balanced reporting in the second half of the 1980s than they do today. This is where Hungary has ended up after three years of frantic Fidesz efforts to remake the country.

András Bruck in a brilliant essay that appeared a few days ago in Élet és Irodalom insists that despite appearances Hungary today is a dictatorship because what else can one call a system in which every decision is made and put into practice by one man? And what is really depressing, says Bruck, is that the dictatorship prior to 1989 was forced upon Hungary by Soviet power. Today there is no such outside pressure. Hungarians themselves gave Fidesz practically unlimited power and for the time being show no signs of wanting to get rid of Viktor Orbán and Fidesz. In fact, 1.5 million people are devoted to him and in a nationalist frenzy are ready to fight against the colonizers of the European Union. A shameful situation.

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43 comments

  1. I would suggest that there is a form of outside pressure, or rather a system of managerialism which Fidesz can easily fit into. It is the same system that has taken over elsewhere in Europe and in North America. Managers are chosen not for their competence in the field which they are managing, but for their ability to coerce and humiliate those under them into submission. For example, it is now common for registered nurses in an extended care setting to be managed by someone who has only a practical nursing diploma, or who has no expertise at all in nursing. What is important is to show who’s boss, and for this the humiliation of those ‘think they know too much’ is of paramount importance.

  2. Shameful situation indeed. I can’t comprehend how Hungarians could sink this low…. willingly support and/or tolerate a dictator….. the oppression we don’t take from foreign powers, we accept from Orban… just because he is Hungarian?

  3. @Kamilla: Large bureaucratic organization tend to have their shortcomings in any country… what is going in Hungary, goes beyond that.

  4. With my current North Eastern Hungarian experience I am sad to say a very sizeable section of the population does not understand the consequences of the feudal system bult up with such lightning speed by the Orbán Regime.

    The reason is the efficiency of the PR logic used by the government which is aimed specifically at those who have voting power but their reasoning is based on entrenched anti-capitalist and nationalist attitudes.

    After all, many have lost their jobs in former communist-maintained industries that were touted during their active lifetime as an etalon of achievement.

    Upon losing these jobs, these workers were left in the cold to fend for themselves. The EU’s support for retrainig was used inefficiently, and proved ineffective.. Also, the EU was not visibly present as a caring element despite the huge sums of money it was spending.

    As a consequence a large percentage of the population is angry at the changes experienced since 1989. And often understandably. Whole and often successful industries were destroyed in order to make way for foreign industires to succeed. In any case that is how it appears to the eyes of those now without work.

    The former workers eased out of life’s necessities are delighted at being visibly offered a tool to try to readust the ecomónomy to something familiar to them !!!

    The nationalist, state controlled alternative harks back to the good old routine with its potentials of workplace, government sponored vacations, beer and food at a reasonable cost. That, after all is their hope.

    The hard reality viewed from the increasingly large and poor polpulation’s viewpoint is quite different from the one experienced by outside observers who have been experiencing a different “zeitgeist”, and a different commercial and political logic.

    This, above should provide a framework for the westerner to understand why so many Hungarians are not acting in ways expected by western logic.

  5. The EU had to reject the underdeveloped and poor Hungary.
    The EU support is landing in the pocket of select small group.
    This must be stopped.
    All participants must be investigated, and tried according to the evidences.

  6. It’s the extraordinary willingness of a large part of the Hungarian population to believe complete invention or outright nonsense – rather than the evidence of their own eyes, common sense, or pockets – that’s at the root of the problems here. For example, I remember when Hungary joined the EU it was widely believed that the ‘Europeans’ were planning to ban Hungary’s poppy-seed pastries once the country joined up. This was obviously never going to happen (quite apart from anything else, numerous EU countries have their own poppy-seed bakery products, including Britain) … but once it didn’t happen, people shrugged and merely moved onto the next paranoia. Orban has tapped into this strange instinct and fueled it with his control of a hysterical media (nicely trialed during the hugely successful character-assassination on Gyurcsany carried out between 2006 and 2010). Anyway, this is why we are where we are. But what can we do about this other than continue to think laterally about how to challenge these unquestioned misconceptions at the very root of the 1.5(+) million supporters’ devotion?

  7. A few times I brought up one of my favourite movie, directed by the fantastic Vittorio De Sica, from Giorgio Bassani’s historical novel, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. It is a genious study of human nature. The “It will not happen to me.” is something that so many Hungarians believed through history, but especially when it comes to Orban. Orban seems like a decent man, he spoke up for the country, he must wants the best for Hungary. His fans even though they are not perfect believe that Orban will make their life better because they believe in him, and they serve him. They feel a personal connection with the consultations. Never mind that few other millions received the same letters, the ones who send it back “establish” a relationship. It is like the star stalkers who believe that if their beloved would meet them in person he would never want anyone else.

    I used to have a friend, who’s mother is a Jobbik fan, but at least a Fidesz supporter. My friend married a Jew, and they had two children, but this did not stop the grandma to run around and tell everyone how great the Jobbik is for all Hungarians. The funny thing is that even my friend believes in Jobbik, and believes in Orban. What reminded me for this whole story is that I seen the footage on Index, how the “supporters” of Vidnyanszky were lining up for tickets to the Nemzeti, and this grandma was in the line. As most of you know the National Theater (Nemzeti) was taken away from its current director, very much because he is gay. I am not going into details in here, because we discussed this here before and because it was all over in the Hungarians news too. THe new director (although he supposed to be a good director) brings a nationalist flair to the Theatre now. Eva wrote about this “The very successful director Róbert Alföldi lost out in his bid to continue with his work at the National Theater to a man who talks about the National Theater as a sacred place that he plans to have blessed by a Catholic priest. The plays he is going to stage are mostly written by Hungarian authors. The emphasis is on Hungarian, not on quality.”

    Now, lets take a well known rebellious Hungarian blues musician (actor), Hobo, who was never afraid to challenge the status quo under Kadar, and even after. Hobo (68 years old now) signed his contract with the new director. WHy? Because the new director is a good director, and they have history together, and it is too bad that he was dragged into this political match. THis is what Hobo says. He does not see, that no one dragged the new director into this mass. He knew darn well why they try to get rid off Alfoldi, he knew darn well, that with his over the border Hungarian director resume, with his nationalistic, catholistic Hungarian disposition he will win. THis is the director who did not raise his voice when a Fidesz government representative sitting next to him called the current Nemzeti’s direction a faggot direction. ….and Hobo does not see anything wrong with the new director. Hobo is the problem of Hungary. He represents those Hungarians who are good and decent, and who stood up so many times for what was right, but now they just do not get it. It is not about them any more, it is about someone else, because themselves are “insiders”, or so they think. they will go wit the flow because they will not swim against it, and they do not see the problem. Hobo Loves Ginsberg, I still remember in 1984 or 1985 in Budapest when Hobo dressed as Satan to play an Allan Ginsberg inspired play. Well, Allan Ginsberg was gay, or a faggot as Vidnyanszky would allow him to be called, and Ginsberg will not be played at the Nemzeti. Nothing is wrong with that. Is it?

  8. Nineteenth century style was not “classical”. It was Romantic in the earlier part of the century and then became more Realist as the century progressed. The eighteenth century was neo-classical, which was what Romanticism was rebelling against. It’s a very interesting period of literary history and politically very revolutionary. The 1917 revolution was the last great socialist uprising of the long nineteenth century. As for Rakosi and Orban, it feels like a a bit of a stretch.

  9. It never fails to amaze me how little attention Péter Tölgyessy’s recent series of essays on komment.hu have received. Of course they don’t fit the ‘Villains v. Victims’ narrative so dear to either large political block plus the messianistic Third Road groups. They point out how the current (maybe permanent) political and socioeconomic morass was brought about not by some spontaneous evil like Orbán the Bad but by deep-rooted anticapitalism, a perverted kind of nationalism (ultimately a result of the unsolved Trianon trauma) and a culture of grievances in all walks of life. What Tölgyessy fails to pinpoint is the particularly inefficient and, in the long run, antidemocratic system of political institutions, particularly the all-pervading two-thirds (i.e. non-electionary) principle in particular, which was taken for granted and even hailed by all political sides before 2010.

  10. Sorry for the mess. The last sentence should go like this:
    What Tölgyessy fails to pinpoint is the particularly inefficient and, in the long run, antidemocratic system of political institutions, especially the all-pervading two-thirds (i.e. non-electionary) principle as applied in legislation and appointments, which was taken for granted and even hailed by all political sides before 2010.

  11. There are two basic differences between the Rákosi and theOrbán system:
    1) While the Rákosi system was a one party system using the death sentence to abolish opposition, the Orbán system is a multiparty system without death sentence trusting the capability of the opposition to abolish itself.
    2) While Rákosi and his ilk believed they must change society so as to suit their ideology, Orbán and his ilk use the völkisch ideology cynically in order to fill the pockets.

  12. Eva: another good piece. While I think the Rakosi comparison can be “overdrawn” (though you were careful to note this), it is to me clear that is more appropriate to think about Orban more like a modified Communist politician (the church and the Nation standing in for the proletariat) than a fascist. Of course, as we all know, the political ideological spectrum is not a straight line, as at the extremes the left and right converge at a truly horrible point.
    The recent demonstrations in Turkey, Brazil and now Egypt had me thinking again what are the main difference with Hungary, where people are equally (if not more) miserable and equally (if not more) pessimistic about the future? Remember the catalyst for political change is not absolute deprivation, but relative disappointment. There are, I am sure, many possible answers, but a big differences (and I believe the saving grace for Orban) are demographics and Schengan. Hungary does not have the pool of young pool to lead a true mass movement (old people are much less likely to go out on the street and force a radical change), and the outlet for those who have no faith is easy: leave the country: work and live in the “more normal part” of Europe. Orban brilliantly uses the EU as the scapegoat, but the combination of EU money and the release free movement with the EU offers those who have given up on Hungary or want more from life is vital to sustaining this very imperfect Government.

  13. Anyone who wants an insight into how all this miserable and unquestioning worship and self-destructive mindset might actually be possible, en-masse sometimes, could perhaps look at Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s masterful novel, ‘Satantango’, or the equally brilliant Bela Tarr movie adaptation.

    The plot (spoiler!) – such as it is – minutely details the collapse of a Hungarian rural community, in which the villagers happily fall under the spell of a charismatic fraudster who (almost openly) leads them to their ruin and relieves them of their money, an end they happily embrace – taken in by tricksy speech and an inability to question. They worship his every word, have an increasingly mystical reverence for him and happily hand over their remaining few forints, even as he leaves them in a destitute situation that they cannot even perceive (so painstaking has his manipulative work been). The reader and viewer look on, helpless, as the apparently implausible becomes horrifyingly real.

    Sound familiar? Both (available in English) were created long before current events – and appear to be set just after the ‘changes’ – but they were really prescient, a microcosm, in the form of a small community, of what is happening nationally, now.

  14. NWO :
    Eva: another good piece. While I think the Rakosi comparison can be “overdrawn” (though you were careful to note this), it is to me clear that is more appropriate to think about
    Orban more like a modified Communist politician (the church and the Nation standing in for the proletariat) than a fascist. Of course, as we all know, the political ideological spectrum is not a straight line, as at the extremes the left and right converge at a truly horrible point.
    The recent demonstrations in Turkey, Brazil and now Egypt had me thinking again what are the main difference with Hungary, where people are equally (if not more) miserable and equally (if not more) pessimistic about the future? Remember the catalyst for political change is not absolute deprivation, but relative disappointment. There are, I am sure, many possible answers, but a big differences (and I believe the saving grace for Orban) are demographics and Schengan. Hungary does not have the pool of young pool to lead a true mass movement (old people are much less likely to go out on the street and force a radical change), and the outlet for those who have no faith is easy: leave the country: work and live in the “more normal part” of Europe. Orban brilliantly uses the EU as the scapegoat, but the combination of EU money and the release free movement with the EU offers those who have given up on Hungary or want more from life is vital to sustaining this very imperfect Government.

    Hungary had it’s mass anti-government demonstrations already. They took place in 2006 and were brutally crushed by the Gyurcsany government.

  15. Dan :

    Hungary had it’s mass anti-government demonstrations already. They took place in 2006 and were brutally crushed by the Gyurcsany government.

    What can one say for such obvious falsification of facts?

  16. One might say that he hasn’t read many of your posts researching these matters, or indeed Jozsef Debreceni’s recent book on these events?

  17. Ivan :
    Anyone who wants an insight into how all this miserable and unquestioning worship and self-destructive mindset might actually be possible, en-masse sometimes, could perhaps look at Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s masterful novel, ‘Satantango’, or the equally brilliant Bela Tarr movie adaptation.
    The plot (spoiler!) – such as it is – minutely details the collapse of a Hungarian rural community, in which the villagers happily fall under the spell of a charismatic fraudster who (almost openly) leads them to their ruin and relieves them of their money, an end they happily embrace – taken in by tricksy speech and an inability to question. They worship his every word, have an increasingly mystical reverence for him and happily hand over their remaining few forints, even as he leaves them in a destitute situation that they cannot even perceive (so painstaking has his manipulative work been). The reader and viewer look on, helpless, as the apparently implausible becomes horrifyingly real.
    Sound familiar? Both (available in English) were created long before current events – and appear to be set just after the ‘changes’ – but they were really prescient, a microcosm, in the form of a small community, of what is happening nationally, now.

    @Ivan Yes, Satantango is a masterpiece. Last time we talked about it here was in 2011, when Tarr made his comments after winning the Silver Bear in Berlin. Unfortunately we did not touch on what the movie is about. I still just like back then, encourage everyone to sit through the seven hours. It is worth it. I should watch it again myself, it s just so depressing, although not more than Hungarian politics today. Please, watch Fizzi Continis It is a more “crowd pleasing” piece, but it is s good one.

  18. Eva S. Balogh :

    Dan :
    Hungary had it’s mass anti-government demonstrations already. They took place in 2006 and were brutally crushed by the Gyurcsany government.

    What can one say for such obvious falsification of facts?

    No kidding. Dan, remind you that it was a mob that can be recruited in soccer stadiums, that went on and caused a riot. Please, do not mix up riot with demonstrations! THat is falsification of facts all rift, and Fidesz does that better then you do. Let me remind you that it was Gyurcsany who did not want the police to use live ammunition against the rioters, and it were Fidesz members who were unhappy for the police not firing into the crowd! (Thanks for allowing me to repost this sad reminder about how far Fidesz would go against its imaginary enemies: http://tinyurl.com/3w26c6a , original document: http://www.parlament.hu/biz38/bizjkv38/HOB/0609191t.pdf )
    At the same time if that mob would of succeeded, we would have more soccer stadiums probably by now, as they had no idea what they were rioting for, since after they “occupied” the MTV they had no idea what to do. Most of them went home to bed. Those who were arrested received a full pardon from Orban including many who Fidesz called in to protect them (Szoke Feri : http://m.cdn.blog.hu/ti/tintafolt/image/szoke-feri-hitler-hulyevel-qpr.jpg ) from the peaceful non-riot, sit down protesters a few months back. (Please let me know from the attached picture taken infront of the Fidesz building if you cannot figure out who were the protesters, and who were there called in to deal with the dreadful situation: http://hetek.hu/belfold/201303/fideszt_vedo_b_kozep )
    If you would not agree with these facts, please let us know.
    Regards.

  19. I was actually there observing what happened. On the second night of demonstrations after the TV station was stormed the Justice Minister went on TV saying that the police would be justified using live ammunition. That was a sigmal for the police to use full force. I saw police in blue jump suits without any identification numbers, sometimes wearing masks, running around the streets beating up kids – badly. The police behaved like common thugs. I saw this with my own eyes. How many people commenting here spent both nights out on the streets of Budapest observing what happened? I know some people try to cast it as a fascist riot but that is what elites always do when faced with a popular revolt. They denigrate the protesters as scum and rabble. That’s what they’re doing in Turkey, Syria, Brazil, etc. And it’s exactly what the Gyurcsany government did.

  20. Karl Pfeifer: Fidesz pockets and money!!!

    Karl gave us the key, Let us use it.
    It is the plain and correct description of the greedy Fidesz mind.
    All other facets are more or less irrelevant.

  21. @Dan: What was going down at the TV station was not pretty. And it was not pretty for the police who were threatened by, yes, thugs… In the following days the police became more forceful…and I have no doubt that many people got caught up in this who had nothing to do with the thugs. By the way, in their first reaction, Fidesz blamed the police for not being forceful enough (even going as far as asking why they didn’t use live ammunition!) but then they realized it is a lot better for them if they start glorifying the protesters.

  22. Dan :
    I was actually there observing what happened.

    You observed what the Fidesz wanted you to observe … They wanted to provoke an incompetent, disorganized police force that went heavy handed here and there. You are victim of the Fidesz propaganda machine. The evil socialist government crushing the uprising is a myth. What’s going on in Ankara is a brutal crushing not 2006 BP.

  23. [OT] It’s a tiny compensation since I strongly doubt the conclusions of the Tavares report will be adopted, but watching József Szájer (who dared to compare Fidesz speaking time with that of the accused in Stalin’s show trials) and Kinga Gál being slapped in Strasbourg is a pleasure.

  24. Dan :
    I was actually there observing what happened. On the second night of demonstrations after the TV station was stormed the Justice Minister went on TV saying that the police would be justified using live ammunition. That was a sigmal for the police to use full force. I saw police in blue jump suits without any identification numbers, sometimes wearing masks, running around the streets beating up kids – badly. The police behaved like common thugs. I saw this with my own eyes. How many people commenting here spent both nights out on the streets of Budapest observing what happened? I know some people try to cast it as a fascist riot but that is what elites always do when faced with a popular revolt. They denigrate the protesters as scum and rabble. That’s what they’re doing in Turkey, Syria, Brazil, etc. And it’s exactly what the Gyurcsany government did.

    Dear Dan,
    And what did you protest for? (It was a democratically elected government after all. Isn’t what Fidesz says all the time when they are being accused of lying?) Are you talking about the September or the October events? Who were you with?
    I am not sure how could you be at every location in two days but I take your word for it. My friends have a different account from yours but they left when the riot started (I guess when you arrived.) A link to the speech of the Justice Minister’s speech would be nice, as I asked for facts, not for folktales.
    Here are some photographs about the non-“fascist riot”. (By the way my relatives are anything but elites, if that makes you feel any better.) As you can see on one of the pictures the police is pushed into a corner while being pelted with rocks. On an other picture when they are walking some people to the police car, take a loom on the policeman’s face!
    You consider as being elite, I guess. What do you consider Orban? (I think he can buy us all out.)
    As for how it was to witness the events. Here is a firsthand account right inside the MTV:
    http://torokgaborelemez.blog.hu/2010/09/22/250_a_teveostrom_emlekei

    Also, what I find interesting is that it is a known fact that the police have been accused of not being ready for such riots. The rioters overpowered the police. It was in front of the court. So if they were overpowered and hurt because they were not prepared, why would you say that it were the rioters who were abused? You know if I would be cornered in as a police man , I would use some brutal force to get out of there. Maybe not you, but I am talking about myself.
    Having said this, not for a moment I say that there were no injuries or there were no innocent people who gut hurt. As at any riot, things can get out of hand.

    One m ore thing, actually it is Zsolt Nemeth, Fidsz’s foreign minister who embraces the police brutality in Turkey now, and saying that in Turkey democracy is well and alive, and the police have every right to protect it. So far hundreds of people got injured. So, Dan who side are you really on?

  25. Dan :

    I was actually there observing what happened. On the second night of demonstrations after the TV station was stormed the Justice Minister went on TV saying that the police would be justified using live ammunition. That was a sigmal for the police to use full force.

    Sorry, you don’t remember correctly. The justice minister said nothing of the sort. Who said that was a Fidesz member in a parliamentary committee dealing with the riots. Yes, FIDESZ! He complained that the government was using strong enough measures. The minister of justice didn’t make any speech that would justify “police terror.” Please check your facts because otherwise you claims based on false facts can completely collapse.

  26. Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10) :

    [OT] It’s a tiny compensation since I strongly doubt the conclusions of the Tavares report will be adopted, but watching József Szájer (who dared to compare Fidesz speaking time with that of the accused in Stalin’s show trials) and Kinga Gál being slapped in Strasbourg is a pleasure.

    I just finished watching it. Szájer shot himself in the foot. How can you say something like that. Schulz shut up Szájer and Gál and then you didn’t even mention Ágnes Hankiss who instead of a question she was entitled wanted to deliver a speech. She was forced to sit down. Orbán’s face was worth watching. Too bad that he sat in the front row and therefore relatively few people had the pleasure of his facial expressions which were not very pretty.

  27. Mutt :

    Dan :
    I was actually there observing what happened.

    You observed what the Fidesz wanted you to observe … They wanted to provoke an incompetent, disorganized police force that went heavy handed here and there. You are victim of the Fidesz propaganda machine. The evil socialist government crushing the uprising is a myth. What’s going on in Ankara is a brutal crushing not 2006 BP.

    @Mutt

    I’m afraid many people just can’t appreciate the deviousness of Orban’s mind games: Is he capable of sending in an inexperienced force to get overwhelmed so that he can trout that out to the media and the West of what’s taking place in Hungary? He surely is. And, in consequence, should he happen to need it–which he surely will find the opportunity for–he will apply supra-force…the excuse now having been established.
    Felcsutian mind games, that’s all. It’s like a giant chess game and the diabolical Orban plays several moves ahead.

  28. Dan :

    Orbán had just recently good words for Erdogan. In Turkey 11 people lost an eye, because the police shot them. The demonstrators in Turkey did not flare the TV building nor did they torch cars. In Budapest in 2006 the nazi riffraff was perpetrating crimes.

  29. Eva S. Balogh :I just finished watching it. Szájer shot himself in the foot. How can you say something like that. Schulz shut up Szájer and Gál and then you didn’t even mention Ágnes Hankiss who instead of a question she was entitled wanted to deliver a speech. She was forced to sit down. Orbán’s face was worth watching. Too bad that he sat in the front row and therefore relatively few people had the pleasure of his facial expressions which were not very pretty.

    Alas OV was good, as he often is in the EP. Putting the accent from the start on the Socialist/PPE divide right before the debate on Bulgaria was a clever move – even if the strongest criticism came from the ALDE members.

  30. Eva S. Balogh :

    Dan :
    I was actually there observing what happened. On the second night of demonstrations after the TV station was stormed the Justice Minister went on TV saying that the police would be justified using live ammunition. That was a sigmal for the police to use full force.

    Sorry, you don’t remember correctly. The justice minister said nothing of the sort. Who said that was a Fidesz member in a parliamentary committee dealing with the riots. Yes, FIDESZ! He complained that the government was using strong enough measures. The minister of justice didn’t make any speech that would justify “police terror.” Please check your facts because otherwise you claims based on false facts can completely collapse.

    This article from Al-Jazeera confirms what I saw on HirTv at the time. The justice minister Jozsef Petretei sent a message to the police to use maximum force by saying the use of live ammunition would have been justified. This is a fact on the record:

    “Jozsef Petretei, the justice minister, raised the prospect of imposing a curfew, telling state radio that the government “will take whatever measures are required” to stop rioting.

    He was separately quoted by hirTV television, as saying “the use of weapons would have been justified by police to stop some of the more violent radicals over the past two days.”

    http://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2006/09/200849135024189805.html

    As for myself, I was there observing in a professional capacity. There were football hooligans and far-right wingers who stormed the the TV station. But there were also plenty of average people. I saw someone close up break a policeman’s leg with a rock on the steps outside the TV building. The violence was intense and very disturbing, probably the worst I’ve ever seen. But that doesn’t excuse the police going on a revenge attack by hiding their identities and beating people up on the streets on the second night. The police were totally out of control and criminal.

  31. andysomos: “The nationalist, state controlled alternative harks back to the good old routine with its potentials of workplace, government sponored vacations, beer and food at a reasonable cost.”

    I hope that people will not be disappointed this time… And where will they turn to when these “potentials of workplace etc.” will not materialise…?!

  32. Eva S. Balogh :

    Dan :
    Hungary had it’s mass anti-government demonstrations already. They took place in 2006 and were brutally crushed by the Gyurcsany government.

    What can one say for such obvious falsification of facts?

    And what exactly does this mean for today? That people have already demonstrated “enough”, or that they fear that Orban would act even more brutally? Or that because they demonstrated against Gyurcsany, they now must support his successor?

  33. Kirsten :
    andysomos: “The nationalist, state controlled alternative harks back to the good old routine with its potentials of workplace, government sponored vacations, beer and food at a reasonable cost.”
    I hope that people will not be disappointed this time… And where will they turn to when these “potentials of workplace etc.” will not materialise…?!

    Kirsten: Thank you for referring to my comment (No.5)..

    Your question is well taken, as my comment pertains to the false hopes that the Orbán Regime is builidng in people, all the while secretly taking money out of their pockets.

    Viewing this, as in my case, from inside Hungary, let me assure you that the goal of the Orban logic is simply to win the elections in 2014 and thereby prolong the free ride gained for his small elite’s cohorts.

    He has done nothing more than to bamboozle the system in order to assure the long-term wealth of his feudal mini-group of party faithful.

    He has established the TEK elite police force (equipped with the very latest military equipment) to stand ready (assisted by the military also under his command) to protect his faithful in case of a rebellion agains him and his regime.

    The system is built on the premise that the average former worker is tired to rebel… When later (as now) he canot deliver the goods, he will continue his delusional verbal and system-related logic..). — The disappointed will just collapse from the fatigue and the pain of being once again mislead.

    The Hungarians today are victims and tired and afraid to rebel. Nearly 60 painful years of delusional talk have taken their toll.

    The Orbán system is calculated to take advantage of this sad fact to squeeze the last gram of energy out of the population still left within the country…

    It might not seem so from the outside but I see it daily, right from within!!!

    The EU parliament also sees the process clearly (Tavares Report, Helsinki Committee, and all the Commissions in Brussels). as well as the Hungarian Spectrum and most of its followers.

    Why has it come this far? That is the question.

    The answer is that the EU administration’s leadership simply feels sorry for the Hungarian population! Nobody wants to punish an innocent people who have already suffered so much – a people too weak by now to rebel as the popullation does more energetically in Greece, Egypt, Syria, or Turkey.

    Any coercive action taken by the EU would have an additional very negative effect on the fate of the average Hungarian, that is, on about 80+% of the population — that after all is 8 million helpless Hungarians…

    Coming back to your question as to how the average worker will react to being cheated by the Orbán regime’s false hopes. — The real question needs to be put to the EU’s leaderhip and convice them that maybe its more useful to put a firm stop to all this shenanigan than to prolong the pain… This alternative would bring about a painful but earlier change in the current system.

    It is like deciding for a medical operation: Do it now or later?
    In my personal opinion, if the operations hast to happen then lets begin NOW. Let the European Parliament take decisive and painful action before the bandits take off with an even larger loot and stop the false hopes and wasted bloodletting now!

  34. Eva S. Balogh :

    Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10) :
    [OT] It’s a tiny compensation since I strongly doubt the conclusions of the Tavares report will be adopted, but watching József Szájer (who dared to compare Fidesz speaking time with that of the accused in Stalin’s show trials) and Kinga Gál being slapped in Strasbourg is a pleasure.

    I just finished watching it. Szájer shot himself in the foot. How can you say something like that. Schulz shut up Szájer and Gál and then you didn’t even mention Ágnes Hankiss who instead of a question she was entitled wanted to deliver a speech. She was forced to sit down. Orbán’s face was worth watching. Too bad that he sat in the front row and therefore relatively few people had the pleasure of his facial expressions which were not very pretty.

    As in my quote above, the full text of Fidesz representatives can be read in the pdf doc, the summary in the other.
    http://tinyurl.com/3w26c6a ,
    http://www.parlament.hu/biz38/bizjkv38/HOB/0609191t.pdf )
    So Dan, how do you feel about Fidesz now? THey were the ones who wished the police would fire at YOU with real bullets when you were innocently taking notes about the happenings of the streets of Budapest.
    We are totally listening!

  35. Dan :

    NWO :

    Hungary had it’s mass anti-government demonstrations already. They took place in 2006 and were brutally crushed by the Gyurcsany government.

    Dan

    Leaving aside the factual argument as to who was at fault, there is another important point from 2006. If there are elements that are inclined to come out on the street in Hungary it is very much concentrated on the radical, far right.

  36. What is shameful is that neither ALL of you, nor Bruck has any idea on the key factor of a dictatorship: it is a rule over the people AGAINST THEIR WILL.
    Today’s “rule” is a governance of people ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN WILL. Like it or not, you are debating with Hungary’s voters who had the temerirty to vote on someone you do not happen to like.

  37. Johnny

    Johnny Boy :
    What is shameful is that neither ALL of you, nor Bruck has any idea on the key factor of a dictatorship: it is a rule over the people AGAINST THEIR WILL.
    Today’s “rule” is a governance of people ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN WILL. Like it or not, you are debating with Hungary’s voters who had the temerirty to vote on someone you do not happen to like.

    Adolf Hitler said also that in Germany after 1933 there was governance of people according to their own will.

    The problem is not that in Johnnys mind, some people dislike Orbán, but the fact that Hungary under Orbán is opting out of democracy.
    There is plenty of evidence for that. Of course some simpleton believes in the Hungarian government propaganda, that Orbán and his ilk have the right to fill their pockets while
    giving nonsensical Turul speeches etc.
    The Tavares report is proof, Europe is waking up. That makes Orbán very nervous.

  38. Karl Pfeifer :
    Johnny
    Adolf Hitler said also that in Germany after 1933 there was governance of people according to their own will.
    The problem is not that in Johnnys mind, some people dislike Orbán, but the fact that Hungary under Orbán is opting out of democracy.
    There is plenty of evidence for that. Of course some simpleton believes in the Hungarian government propaganda, that Orbán and his ilk have the right to fill their pockets while
    giving nonsensical Turul speeches etc.
    The Tavares report is proof, Europe is waking up. That makes Orbán very nervous.

    “opting out of democracy”: not a fact, but your extremely biased opinion.
    No evidence for that. The Tavares report is no proof, it is full of factual errors. Europe is squirming against Orbán but cannot really do anything to undermine the legally elected government representing HUNGARY’S WILL.
    And Orbán is using the EU’s idiocy in his own domestic campaign for his own advantage.

  39. Johnny Boy :

    Karl Pfeifer :
    Johnny
    Adolf Hitler said also that in Germany after 1933 there was governance of people according to their own will.
    The problem is not that in Johnnys mind, some people dislike Orbán, but the fact that Hungary under Orbán is opting out of democracy.
    There is plenty of evidence for that. Of course some simpleton believes in the Hungarian government propaganda, that Orbán and his ilk have the right to fill their pockets while
    giving nonsensical Turul speeches etc.
    The Tavares report is proof, Europe is waking up. That makes Orbán very nervous.

    “opting out of democracy”: not a fact, but your extremely biased opinion.
    No evidence for that. The Tavares report is no proof, it is full of factual errors. Europe is squirming against Orbán but cannot really do anything to undermine the legally elected government representing HUNGARY’S WILL.
    And Orbán is using the EU’s idiocy in his own domestic campaign for his own advantage.

    The Tavares report is according to you “full of factual errors”, please tell us more about subject matter, give us a list of factual errors.

  40. Karl Pfeifer :
    [Johnny Boy] The Tavares report is according to you “full of factual errors”, please tell us more about subject matter, give us a list of factual errors.

    Johnny Boy probably read it on the kormany.hu (the web site of the Hungarian government) and subsequently on the MTI. So it must be true, it’s in the papers as my mother in law said once.

    Enikő Győri, undersecretary responsible for the EU affairs coughed up this a lame document below.

    The document points out a slew of so called “factual errors”.

    Factual errors like, “the report erroneously states that the democracy is in danger in Hungary”. Aha! That’s an error! Gotcha! Because everybody knows the democracy is flourishing in Hungary … Well everybody, except 370 members of the European Parliament.

    Johnny Boy just made a clown of himself when he blindly quoted this joke document.

    http://bit.ly/19Ztl1y

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