What now? Civilians versus party leaders

Tomorrow’s demonstration is being organized by a Facebook group called “MostMi!” (Now us!). The chief organizer of MostMi! is Zsolt Várady, a man who two years before Mark Zuckerberg hit upon the idea of Facebook, started iWiW, a Hungarian site. Later purchased by Magyar Telekom, iWiW no longer exists. Várady tried his luck in Berlin but couldn’t quite make it as a software developer. Now back in Hungary, he has been waging a war for some time against the Hungarian tax system which in his opinion is ruinous for Hungarian entrepreneurs.

Várady’s strategy was bizarre. Sometime at the beginning of October he sued every Hungarian party that has existed since 1990, fifteen all told, for being responsible for the widespread tax evasion effectively foisted upon Hungarian citizens because of the existing system of taxation. Quite clearly, Várady does not like parties. The very name he gave to the organization responsible for tomorrow’s demonstration is telling: “Now us!” It implies that all the parties of the last twenty-five years have failed and that the time has come for him and other unaffiliated citizens to take the reins.

What does MostMi! want to achieve tomorrow? “We would like to experience again the same liberating feeling [of earlier demonstrations] after the holidays. To feel that we are not alone and that we dare to raise our voices against this regime.” I’m afraid this is not quite enough. It looks as if MostMi! will be unable to rouse large numbers of demonstrators. As of now only about 10,000 people have indicated they will attend. Of course, it’s mighty cold out.

But there might be an additional reason for the lack of enthusiasm. Speakers at earlier demonstrations talked about the misery of the last twenty-five years and railed against all politicians, no matter their political stripe, while the crowds demanded: “Orbán takarodj!” (Orbán scram!). The civil organizers and the demonstrators were not in sync. Many of the demonstrators are followers of already existing parties. They would vote for MSZP, DK, Együtt, PM, LMP–that is, mostly for the parties of the old “Összefogás” group. These parties want to remove the present government from power. Várady and his co-organizers, by contrast, are working to eliminate all the existing democratic parties while they wait for a new generation of pristine politicians to emerge from their own ranks to eliminate the present regime.

In the last week or so, several political analysts argued against letting civilians take the lead to the exclusion of parties because they are convinced that if parties don’t join the movement, it will end up just like Milla, another Facebook initiative, did. Milla refused to cooperate with established parties and as a result it disappeared, practically without a trace.

It is usually Ferenc Gyurcsány who makes the first move when he sees an opportunity. The Orbán government has been greatly weakened and, in his opinion, it is time for political action. He was the only politician on the left who announced that the opposition should devise a strategy that would result in an election in 2016 instead of 2018. For that, the parties must come out of hibernation and join the movement that was begun by the civilians. They seem to be the ones who can gather crowds, but the crowds are not as politically unaffiliated as the civic organizers think. The very fact that they go out on the street is a political act. And politics needs parties.

goal
On December 22, Gyurcsány asked his followers to join the demonstration once again, but this time with party flags and emblems. The reaction from the MostMi! group was predictable. They subscribed to the Milla template: no parties, no slogans. “Now us!” But who are the “us”?  Even a conservative blog,”1000 A Mi Hazánk,” insisted that parties must make their appearance because otherwise the whole momentum of the demonstrations will be lost. On the liberal side, István Gusztos in Gépnarancs was of the same mind. As he said, “the organizers sooner or later must understand that political parties are civic formations par excellence.” Keeping civilians away from parties is an impediment to their renewal, which will make a struggle against the present regime impossible.

A telephone conversation between Várady and Gyurcsány did not resolve the impasse. Gyurcsány said that DK members and sympathizers who have faithfully attended earlier demonstrations will be happy to join Várady’s goup on January 2, but only if they can show their party preferences. The debate between DK and the organizers continued for days. The other parties, whom Gyurcsány called on to join DK’s example, remained quiet. The main reason for their reluctance was that they don’t want to appear to be following Gyurcsány’s lead. After all, József Tóbás, chairman of MSZP, made it clear that the socialists will never work together with any other party. They will the ones that will form a socialist government in 2018. Obviously, they also reject Gyurcsány’s strategy of holding early elections.

Naturally, the right-wing press was delighted to hear that the organizers “fell upon each other” while the liberals who sympathize with Gyurcsány felt that the civilians “screwed it up again.” Defenders of the civic leaders considered Ferenc Gyurcsány’s decision to be a way of usurping a demonstration that someone else organized. Indeed, by the rules of MostMi!’s game, Gyurcsány was trying to do exactly that. But as a liberal commentator said, “perhaps the rules of the game are wrong.”

The debate ended on December 30 when Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy, a leading DK politician, announced that DK activists had received threats by civilians and that, in order to avoid possible violence, Ferenc Gyurcsány had withdrawn his request for DK sympathizers to be able to display their affiliation and affinity with the party. At that time Kerék-Bárczy still called upon the party’s followers to attend the demonstration. A few hours later, however, DK spokesman Zsolt Gréczy said that Gyurcsány had decided that if DK members and sympathizers can’t show their real colors, they will not attend. Of course, he cannot forbid DK sympathizers from attending, but neither he nor Gréczy will be there tomorrow.

Meanwhile criticism of the MostMi! group continues. Another civilian, Gábor Szabó, who has been demonstrating in front of the parliament building for months, wrote an open letter to Zsolt Várady saying that “it would be time to clear up what the real purpose of the demonstration is because the crowd thinks that the demonstration is against the Orbán regime while it seems that the goal of Várady and his collaborators is the creation of a new opposition.”

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74 comments

  1. Mike, I like your dry sense of humour (“rudely interrupted experiment” 🙂 ). First, there is no rudely interrupted experiment. I have written that before, in my interpretation there was a half-hearted reform led more or less by so-called reform Communists in the late 1980s, with the contribution of the liberal dissidents around Janos Kis being in effect only limited (also because of the small number of people they could provide to staff the many positions in government, state and economy; so very many people kept their positions, and *of course* because Hungary was so “advanced” already before, this was considered quite alright). The influence of the nationalists including on Communists like Imre Pozsgay was (at least with hindsight) bigger. I have expressed my doubts about the ability of reform Communists to lead a transition towards liberal democracy a number of times. They are too much influenced by paternalist thinking about some vanguard, they are (too) suspicious of where participation of the broad public may lead to, and they have a (too) instrumental idea of power. In Hungary, add to that the conservative, nationalist undercurrent, of which you know best as you are kindly reminding us of exactly that. All leading to exactly NOT educating the public in political matters except those of that nothing can be done anyway and that politics is dirty business, and that most people are too stupid to be able to decide responsibly. A vicious circle. I believe that we broadly agree up to this point.

    But second, because in my impression there is no quick fix possible currently, I trust that a kind of brainstorming (I have no better word) is a first step to an improvement. No improvement is possible as long as the undercurrent of “the moment you accept foreign ideas, the nation has perished” rules, consciously or subconsciously. I can provide you with a number of other ideas cherished by Hungarians which are equal obstacles to change (incurable stupidity of most people, the uncurable corruption of all politicians, the uncurable rossz és gonosz in all people and the world, the wisdom of not playing by the rules etc.). You need to gather a critical mass of people who will be able to support a transition to a more modern definition of the political nation, as has been achieved already in Spain in particular but also (with a lot of foreign support) in Germany. The time horizon for that can be 30-50 years, but also shorter because Hungary has already been through a number of such attempts and there is some basic agreement that Hungary belongs to Europe. (Austria as a reference is much more often heard than China or Kazakstan as a reference, where very few people have ever been). That is why, let people speak and make up their minds; there are still fora where you can engage in that. It would of course be best if the better informed were able to provide some answers (e.g. why do we need parties and how can we make sure their politicians are not only interested in their own pockets) but for that this worthless battle between the super egos, the insults who is the most naive etc. would have to stop. You will not reach everyone, but you will attract new people. I still believe that the pressure to actually do something about this rapid decay will come from within Fidesz, but if would be massively useful to have some clearer ideas about what modern “democracy” can achieve and what it cannot. I can start to think about some reading list of essentials 🙂 or perhaps better for spreading it among people, a list of important “sentences” only.

  2. I think Eva has spurred an excellent discussion on the structure of the opposition movement organizing itself around Zsolt Várady’s motivation and apparently some funding. Once the gates of complaint are open all enter, pensioners, disabled, homeless, entrepreneurs who feel they are being taxed out of existence, the PSZ teachers union, and many more. (PSZ union leader Mrs. István Galló has spoken at several rallies.)

    There are also many young either marginally employed young people or students who see themselves as anarchists or at least within that tradition from Budapest attracted to these demonstrations, there is one in my own family who can spend hours arguing equally about US crimes against humanity or Russian crimes against humanity. Andras Bozoki and Miklos Sukosd have discussed academically the legacy of anarchism that survived communism in Hungary and I think is surfacing now.

    Many among today’s young radical activists worldwide, especially those at the center of the anti-globalization and anti-corporate movements in Europe call themselves anarchists, especially in Greece. But the intellectual/philosophical perspective that holds sway in these circles might be better described as an anarchist sensibility than as anarchism per se. Their anarchism combines both ideology and imagination, expressing its fundamentally moral perspective through actions that are intended to make power visible (in your face) while undermining it. Even some younger Jobbik supporters have some commonality with this perspective except the anti-globalization anarchists are staunchly anti-racist and anti-nationalist.

    John Holloway’s book Change the World without Taking Power takes this anti-party perspective to a theoretical level. Holloway even tries to resurrect the certain faded ideas of the Hungarian communist philosopher George Lukacs.

    This perspective is inherently hostile to political parties, maybe even more hostile to social democrats who are seen as enablers of globalization. Given my own military background I would pretty much seen as a monster by this social movement and my own daughter who I indicated in another post is currently a younger US Army reserve officer had several bad interactions with Hungarian radical youth in Budapest just three weeks ago. So some of what people are seeing isn’t just being naive, but an actual political perspective based on what is in my opinion a deeply flawed theory that has gained traction among alienated youth in Europe.

  3. @Marcel Dé (9.41 a.m.)

    Yes, all of what you say is perfectly true. But not really relevant to the point I was trying to make.

    😊

  4. Was there any point then, beyond expressing your closeness to Zsolt Bayer, in your writing about “the vague though very angry thrashings about hither and thither by the current Hungarian anti-party left-of-centre youth” and “the mindlessly extreme left wing Paris student revolt”?

  5. @Kirsten

    I think I can agree with almost everything you say. Indeed, much of what I have commented here and under other pieces by Éva, had said much the same things as you do, albeit expressed perhaps with a somewhat sharper edge to it.

    I don’t understand however your statement that “… there is no rudely interrupted experiment.” Does not seem to gel with your subsequent comment that “… Hungary has already been through a number of such attempts …”.

    After all, what was the entire period from 1989 to 2010, but an experiment in liberal democracy that ultimately failed? I call it an experiment, because its failure was obviously due to a political and social context where the liberal democratic value system was something quite new and quite alien. And it was quite alien, because naturally enough, given the historical context, most people harboured marked propensities for quasi-feudal, autocratic and narrowly understood nationalist ways, as well as the corrupt ways acquired in the Kádár era of “little gates” or “little ratlines” (“kiskapuk”).

    The bottom line is that if Hungary were ever to become a genuine liberal democracy, the mentality and civic perspective of the vast majority of Hungarians would need to radically change. But who would be there in Hungary to take up the challenge of this teaching moment, and how long would it take before concrete results became evident?

    After all, your proposed “… time horizon for that can be 30-50 years, but also shorter …” could only be realized if there was indeed a critical mass of Hungarians who, generation after generation would carry on carefully inculcating an understanding and appreciation of the liberal democratic value system among the widest possible cross-section of Hungarians from all walks of life.

    Is there such a critical mas of suitable people in Hungary or a likelihood of such a critical mass emerging over time? If yes, over what time frame, and if not, how would you propose bringing about the necessary changes even over a 30-50 years time horizon?

    😊

  6. Marcel Dé

    Give me a break, Marcel.

    And given your evident propensity to misread and misconstrue, it might help if you did something about your reading comprehension.

  7. PERHAPS: marcel de and googly are not the enemy.

    I asked googly, and I add marcel, please try to give a clear statement where you stand.

    Mike Balint, Andras Gollner stated the obvious: the Hungarian elite is afraid to approach the voters. They are not offering the reforms the nation needs.

    The detox would mean cleansing all from prejudices, endorse all intellectuals who gained their education under the Kadar regime, while rejecting the guardians of the Kadar regime.

  8. @d’magyar

    No, Marcel and Googly are definitely not the enemy! 😊

    They just have a propensity to mischievously misread and misconstrue comment that pushes certain buttons in their minds.

    😊

  9. Or perhaps you don’t know how to express yourself without making useless categorical statements.

    Mike Balint: After all, what was the entire period from 1989 to 2010, but an experiment in liberal democracy that ultimately failed? “Ultimately failed”? Come on. Hope the view from the soapbox is fine, though.

    It has always been a process, long, fragile, reversible, imperfect by nature. No country is ‘genuine’, nor will ever be – because the ability to question is at the heart of it. In the past European century, there has been no example of this process being interrupted by anything but physical violence. The current Hungarian gov’t attempts at a backlash are as obvious as they are dangerous, but we’re far from it.

    Some food for thought: Normal Countries: The East 25 Years After Communism.

  10. [Edit: forgot something]

    Or perhaps you don’t know how to express yourself without making useless categorical statements.

    Mike Balint: After all, what was the entire period from 1989 to 2010, but an experiment in liberal democracy that ultimately failed?

    “Ultimately failed”? Come on. Hope the view from the soapbox is fine, though.

    It has always been a process, long, fragile, reversible, imperfect by nature. No country is ‘genuine’, nor will ever be – because the ability to question is at the heart of it. In the past European century, there has been no example of this process being interrupted by anything but physical violence. The current Hungarian gov’t attempts at a backlash are as obvious as they are dangerous, but we’re far from it.

    Some food for thought: Normal Countries: The East 25 Years After Communism.

  11. Mike Balint,

    You wrote: “Hysterical ad hominem attacks on me do not change either the facts on the ground or the facts of history. And neither does denial.”

    I agree, and you’re obviously in denial about your knee-jerk anti-Hungarian bias. Meanwhile, look up the term ad-hominem, you obviously don’t understand what it means.

    As far as “facts on the ground”, I’ve given you multiple examples that counter what you write about Hungarians, and you ignore all of them. Even now, you refuse to categorically state that I am wrong in portraying you as someone with a deep, irrational bias against Hungarians, which you have actually admitted to in previous comments.

    The most telling point in your response is the word “hysterical”. In what way, exactly, am I being hysterical, and is it a coincidence that you chose a word that is derogatory towards women? So I have to assume that you are a misogynist, too, unless you explain that word choice. Look up the meaning, and research the import, of that word.

    “I do not suck facts and interpretations out of my little finger. I am in daily touch with some very insightful and well-informed academics and intellectuals in Budapest, and the internet is very far from being my only source of information.”

    If that were true, then why do you make obviously false claims over and over, then have no response when I point them out?

    “My comments on this website seem to have inadvertently hit some mental buttons of yours very hard, which I regret, but can do nothing about.”

    Yes, I don’t like prejudiced people who disparage entire nations. Some here seem to enjoy the Hungarian-bashing, but I find it reprehensible, as any decent person would.

  12. Mike Balint,

    You wrote: “They just have a propensity to mischievously misread and misconstrue comment that pushes certain buttons in their minds.”

    Ah, so anyone who disagrees with you is “mischievous” or “hysterical”, and “misconstrues” what you have written. Thanks for buttressing my argument.

  13. Mike, how shall I know whether a critical mass of Hungarians will eventually be mobilised :-). All that I say is that instead of already now declaring such event to be impossible, people should be encouraged to work towards that end. People should not be criticised immediately when they start to engage politically for their “immaturity” or for their “naivete”. But as you say, that process needs support and guidance. I do trust (which is in a way optimistic) that the location of the country in Central Europe, and the costs of the Orban experiment, will decide about its outlook as the practicability and benefits of Hungary as a Russian or Chinese province seem limited to me. You need to find answers to the current malaise and applying even more of “traditional Hungarian approaches” will only further aggravate the problem. At least, the nation has proved a remarkable ability not to perish, so collective suicide by completely ruining the country appears unlikely to me. “European answers” (by which I do not mean some “bureaucratic EU” but the joint or individual experience of the European countries) will find their way to Hungary, because there are no other practicable solutions available. Hungarian self-sufficiency will simply lead nowhere, and OV has so far only asked his subjects to live on subsistence level, he himself does not live on own homegrown produce only. And of course the turn to Europe can include some doubts about the effectiveness of markets as a coordination tool for everything, or doubts about the workings of current democracy because such doubts are not rare in Europe including Britain. Europeans are most often not anti-state, but have to find a feasible balance. The task for Hungarians is to find an application suitable to their own history. That is why I welcome all situations in that people appear to be willing to dedicate some effort to the task and why I dislike ideas of an eternally doomed nation that will never make it. It is not ruled out that it will not, but the likelihood of failure increases considerably if people doubt from the start that things might change and refrain from any effort. No magic behind it, just the belief that there is no alternative to trying, especially as the standard of living deteriorates by the day.

    As regards the “experiment” versus “attempt”, I smiled at “rudely interrupted”. I would have seen Hungary on a slippery slope for some years before 2010, certainly since 2006, therefore, no “rude interruption” but “sliding towards…”. The “solutions” suggested to problems that bother all ex-Communist countries were already indicating that the attempt may end in backsliding, although I would not have imagined the scale of it. So, yes, it was an attempt, but in specific circumstances and with the very substantial role of the former ruling Communist party, even if “reformed”. I wrote about my doubts about their ability and willingness to become dedicated democrats. (To add another example, they would most often prefer a solution from above – “we care for you people so that you do not need to do anything” – to searching for solutions through asking people to make up their minds and decide where possible in a decentralised manner, simply asking them to participate and to learn about responsibility in a democracy.) The advanced position of Hungary in the late 1980s was not doubted, so that the dimensions of the problems were underrated (with the useful side-effect that people could keep their positions). So, agreed, it was an attempt but not more. The “liberal democracy” in place was specific and deficient, although the earlier plans were probably more ambitious. It has not proved the unworkability of “liberal democracy” as such. Experiment for me sounds too playful and too planned at the same time. There was some broad target, and some strategy, and the specific solutions turned out unsatisfactory. Except with some very deterministic theory of society, that does not imply eternal failure. But it might imply that what should be aimed at, has to be stated in clearer terms (which brings me back to the point that people have to be encouraged to think about politics and the society that they wish to live in).

  14. d’magyar,

    Here’s where I stand:

    Hungary is being destroyed by Fidesz, our meager wealth is being hollowed out and shipped off to secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Our best and brightest, at least the ones with morals and consciences, are fleeing to foreign countries (as disaffected Hungarians have long done), perhaps never to return. This will probably continue to happen for many years, maybe even the 20 that Orbán promised. No matter who wins the next election, the real masters of our fates are Fidesz, unless we can somehow bring about a change in the constitution, soon. Too many people refuse to believe the truth about Fidesz, and probably never will. Too many of the rest are like Mike Balint, self-hating and willing to believe that Hungarians are hopeless, forever.

    I know for a fact that in every nation, no matter how destitute, are the seeds of true democracy and good governance. Unfortunately, the rules of the game favor the incumbents and the amoral. Human history, however, is a relatively straight line (when viewed in the long term) of social and civilisational improvement. Yes, there are bumps and dips, but we as humans always come back stronger. In the last 200 years, a blink of the eye when compared with all of human history, the global norm has changed from open colonisation and subjugation by a small minority (mostly white) to a situation where open empire-building has become so rare as to be newsworthy. In most places, slavery is outlawed and women have the vote. Outright dictatorships are almost entirely restricted to Africa, and are falling out of favor there, too. It’s gotten so enlightened that in Europe most would-be dictators feel the need to create the semblance of true democracy. Under communism, that wasn’t even necessary. In Hungary, there were a few “independent” candidates in elections, but there was no legitimate opposition, despite the unpopularity of the regime. Now, Orbán has to continue to lie and cheat in a way that fools people into thinking there is real democracy. Putin and Erdogan have to continue to try to please a majority of the people, even though they have to do it through lies, propaganda and dirty tricks.

    I am quite sure that Mike Balint is wrong about Hungarians, and that, given enough time, there will be a super majority that supports the only proven route to prosperity and freedom: a well-run, transparent, relatively corruption-free liberal democratic government that provides liberty and fairness to its citizenry and is answerable to the majority while protecting the rights of minorities and enforcing the rule of law. A well-regulated capitalist economic system that is open to all in largely equal measure would bring about that prosperity and freedom even more quickly, and Hungarians are perfectly capable of building it.

    I’m pessimistic that such a system will be built anytime soon, as the state has been completely captured by selfish, corrupt interests, and the majority of the bureaucracy has been thoroughly transformed into a tool to enrich the governing party and their cronies, but as Eva mentioned, outside pressures are building, and they are much more powerful than Fidesz. All we need is one Öszöd-type recording of Orbán’s true feelings, and the entire country could unite behind an anti-Fidesz banner. Until that “aha” moment, though, Orbán will likely only be truly defeated by the EU, and right now that doesn’t look like it’s on the horizon. Perhaps the Hungarian elite, at least the part that is not co-opted by Fidesz, is waiting for the right moment to start a new era, and is working behind the scenes to prepare the ground. I’m sure that there are many members of the elite with Hungary’s best interests in mind, but they just don’t have the right formula to capture the imagination of the masses at this time. The pendulum will swing back, however, as it always does. It’s just a matter of time.

  15. googly – @ January 3, 2015 at 8:12 pm – it was long, but very decent. Thank you. You are very reasonable.

    You can give me one more thing. It would be great from all Hungarians.

    Can you feel real empathy for the oppressed ridiculed minorities, for the so called enemies.

    Currently, the most ridiculed class is the leftist liberal crowd. They became the hated unmentionable communists.

    Orban, Kover, Vona, Morvai, Finkelstein sucked out the oxygen from these people.

    Can this maneuver ever be reversed?

    Should Orban, Kover, Vona, Finkelstein held accountable for this “racist demagoguery”?

  16. @Googly (8.12 p.m.)

    Old dogs can learn new things too, and I am no exception.

    You may have noticed that in my recent posts my attitude to and opinions about Hungary and Hungarians have considerably softened.

    So yes, in some cases I should have avoided the turns of phrases I used, and today I would express myself differently and perhaps with much more restraint than I did before.

    This is a direct consequence of reading and absorbing the opinions expressed in the comments following Éva’s blog entries.

    I fully agree with the points you very capably make in your post above. Apart, that is, from the ad hominem attacks on myself, which I choose to disregard as not worth responding to.

    The main difference between our respective standpoints is scalar, rather than categorial.

    The differences are certainly not categorial, since I fully share your views on what is, and what ought to be.

    Instead, the existing differences between us are scalar, in the sense that on a scale where optimism is at one end, and pessimism at the other, you standpoint is located nearer the former, whilst mine is nearer the latter.

    My pessimism is driven primarily by my inability to see any kind of a concrete way forward for Hungary and Hungarians, but I am of course perfectly willing to change my mind about that, given convincing empirical argument that goes beyond merely hoping for the best.

    At the same time, of course, I fully recognize that hope and optimism are essential preconditions for any desired change to occur.

    Consequently, if I was a Hungarian living in Hungary, I too would discipline myself to be a hopeful optimist.

    As an Australian and an ethnic Jew, I can perhaps afford to be pessimistic about Hungary and Hungarians since I don’t have any skin at stake in the matter, but I have come to realize that it is completely senseless on my part to spread that pessimism around on a forum for and by Hungarians.

    So I shall desist.

  17. S.O.S.

    Mike Balint should not surrender.

    Unfortunately. today, the majority of the Hungarians are shell shocked. PTS.

    Morally and emotionally, the Hungarians at home and abroad are suffering from past experiences.

    Some were passive victims, some were active victimizers, and the events led to generating this pathetic sociological mess.

    Detox! The task is huge, and the nation’s rehab can be done only with European and American help.

    The influence of Tehran, Moscow, Ankara, Baku, together with the shadows of nazism, fascism, communism, must be neutralized, and a new era must be planned.

    A peaceful united liberated Hungarian nation must eliminate the wounds introduced by fidesz/jobbik.

    A new life supported by non-violent honest enlightened reforms must start now.

  18. Mike, you have listed most the problems plaguing Hungary.

    You have seen that many great minds on this blog have chosen staying silent.

    Let us hear detox proposals from our expert blog participants.

    What can save Hungary?

    How can we end the pathetic passivity of a large swath of the nation?

    How can we end the endless misinformation/deceit messages?

    How can we reenergize and reemploy the abused liberal intellectuals?

  19. Googly at 8:12 above wrote “Hungary is being destroyed by Fidesz, our meager wealth is being hollowed out and shipped off to secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.” There is particular irony in the fact that it is likely that illicit funds are being shipped out of Hungary to the Cayman Islands and then some of these same funds are being reinvested back into Hungary to gobble up innovative low capitalized Hungarian start up firms.

    The Danube Fund is based in the Cayman Islands and is targeting businesses where Danube can generate a 30 percent annual return. In 2002 one of the founders of the Fund and former U.S. ambassador to Hungary presented now PM Orban with the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom. The ties between this Fund and US based supporters of Fidesz are extensive and it is based in the Cayman Islands.

  20. d’magyar,

    You may be surprised by this, but I have a great deal of empathy for those who are considered to be lowly outsiders, in almost every situation. I overflow with empathy in general, for almost everyone, including the leadership of Fidesz. I can only imagine what horrible thing must have happened to Orbán, to make him into such a monster. Of course, that doesn’t keep me from wanting very much to see the monster in prison for the rest of his life, stripped of all possessions and freedoms, but that’s mostly because it’s what’s best for Hungary, and what is fair and just.

    “Liberals” in Hungary will someday be vindicated, and will be back in favor. Roma, on the other hand, will certainly suffer discrimination and unfair treatment many generations into the future. They are the people who deserve the most empathy, yet get the least. They get treated like dogs because of their appearance and accent, and so are not afforded the opportunity to pull themselves out of their current lowly position in society. Liberals have it good, in comparison.

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