Them Refugees Again

What happened in Paris on Friday was absolutely horrific, a crime against humanity, civilisation and practically everything even half-decent that our species represents. No doubt, it will be followed by an “appropriate” response, some curbing of civil rights and some bombs lobbed at the general direction of the Daesh. I would be interested to see if there is anyone who genuinely thinks that this is the right way to go. We have been fighting the War on Terror for 14 years now, by eroding the basic liberties of our populace and bombing shit out of at least a dozen countries and as far as I can see, Salafi-takfiri terrorism has just become immeasurably more popular and powerful. One would think that fighting a war for such long time and seeing your enemy grow stronger would make some folks look for fresh ideas instead of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Protip: are you sure, I mean REALLY sure that Saudi Arabia is a reliable ally that should be showered with weapons and money? Or Turkey? Or the other Gulf States? I mean, we have concrete evidence that they are directly aiding the Daesh, but hey, a friend of a mortal enemy is our closest ally, or so the saying goes.

Though I get it, France was hit hard and now Hollande must pull out his John Thomas and show the world that he is a manly man and he can squirt a steady stream of smart bombs right out of his testicles that will cover the lands between the Mediterranean to Zagros Mountains in mansplosions. I don’t support it, but I understand the basal urges that, for some reason, still dominate political thought, even though certain tropical bird species have managed to evolve more sophisticated displays of dominance. But who are the leaders of the free world to compete against bower birds, they build stuff, that is so girly.

Anyways. This horrific act of terrorism was a very good opportunity for certain leaders of the East-Western World to jump on their hobbyhorse and start spouting their usual anti-refugee hate speech. In case you haven’t been listening to the news in the past months, the refugee crisis still haven’t been resolved. France says that they are completely saturated and can’t take more people, Australia claims that they have no racial problems and they don’t mean to create one, The UK says that accepting refugees might lead to acts of violence against them, Brazil only wants to accept Christians and there is a general fear that the refugees might spread Bolshevik ideas among the populace.

Pardon, wait a minute, I skipped a few decades. Sorry. The above issues were all raised (apart from the Bolshevik one, which was just part of common discourse at the time) at the Evian Conference of 1938, when the West was debating what to do with all the Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi persecution. My bad.

Contemporary politicians are basically saying exactly the same fucking things. I kid you not.

So, it can be said that if you had better things to do than to follow news recently, you haven’t missed a thing.

As a response to the Paris attacks, Mr Orban, the wise leader of the great state of Hungary decided that soldiers and assault-rifle clad police officers should patrol Budapest, because there was a real danger of a terrorist incident. This was, of course, pure theatre. Then, today, he decided to go on the most poisonous tirade heard so far.

He emphasised the possibility of terrorists entering the EU amongst the refugees (as if they really couldn’t enter in about every other possible way imaginable, and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that most of the perpetrators were Europeans so they didn’t exactly had to enter the Union) and said that implanting people from countries against which we are fighting a war (I don’t recall being at war with Syria) is daft. He railed against the “suicidal drives of the intelligentsia” and constantly referred to the refugee crisis as a “mass migration”, a word that invokes images of the barbarian invasion of Rome. (I hope no-one mentioned to him that the Magyars also arrived as part of a mass migration). He said that immigration increases crime, leads to thefts and rapes and destroys cultures and traditions [citation needed]. All he needed was  “Would somebody please think of the children” at the end of his speech.

But this are pretty standard lies, just more plainly spoken and concentrated as before. The interesting thing was what happened afterwards. The opposition parties did not even attempt to challenge the dominating discourse. They just tried to chip away at the edges of this ridiculous edifice. LMP said that Diverting the problem was not a solution, Jobbik and KDNP, being fascists, supported the government, and MSZP tried to feebly suggest that we should only blame the terrorists for acts of terror and from this mediocre start, switched to the absolute lunacy of calling for a united European army, intelligence service and border control force.

And that was it, basically. In the Hungarian parliament, there isn’t a single power that dares to actually oppose the government in any substantial way. No-one tried to deconstruct the childish hate speech of the Prime MInister, to use actual facts and statistics to refute his clearly made-up statements and attack his ethno-nationalistic notions of the state, peoples and culture of Hungary.No-one tried to paint refugees as actual people and instead they were making suggestions on how to solve a terrorism problem that Hungary does not have at all. It is not the task of Hungarian opposition MPs to solve the refugee crisis, the war on terror and to make hamburgers fall from the sky to feed the poor. They are given a prime target in the person of a transparently bigoted, corrupt government and it seems that they have no idea what to do with a target. “It is round and has a flat face, maybe it is a table? Or you could try sitting on it. What do you think, would it float? Hmm, I tried throwing it, but it didn’t fly too far. And what are these colourful circles? Dunno, I licked them and they don’t taste nice.”

Argh.

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Now don’t be hasty, Master Meriadoc

As you may or may not have heard, FIDESZ just lost its 2/3 majority in Parliament, thanks to the by-election that was held in Veszprem, a smallish city a bit North of Lake Balaton. The election was called because Tibor Navracsics, the local MP and FIDESZ veteran left to live the glamorous life of an MEP, leaving his seat empty. In the end, the election went to the independent Zoltan Kesz, a former teacher of the English language and one-time FIDESZ member, whose candidacy was supported by the Grand Coalition (MSZP/DK/Egyutt/MoMa/Liberals).

Veszprem was known to be e FIDESZ stronghold (most rural cities, or cities, or rural communities are. Or most other communities, for that matter, if we look at the recent national election results), and this loss is seen as a watershed event. I doubt it, but I tend to doubt things. The Grand Coalition spending half their time celebrating their grand victory (in an election where the candidate made sure not to appear anywhere near the pathetic losers supporting him. A wise decision) and fighting LMP. The latter is always amusing to watch, who doesn’t like mud-wrestling midgets? The last claim was that the LMP head was seen in a restaurant with FIDESZ campaign staff, to which the accused replied along the lines of “No, that restaurant was just cheap and I saw no FIDESZ there and I will sue every last one of youse trolls”. Measured words from a great statesman. LMP is often accused of being a FIDESZ satellite. Even if that is true, I kinda find it weird to concentrate such energies on the equivalent of Sputnik 1, a tiny little machine whose sole activity is to ping from now and again, while an Imperial-Class Star Destroyer is orbiting the planet. Well, at least one cannot blame the Grand Coalition for punching above their weight.

Talking about weight, here is why i doubt that this is, yet again a first nail in FIDESZ government’s coffin, a “sign that Hungary does not tolerate a one-party system” or any of the other triumphant slogans that were trumpeted all over the opposition media. Everyone knows that the government is unpopular. In the 2014 elections, they  received 44.54% of the votes of 61.73% of the eligible population. The super-majority was due to some creative electoral legislation and especially due to a complete no-show from the opposition. This is why I am not enthusiastic. Barring a miracle (I mean barring the doors of the parliament and setting the whole thing on fire), FIDESZ will be in power for a good few years now. They have already settled in and passed all the legislation that required a super-majority. They just won’t feel the need to pass any legislation that would require the majority that they lost yesterday. It’s not that they will be writing an even more retrograde constitution anytime soon, not that it is possible unless they just want to adopt the Bible as the fundamental law of the land. Oh shit… I should not give them ideas, these morons might actually do such a thing… Forget what I just wrote. Please.

What does this mean for the fall of the Orban Regime? Give me a break. The opposition is even more hopeless than a year ago. They are completely incapable of gaining any media attention, and failed at even attempting to capitalise on the numerous scandals the government got itself into. Their voices are simply inaudible. And this will not change with overhauls like what DK did recently, unveiling a cbeebies-esque new image, by a guitar-playing and ever more irrelevant Gyurcsany. No-one is going to buy this shit. No-one.

Yes, FIDESZ might lose the next election. What then? The more and more likely Nazi government would not be an improvement (well, the quick depopulation would make the country a perfect place for a grand-scale Pleistocene rewilding project, which would be cooler than cool) and the Grand Coalition couldn’t even beat the Jewish Transgender Cartoonists for Pig Farmers in an Islamic State general election.

The first nail in the government’s coffin will be the emergence of a new opposition force, which will need to be opposed to not only FIDESZ, but all the other current players. Until this happens, I’ll keep my party hats and fireworks in storage.

But I’ve must have said this a lot.

A Tale of Two Protests

Keyboard Thrower

Hmm, this was interesting. In the last post, I mentioned that two protests were organised for last week. The first, on October 23 was meant to give voice to a general anti-establishment sentiment and intended to draw in the people who are more aligned to NGOs than to political parties. The second was about the mind-numbingly idiotic internet tax the Government is implementing so that, as it was revealed recently, they can finance a wage hike for the police and the armed forces.

The first one, which I did not attend, seemed like a regular liberal snoozefest, (I am always uncomfortable when I have to use terms like right, left and liberal in a Hungarian context, due to their fuzzy definitions and confusing layers of meaning) with a few talking heads giving speeches to a crowd of a few hundred like-minded people. The event failed to gain any attention whatsoever, but it was important to at least try to mobilise the voters who are sick and tired of the political establishment. After all, most Hungarians have simply stopped participating in elections and it is a fairly safe guess that this is caused by the terrible options presented to them.

The second one, on the other hand, was rather fascinating. The turnout was massive, about 8-10000 people, I popped down to have a look after the march started towards Heroes’ Square. The original plan was to ask protesters to bring obsolete IT equipment that would be deposited in front of the FIDESZ offices. It was a fun idea, but then the organisers decided to throw it out the window (lol) because it would count as littering, which is a felony, and Hungarian protest organisers have this perverse desire to be proper at all times. So there were loads of people with keyboards and even CRT monitors milling around. This will be important later.

The protesters were a mixed bunch, with the usual angry pensioners and alternative twentysomethings mixed with more average folk, families, well-dressed yuppies and even a few nazi here and there. There was a demonstration by football ultras earlier during the day and apparently a few of them joined the protest, though I really did not see any signs of them, and they are not the most discreet of all people. There was a moderate amount of chanting, some with troubling nationalist undertones, which are, unfortunately, a staple of Hungarian protest culture. There were EU flags as well, which betrayed the charmingly naive notion that many anti-government Hungarians have about the EU and the West as a whole as a positive, benevolent power.

The crowd stopped at Heroes’ Square, where everyone was asked to lift their phones in the air so that the drone could take a nice picture that can be used for bragging later. Then the organisers, after a brief speech and a little bit more shouting closed the protest by asking the assembled people to sing the National Anthem (Hungarians, why do you have to make everything nationalistic? The people on the other side of the debate are as much Hungarians as you are, this exclusion bullshit is really tiring. Especially if your campaign invokes the European Union, the epitome of (however failed) internationalist idealism in the 21st century.) and then peacefully disperse. Many people did not agree with the peacefully disperse bit and thought that, well, we were supposed to go to the FIDESZ headquarters, so we should go there no matter what the organisers say.

While most of the protesters went home, a crowd of about 2-3000 people stayed and surrounded the nearby party offices, that are located in a slightly dilapidated former villa just off the square. For a while, the people were just shouting at the empty building (which I found a rather amusing performative reimagining of Hungarian politics), but then someone threw a mouse at the blinds. slowly the pace picked up and the building was pelted with all kinds of IT equipment, from laptops to modems, but mostly keyboards. Hence the illustration.

There still was no notable police presence, at least not from my vantage point, which I found weird and troubling. As two of the blinds slowly crumbled under the hail of obsolete technology. At one point, a guy jumped up the balcony, tore off the blinds and kicked in the window. Then he stopped and got back into the crowd. Despite all the anger, the crowd never turned into a mob. Most of the damage was done by a few individuals, with vocal support from the rest. The building was never stormed and this timidity was another interesting bit of the events that I can’t really explain.

After a while the police showed up and slowly and steadily, without any violence, regained control over the street. The protest quietly dwindled away.

The reactions were disappointingly predictable. FIDESZ condemned the vandalism and claimed that they are open to discussion (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) the pro-government press went into attack mode against the protest and the US Government as well, just for the hell of it. The opposition media declared a revolution, that this will break the back of FIDESZ and so on and so on. Yeah, sure. The opposition condemned the vandalism and said something not even they cared about. Former PM and monomaniacal madman Ferenc Gyurcsany tried to latch his failing party onto the protest, but it seems that he failed to poop into the punch bowl this time.

Myself, I will wait it out. There will be another anti-tax protest today. If that manages to draw the same or larger crowds, or causes more of a ruckus, I might start to believe that this could be a timid beginning of something.

Call me cynical, but I have no expectations about this place or its inhabitants.

Ooh, and, just to add to the Hungarian Political Zombie Outbreak, aka the Walking Dead Who Are Not Actually Dead But Everyone Wishes They Were Actually Dead and Gone Forever, disgraced former mayor Gabor Demszky made an appearance and sadly managed to sneak into a few photos in an attempt to fuck everything up once again. For those unfamiliar with him, he was a completely useless mayor who lead Budapest into ever deeper decay for over a decade while his closest associates and underlings stole everything. He is the kind of guy who, if the smiling MSZP official stole the chair from under him, just stayed there trying to maintain a sitting position while awkwardly clawing at the desk.

 

SCANDAL

Hahaa, now that’s a way to start a post. Two major scandals have erupted in Hungary over the course of the last week or so. While I am, as usual, highly sceptical of the outcome, anything that breaks the ice around the government is a welcome development.

The first one started when, as per usual practice, a government mouthpiece newspaper published, based on (intentionally) leaked information, an aggressive attack piece claiming that as a response to an upcoming tax inspection of US-owned firms, the vengeful United States has banned certain Hungarians from entering the country. Because amidst the crisis in Ukraine and Iraq/Syria, the ebola pandemic and an ever-growing rabble of insane Republicans, the Obama administration will surely find time to mildly irritate a completely insignificant country on the very edge of the EU periphery.

But never mind. After the news broke and the opposition media went apeshit thinking that the long-awaited western redemption of the nation was at hand, that the same super-involved Obama administration has finally delivered a crushing blow to Orban’s fledgling evil empire, the government went on the defensive in the only way that they know: by claiming that the US Government has no idea what it is talking about, that they have yet to present any evidence and that this was a US attempt to protect their corporations from tax inspection. Then the US Embassy confirmed that a number of Hungarians were indeed on a travel ban list, due serous corruption allegations and that the relevant Hungarian authorities, the same that were screaming that there was no evidence, were extensively informed beforehand.

Now this scandal has died down, like all of them do and the newly appointed Foreign Minister, Mr Szijjarto, whose main claim to fame so far is a number of embarrassing photos from amateur football matches and a luxurious, tasteless villa that his parents bought for him (and whose utility costs are too high for him to afford from his declared income) is already in the United States to mount a charm offensive, where he won’t even meet the Secretary of State.

The list of people banned from entering the US has not been made public, but the rumors include two prominent figures: Habony Arpad, the mysterious high-ranking advisor of Mr Orban who once brutally beat a pensioner who dared to walk across the street in front of his luxury SUV and the head of the Tax Authorities. One of the reasons why, apart from gloating, this scandal will go nowhere is that the people rumored to be implicated all have a relatively low profile and are widely despised by the populace. No-one will turn against FIDESZ because someone they already hate did something shifty.

The other scandal is also very typical of the Hungarian state of affairs. Turns out that the new tax regulation contains a teeny-tiny addition that would introduce an internet tax. According to the proposed legislation, after every gigabyte of data, HUF 150.00 would have to be paid as a tax.

The extent to which this is completely out of line with the 21st century is astonishing, and I do not think that it needs to be explained why taxing the internet, especially based on gigabytes (a laughably small unit of measurement in the days of HD streaming) is borderline luddism. I don’t see any point in saying why an idiotic thing is idiotic, so I will not do that.

I find it highly entertaining to read the angry comments on Facebook, talking about the revolution that this will cause. How the small, internet-using minority is completely up in arms about the prospect that downloading an 1080p HDrip of the latest Game of Thrones episode would cost so much money (in fact, the twin bastions of nihilistic internet-savvy media, index.hu and 444 have already calculated the cost of online activities, with a special attention paid to illegal downloads). If this will be truly the cause of a popular movement, I will eat my shoe right after I finished laughing for about five straight days. Internet-using Hungarians in general feel entitled to their right to illegally download content from the internet (which is not helped by the fact that reasonably priced, true on-demand access to media is virtually impossible in Hungary), so this really ticked them off. Out of all the rights and liberties, this is the one they hold dear. Sweet Baby Jesus on a pogo stick, I can’t believe this country wasn’t created in a 18th century pamphlet of corrosive societal satire.

A protest has already been organised (it will be on Sunday evening, of all times), and over 10.000 people claimed to attend. Just to add a bit of perspective, Budapest Pride, protest against blatant, institutionalised discriminination and hate had 3000ish confirmed attendees. The main protest against the constitutional amendments that curtailed basic liberties and eradicated the system of checks and balances had 2500. The student protests sparked by the disastrous educational reforms had 2600 confirmed attendees.

The much more serious, Democracia Real Ya-esque anti-establishment protest tomorrow also has around 2400 confirmed attendees.

I will be very curious about where these two events will go. Please come along to both, if you can. Never waste the opportunity of a good protest.

Oh, I forgot about the oppostion reactions to these scandals. It wasn’t hard. At this point, even a half-decent press conference seems to be too much to expect from this bunch. I braved insanity and looked at the MSZP website just now, where one of the leading items is an attempt to grill the deputy speaker over perfectly reasonable comments made by an Iranian government official at an embassy reception in Tehran where both of them were in attendance. The Iranian chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee said that the USA and its regional allies bear the responsibility for fucking up the Middle-East and for the emergence of terrorism as a global threat. How scandalous, a reasonable assessment! This will surely be that one nicked scale on the dragon’s belly where the brave Socialist politician will deal the killing blow using his arrow forged by the dwarven masters of old.

Fucking idots.

Congress of Baboons is Back!

I am going to start with a seemingly controversial statement: in the time that the blog was on hiatus, nothing happened in Hungarian Politics. Nothing at all.

I mean things were going on, there was some character development and the plot got a bit more complex, but it’s all like that dreadful second season of The Walking Dead, with zombies and a lot of annoying dialogue and whining. There were some minor ‘scandals’, which the greater public ignored, and unvbelievable acts of stupidity and ignorance have been comitted by both the government and the opposition. I could make a list, but there is no point to write about these in retrospect, because they failed to affect anything.

What I find fascinating is that this lack of plot development does not mean a lack of activity. For a the first time in a long while, there are two long-running protests happening in the city centre. One is agains the horrendous Nazi Occupation Memorial which I blogged about before. Yes, it has been built and it is astonishingly bad art. And, what is my beef with it, bad anatomy as well: the sculptor obviously had no idea what a bird’s leg looks like and confused the knee with the ankle. Since its sneaky unweiling, which coincided with the likewise sneaky removal of the barriers around the Soviet WWII memorial (a smart move, as I’m sure the fascists still haven’t noticed), there have been daily protests by groups of opposition pensioners, with some help from politicians scavenging for votes. A small protest camp, with two tents has also popped up right in front of the Parliament. It isn’t quite Occupy Budapest, but it is always nice to see people using public spaces to express political opinions instead of passively accepting their fate like most Hungarians tend to do. Of course None of these protests will accomplish anything or achieve any measurable level of support even amongst the friends of the protesters.

The municipal elections are looming, and the Opposition is still fighting very hard to lose. For some reason, they still believe in the Grand Coalition, even though it failed miserably in two elections so far, just this year. It is actually getting really funny to see how this idea is disintegrating. For newcomers, the Grand Coalition was the idea that if the main opposition parties team up and form a united, democratic coalition, they will beat FIDESZ. The maths did add up, but reality kinda ruined the party. MSZP managed to seem temporarily alive by clawing its way up onto the rotten corpses of its coalition partners (I am dead certain that this Grand Coalition idea was a highly successful MSZP plot to avoid its long-awaited demise); DK, aka. disgraced former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and his army of grumpy pensioners, chased away a lot of voters and Egyutt was quietly sitting in the corner, listening to the greatest hits of Coldplay. Fast forward to today, and the Coalition has become an even bigger mess. MSZP is very proud of its position at the top of the heap of rotten corpses, and it is refusing to compromise in many municipalities. While it got what it wanted, it fails to realise that by maintaining a shaky, but definite hegemony in the opposition, its presence is actively preventing the opposition from being able to actually oppose the government in elections. The inactive voters are the key to removing FIDESZ, and they are not going to vote for MSZP. Egyutt has completely disintegrated, its useless saviour Bajnai has once again left politics to collect humongous wads of cash at a French corporation and DK is hanging around. It gets chaotic in the capital and is downright insane in the countryside, where the even alliances with the fascists are not that rare. the Coalition has gone as far as to support anti-Roma hate speech in order to justify running a violently racist former police chief for mayor in the city of Miskolc, just because the guy is more popular than the FIDESZ candicate.

The best illustration of what a miserable bunch the Grand Coalition is would be their campaing for the mayor of Budapest. Their opponent is Istvan Tarlos, who isn’t really all that popular and is generally viewed as a thuggish asshole, who is a little bit of a renegade even within FIDESZ. The person they decided to run for office was Ferenc Falus, a distinguished doctor and former health chief for the country. This was Egyutt’s idea, and it was of course a terrible one. Falus was a disaster. Not only did he lack a political programme for a long time, he even embarrassed himself by trying to look like the awkward dad who thinks that he is down with the kids. And now, just today, it has been announced that even though he was hailed as the Coalition candidate for most of the campaing, he is stepping down in favour of socialist turned conservative turned sad joke and unrepentand Thatcherite Lajos Bokros. Since the campaign of Mr Bokros received most media attention when he was seen as a pathetic old loser begging for votes in public squares, I am not quite sure how these morons runnign the show are planning to build up a successful campaign for him in less than two weeks, but we’ll see.

As usual, FIDESZ will win, because with such opponents, they can basically do anything. Despite the ranting, the horrible policies, the creepily close ties with Vladimir Putin, despite everything. The good news is that the opposition is really on its way out and maybe after these elections, they’ll fade into obscurity and something less terrible will emerge. I maintain that a newly emerging political force could easily take FIDESZ down, as long as it stays far away from the current opposition and its enablers in the intelligentsia. Until then, nothing will happen in Hungary.

Unless there is a meteor strike or a vampire pandemic like in The Strain. God, that is one great missed opportunity series.

But I will write about these enablers in the next post, which will come very soon.

Same Old, Same Old

Well, well. I haven’t written in a while, because I am lazy. I know I should but I have quite a few things going on at the moment. A quick recap since the last post: FIDESZ won two elections with a landslide, which only surprised people who did not look at the opposition. The Grand Coalition, as it could be expected, failed miserably. They didn’t even try again at the EP elections, where MSZP suffered a humiliating defeat and the other parties hopefully reached the equally humiliating conclusion that they were tricked by a shambling corpse. MSZP dominates the opposition in parliament (kinda like how Moldova dominates Europe between Ukraine and Romania), even though at the EP elections, it was clear that it doesn’t actually have more support than Egyutt or DK, who now must feel particularly stupid.

Jobbik reached its zenith by coming in second at the Ep elections, but this really doesn’t mean much. If I manage to get to the Nazis article I’ve been planning for a while, I’ll explain what I mean. In short, they will never achieve any real power. Also, amusingly, their main financier was outed as an alleged Russian Agent. The party has taken a strong pro-Putin turn lately. I guess the fences surrounding the Soviet WWII Memorial were removed knowing that the nazis wouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them.

LMP has gotten into parliament. Full stop.

FIDESZ has so far been true to its own campaign promise and it is continuing its arrogant steamrolling of everything and anything. What I find interesting is what makes waves and what doesn’t. This year, there were two and a half major scandals around the party. The half one happened when the media got wind that Antal Rogan, the mayor of District V and notorious bonvivant lied in his income statement. Specifically, it seems that his flat magically grew in size. This case went absolutely nowhere, partially becasue some higher-ups in MSZP were markedly against pressing the matter. Knowing Hungarian politics, they probably made a deal with FIDESZ to ensure that they wouldn’t be destroyed. (Despite all the posturing, the big parties can be quite cordial with each other, if it benefits them. During the previous government, a FIDESZ-MSZP coalition voted to ban press from most of the parliament, after some journalists caught MPs smoking in non-smoking areas on hidden cameras). Anyway, the case of Rogan’s Magical House will never be solved.

The first main scandal was the memorial to the Nazi occupation of Hungary, that horrendous pseudo-romantic piece of shit that I already wrote about in an earlier post. Despite protests from multiple organisations and foreign Governments, they just started building it. The reaction was furious, especially from the MSZP/DK-aligned pensioners who include a number of Holocaust-survivors. The  bulding site was vandalised every day for about a week, but the direct action stopped when police was sent to guard the area. Now there is a standoff between a varying number of police and protesters. The quite cool makeshift memorial, made up of stones, photographs and documents was rebuilt across from the building site and things seem rather calm at the moment, but I guess after the construction finishes, there will be quite a few random acts of violence against the statue. The issue is that the matter received a disproportionate amount of attention. Yes, it is a horrible and offensive piece of crap, but then again, it is just a bloody statue. It won’t really hurt anyone and it won’t make matters worse. It will not allow Viktor Orban to pull a Dark Willow and try to destroy the world by funneling magical essences through the central effigy.  But it is really convenient for both sides. FIDESZ can divert attention from its truly henious acts and the “Democratic Opposition” can mobilise against something that wouldn’t be as divisve as real issues, like refugee or Roma rights, for example.

The second one just started, and it could get juicy. Emphasis on “could” because it won’t. After a series of articles were published by the news portal Origo showing that the Minister of Douchebaggery (actually he has a not much less ridiculous title, the Minister Responsible for the Prime Minister’s Office, or at least this will be his role in the new government, not sure how things are at the moment), Janos Lazar participated in luxurious “missions” (aka. vacations) on taxpayer money. As a result of the articles, Lazar had to back down and pay back 2 million HUF (about 8900 USD) and I’m sure he got pissed. He’s like that. A few years ago, he sued a commenter who said that it’s a shame that he wasn’t the person who died in a car crash involving his convoy. The media, even the servile right-wing media erupted in outrage and a protest was organised for yesterday where about 1500-2000 people showed up, which is basically the number that the semi-dormant protest movement can mobilise.

Oh, also, the same Minister has launched a major attack against NGOs recently. This is not a Putin-esque complete crackdown, it is just that a financial regulating body was let loose to pester them while Lazar is trying to claim that Norway is attempting to meddle in Hungarian affairs because non-government-aligned NGOs can also receive money if their applications are decided favourably by the fund. There is some backlash against this as well, but there is no sign of it gaining momentum. People will grumble and then move on when there is something else to grumble about.

The scary thing is that there is a complete stalemate, or rather an equilibrium. The government, I think, is really not committed to destroying democracy on an ideological level. They don’t have ideology apart from their aspirations to live like the late 19th-early 20th century landed gentry: wealthy, outwardly pious, insular and openly (even theatrically) nationalistic. They attack anything and anyone that they perceive as an attack against their privileges and lifestyle but they want no more and no less. Meanwhile, the opposition is still completely devoid of ideas. When FIDESZ throws them a bone, they chew on it for a while, but they are incapable of taking the initiative in anything. MSZP is only active because it still has a little bit of momentum left and DK is surviving due to the bizarre personality cult of Ferenc Gyurcsany. Egyutt, which never had any basis in reality to begin with has completely lost its way after even they realised that Gordon Bajnai is not exactly the super-intelligent technocrat genious, just an awkward accountant. And LMP, well, they exist somewhere. And everyone is happy. FIDESZ has what it wants and its mere existence provides enough fuel for the continued activities of all the others. Of course, for example DK would like to be in charge, but they still have the next best thing. And it’s not like they can lose any more voters.

And this, in short, is why the one group that is well outside this game is so popular. The one that pursues its own agenda instead of jumping from outrage to outrage, the one that organises even when the elections aren’t a week away, the one that can’t give two shits about what FIDES or MSZP or anyone else is doing, the one that is interested in changing the status quo. And that group are the nazis.

We are still fucked.

A Brief Outline of Hungarian Political Parties

It can take quite a while to begin to understand how political parties work in Hungary. I can’t say that I have achieved this level of expertise, but I’ve seen them frolicking around for a long enough time that I can kinda guess what their game is. In this post, I will present a general description of the main parties so that you, kind reader, won’t be completely lost in the future.

But first, some terminology. Hungary has left- and right-wing parties, but the only way to actually split the parties into the two groups is to look at their attitudes towards nationalism: left-wing parties don’t know how to deal with it, so when it come sup, their only response is awkward silence, while their right-wing counterparts can’t shut up about it for five bleedin’ seconds. In any other way, the two sides both exhibit a chaotic mixture of political and economic ideas, where Anarcho-Stalinism and Occultist Nazism could easily go hand in hand in the same press release. As long as the pensioners are happy. Sidenote: pensioners are the largest and most active voting demographic. They are the ones at whom the campaigns are aimed, the ones at the protests and the ones hurling antisemitic abuse and eggs at Budapest Pride. 

So, here’s the list.

MSZMP: Let’s start with the basics. The Hungarian Socialist Workers Party came to power in 1956, during the post-revolution facelift that was aimed at making the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship cuddlier so that the people may not attempt to hang anyone associated with it on the nearest lamppost as soon as physically possible. Its emblematic General Secretary, János Kádár ruled the country until 1988 in a similar fashion, creating a semblance of wealth and trying not to seem too oppressive. I’m not saying he wasn’t a nasty fellow, but he was no ruthless ‘feed your uncle to the dogs’ crazyperson by any means. His longest-lasting achievement was levelling  every state-controllable aspect of life in Hungary, from cuisine to pop music, to the lowest tier of mediocrity. After the change of regime, the more cunning MSZMP members formed MSZP, the social democratic successor party (aka. Bozo the Kleptocratic Clown and his Merry Bunch of Pathetic Losers), the slower ones became christian democrats (aka. the Catholic Taliban). The party is now defunct and Kádár’s skull was dug up and stolen by some fellow.

MSZP: One of the dominant political parties of the post-dictatorship era. Founded by former state party members, but on democratic principles. It started out as a more or less social democratic formation and have been steadily moving towards populistic neoliberalism ever since. After a strong ten years, they have now managed to completely destroy themselves, mostly thanks to a cuckoolander Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány, who just did now know when to call it quits. The riots would have been a useful hint.  At the moment it is still the strongest faction on the left, no thanks to their PM candidate, who might  as well be a drawing that kinda resembles a person. They achieved this status simply on the merit that they are not FIDESZ. Not that they didn’t try to steal everything as well, but they were just too stupid and clumsy to succeed.

SZDSZ: The now defunct liberal party, famous for being socially liberal in word only and not even trying to pass any progressive legislation through during their two terms in power as MSZP’s lapdogs. Then, it became a proper neoliberal party led by a dude who had a helicopter (this was his only memorable trait) and promptly disappeared. Now some of its members are reappearing to take votes away from opposition formations.

FIDESZ: The other main player, or, to tell the truth, THE main player in Hungarian politics. Led by a ‘definitely not autocratic, just fond of having everyone do what he likes’ Prime Minister and a gang of lapdogs of different shapes and sizes, this nationalistic, theocratic bunch of grumpy men actually started as a progressive, democratic and anti-clerical party, but then they realised that it won’t get them elected. Plus, did I mention the leader Viktor Orbán really likes playing with giant, inflatable copies of Earth in his study? Well, that helped a lot. Since they were elected in 2010, in the “Ballot Revolution” (their terminology), they have aggressively reshaped the country so that it resembles an ultra-nationalistic version of the old Marxist-Leninist regime, invading every public institution and making us all look really bad in the process. Their name means Coalition of Young Democrats, but they are not a Coalition, definitely not Young and most certainly not Democrats. The sheer amount of certifiably insane characters surrounding this party is astounding.

KDNP: This Christian Democratic party, the previously mentioned Catholic Taliban, is the liver-eating twin conjoined brother of FIDESZ. The two have been in permanent alliance for many years now, which is good for the Taliban because they get into parliament (Hungary isn’t particularly religious and this bunch would get at best fifteen votes altogether) and even into juicy positions and FIDESZ can actually have someone else do the dirty work. This party is lead by an avid killer of defenceless animals and populated by the most zealous supporters of the old regime, who 25 years ago suddenly realised that they have been confusing Stalin and Jesus all along, and they actually meant to worship the latter. Their stars include Rózsa Hoffmann, the Umbridgesque Minister of Education who managed to transform the whole educational system of the country into something that is so backwards and inefficient that 19th century Caucasian mountain communities would have rejected it on principle, and those were the folks who thought that an escaped Sub-Saharan slave was Bigfoot.

Együtt 2014: After the crazy Prime Minister destroyed the political left with the drive and efficiency of a three year-old tearing up a roll of toilet paper, a quiet, neoliberal mini-oligarch called Gordon Bajnai became the Prime Minister for a year. Since he managed not the burn the whole gorram place to the ground, people, mostly him, think that he knows something and should be given a second chance. He formed the coalition on the ashes of a promising anti-establishment protest movement that he hijacked (effectively chasing away all its supporters). After he ran that ship onto the rocks, he gathered a few backstabbing career politicians from other parties and some old folks no-one wants to see ever again in order to form a grand coalition. This Robert Walpole then managed to get himself outmanoeuvred and outclassed in every way by the completely weightless and pathetic MSZP. He can be found standing quietly in the corner, artfully blending into the grey tapestry.

Jobbik: The nazis everyone loves to talk about. Just don’t call them nazis, because they get upset and might even cry. I have to give it to them, they are by far the smartest politicians of the whole bunch. They might be completely repulsive, but they know how to handle the media in the 21st century and they are the only ones who have been seriously campaigning and organising amongst young people. I still don’t get it why everyone is surprised that they are so popular with young folk, as they are the only ones talking to them. Too bad they are talking about the evil Joos and Roma and Slovaks and whatnot. Though they like Arabs as long as they are far away. Their supporters are like wee little jackbooted fairies, who can miraculously turn any online discussion into antisemitic hate speech with two well-placed comments. They are also notable for the sheer amount of party members who previously achieved worldwide fame thanks to the kosher bareback  scat porn movies they starred in. While the Taliban and FIDESZ are mostly Catholic, the nazis have significant support in the Reformed church.

LMP: Politics Can Be Different. A party that always sounded promising, but has a tendency of splitting up every five seconds. While they are really good at performance art, no-one know what they actually stand for. Difference, I suppose. Some of its members have been known to utter phrases that could resemble political thought.

DK: After the crazy Prime Minister managed to get himself chased out of MSZP, which is a great achievement for any politician, he formed this bunch. Despite their fanatical following of elderly pensioners who would probably die for their beloved leader if needed, the party only exists to troll other opposition political parties. Not even Gyurcsány can think that he could be re-elected. Or does he? DUN DUN DUN…

4K: These young folks are the closest Hungary has to a proper left-wing party. They are under-financed and under-manned, but within a few years, when all the other opposition parties managed to destroy each other, they could theoretically become an interesting faction. We shall wait and see.

This should be what I could whip up. Now that this is out of the way, we can have fun!