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Race to the bottom August 3, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Reading about the foundation of a far-right party in Hungary, due apparently to a softening of Jobbik’s approach ‘staking a more centrist position’ as the Guardian puts it, I was struck by the following:

Zsolt Tyirityán, another leader of the movement, [said] “I have race awareness. I am proud to be a white European … And I reserve the right to defend that.”

Echoing prime minister Viktor Orban’s frequently touted ideal of an illiberal state, he said: “We declare war on liberalism. They are our main enemy and we will do everything to destroy their ideals in our public … These people lose their nationality, their race awareness and soon their sexual identity. Such people must be forced out of our living space.”

After Tyirityán spoke, a supporter approached him to sign a new copy of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf.

Does anyone here have a good sense of Nazi attitudes to Hungary and race? Were Hungarians regarded as honorary Aryan by them? Was the historical reality of the Austro-Hungarian Empire a factor? And of course these questions lead into deeper ones as to whether Nazi ideology of race and its creation of alliances were in contradiction – or was it that there was an instrumental role in the later in terms of smoothing the path for later volte-faces or oppressions of peoples?

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1. simonjkyte - August 3, 2017

It was – initially at least – an AXIS member with some similar rhetoric

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2. Jim Monaghan - August 3, 2017

The wiki entry is interesting and awful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_contemporary_Hungary
Hungarians in Romania (large mibnority, Slovakia and Serbia don’t get a great time. There is a small one in Ukraine and indeed this was suggested as a carrot if Hungary would join in a dismemberment of Ukraine with Russia, Poland etc.This feeds into irredentism in Hngary proper. Since the collapse of the old regime, the “Left” morphed into neo-liberals and then disappeared.
Oh Remember how a Jobbik leader discovered he was a Jew. Sadly he is now an Zionist. Anti-semitism was buried by the Stalinist regime rather than eliminated. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/behavior-of-hungarian-authorities-during-the-holocaust.
Of course, the promise of Socialism died in 1956. vhttp://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1127

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O'Connor Lysaght - August 3, 2017

Hungary lost a third of its population at Trianon. The trouble was that a large proportion of that third was already a minority among foreigners. For example, Transylvania had a Rumanian majority. That being said, Hungary lost its national majorities in southern Slovakia, on the east Hungarian plain , in north-west Croatia and north Serbia (Vojvodina).
In 1919, there was an attempt to establish a soviet regime in greater Hungary. Its success could have changed history, but it was led inadequately and smashed by the allies through the various neighbouring powers that coveted its territory. A conservative counterrevolutionary government was established to rule over the rump Hungarian state throughout the inter-war years: ‘a kingdom without a king’ under regent Horthy. It provided room for anti-semitism to flourish and tried to stem its growth with its own anti-semitic measures. In 1940, the Germans wooed Hungary successfully by giving it a large chunk of Rumania regardless of its ethnic composition. (The Hungarian government was not really concerned with national self determination; it wanted to restore the old kingdom dominated by Hungarians.) Finally, in 1941, it succumbed to Nazi blandishments and joined Hitler’s coalition of the willing to despoil the USSR. (The PM was realistic enough about this to commit suicide.) Even so, the Nazi Arrow Cross was kept out of office until the end of the war.
Jim is right about socialism being smashed and discredited for a second time in Hungary in 1956, this time with the aid of so-called socialist. The lesson here is that colonsocialism, however tempting, can only discredit desire for the real thing.

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Jim Monaghan - August 4, 2017

I do like that term “Colonsocialism”. I will sue it.

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3. dublinstreams - August 3, 2017

What rich guy who employs lots of immgrants is funding them to keep working conditions down?

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4. yourcousin - August 3, 2017

Shit, just when a thread goes right up my alley my phone won’t stop ringing. The main thing one must understand is Trianon and the role it played.

Hungarians were not fiddled the way ethnic Germans or even Croats were. Recovery of lost territories was paramount during the war (Trianon put a third of ethnic Hungarians outside of Hungary).

Arrow Cross was never the driver for Horthy. Hungarians were never Aryan, but it bears in mind that they were/are not Slavs.

My MIL tells me with a straight face that everyone knows that Transylvania is Hungarian and this comes from a person who read Lenin like he was Shakespeare (i.e. What every well read person knew).

Jobbik is a post Cold War phenomenon that plays upon xenophobia and capitalist discontent (I’ve touched upon that before if one cares to wade into archives here).

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yourcousin - August 3, 2017

Jim is also right to point to the bankruptcy of the left as the successors to the communist party instituted massive neoliberal “reforms” which greatly harmed the living standards of many Hungarians. Now the left (in the broadest possible sense) is fragmented allowing Jobbik to be, “the main opposition party”. This legacy also means that those who reject the Noe liberal consensus get stuck in the Soviet ghetto excusing Russian actions and justifying the invasion of their country by a foreign power or trying to be a more compassionate capitalism. Like most other places the presence of a right opposition party has driven the ruling party to the right. I don’t feel that Jobbik has softened its stance so much as they don’t want to look like out and out fascists. But the rhetorical atmosphere is such as there is now an opening a distinct fascist party. Extremely depressing.

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GW - August 4, 2017

The most depressed group of leftists I’ve ever met from eastern Europe were from Hungary.

And not surprising. Orban’s authoritarian, corrupt, clientelist nationalist neoliberal capitalism with Jobbik to prop him up to the right is a hard nut to crack.

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yourcousin - August 5, 2017

My wife ran into something similar years ago trying to establish correspondence with non party leftists.

And while Greece can serve as a counterpoint I would caution anti EU folks that realistically the Hungarian scenario is realistically the fate of any drive to undo the EU (obvious disclaimer being that I am not uncritical of the EU etc etc).

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5. Dermot O Connor - August 3, 2017

Corey Pein’s latest podcast on the far right in the US might be of interest:

https://coreypein.net/blog/2017/08/02/news-from-nowhere-ep-15/

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