The rise of the xenophobic, anti-immigrant and authoritarian right in Hungary has frightening parallels with Europe’s past. Despite the odds, progressives in all countries and at all scales of governance need to step over and transcend their differences of identity and forge a new unity in diversity to challenge these dark impulses and offer alternatives. The enlightened city agenda is committed to such progressive alliance formation.
Click here for more on the rise of the Hungarian populist right.
Writing on these developments our colleague Viktoria in Budapest notes:
“Unfortunately this is the actual political situation: the current Hungarian government wants to strengthen its weakening political power. In the last period they committed several political mistakes and the opposition parties and the press revealed a lot of corruption issues. Today it is more and more clear that the state centralization is renewed again in the education and the health care systems. The central government took away the autonomy of the institutions. The leaders of the universities were replaced; the judges were retired to change the people who are loyal to the actual power. In addition, the local autonomy of the municipalities are also whittling away.
Of course, the dissatisfaction developed, but especially among the urban elite groups and the consequences were the formation of the new civil movements. They protested again the nationalization. The workers groups did not participated in this movement (perhaps only the nurses). In the rural areas the extreme right party (Jobbik) and the right side (Fidesz) have a strong influence, due to increasing rural poverty. This government has sill 2 years before the next election, and they want to save the power based on the mobilization of the people’s fears against the migrants. The government state: if the migrants will arrive the Hungarian people will lose jobs, and their securities as well. I have to highlight also that in Hungary historically there is strong xenophobia. (you can think of the construction of the fence at the borders!) This attitude is used by the government. Orbán received the special support by the governments of Visegrad 4 as well. I think he wants to be a European politician later based on the anti-migration rhetoric.
In these days the cities, the streets are full of posters to vote against Brussels and migrants, because ‘you have to save the jobs’ (and in rural areas to save the social aid, because the migrants would like to take away this money. ) in these days there is a great deal of terrible propaganda everywhere.
Today (30 September) there was a quite large civil protest against this propaganda before the parliament. The opposition parties suggest for the people to remain at home in order to that the vote will be invalid. So, we will see. But I am very sad.”