Tuesday, June 16, 2009



Hungary: What accounts for the success of the extreme right?
By Markus Salzmann
17 June 2009

The gains made in the recent European election by extremist and neo-fascist forces in Hungary and a number of other countries are a serious warning to the entire European working class. Twenty years after the introduction of the capitalist free market in Eastern Europe, fascism is once more raising its ugly head.

In Hungary, the neo-fascist Jobbik party won nearly 15 percent of the vote and three of Hungary’s 22 seats in the European Parliament. In other Eastern European states, as well as in England and the Netherlands, ultra-right parties also increased their share of the vote. In Romania, the Great Romania Party (PRM) received 7 percent of the vote, and in neighboring Bulgaria, the extreme right-wing National Union Attack party won 12 percent and two seats in the European Parliament. In Slovakia, the equally right-wing Slovak National Party (SNS), which has participated in a government coalition with the Social Democrats since 2006, received just 5.5 percent—i.e. just over the five percent hurdle necessary for representation in the European parliament.

Jobbik’s electoral success means that the party, up until now dependent on financial support from a number of rich backers, will be entitled to considerable sums in the form of European Union (EU) subsidies. In the European Parliament the party will be led by 42-year-old Krisztina Morvai. The party campaigned in the European election under the slogan “Hungary for Hungarians,” blaming Jews and Roma for the country’s advanced economic crisis and social decline.

Jobbik is the political arm of the “Hungarian Guard,” a paramilitary organization, which openly agitates against and attacks Jews, Roma, gays and other minorities.

Supporters of Jobbik or similar outfits are suspected of responsibility for a wave of murders of Roma. In February a Roma man and his five-year-old son were shot dead in cold blood as they attempted to flee their burning house, set on fire by arsonists. A 54-year-old pharmaceutical factory worker, also Roma, was shot on his doorstep in late April.

High on the list of suspects are individuals with police or military training, including perhaps veterans of the Balkan Wars or the French Foreign Legion.

Despite the gathering of DNA and other evidence, no one has been arrested for any of the crimes. This comes as no surprise since ten percent of the Hungarian police force are members of the “Ready to Act” union that has close links to Jobbik.

The Hungarian Guard was created in August 2007 by Jobbik leader Gábor Vona. Units of the group clad in black deploy in cities and communities on an almost daily basis claiming they are providing the public protection against “gypsy crime.”

Jobbik and the Hungarian Guard have been systematically supported by the right-wing Citizen’s Federation—Fidesz. During the numerous demonstrations against the country’s “socialist” government, Fidesz used its extensive party apparatus to mobilize participants and then handed over the microphone at rallies to the neo-fascists. High-ranking functionaries of Fidesz and the church were present at the founding of the Hungarian Guard. Allegedly, there have already been informal discussions over a future government coalition between Fidesz and Jobbik following the next election.

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