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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hungary's 'Tony Blair' gets hysterical

Budapest Week reports how Ferenc Gyurcsany, the beleagured multimillionaire Prime Minister of Hungary and die-hard Tony Blair fan, launched an extraordinary attack on the country's former leader Janos Kadar at the conference of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) last weekend. "Forget the Kadar era, move away from it," Gyurcsany pleaded to his party. The very fact that Gyurcsany should devote so much time to trashing a man who left office over 18 years ago is highly revealing.

Hungary today is in social and economic meltdown. Aggressive neo-liberal policies have boosted the profits of western multinationals and a few Hungarians (most notably Mr Gyurcsany himself, whose personal fortune stands at $17.5m), but have left the vast majority of Hungarians in a far worse state than they were twenty years ago. Around a third of the country lives either below or around the poverty line, a situation which recent hikes in utility bills will only make worse. Public discontent rises by the day and massive demonstrations against the US/EU backed puppet government are planned on the country's national day, 15th March.

The official NWO line of course, is that everything in the garden is rosy: that Hungary has made great strides since its change from a 'backward' communist system to 'democracy' and a 'market economy'. But if the 'improvements' are so evident, why on earth does the Hungarian Prime Minister, almost twenty years on, feel the need to make a speech at his party conference attacking Hungary's former communist leader?
It's hard to escape the conclusion of Seumas Milne: Communism may be dead, but it's clearly not dead enough.


g.a.n.g (fka bdb) said...

"It's hard to escape the conclusion of Seumas Milne: Communism may be dead, but it's clearly not dead enough."

Yes I agree, but if communists don't change emblems and attitudes of the past that evoke sad memories, history will repeat itself in the worst possible manner.

Peter said...

"Communism may be dead, but it's clearly not dead enough."

...unlike all those Ukrainian farmers, Polish army officers, Chinese peasants or Cambodians found wearing glasses.

Neil Clark said...

Fair point, Peter. Stalin and Mao were responsible for the death of millions. No one is denying that or defending the atrocities that took place. But to say that we can't learn anything from the more liberal forms of communism that existed in some countries in Europe in the 70s and 80s, because of barbarities that took place under a 'communist' banner in other countries, is like saying we should write off Christianity because of the Spanish inquisition, or Islam because of al Qaida. There were positive aspects of communism as it existed in some countries in Europe in the 1970s and 80s eg comprehensive health care, good public transport, greater equality, good education, and it's these positive aspects which the neo-liberals want to destroy completely. about.

Mark said...

You raise an interesting issue here Neil ..... I want to say, firstly somethings about Hungary under Gyurcsany, and then about his attack on Kadar.

Hungary is very polarized. Firstly, there is political polarization along "right"-"left" lines (note the quote marks). There is a "cold" civil war between liberals (including Gyurcsany) and conservatives going on over Hungary's future. Secondly, there is social polarization. Though average living standards are 20% higher than in 1989, they took a long time to recover, and among a sizeable minority (40%) they almost certainly remain lower. If you visit Hungary as more than a tourist you will see a burgeoning consumerism, which a broader group than simply the elite participate in, but far more are excluded than in western Europe. I'm not altogether sure how far the austerity measures have hit the poorest in the past year though - the poorest ten percent in Hungary for example don't have gas heating and live - unemployed - in rural areas. Essentially Gyurcsany is making the middle classes pay for EU membership. But that's another issue .....

Gyurcsany's attack on Kadar is about shaping an identity for his party similar to that of "social democratic" parties to Hungary's west. Because of the vehement anti-communism of the right domestically, and his own party's past in the socialist regime, he needs to place distance between himself and his own and his party's past. How convincing this will be remains to be seen, but as state socialism slides into memory, the media image of the period is becoming indistinguishable from its image in the "west".

In Hungary "Communism" is dead. It has been condemned largely because it created a situation in which average living standards were only a third of those in neighbouring Austria. Yet Hungarians are, by nature, collectivist in their thinking on social issues, and are much more comfortable with a strong state, than market forces. I can imagine either a party of the mainstream social democratic left or a nationalist-christian grouping ruling Hungary provided they commit to the Hungarians' basic collectivism. There is no real support for neo-liberalism - this is Gyurcsany's real problem in pushing through Brussels style reform, and he will revert to the statist redistribution he pursued between 2004 and 2006 in advance of elections in 2010.

Obscurus said...

gyurcsany ferenc IDIOT !!!
ezt én mondom innen, Magyarországról: yence