Search for Evidence

So I decided to go into town with a friend to find out if there were any traces of the rise of the far right and hostility towards minorities. I figured that the best way to get a few photographs to ‘compliment’ the study was to go to the Jobbik offices, the Jewish district and some rougher areas of Budapest to look for evidence.

I did find the evidence and it speaks volumes about Hungary’s situation as it is perfectly in line with some of the reading I’ve been doing. Most signs came in the form of graffiti, often despicable and highly offensive. The things I found show signs of a nation in struggle, in economic difficulty and confusion of being caught between hugely unsuccessful and unpopular parties with no alternative.

The graffitis I found were homophobic, anti-leftist and above all antisemitic but interestingly there have been clear attempts to undo, coverup or destroy the antisemitic slurs. Mixed amongst the discrimination you can see anti-fascist tags and calls to bring down the current Fidesz government. One the one hand there are outrageous and disgusting comments such as “Send the brain-dead jews to the mines”, “Exterminate Israel”, Exterminate the Jews”, “Kill the Gays”, “Bring down Gyurcsány and the MSZP, they are murdering thieves” and on the other hand, one can find comments such as “Orbán Viktor Dictator”, “Never again Fidesz”, “F**k the Nazis”, “A**hole Fascists”, “we are sinking like the titanic”.

I have posted the pictures below to give you an idea of what I saw. It’s shocking to see what some people are capable of believing and expressing. I think the pictures go a long way in describing the rise of the Far Right in Hungary (especially the picture of the tram stop that had been made into a home y a homeless man. Behind his improvised bed was a “Hajrá Jobbik!” graffiti which means “Go Jobbik!”).

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Graffiti accusing the socialist party, ‘MSZP’ of being murders.

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Anti Fascist!”, “Anti-*swastika*”

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“Brain dead Jews, go work in the mines”

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A tram stop becomes a homeless man’s new home.

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“Down with the Fidesz, quickly!”

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The homeless man’s bed representing the inflation of the poorer classes in Hungary. Behind him it says “Hajrá Jobbik” which means “Go Jobbik!”. How much does the economy have to do with the rise of the Jobbik?

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“Go Jobbik!”

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Multiple attempts to cover up a graffiti saying “Exterminate the sh*t jews”.

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“Gyurcsány mentally ill” and other offensive sexual and homophobic slurs.  Gyurcsány was the Socialist Prime Minister until his failed policies forced him to step down in favour of Bajnai. MSZP would go on to suffer an unprecedented defeat and Jobbik would become the second biggest party in the Hungarian Parliament.

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“Go Fidesz-KDNP” -the right-wing governing coalition. 

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The head-office for the Jobbik Party. I managed to get multiple brochures and magazines and the woman inside kindly offered me a brochure in English. It was an awkward experience.

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“Jobbik, a movement for Hungary” -Jobbik’s head office in Budapest.

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Pro-Fidesz and anti-MSZP graffiti, another sign of the political hostility in the country.

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A non-military man dressed in military clothing with a clean shaven head. I didn’t want to adhere to stereotypes of skinheads so I had a word with him. He was indeed a Jobbik supporter and pointed me towards the party’s head office. Oh the questions I would have liked to have asked him, if only there wasn’t such a tedious ethics process to complete. 

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Jobbik’s headquarters displays many stickers of the “Greater Hungary”. The Treaty of Trianon resulted in Hungary losing 2/3 of its land in 1918. The issue is still a sensitive one today and has led to much anti-French hostility. “Greater Hungary” is one of the key themes in Jobbik’s politics yet they fail to mention that while ‘Greater Hungary’ was bigger than it is now, it was also under the rule of the Austrian Habsburg family.

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Jobbik HQ

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“Never again Fidesz”. The contradiction of these graffitis hints towards the political divide and confusion in Hungary. It is in times of despair that turnout lowers, deadlocks increase, protest votes are made and the Far Right with its loyal electorate has its chance to rise in the polls. 

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“Down with Trianon”

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“OV Dictator”, ‘OV’ refers to Orbán Viktor, the current Prime Minister. 

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“Communism!”, “Clean our country!”

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“Long live communism, down with the country!”, “OV=Dictator”

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“We’ve had enough!”

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The Synagogue, centre of Budapest’s jewish district. Hungary has one of the largest European jewish populations. 

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“Sh*t jews” and a David’s star. More offensive graffiti.

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Someone has replaced Orbán’s name with Gyurcsány in a quote saying “Orbán Viktor has to go!”

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“Murderers and thieves: Mesterházy, Bajnai, Gyurcsány”. The key figures of Hungary’s political left.

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“We are sinking like the titanic”, “We’ve had enough”, “Clean it up!”

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A beggar takes advantage of the red light to approach some cars.

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A young woman begs on the street after supposedly being evicted from her home. The consequences of a failed economy.

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“Dirty Nazis!!!”

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Anarchy and chaos in Hungary?

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Yet another swastika on the side of the rode.

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“Exterminate the Jews”, “Sh*t Israel” are only two of many antisemitic and anti-zionist slurs to be found on the Heinrich István Tram stop.

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“Exterminate the sh*t gays”. Homophobia is a seriously underrated issue in Hungary and one that the Jobbik subscribes to. 

They may be shocking and despicable but it is hard to tell whether they are done in a serious attempt to injure or whether it is just young vandals wanting to be controversial. One thing is clear, serious or not; there is a clear sense of confusion, hatred and chaos even amongst the graffitied slurs. I have many more pictures and I might post some more later on.

Definition of Far Right

To start this off, I guess it best I write down what i have in mind when i say Far Right.

Wikipedia Definition: 

The terms far right, or extreme right, describe the broad range of political groups and ideologies usually taken to be further to the right of the mainstream center-right on the traditional left-right spectrum. Far right politics commonly involves support for social inequality and social hierarchy, elements of social conservatism and opposition to most forms of liberalism and socialism. Both terms are also used to describe Nazi and fascist movements, and other groups who hold extreme nationalistchauvinistxenophobicracistreligious fundamentalist or reactionary views. The most extreme right-wing movements have pursued oppression and genocide against groups of people on the basis of their alleged inferiority.I

I place a lot of importance on Cas Mudde’s 3 key features when defining the Far Right: Authoritarianism, Populism and Nativism. I also believe the Far Right’s policies to often include xenophobia, racism, antisemitism, nationalism and the belief in a strong state (the first 4 can be classified as Nativism as well). I hesitate to use ‘anti-democracy’ as a significant feature in Far Right policy.

 

In Hungary there is one main party that represents the Hungarian Far Right and that is the Jobbik. Historically, before the rise of the Jobbik, the MIÉP (Hungarian Justice and Life Party) were the only real Far Right actor, however the party lacked any serious support. These two parties usually go into coalition along with the small Independent Smallholders Party to form the ‘MIÉP-Jobbik Third Way Alliance’.

 

Next post: All about Jobbik.

Online Reading

Here’s a list of all the articles, posts, blogs and pages that I am going through to provide an initial knowledge-basis on the subject:

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far-right_politics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_right

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_in_Europe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_Europe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magyar_G%C3%A1rda

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Hungary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobbik

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Hungary

Deliberately Considered

http://www.deliberatelyconsidered.com/2011/02/the-hungarian-shock-the-transition-from-democracy/

Geocurrents

http://geocurrents.info/cultural-geography/the-rapid-rise-of-the-xenophobic-right-in-contemporary-europe

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/peter-popham-rise-of-far-right-threatens-to-pollute-politics-across-europe-7718669.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/return-of-the-far-right-greeces-financial-crisis-has-led-to-a-rise-in-violent-attacks-on-refugees-8551798.html

New Statesman

http://www.newstatesman.com/austerity-and-its-discontents/2013/06/france-elsewhere-europe-far-right-kills

Europa 

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-464_en.htm

SBS

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/06/06/special-report-rise-right-europe

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/nov/06/far-right-rise-europe-report

Al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/02/2013224123927515709.html

Global Policy Journal

http://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/21/01/2013/far-right-economics-europe-elites-workers-and-capitalism

Public Radio International

http://www.pri.org/stories/politics-society/far-right-extremist-parties-find-support-across-europe.html

CNN

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/24/world/europe/europe-far-right-austerity

Open Democracy

http://www.opendemocracy.net/othon-anastasakis/far-right-in-greece-and-theory-of-two-extremes-0

Idea European Projects

http://europe.idebate.org/blog-post/far-right-extremism-europe-how-it-came-about-and-how-we-should-combat-it

Spiegel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/trial-in-hungary-little-outrage-over-far-right-murders-of-6-roma-a-912709.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/neo-nazis-in-hungary-receive-life-sentences-for-roma-murder-spree-a-915163.html

Euronews

http://www.euronews.com/2013/07/09/banning-hungarian-far-right-group-was-legal-says-echr/

The Economist

http://www.economist.com/topics/jobbik

http://www.economist.com/topics/hungarian-politics

The Times of Israel

http://www.timesofisrael.com/topic/jobbik-party/

http://www.timesofisrael.com/hungarian-far-right-party-holds-anti-semitic-rally/

http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-leaders-to-kerry-confront-hungarys-rising-anti-semitism/

The Voice of Russia

http://ruvr.co.uk/2013_05_22/Concern-at-the-rise-of-Hungarian-far-right/

Metafilter

http://www.metafilter.com/128467/The-rise-of-the-farright-in-Hungary

Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/04/us-hungary-jewish-congress-idUSBRE94306T20130504

Channel 4

http://www.channel4.com/news/the-rise-of-far-right-politics-in-hungary-video

http://www.channel4.com/news/hungary-jobbik-far-right-militias-jewish-congress

Democracy International

http://www.democracy-international.org/directdemocracy-hungary-2013.html

Tel Aviv University

http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/articles/hungary.pdf

Pew Global

http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/04/07/hungary-dissatisfied-with-democracy-but-not-its-ideals/

BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/special_report/1999/09/99/iron_curtain/timelines/hungary.stm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22413301

William & Mary

http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1544&context=wmborj

Financial Times

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/51adce78-6945-11e1-9618-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F51adce78-6945-11e1-9618-00144feabdc0.html&_i_referer=#axzz2UlUVuaVu

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/1077369e-3b0c-11e2-b111-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F1077369e-3b0c-11e2-b111-00144feabdc0.html&_i_referer=#axzz2UlUVuaVu

International Business Times

http://www.ibtimes.com/hungary-premier-condemns-anti-semitism-far-right-jobbik-party-blasts-jews-1238599

Freedom House

http://www.freedomhouse.org/blog/hungary-jobbik-and-%E2%80%98enemy-within%E2%80%99

EU Times

http://www.eutimes.net/2009/07/hungary-one-of-the-most-corrupted-country-in-europe/

Politics HU

http://www.politics.hu/

Open Society Foundations

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/rise-far-right-and-anti-gypsyism-hungary

Visegrad Revue

http://visegradrevue.eu/?p=1516

N.B.: Will sort alphabetically later

Intro

Where to start? I’m writing as though this was meant to be read by the public but to be honest, I’m not quite sure whether it’s meant for anyone other than myself. I am a 4th year student at Glasgow University and am doing joint honours in History and Politics.

I am doing my dissertation this year and I know that a lot of people use notepads, planners, diaries and more to keep track of their ideas and writing progress, which is why I thought I’d make a blog. My dissertation will be on the Rise of the Far Right in Hungary and I hope this blog will help me keep track of my ideas. I plan to use this blog to brainstorm, follow my writing process, plan, share materials (photos, conversations, ideas, interviews) and generally discuss and rant about this particular topic.

A lot of the work you do on a dissertation is not obvious in the final written piece, so i thought that this would also serve as a nice output for all that will not figure directly or completely in the dissertation. I also want to force myself to keep the topic fresh in my mind at all times so that I don’t miss or forget any ideas that might come my way.

That’s pretty much it.