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Submitted by martin on Tue, 10/04/2018 - 19:03

According to a 2004 academic study (www.jstor.org/stable/1601607) of "the Hungarian voter", Hungary shows a strange "redefinition of the left-right spectrum".

"Namely, party elites on the left [this refers to the Socialist Party, legatee of the old ruling party] are more in favour of classical neoliberal economic policies, such as rapid privatisation, foreign investment, and tuition fees, while the rightist elites are more disposed toward protectionist policies..."

The "left" is defined as left only by a more liberal and moderate attitude on church-and-state, civil liberties, and immigration.

This picture of a left which is, on some economic issues, more right-wing than the right, must be a big part of the reason why the strident and self-proclaimed right wing has dominated in Hungary since the 2010 election, held in the wake of a big slump in 2009 (7% decline in GDP), following the 2008 world crash.

John's recommendation of a united bloc of the sort-of-liberal parties against Fidesz is no answer to this.

It is like the 1930s "Popular Fronts", except in those there were parties at least somewhat based on the working class and at least in principle, at least for the "next stage", advocating socialistic policies, which chose "for now" to bury themselves in alliances with discredited bourgeois liberal parties.

In this case the "Popular Front" is to be made only by the anti-socialist liberal-ish parties. So the task of whatever small socialist groups exist in Hungary is to try to lobby the anti-socialist liberal-ish parties - not receptive to left influence, since on John's own account they suffer from "utter political bankruptcy" - into sinking their differences?

And will the socialists then sink what differentiates them and join the "utter political bankruptcy" in the name of unity?

For socialists in Hungary to propose independent politics and independent organisation is surely not a quick fix. But then there is no quick fix. In the short term, as John says, "things can only get worse".

Given the conditions in Hungary, socialists should surely seek to join with, say, the Socialist Party, or Greens, in demonstrations or such to defend civil liberties and migrant rights - but at the same time, I would argue, they should build an autonomous political force left-wing both on economic and on civil-rights issues.

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