by Csaba Toth
Monday, 2
May 2022
Dispatch
19:09

Another far-Right party emerges in Hungary

Our Homeland is making inroads with the country's working class
by Csaba Toth
László Toroczkai, the leader of Our Homeland

Budapest

It was a gloomy Mayday for Hungary’s Left. For the first time in decades, there were no Mayday events in Budapest’s main city park, Városliget, to talk of. Traditionally, it was always Hungary’s Socialist Party and its various offshoots organising Mayday fairs, where leading politicians were obliged to give their account of what they think should happen to workers’ rights, and what kind of trade union policy they offer.

But, like elsewhere in the Western world, the influence of Leftist parties in Hungary has rapidly diminished in the 2010s. During this period, the far-Right party Jobbik drew white working class voters away from Left-wing parties by focusing on race and identity politics (anti-roma, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBT) before eventually being subsumed by Orban’s Fidesz.

But in recent years, a new Right-wing party focused on Hungary’s working class has emerged. On April 3 2022, Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland) — led by former Jobbik vice chair László Toroczkai, made it into parliament with nearly 6% of the vote. Together with Fidesz, which has comfortably received another two-thirds majority, they constitute a 71% percent majority in Hungary’s newly formed national assembly.

In recent months, this radical new offshoot of Jobbik has started to focus on labour — not identity — issues. This was on full display at yesterday’s Mayday, in which the Party organised its own trade union forum, which included a discussion featuring Toroczkai.

The participants were union leaders from industrial areas, as well as a firefighter union vice president — all from rural towns. Most of these discussions focused on the predicament of Hungarian industrial workers and public servants, and ways to cooperate without the institutions of the “old Left”. 

Invited onto the panel was Gábor Radics, a unionist who described himself as a Leftist, he explained that he participated the Right-wing event simply because Mi Hazánk offered invaluable help for them during their 2018 protests against Hungary’s anti-worker “slave law”. János Lantos, a key member of Our Homeland, insisted that: “our objective is not class war, but labour peace”. Like his political comrades in France and Western Europe, Lantos emphasised that “traditional Left and Right, as we understood it, is no more… A mutually beneficial agreement between capital and labour makes the country better.” He added that in spite of what he calls “20th century understandings” of trade unionism, it should not be an “institution of class war”, but “an organic part of the nation”. 

While we may wish to commend the renewed focus on labour over identity issues for the working class, we should treat the far-Right’s entry into this space with caution. There is a long European tradition of far-Right forces attempting to appropriate institutions like those of the traditional workers’ movement and rarely did they end well. But there is also no question that the Left bears its share of the blame; after all, it has been the hollowing out of the movement over the past three decades that has created the space for these parties to emerge. Until it can offer a viable alternative to what is being proposed by Hungary’s Right, it will continue to suffer many more gloomy Maydays.

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Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
1 month ago

The constant use of the term “far-right” by journalists has completely invalidated it. Even if this group IS “far-right”, a) readers don’t believe it, and b) nobody cares anymore.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 month ago

the more left one is, the more right everyone else…

Russ W
Russ W
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

You two took the words right out of my mouth.

Right and Left in the US are undergoing a major shift. Totalitarian leftists, a vocal minority with outsized power, bankrolled by a globalist “elite” with strong footholds in most institutions have abandoned the middle class and now focus on political indoctrination, grooming, and the programming of children in primary school (they already control most liberal arts universities).

If the left’s issues were public health care, more wealth “redistribution,” etc. I’d say okay, let’s talk. But that isn’t it, it’s identity politicians selling shame, self-hate, country hate, hatred of the “west,” and racism all based on kernels of truth distorted beyond all objective reasoning. The same seems to be happening in Europe. Is it?

The game is straightforward forward: accuse your opponent of everything you do, redefine words and use them as Trojan horses, ignore empirical evidence and “reconstruct reality” based on your subjective, reductive, power obsessed ideology.

Sorry for the rant but we’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well.

Am I nuts? School me, UnHerd commenters, I want to be wrong.

Last edited 1 month ago by Russ W
Jill Corel
Jill Corel
1 month ago
Reply to  Russ W

Sadly, I think you are right.

D F Delieu
D F Delieu
1 month ago

Was thinking the same thing. “Far right’ implies a vile ideology, all sorts of social evils, whereas I suspect those of a ‘right wing’ persuasion tend to be mild mannered people with a social conscience appalled by the way in which the world and social norms are being manipulated and engineered by woke left wingers and rabid socialists – and bless them, (ahem) idealistic teenagers with very little real world experience.
I dare say there are those who would call themselves left wing who also wonder how such far left extremists have infiltrated their politics.
I loathe the way in which the left try to claim the moral high ground. Most people want the best for everyone, don’t they? It’s about time we recognised the vast majority of us decent, caring people who want fairness to prevail for all, aren’t socialists, and sit happily in the middle of it all politically, longing for a day when extremism is recognised in all its forms.
A ‘Nice’ party is needed, isn’t it ( although I’d be reluctant to join it unless someone could come up with a better name.) Like many, this woman with poor, working class origins cannot pin her colours to the left wing mast, so that makes me one of those evil right wingers the left wing press scorn at every turn.
To be in any way right wing now is often termed as “far right” by media infested with left wing commentators. The term is bandied about with impunity, creating social divides, creating extremes, fanning the flames of hatred.
I suspect I’ll be seen as a distant relative of Genghis Khan for daring to voice my concerns.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago

Agreed, but it does serve some purpose in that when a journalist refers to a party that is supported by a significant proportion of the country’s population as far-right it signals that the journalist, however apparently reasonable his analysis seems, is in fact a propagandist for a leftist or even extreme leftist ideology and his views should be subjected to more than usual scepticism.

Oliver McCarthy
Oliver McCarthy
1 month ago

Yes, whatever else it may be, this new party doesn’t sound particularly right-wing.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago

This new grouping appears to have left wing policies.
What is it that makes you call them “far right”?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 month ago

It doesn’t end well when far-left forces attempt to “appropriate institutions” either ….