Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Frank Furedi (ex-Revolutionary Communist Party) Gallantly Defends Hungary’s Viktor Orban.

with 14 comments

Image result for orban hungary soros

Furedi: “democratic and very human.” culture of Hungarian regime.

In Europe it striking that, in the face of right-wing ‘populism’, some on the left have taken up the same right wing themes.

The German aufstehen movement, which claims inspiration from both Momentum and La France insoumise of Jean Luc Mélenchon has taken up the themes of harder controls over immigration and a hard-line on law and order. Apart from creating an almighty row in the party a couple of days ago (Wieder Streit bei der Linken: Sammlungsbewegung Aufeinanderlosgehen)  the echoes have been felt in France.

Both elements within LFI and the ‘left’ of the Parti Socialiste. Emmanuel Maurel, who is said to be about to join Mélenchon, have praised this stand on borders,. Maurel, who cites  Régis Debray, Éloges des frontières (2010)) says, “La gauche ne doit pas avoir honte de parler de nation, de frontière, de laïcité” The left should not be ashamed of the Nation, of frontiers, and of secularism.” (le Monde) The leader of LFI now repeats his hostility to EU principle of freedom of movement, the latest occasion only being a few days ago. (“Jean-Luc Mélenchon a réitéré, à plusieurs reprises cet été, son hostilité à la liberté de circulation et d’installation.”Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières. 9th of September). Some of his team openly admire the positions of Aufstehen: “ La gauche allemande anti-migrants saluée par un proche de Mélenchon (8th of September) 

It would not be difficult to find similar views, from Blue Labour stalwarts, to Trades Unionists Against the EU, and, in a more mute form on other parts of  (by no means all) the Brexit left’

The drift to ‘sovereigntistism’, that is the centring of politics on the issue of National Sovereignty, borders, law and order to the fore, is widespread.

No doubt after the Swedish election it will grow.

But the destination reached by the ex-Revolutionary Communist party, now present in Spiked, and reproduced by their writers for the Sun, broadcasts on Radio Four, and the Sky News Press Review – for the moment -stands out amongst the others.


For some time now, Hungary has been the target of a witch-hunt led by an alliance of Euro-federalists and cosmopolitan politicians. The aim of their propaganda campaign has been to delegitimise the Hungarian government by portraying it as a xenophobic, quasi-fascist entity that threatens to undermine democracy across the continent of Europe.

This campaign of vilification against Hungary has to some extent proved successful. Hence a significant section of the European Parliament voted today to punish Hungary. For the first time ever, this institution has unleashed the EU disciplinary process, known as Article 7, against a member state.

After some attempts to portray the Obran government as just like all the others:  “like other countries it has its share of problems, of course. Some of the policies pursued by Viktor Orban’s government can be criticised.” we come to gritty kernel of Feurdi’s argument: 

The Hungarian government’s values are very different to the technocratic outlook of the EU federalists. The best way to describe the Hungarian government’s outlook is conservative, traditional and Christian. It is also democratic and very human. These are values that the EU oligarchy is determined to abolish, to erase from the European landscape and history, in order that it might replace them with its own technocratic cosmopolitan outlook.

the EU parliamentarians who voted to punish Hungary should be ashamed of themselves. They have betrayed the real values of Europe: those values of humanism and tolerance that were best expressed by the Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers.

Perhaps the Emeritus Professor of Sociology could find an appropriate  quote from Voltaire on the necessity of tolerating the intolerable and intolerant…….

We will surely need all we can get to save us from the “cosmopolitans” out to erase so much that is precious from  the European landscape and history.


14 Responses

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  1. More on Orban:




    By the way, during the British EU referendum campaign, Orban paid for advertisements in, eg, the Daily Express, exhorting the British electorate to vote Remain.


    September 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm

  2. But, on Europe Obran is now the ally of the Tory Brexit.

    Andrew Coates

    September 13, 2018 at 4:00 pm

  3. An MP from Orban’s party was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s PM prog yesterday and came out with all the usual right wing racist crap … but was insistent that the Hungarian government has no plans to leave the EU, despite Frage’s blandishments. Hungary, of course, is highly dependent upon EU handouts. It seems Orban and his co-thinkers have decided to undermine the European project from within rather than exiting: but ideologically they are equally anti-EU, at least in its present form.

    Jim Denham

    September 13, 2018 at 4:02 pm

  4. On the post above: Jean-Luc Mélenchon seems to be turning more and more against immigration, while maintaining an official “pro-refugee” position – which is never defined in terms of real policy.

    It comes to a pretty pass when the PCF is obliged to denounce his turn.

    The leader of the Communist Party for next year’s European elections deplores the evolution of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s position on the issue of migrants.

    Ian Brossat : “La gauche anti-migrants, ça n’existe pas, c’est comme un lion végétarien”

    In France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has changed his line on immigration since the last presidential election. The leader of the LFI proposes on the one hand “to assume the duty of humanity” towards the refugees and on the other hand to “fight against the causes of the migrations”.

    During his speech back to Marseillehe also echoed the idea that the use of immigration is a way for employers to put pressure on wages: “Yes, there are waves of migration, yes, they can pose many problems for the countries of the world. They pose many problems when some use them to make profit on the backs of the unfortunate ones … […] And we have always reacted in this way.If you read Jean Jaurès and the thinkers of socialism, they have always said: ‘You use immigration to lower the cost of wages, you use it to fight against social gains.’ ”

    (En France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon a fait évoluer son discours sur l’immigration depuis la dernière présidentielle. Le leader de La France insoumise propose d’une part “d’assumer le devoir d’humanité” envers les réfugiés et d’autre part de “lutter contre les causes des migrations”. Lors de son discours de rentrée à Marseille, il a aussi repris l’idée selon laquelle le recours à l’immigration est un moyen pour le patronat de faire pression sur les salaires : “Oui, il y a des vagues migratoires. Oui, elles peuvent poser de nombreux problèmes aux pays d’accueil. Elles posent de nombreux problèmes quand certains s’en servent pour faire du profit sur le dos des malheureux. […] Et nous avons toujours réagi de cette manière. Si vous lisez Jean Jaurès et les penseurs du socialisme, ils ont toujours dit : ‘Vous vous servez de l’immigration pour abaisser le coût des salaires ; vous vous en servez pour lutter contre les acquis sociaux.'”)


    Andrew Coates

    September 13, 2018 at 4:49 pm

  5. The British Tories are very deeply divided on whether they want to have their racist and pro-big business policies (on which they agree) practised within the European Union, or outside of it, in Atlanticist alliance with Trump’s USA.

    So, it not so surprising that both Remain and Brexit Tories support Orban.


    September 13, 2018 at 5:48 pm

  6. Frank F is of an Hungarian Jewish background, his parents were very lucky to have survived Hitler’s Holocaust, in which the quisling government in Budapest was a willing participant. Orbán and his supporters have used openly anti-Semitic statements and insinuations in their campaign against Soros. They would hardly consider Frank F to be a genuine Hungarian, they would see him as a ‘cosmopolitan’ with all which that implies.

    Dr Paul

    September 13, 2018 at 10:40 pm

  7. Surely paragraph 4 should start “It would not be difficult”, rather than “It would be difficult”.

    Roland Rance

    September 14, 2018 at 10:43 am

  8. Thanks Ronald, one day I will reach Guardian subs’ level…

    Andrew Coates

    September 14, 2018 at 10:59 am

  9. Ronald? Grauniad subs level?

    Jim Denham

    September 14, 2018 at 12:10 pm

  10. I rarely agree with this guy but here he’s spot-on

    September 14 2018, 12:01am, The Times

    Tories’ refusal to censure Orban is a disgrace

    Philip Collins

    Conservatives are so obsessed with leaving the EU they cannot even support attempts to uphold democracy in Hungary

    Daniel Dalton, Amjad Bashir, Emma McClarkin, Geoffrey Van Orden and Ashley Fox are not exactly major figures in British politics. Daniel Hannan’s lofty Whiggish pronouncements on democracy and freedom make him a little better known. All of the above are Conservative members of the European parliament and all of them, in addition to a further nine of their colleagues, disgraced their party on Wednesday by voting against the European parliament’s motion to censure the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban.

    Mr Orban’s government stands in defiance of the rule of law and respect for human rights, the values that the European Union advertises as its philosophy. The prime minister of Hungary has made it a criminal offence for lawyers to help asylum seekers. Critical judges have been replaced in a torrent of vicious rhetoric about how the judiciary is full of the robed mercenaries of George Soros. Media bias and rigged financing mean that the recent parliamentary election in Hungary was described by independent observers as free but not fair. Evidence of fake voter registration, forged polling station voting records and intimidation of ballot officials is starting to emerge. The academic freedom of the Central European University in Budapest has been threatened and the actions of NGOs have been curtailed.

    It is not as if Mr Orban is hiding what he is up to or at all shamefaced about it. His blaming of immigrants, especially Muslims, for the woes of Hungary has become routine. In 2016, just for anyone who didn’t get the point of his often stated praise for strong leaders such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Mr Orban signed a co-operation pact with the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    This is all in the service of what Mr Orban boasts will be the “illiberal democracy” of Hungary. There is, of course, no prospect of any such category: the first term in the pairing rules out the second. Such a nation has no place in a democratic alliance.

    Hungary is clearly going down the slide into authoritarianism and no governing party of the centre right in Europe found it impossible to invoke Article 7, which is the beginning of the procedure by which sanctions can be imposed. No governing party that is except the Conservative Party, which whipped its 18 MEPs to vote against the motion. With the almost honourable exceptions of Charles Tannock and Sajjad Karim who abstained and the entirely honourable exception of Nosheena Mobarik who defied the whip, they all complied.

    Conservatives have recently taken pounds of political flesh from the antisemitism on the left of the Labour Party. It beggars belief that they have chosen, in the company of Poland’s Law and Justice Party, France’s National Front and the Sweden Democrats, to vote to uphold a regime that, openly and proudly, subverts democratic norms.

    The Conservative case for voting against censure shows the colossal loss of perspective that has set in. Daniel Hannan has said that the Tories were merely opposing the accretion of more power to the EU. Even for a politician not noted for his sense of proportion, it is preposterous to suggest that the procedures of the EU are an evil greater than the targeting of minorities and the flouting of fair rules in a member state.

    Mr Orban echoes the Conservative Party when he argues that every country has the right to make its own decision. So it does, but not while remaining a member of the EU. There are rules and there are norms. The former prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, has rightly pointed out that if Hungary were to apply for EU membership today it would not be granted entry. If a country starts to slide away from democracy it is not an intrusion into national affairs for the EU to state its opposition.

    Indeed, it should do rather more than that. The issue will now be lost in the cumbersome bureaucracies of EU procedure. Article 7 was invoked against Poland, the other would-be illiberal democracy in the ranks of the EU, last December. Nothing further has yet happened. At the critical moments at which unanimity is required, Hungary and Poland will no doubt save one another. The obvious way round that is for their cases to be treated together. It would be absurd to allow one country that is guilty of a persistent breach of the required norms to be saved by another country that is also guilty. If it went this far, the right of Hungary and Poland to vote on European council decisions would be revoked. Article 7 itself does not allow anything more than that but, in due course, if Poland and Hungary were to fail the democratic tests they are set, they ought to be expelled.

    The best argument for the EU has always been, and remains, that it was the handmaiden of post-war European democracy. Countries that had, within living memory, slaughtered one another’s peoples came together to talk and to trade. The historic enmity between France and Germany was contained. Forty years later, in a second wave of democratic optimism, the countries on which the Russian empire had been imposed were folded in.

    The unexpected half century of European peace cannot be attributed solely to the EU but it was an important embodiment of co-operation and an incentive to avoid conflict. This case, because of our war experience, has never really been felt in Britain and it hardly featured in the referendum campaign. David Cameron tried but he was pilloried for seeming to suggest that a Third World War might start if we voted Leave.

    The tragedy of the EU has been that it has failed to find another role beyond its part in ushering European democracies into being. Its adventure in constitution-building was ill starred and its insistence on a single currency ill fated. It has never really been an empire but it has struggled to find a role. Yet unequivocally it has stood for the rule of law and the norms of liberal democracy. It cannot stand by as Mr Orban packs the Hungarian constitutional courts with partisans.

    It is true that the EU has been unable to find a solution to the movement of people across its borders, and populism feeds on the anxieties this creates. Reform of the European migration system needs to accompany sanctions against those nations no longer worthy of membership.

    In the meantime perhaps we have, at last, found a good argument for leaving the EU. It turns out that Britain is in part represented in the European parliament by a bunch of Conservative MEPs so obsessed by Article 50 that they are blind to the much more important effect of Article 7. Soon they may well be forcibly retired and, as long as Tory associations ensure that none of them gains seats back at home, that will be a mercy, albeit a very small one.


    Jim Denham

    September 14, 2018 at 2:16 pm

  11. Note also that Frank F thinks that Orbán’s ‘Christian’ beliefs are ‘democratic and very human’: he must either have lived here too long and feels that the Hungarian premier is a C of E Reverend JC Flannel genial liberal type, and is oblivious to the fact that ‘Christian’ in that part of the world has very unpleasant, including anti-Jewish, connotations, or he really has subscribed to the foul traditions of right-wing Hungarian nationalism.

    Dr Paul

    September 14, 2018 at 4:22 pm

  12. I reblogged the main post by Andrew at Shiraz Socialist (Second Run) and received this comment:

    Furedi’s views are so unbelievably wrong-headed (to put it politely) that it is difficult to know where to start. “Very human” – does this include the miles of razor wire across its border with Serbia? “Democratic” – in a formal sense Hungary is democratic; it has elections and people vote but it is hardly democratic to manipulate the media in the way that Orban has. It is now almost impossible for an opposition voice to be heard in the mainstream media and Orban has elevated cronyism to an art form. This dreary list could go on …and on. Furedi’s correctly describes the present Hungarian government’s outlook as “conservative, Christian and traditional” precisely the political orientation that the inter-war governments held to from 1919 to 1944 and look what happened: Hungary was the first country in Europe to pass anti-semitic legislation – the ‘Numerus Clausus’ Law in 1920 which restricted Jewish entry into Hungarian Universities. As the 20s progressed into the 30s the situation for Jews became increasingly difficult and in 1938, 1939 and 1941 further anti-Jewish laws were passed. The 1941 Law was a ‘full-blooded Nuremberg law’ and made Jews non-persons. You need to look at what “conservative Christian and traditional” mean in a Hungarian context; Furedi seems to talk as if these are, somehow, ‘quaint’ ‘neutral’ values – they aren’t. All three terms are loaded and any rational, serious analysis will demonstrate that each is reactionary. To use some shorthand you are talking about ‘Christan-nationalism’ and transferred into the present time this means anti-Muslim prejudice, thinly veiled anti-semitism, the use of the far right to do your dirty work for you and always lurking in the background the question of the territory lost at the Treaty of Trianon (1920) and possible irredentist moves by Hungary. In the 1930s the far right/fascism was represented by Ferenc Szallasi’s Arrow Cross movement, today it means the thugs of Jobbik. In the 1930s all this ultimately ended with Hungary taking the disasterous decision to go to war with Hitler against the Soviet Union. Quite where today’s trajectory will end up today remains to be seen but Orban is rapidly becoming the pin-up boy for the populist right and the consequences for Europe and its minorities could be disastrous. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Orban could start rattling sabres for the return of Transylvania to Hungary (a major plank of government policy in the 1920s and 30s which overshadowed just about everyhting else). This could provoke conflict with Romania and possibly the only thing stopping Orban is the dire state of the Hungarian army which couldn’t fight its way out of a paper bag.

    Excuse a little plug here – I have writen a longish article for Solidarity (paper of the AWL) on a seminal essay on anti-semitism in Hungary written by Istvan Bibo in 1948. The first part has been just published in the current issue of Solidarity (No.478). Bibo wasn’t a Marxist, he belonged to the National Peasants’ Party but he wrote interestingly on many topics. Jim – if you feel like putting this up on Shiraz, please do. Bibo deserves to be better known.

    John Cunningham. Jo szerencset!

    Jim Denham

    September 15, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    • Thanks Jim, though I doubt if that lot care tuppence about real history!

      Andrew Coates

      September 18, 2018 at 12:34 pm

  13. […] Furedi – a keen defender of Hungary’s Viktor Orban – is here on Breitbart stating: “Soros does not believe in the legitimacy of borders nor […]

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