Saturday, January 21, 2012


The heavily critized Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban came on wednesday 18yh of January to Brussels to discuss his policy with the European Commission and to explain it to the members of the European Parliament.
Since the Fidesz party won the absolute majority in Parliament at the parliament elections in 2010 and therefore drove the leftist socialist out of power, political controverses are sharpening between the Government of Prime Minister Victor Orban and the leftist opposition.The opposition claims that the Orban government is becoming more and more an authoritarian government, destroying democratic values, trying to censor the media, threatening the independence of judges and the national central bank. The European Commission decided to launch accelerated infringement proceedings against Hungary over the independence of its central bank and data protection authorities as well as over measures affecting the judiciary.

Prime Minster Victor Orban came last Wednesday to Brussels to discuss these matters with the European Commission and toexplain to the European Parliament his Government policies. Socialist leader Hannes Swoboda supported the critics of the opposition in Hungary. In contrast, leader Joseph Daul of the Christian Democratic oriented European People’s Party expressed his confidence in Victor Orban. 

On Trade Union level there are also different opinions. ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol stated that ‘The European Union cannot put up with the attacks made by Viktor Orban on media pluralism, the independence of the justice system and all the democratic counter-powers. We need to act to ensure that the fundamental rights guaranteed by the EU are fully respected. The initiatives taken by President Barroso must be bolstered. This so-called economic patriotism will only lead to forcing the country into a nationalistic and populist direction that must be condemned as being harmful to workers and citizens’.

On the other side speaks President Ilmre Palkovics of the Hungarian trade union confederation Munkastancsok in favor of the Government. On my request he wrote the following comment on what is going on in Hungary. As you will see, his opinion is more worker’s oriented.

President Imre Palkovics of the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation Munkastanoscok (left) talking to former ETUC secretary general John Monks.


The past two decades or so brought about a disappointing reality vis-a-vis the expectations of the Hungarian society at large. A few people became incredibly rich, but the majority live in dispair, poverty, degrading existential security, many  lost  their jobs, health, homes, or faith in the future.

Huge profits, low wages.

            The background of disappointment is that the West promised to help, but accomplished the expropriation of the country instead: state property has been privatized into the hands of mainly Western investors. The share of foreign ownership has become determining, both in the real economy and in the financial sector. The profits made in Hungary were systematically fleeing the country, having been boosted by the owners not paying fair wages to the employees as well as by state subsidies and tax holidays lavished at the multinationals. Compare: the investors’ profit rates in the past 20 years went up by an average of 21%, while the mean earnings rate by a meagre 0.7%. Consequently, the real value of the wages in 2012 is equal to that of 30 years ago.
            Hence, the economic activity in Hungary failed to provide the resources needed for a normal functioning of the society at the level of the state and of individual life. There followed another means of plundering the country: that of the debt yoke, inflicted on both the state and the population.

Neo-Liberal Globalisation leads to colonization

            The above economic and social phenomena are present not only in Hungary. As is now obvious, it goes about a thoroughly designed and tested model. The initiators of globalization, the neoliberal market forces and powers have used methods of capital outsourcing and colonization to fleece the Latin American continent, Central and Eastern Europe, now Europe’s southern states, Ireland, and it’ll go on.
            In spite of the fact that the „irrational rationalism” of fundamentalist neoliberal markets admittedly failed, and became untenable in 2008, the global moneysucking pumps are still fully operational.
            In what does the Hungarian situation differ from other countries?
            It goes without saying, the ransacked society in other regions, too, suffers because of the depleted resources.

Worker’s interests versus International Capital interests

Hungarians were lucky to have elected a politician, a statesman, who is determined to serve not only the global interests of money. Over two thirds of citizens voted for a policy of slowing down the rate of the country’s plundering and is determined to see that policy implemented by their prime minister. He is expected to make it clear to international investors, that Hungarians are not willing to hand over all fruit of their work. We would like to protect our modest means of living, at least those that the previous socialist governments of Mr Gyurcsány and Mr Bajnai (who enjoy the West’s high esteem for now obvious reasons) had no time to deliver to the markets.
            The government of Viktor Orbán made an earnest effort by levying taxes on banks and multinational companies, retaining parts of their extra profits. This was inevitable in order to raise the billions required for the servicing of the mushrooming interest on state debt. As a follow-up, 13 corporations, operational in this country, lodged a complaint against the Hungarian government already in 2010.
            For many of us it is clear now, that over the democratically elected national governments there is a genuine power structure of those who have not been elected and aren’t controlled by anyone. Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government dared to challenge that power, and stepped over the line marked for small countries having no economic or military might. He personally, his government and Hungary as a whole have now been made a target of retaliation.

Democratic values versus international interests.

            The arsenal of the strike includes blemishing us in the face of international public opinion for destroying „the delicate equilibrium of checks and balances”. Let us see: did those checks and balances restrain in the past 20 years anyone, apart from masses of cheap labour? Apart from those, who were methodically conned and fooled by the sycophant „free” media?
            Western democracy discredits itself, when it allows the European Central Bank to decide what remuneration Hungary should pay to the governor (who has been known for ducking taxation by rescuing his private capital to offshore havens) of its national bank, an institution „independent” only of serving Hungary’s interests!
            Our prime minister is labeled „dictatorial”, because he lived up to his democratic mandate, obtained as a result of free elections, to have the parliament confirm our sovereignty by adopting a basic law capable of being a safeguard of national interests. Hungary was the last of the former socialist countries to do away with a Stalinist constitution!
            „Populist!”, goes the chorus led by the New York Times, which readily sticks the label to every politician who serves collective interests instead of individual ones. Had Orbán maintained the policy of subservience to global market interests, there’d be no hysteria, no concerted attack against Hungary, unleashed last year by the media.
            This is the sin, then, of the freely elected Hungarian prime minister and government. Even the erection in Budapest of a monument to Ronald Reagan, father of  global rule, wasn’t enough to placate the wrath, provoked by  Hungarians wishing to have the neoconservative economic model work for them, too, instead of delivering its total yield to the empire.

The political battle goes on

            The irony of the situation is, that the leftist-liberal opposition  - which was a disaster while in office for eight successive years that only brought the „need for austerity” to the country – feel triumphant again. The old good times are back, there is a Master again - the Brussels commission and the US ambassador, replacing the soviet communists -,  so they can flock there and betray a government trying to defend the interests of the nation. The „leftist forces” and the liberals who even failed to make it to the parliament in the 2010 elections, are now „worried”, because it turns out that Hungarians are aware of their national interests!
            Global media come handy to the opposition in its campaign to convince us, that it is good, if we submit again to the depletion-causing instructions of the IMF, the encashment institute of international investors.
            An uneven battle is being escalated, the financial empire has deployed its full arsenal against Viktor Orbán, in order to confuse, estrange and turn against him the now supportive social strata, all those he tries to save from being definitively locked in the cage of debt slavery.

For to the common good.

Bringing down the Hungarian government is so urgent for the profit machinery and the media not because the country’s market is so important, but because of the role model it might become for other captive nations. Inadvertently, a comparison with 1956 comes to mind: then, too, Hungarians wanted to extricate themselves away from the strangulating embrace of another empire. Then, too, there was a complicity among the big powers which allowed the freedom fight to bleed.
            But there is a vestige of hope now: the ruling new-enlightenment project is in trouble, because its founding fathers can only think in terms of individuals. An empire of individuals has pushed the entire world economy and modern civilization into their worst crisis. This empire can’t hope for a lease on life as long as the soviet empire had following the defeat of the 1956 Hungarian revolution!
            We support our prime minister and government for their courageous endeavour to step out of the rank of cover-up democracies, and hope that public opinion in other Western nation states will heed to our arguments.17.01.2012. Budapest

Imre Palkovics

(Munkástanácsok- National Confederation of Workers’Councils)

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