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General News    H3'ed 12/28/10

Media Roots- Hungary's New Nationalism Reflects Dark Past

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Message Abby Martin
December 26, 2010

MEDIA ROOTS - Naomi Wolf's book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, argues that there are ten steps common to every state that has made the transition into fascism. One step is the targeting of key individuals or demographics: artists, academics, activists, civil servants, gays, Jews; the public blacklisting of those who don't tow the party line. Another move towards fascism is the control over the press--all dictatorships and would-be dictators target journalists and make sweeping media reforms to increase their control and their ability to censor information.

Her book conveys the inklings of fascism here in America, but in a globalized society, the West sets the tone for policy and culture that influences the rest of the world. As Orwellian rhetoric becomes commonplace-- wars are being waged to maintain "peace" and draconian bills that curtail civil liberties are being litigated as "patriotic"--countries worldwide have been enacting Wolf's ten steps, some with more haste than others.

After decades of post-Soviet, post-Holocaust political and economic strife, Hungary is starting to embody Orwell's dystopian portrayal. This April, Fidesz, Hungary's center-right conservative party, won 2/3rds control over Parliament, putting the conservative party in power for the first time since World War II. Moreover, Fidesz now controls 22 out of the 23 major cities in the country. This complete takeover by one party is significant, because the Hungarian Constitution can be effectively changed with a 2/3rds majority in Parliament, an advantage now regularly enacted by the new party in power.

In the hundred days following the election, sweeping measures were passed by the Parliament that curtail Hungarians' freedoms. The reforms include an installation of a "media presidium", drastic legislation against journalistic independence and an attempt to control the content coming from the last remaining independent art centers and theatres. The government is taking these actions under the new mantra of "re-nationalization", an effort where judicial law is compromised and the consolidation of power is increased under nationalist rhetoric. This new mantra is conveyed in a government manifesto that is now required by law to be displayed in every public sphere across the country.

Another indication of Hungary's shift to the right is Jobbik, a right wing nationalist party known for their anti-Semitic and anti-gay speech that won an unprecedented 47 seats into Parliament. The growing influence of prominent extreme right political players is in part a backlash from the Socialist Party's failures which resulted in a disenfranchised, fragmented left. In 2008, Hungary experienced an economic collapse and was subsequently bailed out by the International Monetary Fund. Amid their economic struggle, Hungarians became disillusioned with Socialism, leading to the eventual takeover of the center and far right. Presently, under Fidesz's reign, the public live in an unpredictable political climate in which Jobbik's bigoted ideology could gain momentum among alienated Hungarians that feel unrepresented by the current government. Already, an anonymously published list of many prominent Jewish, Bolshevik and Homosexual Hungarian political and cultural figures has been circulated, bolstering a climate of demonization that is reminiscent of McCarthy's Communist era blacklisting. The targeting and slandering of different groups and demographics of the population are essential tools for a would-be dictatorship to propagate the fear required for a compliant culture.

Read full article about Hungary's New Nationalism here.


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The root system of a tree is five times more extensive than the tree itself, and reaches far underground to form a solid base for growth and nourishment. Just as this root system is integral to the survival of the tree, media is integral to the (more...)
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