Luckily not only Hungary can boast an abundance of highly knowledgeable political scientists, analysts and experts but others too. The German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel published an article titled Strohfeuer des Widerstands (Resistance: A Flash in the Pan?) by Jan Puhl, which the extremely objective MTI always keen to serve the public republished immediately. We will surely meet it on the various pages and sites of the party propaganda media. Not least because the article argues that no way will Viktor Orbán be deposed until we all shall live.
It is true that people are screaming on the streets but they will soon lose interest and go home. There is no way to change the government, not here, because this movement is outside the Parliament, has no structure and the protesters do not stand a chance against the seasoned Fidesz campaign machine. The parliamentary opposition will not pose a real danger for Orbán at the 2018 elections either, furthermore not one of them has a role in the demonstrations and anyway, they are not even capable of showing real resistance inside the Parliament let alone outside of it.
If this is not a paid advertisement and Jan Puhl means what he has written, it would be prudent of him to jot down a second analysis of why is it in the interest of German economic cycles to support Orbán’s system financially. Now, I get it that from a convenient distance it is enticing to disparage our struggle here – not least because the financial basis of the regime is provided by the EU and the German assembly plants installed here because of the cheap manpower – but please let us be hopeful that we can depose the regime. Or bundle them off, if you prefer.
I also understand that Puhl was considering the options within the framework of a parliamentary democracy but this by definition works only where there is a working parliamentary democracy. Which does not apply here.
The power of the protesters lies exactly in the fact that they cannot be linked to any party in the Parliament. Despite Fidesz’ attempts to conflate them or some of said parliamentary parties’ clear intentions to ride the waves of this discontent.
Let us use our common sense in weighing up the possibilities.
Orbán stays on for the next five hundred years. The parties of the Parliament stay huddled together in the warm just like they have been so far. Those happy with Orbán will rejoice and those fed up with the para-dictatorship, with feudalism embedded for the next thousand years, with the economy heading from nowhere to nowhere and with festive meals cooked from chicken scraps, will up sticks and leave here for good.
It’s fine that the remaining one and a half (or how many) million will be beside themselves saying “thank goodness, go to hell” but this enthusiasm will be premature. Because those leaving are the ones who make this country work. Professionals, specialists, young people. Those who think that the all too talented Lőrinc Mészáros, Antal Rogán, Garancsi, Flórián Farkas or István Tiborcz will produce the goods required for making this country work are in for a terrible surprise. Mr and Mrs Fan will very quickly find that no pension is coming, no use waiting for the postman at the garden gate. I give it no more than three months and the people now kissing the hands of Orbán will demand his head.
Another option is that Orbán extracts Hungary from the EU and drags it into the shadow of Putin. Or at least he tries. I cannot wholeheartedly subscribe to this idea, because no f*cking way is it in the interest of the EU or the NATO to deal with a Russian friendly inclusion in the middle of Europe. So it is highly likely that they will not let this happen. I know, I know, they cannot encroach on the inner affairs of a sovereign state and indeed, it would do no good if they did. Still, there are scores of other things they can do from providing correct information to bringing to light Orbán’s and his ilk’s sly transactions not intended for the public eye (no, I am not so wet behind the ears to think that foreign secret agencies do not have anything of the like); or they can conduct a really broad investigation about the utilization of the EU funds while freezing said funds during the investigation. To say a few examples.
A third option is that the tension of society becomes so overbearing (yes, I am confident that Orbán provokes society deliberately and on purpose because he thinks that the pent-up steam can be let off) that the government will not be able to keep it in check. An explosion eventuates which can sweep away the government or result in a civil war. No one would wish for that.
It is quite clear that Orbán and co. are all shitting bricks. Their communication has fallen apart, they commit more and more serious errors. And this will worsen as things get tougher and can trigger an elemental outcry from the so far silent strata of the society.
No parliamentary parties out there on the streets? Of course not. That’s why it is so dangerous for the government. Can’t people without parties bundle off the government? Is it forbidden? Not at all. This country has enough honest and capable individuals to make up a government of experts. And when the situation returns to normal they can repair the electoral law and call elections.
It is not as difficult as many make it out to be. So let’s not squirm but roll up our sleeves. It’s time to start shovelling shit. Because if one thing is certain, this shit will not go away by itself.
Written by Edgar Swan, 15/04/2017
Translated by Eszter Somogyi
Edited by Réka Eszter Szabó