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Anti-immigration as a "democratic" fear policy in Hungary

Hungary 2018
Regissør: Eszter Hajdu
( Portugal, Ungarn)

What we follow throughout the film is a caricature of an election campaign where it is given in advance who wins.


The 8. April 2018 there was a parliamentary election in Hungary. The right-wing radical Fidesz government, with Viktor Orbán in the lead, won the election and went ahead with 5 percent. More than 49 percent of those who voted voted Orbán and Fidesz. And almost 20 percent voted in favor of the self-understanding national conservative, but genuinely neonazi Jobbik, who supports Orbán. The result of the election was thus a clear victory for the right-wing forces in Hungary. Orbán's Fidesz party now has 133 seats in parliament out of 199, and Jobbik has 26. The rest of the seats are divided into four small center-left parties, which in fact do not constitute any kind of political parliamentary opposition to Orbán, which has since turned up the peculiar mix of neoconservatism and mercantilism, his politics.

Fear politics

Eszter Hajdus movie Hungary 2018 the opposition politician Ferenc Gyurcsany's campaign will follow until April 8, when the votes are counted and the defeat is clear. Gyurcsány is the leader of the small center-left party Democrat Koalíció (DK) and former prime minister of the Hungarian social democracy, who was in power for several periods after the fall of the Wall from 1994 to 1998 and again from 2002 to 2010 and in both periods conducted a series of hard neoliberal reform packages, privatizations and cuts. We do not hear much about Gyurcsány's own political stance and role in political development in Hungary after 1989, the film focuses on Orbán and Fidesz, and Gyurcsány actually works most in contrast to the violent xenophobic campaign that Orbán is at the forefront. Admittedly, we follow Gyurcsány around election meetings and see him talking to voters who all but complain about savings and the Fidesz government's hateful politics, but Fidesz is the real protagonist of the film. Thus, Gyurcsany's campaign and Fidesz elections are regularly intersected, with various ministers and other high-ranking Fidesz politicians attacking migrants and refugees, the EU and George Soros.

Hungary 2018 Director Eszter Hajdu

The film brilliantly shows how Fidesz has cut politics to consist only of fear politics, drawing a picture of a conspiracy that wants Hungary to come to life. A conspiracy made up of the EU and Hungarian-American financier George Soros, who advocates open borders and therefore wants to drown Hungary in refugees and thus destroy the country. It is the story that is repeated over and over. We hear nothing about social policy, about economics or education, or about tax policy; it's all about the outside threats that try to crush Hungary. It is almost parodic to hear ministers from the Fidesz government tell listeners how it is impossible to find a single white person in Paris (assuming that Paris has been taken over by 'black Muslims').

Hungary must be white christian nation, that's the program.

Hungary must be a white Christian nation, that's the program. And this means that there must be total closure for refugees and immigrants who threaten to 'degenerate' the Hungarian people. Fortunately, Orbán stands firm and defends Hungary, the Hungarian people, its Christian family values ​​and the Hungarian soul itself. And he rejects both external "multiculturalism", which is in fact a continuation of a godless communism, and the liberal ideals of freedom that the EU is trying to force Hungary to follow. And the EU is, in fact, just an instrument ruled by financier George Soros, who is attributed to the role of the evil demiurge who is trying to destroy Hungary in every way possible. The Fidesz politicians speak right out of the bag: Soros is a Jew, he is what they call an 'international Jew', and his desire is to infect the Hungarian people's soul with a godless hedonistic antinational ideology. And he is trying to carry out his evil plan through the EU, NGOs and the Western press.


The Fidesz government's campaign almost appears as a postmodern caricature of Nazi anti-Semitism. But it works. The parallels to Trump's 'Make America Great Again' campaign are obvious, in both cases we are dealing with post-fascist programs that promise a national rebirth. For post-fascist politicians, democracy is a medium that can be used to demonize and mobilize support for quasi-totalitarian political initiatives. Trump has declared war on the established press; In Hungary, it is easier for Orbán to directly or indirectly own the entire mainstream press and can therefore use it as a definite means of propaganda. In the film, Gyurcsány therefore appears most like a voice from an already lost civilian public. There is no dialogue or rational exchange. Instead, we have a Liberal Democrat politician trying to run an election campaign beyond the totalitarian transformation of democracy.

The film shows how Fidesz has cut politics down to only consist of fear politics.

It is one of the film's merits, it effectively shows that choices can easily be combined with quasi-dictatorship. What we follow throughout the film is thus nothing more than a caricature of an election campaign where it is given in advance who wins. In Hungary, we are in a situation where the opposition cannot even really act as opposition, where a near-fearsome fear policy has replaced any political discussion and where there is no political choice (in a liberal democratic sense). State apparatus and politics are fused, which is why the election campaign is strangely empty.

We are dealing with post-fascist programs that promise a national rebirth.

The conclusion seems to be that the political system no longer constitutes a space for resistance in Hungary and Europe. It is probably rather on the street that something can happen. As it did for example in France with the yellow vests. And as there is right now in Hungary. The 12. Last December, the Orbán government passed a law that allows employers to claim 400 hours of overtime per year and only pay the money three years later. The enactment of the law has resulted in widespread protests in many cities in Hungary. The underlying ultra-capitalism of racist fear politics may have stumbled into a socio-economic wall that may open the door to anti-fascist and perhaps even anti-capitalist system criticism in Hungary. Time will show.

The movie is shown on HUMAN International Documentary Film Festival,
25. February to 3. March 2019

Mikkel Bolt
Mikkel Bolt
Professor of political aesthetics at the University of Copenhagen.

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