The leader of the Pax Hungarica neo-nazi movement has complained that their long-time rhetoric has become redundant under Orbán and they have to fend off accusations of being Orbánists.
“There isn’t any room for us left. If we say what we have been saying for 10-20 years, we will be accused of supporting Fidesz. It’s embarrassing to me to say the same things as Orbán. If the government makes most of our messages its own agenda, we become redundant.”
— Leader of Pax Hungarica, a now-defunct neo-nazi movement in an interview on Aug 2
I’m not calling the movement nazis – they do. Pax Hungarica (PH) has been founded in 2008 to channel the legacy of the Hungarian nazis of WW2 (they were the Arrow Cross party, led by Ferenc Szálasi). At the beginning the press was bemused by their ostensible absence of funding. (Those were the days when Russia didn’t have a governing party to back in Hungary – or in Europe – so they only supported the extremists fringes.)
PH’s ideology is an amalgamation of the following:
- Hungarism (Hungarian national-socialism, not exactly the same as German nazism or Italian fascism, but we are really just nitpicking here*)
- There are too few peasants (too little feudalism) in this land and too many gypsies (**OV)
- Christianity (**OV)
- nationalism (**OV)
- socialism (based not on class but on some kind of professional orders that you must accept and they won’t hurt you. Your place in the order is supposedly determined by christianism, but it is revealed, expressed and viciously enforced by these gentlemen and the state – to no one’s surprise.)
- individual must be submitted to the collective (**OV)
- thinks extreme right is lame – but believes that Hungarism is above both left and right
- a special form of anti-semitism (Don’t have to kill them, just let them not exist in the same territory because cultural incompatibility – familiar?)
- Their leader is not exactly a Holocaust-denier (in public interviews such as this, anyway) but a “Holocaust-skeptic”, or “Holocaust-relativizer” – as he calls himself – and got ample moral support from the laws criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust, and he is using it to his benefit.
- Hungarism claims not to be supremacist – i.e. believing Hungarians are better but not that non-Hungarians are worse. (Confused? Don’t be. This mind trick is often depicted in fairy tales and M.C. Esher lithographs: the mythical single-sided coin – adding more proof to the nagging feeling that this world view is a little less than 3-dimensional.)
**The points marked with (**OV) are incidentally also Orbán’s favorite talking points.
That is why Pax Hungarica has ceased its operation in 2017 as its members and activists were now more cozy in Fidesz. Not only does Fidesz openly represent most of their ideas (and implies the rest), but Orbán also has what no one else does – and never will: money and power. (And authoritarian minds are not above sucking up to strength and power, by definition.)
PH’s former leader said the above quote in an interview this week. The poor guy has been saying the same things for decades – and Orbán now pulled the rug from under him. (Quick, someone give Orbán a medal for making nazism “disappear”!)
A couple of years ago I would have advised caution trying to see Hungarian politics through revisionism. Because one thing that defined the pre-WW2 era (apart from Hungarism and a distorted, unprincipled form of autocratic conservatism) was revisionism – the grieving of the Versailles treaty and demanding huge parts of the neighboring countries to be attached to Hungary.
But now I’m not so sure it cannot return. Orbán has run out of enemies.
Migrant-bashing has been fueling his hate propaganda since 2015, Brussels-bashing did the rest, with a huge amount of Soros-bashing thrown in (which was understood as solid anti-semitism, by the very people it was meant to attract, Hungarists and anti-semites). But Orbán has suffered a crushing non-victory at the European elections this year, his political stable failing to turn Europe around, and disappointing their master.
Orbán is now visibly pivoting again. He has one more election to crush the opposition (the local elections in the autumn where he hopes to win Budapest and thus avoid Erdogan’s fate, who lost Istanbul), and his usual hate campaigns grew tired. So last week in his party’s annual youth camp in Romania, he outlined his new, very convoluted vision of his “illiberal nation” that contained many of the above talking points.
Also, ethnic tensions with neighboring countries are lending themselves as perfect, new enemies – perfect to keep even the most incompetent leader in his seat.
* Its (English) Wikipedia article describes Hungarism as the ideology of the Arrow Cross Party, as described by Szálasi: “The party’s ideology was similar to that of German Nazism or Fascism, although a more accurate comparison might be drawn between Austrofascism and Hungarian Turanism which was called Hungarism by Ferenc Szálasi – nationalism, the promotion of agriculture, anti-capitalism, anti-communism and a special type of anti-Semitism, called a-Semitism. This term was explained and described in the series of the four books of Hungarism written by Szálasi, it meant they support a society completely absent of Jews – in their interpretation contrary to anti-Semitism, that would nominally allow their existence with limited rights in the society – that should not be confused necessarily with original hatred, but rather their incompatibility to the regional culture, however this view was meant and extended to all the Semitic peoples.”
Featured photo: Index.hu – Fans wearing Orbán Makes Europe Great Again (OMEGA) shirts at Orbán’s speech in Romania