Visiting Hungary, Tucker Carlson presented its authoritarian leader, Viktor Orbán, as the defender of the normality America has lost. In fact, Orbán’s kleptocracy offers a grim indication of what far-right ideologues would do in the US if they had the chance.
Rosa Schwartzburg was a Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands in 2018 and received her MA from the Central European University in Budapest. She is currently at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
A year since election fraud sparked Belarus’s biggest ever protests, Alexander Lukashenko’s regime speaks of a return to normality. But the country’s universities have seen a purge of dissidents, with hundreds of students arbitrarily expelled or even jailed.
Last week it was announced that an Italian court will put Egyptian state security agents on trial for the 2016 kidnapping and murder of labor researcher Giulio Regeni. For years, Egypt’s military regime has refused to cooperate with the investigation — and in recent months it has continued to “disappear” researchers who defend workers’ and women’s rights.
Just in the last week, the Hungarian government has banned gender reassignment, legislated jail terms for fake news, and put government stooges in control of theaters. Viktor Orbán’s administration has done all this in the name of the response to coronavirus — exploiting its emergency powers to silence dissent and demonize minorities.
New York’s jails have become a focus of COVID-19, with 103 inmates and 80 staff testing positive already. One Rikers Island detainee told Jacobin about the outbreak in the prison — and the inhumanity of trapping people in a hotbed of infection.
Each February, Europe’s neo-Nazis converge in Budapest for the “Day of Honor,” a celebration of the SS’s record in Hungary. For years, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been erasing all traces of antifascism from the official national history — and now the uniformed marchers enjoy government endorsement.
From Tucker Carlson to fascist terrorists, the far right claim that mass migration is an “invasion” designed to destroy and replace the “white race.” But the theories behind this meme are more than a century old — and they’ve always been about repressing the victims of slavery and colonialism.
Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party began life as a liberal opposition to Hungary’s Soviet-backed regime. But far from waging a generic fight for freedom, Orbán and his crony capitalist allies turned Hungary into the laboratory for a new far right.
The removal of a statue of the communist leader Imre Nagy is the latest effort by Viktor Orbán to erase all memory of the country’s left and valorize the far right.