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.
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.
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.