ModernityBlog

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Posts Tagged ‘Jobbik

The Political Benefits Of Conspiracy Theories.

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There is a good article in Budapest Times by Péter Krekó, Jobbik needs Jews to run the world.

Krekó draws out themes which are not just confined to the Far Right in Hungary, but find resonance in Britain and elsewhere across the political spectrum:

Psychological & political ‘benefit’ of conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories enjoy immense popularity. Virtually all communities (in Western and Eastern societies alike) have their own well-established ones. In the United States, for example, 75-80 per cent of the population believes that the official version of the Kennedy murder, the “lone killer” theory, does not fit the truth. Sixty-two per cent of Americans believe that the Bush government had prior knowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks but deliberately kept quiet about it. A third of Brits are convinced the accident that killed Princess Diana was in fact an assassination. Almost 80 per cent of the populations of certain Muslim countries think that the governments of Israel and the United States carried out the September 11 attacks rather than a group of Arabs.

Research here in Hungary also indicates the widespread popularity of conspiracy theories. According to a representative survey carried out together with Medián at the end of 2009 based on our questions, more than two-thirds of those canvassed agreed with the statement that “we never find out the truth from the media and the news, and everything important happens behind the scenes”, and half agreed that “during the crisis powerful financial circles joined forces to destroy Hungary’s economy in an effort to colonise the country”. Eighty-eight per cent of the respondents agreed with at least one of five conspiracy theories, while 23 per cent agreed with all. Some research suggests that conspiracy theories have a strong subconscious effect on our way of thinking: although they exert a powerful influence on us, we delude ourselves that we ourselves are immune.

Conspiracy theories comfort

What explains the extraordinary appeal of conspiracy theories? Their chief psychological benefit is that they provide psychologically comforting explanations for unexpected and shocking events that are otherwise difficult to explain. It is not coincidental that such theories thrive following crises, natural disasters and assassinations. Conspiracy theories are capable of explaining an incredibly broad sphere of phenomena based on very little and can be applied to many new events. Psychologically they are comforting because they help to distinguish between good and evil and project responsibility onto a named enemy, as well as providing an outlet for hostile feelings.

Conspiracy theories allow us to continue to believe that the world is essentially just. If people living in Arab countries take the view that the governments of Israel and the United States carried out the September 11 attacks, then they can avoid facing up to the problem of Islamic fundamentalism burdening their own communities. If a group of conspirators (MI6, Mosad etc.) was behind Diana’s death, then we can escape the upsetting thought that the death of a wonderful person can be caused by something as banal as a drunk driver.
The social psychological benefit of conspiracy theories extends even beyond that: they help to explain adverse social events, reconstruct the past and predict future events, call attention to threats to our own group, spur the members of our own group to collective defence, and provide ostensible moral justification for cruelty and violence towards external groups.

The Jews, of course!

The villains in modern world conspiracy theories typically realise their plots with the cool rationality of “homo economicus”, taking advantage of modern institutions and the latest technology. However, conspiracy stereotypes connected to Jews can be regarded partly as an archaic, collective legacy of the historic past. Conspiracy theories about Jews sprang up in the Middle Ages, in a different form to those of today and embedded in a different, magical-transcendent world view.

They were blamed, for example, for the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 1009 and the Rome earthquake of 1020. Jews were also held responsible for the famine that struck Europe in the 14th century, leading to repeated pogroms on French soil. Some people even ascribed the plague that claimed the lives of almost a third of the population of Europe to a Jewish conspiracy designed to wipe out Christian communities despite the fact that the Jews were also among its victims.

Social fears and emotional unrest are fertile ground for the manufacturing of conspiracy theories, with Jews frequently becoming the targets of collective scapegoating.

I think that, in the 21st century, we tend to underestimate the extent and nature of scapegoating. How it has mutated and evolved, taken on new plots (for example, the supposed five dancing Israelis or the organ libel), yet the primary target for that scapegoating hasn’t changed much, it is Jews, and that is where Péter Krekó came in.

Soviet-Era Portrayals And The Jobbik.

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The JPost has a good article:

“In August, the leading Hungarian weekly Hetek sent reporters to cover a right-wing rally and musical festival in the city of Veroce. The reporters were welcomed at the gate with horse-whips. Organizers spewed lethal threats at the “filthy liberal” journalists, and assigned “escorts” to harass and prevent them from covering the event.

Last year, journalists received similar treatment at the annual ultra-national gathering, and were even forced to wear vests matted with dog feces. Masked men greeted them with mock guns and swords, shouting in German: “Deine papieren, Jude!” (“Your papers, Jew!”).

Hetek’s ordeal reflects the recent dramatic turn in Hungary toward neo- Fascism, dating to a spate of fierce anti-government riots in 2006. There were anti-Semitic and racist manifestations before, such as vandalizing cemeteries. However, since 2006 the neo-Nazi movement has become bolder and more aggressive, carrying out violent and sometimes deadly attacks against Gypsies and Jews, stoning synagogues and homes of rabbis during Passover, and staging paramilitary marches across the country to intimidate the local population.”

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15/10/2010 at 00:24

Sarkozy And The Jobbik.

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I often wonder if politicians and political activists actually have a sense of history?

You only need to see the treatment of the Roma by the Sarkozy government to think that politicians have learnt nothing?

Or possibly they have? That stirring up hatred against the Roma is politically useful? Whatever the supposed reasons, now that Sarkozy’s government has started an institutional attack on the Roma the Jobbik are joining in, again.

This is not new, as I pointed out before, but the actions in France have allowed xenophobia into the open and the Jobbik fully intend to exploit it.

That this was going to happen is perfectly foreseeable, even by the Sarkozy government.

The Toronto Star reports:

“BUDAPEST—Hungary’s leading far-right party said on Wednesday that Roma who are considered a threat to public safety should be forced from their dwellings and placed in highly-controlled camps, some of them for life.

The Jobbik party capitalized on deep-seated popular resentment toward Hungary’s large Roma minority to get into parliament for the first time in April elections. It recently launched its campaign for municipal elections due on October 3.

“We would force these families out of their dwellings, yes,” Csanad Szegedi, the party’s vice chairman and European Parliament representative, told Reuters. “Then, yes, we would transport these families to public order protection camps.”

“At these camps, there would be a chance to return to civilized society. Those who abandon crime, make sure their children attend school, and participate in public works programmes, they can reintegrate,” he said.

“No doubt there will be people who show no improvement. They can spend the rest of their lives in these camps.”

Jobbik is particularly strong in the northeast of Hungary, where most of the country’s 700,000 Roma live, many in squalid conditions. Unemployment among Roma is extremely high and petty crime is rampant. Jobbik Chairman Gabor Vona said that attempts to integrate the Roma community had failed and that segregation was the best tool to teach them to coexist with the majority, national news agency MTI reported.

Szegedi rejected the idea that the public order protection camps, where inmates would need permission to leave the premises and a 10 p.m. curfew would be enforced, resembled ghettos. “These are not ghettos, they are camps to protect public order,” he said. “I don’t believe this should be a problem as we would execute these plans in accordance with all laws.”

The plight of the Roma, Europe’s largest ethnic minority, has gained attention since French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a crackdown one month ago on Roma camps in France.”

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03/09/2010 at 11:55

47 Seats.

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According to the Beeb nearly all the votes are counted in the Hungarian election and it seems that the neofascists in the Jobbik Party will have about 47 seats in the new parliament.

With approximately 12% of the vote they have a sizeable bloc in the Hungarian political system.

One can only wonder how this will galvanise neofascism in Eastern Europe. How depressing.

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25/04/2010 at 20:34

Jobbik Doubles voters

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I had want to do more on the recent election in Hungary but can’t, so in the interim:

“Jobbik’s performance in Sunday’s first election round was a success, though it can be judged as a failure on Jobbik’s own terms of having the backing of “two thirds of the country”, the analysts told MTI.

Four years ago, Jobbik garnered 119,000 votes, last year 427,000 and 855,000 at Sunday’s ballot.

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14/04/2010 at 13:07

The Other Election.

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Meanwhile over in Hungary the up-and-coming election might have dire results, as the Irish Times reports:

“HUNGARY’S centre-right Fidesz opposition party is expected to win a landslide victory in tomorrow’s general election, but the headlines could be stolen by nationalists who stand to make startling gains.

The far-right Jobbik party is vying for second place with the ruling Socialists, whose support has been decimated by scandals, corruption and an economic crisis that forced Hungary to seek emergency help from the International Monetary Fund.

Jobbik has enjoyed a boom in popularity thanks to vigorous local campaigning across Hungary, but above all because of its pledge to bring patriotism back into politics and crack down on crime – particular the “gypsy crime” it claims is blighting the nation.

Jobbik’s many critics at home and abroad denounce the party as a group of dangerous extremists who are using demagoguery to turn a frustrated country’s anger against a vulnerable minority, and rights groups report an alarming rise in fatal attacks on Roma in recent years.

“For 500 years, gypsies have not been able to adopt the cultural norms to live in peace with the majority,” Jobbik candidate Andras Kisgergely told a recent rally.

“Nine out of 10 criminals are gypsies . . . We need to end that. We need to improve public safety and create jobs. Make them work. We need to tie welfare to community work.”

Jobbik is also regularly accused of using anti-Semitic rhetoric and is closely linked with the Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary group that wears uniforms and uses emblems reminiscent of those associated with Hungary’s wartime fascist regime.”

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11/04/2010 at 01:57

Beerhall Jobbik in Camden, London.

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Left Foot Forward reports that European neofascists, the Jobbik, recently held a meeting in a Camden pub recently:

“Hungarian Nazis have held a meeting at a pub in Camden. Fifty thugs from the far-Right Jobbik party – which sits alongside the British National Party in the European Parliament – met at the Gloucester Arms in Leighton Road, Kentish Town, last weekend.

Jobbik, like their BNP counterparts, have long been accused of violent extremism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and were today described by the Leader of Hungary’s Opposition as an “extremist scandal-party” which has “violence written on its flag”.

Their slogans include “Who would like to live as Hungarians in Hungary”, and they have campaigned to decriminalise the banned paramilitary Hungarian Guard terror group.”

Update 1: Searchlight has more on European neofascism and groupings around the EU.

Update 2: The FT has more on prejudice against the Roma:

“But the economic downturn in central and eastern Europe has added new urgency to a problem of marginalisation that goes back decades. Surveys show that Hungarians, along with many of their neighbours in the region, nurture strong feelings of prejudice against gypsies. That means Roma (gypsies) stand to be hit first and hardest by rising unemployment, which has reached 15.6 per cent in Borsod county with its high gypsy population – twice the national jobless level. Although the economy may grow slightly next year, unemployment will rise further before it peaks.”

Update 3: Interested in Hungarian politics ? Then www.politics.hu is the site for you.

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15/12/2009 at 13:10

More On The Jobbik.

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Adam Holland covers the Jobbik in detail.

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16/07/2009 at 00:48

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