In a lengthy article for the US news portal Project Syndicate, Gergely Karácsony, the liberal mayor of Budapest, had presented a textbook example of how to signal your intent towards the Western progressive elite that you want to join forces: call Viktor Orbán corrupt, bash “nativist populism” and hold your climate credentials high.
Project Syndicate, which is sponsored by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF), has given a platform to exactly such a political virtue signaling for the mayor, who is running for the prime minister’s office in next year’s Hungarian elections. In the article entitled “How Democracy Can Win Again”, Karácsony complains about “democratic erosion and state capture in Hungary”. Despite his party Dialogue’s (Párbeszéd) motto being: “The future is green, and left-wing”, and being in a coalition with the Socialists, he complains about alleged communist rhetoric from the governing conservatives. Amazing, this whole time that the conservatives thought they were fighting against communism, they were the “real” communists all along.
Karácsony thinks Europe is again threatened by anti-democratic forces that resemble old-style communists, who now run “on a platform of authoritarian, nativist populism. They still grumble, like the communists of old, about ‘foreign agents’ and ‘enemies of the state’… and they still disparage the West, often using the same terms of abuse we heard during communism.”
Using an emotionally-charged language resembling Stalinist show trials, he accuses his political opponents of brainwashing citizens through lies and manipulation, and accuses so-called “nativist populists” of monopolizing state power. He also complains about rampant social injustice and inequality that originate from the privatization of state assets after the 1989 regime change. He fails to add that the post-1989 looting of state and municipal assets falls largely to the period when one of his coalition partners, the socialists of Ferenc Gyurcsány (now Democratic Coalition), were in government.
The rest of the article is filled with references to climate change crisis, social welfare, progressive politics, and even a cringe-worthy quote from Martin Luther King Jr. He closes his thoughts by saying, “We must win the intellectual fight against nativist populism and the civilizational fight against climate change”.
Did he even write it?
Apart from the fact that the English-language writing stylistically does not all resemble Karácsony’s own, rather rudimentary style, the mayor does not speak or write English either. With its careful use of political trigger words and polished activist methodology the entire text makes an impression of a professionally drafted anti-conservative pre-election manifesto. It juxtaposes a globalist, supra-nationalist vocabulary against what they deem to be a nativist nationalism championed by populist governments. It defines nativism, the opposite of globalism, as something narrow-minded, antiquated, and ties it with references to corruption.
In fact, the current Hungarian government of Viktor Orbán has put a lot of effort into protecting the interests of local communities and had stood up against politically biased interference from some of the European Union’s institutions and leaders that view the sovereignty of EU member-states as a mere obstacle hindering the creation of a federal European super-state. For the same-reasons why the current Hungarian government is being bullied into submission by the increasingly powerful and unaccountable EU bureaucracy, Mayor Karácsony can hope to gain their valuable support in the next round of elections.
Indeed, Dániel Deák, lead analyst of the pro-government think tank XXI. Century Institute, reacted by writing that the liberal mayor’s words are a clear declaration of submission to George Soros’ expectations and, at the same time, a request for his support.
Deák also raises the question as to who is writing on behalf of the Hungarian prime ministerial candidate.
This is exactly the question that needs to be asked when one is looking at the sophisticated propaganda piece in one of the premiere Open Society Foundation blogs signed by the leading opposition candidate. Because the one who writes his pre-election speeches will no doubt have a decisive role in forming his opinion post-elections, should the favored candidate of Budapest’s metropolitan elite succeed in replacing the current government in 2022.