Hungary has been in the news lately and while a fully fledged dictatorial regime is nowhere near established yet, the steps that Viktor Orbán’s FIDESZ (Alliance of Young Democrats) government had been taking for the last 3 years point in no other direction by concentrating more and more power in the hands of the executive and neutralising or weakening all the existing counterbalancing powers within the state and society. In other words we have been witnessing a prolonged shift towards authoritarian rule by Orbán, the legal framework of which is represented by a series of constitutional “reforms” aimed at entrenching FIDESZ into power.

“In the space of twenty years, in a throwback to eighty years ago, millions believe the racist, chauvinist ‘ideas’ of the 1930’s.” writes Attila Csernok in Népszava, a Hungarian liberal daily. Is the situation in present day Hungary that critical? Does the election of the Fidesz government in April 2010 by a two thirds majority mean a return to the horrors of 1930’s Hungary?

The Hungarian presidency of the EU ended on 30th June and life is supposed to be getting back to normal all over the country.  Or is it? The population of Hungary, that elected the right-wing FIDESZ/KDNP government just over a year ago with a two thirds majority, very soon discovered what such a government really meant.

Recent opinion polls show that a majority of Hungarians find life so miserable that they would like to live somewhere else. Many consider that life was much better before 1989 when people enjoyed full employment and an advanced welfare system. Capitalism has destroyed all that. However, as our correspondent points outs, what existed before was not genuine socialism, but a Stalinist regime that people rose up against. What is required is state ownership and planning, but under the democratic control of the workers themselves.

Overnight the world has woken up to intimate knowledge of the process of extracting aluminium from bauxite and its by-product the red mud, which devastated several villages, including Kolontár and Devecser, in the SouthWest of Hungary on Monday, 4th October 2010, bringing with it a long term threat of environmental pollution in several countries.

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