Right-wing Hungarian prime minister, Victor Orbán has received a blow as a wave of protests has spread throughout the country. The protests have been triggered by a new piece of legislation, labelled the “slave law”, which was passed on 12 December. This vicious attack on Hungarian workers will allow employers to increase the amount of overtime they can ask of workers from 250 to 400 hours per year, which equates to roughly eight hours per week. Not only this, but there can be a delay in payment for this overtime of as much as three years.

Last Sunday, Hungarians went to the polls following a campaign period the likes of which has been unseen since the fall of Stalinism. One of the functions of bourgeois democracy is to create a false sense of participation. Previous elections were generally conducted in an atmosphere of anticipation, with the public following debates between political parties in the media, and discussing developments on street corners and at work. The people felt they had some say over their destinies. In the last eight years however, there has been a fundamental change in the character of Hungary’s democratic process.

On March 21st, 1919, the Hungarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. On the 1st of August, 133 days later, this heroic chapter in the history of the Hungarian working class was brought to a close with the entry of the White Rumanian army into Budapest. Had the Hungarian proletariat succeeded, the isolation of the Russian Workers' Republic would have been brought to an end.

On Sunday 2 October, Hungary held a national referendum over the mandatory resettlement of refugees in the country. The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, had hoped to use the vote to strengthen his authority both at home and abroad. Instead, he has suffered arguably his most embarrassing setback since he came to power in 2010.

The 13th of February 2016 is likely to go down in history as the awakening of the working class and the beginning of the class struggle in 21st century Hungary. Tens of thousands of people gathered in front of the Hungarian Parliament building demanding the abandonment of all educational “reforms” of the last 5 years.  In spite of pouring rain thousands and thousands marched proudly, showing concern not just for education, but for the health service, for transport, against corruption and what is now commonly called the “mafia state”.

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