Folk word Culture in quarantine


According to political scientist András Bozóki, former Minister of Culture, the Orbán system has described a significant part of the theatrical world, and the Prime Minister can be personally accountable to theaters.

One of the biggest victims of culture since 2010 is theater, says the study Back to Europe, which you are one of the authors of. The book reviews the downsizing of culture, education, science and the media between 2010 and 2019, so it was no longer possible to include how the government took several theaters out of the capital’s hands or how it faced the smash of the University of Theater and Film Arts. . Were you surprised at how fast the cultural struggle lasted? As a political scientist, I pay attention to the dynamics of the system and these processes are part of it. The development of dictatorship has been going on continuously since 2010: where it starts, where it does less, but it has not stopped yet. Now this is happening on a historical scale, eleven years have passed since 2010, just as many as between 1945 and 1856, for example. We are always shocked by more and more governmental steps, but they go further: the suppression of autonomy, the narrowing of the public, the silence of critical institutions and actors stems from the logic of building the system. If we look at it from here: it is not surprising that the Orbán regime has continued this series of attacks over the past year, but rather that the government has now met for the first time with collective resistance. One such serious event was the collective line-up of the Index’s editorial board, and the other was the resistance of students at the University of Theater and Film Arts (SZFE). After the other universities swallowed the einstand called model change, in which, from Sándor Csányi to Judit Varga, the prominent of the regime occupied higher education and filled the university boards with them, in the case of SZFE the students resisted and occupied the university together with the teachers. . This occupation is unique in the Hungarian history of the last sixty years. The students of the SZFE resisted for 71 days, just as long as, in 1871, the participants of the Paris Commune. We will remember this resistance even decades from now. On October 23, many tens of thousands of people demonstrated on the streets in solidarity with SZFE students. Traces of this will remain in the lives of a generation even if this resistance is now pushed back by power. Even the building is given to the Reformed Church so that the spirit of rebellion does not return to the walls. This is how the Orbán regime silences those who disagree with it. Since then, the attack on the system has continued, which took the form of bringing the universities of Pécs and Szeged under Fidesz control, but the withdrawal of the frequency of Klubrádió also fits into the line. The National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) is still an authority: because Club Radio did not fill it in properly and sent Excel spreadsheets late, the austerity struck it. The media authority in the service of the regime is biased, in other cases it has turned a blind eye to irregularities, but that’s not surprising because it’s part of the system. In addition, digital radio and DAB + broadcasting have been abolished in Hungary, thus silencing the forums of significant constituencies. In a word, the government was not idle last year either, taking advantage of a year that is not yet directly related to the 2022 election. When Népszabadság was ground in 2016, it was still a tight two years until the election. In the same way, in 2020, they are trying to make it impossible for forums interested in critical intellectuals, and they will succeed in this. While obviously this audience is trying to find out from other independent sources, these are still serious steps that fit into the deprivation processes that have been going on since 2010. It is not the surprise that the government is doing, but rather the novelty that, after ten years, collective resistance has emerged. Isn’t it surprising that many of the so-called old school Fideszians have retreated into the background, been pushed back, and replaced by the young Turks? Mária Schmidt’s man, Márton Békés, explains in his book Cultural Warfare – rhyming with the Prime Minister’s “prophecy” of Tusványos in 2018 – why the NER seeks cultural space, hegemony, which requires new faces, as conservative intellectuals are “comfortable”. The old Fidesz organization, Viktor Orbán himself, has been a public figure for more than thirty years. The founding generation was also made up of college students and their circles, including Viktor Orbán, László Kövér, János Áder, Lajos Kósa, Zsolt Németh, Tamás Deutsch, József Szájer and some other actors. Subsequently, by the turn of the millennium, new faces gradually appeared, from which the second generation of Fidesz politicians formed: Zoltán Pokorni, Tibor Navracsics, Antal Rogán, Gábor Kubatov, Máté Kocsis, Zoltán Balog, Gábor Borókai and others. When Fidesz came into opposition after the defeat in 2002, they tried to build – along with former MDF politicians – the bases of conservative, “civic” life in order for Fidesz to return to power. Civilian governance was thought to be necessary. But many took this concept more seriously than they needed to, and expressed their disappointment at the populist turn of Fidesz. For another two or three years after 2010, the conservative intelligentsia still believed that Fidesz was politicizing its interests, but then a rift occurred. It could be seen more and more, Orbán had no interest in continuing this somewhat dubious, old-fashioned, old school tradition. One of the prominent members of the third generation of Fidesz, political scientist Gábor G. Fodor, spoke in the voice of the new times, making it clear that the concept of bourgeois Hungary was only a “political product”. Orbán broke with the intelligentsia and switched to propagandists. Breaking with the old Commentary, the Weekly Response was discontinued, the editorial board was not allowed to restart the paper on paper and the remaining forums were nationalized by Orbán, merged into KESMA and directed as propaganda media. Márton Békés, Judit Varga, Szilárd Demeter and Katalin Novák, who belonged to the third generation of Fidesz, no longer saw the liberal or conservative Fidesz, they only saw Viktor Orbán. Those who have a good idea that there is a lot to be gained in NER with a “boss is always right” attitude. When Demeter Szilárd says that he is a 110 percent Orbánist, he says two things: on the one hand, that he no longer knows what Fidesz was like, and on the other hand, that Fidesz is no longer interesting, but only Viktor Orbán, to adjust. It was very important for Orbán to side with certain economic actors – such as Sándor Demján or Sándor Csányi – who were too big to fight them. Previously, it was equally important for him to gather the sympathetic intellectuals around him in order to attract to the camp – such as Anna Jókai, Tamás Cseh, or Károly Eperjes – who support this conservative culture. Then it turned out that Orbán didn’t really need this company either. He satisfied them by raising the Hungarian Academy of Arts to the rank of a public body. The level of remuneration of the members of the MMA is close to the annuity of the members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, this amount will be further increased, which is also a way to calm the intelligentsia. In recent years, László Sólyom, who could be the leader of one of the spirits of the conservative intelligentsia, has not objected to this system either. Orbán tamed the other, perhaps less influential, but important circle of intellectuals by leaving the National Cultural Fund (MKA) and helping its members in decision-making positions in the NKA for which they receive apanase. It is not only important for Orban to deal with the opponent, but also to dismantle potential internal dissatisfaction. He tries to keep his promise not to leave his followers on the side of the road, but he doesn’t even want to make them martyrs. MTA, CEU, later the invasion of municipal theaters, or the SZFE: why can you become a martyr? In December 2019, there was a significant demonstration in Madách Square against the planned liquidation of the NKA, putting municipal theaters in an impossible position. The system did not come out well from this demonstration, there were serious and well-founded criticisms, so the Prime Minister may have a personal account with the theaters. The actors, directors, and all those who teach and learn at SZFE who appeared at the demonstration, in a word, described the whole company to Orbán. He considers them to be as opposed as he is to anyone who thinks independently. You don’t have to be an opposition to be considered an opposition by the system, you don’t have to deal with politics, politics can deal with it without it. Think of athletes, or performers and those working in hospitality – the first group gets everything from the regime, while the second and third get almost nothing. This is why Orban needs the young Turks who have already appeared in the 2010s: they need those who are trying to speak to the younger generation, alienated from the regime, while keeping their own camp in constant fighting.

Business card

András Bozóki is a political scientist, sociologist and university professor. He was born in Budapest in 1959, received his doctorate in law in 1983 and his degree in sociology from Eötvös Loránd University in 1985. He took an active part in public life during the change of regime. In 1985 he took part in the opposition event of the European Cultural Forum and in 1987 in the meeting in Lakitelek. In May 1988, he was the founder of the Free Initiatives Network. He was a member of Fidesz from 1988 to 1993, and in 1990 he was a spokesman for the party for four months. He is one of the founding editors of the Hungarian Oranges and the Political Science Review. During the time of the first Gyurcsány government, in 2005–2006, he was the Minister of Culture. Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Professor of the Department of Political Science of the Central European University (CEU). He has been a visiting professor at the University of Tübingen, the University of Bologna and Columbia University in New York, among others. In 2009 he was awarded the István Bibó Prize.


Source: Népszava by nepszava.hu.

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