Since 2008, each year the Hungarian Anti-Racist Foundation (MARA) commissions an overview of the state of racism in Hungary, entitled Diagnosis. In addition to treating prejudice in general, this year’s study prepared by Political Capital Institute looks specifically at the reasons behind the resurgence of the far right. The outcome of the 2009 European Parliamentary election demonstrates that in recent years society’s demand for extremist political solutions has been met with policies offered by Jobbik and the two strains have mutually reinforced each other.
The Hungarian Anti-Racist Foundation (MARA) was established in 2008 with the purpose of creating a civil alliance extending to all social groups (and independent of party politics) to stem the tide of racism, prejudice and intolerance. It attempts to call attention to the inhumanity caused by racism and the dangers of international and local racism. It considers worthy of support all initiatives promoting universal human values and democratic ideals in all segments of society. The Foundation operates under the aegis of the shared civic ethos that rejects attempts to explain conflicts arising in the course of human coexistence by reference to any type of racial theories. MARA does not rest content with setting up a “diagnosis” each year; when deciding to support specific social initiatives, it relies on the study’s findings and recommendations.
The Foundation pays special attention to teach younger generations the history of suffering under racism, and warn them of the current and future dangers of inhuman acts generated by racism. In the first year of its operation, MARA focused on the increasing poverty of disadvantaged children; it played an active role in child feeding and vacation projects, and organized a visit to the theatre by over 500 children in Budapest. It also supported research and, in corporation with the Political History Foundation, it opened and anti-racists film club with the first screening scheduled in November.
Commissioned by the Foundation, Political Capital Institute has prepared a study, Diagnosis, for the second time that, aside from treating prejudice in general, looks specifically at the reasons behind the resurgence of the far right. The more than 427,000 votes cast for the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik) demonstrates that, aside from having integrated the majority of far-right voters, the party has also been successful in addressing voters disappointed in or categorically rejecting established parliamentary parties. The resurgence of the far right cannot be explained simply by commonly cited factors alone: the economic crisis, the government crisis of the past years and Fidesz’ political strategy that in many areas blurred the line between moderate and radical policies. The spread of extremism is traced to more complex social and political issues. In the past three years, society’s demand for more extreme political solutions has been met with policies offered by Jobbik and the two strains have mutually reinforced each other.