Hungary’s new left and the Greek referendum: Today Athens, tomorrow Budapest!

Greek voters rejected the dictates of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in much larger numbers than initially anticipated. The decision was reasonable, understandable and, given the circumstances, it can certainly be appreciated. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government received a remarkable mandate to continue the country’s economic and humanitarian war of independence. The results of the referendum also mean that the nightmare, which set this developed welfare state adrift towards the boundaries of total collapse, must now come to an end.

How did Greece get here?

The avalanche was triggered by the Olympics, which proved to be a bottomless money pit. Greece’s establishment parties and political elites knew no limits when it came getting the country mired in debt. In the decades preceding Syriza’s rise to power, these political elites effectively pocketed the loans and monies arriving in the country. And it must be added that the European Union’s competent agencies, which should have detected the developing and deepening crisis, chose to allow the on-going robbery among the establishment parties. In fact, the beneficiaries of Greece’s growing indebtedness were German and French institutions, banks and munitions manufacturers.

The Greek government’s strategy is that of compromise, bolstered by the results of a referendum. Mr. Tsipras seeks to secure debt restructuring–a temporary period, during which Greek society and the economy can at least breath and get some respite. Some are raising an alternative recommendation–and there is some merit to this–that these loans should not be re-paid, because the fact that these monies were even offered by creditors constituted irresponsible lending. EU and IMF officials weren’t saving Greece as such, but rather the German and French banks, who–in conjunction with Greek political elites–participated in a classical pyramid scheme.

The Greek people simply cannot be forced to pay back loans that were essentially stolen even before they had been issued.

The plebiscite was not only about the anti-austerity campaign, but also about solidarity. Local television station, radios, newspapers and other media, as well as employers all tried to convince those Greek to vote “yes,” who still had gainful employment or other sources of income. But the Greek middle class was essentially able to turn its back on its purported class interest. They did not fall for the lies perpetuated by the elite parties. They did not believe that what would be in their best interest, is if the situation deteriorates for everyone else.

It’s not surprising that Ms. Tsipras, on the eve of his referendum win, declared that this was a victory for the entire Greek people. The No votes demonstrated a true sense of national unity.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

In Hungary, very few of us were able or willing to support the Greek people and the Tsipras government. Those few writers and professionals who dared to speak out, despite the anti-Greek lynch mentality that dominated Hungarian public discourse, deserve some thanks. But we can’t forget the damaging and foolish propaganda campaign of the liberal media. ATV and HVG seemed to descend to the deepest depths, in terms of this hate campaign.

We also must not forget that the majority of Hungarian political parties stood behind the ‘yes’ vote, either explicitly or implicitly. It is a huge blow to Viktor Orbán, who essentially meets all EU and IMF demands, and whose fiery language around the war of independence is merely fancy polemics, when we see real statesmen in Europe who dare to do what they received their mandate for by voters.

Jobbik’s politicians can’t be too pleased with the ‘no’ vote either, as this represents solidarity across an entire people. Jobbik can only build its base on a politics of fear and collective hate. Jobbik’s support can only remain at the current elevated level, until a Hungarian Syriza appears on the scene.

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), which claims deceptively to be left-wing, and the other liberal civic parties, all supported Greek capitulation. This shows what we can expect if they ever get close to power. They would once again accept austerity measures and would be lackeys of EU and IMF officials.

Gyula Thürmer, the chairman of the Hungarian Workers’ Party (Munkáspárt), happened to hold a memorial celebration at János Kádár’s grave, whilst being on one platform with the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which effectively strengthened the ‘yes’ camp. While Mr. Thürmer gives speeches about his support of Mr. Tsipras’s policies, he is on the same page with the scheming left, which awaits the fall of the Syriza government.

We can be sure that the referendum is but one important milestone in a broader war about inequitable economic realities. The real struggle is just about to begin, considering that the IMF’s and EU’s strategy of coup d’etats isn’t likely to change. They are likely preparing to use any means possible to remove Mr. Tsipras’s government from power and to foment civil conflict in Greece. They are already searching for the person in Greece who could play the role of the hangman, much like what happened when Augusto Pinochet rose to power after the removal of Salvador Allende in Chile.

In this situation it is critical that the entire Greek people feel the power of solidarity. It’s also important that there be more of us in Hungary who are willing to support this cause in public. We need to help ensure that public opinion is not informed by Hungary’s deceptive right-wing and liberal camps.

The courage and success of the Greeks should empower and inspire us as well in Hungary. We need to strengthen the party that is capable of being an alternative to the elite parties. We need a Hungarian Syriza and I am quite certain that with determination and lots of work, we can help turn the Hungarian Left Party (Balpárt) into the dominant force of the Hungarian left-wing. That which is possible in Athens today, can become a reality in Hungary tomorrow. But we need to believe in an empowered Hungarian society, which is built on a sense of solidarity. In order to achieve this, we must reject servility, the lies and the campaigns of hate. We need a real national consensus and real national unity.

Szilárd Kalmár
(Translated from the Hungarian by Christopher Adam)


  1. This article is a little fresh air in the plethora of biased pieces from many journalists blindfolded by hatred toward other people and nations in need. It was an excellent idea to translate and bring it here Chris, this article really deserves to be read not only by Hungarian speakers. Specifically as there was written in there “Those few writers and professionals who dared to speak out,..” that’s very though-provoking.

    When I read the words “tomorrow Budapest”, before reading Mr. Kalmar’s piece through, the first word that came to my mind was “domino effect”.
    I thought of the economic consequences that can sweep through Europe and contemplating on how Hungary will be able to handle the Greek domino falling. And when I read through this piece I felt that Hungary could take a step ahead if only they could find the right direction at least once in their history. If only they had the ear to listen to sober words and using their brain instead of serving those who are only playing with their emotions.

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  3. Now there we go, I just found it. Some of the reality after Uncle Bazi mental retching in the previous article. Yes, Kalmar is right but what can we do?

    The domino effect begun.

    Not long ago Merkel went to Japan for a begging tour and gone home with empty hands. Chinese tried to do the same trick with bonds, not just to get money but to bankrupt Japan…. and gone home empty handed.

    The IMF went full-mouthed and insolvent at the same time and did what Merkel and has gone home empty handed after a failed negotiation with China and Japan. The U.S. is bankrupt wit $18 trillion debt frozen, the FED is empty as has always been, Japan wasted her last reserve of money supporting the Washington DC shadow government and China as the largest creditor of the U.S. lost all their money, and their bonds will find their way to the trash receptacle. Who’s next? Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany ? Then inevitably the U.S. they will fight tooth and nail to their last drop of blood. I expect terrorist actions, threats or even attempts to start bigger wars to bomb their way out of this mess.

    Can they reset any debts controlled and painlessly? No way. How is Orban going to handle what is coming with his genius troublemaker friends like Habony and Finkelstein? Now does it make sense what Kalmar said? Yes, for me yes. But I don’t think he is enough to make the Hungarian government move to the right direction. They are still living in their own created word of seeking for enemies to accuse and being without the remotest idea of what to do beyond looting the last reserves of Hungary.
    Yes, Hungary could make a step ahead but is one Kalmar enough?

  4. Avatar Charlie London says:

    Unfortunately Greece will now have to face up to the consequences of its catastrophic NO vote.

    A country can’t just wipe the other slate clean by obliterating its responsibilities with an election ‘device’. Nor an election per se.

    Greece will be ejected from the EU…but will be given as soft a landing as possible.

    • Avatar Charlie London says:

      Sometimes it is possible that your enemy selects the right solution for the wrong reasons.

      Szilárd Kalmár’s analysis is all over the place.

      Tsipras and his party – regardless of their unrealistic ideology (and his naive grand-standing), have been a complete disaster for the Greek economy.

      Apparently when Hungary ‘negotiated’ Trianon they behaved with such arrogance that one of the diplomats observed that they were “behaving as though they had won the war!”.

      There are parallels with Tsipras and his team – a complete misunderstanding of the position they are in.

      Sometimes pragmatism has to trump ideology – especially when the future is not fully in your hands.

      Just as in Trianon, you are hardly likely to get the best deal if you keep insulting the opposition.

      Tsipras keeps banging on about the damage it will do to Europe if they don’t write down some (more) debt, when in fact the it’s been factored in to the markets and the negotiating position of the Troika.

      Just as Tsipras is in an unreality bubble – so is the population who have egged him on.

      Greek is alleged to be the cradle of democracy but they have certainly given birth to a delinquent.

      The people from Greece are from Mars; from Europe, Venus.

  5. Although I don’t agree that the left in the form of (a radical Marxist) Balpárt is the solution, I agree with the writer, that we need a real national consensus and real national unity in of our nation.

    I think our real national unity never can be found in a leftist ideology (we tried that one before), but in awareness of a shared ethnicity, culture and history. I know most here will fall over the ethnicity part, but there is a shared ethnicity for the majority if you like it or not! Whatever the origin, that’s a separate discussion!

  6. Avatar Robert Szucs says:

    Ok, so in the leftist way of thinking it is ok not to repay a loan, because
    it was “unfair” when obtained?
    Wow! Perhaps you should not take the money to begin with! It’s only becomes questionable when time comes to pay it back?
    Greece can thank it’s present grave situation to the leftist party, and the big government created by them!

  7. Avatar Liz Aucoin says:

    What is pathetic about this is that the same old left/right argument ensues. This is neither, it is called a corrupt government who blew the money assuming they will just get more. The EU is nothing more than a money pot for some countries, the only reason some countries join is to simply steal funds and trickle it down to cronies and say whatever you need to, in order to keep the money coming in. The EU has proven that countries can get away with it for decades and nothing is done about it. Hungary has proven this more times than I can count and still nothing is done. Greece knows that the EU will also continue to help them. They would be smart to send a message by letting them sink, not because they want to tear apart the Eurozone, but because the Eurozone cannot afford countries like Greece. They can reap what they sow and rebuild on their own, but I know that won’t happen because then they may turn to Russia or China. Greece is being cocky because they can and they know it is unlikely they will exit the EU.

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