In this article, Bianka Vida explains how the Hungarian government uses gender as a rhetorical tool to strengthen its illiberal regime. The so-called “gender theory” is a threat to any right-wing populist government, including Fidesz in Hungary. Starting from the Hungarian example, Vida illustrates how gender is exploited by right-wing political parties to expand illiberal democracy. What is the role of the EU in this illiberal transformation, and what will be the future of Universities proposing courses on gender studies?
What is going on in Poland and Hungary? A deliberate attempt to break with liberal democracy, Ben Stanley argues. In this interview we analyze the legacy of World War II and Communism and the role of Viktor Orban and Jarosław Kaczyński in the transformation of the two countries. Governmental control over the media, attempts to bring the judiciary under political control, and breaches of the constitution: What are the causes beyond these transformtions, and which will be the consequences for the future of the European Union?
Ben Stanley is Assistant Professor in the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Warsaw). His primary area of research interest is the politics of populism in Central and Eastern Europe, incorporating analysis of party ideological appeals and voter behaviour. His current research activities include an experimental analysis of the links between conspiracy theory mentality and populism in Poland, measurement of populist attitudes in Central and Eastern Europe, and a monograph on Polish populism.
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In this thought-provoking article, Alexander Svitych* argues that nationalism constitutes the ideological core of modern radical right and radical left parties. Hence, he proposes to use the term neo-nationalism (or populist nationalism) to describe the ideology articulated by political parties often described as radical, populist, or nativist. He argues that neo-nationalism is a broader ideology than populism, and that it can be found both in right-wing and left-wing populist parties. He claims that neo-nationalism emerges at the intersectionality of three dimensions: nationalism, populism and radicalism. The ideology articulated by contemporary radical left and radical firght parties shows both populist and nationalist traits, and therefore it should be labelled as neo or populist nationalism.
What happens to a country when a populist party rules? What happens to liberal democracy when the populist idea of power is implemented? Bartek Pytlas illustrates the case of Poland to answer these questions, and examines the rhetoric toolbox used by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) in order to control the state media, the Constitutional Court, and to fight against the European institutions.
We’re all supposed to be praising Beata Szydło for the grace with which she has accepted her defenestration, but I remember her disgusting exploitation of terrorist attacks in the UK to argue in favour of her government’s domestic policies. Not easy to forget.
— Ben Stanley (@BDStanley) 8 dicembre 2017
As well as Orbán in Hungary, the PiS government is undermining checks and balances, minority protections, and in general all the mechanisms that make liberal democracy *liberal*. All of this, while being part of the European Union (the same that five years ago won the Nobel prize for peace) and going against all its most important principles.
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Jobbik, the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom), looks like Golden Dawn from a political perspective, but gained more credibility than the Greek goodfellas. In 2014 they obtained 20.54% of the votes, winning 23 seats in Parliament. In April 2015, Jobbik has won its first ever individual constituency in Parliament (by-election), taking the Tapolca seat with a narrow majority. People in Tapolca must be pretty bored, but this is understandable since the only attraction in the small city is represented by a 300-metre-long cave system.
What is astonishing is that the rest of the country hardly resists to the temptation of hearing this mermaid-neo-fascist-song. It is true that Jobbik has softened its rhetoric in recent years, gaining mainstream support. (For a visual proof, confront the two spots, from 2010 and 2014: here and here).