In the past few weeks, the Momentum political movement has risen from its unborn ashes to resist the establishment’s idea of social prosperity: The 2024 Olympic Games. Within a few weeks, they collected over 266 thousand (counting is still in progress) signatures to decide the organisation of the Olympics by a referendum. After this was achieved, the ruling party, FIDESZ, stepped back from the “Olympic” race.
Even as we speak, the news is conquering the world. In its daily briefing notification, Reuters stated that the Momentum Movement is the new anti-establishment movement of Europe. It, therefore, does not come as a surprise that the president of the movement, András Fekete-Győr, stated that they will run for elections in 2018, and will even try to win in 2022.
As a young intellectual party who wish to defy the establishment and “do things right”, thus receiving a rapidly rising support, it interestingly resembles the founding circumstance of the current ruling party, FIDESZ. So let us just examine how FIDESZ started their political path in the environment of Hungary.
At the end of the Cold War and the resulting regime change, and even before that, FIDESZ was known to be the young activist group for freedom and justice. Even their party name suggests it: Fiatal Demokraták Szövetsége, which translates to Young Democrats’ Union. They gained support by opposing the previous system and the “left-over politicians”, referring to the socialists who were considered left-wing and politicians from the previous system ruled by the socialist one-party who continued to pursue their ideology even after the regime change Over time they grew further and have already been a ruling party three times in the past 30 years. It is, therefore, not impossible that a fourth term will be achieved in the 2018 elections, regardless of it being a good thing or not.
But why is this relevant to the Momentum Movement? Simple: both parties started their political activism by opposing an issue, thus being deconstructive. This de-constructivism is not, however, unnecessary; the fundamental uniting cause for the movement is not to achieve a purpose but to oppose and separate from the previous one.
FIDESZ started the same way, but the Hungarian mentality and the ageing of the party have changed them. It is not a mistake that they changed, as it is true that as a party grows, it also matures. The mistake may, instead, be in how they changed.
However, why is this important once again in light of the rising support for Momentum?
We can, understandably, see a wide-spread support from youngsters for the movement, as more people join their movement after the successful signature collecting. We can see how this changes the political landscape of Hungary, as the movement will grow further through the years. It is certain that the Momentum Movement will be a game changer political party in the coming years.
We should be happy about this, shouldn’t we? They are young, progressive, intellectual, know what they are doing, why they do it and do it efficiently. Reports even show that they do this without pride, but purely out of advocacy for justice. What is the problem, then?
The problem is not them, the problem is the Hungarian mindset of the political landscape. FIDESZ used to be the same, with the same goals, and they have become exactly what they opposed so much at the start. The most worrying thing, though, is that this can be true for Momentum in the future.
We cannot be certain, however, that is where fundamentals come into the picture. This Hungarian mindset, which only supports ideas that are bad for our enemies is currently present in every opposition party. That is the real reason why there is not a major political opposition in Hungary, as parties are only united when they can harm FIDESZ, rather than for the sole purpose of achieving something constructive, and this is why the Hungarian political landscape is so fragmented.
As Momentum takes the lead, the fundamental uniting cause for them is to oppose the current system, the ruling party which have been declared to be failing. Unless the Momentum Movement can commit to not altering their core principle in the months and years to come, they will be doomed to the same course as FIDESZ of the last 30 years.
Originally published by the European Student Think Tank, a 2011 European Charlemagne Youth Prize winner.