Wednesday 13 January 2021

The Orbán Administration's Class Politics and the Spread of COVID-19 in BJCT

This is my new paper on Hungarian authoritarian populism and its class politics upon the case of Covid-19 crisis. It has been published in Berlin Journal of Critical Theory (BJCT) Volume 5, Number 1 (January, 2021). 

It can be downloaded from BJCT's site or my as an open access paper. 


It has been investigated in this article that contrary to the assessment of other commentators, the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis did not bring on or finalise the authoritarian turn in Hungary. Rather the conditions for authoritarian rule preceded the crisis and were certain to define how the government would respond to the crisis. It is beyond question that by introducing the so-called Enabling Act, which grants absolute power to the Prime Minister, the Orbán government has become an authoritarian political system. Evidently this represents a substantial danger to the European Union, one that has existed for some time but became heightened in the context of a fresh eurozone crisis. Nevertheless, the unholy use of the coronavirus situation is just the latest stage of exceptional government in Hungary. The main social and political outcome of this permanent state of exception is the subjection of society to the forces of neoliberalism. Along with the new Enabling Law the neoliberalization of public services also put the Hungarian society in an incredibly difficult position to handle the threat of the epidemic. Moreover, the main cause behind the emerging Fascism is the class politics of the political system, which is based on the compromise of the upper middle-class and national bourgeoisie. I propose here that the main aim of Orbán is to maintain the post-pandemic world by the unnecessary extension of state of exception. During the epidemic crisis Orbán has achieved all the neoliberal goals that have always defined his authoritarian policy. So, a new period of the system is in the making and Orbán is interested in the deepening of the crisis