Between 28th and 30th August 2015 a festival of the European Left Labour Party 2006 was held in Horány in the Regatta Leisure Centre, where other left parties (Hungarian Socialist Party, 4K! PM), progressive trade unions and NGOs were also present as guests. The organizers thought that in order to solve the growing social problems it had become essential to bring together the Hungarian fragmented left and develop some kind of a common agenda.
The third annual Leftist Festival since the system change wished to revive the political, cultural and other spirit of the pre-WW2 Hungarian workers movement called Gödi Fészek.
In the rich cultural and political program of the Leftist Island Festival on the first day, Maite Mola Vice President of the European Left Party and Ivan Harsanyi Historian talked about the situation in Europe and the challenges the whole continent are facing. A variety of diplomatic delegations (such as the Cuban Ambassador and a diplomat of Venezuela) were participating in the debates.
Equally important and also interesting political program was a discussion between Jozsef Tobias, President of the Socialist Party and Attila Vajnai, leader of the European Left Workers Party 2006 about the meaning of the contempory Left and whom the leftists vote for. They both agreed on the need to develop a strong left-wing and cooperation in the future.
The domestic NGOs have discussed about various issues – such as the left-wing feminism, environmental issues (Paks2, GMO), the free trade agreements (particularly the TTIP), legalization of marijuana, the democratic community banking system and the possibilities of liquid democracy and Unconditional Basic Income (UBI).
On the economic and social aspects of the current unsustainable system Annamaria Artner, Karoly Lorant and Andras Nagy economists delivered high level lectures.
Moderated by Gyorgy Droppa, our Spanish and Polish guests explained us the economic, political and social situation of their country, as well as they oulined the national and European responsibilities for the Left in the near future.
The experiences of the national trade unions and social organizations in the last 25 years, and the dilemmas of co-operation with the parties were debated by Szabolcs Beöthy-Feher, a member of the Trade Union Youth League supervisory board, Ferenc Norbert, a member of the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation Youth Branch, Imre Komjáthy, Vice President of public workers trade union, and Janos Vadasz, former president of Trade Union of Public Collection workers. The debate was moderated by Ms. Istvanne Szöllősi, former president of the Teachers’ Trade Union.
On the closing day of the festival in cooperation with renowned scientists, historians and civil society actors the issue of the poor and Roma policy, the advance of fascism, mounting number of migrants regime and the drawing of the balance of 25 years’ system change were on the table. The most important lesson we learntis that the authoritarian, dictatorship-minded regimes are built not only in Eastern Europe. Fascism in the West (such as in Belgium and France) is also advancing in the face of chauvinism. The neofascism is a product of the existing system and funded by Western capital entrenched power structures of the state. In our country, there is no difference either. There is no clear dividing line between the right wing Fidesz and the extreme right Jobbik parties.
Among the cultural programs the discussions with the participation of György Moldova writer and Ferenc Baranyi poet, the telephone conversation with Emil Keres artist (live connection), high-level poetry and singing performances, including artists e.g. Robert Garai, Laszlo Kövesdi, Balázs Galkó and Szilva, accordion player and the live show entitled „System change” by Mouksa rock band favored by the youth were outstanding.
The lessons learned and the participants’ main demands of the three days Left Island Festival are as follows:
1. Regarding the issue of refugees:
a) Humane treatment of refugees is a State task.
b) Rumors are enough! We demand an authentic public information!
c) The Government of Hungary should clearly stand up for peace and not to take part in wars. We demand that Hungary shuold withdraw immediately from the territory of the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
d) The Hungarian government should oppose all arms sales in these regions, and openly take action against any kind of paramilitary organizations.
The Hungarians are fleeing due to excessive taxation, the dispossessed, continuously deteriorating Hungarian health care, the corruption, the paying school system, the lack of a social safety net, the flat tax system, the high unemployment and the 27 percent VAT, the low wages and exploitation, the mafia methods used by the Hungarian state. The refugees escaping towards Hungary and other destinations are victims of the wars, the desertification, the violence and the aggressive statehood.
2. Regarding the social issues
We demand that the ruling government should comply with the EU Social Charter and the provisions of the ILO conventions signed by Hungary!
a) Immediate social crisis-management package is needed. Social tariffs should be introduced in the utilities and banking services.
b) Progressive tax system must be established in several stages by raising the tax rates of the richest, the phasing out of the tax benefits of top companies.
c) The existing resources should be reallocated to education, health, agriculture and development of the green industry.
d) It is necessary to prevent the privatization of public utilities, forced by the US-EU free trade agreement (TTIP).
e) We need to develop a new republic, we must defend the basic democratic and social fundamental rights. Only in this way we stay can resist the threat of nefascism.
Democratic opposition, leftist cooperation!
Budapest, 1st September 2015.