Building of Leftist Communities in Central and Eastern Europe

Between 24th and 26th August 2018 the fifth Leftist Island Festival was co-organised by the Organisers for the Left (SZAB) at Horány/Hungary in the Regatta Leisure Centre, where more than 100 people took part from different Civil Society Organisations, including ATTAC Hungary, MEBAL -United Left, Karl Marx Society, Alliance of Resistance Fighters and Anti-Fascists (MEASZ) as well as Hungarian left-wing parties, namely European Left-Workers Party 2006 (EBMP2006), Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), Dialogue (P). About two dozen foreign participants came from Ukraine, Moldavia, Czechia, Slovenia, Spain, Cuba, Venezuela, Austria and Germany. It was an outstanding event, because a complete day was dedicated to Latin-America. Parallelly with the main program, in a separete hall, Ukraine was on the agenda with simultaneous translation on 25th August. The main message of the Festival was that the Left builds communities.

The traditional three-day event of the Hungarian European Left -Workers Party 2006 offered more than 20 forums and debates on politics, art and science. During the Festival the following issues were highlighted:

  • Round-table discussion with the Ambassadors of Cuba and Venezuela (to Hungary) – Resistance of Cuba and Venezuela

  • The Legacy of Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez

  • World Social Forum and Assembly of Resistances 2018

  • Elections in Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua and Slovenia

  • Dismantlement of Education and Healthcare

  • Armement is the Hall of War – Conflicts in Syria, Ukraine, North Africa and Asia

  • Migration in Europe

  • Legacy of Karl Marx – Marxism today

  • Local and EUP elections in Hungary in 2019

  • Debate of Hungarian Leftist Political Parties

  • Undermining of environmental protection in Hungary

Discussions and debates with the renowned Hungarian public figures and foreign participants have given an opportunity to get acquainted with the real facts and processes unknown in the Hungarian media. Keynote speakers at the Festival were: Annamária Artner, Dezső Avarkeszi, Ferenc Baranyi, György Droppa, Virág Erdős, Gábor Erőss, Leo Gabriel, Vilmos Hanti, Gyula Hegyi, Andrej Hunko, Gergely Karácsony, Imre Komjáthy, Tamás Krausz, Győző Lugosi, Sergey Markhel, György Moldova, Mirek Prokes, Alicia Elvira Corredera Morales, Iván Orosa Paleo, Imre Payer, José Betancourt Seelanddel, Valentina Skafar, Timea Szabó, György Tverdota, Tibor Szanyi, Rebeka Szabó, Gábor Székely, Bence Tordai, Zoltán Tóth, Attila Vajnai, György Wiener.

On one of the two dozens forums, the numerous left-wing activists and enthusiastic persons came to know about the Slovenian LEVICA (Left) party`s secret of its success and also about the fact that Viktor Orbán`s ally was unable to form a government in Slovenia.

Important facts about energy poverty, education and migration were also discussed.

Prior to the Festival, on Thursday, 23rd August 2018 most of the participants took part in a conference on energy poverty and a strong emphasis was given to energy supply in order to make energy available to everyone. Participants from small settlements and villages have shown considerable interest.

The prominent event of this year`s Leftist Island Festival was a debate among the leaders of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), the Dialogue (P) and the European Left -Workers Party 2006, followed with great interest by the media.

Gyula Hegyi, Vice President of MSZP, made it clear that the party definitely wishes to become a left-wing party, for him the socialist attribute means that – although not in the short term – Capitalism must be transcended. Gergely Karácsony, one of the Co-Presidents of Dialogue Party renewed his faith in the model of social democracy and promised to continue working on the reform lately launched.

Attila Vajnai, Chairman of the European Left -Workers Party 2006 considered the building of communities independently of the electoral campaigns, and set out also concrete initiatives. Out of these initiatives the greatest interest was shown towards modern and energy-efficient LED lamps to be provided free of charge for the poor families and the amendment of the Act on Public Prosecution.

The festival – organised totally fifth time by the Organisers for the Left Group – finally ended up in the spirit of community building, which could offer new opportunities to young people interested in the left-wing values.

Budapest, 6th September 2018.

Organisers for the Left (SZAB)

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