On the tasks of the Hungarian Social Forum (HSF)

Benyik Mátyás, elnök

Mission statement of the Hungarian Social Forum

The danger and survival of the life on Earth has become a daily issue of the world. The fatal impact of capitalism on societies is also a global perception. With the rapid decrease in the time available to us, it has become an urgent task for Humanity to take political and practical counteractions. The defining framework for global change is that while billions of workers are not united, the capitalist class is marching towards its main goals in a closed order. The basic condition of all effective human action is therefore the unification of all progressive national action. An effort to collaborate dates back several decades. Its main organizational frameworks exist at both comprehensive and regional/national levels. Their unsatisfactory level of organization is paralyzing to achieve their goals. Centralized capital power, with its all-encompassing system of monetary relations, provides the overwhelming, irresistible power of capitalists today. To rliminate this power is only possible with the irreplaceable political organizing power of the internet world network; with active mass claims and with the continuous generalization of the results obtained in this way. Based on all this, the foundation of all efforts to change is to bring the national nodes of the organization to life. The Hungarian Social Forum undertakes this in Hungary and in the Central and Eastern European region. This is a founding, regular unifying role, a work beyond day-to-day political considerations, or individual solutions – knowing that this goal can only lead to results among young people, experienced women, men and their organizations ripen for this action and committed to the survival of Humanity. We are confident that supporters of this commitment will feel and utilize the results of our work.

Renewal of the Hungarian Social Forum

In the wake of the Prague Spring/European Forum webinar held on 5-6 December 2020 an organization group (OG) was formed and suggested to organize/restart the Hungarian Social Forum. The online conference date was set for 16th January 2021 from 15:00 till 17:15 h with the aim to mobilize the progressive Hungarian civil society organizations for the upcoming virtual World Social Forum between 23 and 31 January 2021.

The Hungarian OG prepared a proposal for the online HSF program as follows:

Opening and introductory speech entitled „Restart of the HSF and preparation for the WSF” by Matyas Benyik, Social Scientist, Chairman of ATTAC Hungary, member of the Organizers for the Left (SZAB)

The world economic and world political background of the connection between the WSF and the HSF by Peter Farkas, economist, ex-Chairman of Karl Marx Society

There will be three main thematical groups, namely

1.) The connection of HSF‘s potential theoretical workshops to the forum movements (facilitated by Vera Zalka ex Chairperson of the Foundation for Hungarian Social Forum movements)

a.) Eszmélet (Consciousness) – a system critical quarterly represented by Attila Antal, Chief Editor

b.) Helyzet Műhely -consisting of about two dozen young theoreticiens- is a social science workshop that analyzes current Hungarian processes from the perspective of the long-term history of global integration of the country and the region. Key figures of Helyzet are Ágnes Gagyi and Mark Aron Eber, social scientists. See more details here: https://helyzet.wordpress.com/english/

c.) Karl Marx Society represented by Gabor Szasz, Professor, Board member

d.) Majus Elseje Tarsasag (Mayday Society) interested in the development of an independent democratic Hungary preserving progressive traditions, represented by Andras Szebeni, Secretary General

e.) Uj Egyenloseg (New Equality) is a demanding but popular social theory magazine that represents the basic values of economic democracy – equality, freedom, justice and solidarity, speaker to be confirmed

2.) Main organizations of social resistance in Hungary (facilitated by Gyorgy Droppa, SZAB activist)

a.) Hungarian Roma Parliament and Social Roundtable by Aladár Horváth

b.) Alliance of Hungarian Resistance Fighters and Antifascists (MEASZ) represented by Vilmos Hanti, Chairman

c.) First Hungarian Unconditional Basic Income Association, represented by Gyorgyi Szentpeteri, Chairwoman

d.) The City is for All (AVM) was founded in 2009 by people who are committed to working for a just and egalitarian society. Its members are currently or formerly homeless people, those experiencing housing poverty and their allies. Speakers: Mrs Jutka Lakatos and Marton Gede, AVM-activists

e.) Latin America Society represented by Laszló Kupi, Chairman

f.) Alliance of Hungarian Trade Union (MASZSZ) represented in personal capacity by Karoly Gyorgy, responsible for foreign relations of MASZSZ

3.) The relationship of progressive political actors to the social forum movements -in personal capacity (facilated by Tibor Róna, SZAB-activist)

Attila Vajnai, Chairman of the European Left Hungarian Workers Party 2006

Tibor Szanyi, Board meber of Yes Solidarity for Hungary Movement (ISZOMM)

Erzsebet Schmuck, Co-Chairperson of the green LMP (Politics can be different)

Gabor Erőss, Board member of ecosocial Dialogue Party (Parbeszed)

3.) Summary and further steps of the HSF by Matyas Benyik

The way forward

The current multidimentional crises, intertwined with the Covid 19 epidemic, calls into question the viability of neoliberal capitalism. The search for directions is intensifying. The rise of social tensions has been rooted in the strengthening of the far right in many countries, in the center and on the periphery as well. In this situation, organizations that are progressively critical of capitalism, the environment, social problems, gender equality and freedom, the far right, and xenophobia are looking for each other again. It is to be hoped that the 20th meeting of the World Social Forum will give new impetus for more creating a humanistic world. This time, forms of cooperation will also be modernized to strengthen their capacity for action. And, of course, in today’s sad situation in Hungary, when an authoritarian government using the far-right motive system further distorts capitalist relations, it is necessary to unite between social progress, non-governmental organizations representing the social interests of those below.

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