The organiser of a white supremacist conference scheduled for Budapest this weekend has vowed to hold the event despite the government ban imposed by Interior Minister Sándor Pintér on Monday.
US far-right group the National Policy Institute (NPI) says it will hold its inaugural meeting of the “European Congress” movement in Budapest, but will only admit pre-registered participants. “The conference will take place,” NPI president Richard Spencer insisted on the organisation’s website. “This kind of free expression is explicitly protected by Hungary’s recently enacted constitution. Our fear is that much about the event might have been ‘lost in translation’ or, worse, that the ministry is responding to untruthful messages sent by those who oppose the congress, as well as the very notion of traditional European identity,” he added.
It is not clear what his US-based white supremacist organization has to do with “traditional European identity” or why it felt compelled to hold the inaugural meeting in Budapest.
Pintér initiated the banning of the congress at the behest of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and has reportedly ordered National Police chief Károly Papp to refuse entry to Hungary to any of its participants.
The NPI says it chose Budapest as a venue because “Jobbik (is) one of the most promising traditionalist political parties in Europe”. However both the far-right party’s chairman Gábor Vona and its deputy caucus leader Márton Gyöngyösi have already backed out of the event after learning of the participation of US white supremacists.
Also scheduled to talk is the Russian political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, the Kremlin ideologue once known as Putin’s Brain due to his close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Dugin (pictured here, left, with Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona) was appointed as a professor at the prestigious Moscow State University and the head of the think-tank Center for Conservative Studies in 2008. Since then, as well as promulgating his own mystical theories on neo-Eurasianism, he has placed into the mainstream Putin’s authoritarian ideas on personal liberty, family values, homosexuality and the centrality of Orthodox Christianity. Dugin has also enthusiastically endorsed the Russian government’s action in Ukraine, calling on Putin to go further and invade east and south Ukraine, which he says “welcomes Russia, waits for it, pleads for Russia to come”.
However, regardless of the sensationalism around the event, Péter Krekó of Political Capital says many of the possible participants are fringe figures or has-beens.
The former Kremlin darling’s star is now in the descendant, Krekó told The Budapest Beacon. “Dugin was a professor at Moscow State University but (according to Dugin) was recently fired for an extreme statement about Ukraine,” he explained.
Dugin had in fact said the best way to deal with Ukrainians is “to kill, kill, kill. There should be no more conversations. As a professor, I think so.”
Krekó said: “There are some ideologues around Putin, they can form public opinion, and Aleksandr Dugin is one of the most popular public figures in Russia. But they are disposable: Putin can pick them up and throw them away. For Putin ideologies are merely a tool in the power game, and he can change his ideology in a short time. Surprisingly enough, Jobbik was the biggest name (scheduled to attend the European Congress), and the only player with real political support. Dugin is not as influential as he was.”
Orbán has reportedly ordered Pintér to “use all means available” to prevent the congress. Pintér said the event “is built on openly racist ideological grounds, participants openly promulgate race-theory, therefore the expression of their ideas runs counter to Hungary’s Basic Law”.
However the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) says Pintér’s ban is contrary to the Basic Law that was drawn up by his own party. TASZ said while it strongly opposes the ideas that will be propounded at the congress, “freedom of expression equally applies to those spreading racist theories”. According to them, there is no criminal act as long as nobody’s rights are violated. Until then it can be considered peaceful and legal. “So far there has been no sign that this will not be the case,” it wrote.
The Anti-Fascist League is planning a counter-protest by forming a human chain barring entry to the congress, which the NPI says will be held somewhere in Budapest from October 3-5. The original venue, Larus Rendezvényközpont, had already announced before the ban was imposed that it would not host the event due to its undemocratic nature.
Spencer has posted a video message on YouTube entitled Perseverance, in which he bizarrely argues in favour of European pluralism and quotes from the HBO swords and sandals television series “Game of Thrones”.
“To all those who have registered to attend… check your email. I will keep you abreast of our ongoing plans. We shall overcome,” Spencer says, invoking the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
“The NPI is made up of white supremacist lunatics,” Krekó asserts.
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