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Another Sign of the Times: Hungarian Government Implements Forced Labor Program

[1]

Job­bik Par­ty Mem­bers on Parade

COMMENT: The right wing [2] gov­ern­ment of Hun­gary [3] con­tin­ues to man­i­fest pro­grams [4] and ide­o­log­i­cal pro­nounce­ments dis­turbing­ly rem­i­nis­cent of that coun­try’s past–a fas­cist nation allied with the Axis in World War II.

Under the stew­ard­ship of the Arrow Cross orga­ni­za­tion, Hun­gary fought along­side Nazi Ger­many and was an enthu­si­as­tic par­tic­i­pant in Hitler’s social agen­da as well.

Now that nation has imple­ment­ed a forced labor pro­gram for its large, grow­ing num­ber of unem­ployed work­ers.

Will the U.S. under­go some­thing sim­i­lar in the not too dis­tant future? If the GOP gets back into pow­er, that is a pos­si­bil­i­ty that should not be too read­i­ly dis­missed.

After all, the Repub­li­cans have already demon­strat­ed their implaca­ble hos­til­i­ty toward those col­lect­ing unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits and social secu­ri­ty. Con­struct­ing a forced labor pro­gram would­n’t be all that much of a reach for the GOP.

In that con­text, one should not for­get that the GOP’s Eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion was craft­ed under the stew­ard­ship of Las­z­lo Pasz­tor [5], a vet­er­an of the Arrow Cross. That orga­ni­za­tion has been well rep­re­sent­ed with­in the Repub­li­can eth­nic out­reach milieu.

“Hun­gary to Intro­duce Forced Labor, Labor Camps”; Lit­tle Green Foot­balls; 8/3/2011. [6]

EXCERPT: The labor plan will result in 225 mil­lion euros sav­ings annu­al­ly for the gov­ern­ment and in turn facil­i­tate a mas­sive reduc­tion in nation­al wage lev­els. The pay­ment paid for those under­tak­ing the forced labor is based on the social assis­tance rate of 28,500 forints (110 euros) per month, i.e., a sum which is less than half the month­ly min­i­mum wage of 78,000 forints.

In recent years thou­sands of pub­lic employ­ees have been laid off, lead­ing to staff short­ages in some areas. The labor plan will free up work­ers to be exploit­ed in forced labor schemes for major state works pro­grams relat­ed to infra­struc­ture and agri­cul­ture. Hun­gar­i­an media have cit­ed the con­struc­tion of soc­cer sta­di­ums, road works, main­te­nance of drainage sys­tems and the con­struc­tion of dams as exam­ples of the new “com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice”.

400,000 Hun­gar­i­ans are imme­di­ate­ly eli­gi­ble to car­ry out such labor. In a recent inter­view Orban made clear that, in his view, such forced labor was urgent­ly required. In future dams will be con­struct­ed “not with the tech­nol­o­gy of the 21st cen­tu­ry (...), but by hand.”

The plan envis­ages that the unem­ployed can be used either for state projects, or “loaned out” to pri­vate com­pa­nies. . . .