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May-day obituary

May 21st, 2021

A left-wing author complains about the disappearance of the workers’ movement in Hungary, after Mayday was not celebrated this year – for the first time since World War II.

In Népszava, András D. Szebeni describes the decades since the regime change as a continuous series of defeats for the cause of the working class. He complains that labour has been consistently devalued in politics while the value of money has been elevated to ever higher levels. The red star and the hammer and sickle have been banned as supposedly totalitarian symbols, he adds, although they represent the dignity of the working people. Mayday celebrations have progressively become amusement park events, centered around the consumption of beer and sausages, while this year, under the pretext of the Covid-19 restrictions, no celebrations took place at all. The only positive sign Szebeni sees in today’s Hungary in this respect is a ‘decent’ ruling by the Constitutional Court to scrap the so-called ‘slavery act’ (which allowed 400 hours of overtime work per year) adopted in 2018 (See e.g. BudaPost, January 21, 2019).

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