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Is a Progressive Alliance a Progressive Solution?

The ascent of right-wing hegemony in an increasing number of countries in Europe is forcing progressives to rethink their agendas and strategies. For years it appeared that conservative authoritarianism is a peculiarity of a few unruly post-socialist countries of the old continent. In a post-Brexit age, with Norbert Hofer in Austria and Marine Le Pen in France close to power, it has become evident that progressive politics needs to change throughout Europe.

We need a European political dialogue on common social problems and on the future of progressive politics.

East Meets West


At the end of June in the aftermath of the Brexit shock, the Green Party of England and Wales has called for an electoral alliance to defeat the Tories at the next general election. This is a bold proposal that might deliver what is needed: a massive political innovation capable of reshaping the political landscape of the UK. Yet, there are several difficulties with such an approach, a failure to tackle them in due time might wreak havoc with such a cooperation. In our comment we offer some reflections from the perspective of progressive electoral politics in Hungary.


At first sight, a comparison between Hungarian politics and post-Brexit UK might seem a bit harsh. The Hungarian political system has degraded to an electoral authoritarian regime whereas the UK, though chaotic, is still a fully democratic country. However, the rise of illiberal authoritarianism and the hollowing-out of democracy is a Europe-wide phenomenon that can no longer be dismissed as an Eastern curiosity. In Hungary, after the newly elected 2010 government started to dismantle the democratic institutions it also introduced a new electoral law similar that of the UK. This new law made the Hungarian electoral system more majoritarian and forced the fragmented left-wing opposition to cooperate in order to win the next elections. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), Democratic Coalition (DK), Together 2014 (Együtt), Dialogue for Hungary (PM) and the Liberals (MLP) joined forces forming an electoral alliance in early 2014. However, the progressive alliance fell short of replacing the illiberal right-wing government. With the potential exit of Scotland and the ensuing loss of progressive MPs in Westminster, progressives in the UK also have to face historical challenges calling for historical political innovations. We therefore think it is meaningful and useful to start a dialogue between East and West. In the hope that we can help such a dialogue get started, we point to some lessons we learnt from the failure of the Hungarian progressive alliance.


Continue reading the original article on Bright Green.


Photo by Arden Andersen, flickr.com

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© Created by Noemi Scheiring-Olah.