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Policy or Politics? Issue Related Protests as Field of Anti-Government Mobilization in Hungary

Political Participation
Social Movements
Political Activism
Political Engagement
Protests
Survey Research
Daniel Mikecz
Centre for Social Sciences
Balázs Böcskei
Eötvös Loránd University
Márton Gerő
Centre for Social Sciences
Sazabina Kerényi
MASARYKOVA UNIVERZITA v Brne
Daniel Mikecz
Centre for Social Sciences

Abstract

The Visegrad countries were once seen as the forerunners of democratic transition in Central and Eastern Europe. Now, it is said, that mainly Viktor Orbán’s regime in Hungary but also Slovakia under Robert Fico and the Polish government led de facto by Jarosław Kaczyński turn to an illiberal model of democracy and challenge the basic principles of the European Union. The illiberal turn triggered new protest waves outside of the fragmented liberal and left wing parties in Hungary. The so called Milla movement could mobilize the disappointed voters of the democratic opposition against the new media law (Jensen, 2015). Three years later, in the first months of the third Orbán-government, many citizens expressed their dissatisfaction again during the ‘internet tax’ protests (Szabó and Mikecz, 2015), while in 2016 the Tanítanék (I’d like to teach) movement mobilized teachers, students, parents and many opposition citizens. It seemed, that policy related conflicts became the field of general dissatisfaction. In our paper we’ll test this assumption by comparing the data gathered by protest surveys of protesters at the policy related Tanítanék protests in 2016 (February 13, March 15) and those at the announced March 15, 2018 anti-government protest. We wish to compare the protest experiences, the trust in politics, the organizational background and the motivation of protesters. Our main question is, whether politics or policy matters if it comes to protests in an illiberal context. (Submitted to Panel 8 "From a Neo-liberal to Non-liberal Context: Social Movements in (and of) the Dark Times?")