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Communist Paramilitary Organization ‘Workers’ Militia’ Revived

Hungary Today 2020.02.06.

Hungary’s Workers’ Militia has been resurrected as a non-governmental organization according to two Facebook pages, “Counter-Revolution 1956” and “Communist Side,” news portal Magyar Hang reports.

The organization named the Workers’ Militia Society (Munkásőr Társaság), awaits both former members of the militia and “brave young people” who want to follow in their footsteps, their Facebook post says. Their next gathering will be held in March.

In response to the media attention, the organization pointed out on Facebook that, in contrast with earlier news, they are not newly established.  In fact, the organization has been around for more than a year now.

They also stressed that the Workers’ Militia Society is not a legal successor to the original group, but that it “wants to carry on and nurture its ideology.”

Workers’ Guards, Ötvenhatosok square, Budapest, 1976. Photo: Fortepan/Magyar Rendőr

Many consider the revival of the organization legally worrisome, especially as the uploaded photos show members wearing uniforms with red stars, which is a banned symbol in Hungary.

The Workers’ Militia (Munkásőrség) was a paramilitary organization under the direct control of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP) from 1956 to 1989. It was created to support the communist regime after the revolution of 1956 was crushed.

Worker’s Guards, Budapest, 1958. Photo: Fortepan/Pál Berkó

The members of the militia were civilians, committed to the communist regime, who took on this duty in addition to their jobs.

The organization was disbanded in 1989 during the regime change, after a law initiated by the Németh government was adopted. On October 31, 1989, a referendum was also held with one of the questions regarding the Workers’ Militia. 94.9% of the voters agreed that it should be disbanded.

Featured photo illustration by Tamás Urbán/Fortepan

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