“We don’t want to be politicians!” and “Everything runs differently here than in other parties!” were slogans of the MFG internally and externally. Ultimately, it shows what has been shown with every founding of a party within the Austrian system: the limits of what is possible are narrow – and where there are people, there are people. But the MFG also bears a huge responsibility, for many voters in Austria it is the only last hope for a democratic solution.
A comment by Florian Machl
It’s a found fodder for the mainstream. The gang of left-leaning journalists, who shower each other with taxpayer prizes month after month because of their supposed seriousness and genius, rub their hands and open the champagne. Something happened again. Following the pattern of past party expulsions, the national board of MFG is firing at full steam at the lawyer Todor-Kostic, who headed MFG Carinthia. There would have been imminent danger, he had behaved undemocratically and therefore had to be removed immediately as federal spokesman for Carinthia. (Please refer ORF: turbulence in the anti-vaccination party MFG). As a result, the entire management team left the party “out of solidarity” – at least that’s how the mainstream wants it to be perceived.
If something like that happens once, it may be right. From the perspective of the external observer, however, it happens far too often. One remembers numerous conflicts that led to separations, the most media driven by the village was that of the Linz municipal council troop, which had previously voted for the vaccination bus. All of that was a long time ago. In the meantime, the party could have functioning structures and, above all, transparent guidelines against which any action on behalf of the MFG can be measured. And one could have understood how the anything but independent and objective media landscape works, which lurks for every little mistake like vultures circling in the sky. Resolving such conflicts publicly is a gift for vaccination fanatics.
You don’t have to marry each other, just consistently go in the right direction
It is perfectly clear that wherever people come together, there is a human element. It is clear that not all people find or like each other. But the point is that in a successful company this is not absolutely necessary to move forward. It is important that everyone involved has a goal in mind that needs to be achieved. You don’t have to get married for that, you just have to work consistently and simply hide disturbances inside and outside. Especially in the area of resistance, which is supported by strong personalities, by doers who never submit to others – neither to the state nor to party colleagues – other strategies of cooperation have to be developed. Creative doers don’t wait for every detail to be dictated to them. And they are easily offended when someone stands in their way – rightly or wrongly.
MFG is the only hope for many
The MFG has a moral obligation to all voters in Austria to advance its cause with seriousness and consistency. For many people there is no other alternative to choose from. Yes, the Kickl-FPÖ also fights to a large extent for freedom and against mania for measures and compulsory vaccination. But Kickl does not have his party under control, there are crazy counter-movements around Mölzer, Haimbuchner and other confused people, who would rather be vaccinated umpteen times and suffer from side effects than admit that the party leader is right and the word “liberal” in the party name is not stands for arbitrariness and pandering. You have to face the truth, the MFG is the party of hope for this countryespecially for those who are center or left-of-center politically.
With that comes a great responsibility. Citizens who believe in democracy, who believe in a peaceful solution to the many problems, build on the MFG. The expectations are immense. The citizens are faced with real problems, against which any sympathetic banter among politicians pales completely. They are afraid of the economic collapse, afraid of the war, afraid of a dictatorship, afraid of compulsory vaccinations that would be fatal to their health. All these fears are justified and based on real developments. Nobody, really nobody outside the party is interested in who gets along well or badly with the others within the MFG. One can afford such vanities in times of peace, when a country is prospering economically and has no other problems.
Spoiled for personnel selection
Of course, this cannot be an unwritten prohibition that a party has to accept any personnel that come along. Every functionary has to be screened for history, background and character – otherwise there could be a rude awakening. There have certainly been a few mistakes in the past, and some who were previously excluded excelled mainly through social incompetence and aggression.
All this cannot be said about the lawyer Mag. Todor-Kostic. He is a recognized and credible personality in the resistance. It is absolutely incomprehensible for the outsider how such an escalation could have happened. Now both parties to the dispute claim the absolute opposite of each other. Todor-Kostic even threatens legal action. That too: absurd. Harmful to the cause. Dangerous for the big picture. Isn’t there someone at the helm who can strategically analyze and anticipate this before it gets to the extreme?
Internal quarrels cannot be sold to the voters and cannot be explained
It may be that, from the point of view of the MFG, there are absolutely valid reasons for removing Todor-Kostic from his party offices. However, these cannot be communicated to outsiders, certainly not across the board. Ultimately, the narrative of the ORF and other system media takes effect here due to their reach. Nor will it make sense to discuss the background in any Facebook posts or alternative media interviews. Simply because no one cares about it out there.
And it may well be that a long-term, stable partnership seemed doubtful from the start due to different backgrounds. For example, Todor-Kostic was closely associated with the Stronach team. He has also defended important ÖVP politicians such as ex-ÖVP Carinthia boss Martinz in the past. There is nothing libelous about that, the only question I would like to ask here is whether this history can be substantively compatible with an MFG on a longer term basis. Anyone who believes that the defender of top politicians of the ÖVP does not maintain close contacts with this party may not have understood Austria. One speaks for that close cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce.
Suddenly and unexpected? Is the solution to all problems always “imminent danger”?
The pattern that runs through problem solving in the MFG environment is always “imminent danger”. For outsiders, the devastating picture emerges that personnel conflicts are decided “top down”. This is problematic insofar as associations and parties know the arbitral tribunal as a means of solving conflicts. It doesn’t matter who is in the right – the rule of law, democracy and transparency cannot be conveyed with decisions “from above”. The MFG would be well advised to find ways and means of selling their conflicts differently, both internally and externally. There are always two points of view, and even those who have been deposed or excluded have their close-knit circle of friends and fans, who become enemies from the point at which they fall out.
The real problem of the MFG is probably a naïve gullibility, on which one has to work vehemently at the latest now. Of course, rapid growth requires that you take numerous people into your movement without checking them, who may not fit in at all. At the level of a state spokesman, however, it can be assumed that there are numerous processes that ensure that there are no explosions that damage the entire movement. Incidentally, this can also be regulated in private on a contractual basis, such as finding a solution in the event of behavior that is (demonstrably!) harmful to the party. Companies can do that too. When executives’ actions “no longer align with the direction of the company,” the separation is usually quiet, civilized, and structured. For good reasons. Politics is obviously also a learning process. Those who master it will endure. Mander s’ischt time.