There is a deep wish for cooperation in present Hungarian society. Many Hungarian citizens have realized that we are weak and helpless without each other. However, this widely desired cooperation cannot be based on any group forcing their values on everybody else or on neglecting the great differences between participating members in the name of a great common cause, as the economic, social and political failures of both governing and opponent parties in Hungary have so sadly proved it in the past few years. People founding Humán Platform (HP) recognized these needs and have been trying to respond to them with attentive, systematic and meticulous work.

HP is an umbrella organization consisting of individuals and non-profit organizations active in the fields of education, culture, social sphere and health care. Our members include not only formal associations and foundations (like Szépírók Társasága or GYERE) and some trade unions (for example PDSZ or 3SZ) but certain informal, loose networks (like OHA or Hívatlanul) and even a few umbrella organizations of specific fields (MADÁSZ or FESZ, for instance). HP is our attempt at a synergy of these diverse groups, coordinating human resources and professional knowledge, exchanging best practices and multiplying the effects of each member’s efforts by synchronizing the parts for the sake of the whole.

HP was grounded in 2013 with the aim of serving as a model project for the integration of two distinct types of operation. On the one hand, HP has set the long-term goals of communicating and defending our various professional values by discussing, articulating and developing focused strategies in our fields of expertise; demanding the rightful share of professional organizations in the national and local decision making processes; monitoring governmental work and improving member organizations’ skills in putting collective pressure on legislative and administrative bodies; thus enhancing solidarity both among HP members and in a wider sense, in Hungarian society as well. At the same time, we cannot neglect the urging need for immediate responses to succeeding crises like threat to individual freedom, violation of basic human rights, harassment of civil organizations, narrowing access to public education, laws increasing fatal poverty and ignoring both economical and green demands. Therefore we are working on a functional combination of the two, radically different approaches: the thorough watchdog and policy making programs of larger, formal institutions and the rapid, intense projects of small but effective networks applying the methods of non-violent civil disobedience and direct action with the goal of restoring democratic rights in Hungary.

In the past two years we have been holding meetings on a roughly weekly basis updating each other on current activities and harmonizing our plans. We have addressed numerous crucial issues, including the scandal of replacing the Hungarian constitution with a non-consensual, random, discriminative set of laws; the miserable situation of public and higher education; the rights of Roma, homeless and LMBTQ people; or the freedom of speech. We have organized workshops, open debate forums, poster campaigns and demonstrations; we have produced and distributed printed documents and online videos. We have supported civic activities of our member organizations and of other formal and informal groups working for aims similar to ours. Our members have participated at numerous events launched by other NGOs, too, and frequently appear in the public media. We are independent of every political party, and all our activities, including HR and financial background are completely transparent for the public.

Partly due to our work as well as to the work of other activists, a much wider range of Hungarian citizens seems to be interested in politics, more precisely in creating new routines in Hungarian political life, than a few years ago. This is definitely a historical chance not to be missed. In order to maintain the results of our work as well as to expand its scope, especially in the countryside, we need to seek additional resources beyond the NCTA grant that supports our activities at the moment.