Far left, far right, far out

The British Labour Party has had its arse handed to it on a plate for the second time in a week: “Labour has suffered its worst post-war election result as it was beaten into third place by UKIP and saw the BNP gain its first seats at Brussels” (BBC, June 8, 2009). The Working Families Party secured 2,381,760 votes in the Euro election, or 15.7%, down 6.9%, as a result losing five seats (for a winning total of 13). Of 44,173,690 UK citizens registered to vote, only 15,136,932 bothered to show up, just over 1/3. In Europe as a whole, in addition to the UK, the far right made significant gains in some states, while losing influence in several others (Far right make gains in ten member states, Leigh Phillips, EUobserver, June 8, 2009), the election witnessing a record low turn-out of 43%:

In total, the far right is up eight seats on the 2004 European elections.

In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and the UK, the far right made moderate to significant advances.

However, the extreme right saw sharp declines in Belgium, and France, and were completely wiped out in Poland.

Presumably, the far right will now proceed to form a fascist bloc in the Parliament, following the abortion (January–November 2007) that was ‘Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty’. To do so, the fascists require 25 members from seven countries to participate. Among those who might qualify are: Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria) in Austria (2), Национален съюз Атака / Natsionalen Sǎyuz Ataka (National Union Attack) in Bulgaria (2), Front national (National Front) in France (3), Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) in Belgium (2), Jobbik in Hungary (3), Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV (Party for Freedom) in the Netherlands (4), Partidul România Mare, PRM (Greater Romania Party) in Romania (3), the BNP in the UK (2) and…

Oh.

Wait.

In the UK and Ireland, the (far) left made a few gains: in Dublin, the Socialist Party’s Joe Higgins has been bumped into Parliament, and er… the Socialist Labour Party (Arfur Scargill’s mob) got a total of 173,115 votes (1.1%), while between them the 8 candidates for the Socialist Party of Great Britain grabbed 4,050 votes. (Also in Ireland, ‘People Before Profit’ got five seats in local council elections.)

See also : Results from Europe’s big six, BBC, June 8, 2009: “Centre-right parties have triumphed over their left-wing opponents in the 2009 European Parliament elections. There were victories too for far-right and anti-immigrant parties, but the turnout was a record low of 43%. The results allow the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) to cement its position as the largest bloc in the European Parliament. Here we take a more detailed look at the results from some of the largest countries in the European Union…” | European Parliament Election Results by Country, Der Spiegel, June 9, 2009 | EUROPEAN ELECTION RESULTS 2009.

On a brighter note, Lord Toby Jug of The Official Monster Raving Loony Party beat the Labour Party in the St Ives ward of Cambridgeshire county council: Labour came sixth behind two Conservatives, two Liberal Democrats and Lord Jug.

Sweden also voted a pirate into Parliament.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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13 Responses to Far left, far right, far out

  1. Jamie R says:

    Geesh, Lord Toby Jug can beat out Labour and Gordon Brown still thinks he can fight on and win respect without resigning, just how out of touch with reality is that dude?

    The Whigs once proved that political parties can disappear, the way these elections turned out would it be so crazy to see the Tories fighting UKIP as the two major parties in 15 years?

  2. Jamie R says:

    At least his last name suits the Pies culture.

  3. lower case h says:

    The left didn’t put up much of a fight here in the UK at all, except for a ticket called “No2EU” put together by mostly the railway union that countered its nationalist, protectionist vibe by taking on the BNP in its election vids. There’s some funny stuff coming out from the SWP today about how to develop a left alliance without compromising their own precious “democratic centralism”. The Cornish nationalists grabbed an extra 0.1% of the vote, too. You know. In terms of a round up of the joke parties. (P.s. Dublin’s not in the UK; they don’t like it when ppl say it is.)

  4. @ndy says:

    Hmmm. Dublin. A city founded by men from the North, which in the fifteenth century was the centre of the English Pale. (Amazing Fact: In the 1690s, Protestant porters in the Viking city and ‘white’ porters across the seas in New Yawk petitioned authorities to end the employment of ‘Papists’ and ‘Negroes’ in their trade.)

    But yeah. 1916 and the Easter Uprising and all that. Down with kingdoms and states of all sorts (and so on and so forth).

    Results for European Left:

    Austria: KPO 0.6% 0 seats
    Belgium: PC Wallonia 0 seats
    Cyprus: AKEL 34.9% 2 seats
    Czech Republic: CPBM 14.18% 4 seats
    Estonia: Eestimaa Uhendatud Vasakpartei 0.88% 0 seats
    Finland: CP Finland 0 seats
    France: Front de Gauche 6.3% 5 seats
    Germany: Die Linke 7.5% 8 seats, DKP 0 seats
    Greece: Synaspismos/SYRIZA 4.69% 1 seat
    Italy: PRC/PdCI 3.3% 0 seats
    Luxembourg: Dei Lenk 3.23% 0 seats
    Poland: Young Socialists/Polish Socialist Party 0 seats
    Portugal: Bloco de Esquerda 10.73% 3 seats
    Romania: PASRO 0 seats
    Slovakia: KSS 1.65% 0 seats

    Also:

    Greece: KKE 8.35% 2 seats
    Netherlands: SP 7.1% 2 seats
    Portugal: PCP-PEV 10.66% 2 seats
    Spain: IU-ICV-EUiA 3.73% 2 seats
    Sweden: Vänsterpartiet 5.6% 1 seat

  5. @ndy says:

    More blah:

    Europe Lurches Right
    Maria Margaronis
    The Nation
    June 8, 2009

    Trying to divine the political future from the results of European Parliamentary elections always involves an element of entrail-gazing. Across the continent, people take the opportunity to register protest votes; this year, the turn-out (43%) was at a historic low. But as the final results come in, two things are becoming clear: the center-right has gained at the expense of social democrats, even in France, Italy and Germany where voters might have been expected to give ruling conservatives a kicking; and the collapse of the left vote has let in an unprecedented number of far-right and neo-fascist candidates…

    Danny the Green shakes up France, again
    Crispian Balmer
    Reuters
    June 8, 2009

    PARIS, June 8 (Reuters) – Daniel Cohn-Bendit, one-time anarchist turned leader of a green coalition, has lost none of his famous ability to shake up French politics.

    In a remarkable result, Cohn-Bendit’s environmental party came third in Sunday’s European parliamentary election in France, just behind the main opposition Socialist party, which suffered one of the worst ballot-box meltdowns in its history…

    Bonus!

    Socialist landslide in the Arctic
    [Some Bloke]
    Splintered Sunrise
    June 4, 2009

    On the grounds that a small advance in a remote place is better than no advance at all, let’s pause for a moment to tip our hats to Greenland’s pro-independence socialists, who have just scored a stunning victory…

  6. Jamie R says:

    Interesting times. It really is just the beginning I believe. The US Fed and the Bank of England alone will be responsible for what is being billed as an ‘inflationary holocaust’ when economies begin to get back on track. And once the Chinese economy matures that’s another Japan bust, their growth will slow but I bet the money printing like the 80s Japanese won’t! A warped era of excess, bring it on!

    As of today, there’s plenty of money out there now, where will it filter when things pick up the pace again? My selections are food, gold, silver, oil and other resources. I picked, conservatively, 20% interest rates to choke off inflation like the early 80s. I guess I should write my own ‘survival report’ similar to some of the crazies in the US.

    I enjoy most of all when people say you’re throwing money away with rent rather than a big mortgage, they never say that you’re throwing money away on food do they? Gotta have a place to live, just as you gotta eat. What I don’t want is next to no capital gains for the next ten years while facing rapidly increasing costs of covering such debt.

    And who will benefit in these times of stress and war? Teh Demagogues!!

    I’ll be over there. In my own little world. Fighting to have as little to do with the current mob system as possible. With a cold beer.

  7. Tristan says:

    The far left in British politics are just as bad as the right. Thuggish, protectionist, anti-human, authoritarians. The BNP and No2EU are virtually indistinguishable aside from rhetoric and emphasis, they’re both the home of authoritarian scumbags.

    Then again, it’s all electoral politics, based upon the idea that some people can legitimately get authority over all from being voted for by a section of the population – any group taking part in such an illegitimate farce is bound to be authoritarian at its core, whether they’re ‘free’ market capitalist or state socialist/capitalist.

    The anti-authoritarian left needs to throw off its tolerance of the authoritarian left, they share nothing except a vague name. It’s like Proudhon supporting Robespierre – they’re different creatures, they just claim the same title.

  8. Pingback: Fascists, Ferrets and How To Stop The Far Right. « ModernityBlog

  9. @ndy says:

    Tristan,

    I sorta agree. That is: there are obvious flaws with the ‘far left’ in the UK (leaving aside a) the definition of ‘far left’, which may or may not include anarchists and other, ‘libertarian’ radicals and b) its un-popularity), but I don’t know enough about No2EU to comment meaningfully on its similarity to the BNP. From what I can gather, it represents a form of old skool labourism. I also agree that ‘representative democracy’ is flawed, in both theory and practice, and generally encourages ‘authoritarian’ practices (based on the nature of the state as a form of social relations, the distinction between representatives and their constituencies, representation as a form of mediation/alienation, order-givers and order-takers, authority and its discontents). So yeah: “Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony” ‘n’ all that. But: I think that there are some meaningful distinctions that may be made between one party and the next, and if, by virtue of their participation in the electoral process, every party is as ‘authoritarian’ as the next, then the term loses some of its meaning I think.

    As for the response of the anti-authoritarian left to its authoritarian rivals is concerned, I don’t think ‘toleration’ is what’s really at issue. What is is the ability of the anti-authoritarian left to develop and implement its ideas in a way that attracts broader constituencies. Also, its (mine? yours? ours?) capacity to intervene in social struggles in a way that promotes libertarian organisational strategies and tactics: to demonstrate, in a practical manner, that these are both effective and liberatory, and that pursuing social liberation does not require — in fact, is antagonistic to — the development of hierarchies within social movements. In this context, what I as an anarchist want is precisely movements and projects that are ‘out of control’ (at least in the terms in which ‘order’ is understood in mainstream discourse).

    As for Grand Master P and Robby: that’s another story.

  10. @ndy says:

    UK as a whole:

    Votes

    CON 27.7% +1.0
    UKIP 16.5% +0.3
    LAB 15.7% -6.9
    LD 13.7% -1.2
    GRN 8.6% +2.4
    BNP 6.2% +1.3
    SNP 2.1% +0.7
    PC 0.8% -0.1
    SSP 0.1% -0.3
    OTH 8.4% +2.7

    Seats

    CON 25 +1
    UKIP 13 +1
    LAB 13 -5
    LD 11 +1
    GRN 2 —
    BNP 2 +2
    SNP 2 —
    PC 1 0

    Results for leftist parties in England & Wales & Scotland (ie, not Northern Ireland):

    No2EU (CPB&CWI) — 153,236 (1.01%)
    Peace Party — 9,534 (0.06%)
    SLP — 173,115 (1.14%)
    SSP — 10,404 (0.07%)
    SPGB — 4,050 (0.03%)

    Scotland:

    SLP – 22,135 (2.0%)
    SSP – 10,404 (0.9%)
    No2EU – 9,693 (0.9%)

  11. Caitlin Ate says:

    Sweden also voted a pirate into Parliament.

    My mistake.

  12. @ndy says:

    Caitlin Ate,

    You’re forgiven / But not forgotten.

    Jeff Sparrow sez:

    Yorkshire has just returned as its representative in the European Parliament Andrew Brons, a man who cut his political teeth in the National Socialist Movement. Yes, that’s right. National Socialist, as in sieg-heiling, formed-on-Hitler’s-birthday, send- them-all-the-gas-chambers, National Socialist.

    In those days, Andrew Brons once overheard another NSM member discussing (as one does) bombing some synagogues. Brons himself equivocated over the plan. “I realise that he is well intentioned,” he explained to a third colleague, “[but] I feel that our public image may suffer considerable damage as a result of these activities. I am however open to correction on this point.”

    Today, Brons seems to be more decided. In the recent elections, he campaigned for the British National Party, promising to seek Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. No mention of bombing synagogues — and no mention, either, of the slogans of the National Front, the organisation he led after his NSM days. In that capacity Brons distinguished with an arrest for breaching the peace for shouting “Death to the Jews” and “White Power” in a suburban shopping mall.

    Brons’ election, along with that of the BNP leader Nick Griffin, came amidst a swag of successes for fascist and racist groups across the continent.

    In Hungary, Jobbik — or Movement for a Better Hungary — won 14.8 per cent of the vote, nearly trebling the result of the ruling socialists. Jobbik openly parades its members in the colours of the Arrow Cross, the party responsible for murdering Hungary’s Jews during the Second World War.

    Slovakia saw the triumph of the Slovak National party, which honours the wartime leader Jozef Tiso, executed in 1946 after deporting between 60,000 and 70,000 Jews to concentration camps. In Austria, the combined vote of 17.7 per cent for the anti-immigrant Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria came in the context of a resurgent neo-Nazi movement with which both groups have links, while in Denmark, the far-right Danish People’s Party won two seats with 14.4 per cent of the vote.

    Geert Wilders — a man recently banned from Britain — was one of the biggest winners, with his Freedom Party moving into second place behind the Christian Democrats. Wilders group, unlike so many of the European rightists, has no historical association with Second World War-era fascist groups, and has built its profile almost exclusively out of bigotry against Muslims. Increasingly, that’s the model that others are following: toning down the anti-Semitism, ramping up the Islamophobia (and, in the east, racism against those forgotten victims of genocide, the gypsies).

    Take, for example, the BNP.

    It emerged from the wreckage of the old National Front, under the leadership of John “Mein Kampf is my bible” Tyndall: an unabashed, swastika-wearing Nazi, who regularly posed giving a casual heil to portraits of Adolf.

    The BNPs fortunes changed in 1999, when Cambridge-educated Nick Griffin staged a palace coup. Now Griffin, also just elected to the European Parliament, came out of the National Front, too — here he is marching in a natty ‘White Power’ t-shirt. But as BNP leader, he championed a “boots not suits” road to fascism. “This is a life and death struggle for white survival, not a fancy dress party,” he explained. “A little less banner waving and a little more guile wouldn’t go amiss… As long as our own cadres understand the full implications of our struggle, then there is no need for us to do anything to give the public cause for concern.”

    The cadre understood — and why wouldn’t they? Griffin was one of them. In 1997, he helped write a pamphlet entitled “Who are the mindbenders?”, an update of the old Protocols of Zion slander. The next year, he received a suspended gaol sentence for his writings about what he called the “Holohoax”.

    Today, though, the BNP talks less about Jewish “mindbenders” and more about Islam, even supporting Israel’s military campaigns. The old anti-Semitism remains, inadvertently vented every now and then by some gormless BNP representative or another. But Griffin knows what he’s doing. “We should be positioning ourselves,” he said, “to take advantage for our own political ends of the growing wave of public hostility to Islam currently being whipped up by the mass media.”

    And, as the recent poll shows, it seems to be working.

    Yes, it’s possible to overreact to the electoral successes of Europe’s neo-fascists. Such groups are notoriously unstable (too many fuehrers, not enough footsoldiers) and they’ve blown plenty of previous breakthroughs. What’s more, the far right’s successes don’t seem to have come from an increase in the fascist vote so much as from a collapse of social democracy. In Britain, as Sunny Hundal points out, the BNP polled slightly lower than in the past and won seats only because their relative vote was higher, owing to the low turnout and Labour’s dismal showing.

    Still, a million votes are a million votes. The BNP is now more popular than the Greens — and, whatever you think about the Greens, they don’t discuss the strategic merits of bombing synagogues. The organisation is now eligible for substantial cash subsidies in the form of salaries, staff and allowances for offices in Brussels and Strasbourg. There’s also the possibility of the fascists forming an official parliamentary bloc, which would give them more money and guaranteed speaking rights in the parliament chamber during debates and formal occasions. How might Griffin use such a platform?

    Well, after the BNP won its first council seat in 1993, Griffin let the mask slip slightly. “The electors of Millwall did not back a postmodernist rightist party,” he explained, “but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate.”

    You don’t need to be a historian of the Third Reich to know what he’s talking about.

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