More blah on European politics

In the UK, the cheeky buggers belonging to the SWP have started talking about creating a left-wing electoral alternative: this comes after the shambles that was the ‘Left Alternative’, ‘Left List’, ‘Respect’ and ‘Socialist Alliance’.

Open letter: Left must unite to create an alternative: An open letter to the left from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Socialist Worker
June 9, 2009

Labour’s vote collapsed to a historic low in last week’s elections as the right made gains. The Tories under David Cameron are now set to win the next general election.

The British National Party (BNP) secured two seats in the European parliament. Never before have fascists achieved such a success in Britain.

The result has sent a shockwave across the labour and anti-fascist movements, and the left.

The meltdown of the Labour vote and the civil war engulfing the party poses a question – where do we go from here?

The fact that there is no single, united left alternative to Labour means there was no clear answer available.

The European election results demonstrate that the left of Labour vote was small, fragmented and dispersed.

The Greens did not make significant gains either. The mass of Labour voters simply did not vote. We cannot afford a repeat of that.

The SWP is all too aware of the differences and difficulties involved in constructing such an alternative.

We do not believe we have all the answers or a perfect prescription for a left wing alternative.

But we do believe we have to urgently start a debate and begin planning to come together to offer such an alternative at the next election, with the awareness that Gordon Brown might not survive his full term.

One simple step would be to convene a conference of all those committed to presenting candidates representing working class interests at the next election.

The SWP is prepared to help initiate such a gathering and to commit its forces to such a project.

We look forward to your response.

First, the Greens in the UK did actually manage to increase their total share of votes, from 1,028,283 (6.3%) to 1,303,745 (8.6%); in the North West region, winning BNP candidate Nick Griffin received 132,094 votes (8.0%, a gain of 1.6%), while the Greens candidate, Peter Cranie, received only a few thousand less — 127,133 (7.7%, a gain of 2.1%): ‘Nationally, the Greens increased their share of the vote to 8.7% but leader Caroline Lucas blamed the electoral system for her party’s failure to gain more than its current two MEPs. “In the South East we have increased our vote by 50% and we are disappointed it has not translated into a second seat,” Ms Lucas said.’

Secondly, the Greens fared tolerably well in other states, doubling its vote in Belgium (ECOLO and Groen! securing 6 of a possible 44 seats); gaining 15.4% of the vote in Denmark (2 of 13 seats); 12% of the vote in Finland Finland the country where I want to be (2 of 13 seats); 16% in France (placing third, gaining only marginally less votes than the Parti Socialiste and the same number of seats — 14); in Greece, securing a seat for the first time; placing third in Latvia (just under 10% of the vote translating into 1 of 8 possible seats); securing just under 17% in Luxemburg (1 of 6 seats); 8.9% (3 of 25 seats) in the Netherlands — a similar (8.92%) result in Romania translating into 1 seat (of 33); gaining 2 seats in Spain while, finally, in Sweden, the Greens doubled their support to about 11% (2 seats) — “But the Pirate Party won the most spectacular victory — by earning its first seat in Brussels with an 8 percent share of the vote”.

Thirdly, former anarchist turned realo / “leading European politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a dual citizen of Germany and France, argues in an interview [Spiegel, June 10] that national political leaders are responsible for the miserable turnout in last week’s election. The Green Party veteran says its time to create a real European election.”

The old social democratic model has played itself out. And you don’t only see that in Germany. The Socialist Party in France, the Partito Democratico in Italy — today they are lifeless structures that have no perspectives in society. They have no future. The socialists and social democrats in Europe who are still lively must finally start thinking and talking openly about society — and not about themselves. They need to suggest alternatives, take risks. It’s high time. Otherwise they will lose their party base.

Note that Cohn-Bendit also looks forward to an increasingly centralised EU.

(I wonder if he’s still having problems with his orgasm?)


“In all of the societies in which modern conditions of production prevail, the impossibility of living takes individually the form of death, of madness, or of character. With the intrepid Dr. Reich, and against his horrified recuperators and vilifiers, we postulate the pathological nature of all character traits, that is to say of all chronicity in human behavior. What is important to us is not the individual structure of our character, nor the explanation of it’s formulation, but the impossibility of its application in the construction of situations. Character is therefore not simply an unhealthy excrescence which could be treated separately, but at the same time an individual remedy in a globally ill society, a remedy which enables us to bear the illness while aggravating it. We hold that people can only dissolve their character in contesting the entire society (this is in opposition to Reich insofar as he envisages character analysis from a specialized point of view); where, on the other hand, the function of character being accommodation to the state of things, its dissolution is preliminary to the global critique of society. We must destroy this vicious cycle.”

See also : Interview with Julien Coupat, Support the Tarnac 9 / LeMonde, May 25, 2009 (Translated by NOT BORED!, May 27, 2009):

Q. How do you analyze what has happened to you?

A. Enlighten yourself: what has happened to us, to my comrades and I, will also happen to you. This is the first mystification by power: nine people are prosecuted in the framework of a judicial proceeding against an “association of evil-doers in connection with a terrorist enterprise,” and they must be particularly concerned by these grave accusations. But there is no “Tarnac Affair,” no “Coupat Affair,” no “Hazan Affair” (Hazan published “The Coming Insurrection”). What there is, is an oligarchy that is very wobbly and becomes ferocious like any power when it feels itself to be really threatened. When his views no longer elicit anything among the people other than hatred and scorn, the prince has no other support than the fear that he inspires.

What there is before us is a bifurcation that is both historical and metaphysical: either we pass from a paradigm of government to a paradigm of living, at the price of a cruel but deeply moving revolt, or we allow the instauration at the planetary level of an air-conditioned disaster in which — under the yoke of a “simplified” management — an imperial elite of citizens and marginalized plebeian classes coexist. Thus there surely is a war, a war between the beneficiaries of the catastrophe and those who are accustomed to a less skeletal idea of life. One has never seen a dominant class commit suicide willingly.

The revolt has conditions, but not causes. How many Ministries of National Identity, lay-offs, raids of those without proper papers or those who are political opponents, young people beaten up by the police in the banlieus, and ministers threatening to deprive diplomas from those who dare to occupy their schools are necessary before one decides that such a regime — even if installed in power by an apparently democratic plebiscite — has no reason to exist and only merits being brought down? It is a matter of sensitivity.

Servitude is the intolerable thing that can be tolerated indefinitely. Because this is a matter of sensitivity and this sensitivity is immediately political — not that it wonders “Who should I vote for?” but “Is this incompatible with my existence?” — it is, for power, a question of anesthetizing the response [to the second question] through the administration of ever more massively distracting doses of fear and stupidity. And there where the anesthesia no longer works, this order, which has united against it all the reasons for revolt, tries to dissuade us by stuffing us into a small, tight-fitting [ajustee] terror.

My comrades and I are only a variable in this adjustment. One suspects us like so many others, so many “youths,” so many “gangs,” of having no solidarity with a world that is collapsing. On this one point, one doesn’t lie. Fortunately, this heap of swindlers, impostors, industrialists, financiers and prostitutes; this entire Mazarin’s court full of neuroleptics, Disney versions of Louis Napoleon, and Sunday shows that grip the country for an hour lack an elementary sense of dialectics.

Each step that they take towards total control brings them closer to their fear. Each new “victory” with which they flatter themselves spreads a little further the desire to see them defeated in their turn. Each maneuver that they figure comforts their power ends up rendering it detestable. In other words: the situation is excellent. This isn’t the moment to lose courage.

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 2023 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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