INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY IS FRONT AND CENTER
by Mike Tolochko
The voting in the U.S. in 2008 showed the importance of uniting against a right wing administration lead by ultra right-wingers. Suffering for 8 years of the second Bush Administration with over 30 years of neo-liberal policies starting with Reagan, we are in a unique position. Just observing elections around the world, in this case the Euro Parliamentary elections, won't be enough. International working class solidarity in all its forms will be necessary. We are on world as the two world wars in the last century demonstrated.
The Euro Parliamentary elections sent warning waves across Europe. In Britain, the Morning Star reported [See PA Blog June 10] grave consequences for the Labour Party and its leader Gordon Brown. Reports from Greece [See PA Blog June 9, 2009] indicated that the KKE, the Greek Communist Party held their own, 2 seats, actually increased their percentage. But, both reported that ultra right Fascist Parties gained considerable ground in both Greece and England.
In all countries the vote turnout was very low; the lowest vote in any previous Euro Parliamentary election. Some have said that this was a protest vote; but most analysts say a protest vote in the period of economic crisis is a very dangerous event. It only gives greater support to the ultra right.
Let's look at France where the economic crisis has hit hard and the Sarkozy government is attempting to impose draconian, anti working class measures.
2009 Strategies in France
24 slates were fielded for the Europe Parliamentary elections in France. That tells you a lot there. The biggest winner in the election were the NON-voters; about 60% not voting. For the French that is a complete disaster. Sarkozy's slate got 27% of the vote. When you factor in the number of eligible voters, and only 40% voting, Sarkozy's vote of all eligible voters was just 11%. Small consolation, but important.
It would have been important if there were an alternative that had some mass popularity, but alas, that didn't happen.
The Socialist Party got just 17% and the Green Party got 15%. Keep in mind that the Green Party in France is virulently anti-labor. It is also very anti-left and especially
anti-CGT, the largest union and most left of the labor unions. The CGT is generally aligned with the French Communist Party.
Don't be mislead by the word, "Green" and some of their environmental slogans. The Socialist Party is still bitterly divided since the last general election. Recently a relatively progressive woman was elected its head. She had authored the great 35-hour workweek, which is still in effect. The small vote for the Socialist Party reflects is growing unpopularity given its inability to produce for workers when in power.
What about the Left?
Five years ago, the French Communist Party garnered about 6% of the vote. This year, they created the "Left Front" group of parties, including a large section that bolted from the Socialist Party. The "Left Front" got about 6% with the FCP receiving about 2% of that 6%. The left front is lead by Jean-Luc Melenchon who was Lionel Jospin's Prime Minister of the Socialist Party in the 1997-2002 "Plural Left" government lead by the Socialist Party. Because of that voting strength, Melenchon is the spokesperson of the "Left Front" group.
The other left group, the NAP, the National Anti-Capitalist Party, received about 6% of the vote. The NAP was formally, the League of Communist Revolution or LCR. They changed their name from the previous election. This group is a Trotskyite group.
The LCR got about 6% of the vote in the last general election where Sarkozy was elected.
"If" and it is a giant "If" the NAP had combined with the "Left Front" there total would have been a respectable 15 to 16%. But, the history of the LCR and NAP is not to unify the left effort.
State elections next
The year 2010 will be State government elections in France. It will be very interesting to see if Sarkozy keeps his voting strength as he continues his neo-liberal policies, which have extended pensions to 70 years old with 40 years of work. Also, radical changes in the health care system will begin to take affect.
The right wing always benefits when the Left is divided and the moderate middle is confused. The ultra right in Europe is winning voters and in the U. S. they are lying in wait.
For the present, the ultra right is operating within the Republican Party. At least that is true for those who choose the electoral system for their expression. The killings of the pasts couple of weeks shows their other more deadly form of action.
They feed off of adversity and economic crises. Our challenges are before us.