CPGB-ML » Posts for tag 'elections'

Communist Party of Greece (KKE) makes advances in Greek elections

We congratulate the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on their encouraging performance in recent elections, and reproduce their latest statement and analysis.

The election results confirm the trend for the rallying of forces around the KKE

The EU parliamentary elections on the 25 May 2014 took place in Greece together with the second round of the regional and municipal elections. This was the first time that these two election battles have been conducted in the same period, while it was the first time that the voters could choose their preferred candidates from the lists of the parties (previously, the parties determined the order of preference).

The results of the EU parliamentary elections

Forty-three parties and 1,299 candidates took part in the elections for the 21 seats that Greece has in the EU parliament (one less that in the 2009 elections). Just under 60 percent of the electorate took part in the elections and an atmosphere of polarisation between the two new bourgeois poles was formed.

On the one hand, New Democracy (ND) sought votes so that, as it said, “there will be no instability and derailment from the way out of the crisis”. On the other hand, the new social-democratic party, Syriza, sought the transformation of the elections into a “referendum”, so that it could demonstrate a significant increase and outstrip the dynamism of the governing parties.

With the slogan “we vote on the 25th so that they leave on the 26th”, Syriza set as its goal victory in the EU parliamentary elections so that the government would resign and early parliamentary elections would be declared.

In these difficult political conditions, when the bourgeois parties promoted false dilemmas for the workers, the KKE achieved a small, but tangible, increase (+1.6 percent), in relation to the elections of 2012 and received 6.1 percent of votes cast.

Syriza, although it emerged as the first party, did not manage any increase on the percentage it received in 2012.

The government parties suffered significant losses. The conservative ND fell by 7 percent and the social-democratic Pasok, which participated in the elections with the ‘Olive Tree’ coalition, had losses of 4 percent.

The ‘Democratic Left’, which for a period had participated in the government with ND and Pasok, was crushed, losing 5 percent and remaining outside of the EU parliament.

The rightwing party ‘Independent Greeks’ lost 4 percent.

At the same time, the efforts for the recomposition of the political scene through the strengthening of fascist Golden Dawn (+2.2 percent), as well with the emergence of a new ‘centre’ party, led by a well-known TV star who has a Pasok background. His party, the ‘River’, received 6.5 percent.

The other 34 parties that participated in the elections but did not pass the electoral threshold of 3 percent and did not elect MEPs, received in total around 17 percent of the votes.

So, of the parties that participated in the elections of 2012, only the KKE and fascist Golden Dawn had an increase in terms of votes and percentages.

In addition, the KKE saw its two MEPs re-elected.

This result acquires particular significance because the political line of the KKE is a line of conflict against the capitalist development path and the imperialist EU, the bourgeois class and the parties that serve its interests.

The KKE posed the framework that corresponds to the people’s interests: disengagement from the EU and unilateral cancellation of the debt, with workers’/people’s power and the socialisation of the concentrated means of production.

This framework was attacked by every means at the disposal of the bourgeois and opportunist parties, and by the mechanisms of the bourgeois state, but it lays foundations for the increase of the people’s demands, for the understanding of the class character of the exploitative system and the imperialist predatory alliance.

The results of the second round of the local elections

On 25 May 2014, the second round of the municipal elections was held.

The lists of ‘People’s Rally’ that was supported by the KKE entered the second round of the elections in four municipalities and were victorious in all four of them.

Specifically:

  • In the municipality of Patras (the third-largest city in the country) it received 62.4 percent of the votes (it had 25.06 percent in the first round).
  • In the municipality of the island of Ikaria it received 50.8 percent of the votes (it had 44.1 percent in the first round).
  • In the municipality of Petroupolis (which is in Athens) it received 53 percent of the votes (26.28 percent in the first round).
  • In the municipality of Haidari (which is in Athens) it received 68.5 percent of the votes (18.43 percent in the first round).

We should bear in mind that in the first round of the elections, the KKE had a significant increase and had received 8.8 percent of the votes in the country’s 13 regions and an increase in 214 municipalities, electing dozens of councillors in the regions and hundreds in the municipalities.

Statement of Dimitris Koutsoumpas, GS of the CC of the KKE, on the results of the EU parliamentary elections and the second round of the local elections

First of all we would like to thank all the people that responded to the appeal of the KKE, joined forces with it, supported the lists of the KKE and ‘People’s Rally’ in the four municipalities where the KKE has taken part in the second round.

As to the EU parliamentary elections, up until now the KKE has received more than 6 percent, which means hundreds of thousands of votes and the election of two MEPs. In our opinion, this result constitutes a small step; it is the continuation of the positive result of the previous week in the 13 administrative regions of the country, where the party received 8.8 percent of the votes.

This tendency has been expressed, more or less, in municipalities all over the country, where they the lists of the ‘People’s Rally’ had a strong presence.

In the first round, we increased our percentage in 214 municipalities. At the same time, we received over 10 percent in more than 50 municipalities.

In the four municipalities where we took part in the second round, the candidates of the KKE achieved resounding victories.

In difficult conditions, we won the majority in these municipalities, despite the radically different political line expressed by the lists of the KKE compared to all the other lists of the parties, which all support the political line of the EU and capital in local administration as well is a positive development.

The election result as a whole does not demonstrate any reversal of the anti-people political scene; it does not create any ‘new political scene’ in favour of the people.

Of course, it demonstrates the people’s anger towards ND and Pasok, who undertook the burden of implementing the anti-people governmental political line and the ‘EU one-way street’.

Although a significant part of the voters of Syriza made their choice with the expectation of a left orientation, the first position of Syriza does not express any strengthening of the left, radical, anti-monopoly, anti-imperialist political line, since Syriza has abandoned — even in its slogans —  any opposition to the monopolies, the EU and to Nato.

The results — above all in the EU parliamentary elections — indicate the consolidation of the tendency to substitute the bankrupted Pasok by Syriza, as part of the reshuffling of the political scene that started in June 2012.

At the same time, the course of other social-democratic formations appears to be volatile — eg, the Olive Tree, which was the main electoral formation of Pasok in the elections. The Olive Tree rallied some forces, but received a smaller percentage than in June 2012. Furthermore, the percentage of the Democratic Left was reduced in favour of The River, which appeared with slogans of a vague and less social-democratic character.

Although the tendency of the KKE to rally forces and receive new votes is positive,  the election results as a whole do not express any significant tendency towards the emancipation of the workers’ and people’s forces from the parties of the ‘EU one-way street’ — the interests of capital and the monopolies.

The most extreme expression of this discrepancy is the high percentage of votes cast for Golden Dawn.

The ruling class and the system still possess, unfortunately, significant reserves that allow it to appear with a new mantle. This assessment is based on the votes and programmes both of Syriza, as well as of the Olive Tree and the River.

As a whole, the recomposition of the political system is underway — the creation of new barriers to radicalisation, something that we must specifically monitor in the next period. In the final analysis, nothing has been decided, as the people themselves have not yet utilised their strength.

The election results as a whole in the EU countries can not be anything other than negative for the peoples. It is now necessary in every country — in all the EU countries — for a movement for rupture and disengagement from the EU to develop and to struggle for the overthrow the power of the monopolies.

This movement with these goals must confront and smash fascism-nazism in every country, and in Europe as a whole. We could say that inside this reactionary framework it is positive that the KKE in Greece demonstrates a trend of a small recovery after the strong pressure it was subjected to in June 2012.

The necessity of the recovery and regroupment of the communist and workers’ movement in Europe as a whole has become urgent — especially in France, Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy, to remove itself from the deadly embrace of social democracy, the prettifying of the EU and the political assimilation and participation in the bourgeois anti-people management.

You can be sure that votes for the KKE will be utilised from tomorrow morning in every workplace, in every neighbourhood, in the schools and in the universities — to impede new measures, to struggle for measures to relieve the unemployed, for the regroupment of the labour and people’s movement, for the social People’s Alliance.

The people must rally in the mass radical struggles around the KKE’s proposal for the way out — to organise and confront the anti-people measures that remain and to chart their own course for government and power in their own class interests. They must be rallied in a political line of rupture against the EU.

What is an immediate need is a strong People’s Alliance — a strong people’s opposition and a revived labour-people’s movement, which will confront the capitalist system, the EU, the monopolies and their power, charting a victorious course in favour of the people.

The KKE will continue to show the way for the real pro-people solution for our people, together with the readiness, starting from tomorrow, for a tough confrontation and struggle to relieve the workers, the unemployed, the popular households, the pensioners, the youth, and all those who suffer.

We call on the people to resist the false dilemmas of ’stability and recovery’ vs ‘destabilisation’, the false expectations fostered by the ND-Pasok government, since the ’stability’ and ‘recovery’ will be for big capital and not for the people.

Syriza, on the other hand, neither wants nor is able to save the people and pave the way for the overthrow of capital.

The people should trust in the KKE, which warned and struggled in a timely fashion (and not only with words and slogans), and which is not bound by anti-people decisions, dishonourable signatures and dangerous consensus — unlike the other parties that seek the people’s vote and want either to continue their anti-people work, or to sow illusions and false expectations.

From tomorrow onwards, we must all struggle together to create the preconditions for the revival of the people’s movement for the concentration of forces to the benefit of the people.

We repeat tonight that we are aware of our responsibilities. We must contribute more decisively to the regroupment, the combativeness and mass character of the labour and people’s movement, to the organisation of the daily struggle of the people, to the creation of a great people’s alliance, with the KKE strong everywhere.

We need a strong KKE everywhere in order to prevent worse measures being taken by the anti-people local administrations in the municipalities and regions; so that we can struggle for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people; so that we can pave the way, with the people in the forefront of the developments, for the breaking of the shackles of the EU, the monopolies and their governments — whatever name they may go under.

The Workers’ Party Of Belgium (PTB) obtains its first deputies in several parliaments in Belgium

We congratulate the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) on their successful performance in the 25 May elections, and reproduce their latest statement.

On 25 May, three elections took place in Belgium: for the federal, regional and European parliaments. The main winner turns out to be the Flemish nationalist party N-VA (rightist), obtaining more than 33 percent of the vote in Flanders. But there was also a major advance by the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB), which now enters both the federal parliament and the regional parliaments of Wallonia and Brussels.

Raoul Hedebouw, for the province of Liège, and Marco Van Hees, for Hainaut, have been elected to the federal parliament on the PTB-go! list. Raoul Hedebouw, the PTB’s spokesman stated that,

For the first time in 25 years, a new political family, genuinely leftist, and active in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, enters the federal and regional parliaments. We are sending two deputies to the federal parliament, two to the regional parliament of Wallonia and four to the Brussels parliament.

In Wallonia, the PTB-go! list received 5.81 percent of the votes (and in the province of Liège, 8.30 percent), making it the fifth political force in the South of Belgium. In Brussels, the list received 3.84 percent, and, thanks to a technical agreement with some small lists, the undemocratic threshold of 5 percent could be surpassed, giving the PTB-go! no less than four seats in the Brussels parliament.

In Flanders, the PTB waged an exemplary election campaign in a very difficult political context, with the dominance of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, the existence of the fascist party VB and the Green party in a comfortable situation of opposition.

In these conditions, and with the 5 percent threshold, unfortunately the PTB was not able to get its chairman, Peter Mertens, elected, although it got an honourable result of 4.52 percent in the province of Antwerp and 8,85 percent in the city of Antwerp, making it the fourth largest party there.

As regards the elections for the European parliament, the PTB-go! received 5,49 percent of the vote, largely insufficient to obtain a seat (Belgium has only 21 seats in the EP, to be divided over the different language groups).

On election evening, Peter Mertens told party militants gathered in Antwerp:

120 years ago, the first Belgian socialist, Edouard Anseele, who hailed from the Flemish city of Ghent, was elected in the Walloon city of Liège. Anseele spoke the language of the working class. Today, Raoul Hedebouw has been elected in Liège as well, and he will also speak the language of the entire working class.

We are a national party that cannot be divided — not by place of birth nor by the language spoken at the kitchen table. For us, what prevails is the social interest of the people, of all people in this country.

During this long election campaign, we have laid the foundations for a strong social current at the grassroots level, and we will absolutely need this in the years to come. Our commitment is to defend the interests of the working class, in all its diversity; of the youth, with all its dynamism; of the voiceless, of those whom this society considers as nothing but numbers; of all people who are going through difficult times.

Raoul Hedebouw, national spokesman of the PTB, echoed these words at the party meeting in Liège:

As member of parliament elected for a national party, I will also be the representative of the workers of Flanders, in Antwerp, Limburg and Ghent. And no, the votes for the PTB are not protest votes, they are votes of hope. Votes for a left that refuses austerity policies, that believes that we, the workers, will further build up self-confidence in order to be able to write the social history of this country.

We warn the traditional parties: if you plan to impose more austerity measures as is the case elsewhere in Europe, you will find yourselves confronted with the PTB deputies, as with the workers who want to stop these policies of budget cuts.

With these election results, and on the basis of an enthusiastic campaign, the PTB commits itself, in the words of its president Peter Mertens, to build, stone upon stone, a social future.

‘Shindependents Day’ as Irish political landscape is transformed.

We congratulate our comrades in Sinn Féin for their excellent performance in recent council and European elections. The party won the largest number of first preference votes in the north’s local government elections, while it secured the highest number of councillors across the 26 counties. Sinn Féin now also presents four MEPS to the European parliament.

We reproduce extracts from various articles to summarise the events.

Shindependents Day’ as political landscape is transformed

“Something profound has happened in the people’s attitudes to politics,” said Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, as results came in across the 26 counties on Saturday.

“Sinn Féin has not has this strength since 1918,” said party leader Gerry Adams, recalling the original election under the leadership of Arthur Griffith, which inspired the struggle for national independence from British rule.

The party made incredible gains on city councils in Dublin and Cork, and is set to be the dominant party on both councils. In Limerick and Waterford, and in towns and rural areas across the 26 counties, the party doubled and tripled its representation or broke entirely new ground.

There was also a huge increase in support for independent candidates and the small left-wing parties. With 292 out of 949 seats filled by the end of counting on Saturday night, Sinn Féin won 81, Independents and Others 77, Fianna Fáil 76, Fine Gael 47, and Labour 11.

After months of fractious debates and contentious media coverage, the polls were largely borne out, although the result has still deeply shocked the political establishment. In the next Dublin parliament, Sinn Féin will now almost certainly be on a par with the two traditional conservative parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael — a radical rebalancing of politics in the 26-county state, which for years treated Sinn Féin as an irrelevant ‘other’.

The question now is how these three parties with a historic distaste for each other can form a government after the next general election in 2016, and what kind of coalition, if any, can emerge.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said the day marked a “step change in politics”. Speaking at the Dublin West by-election count in Citywest this evening, where Paul Donnelly came very close to winning a seat, he said that the party was open to the possibility of coalition government.

He said:

We need two things, one is to be in government — a mandate — the other one is an agreed programme for government. The second could be more challenging than the first. The other parties are now wedded to conservatism, austerity.

He said that the party wants to see a “realignment of politics” which he hopes would be “accelerated after this election”.

He said he did not know if his recent arrest and interrogation by the PSNI had an impact on the Sinn Féin result.

Mr Adams said:

What we do know is it galvanised our own activists and I would like to think that the way that we responded to those events was positive and that that may have helped.

Mr Adams said that he heard some members of the coalition condescendingly dismissing Sinn Fein’s gains as “the people giving us a scolding”.

He says what has happened is that the people have given “profound notice that that want to quit this type of politics”.

We’re the largest party in Derry, in Belfast, in Mid-Ulster and perhaps now in Dublin and Meath.

I keep stressing in my interviews, we want to use our mandate wisely, people are hurting. It’s what I’m hearing when I talk to people. I would appeal to people who seek change. I’d appeal to people to join the party, we’re here to build a democratic republican party across the island of Ireland.

Adams thanked those who had worked to deliver the result for Sinn Féin, but admitted there wasn’t the “resources, infrastructure or capacity” to run the number of candidates or scale of campaign he would have wanted. However, he said Sinn Féin will continue to build from their result.

I think we have been mandated to change, this is a change of the political landscape in this state. Sinn Féin is here and Sinn Féin is here to stay.

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Sinn Féin singing as it elects fourth MEP

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has just become the party’s fourth MEP after being elected after seven counts in a marathon count in Castlebar, County Mayo.

As the new totals were announced, finally confirming he had passed the quota, supporters cheered and held his hands aloft. As the presiding officer deemed him elected, he was hoisted up on shoulders and lusty singing broke out among his Monaghan-based team.

In advance of his election as member of the European parliament for the Midlands-North-West constituency, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams hailed the election of the party’s first male male MEP. “Quite an achievement,” he tweeted.

Mr Carthy’s surplus will now decide the recipient of the fourth and final seat in the constituency, which is likely to go to Sligo-based independent incumbent Marian Harkin.  That result could incredibly see the three establishment parties deprived of three out of the four seats in Ireland’s largest Euro constituency.

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Sinn Féin sings

On Monday night, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada was elected as MEP for Ireland South.  She was elected on the fourth round of counting that only concluded this evening, two days after counting began.

The returning officer had barely announced the result when Sinn Féin and the O Riada clan, one of the most acclaimed traditional music families in the country, starting singing in close harmony.

Brother Peadar produced an accordion and members of a traditional choir gathered round and performed a rendition of ‘Mo Gille Mear’, a song with deep personal connections to the O Riada family. Peadar said:

That was originally a recruiting song in the Gaelic nation 300 years ago. And when my father Sean died, I started using it as an anthem to try and draw us together as a community.

Corkwoman Ms Ní Riada was elected on the fourth count with 132,590 votes, nearly nine hours after Fianna Fáil poll topper Brian Crowley.

The former Irish television producer was virtually unknown outside arts and culture circles up until a few months ago.

She thanked “every single person” who voted for her and said that her election was a victory for the ordinary people of Ireland.

Speaking from the count centre, she said there was a “better, fairer alternative” to the politics of austerity and cuts.

My election is a victory for ordinary people who have suffered so much under the regressive policies pushed by the European Commission and implemented with such relish by successive governments here at home.

Diarmuid O’Flynn of Ballyhea protest group narrowly failed to secure election in the face of careful vote management by Fine Gael, which secured two seats in the South constituency. O’Flynn led a campaign which marched weekly against the 28 billion euro ‘bondholder bailout’ of international investors and speculators who held stakes in Irish banks.

Ms Ní Riada said the Dublin government and MEPs had failed to lift the “toxic banking debt” off the shoulders of the Irish people.

This is an injustice and it must be addressed and addressed genuinely — not just kicking the debt down the road to be endured by future generations. It is not our debt and it is not the debt of our children and grandchildren.

In the north, all three outgoing European MPs were re-elected for another term after another a lengthy count in Belfast, and almost five days after polling took place.

On Monday evening, Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson was declared elected after she topped the poll and reached the quota. Giving her acceptance speech a day after she was elected, Ms Anderson noted that Sinn Féin was on its way to taking four seats across the island of Ireland and hailed the party’s success.

The voices of the voters have been heard throughout Ireland, they have endorsed the Sinn Féin message that there is a fair way. The Sinn Féin result is part of a national story reflecting the growth of support for Sinn Féin’s strategy for change. There will be a national Sinn Féin team of MEPs going to Europe who will put Ireland first — north, south, east and west.

On voting and elections

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free - Goethe

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free - Goethe

Red Youth statement of aims: We Want Freedom!

The following short piece was written by a CPGB-ML member in reply to a Facebook discussion on the usefulness of participating in bourgeois elections.

We should understand that democracy is not an abstract concept, but a class one. Democracy means imposing the will of one section of the population on another. In a class society, democracy is always democracy for the ruling class and dictatorship over the oppressed.

What Comrade N is really objecting to is bourgeois or capitalist democracy, which is democracy for the capitalists and a dictatorship over everyone else. That is why Marx called bourgeois democracy the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, in which workers are allowed to choose once every four or five years which representative of the ruling class should oppress them in parliament.

Our goal as socialists is to smash capitalism – the rule of the billionaires who control our industry, our media, our elections and our governments – and replace it with the dictatorship of the proletariat. That is, democracy for the majority (for the first time ever in this country!), but a dictatorship over and strict repression of the exploiters and their hangers-on who want to get back their privilege and power.

The proletarian democracy ushered in under socialism will be the widest yet, with the broadest-ever real (as opposed to pretend) participation. But any democracy involves repression and coercion of those who do not agree to the decisions taken under its rule. The exploiting classes consider proletarian democracy to be the most dictatorial state possible, because they are the ones being repressed. And, through their control of the media and political institutions, they ask us to identify with their feelings on the subject.

Comrade N is absolutely right – we need to stop identifying with our oppressors and look with fresh eyes at what is really going on. This system does not serve us and cannot be made to serve us.

When real socialists and communists stand for parliament or other elections, they do so not to try to make the system work for ordinary people, but to expose it in their eyes, and therefore develop a revolutionary consciousness among those who still harbour illusions that a change of personnel can bring about a change in the nature of the system.

Sadly, I’m not aware of any real socialists or communists standing for election this time around. So all we can do is get on with building our movement to the point that it has the resources to put such candidates forward in a meaningful way.

Read more about what proletarian democracy looks like here: The Socialist Sixth of the World by Hewlett Johnson.

Venezuela under pressure over nationalisation compensation

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October

Imperialism will be working hard to see Chavez ousted in the presidential elections due to be held in Venezuela next year.

One issue that greatly concerns it is compensation for Venezuela’s oil nationalisations. Whereas Venezuela has been willing to pay a very reasonable $1bn, the imperialists are insisting on at least $6bn.

Venezuela is facing about 20 international arbitration cases after a wave of nationalisations of strategic sections of the economy, including energy, metals, cement, food and utilities, which could give rise to a total bill in the region of $40bn that the Chavez government will certainly not be willing to pay.

In fact, Venezuela’s recent moves to repatriate all its gold holdings and to move its international reserves out of the US and Europe are widely seen as signalling that Venezuela will not pay anything more than it considers fair.