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The European elections: only struggle pays!

category international | miscellaneous | feature author Wednesday June 03, 2009 00:42author by European anarchist organizations - AL - FdCA - L&S - WSM Report this post to the editors

Joint statement by European anarchist communist organisations

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From June 4th to 7th, European voters are called to the polls to choose who will "represent" them in the European Parliament.
As anarchist communists, we do not think elections can bring any real change, as we prefer direct democracy to representative democracy. In other words, we prefer decisions affecting all workers to be discussed and made by those workers themselves, collectively.

The European Union's functioning and goals are opposed to this self-managing model and thus to the interests of the workers and the people. Its leaders despise the people so much that, although they may ask for our opinion, the only answer allowed is one which accepts the EU's political line which has already been decided eslewhere. The EU's attitude to the rejection by referendum of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe exemplifies this fact.

[Deutsch] [Français] [Ελληνικά] [Italiano] [Português]


The European elections: only struggle pays!


From June 4th to 7th, European voters are called to the polls to choose who will "represent" them in the European Parliament.

As anarchist communists, we do not think elections can bring any real change, as we prefer direct democracy to representative democracy. In other words, we prefer decisions affecting all workers to be discussed and made by those workers themselves, collectively.

The European Union's functioning and goals are opposed to this self-managing model and thus to the interests of the workers and the people. Its leaders despise the people so much that, although they may ask for our opinion, the only answer allowed is one which accepts the EU's political line which has already been decided eslewhere. The EU's attitude to the rejection by referendum of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe exemplifies this fact.

The role of MEPs is to be part of the system which defends the interests of the capitalist class. On top of that, the actual leaders of the EU (the European Commission, the chair of the European Central Bank, etc.) are not subject to any democratic control and so they are even freer to defend those interests against the interests of the working class. This can be seen in the outrageous liberalization and privatization policies that have been enacted, and in the budgetary and monetary austerity (launched with Maastricht). In the current period of crisis, such policies only cause suffering for working-class people. There has been hardly any relaxation of the strict effects of the Stability Pact, which imposes very low public deficit levels. And while the European Central Bank did agree to relax monetary austerity, it has done so only in a very limited way that will only contribute to deepening the European crisis.

The European Union is a war machine to be used against social rights and workers, especially migrant workers: social dumping, cutting "labour costs", "free and undistorted competition", the hunt for migrants, border closures, police co-operation, and so on.

So the European Union is not a neutral institution whose policies should be "reshaped" - it is the institutional fulfilment of a capitalist power dedicated to serving the bosses and the bankers.

The election of new MEPs will not change this situation in any way. Only joint social struggles by all workers in a Europe-wide social movement can halt those policies and encourage the growth of a revolutionary force against capitalism and its institutions, for another society. A society based on the truly internationalist ideals of freedom, equality and solidarity.

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Alternative Libertaire (France)
Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)
Liberty and Solidarity (United Kingdom)

author by ajohnstone - socialist party of great britainpublication date Wed Jun 03, 2009 13:23Report this post to the editors

Unlike the article the SPGB does not so easily dismiss the electoral process

Whats the SPGB case in the Euro elections:
We don't want your vote. We don't want your vote IF you think socialism means nationalisation, higher taxation, welfare state, national liberation, legalising marijuana or whatever. In short, we don't want your vote if you think we need to keep and act within existing capitalism.
We tell you we can't do anything for you. We don't promise you anything. We say that if you want socialism you've got to act for yourselves. We can't establish it for you.
We're not making any promises, if you vote for us, you're the one making the promise to work towards abolishing capitalism and the wages system
Whether Britain is in or out of Europe, or whether we use the £ or the euro, doesn't make any difference to workers daily lives. Europe is remote, just like the Westminster parliament, and people know they have no control of what happens. Neither have the politicians. Nobody controls or can control the way capitalism works.
The SPGB stand to enable any and all who would join the struggle to abolish capitalism to be able to signal to their fellow workers that that is what they want to do. We stand for the sole purpose of emancipating the working class, not soft-padding the chains of capital. We only want the votes of those who understand what socialism is, and actually want it and are prepared to do something about it. We're not leaders, we're not looking for followers, we're only standard bearers.
A vote for the SPGB is a vote that says you are ready to signal to your fellow socialists that they are not alone. A signal to your fellow workers that some people take the actual idea of socialism seriously, rather than relegating it to some bedtime fairytale never-never land once the work of running capitalism is supposedly done.

The article raises some interesting points on democracy

Democracy under capitalism is reduced to people voting for competing groups of professional politicians, to giving the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down to the governing or opposition party. Political analysts call this the ‘elite theory of democracy’ because all that the people get to choose is which elite should exercise government power. This contrasts with the original theory of democracy, which envisages popular participation in the running of affairs and which political analysts call ‘participatory democracy’.

The most we will get under capitalism is the right to vote, under more or less fair conditions, for who shall control political power - a minimalist form of democracy, but one not to be so easily dismissed, since at least it provides a mechanism whereby a socialist majority could vote in socialist delegates instead of capitalist politicians.

Bourgeois democracy is the best we can hope for under capitalism, but it is not the ideal model possible for the revolutionary. Capitalist democracy is not a participatory democracy, which a genuine democracy has to be. In practice, the people generally elect professional politicians, who they merely vote for, and then let them get on with the job.

In other words, the electors abdicate their responsibility to keep an eye on their representatives, giving them a free hand to do what the operation of capitalism demands. But that’s as much the fault of the electors as their representatives - or rather it is a reflection of their low level of democratic consciousness. It cannot be blamed on the principle of representation as such.

There is no reason in principle why, with a heightened democratic consciousness (such as would accompany the spread of socialist ideas), even representatives sent to state bodies could not be subject, while the state lasts, to democratic control by those who sent them there.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain has never held that a merely formal majority at the polls will give the workers power to achieve socialism. We have always emphasised that such a majority must be educated in the essentials of socialist principles. It is the quality of the voters behind the vote that, in the revolutionary struggle, will be decisive. The institution of parliament is not at fault. It is just that people’s ideas have not yet developed beyond belief in leaders and dependence on a political elite.

What the SPGB propose is that people should use the vote in the course of the social revolution from capitalism to socialism and vote capitalism out of office. To do this they will need to stand mandated delegates at elections, but these will just be ‘messenger boys and girls’, sent to formally take over and dismantle ‘the state’, not leaders or government minister wannabes.

The vote is merely the legitimate stamp that will allow for the dismantling of the repressive apparatus of the state and the end of bourgeois democracy and the establishment of real democracy. This should not be understood as simply putting an X on a ballot paper and letting the SPGB and its MPs establish socialism for workers. There must also be that ‘conscious’ and active socialist majority outside parliament, democratically organised both in a mass socialist political party and at work in various forms of ex-trade union type organisations ready to keep production going during and immediately after the winning of political control.

The SPGB is a political party that has a membership who don’t require a leadership to make its decisions, that has an executive council which doesn’t determine policies, that has a general secretary whose role is to administer and not to control. As a matter of political principle, the SPGB holds no secret meetings, with all its meetings, including those of its executive committee, being open to the public. Thus reflecting the society it seeks to establish.

Related Link: http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/jun09/page1.html
 

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