Cheer up, Comrades
So as expected, Labour completely tanked in the elections. Across Europe, the Left lost a few from its traditional parties (which is not a bad thing) and picked up a few from other parties. So did the Right. From all of this there are some heartening stories.
For example, in Sweden, Christian Engstrom of the Pirate Party got elected. This was probably on the back of attempts to persecute the owners of the site Pirate Bay, which violates every copyright law in the known universe by allowing us to swap pretty much whatever we want, and from laws to introduce better electronic surveillance.
For the cause of individual freedoms in Sweden, that’s an important step.
In Britain, despite a monumental crushing of the Left vote, the Greens managed to retain two seats in the European parliament. This is something to be pleased with; Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas have both been solid MEPs on issues like the Working Time Directive, while Labour has stolidly refused to end the Opt-Out.
Similarly, anyone paying attention to the Conservatives here in the UK will have noticed the mask slip ever so slightly. William Hague roundly lambasted the idea of Proportional Representation for UK elections. This is in keeping with Cameron’s position, but the language that Hague used is telling.
It will allow ‘fringe minorities and extremists’ into parliament. So much for representing the people! Apparently Hague thinks that Parliament should only represent the people so long as the people choose the right representatives. I’m an extremist and I daresay I’ve thought about my views just as much as Hague has considered his.
No amount of spin will take away the dark news about the BNP.
They have got two members elected, but No2EU achieved almost one percent of the vote. For a platform riddled with holes that were frequently poked by others on the Left, and which was launched only weeks before polling day, that’s a solid achievement.
The Left across Europe performed fairly dismally. We can only hope that this is a reaction against the ‘dominant’ strain of Left thought of the last thirty years – the sort of third way nonsense which most social-democrats spout. It should not be hard to believe that the far Left, such as Die Linke (which was predicted 10 percent and scored only 7.5) or the French NPA (which failed to secure representation), have simply been caught on the coat-tails of the ideological bankrupts from the PS, New Labour and the SDP.
I have only one thing of consolation to say. Politics does not proceed in linear fashion. To borrow a quote from Lenin, it proceeds by “Leaps, leaps, leaps!” This should be comforting, because it reminds us that the rhetoric about the death of Labour is overblown, and that the conditions will always exist for a mass, revolutionary alternative.
Labour and Capital are foreveer opposed. We simply need to build on these basic truths.