European elections, establishment parties defeated

This 27 May 2019 video says about itself:

Merkel’s [CDU] party finishes top in EU elections, but share of vote falls

CNBC’s Annette Weisbach reports on the EU election results in Germany.

Another, 25 May 2019, video about Germany used to say about itself:

Youth’s Video Takes Aim at Merkel’s Party in Run-Up to European Elections

BERLIN — For years, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has been fighting to expand the digital skills of the nation’s workforce and to get more youths engaged in politics. This past week, a young, blue-haired German YouTuber known as Rezo showed how unsettling the right combination of digital savvy and political engagement could be to the establishment. In a slick 55-minute clip, complete with a list of 247 references and citatMss of scientific literature, he attacked Ms Merkel’s governing Christian Democratic Union for a range of sins: growing social inequality, pollution, war and internet censorship.

As of Saturday morning, the YouTube video had been viewed more than nine million times,

As of Monday morning: over twelve million times.

making it Germany’s most popular nonmusical clip in six days. The video has led to a storm of debate in a country that is just starting to come to terms with the outsize effect that independent journalists and activists on social media can have on the public discourse.

The clip also became a public relations crisis for the governing conservatives just days before Germans headed to the polls on Sunday for the European Parliament elections.

“It’s upending the familiar order of knowledge: What are facts and what isn’t? What are the most important voices?” said Andreas Dörner, a professor of media studies at the Philipps-University of Marburg.

… The video is a master class in online civic engagement. Clad in an orange hoodie and gray baseball cap, the 26-year-old narrator unfurls his attack point by point, apparently while sitting in his workroom study with guitars and keyboards in the background. His real identity and hometown are unclear, but he says he is a YouTube music producer. The video employs easy-to-watch cuts, sound effects and graphs and, in a style commensurate with German youth culture, uses much English slang.

“In this video, I’ll show how C.D.U. people lie, how they are lacking fundamental competences for their jobs, how they make politics that runs counter to expert opinion, they apparently take part in various war crimes, how they use propaganda and lies against the younger generation, how because of their politics of the last decades the rich become richer and the poor and others increasingly loose,” he says at the start of the video. “And I’ll show that according to many thousands of German scientists, the C.D.U. is currently destroying our very lives and our future.

”As the number of views on the video rose, the reactions from politicians whose party was attacked changed from dismissive to angry. On Thursday, Ms Merkel’s party published an open letter addressing each of Rezo’s main lines of attack. It then announced that it had filmed its own video in response, using the youngest member of Parliament, Philipp Amthor, but decided against publishing it.

“This very public accounting puts the traditional parties on Defcon 3”, said Professor Dörner.

The CDU leader reacted to that criticism of the party’s climate policies with calling for YouTube censorship.

On Sunday, Andrea Nahles announced her resignation from the posts of party leader and parliamentary group leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD). She was responding to the disastrous results for the SPD in the May 26 European elections and the state election in Bremen: here.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Ruling conservatives, social democrats collapse in EU elections

27 May 2019

The European elections ended yesterday, after every state in the 28-member European Union (EU) elected its representatives to the European parliament on one day between Thursday and Sunday. The result was a dramatic defeat for the conservative and social democratic parties that governed Western Europe for decades and built the EU with the Maastricht Treaty adopted in 1992, after the Stalinist restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe.

In Germany, France, Britain and other countries across Europe, these parties that once formed a duopoly dominating the parliament failed to win 50 per cent of the vote combined. Most voters voted for other parties. …

These parties are haemorrhaging support, as a wave of strikes and protests oppose policies of austerity, militarism and police repression that millions of workers identify with the EU. Mass strikes against EU-dictated wage freezes have gone forward in Berlin and other regions of Germany, Portugal and Belgium, amid “yellow vest” protests against French President Emmanuel Macron. At the same time, protests are mounting across Eastern Europe, with the Polish national teachers strike and protests against Hungary’s “slave law” mandating unpaid overtime.

Mounting opposition in the working class can find no expression within the political establishment, however. Some Green parties, who are closely linked to the social democrats, won increased support in elections that unfolded immediately after mass youth protests against climate change. Across much of Europe, however, the prime beneficiaries of the discrediting of the EU and the traditional ruling parties were far right parties.

In Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse and largest country by population, the conservative Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union (CDU-CSU) won 28 percent of the vote and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) 15.5 percent—down 7 and 11.8 percent, respectively. The national CDU-CSU-SPD “Grand Coalition” government now has only 43.8 percent of the voe. …The Greens and the neo-fascist Alternative for Germany both rose to 22 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively.

German youth massively turned against the ruling parties: among under-30s, 13 percent voted for the CDU-CSU and 10 percent voted for the SPD, while 33 percent voted for the Greens.

[In France,] Marine Le Pen’s neo-fascist National Rally (RN) again won the European elections after its 2014 victory at 23.3 percent, narrowly beating [President] Macron’s Republic on the March (LRM) at 22.1 percent. The Greens took third with 13.1 percent. The Gaullist The Republicans (LR) and the Socialist Party (PS), France’s traditional parties of rule since the May 1968 general strike, fell to a humiliating 8.4 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively …

With almost all results counted in the UK, Nigel Farage’s far-right Brexit Party emerged victorious at 31.6 percent, with the Liberal Democrats (20.3 percent) beating the traditional ruling parties, Labour and Conservatives, into third and fifth place with 14.1 and 9.1 percent, respectively. The Green Party beat the Tories on 12.1 percent of the vote.

The Brexit Party carried large swathes of the Tory rural vote, resulting in the worst vote in the party’s 185 year-history, but also made headway in cities in pro-Brexit northern England and in Cardiff. Farage took almost all the vote of his former UK Independence Party, which won the last EU elections. …

In Scotland, Labour was wiped out by a sweeping victory for the Scottish National Party.

In Belgium, a collapse of the New Flemish Alliance (NVA) and a surge of the fascistic Flemish Interest (VB) put the two parties in the lead, at 13.5 and 11.5 percent respectively, ahead of the Francophone Socialist Party (PS, 10.5 percent). The French and Flemish wings of the Green party combined won 15 percent. With general elections unfolding in parallel with the European elections, it appears that the so-called “sanitary cordon” agreement between the other bourgeois parties not to include the VB in a Belgian national government may collapse.

In some countries—including Austria, Spain and the Netherlands—one or the other traditional ruling party eked out an electoral victory. In Austria, where the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) faced a scandal as a video exposed its leader and Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache seeking corrupt deals with individuals he believed to represent a Russian oligarch, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) won 35 percent of the vote. The social democrats (SPÖ) won 24 percent and the FPÖ fell around 7 percent to 17.5 percent.

In the Netherlands, after bitter debates between Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD, 15 percent) and Thierry Baudet’s far right Forum for Democracy (11 percent), the Labor Party (PvdA) won a surprise first place finish, though with only 18 percent of the vote.

In Spain, the European election results largely mirrored the recent general elections, which saw a substantial turn-out of voters for the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) to block the rise of the fascistic Vox party. The PSOE took 30 percent, the right wing Popular Party (PP) and Citizens 19.5 percent and 14 percent, and the Podemos-led alliance 11 percent. Vox received six percent of the vote. …

Across much of Europe, however, far-right parties solidified their hold over bourgeois politics. The far right Lega party of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini led with 30 percent of the vote. The Democratic Party (PD) with 22 percent narrowly edged out the Five Star Movement (M5S, 21 percent), while Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI) fell to only 10 percent. There was speculation that Salvini could push for new elections in order to throw the M5S out of government and install a one-party Lega government in Italy.

Far right parties advanced in several Eastern European countries. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party winning a 56 percent majority, relegating the social democrats to 10 percent and the fascistic Jobbik party to 9 percent. In Poland, the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) won 43 percent of the vote, beating the European Coalition at 38.4 percent.

The EU elections are further confirmation that while working people across Europe are increasingly entering into struggle—driven by anger at social inequality, militarism and attacks on democratic rights—the ruling elite is relentlessly shifting to the right. For now, a mass-fascist movement like those of the 20th century has not developed. But facing growing social anger, the ruling class is pouring hundreds of billions of euros into the armed forces, carrying out violent crackdowns like Macron’s attack on the “yellow vests” and building a vast network of prison camps for immigrants.

The differences between the traditional pro-EU parties and the far right parties on these issues are almost entirely tactical matters of foreign policy, over whether the EU could be an effective vehicle for building a common European armed forces to threaten America, Russia and China. This found consummate expression in French Defense Minister Florence Parly’s call for an EU army and a vote for Macron’s party “if you don’t want a defenseless Europe.” Predictably, the turn far to the right by the entire ruling class has again allowed the far right to pose as populist opponents of the EU.

The decisive question now facing workers and youth across Europe, faced with the imperviousness of the financial aristocracy to all social protest, and its ruthless policy of police state repression, is a turn to revolutionary struggle.

The turn now is to the struggles of the working class and the fight to unify them across Europe and internationally on a common socialist revolutionary perspective and leadership.

See also here.

Britain: The ruling Conservatives have suffered their worst ever election result, while Labour suffered a debacle almost as bad. Coming fifth nationwide with just 9 percent of the vote and taking just three seats, the Tories were eviscerated, suffering the largest ever loss since the party was founded in 1834. Their previous worst national performance was in the 2014 European election when they received just 24 percent: here.

7 thoughts on “European elections, establishment parties defeated

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