A sign of austerity and crisis
Austerity measures imposed by governments across Europe, following an agenda set by the bankers and capitalists, created the opening for right-wing parties, including the far right, to win unprecedented gains in elections for European parliament held May 22-25.
In Britain, the anti-immigrant, anti-European Union UK Independence Party won the most votes around the country, becoming the first party in more than a century to outdo both Labour and the Conservatives in a national election. In France, the far-right National Front (FN, bit its initials in French) won the popular vote, and will hold one-third of the country's seats in the European parliament. Right-wing parties also made gains in Denmark and Austria, and the fascist Golden Dawn rose to third place in Greece, with 10 percent of the vote.
However, the far left scored an unprecedented victory in Greece, where the Coalition of the Radical Left, or SYRIZA--which came in a close second in the last two national elections with an uncompromising anti-austerity message--came away with a clear victory in the European elections. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras called for new elections to Greece's parliament, declaring that the current coalition government, led by the center-right New Democracy, had lost any "political or moral legitimacy" to continue governing.
Analysts also pointed out that the "No vote" party "won" the European elections once again, with turnout across the continent at a dismal 43 percent.
Here, we publish a statement by France'sreleased after it became clear that the FN won the largest number of votes.
THE EUROPEAN elections have been marked in France by a new electoral victory for the National Front. This expresses the social despair of many working people and the political crisis generated by the same policies being implemented by successive governments. Not only does the FN not represent a solution--on the contrary, its greater political weight will worsen the crisis.
After the municipal elections, the European election results confirm the rejection of the Socialist Party--it is paying the price for its pro-employers' policy over the last two years. Through massive abstention or a vote for the right and the far right, which won the most votes, the voters have condemned this policy.
In most countries in Europe, there has been a similar punishment of governments that implemented the diktats of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund against the workers and the people. The election results also reject anti-democratic, capitalist Europe, which is distant from the concerns of the most people in Europe.
Faced with this situation, with the left at a low point, it is urgent that wage-earners and organizations of the social and political left renew their mobilizations to fight pro-employer policies and the rise of the far right, which are the connected--and to offer a complete alternative to this society.
First published at International Viewpoint.