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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Elections for the European Parliament and the need for anti-capitalist struggle: A Communist analysis

An excellent and thorough analysis of the results of the recent European election from the Brazilian Communist Party.

The result of the elections for the European Parliament that took place on June 9th caught the attention and became the subject of all major Western media due to the strong electoral performance of the far-right parties. However, to make a more accurate analysis of the results of that election and the meaning of these results, we need to look at them more carefully, especially some of their important political and local particularities.

The big losers: Olaf Scholz, Emmanuel Macron and the social-democratized Party of the European Left

The extreme right's electoral advance was most emblematic and significant in Europe's three largest economies: Germany, France and Italy; it was also relevant in Spain and Portugal.

In Germany, the social democratic formations of the historic SPD (German Social Democratic Party) and the Greens (remembering that the German PV was the origin of the global Green movement) suffered historic and humiliating defeats: the SPD (currently in government) came in third place, behind the traditional right of the CDU and the extreme right of the AfD (Alternative for Germany, neo-Nazi), losing two MEP seats; The Greens have plummeted from 20.05% of the European vote in 2019 to 11.9% now, losing 9 seats in the European Parliament. The far-right AfD went from 9 to 15 MEPs.

In France, the liberal Macron was also electorally humiliated by Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National, which had more votes than the combined number of the two center-right formations that support Macron. What is hardly mentioned is that the other French far-right party, led by Marine Le Pen's niece, also achieved 5.5% of the vote and elected 5 MEPs. The impact of this electoral result in France was so strong that Macron decided to double down and call early internal parliamentary elections, which could further consolidate Le Pen's power.

In Italy, the Mussoliniist National Alliance (currently government) confirmed its electoral strength and received almost 30% of the votes, going from ten to 24 MEPs. However, it is interesting to note that in Italy the main opposition parties, the social-democratized Democratic Party, Five Star Movement and Italian Left Green Alliance, also grew electorally, if we compare with the 2019 European elections: the one who plummeted here was the neo-fascist League per Salvini (successor to the Northern League), which lost 14 seats in the European Parliament. Many analysts credit the League's decline to the fact that in 2021 it participated in the government of national unity headed by Mario Draghi (former President of the ECB), which made it lose a large part of the most right-wing electorate.

In Spain, the PSOE (Socialist Party) in power had fewer votes than the historic right-wing Popular Party, losing one seat. On the other hand, the far-right Vox more than doubled its vote, going from 4 to 6 MEPs.

In Portugal, the social democrat PS, which had been defeated in the early parliamentary elections, regained first place but with a lower electoral performance than in the 2019 European election, losing 1 MEP seat. The far-right party Vox reached the European Parliament for the first time, with 9.8% of the votes electing 2 MEPs.

In the Netherlands, the Green-Social Democrat alliance was the most voted list, but obtained only 8 seats out of the 31 in dispute. The far-right party Freedom Party (PVV), which currently governs the country with a right-wing coalition, was the second most voted party, reaching 6 seats; the remaining 17 seats were shared by several right-wing parties with varying colors.

Members of the Party of the European Left, the institutionalized parliamentary “left” and pro-European Union, also suffered important casualties. In Spain, the Sumar coalition, supported by Izquierda Unida (IU) and the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), obtained 4.7% of the votes, obtaining three seats; as the IU/PCE candidate was fourth on the list, IU and PCE lose their representation in the European Parliament. In Germany, Die Link (Left Party) fell from 5.5% to 2.7%, losing 2 seats. In France, the PCF (French Communist Party) achieved just 2.5% of the vote and did not elect any MEPs.

The communists and the combative left performed well

Communists will be represented by seven MEPs in the European Parliament. These representatives were elected by five parties, none of which are members of the Party of the European Left; they all follow ideological lines that define themselves as Marxist-Leninist.

The Greek KKE kept its two seats in the European Parliament, but almost doubled its vote: from 5.35% in 2019 to 9.29% now, which also represents an increase compared to the 2023 legislative elections (7.69% ).

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), for the CDU, (Unitary Democratic Coalition) was close to losing its seat in the European Parliament; it was saved by the vote in Évora and managed to elect an MEP. The Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU - PCP/PEV) obtained 4.12% of the votes, a drop compared to the 2019 European elections (6.88%), but an improvement compared to the early legislative elections of April 2024 (3.17 %).

In the Czech Republic, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) led the Stačilo! (Enough!) coalition with Eurosceptic groups. KSČM performed well in these elections by gathering 9.56% of the vote and winning two seats; in 2019 KSČM had obtained 6.94% of the votes and elected one European parliamentarian.

The best communist percentage performance was from the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), which won second place in the European elections in Cyprus with 21.49% of the vote; they elected only one MEP, failing to reach first place by 3% of the vote.

And the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA) also had a good electoral performance. In the European elections, the PTB-PVDA won 2 seats and 10.7% of the votes, increasing by one MEP.

In addition to the communist parties listed above, the performance of the French France Insoumise and the German BSW (Sarah Wagenknecht Alliance) deserves attention.

Although it does not define itself as communist or Marxist-Leninist and has observer status in the Party of the European Left group, Jean Luc Melénchon's France Insoumise has taken firm positions on the left, including refusing to call for a vote for Macron for president against LePen; France Insoumise reached practically 10% of the votes, going from 5 to 9 seats in the European Parliament.

BSW was founded from a left-wing split in Die Linke, led by the charismatic Sahra Wagenknecht. Only created in January, the embryonic BSW debuted at an encouraging level of 6.2% of the votes. Her political assets were her criticism of the German alignment with the USA in the war in Ukraine and the consequences for inflation in the country and the defense of social justice and income redistribution policies. It should be noted that BSW has very questionable positions in combating postmodern liberal identitarianism and flirts with xenophobic positions when the topic is immigration.

Scandinavia: the lifeline of social democracy

While in the rest of Europe the Social Democrats and Greens stumbled or collapsed, in Scandinavia these political formations maintained hegemony. In Denmark, the Social Democrats and Greens won six of the nine seats. In Finland, the party that grew the most was the Left Alliance, allied to the left of the traditional Social Democratic Party, although the liberals in government won 8 of the 15 seats up for grabs. In Sweden, the Social Democratic Party received the most votes and the Greens came in third. In no country in Scandinavia did far-right parties have a significant electoral performance. It should be noted that Norway is not part of the EU and does not elect MEPs.

What do the results of the European Parliament elections mean

The first general conclusion we reached, when analyzing the results of the elections for the European Parliament, is that the big losers were liberalism and Atlanticist social-liberalism, that is, the parties and governments that implemented liberal policies, were pro-European Union and embodied pro-NATO warmongering. The crushing defeats of Macron in France and Olaf Scholtz in Germany are clearly linked to their positions of submission to the USA in regards to the war in Ukraine.

The social-liberal German government succumbed to American pressure, gave up on a serious investigation into the culprits in the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and bowed to demands for a boycott of Russia, starting to purchase much more expensive US gas. The inflationary impacts of this submission and the Europe-wide economic consequences of the sanctions against Russia (which had a boomerang effect, damaging the European Union's economy much more than Russia's) created the economic environment for profound erosion of the ruling SPD alliance.

In the French case, the immense popular rejection of his pension change package, which made approval in Parliament unfeasible and made Macron resort to a constitutional device to enact the pension counter-reform without the approval of deputies, also weighed against Macron. Furthermore, Macon flirted with the anti-immigration theses of the extreme right and approved a new immigration law in Parliament with the favorable votes of Marine Le Pen's party; in other words, he threw even more water into the mill of far-right xenophobic discourse.

The advance of the far right in the European elections reflects the growing climate of hopelessness, discouragement and social despair caused by the accelerated implementation of neoliberal economic policies, the results of which have been worsened in the last two years by the consequences of the war in Ukraine. Such a social environment becomes a breeding ground for frustrations and resentments, a perfect breeding ground for the emergence of neo-fascist and neo-Nazi proposals.

The decline of liberals and social liberals can be explained by the same context. Both liberal and social democratic parties have presented themselves in recent decades as true “parties of order”, defenders of “European values” and “stability”. In a situation of profound social and economic crisis, the working class moves away from “liberal democratic normality”, as such bourgeois democracy not only does not solve the problems of its daily life but often worsens them.

In this scenario, voices that present themselves as “anti-systemic” gain more space and resonance; and the demagogic, virulent and xenophobic speech of the extreme right presents itself as exactly “against this system”. We know that the neofascist maneuver consists of hiding the root cause of the masses' problems, which is capitalism, and blaming the working class's ills on segments of the working class itself: in Europe, immigrants; In Brazil, Bolsonarist neofascism directs its artillery against Black people, women, Indigenous people, northeastern people and LGBT people.

On the other hand, the elections for the European Parliament also point the way to overcoming this current situation, which is so unfavorable to the working class and popular sectors. Progressive left-wing forces and communist parties that spoke in opposition to neoliberalism and warmongering had a good electoral performance. We need to learn this lesson and put it into practice, both in Europe and in Brazil and throughout Latin America

Unfortunately, what we see in Brazil is that the PT (Workers' Party) and its closest allies in the Lula government are far from learning this lesson. Quite the opposite: just like the defeated European social democracy, the Lula government has, measure after measure, turned its back on popular demands and implemented the program of capital. There is no shortage of examples: the most recent were the attitude of contempt towards the great national strike in federal education and the threat to remove the constitutional floors for health and education, to keep the ultra-liberal New Fiscal Framework viable (which is nothing more than a new “ceiling of expenses” revamped).

The conclusion is evident: only by being radically anti-imperialist, anti-neoliberal, anti-war and anti-capitalist will the left and communists be able to stop the offensive of the neo-fascist global wave and aim for the overthrowing of capitalism, the ultimate cause of all humanity's suffering. The stance of class conciliation and submission to the power bloc deepens barbarism, ideal ground for the growth of the extreme right.

Brazilian Communist Party

National Political Commission and Secretariat for International Relations

(We have edited and retranslated some small parts of the original)


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