By Marius Heuser
18 April 2009
At its meeting on April 10, the Federal Elections Committee certified the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG, Socialist Equality Party) to participate in the European elections. This means the PSG will appear on the ballot on June 7 before an electorate in Germany of some 64.3 million voters.
In total, 38 parties and political associations applied for ballot status. Seven requests were rejected by the Elections Committee—predominantly conservative associations such as the “Alliance of the Centre”—for either failing to gather the necessary 4,000 signatures from registered voters or because they did not fulfil other formal conditions.
In addition to smaller, right-wing formations such as the Bavaria Party, the Citizens Movement Solidarity (BüSo) or the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP), two of the larger, right-wing-extremist parties will be participating in the elections: the Republicans (REP) and the German Peoples Union (DVU). The German National Party (NPD), the third-largest such party and also probably the biggest neo-Nazi party in Germany, has declined to participate itself in favour of the DVU. However, it will instead lead the extreme right in the federal elections later this year.
Among the 30 other parties there is none which challenge the capitalist system.
The Left Party of Oskar Lafontaine, which still occasionally calls itself “socialist”, has made clear in its programmatic statements—and clearer still in the social austerity policies it has supported in its Berlin city government coalition with the Social Democratic Party—that it abides by the framework of the capitalist profit system.
The Stalinist German Communist Party (DKP) is also standing candidates for the European parliament. The West German satellite organization of ruling Stalinist parties in former East Germany, the DKP survived thanks to extensive financial support from East Berlin, as it had hardly any influence in the working class in West Germany. This cash flow dried up with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the party machinery collapsed overnight. Since then, it has been closely associated with the Party of Democratic Socialism and more recently with the Left Party, and usually stands candidates on their lists.
The Socialist Equality Party is the only party that openly says that the economic crisis means that capitalism has failed and must be replaced by a socialist society, with democratic control of the corporations and banks. The PSG fights unwaveringly against all forms of nationalism and xenophobia and opposes militarism and war. The PSG rejects the institutions of the European Union and fights for the unification of Europe from below, through the mobilization of working people on a socialist basis.
Its election manifesto begins with the words: “Should the future of Europe be left in the hands of the financial aristocracy and its representatives in the European Union bureaucracy and existing European governments, then disaster is inevitable. It is time for workers to intervene in developments and take the fate of society into their own hands.”
Since the PSG received 25,800 votes in the last European elections five years ago, it will be placed higher on the ballot paper this time.
In order to achieve ballot status, the PSG collected more than 5,000 signatures from registered voters over the last weeks. PSG members and supporters held many discussions at information stands in city centres, in front of unemployment offices and factories and among friends and colleagues, distributing over 10,000 election statements.
In the next days and weeks, the PSG will intensify its election campaign. A series of election meetings are being held nationwide, at which the PSG will explain and discuss its socialist perspectives. It will establish how the failure of the capitalist system also means the failure of all reformist programmes and parties, and will show how such parties as the SPD and Left Party are moving ever further to the right.
The PSG will also be establishing a new election website. This web site will publish its manifesto and launch its on-line election campaign, making it possible for Cyrano’s Journal readers to participate actively in the campaign.