:: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 ::

The Left and Europe

The Left and Europe

Paul Anderson of the blog Gauche has been writing about the socialist left and the European elections. I corrected his mistaken beliefs that the European Anti-Capitalist Left was set up by Rifondazione Comunista of Italy. Also because the number of euro seats in Scotland is being reduced, winning a seat has become a harder task than previously, requiring us to increase our share of the vote by around 4%. This is certainly possible and we are optimistic, especially given the likelihood of a greater number of protest votes, but far from a foregone conclusion.

Paul Anderson writes:
"Point taken on the origins of the EACL, but the importance of Rifondazione - and the reason it's the moving force - is that it's got rather a lot of money and can (just about, or at least so it says) subsidise European Parliament campaigns across the continent for its comrades. In the UK, the SSP is gagging for a share of the cash; and the Socialist Workers' Party is also keen to cosy up to get RC support for the Socialist Alliance in England (click here), in which it plays a dominant (and sectarian) role. It's true that the Stalinist Communist Party of Britain (the Morning Star party) has rejected the SWP's advances for an electoral alliance (click here) despite the enthusiasm of its brightest spark, Andrew Murray, chair of the Stop the War Coalition, for a deal. But the Rifondazione shilling (lira? euro?) seems to be something to play for."

Perspective notes:
I think Paul has got this completely wrong. There will be additional funds available if the socialist left can form a 'European Party' which requires a minimum number of member groups with representation in national or regional parliaments - in fact you need to be represented in one quarter of EU states. This will make available funds from the European Parliament which can be used only for fighting the European elections. Rifondazione have links with both the EACL and the GUE (Group of the European Left), which includes the likes of the French Communist Party. It is possible that Rifondazione may take part in an EACL 'party' thus helping us qualify for party status. This is entirely different to Rifondazione dishing out cash to foreign parties. That is simply not happening. If it were to happen we would of course be obliged to declare it via the Electoral Commission. The process is described in this Sunday Herald article, although they wrongly write that the SSP would use funds to offset our debts, in fact we can only spend the money on campaigning in the European elections.
As to the English left, well the only part of the UK where the socialist left has representation is Scotland (although the Welsh are starting to get their act together). Thus the UK does have a qualifying party, maybe our English brethren will one day draw the obvious conclusions.

:: Alister | 10:58 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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