The Third International after Lenin

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Denmark: neoliberalism with a social democratic face

Danish elections end 10 years rule of the right –
Installing a coalition government led by Social Democrats

By Kommunistisk Politik International

Ten years rule of warmongering, racist and reactionary policies has been rejected, paving the way for another neoliberal government led by social democrat Helle Thorning Schmidt, the first woman to become prime minister.

The general elections to the Danish parliament on September 15th finished a ten year old government coalition of two bourgeois right parties, led by the right liberal party Venstre (V), together with the Conservatives (K). This so called center-right VK-government was led for almost 8 years by the international war criminal Anders Fogh Rasmussen, presently general secretary of NATO, and for the last two years by Lars Løkke Rasmussen. It has all along been supported by the extreme right party Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party – O), that has set an anti-immigrant, racist and islamophobic agenda, that has made Denmark infamous as a front runner for reactionary politics.

For the past decade Denmark has pursued a so-called ‘activist foreign policy’ – which basically means being in the front ranks of the imperialist wars, initiated by the US and NATO: Afghanistan, Iraq and now also bombing Libya.

The neoliberal economic policies of tax reductions for the rich and the monopolies and social cutbacks for the rest, boosting an artificial boom of the housing market, which greatly increased the indebtedness, have caused a severe and prolonged economic crisis since 2008. Since 2008 tens of thousands of industrial work places have been closed down or moved abroad.

The crises policy of the VK-government has been massive economic injections for the speculative banking sector (four ‘bank packages’ since 2008, the last one less than two months ago), combined with a great number of social cutbacks and austerity measures. This includes increasing the pension age and reducing the period of unemployment support to two years from four.

By September 2011 the Danes have had enough of the racist and warmongering polices and the capitalist crises policy of making the poor pay. They rejected new neoliberal reforms such as a new retirement reform, which would mean a progressive increase in working years, so that the young generation today will be expected to work until they are well past 70 years old!

The crisis in Denmark is very deep, and the transition of government power was also facilitated by the fact that the Social Democrats several times before have been called to be in charge in times of crisis by the ruling bourgeoisie. This should guarantee the active cooperation of the trade unions and prevent serious mass mobilizations of the workers and youth.

There are 8 parties in the Danish parliament, four of them constituting the so called ‘Blue Bloc’, led by Fogh and Løkke Rasmussen, four others making up the ‘Red bloc’, with the social democrats (S) led by Helle Thorning Schmidt as the biggest. The ‘Red bloc’ includes two other social democratic, reformist parties – The People’s Socialist Party (SF) and the Unity List, originally an alliance of left wing socialists, soviet revisionists, Trotskyites and Maoists, now a more or less unified parliamentary party.

Right now negotiations of a platform for the new government of Thorning Schmidt are taking place. Besides the close alliance of S & SF the next government will presumably include Det Radikale Venstre (Danish Social Liberal Party), while the left Unity List will play the role as parliamentary support for the government – and thus be termed a ‘center-left’ coalition.

The core of the new government – the Social Democrats and Socialist People’s Party - also suffered defeat in the elections. With 24.8% of the votes the Social Democrats had the worst electoral results since 1906. Adding the votes of the partner party they claim 34% of all votes.

The voters did not subscribe to the ‘Fair solution’ crises plan of the two parties, that among other things envisaged an increase of the working time by one hour a week, – ’12 minutes a day’ – from 37 to 38 hours.

The two other coalition parties, which have been vocally opposing the anti-immigration policies and the dominant influence of the Danish People’s Party, triumphed. The Social Liberal Party with 9.5% almost doubled their number of representatives, while the Unity List tripled them from 4 to 12 with 6.7% of the votes.

The Danish press has been stressing the fact that three of the party leaders of the ‘Red Bloc’ are women as a factor in the electoral victory.

The Thorning-Schmidt government will undoubtedly pursue a neoliberal crisis policy, as demanded by the European Union and the Europact – in spite of illusions created by the Unity List and other left forces, that the change of government will mean a totally new course in favour of the workers.

Thus the new government will not roll back the ‘reforms’ of the last ten years, including the immigration laws, terror laws and the participation in colonial wars.

Most likely the new retirement ‘reform’ will be decided by the parliament and carried out by the Thorning-Schmidt government. The increase in work hours may be dropped, as suggested by the new prime minister, stating: “The working people should not be forced to pay for the crisis twice”.

The fact is that the workers have already paid twice, and more, while the rich have grown richer.

The Workers’ Communist Party APK called for ‘voting blank’ at the elections, as a vote for any of the parties would be a vote for a neoliberal bloc.

The participation in the elections was quite massive – 87.7%. Almost one percent voted blank.

APK now appeals to progressive trade unions, movements and organisations to start from Day One to mobilize against any implementation of neoliberal policies at the expense of the workers and the majority of people.

September 20, 2011

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