Reports form Sweden, Germany and Austria
Sweden - CWI members win three new council seats
The full results of the 15 September poll (the local, regional and national elections take place on the same day in Sweden) will not be known for a few days, as postal votes and overseas votes are yet to be counted.
In Umeå, CWI members polled 4.6% (an increase of 1.2% from the last local elections in 1998), securing 2,948 votes.
The party won 1497 votes in Luleå, or 3.3%, up from 608 votes in 1998, an increase of 2%. This is a reward for the consistent work local members have conducted in Luleå over the last few years. In one district of the town we received 968 votes, a huge jump from the 119 won in 1998. In another district, the comrades came out as the biggest polling party, including beating the social democrats.
On a national level, the social democrats have won the elections. The main conservative party performed very badly, losing up to a third of its votes. The Left Party lost votes to the social democrats as a result of its having failed to live up to the hopes of disillusioned social democrat voters.
In a warning to the workers’ movement, the far-right and racist parties have been able to make some headway. The largest racist party increased its council representation from 8 councillors in 5 councils to 36 councillors in 20 councils.
More details will be circulated over the next few days.
40,000 march against war and social cuts
Last Saturday, 14th September, around 40,000 people attended a demonstration called in Cologne by the broad anti-capitalist organisation Attac and youth sections of five trade unions; Verdi (public sector, health, transport, banking, insurance and shop workers) IG Metall (engineering), IG Bau (building union), NGG (food industry union), and Transnet (rail workers union).
The demonstration was called against social cuts and a better world, but opposition against the threatened attack on Iraq gave the protest an anti-war character.
Reports so far show comrades from SAV (CWI section in Germany) sold 250 papers.
This was a significant turnout given that the demo was just one week before the German general election. At the same time as the Cologne rally another 12,000 participated in a counter-protest against a fascist NDP march in the southern city of Freiburg.
Thousands protest against World Economic Forum meeting
Last Sunday, 15th September, 5,000 people demonstrated in Salzburg, Austria, against a meeting of the World Economic Forum, and against globalisation and capitalism.
This demonstration was a lot bigger than last year’s, which had been banned by the police, and the mood this time was more radical. Although a lot of police were present they largely held back from confrontation. Members of the Socialist Left Party (SLP – CWI in Austria) were the only people who raised the question of what needs to be done by the Left now that a general election has been called for 24th November. These elections have been called as a result of the collapse of the Austrian right-wing ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government. The SLP argued that steps had to be taken to build a socialist alternative. Simply defeating Haider’s far right FPÖ in the election, which is of course one important goal, would alone not prevent the party’s return in the future, as a result of disappointment with the next government, whether it is a social democratic/Green coalition or a grand social democratic/ conservative coalition.