General elections have been called in Austria for 24 November following the collapse of the right wing coalition government that included Jorg Haiders’ far right FPÖ (Freedom Party).
The Austrian section of the CWI (SLP) has campaigned against the previous anti-working class government. The party decided to continue that struggle and to contest the forthcoming general election, putting forward socialist policies. To stand, the SLP first had to get more than 500 signatures. As the report below shows, the party has passed this hurdle and is now set to conduct an enthusiastic election campaign.
CWI online, 18 October 2002
The party has also scored a victory against the far right FPÖ (Freedom Party), which until recently was part of the coalition government. Their regional group in Traiskirchen (Lower Austria) called for a demonstration on 17 October against asylum seekers. Traiskirchen is both the place with the biggest camp for asylum seekers in Austria and a former industrialised area that suffered big job losses in recent years, including nearly 1,000 jobs going when the Continental firm closed its Semperit tyre factory.
The FPÖ tries to exploit tensions amongst people with populist right and racist demagogy. The SLP called for a counter-demo to oppose these lies and forced the FPÖ to abandon their demo! The SLP is widely reported in different media and the Austrian Press Agency as the party that beat the FPÖ!
The SLP campaign against the FPÖ explained to the people in Traiskirchen that neo-liberal policies are the reasons for economic and social insecurity. The asylum seekers are victims of wars, "ethnic cleansing" and social misery in their countries, as a result of worldwide capitalism.
We urged the ÖGB (Austrian trade union federation) to immediately mobilise Austrian and "foreign" working people to fight for jobs, decent wages, housing facilities and against the threat of Traiskirchen becoming an area where immigrants are hunted by racist mobs.