Denmark Election: All Parties Lack Morality

It was with joy that I watched television coverage of election day, September 15. According to all the nine political parties running, and the mass media, there were no wars in the world and Denmark no longer was involved in three wars—Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya alongside the USA.

In fact, all through the three-week long election campaign none of the parties spoke of war, the most essential aspect of societal action: do we kill other people who do not attack us.

There were eight political parties in the 179-member parliament before election day. The right-wing coalition of Liberals (Venstre, middle-to-large farmers’ traditional party) and Conservatives (Konservativ, businessmen’s traditional party) held power for a decade but for a majority had to rely on the far right, racist People’s Party (DF).

These eight parties form two blocs: red (center left) and blue (center right).Two in the red bloc declare themselves to be socialist: the People’s Socialists (SF) and the Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten/Unity List or EL). Another is the traditional majority party, Social Democrats (SD). The fourth “red” party, which shifts between blocs, is the Radical Liberals (Radical Venstre/RV, small business employers and self-employed).

In this election, significant shifts in numbers of parliamentarians (MPs) occurred. EL went from 2.2% of the vote to 6.7% for a gain of eight MPs, 12 in all. The Conservatives lost ten of its 18 (from 10.4% to 4.9%), most of which went to the RV (from 5.1% to 9.5%) from nine to 17 MPs, and the laissez faire, libertarian capitalist party, Liberal Alliance, which went from five to nine MPs (from 2.8% to 5% of the vote).

The red bloc now has 89 MPs and the blue 86. Semi-autonomous Greenland and the Faroe Islands each have two MPs in the Danish parliament. These four are usually divided between the two blocs. So the red bloc, despite lacking one vote for a majority, can rule IF the Red Green Alliance does not oppose its three new partners over principled anti-war morality or pro-socialist economic policies, which is not likely to happen. In the past ten years, several billions have been used for war and new billions are slated to buy more killing machines. Other billions have been used to bail out the banks here just as in the US. ELs new partners have supported these policies and continue to do so.

Since its founding, in 1989, EL has opposed aggressive wars. But in this election, it decided to join the red bloc and negotiate with it, if victorious, for a state budget based on a capitalist economy.

This strategy led its leaders to ignore the fact that Denmark has 600 well-paid mercenary soldiers fighting Afghans; had dropped 855 bombs on Libya destroying much of its infrastructure as of election day and had used ca. $1 billion for “government change,” and it is still using money and military advisors to back up the USA’s Quisling government in Iraq.

SF was founded in 1959. Its initiators broke out of the traditional Denmark Communist Party due to opposition to the Soviet Union military action against Hungary. SF has long since shifted from being anti-war and pro-socialist to being just another social democratic pro-capitalist party. Although SF originally voted against war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has since voted for financing US-NATO occupation and was a early supporter for bombing Libya.

SF came into the parliament in 1960 with 11 parliamentarians. It high point was in 1987 with 27. Before this election it held 23 seats. For the first time the “People’s Socialists” was accepted by the SD to campaign for a coalition government. This caused many voters to abandon it for the Red-Green Alliance.

In this democratic bourgeois state, political parties need only 2% of the national vote, in order to gain access to parliament. The minimum number of MPs for a party is four.

EL formed as East Europe was falling apart. The initiative was taken by the DKP as it was splitting up, and included Left Socialists (VS) and the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SAP). EL started as a socialist party with anti-imperialist tendencies. It first came into the parliament in 1994 with 3% of the vote and six MPs. Since then it has vacillated in its politics, and its numbers of MPs has swung from six to four.

For three years, the Red-Green Alliance has ignored anti-war actions, the few there have been. It refuses to support any armed uproar group in the world including resistance fighters to US-NATO invasions. Its leaders, several of whom are former communists of various stripes, have decided to “make a difference” by coming into a government instead of using their parliamentary platform solely as one of several educating-organizing arenas.

The same reformist course taken by the French Communist Party, in 1968, was aimed at putting a stop to a potential revolution by millions of workers and students who took to the streets. The French CP gambled for capitalism and won. Most “leftist” parties—communist, trotskyist or socialist—once adopting a parliamentary strategy give up the idea of grassroots work building a large base that could win state power for socialist policies.

To my meaning all these parties are immoral. I say so not because I am an anarchist but a revolutionary socialist who judges aggressive war to be the worst of human action.

Ron Ridenour is a veteran journalist and author of nine books, the latest is Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka. Read other articles by Ron, or visit Ron's website.