(en) Vitrolles: The logic of the Urns

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Tue, 4 Mar 1997 21:23:47 GMT


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This came from the web page of Le Monde Libertaire, and I have done a rough translation. For background, Vitrolles is a town in France whose council was won at recent elections by the fascist Front National. It is the fourth city run by the FN - the others are Toulon, Orange and Marignane. You'll have to excuse the rough translation. Fascism is feeling a lot more confident in France as we have seen from the assault on the bookshop in Lyon.

Mike W. Translation begins below:

VITROLLES: THE LOGIC OF THE URNS (there's a pun here that English readers won't appreciate - urnes in French means both ballot boxes and funeral vases)

The socialists are always too gross. They preferred to safeguard the feeble chance of taking the Mayoralty of Vitrolles by playing the bottom card of the republican front which they intended to impose on the right. The maintenance of the PS list was then the quasi-election of the Front National mayor. The local militants who made it up, and said as much, have since been expelled from the Party. Once again the prioirity of the antifascist struggle has only been a politicians illusion where the logic of favouring the FN to divide the right can be seen.

The rules of the Game

The failure in Vitrolles of this struggle, shows well a fact which is hard to accept for many. It's a matter of democratic principle to delegate power and its democratic pretension. At the time of the FN successes at Toulon, Marignane and Orange, the revulsion of all those shocked or right thinking was focussed on the minority aspect of the victor. That a party could, with one third of the votes and less of those registered to vote, win a municipal election and manage the life of all was unacceptable. This was to forget that all elections function this way. And that the majority of those who manage Town halls are a "minority". It was to decide that all parties are equal except the FN. The latter have the right to play with the others if they stay in the role of asserting or being a scarecrow, to the 'democratic spectacle'. But if they participate fully and win, like the others, some elections, then "democracy is in danger". It's completely true.

It is doubly true when the later election of Vitrolles isn't the result of a minority vote but that of a majority vote without a saucer of irregularity or fault of the electoral code. An anti-democratic party has the right to accede democratically to power to apply their programme. It has the right because all the parties have it and, as is thought, the FN is a party like all the others (This is not a compliment!). In the same way it can take the right to interfere in the purchases of the municipal libraries because, of the right as of the left, socialists included, the elected have done this for a long time - in all democracy!

The democratic contradiction

Is the power of the people in danger? This depends on your definition of the people. If the citizen is spoken of, it must be admitted that they only exist as a brave few and are diminishing even now, except for the privileged citizens. If it's a matter of the nation, we are already in totalitarian world - very viable for many among us - who risk knowing other totalitarianisms more restricting. . The root of the problem is the principle of delegation of power to the dictatorship of a majority - or a minority - over all the citizens.

The principle of giving, and also of losing, ones voice in elections is the basis of the democratic illusion. Article 27 of the constitution, title IV on the Parliament, which says "all imperative mandate is null" shows well the role of politics. If the MP cannot impose a vote by his group, it is one part to safeguard his role as a free arbiter and the other part to divide parliament, but it is also to recall that the nomination doesn't give any control over him by his electors. He represents then those who votes (for or against) and those who didn't or couldn't vote. An elected MP represents the whole world, not the mandates of the population, nor even of his party. This infers that in Toulon, for example, the council represents all Toulonnais, the foreigners there included.

It is the system which is at fault, not the beneficiary. To want to deny it and appeal to the "democratic start" id to enforce the defeat on the tenants. It is to continue to deny the freedom for all to take their destiny in their own hands. Lenin should have said "give enough rope so that the social democrat comrades can hang themselves" We prefer the direct action and self organisation

Claude Delattre - group Humeurs noires, Lille

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