The elections in France and Greece represent a fundamental change in the situation. The crisis of European capitalism has entered a new and turbulent stage. A mood of anger is sweeping across Europe. Of course, we understand that election results do not reflect the psychology of the masses with complete accuracy. They are like a snapshot of the mood at a given moment. But it is necessary to analyse election results carefully, since they do show certain trends in society.
The defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential elections opens a new phase of the class struggle in France. The socialist candidate, François Hollande, won 51.62 % of the vote. However, this overall score tends to conceal the social basis of the election result. Practically all the major towns and cities voted massively for Hollande – or, to be closer to the truth, to get rid of Sarkozy.
The results of yesterday's parliamentary elections in Greece – a political earthquake –are a clear indication of the growing radicalisation of society on the basis of the historic deadlock of capitalism and the movement towards an openly revolutionary situation.
At a time of massive cuts and redundancies, restructures and “refocusing” in Local Government and the civil service and schools; inevitably, the issue of greater workloads comes to the fore. It’s very easy for senior managers to attempt to try and solve their immediate problems by pushing the whole burden of work onto those people who didn’t get their P45s in the post. Too often this means impossible demands being placed on front line workers, more often than not the lowest paid and in most cases women. Tory plans for the NHS mean that the same process will be witnessed in the NHS, with horrendous consequences.
"For a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realise the impossibility of living in the old way, and demand changes; for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. It is only when the ’lower classes’ do not want to live in the old way and the ’upper classes’ cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph” (Lenin, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism, an Infantile Disorder).