File spoon-archives/marxism2.archive/marxism2_1996/96-04-30.191, message 126


Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 17:51:49 +0200
Subject: Re: Communist Parties - Denmark


Kevin Cabral wrote:
> 
>         Can anyone here give a quick summary of general organizational
> characteristics, party programmes, and parlimentary/grassroots influence
> of communist parties today in Western Europe. 

Jorn:

Communist Party in Denmark
Was always a minority party never able to challenge the Danish
Social Democracy but has after WW2 had some influence in some
trade unions. It always had a direct line to Moscow.

The Socialist Peoples Party (SF)
After Hungary 1956 the Social Democrats were able to marginalize
their TU influence, and two years later they split. The leader,
Aksel Larsen, took with him a lot of the party into his new
"Socialist Peoples Party" (SF), which in 1960 won a parliamentary
representation, which they have maintained since then. They now
get about 10% of the votes.
The SF was an early Euro-Communist split-off which in the late
60's through to the late 80's looked quite a lot to Yugoslavia
("The Third Road" between stalinism and reformism; "workers
councils"; internationally: the alternative of the unaligned
countries etc.).

The SF was from the start a Communist Party without Stalinism -
but as the split took place in the hey-days of the Cold War and
the with a very low level of working class struggles the outcome
was not less parliamentary than had been the CP. They (as did
the CP) saw their role primarily as pulling the Social Democrats
to the left. The fact that they didn't manage to get the bulk of
TU activists with them out of the CP and that their revolt against
stalinism also included a more loose concept of party discipline
strengthened the tendency to become a left Social Democratic party.

In 1966-67 they were the parliamentary backers for a SD government
(called "The red cabinet", but they had no ministers). The SD were
able to manouvre (as they had done with the CP in the past) so as
to blame the SF for the downfall of the government. The result was
a left wing split off, the VS, which was to become a parliamentary
centre for the New Left.

In the 70's and 80's the SF (still the largest party to the left
of the Social Democrats) was influenced by the grass roots
movements. They became Red-Green. They did get some influence in
some TU's, but still the CP had more.

With the downturn in the class struggle in the late 70's the SF
was drawn to the right in the 80's. They abandonded their
principled opposition to NATO and they were not able to distinct
themselves from to Social Democrats (in opposition 1982-92).

When stalinism collapsed in 1989 the SF abandoned the last
identification with Marxism and class politics and now they
praise the market.

In 1992 there was a narrow No vote against Maastricht. Although
it was narrow - it was a major blow against the bosses' Denmark.
The capitalist class enginered a 3 stage plan to win a new
referendum: 1) Change the government from a bourgeois to a Social
Democratic 2) Get some formal "exceptions" from Maastricht (the
so-called Edinburgh Agreement forgotten anywhere else but in
Denmark) 3) Get the SF to support a new Yes vote.

The SF leadership supported the Yes vote just 11 months after the
first referendum expecting that they might get into the SD government.
They didn't. Their support didn't make their voters vote Yes, but it
convinced many left wing Social Democrats that it would be OK to vote
yes. The SF lost a lot of credibility amongst their own supporters
with this manouvre and is regarded as traitors etc. by many on the
left (a very sectarian position, which I don't support).

The Communist Party
The Danish Communist Party (DKP) was one of the most faithful to
Moscow pre-Gorbachev. Having been outside parliament since the
SF-split they won a few seats at a couple of elections in the 70's
(after the referendum in 1972 that brought Denmark into the EC and
where the DKP had played a very active role in the (more or less
nationalistic) No Movement.

In this period (mid-late 70's and early 80's) the DKP igain won some
influence. They had about 7.000 members and a youth organization of
about the same size or maybe more - not bad in a country of 5 mill.
They were clearly the most important force to build active TU
struggle and won a substantial position in the lower TU bureaucracy.

But they were also active in making sure these struggles never really
threatened the basic structures of Danish capitalism. In 1985 there
was a 10 day general strike in Denmark - the so-called "Easter
Strikes". The DKP with the slogan of taking the struggle back to the
local workplaces dismounted the movement instead of taking it one
step forward to get rid of the hated bourgeois Schluter government.

Programmatically they stood on a popular front line. In 1975 they
coined the term "anti-monopolistic democracy" to argue their case
against big (especially multi-national) capital and at the same
time support protectionism.

With Gorbachev, glasnost and perestroika the DKP got confused - it
was difficult to follow a Moscow-line that said: We don't care about
you any longer. And already before the collapse of the Stalinist
regimes they were in a mess - 1989-90 finished them off. Within a
couple of years they lost over half of their membership. Their
youth organization that had controlled the union of young workers
and apprentices and the union of high school students was dissolved.

The rest of the DKP split in two. One part (mainly those who were
recruited in the 70's - and who didn't just give up) joined an elec-
toral alliance with the Fourth International, the Maoists and the
above mentioned (New Left) VS - the "Unity List" which is now more
or less a party (politically like some of the extreme Labour left
in UK). They are now in parliament and are difficult to distinguish
>from the SF - except for their anti-EC policy.

The other part (mainly the old guard) made their own party, KPD
based on the 1975-programme. Their biggest problem is that they
are too old - probably about 500 members and 100 active.
They are very much a "social club" for people who were once
active - those who haven't forgotten and haven't learned.
They warn you against Ken Loach's "Land and Freedom" and
are happy to see Stalin portraits in the streets of Moscow.

Summarizing:
The Danish Social Democratic Party is still *the leadership* of
the Danish working class and have hegemony inside most TU's.
The SF is the only force that could challenge this position,
but their own politics makes sure that this won't happen.

Although there is a growing dissatisfaction with the Social
Democratic government - and at present a lot of debate for the
first time in a decade inside the SD-party - one should not
expect this party to "collapse", split or anything like that
in the near future.

This means that we will probably not in Denmark see an
alternative emerge "out of nowhere" like in Italy.


Hope this could be of use.


Yours

Jorn Andersen

IS
Denmark




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