Rise of the Communists requires action and understanding of modern class society
At the beginning of March, The Communist Party of Finland (SKP) was able to collect the necessary 5000 supporter cards despite the coronavirus and other difficulties. Supporter cards need to be collected in order to have the party in the state register of political parties. If party does not get representatives in parliament in two proletarian election it is taken out of the register.
For the communal elections 2021 the districts of SKP were able to decide for themselves whether to go to the elections on the SKP lists or on the joint lists of the electorate associations, as, for example, SKP's Helsinki District and the Lahti city decided to do. In Helsinki, communists participated in the elections on the Residents' Helsinki joint list (Asukkaiden Helsinki)
Due to the coronavirus, the elections were postponed until June 13th. Campaigning was largely forced onto social media. Even in this election, visibility is gained with money. The familiar invisibility masked all parties and candidates outside parliament who did not have a wealthy support force.
SKP's goal in these Municipal elections was to increase the number of councillors. This objective was completely unsuccessful.
Voter turnout and democracy
The SKP was the only registered political party pushing for the repeal of neoliberalism and the capitalist system in municipal elections. SKP's election slogan “Fighter billions for municipal services” differed from the general policy objectives of other parties being exact and concrete. The election slogan prompted debate, but also criticism because municipalities do not set out state defence spending budget.
The turnout in the Municipal elections is 55.1 per cent of the population. From the point of view of participation and democracy, abstention is fatal. Givin up influencing indicates a class situation and a lack of faith in influencing through politics.
The current culture of political debate is not currently appealing to the status quo. As a result, the municipal elections appeared to many as a mayoral election or a contest between a few major parties. Voting for other tha main parties was called a vote-wasting.
No non-parliamentary party received any candidates for the council in any of Finland's municipalities. This reflects the fact that no new ideas and options emerge in politics. This is a serious problem of Finnish democracy.
The political elite has not only gained the position of ruler in the mainstream media, but has also bought visibility with money. SKP's competitive position has always been poor in the money-for-money election campaign, and even these municipal elections did not make an exception.
SKP's visibility and impact are at grassroots level, in local and urban struggles. Of course, some comrades have also managed to achieve national visibility as experts or as activists of the local campaign through initiatives. In the mainstream media, the party was unable to justify the political guidelines or to open its municipal election programme.
The winners of the elections were the right (Kokoomus) and the anti-immigration policies of the Finns Party (Perussuomalaiset). There was enough support for both of them, despite the fact that they did not present any new solutions or even take a position on the key problems of the lives of local residents.
It is worrying that the Left Alliance (Vasemmistoliitto) and the SDP lost support, particularly in rural areas and outside large cities. This does not make it easier to push progressive policies in these municipalities.
Action in line with the party concept of politics
SKP wants a change in current expenditure in cooperation with others who want a change.
- Our conception of politics is inclusive and builds Lenin-like speaker platforms. We go where people operate and make the competence and activity of the Communists available to the local struggle. For some conservatives, this appears to be a communist cover-up or a bulvan conspiracy. Like the Finnish Main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat as its one and only article about our elections wrote. For us, cooperation with different actors in civil society is the basis of our policy," says JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen, Chairman of the SKP.
- Parliamentary parties override the importance of civil society in policy-making. Of course, residents are formally consulted in legislation or municipal decisions, and municipal initiatives can all be submitted. The real concentration of power on the political elite is reflected in the clammy attitude around the country towards SKP's initiatives, such as district councils, and the fact that residents could actually decide on matters concerning them and, in concrete terms, on money and the budget.
Seven national election events
Corona quarantine closed, but also opened up places to participate. The party's initiatives on peace, a six-hour working day, 1,200 basic security and the environment were reflected in national election work. The groups promoting the initiatives prepared seven election conferences for Zoom.
- Despite the coronavirus situation, SKP candidates took new positions in politics, such as at zoom events. Municipal elections and the introduction of social media took our work forward. For example, an environmental group organised a prominent discussion in a national wide event “The World Village festival” (Maailma kylässä) and on International World Environment Day.
Similarly, cooperation was carried out with various actors in civil society, peace and environmental organisations such as the Finnish Union for Nature Conservation (Suomen luonnonsuojeluliitto) and Artists for Peace (PAND) says Väisänen.
The future is to be made
A poor municipal election result does not make communists passive. The elections will be inspired by a more inviting – inclusive and participatory work and the development of organizational activities.
- If this election proved anything, it is that acting alone cannot turn into a large-scale popular, mass movement. It always requires the construction of long-term and extensive cooperation, through which partners and the most painful issues are found, behind which others can be involved," says Tiina Sandberg, Secretary General of the SKP.
SKP districts and active actors are currently preparing activities in accordance with the party's action plan and inviting others who want to change to participate in the activities and its planning.
- The activities of district organisations can be found on the district website and at the Tiedonantaja Festival on the Tiedonantaja newspaper website. In general, we have room for improvement in internal information, but everyone can at least start by taking it upon them to visit the party's website at least once a week, uggests Sandberg.
Towards SKP Party Conference
The work of communist youth has brought more political interests into party work. Cooperation with young people, opportunities for influencing young people within the party and the resourcing of the Central Committee for youth work are one of the party's most important factors for the future and growth.
In addition, the election campaign has brought together a larga numer of those interested in membership, with whom concrete work must be involved in the party´s work.
It is also good to look inward and harness the strengths of those already involved in our operations to use organisational work more and more. Activities in SKP must be not only effective, but also rewarding. With comradeship collaboration we go ahead.
The final conclusions of these municipal elections will also be drawn togethe in the next SKP Party Congress, which will be held 11.-12.6.2022 in Kotka.