Image description: This photo is not from Nazi Germany. It is the concentration camp Wauwilermoos near Luzern during the 2nd World War. It was run by an admitted fascist and produced war material mainly for German imperialism. A Soviet prisoner of war was killed in the camp by the guards.
In Switzerland, on the 13.06.2021, all people legible to nationally cast a vote (that is, all of-age Swiss citizens living in the country and all of-age Swiss citizens living abroad that registered to vote and fulfill a few other conditions) were called to the polls to „decide“ on five referendums. These concerned: 1. the initiative „For clean drinking water and healthy food“; 2. the initiative „for a Switzerland without synthetic pesticides“; 3. the „Covid-19 law“; 4. the „CO2 law“; and 5. the „federal law on police measurements to combat terrorism (PMT)“1. Voter turnout averaged at 59.6%2 across the five referendums, amounting to the fifth-highest of all referendum rounds in Switzerland since suffrage for women was introduced in Switzerland in 1971.3
1. ON THE P.M.T. AND THE FASCIST TENDENCY OF OLD SWITZERLAND
The fifth referendum on the list is of particular interest, as it is currently the highest expression of the reactionary restructuring the old Swiss state is undergoing. The PMT law was „approved“ with 56.6% of those voting on it voting „yes“ (1’811’765 people)4 at a 59.5% voter turnout. This federal law gives the federal police (fedpol) permission to impose an array of preemptive measures5 against people they deem „terrorist endangerers“. A person may be classified as such an endangerer when „because of concrete and up-to-date indications it must be assumed that he or she will carry out a terrorist activity“; such an activity in turn is defined as „endeavors to influence or change the state order that should be realized or encouraged by committing or threatening heavy crimes or by spreading fear and terror“ or (amongst others) „violent-extremist activities in the sense of efforts by organizations that reject the fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law and commit, promote or advocate acts of violence in order to achieve their goals.“6.
The measures that may be taken are:
- Duty to partake in conversations. A person is obliged to regularly partake in conversations with the reaction. This is supposed to serve determining if a person poses a „terrorist“ threat and a change in behavior can be provoked.
- Check-in duty. A person must regularly check in to a specific authority. This serves for example to check if the person is upholding a ban on leaving the country.
- Contact prohibition. A person may not have contact to other people that are in a „terrorist environment“, that approve of „terrorist activities“ or spread propaganda of these. This way, the direct or indirect contact between „radicalized“ people is supposed to be prevented.
- Ban on leaving the country. A person is prohibited from leaving Switzerland if the fedpol perceives of there being a danger of them becoming „terroristically active“ abroad.
- Enclosure and exclusion. A person may longer go to or leave specific places and/or areas.
- House arrest. A person may only reside in one residence. This measure will supposedly only be applied when there are concrete and up-to-date indications that a person poses a „significant threat for the lives and well-being of third parties“ and when they didn’t abide by one or multiple police measures previously issued.
- Deportation prison. „Terrorist endangerers“ with foreign citizenship may be arrested in order to ensure their deportation.
All these measures may be taken against everyone who is at least 12 years old and without a courtly ruling, with the exception of house arrest „only“ being legally applicable for people as young as 15 years old and requiring a ruling by a compulsory measures court.
This law (that the national council and standing council already passed in September 2020 before the referendum against it was launched) is so ultra-reactionary and repressive that even the United Nations and the Council of Europe publicly criticized it7 while it was in the making. Nils Melzer, the UN expert for torture, said about the law: „That which then still demarcates Switzerland from a repressive police state is our trust in the authorities’ healthy human judgment.“8
Since there is no demonstrable reason to bring up this trust for the old Swiss state and we are none to trust anything about this state’s good intentions for the people, we think the definition „repressive police state“ isn’t so far off. On this, we quote:
„We must review all of Fujimori9’s legislation; they aim to sow confusion with the part about direct democracy … the current government is fascist but in demo-liberal clothing. […] There is a police State, in other words, there is a fascist State. This was even said by one child of imperialism… We are not the inventors of the gunpowder, as Chairman Gonzalo said.“Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru: “Notes to Typify the Regime as Fascism: Political Demonstration”, February 1996.
The Climate Strike movement in the canton Vaud got a first taste of what awaits political movements under the new federal law, even before it was approved. On the 26th of May 2021, flat searches were conducted against multiple climate activists at the behest of the fedpol10; the activists (mostly students) were subjected to extensive questioning and confiscation of electronic devices – in the middle of an exam phase! The activists had signed a public letter to the federal council in May 2020 calling for the radical reformation of the Swiss army and for people to refuse military service and the payment of military fees due to the army being unsustainable, patriarchal, chauvinist etc. We think this is a completely democratic right, as the army doesn’t serve the people. Under Swiss bourgeois law however, this is classified as „incitement and inducement to violate military service duties“ and is an official offense since 2020 that one can get up to three years in prison for. There was no concrete evidence whatsoever of the three activists being responsible for the writing or issuing of the letter – they had all only had some sort of banal position of authority in the Vaud climate strike (such as chat administrator). As it turned out in the aftermath of the searches, the criminal proceedings conducted by the fedpol had been signed by the federal council member, sociopathic fascist and vocal promoter of the PMT herself, Karin Keller-Sutter11.
However, this is not all in the new developments of old Switzerland restructuring itself for fascism. Another referendum of the 13.06., the „Covid-19 law“, gives the old Swiss state a wide range of corporativist rights, i.e. rights that meld corporations more and more together with the state and through this also force the masses into class collaboration with their own bosses. The Covid-19 law12, aside from legalizing all the emergency measures taken in the past year that weren’t legally covered by the existing epidemic law and extending the sparse Covid welfare program, gives the old Swiss state all kinds of intervention rights into businesses (mainly in the health sector), provided it is “necessary for the pandemic control“. It receives the legal base to demand constant logistical reports from businesses, oblige them to produce medicine and protective equipment (with compensation only if the business gets financial problems because of it) and even conduct expropriation of medicine and protective equipment – without any mention of compensation and also on private individuals! It may force the cantons to forbid or limit economic or medicinal practices (for example natural medicine). Additionally, the equalization of bourgeois media is pushed forward through the state paying for all distribution costs of local and regional newspapers and for distribution costs of interregional newspapers equating to 27 Rappen per paper. Note that everything mentioned so far was already established by the parliament in August 2020, while questions like hardship assistance for small businesses hit by the pandemic and the economic crisis were still open. After referendum was taken against the law, questions of hardship assistance was suddenly added to the law by the parliament retroactively13, meaning that this would eliminate hardship assistance for businesses still waiting for it if the law was not passed.
All this follows Mussolini’s line: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” and „fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.“ Fittingly, at a press conference in January 2021 concerning the referendum on the law on electronic IDs, Keller Sutter remarked on the question of the e-IDs being produced by a private corporation: „when it comes down to it, the separation of state and private is outdated“. We hope that she doesn’t stop there at following her leader.
2. DIRECT OR NOT, THIS DEMOCRACY ONLY SERVES THE BOURGEOISIE
We return to the PMT. Did the majority of the people in Switzerland truly support this blatantly fascist law that lays the legal base for brutally suppressing any potential attempts at organizing for revolution or „influencing or changing the state order“? Of course it didn’t. Elections and referendums held in this rotten bourgeois class dictatorship give less power to the people than arming them with water pistols would. Not only that, but they are, as they have always been, an indispensable tool for the bourgeoisie to maintain their sham legitimacy, to have a „strong state“. We quote the Communist Party of Peru:
„Finally, there is the so-called „legitimization„ as a political objective of the counter-insurgency war, in its form known as „low-intensity warfare14“, which seeks governments produced by elections as a mean of providing them with „legitimacy“ and „authority“, which should be recognized as such by the people. In addition, according to them, they would „serve to satisfy the needs of the people“. In that way, elections are nothing but a tool of the counter-revolutionary war.
ON THE ELECTIONS. Marx pointed out: „[…] deciding once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to misrepresent the people in Parliament […]“ And that is even more true when the elections are to approve constitutions. Thus, elections are merely the method to renew the government administration of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in capitalist societies, and this happens even in the most democratic government we could imagine, and they are the usual means to preserve and develop capitalism.“Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru: “Against Constitutional Illusions, for the State of New Democracy!”, April 1978.
These truths are completely applicable to the Swiss state. Are referendums not simply a very refined way for providing „legitimacy“ and „authority“ by going so far as to supposedly surpass the given government and give the people the option to „satisfy their needs“ themselves? Is this not a „method to renew“ not simply the government administration, but the „legitimacy“ the old state itself? Can the old state not, when it completes its fascist restructuring, now shove this sham percentage of „56.6% yes“ into the face of anyone who denounces this as proof of how „democratic“ it actually is? This is of course in the framework of a state that has been practicing preventive counterrevolutionary low-intensity conflict for over a century, ever since Swiss general Ulrich Wille stated during World War 1 that you had to make the counterrevolution before the revolution was made. As proof that this was continued ever since, we need only to remind the reader of the Fichenaffäre (secret files scandal).
3. WHO THE HELL ACTUALLY VOTES IN THIS COUNTRY?
Let’s not forget that these 59.6% who voted „yes“ only account for 59.6% of those legally allowed to vote. We calculate15 the actual percentage of people who voted for the PMT based on Swiss population data from the end of 2020:
|SWISS POPULATION OR PART OF IT||NUMBER / PERCENTAGE|
|Staying residential population (rounded to 100)||8’667’100|
|Temporary residents16 (dito)||44’700|
|Total population (dito)||8’711’800|
|Staying of-age Swiss citizens (dito)||4’862’700|
|Sum of valid votes on the PMT (unrounded)17||3’202’120|
|Number of votes for the PMT (unrounded)||1’811’765|
|Voter turnout for the PMT referendum||59.5%|
|Staying of-age Swiss citizens that voted on the PMT (calculated based on the above numbers)||2’893’247|
|Percentage of Swiss resident votes cast||90.4%|
|Number of Swiss resident votes for the PMT (rounded to 1)||1’637’004|
|Actual percentage of people in Switzerland who voted for the PMT||18.8%|
With all the limitations we face when making such calculations (mainly due to non-existent data), this number paints a very clear picture of how much the people support this offensive against their current and coming struggles. 18.8%, not even a fifth of the people in this country!
This is not to say, however, that the people who voted „no“ on the referendum somehow are excused from having participated in this phony decision. As we said before, the referendum itself is the weapon of low-intensity conflict that the old Swiss state uses against people’s struggles and revolutionary movements, uses against their demands by mushing them into a referendum in order to undermine their power to conquer said demands and to create illusions that the masses can win gains in this old system. We will have none of this „voting for the lesser evil“, because by giving your vote you are raising the turnout percentage and contributing to giving the old State a bigger and bigger wrecking ball against those who denounce it as fascist when the mass graves start being filled. They say „every vote counts“. Well, it does, every vote adds the voter to the list of people responsible for directly aiding the old state in their preparations for the horrors it will unleash once the revolutionary power of the masses starts to take more concrete shape. So stop helping them shovel the mass graves, drop the shovel; no, turn it around, beat their heads in with it! Don’t just stop voting but carry the message onward to everyone at your workplace and in your neighborhood, organize boycott campaigns and events, join, support and help connect existing ones! Together we can tear their „democratic“ facade down and face the rotten old State in its true colors.
Let us also not forget the high number of people who can’t even vote in this country.
Firstly, we stand with the proletariat, a high chunk of which are migrants in Switzerland (25.5% as of 2020 – and this is only counting the resident migrants known to the old state!). Where is their faux voice in the elections and referendums? Not that they’d use it of course – but the old Swiss state isn’t even consistent in its low-intensity conflict, it can’t hold back its imperialist chauvinism even for the sake of its own voting farce. This is also one reason why we are completely certain that universal suffrage for migrants would send the the voter turnout rate soaring downwards like a broken paper plane. Why would the migrant masses in this country take any fake hand offered to them by the very Urschweiz18-Herrenmensch-club that makes them work illegally so as to kick them out the country if they rise up against this exploitation; that makes the legal migrants who desperately need jobs because they’re dead broke pay for work permits with money they don’t have; that still has troops19 stationed in their home countries; that forbids them to wear and build what they like, limiting their democratic right to religious belief; and that portrays them with shit on their heads like the so-called „Swiss People’s Party“ did?! This is one reason. The other and main reason is that of migrant people in Switzerland, a much bigger percentage of them are proletarians than of people with Swiss citizenship. We don’t need any statistics (that don’t exist because the bourgeoisie of course denies the existence of classes) to firmly say that it is the proletariat that abstains from voting at the highest rate and with the most conviction! They know the truth of having no power to change anything as individuals better than any other class in this society and the individual act of casting a vote of course is included in this.
Secondly, of the general population as a whole, underage Swiss people make up 18.3% (based on the source numbers we used for our other calculations), an additional 18.3% who cannot vote. Spare us the chatter about how naive we are to count children, who are „not political“, and youth whose forming political consciousness is „still too utopian and puberty-driven to be let in on serious politics on adult matters“. If one would want to debate with us only on if infants should be counted, then maybe we could have a discussion. But children are thinking and acting beings who generally already take part in the political and cultural life of society and, in the case of proletarian, lower petit-bourgeois and poor peasant children, also take part in the economic life through having to help out with reproductive or even productive labor. Of course we don’t want universal suffrage for children in this old, rotten society – keep your filthy tricks, lies and deceiving away from the children of our masses, our class, our people! However, children are necessarily political. The same generally applies for youth, only the youth participate increasingly in more and more parts of society’s economic life the older they get. The conventional age to start an apprenticeship is 16 and one can already start one at 15. We need not offer any other example.
Now we are left with resident of-age Swiss citizens that make up 55.8% of the Swiss population. There are hacks from the Bern university who say that the low voter turnout rate, especially for referendums, actually doesn’t express a general attitude of boycott at all among the people allowed to vote, since people who don’t vote in one referendum vote in the next one again because it is of higher interest to them. They claim that if we consider this, only 20% of the people allowed to vote actually never vote. Ok then, let’s humor these academic idiots that try to deny the tendency to boycott. 20% of 55.8%, so 11.16% of the Swiss population could vote but always don’t; that leaves us with 44.64% of the Swiss population who participate in referendums and elections. Glorious job, bachelors and bachelorettes, you truly have refuted the „unfounded theory“ that voting results aren’t representative of the will of the people in Switzerland! Furthermore, it is completely normal to have people who vacillate between voting or not voting or on any political question for that matter. This is also why we encourage our readers not to simply read this article, but to take its spirit and follow its call; to go out and unite with the resolute non-voters, get those who vote blank and null to not vote, win over the vacillating to become non-voters, convince those who generally vote to stop and isolate the die-hard voters like they deserve, sinister gravediggers of the new that they are!
Concerning the present referendum results, we must keep in mind that this referendum was even marked by unusually high voter turnout, one that topped the overall average referendum voter turnout of the 2010s (45.8%20) by almost 14%. This is not to say that one can take this referendum as an indication for a large rise in electoral participation in Switzerland. The overall yearly turnout statistics show that even in years where one has one rounds of referendums with an unusually high voter turnout, they get noticeably cancelled out by other rounds in the same year with regular low ones, as shown by the years 2014 (only exceeding 50% due to two record-high turnout rounds in the same year) 2016 and 2020.
4. AND IN LAST PLACE: SWITZERLAND!
It is a material fact that referendums, despite being sung to the sky as instruments of the people, have the same voter turnout as regular elections do in Switzerland: one that almost never manages to surpass 50%. For comparison, we produce the following statistic on OECD countries and their voter turnout judged by the latest elections from 2015:
And this is only of the last national elections before the graph was created in 2015! If we compare Switzerland to the next imperialist country on the list, Japan, we see that their voter turnout at the elections for single-seat constituencies of 2014 was the lowest for national elections since the end of World War 2 at that time (52.66%21). In general, in Japan a clear rising tendency to boycott the elections can be seen:
Compared to the Swiss voter turnout rates of the last 50 years:
As we see, while in most countries globally there is a rising tendency to boycott the elections, in Switzerland it has balanced out at an extraordinarily low rate for 40 years now, averaging at 46.4%. Now let’s recall the decade averages for voter turnout in referendums in Switzerland: 40.7% in the 1990’s, 44.3% in the 2000s and 45.8% in the 2010s. There we have it: The people allowed to vote in Switzerland and who do so would even rather go to the polls to choose which members of the ruling class should misrepresent them in parliament than to waste their time saying „yes“ or „no“ to a concrete matter they know only the bourgeoisie will get the last word on! But mainly, on average the majority the people who can vote simply do not! Why should they? There is nothing to gain in this old rotten system and the numbers show the masses understand this and act on it! What more can be achieved if this resoluteness be organized and channeled into concentrated assaults on their voting sham?
5. BOYCOTT THEIR ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUMS!
Two things must be drawn from the voting statistics at hand.
Firstly, as base: The majority of the people of Switzerland don’t vote, no matter if it’s an election or a referendum the bourgeoisie is shoving in their faces at every street corner. Their illusions in this parliamentary face-paint on top of the imperialist hellhole of old Switzerland have been dispelled for decades already.
Secondly, as main: Nevertheless, there is an ever so slight decrease in the tendency to boycott referendums, as we can see from the stats of the last three decades. Why? Because the old Swiss state is broadening its campaign to mush demands of the population into referendums, as we can see by the fact that over time they have been including more and more referendums in one round of voting. This way, they also boost the turnout rates for all referendums included in one such round, as all the votes are cast on the same ballot and people who have been tricked into thinking that it’s necessary to vote on one specific referendum tend to also vote on the rest. There is also a mix of topics to vote on in each referendum round, so that all kinds of sectors of the population get drawn in, for example: the climate youth through the CO2 law; the „anti-atomic“ eco-hippies of the 80s and farmers through the drinking water and pesticide initiatives; the entire population, mainly those at higher risk of dying of Covid as well as the anti-Covid consipracy theorists with the Covid-19 law; and finally the petit-bourgeois humanists, lawyers and activists as well as the racist Urschweizer that think every Muslim is a terrorist with the PMT law. Generally, Lenin explained quite well how states of the old type go about things when they raise their efforts to conquer more filled out ballot papers:
„Nothing in our times can be done without elections; nothing can be done without the masses. And in this era of printing and parliamentarism it is impossible to gain the following of the masses without a widely ramified, systematically managed, well-equipped system of flattery, lies, fraud, juggling with fashionable and popular catchwords, and promising all manner of reforms and blessings to the workers right and left — as long as they renounce the revolutionary struggle for the overthrow of bourgeoisie.“V. I. Lenin: “Imperialism and the Split in Socialism”, October 1916.
This must not be allowed to develop further as the old state intensifies its low-intensity conflict for years to come and gets ready to make the leap to low-intensity warfare. The Swiss proletariat, masses and people, especially the proletarian revolutionaries among them, must not hesitate one moment in initiating the daily struggle against their rotten elections and referendums, with its advertisements, posters, newspaper articles and „debate“ freak shows. This is our training grounds for when they start using their fascist freedoms to start shooting us down. Answer conflict with more conflict, warfare with more warfare! And this is not abstract in any way: Seldom does a country so often hold a voting circus than in Switzerland, we have elections and referendums on the municipal, cantonal and national level; there really are no excuses for voting and furthermore for not organizing boycott campaigns and events and actively tearing their precious turnout rates to the ground where they will lie when the day of people’s justice comes!
DOWN WITH THE BOURGEOIS ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUMS!
DIRECT OR NOT, THIS DEMOCRACY – ONLY SERVES THE BOURGEOISIE!
DON’T VOTE, FIGHT AND RESIST INSTEAD!
We can see how the threat of the new anti-„terror“ law (PMT) is being used already as a sledgehammer against struggles and organizations that are even just nominally seen as a threat by the old Swiss state. In connection to the new publicity stunt of XR („Extinction Rebellion“) — who‘s goals we do not share, this however is something that should be discussed in a separate article — who‘ve threatened to „shut down“ Zürich in October if their demands to the government are not fulfilled, vicepresident of the Free / Radical Democratic Party (FDP/RDP, depending on which one of the nations within Switzerland they act within) Philippe Nantermod tweeted: „XR’s threats are unacceptable. They are an attempt to intimidate democratic authorities in order to impose a political agenda that the people refuse. It is a form of terrorism and should be considered as such.“Here we have it from the fascists mouth himself: Shutting down a city economically to push through demands is terrorism, to rebel is not justified, much more those who rebel should be blocked from leaving the country, be enclosed in or excluded from certain places, locked into house arrest etc. etc.! All of this not even a week after the adoption of the PMT, and (as anyone of sane or even insane mind can tell) undoubtably connected to its passing. Nantermod, who besides being a parlamentarian is also a lawyer, however claims to not see the connection between his statement and the anti-„terror“ law, claiming „my point is political, I’m not a prosecutor.“ He further clarifies to „nau.ch“: „‚The definition of terrorism is very broad. But coercion and threats are violence.‘ Even if, Nantermod said, the sender considers his request noble and no explosives are used.“ He then continues: „‚Imagine an Islamist center doing the same thing, also making non-violent threats,‘ he continues. ‚For example, preventing a music festival in Zurich.‘ Everyone would call that terrorism, the FDP vice president is sure.“ His denunciation, besides being peppered with imperialist chauvinism, also carries the target of opening up the greater criminalization of strikes and work stoppages, with a strategic perspective of crushing the proletarian movement, „doing the counterrevolution before the revolution happens“. Even if his threat does not materialize today, what it is preparing is a tomorrow where the similarly denounced „enemies of ‚democracy‘“, „terrorists“, „reds“ , „communists“, will be tortured in their isolation prisons or overcrowded camps, where they will be disappeared and where the best children of the masses will fill up the mass graves. „The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters.“ Philippe Nantermod is one such monster, but neither he nor anyone cannot prevent the inevitable death of imperialism and the birth of the new, red Switzerland, within a new, red world.
9Alberto Fujimori was the genocidal dictator who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000 and unleashed unspeakable horrors under Yankee imperialism’s guidance to crush the people’s war in Peru. His state coup in 1992 initiated the process of restructuring the old Peruvian state which culminated with his deposal and the establishment of the transitional government in 2000.
14Low-intensity warfare is a Yankee development of counter-subversive war; „the series of activities and operations at the lower end of the conflict spectrum, including the use of military or semi-military forces (both combat and non-combat), on the part of an intervening power to influence and force the adversary to accept a particular political-military condition“ whose ultimate aim in general is to crush an armed revolutionary movement by winning the hearts and minds of the people against it and hence isolating it from the people. This usually takes the form of a combination of the following tactics: pitting masses against masses, counterrevolutionary propaganda, specifically targeted operations of psychological warfare („psy-ops“), the training of local reactionary armed forces and own low-level military operations, both combat and non-combat. In our context, we say „low-intensity conflict“ because it has not reached the stage of warfare yet, it is low-intensity warfare without bloodshed (just as politics is war without bloodshed, as Chairman Mao puts forward).
15We draw all our data from the Swiss federal bureau of statistics and the website Statista.
16We consider it indispensable to include this number in the total population, as seasonal workers for example simply are part of the Swiss people since they participate in its economic, political and cultural life. It must be noted that this number is a yearly „average“ made by the old state and does not account for all undocumented temporary residents to this country.
17This number as well as the following two include „foreign Swiss“, people with a Swiss citizenship living abroad who registered to vote. We do not consider them part of the people of Switzerland as they do not participate in its economic or cultural life. Thus, we calculate them out of the equation as best we can (the Swiss federal bureau of statistics has hardly any data on them).
18Friedrich Engels describes Urschweizertum as: „the freedom to be backwards, specifically: […] immobility, […] loyalty unto death to the highest bidder“ (see Friedrich Engels: “The Civil War in Switzerland”, November 1847). Especially the second aspect is strongly expressed in the reactionary united front of the imperialists; while elections and referendums cannot ever be a tool of change for the masses in Switzerland, they can be a tool for securing a larger piece of the cake for the upper strata of society, i.e. the middle bourgeoisie, large peasants, the upper petit-bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy. All of these strata are represented in the federal council through the „Zauberformel“ (an agreement among the bourgeoisie in Switzerland that the biggest political parties representing different interests all get at least one federal council seat). The federal council is where the different upper strata can suck up to Swiss imperialism through their respective parties.
19The Swiss army has an association in the Kosovo, where they have been sending recruits and advisers for 22 years. They also have military advisers for other armies in Mali.