‘Your Vote Can Unite, You Choose’
Campaign against racism in the European Parliament
Press release, 21-05-2014
In the next days citizens all over the EU will vote for a new European Parliament. The elections for the European Parliament from 22-25 May could prove a turning point for the future of the EU. Populist, and racist parties are spreading hate, blaming migrants and minorities for whatever goes wrong, dividing societies in many of the EU member states. This campaign asks all EU citizens to use their right to vote. And we ask all to vote against racism in the European Parliament; to choose for unity, instead of division.
Already these elections have been called historical. The European Parliament elections come in the middle of a crisis that struck Europe hard. Everywhere people have lost their jobs, lost their income, and lost hope. These are circumstances some political parties and movements are trying to take advantage of. Far-right, and racist parties are combining forces and trying to win more seats. They are manipulating peoples’ fears to build support for their dividing policies. Inciting hate against minorities is a classic strategy to gain visibility and win votes, especially in times of economic crisis. Migrants are the easiest targets.
The two largest European anti-racism organisations, ENAR and UNITED for intercultural actions, together with UK based Hope not Hate run a campaign to prevent far-right, racist candidates from being elected. The message of this EU-wide campaign “Your Vote Can Unite” is spread in 28 EU countries and several neighbouring countries. More intensive, local campaigns are organised in Hungary, France, Italy and Greece. The main goal is to motivate people to not stay silent, but use their voting rights.
We want to reach voters in a direct way. In Hungary, campaigners from the organisation Subjective Values go to small villages and ask Roma people to go vote. Campaigners from the young migrants organisation Generation 2.0 in Greece go to friends, family and others and explain why they need to vote. In France, Les Indivisibles produced a special newspaper and video, which are spread in a suburb of Paris. Campaigners from Centro d’Iniziativa per l’Europa del Piemonte in Italy reach out to young people and discuss the importance of the European Parliament elections.
The initiators of the campaign ask citizens to use their right to vote and to choose non-racist candidates. “Many people in the EU do not want parties that spread racism and poison society but they don’t use their voting rights. The public interest for the elections is low. At the same time racist parties do activate their voters, leading to a higher number of seats for far-right, racist parties. That is a bad development. So we ask people to go the ballot box and to vote, to show they care about what happens in their society,” argues Ralph du Long.
The organisers call upon everyone with voting rights to use their vote and not let racists come into the parliament. To choose for unity, instead of division.
Public Launch of EU election Campaign:
Your Vote can Divide or Your Vote can Unite calls to foster democracy/Keeping racist politicians and parties out of the EU parliament
Polis Art Cafe, Athens, Greece, 10th April 2014
At 11am on the 10th of April the `Your Vote can Unite` campaign will be launched at Polis Art Cafe. The Event will bring together the Mayor of Athens, George Kaminis, 94 leaders of organizations from 35 different countries and other honourable guests. During the event the main activities of the campaign will be presented. Followed by a panel discussion on ‘EU elections and minority rights’ The Launch and panel discussion will be hosted/presented by journalist Marilena Kazini.
“It is an important moment for Greece and the whole EU to choose. To strengthen democracy, or to destroy and divide it. Greece is not alone, the EU is facing the same challenges and it is a historical moment to see whether the whole EU will vote for a united society”, – says one of the initiators of the anti-racism campaign ‘Your vote can Unite’, Ralph du Long.
The EU election has on occasion raised the need for this campaign. The elections come in the middle of a crisis that struck Europe hard. Across the continent people are losing their jobs, losing their income, and losing their hopes. These are circumstances some political parties and movements are taking advantage of. Across Europe populists are manipulating peoples’ fears and prejudices to build support for their dividing policies. Inciting hatred against unpopular social groups is a classic strategy to gain visibility and garner votes, especially in times of economic crisis.
The initiators of the campaign call for society to choose candidates responsibly. “Many people all over the EU do not want parties that spread hate and poison society. A society which supports the racism agenda is divisive, unsafe and weaker for every one of us. A fragmented society raises suspicion among its members; a society where no one feels safe”,- argues Ralph du Long.
In order to support society in the election process, campaign activists will address people directly in neighbourhoods, door-to-door, and invite people to vote for unity. The campaign shows particular promise for France, Greece, Italy and Hungary (the main target countries), where there is hope for many innovative aspects and positive surprises. It intends to reach suburbs and areas which are usually forgotten.
This campaign is a cooperation between The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), HOPE not Hate and UNITED for Intercultural Action.
For more information, please, contact Ralph du Long: e- mail.: firstname.lastname@example.org, ph. no +31652314091