5

At the end of 2017, Romanian Parliament tried to make controversial changes to criminal laws and other laws that might severely influence justice independence, leading to protests and external warnings:

Inside the Parliament, the second opposition party (Save Romania Party - about 9% in both Chambers) tried to fight adopting these changes in an unusual way, as described in this article:

"I offered books to the PSD senators: ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ by Orwell. Mrs. Ecaterina Andronescu, Mr. Bodog, Mr. Brăiloiu threw the books on the floor, and the two gentlemen wanted to prove that their vocabulary is full of slang."

The video of this action became viral.

Having a small number of parliamentarians (less than 10%) could not influence the leading parties adopting of the laws (they have more than 50% in Parliament), but I assume that this action might influence how some people see the Parliament members.

I am wondering if this kind of action has a name. I am thinking about "guerrilla politics", since this a asymmetrical fight (small opposition party vs. solid coalition in power).

Question: Are there examples of "guerrilla politics" being effective in an European country?

By effective I mean that a small party manages to obtain significantly more votes in the subsequent elections or even wining the elections / being part of a coalition in power.

  • 4
    "a small party manages to obtain significantly more votes in the subsequent elections" - this happens all the time, with or without "guerrilla" politics. Please clarify your definition of what "guerrilla" is exactly. – JonathanReez Dec 29 '17 at 11:18
  • @JonathanReez - by small party I refer to one not being the main opposition party or having less than 10% of total parliament members. I expect that the main opposition party to frequently gain power. By "guerilla" I refer to small actions targeting to erode the parties in power like the example I have provided, since a small party cannot gather votes to directly oppose a solid majority. – Alexei Dec 29 '17 at 11:22
  • Could you be more general about what kind of actions by a small parliament faction you would consider "guerilla politics" and which you would not? The way the question is currently written, one could either interpret it as any case where a party first got a small number of seats in one election and was then able to increase their share significantly in the next (by whatever means), or it could be interpreted as just covering the technique of using symbolic gifts to provoke their opponents. – Philipp Dec 29 '17 at 12:58
  • @Philipp - "guerilla politics" - I am thinking about small actions like the one described, encouraging street protests against major legislative changes, decently provoking politicians so that people see how they really are (poor education, lack of morality etc.). I exclude all means that involve a large amount of money (e.g. large media campaigns) or a large political infrastructure (e.g. party branches in all cities, including the small ones, many mayors). – Alexei Dec 29 '17 at 13:19
4

Nearly every major party in every country started off as a small party. In the UK, the Labour Party started off as a branch of the Trade Union movement at the end of the 19th century. They organised strikes, street protests in the 1910s and 1920s, they first gained power as a coalition member in 1924, and (after a couple of splits and a period in a national government during the war) gain power in 1945.

Fast forward 100 years, and Macron in France used Social Media to build a presidential campaign that took him to the Élysée in a few months. He created videos of himself "flipping" a bottle, apparently to generate clicks and name recognition. He got people at rallies to tweet their support to their followers. This was done without a party infrastructure. Is this "guerilla politics"? I don't know but it was super-effective for Macron.

  • Let's assume that Labour Party became meaningful in 1900 ("Khaki election"), so about 24 years were needed to gain power. I also found this: Mussolini-led fascist party gained power in 1922, three years after having been formed. – Alexei Dec 30 '17 at 19:03
  • I am wondering if there are any recent (after 1990) such political changes. – Alexei Dec 30 '17 at 19:05
  • Macron in France, and the En Marche movement. – James K Dec 30 '17 at 21:31
  • Yes, I read about him after posting the comment. He/his party seems to fit the OP. I am not sure the about the financial part, though, as he received lots of donations before becoming President / his party wining absolute majority. – Alexei Dec 30 '17 at 21:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.