Thursday 16 April 2009

European elections: Am I a revisionist?

The European Parliament has published Graphical material promoting the European elections.

You find e-Banners in 23 languages, logos and postcards. There is a Logo Manual for the technically inclined. New material is promised.


Founding values – political correctness

Downloading the materials is free, but comes attached with conditions of use.

Why do I feel less enthusiastic after reading the conditions?

I freely admit that I am in sympathy with the principles evoked in the Preambles of the treaties forming the Treaty of Lisbon and the founding values in Article 2 of the amended Treaty on European Union (although the EU is far from the effective and democratic union I believe is in the interest of its citizens and the world):

Article 2 TEU

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.


But then I read the variations and elaborations on the theme, and I get a quesy feeling of enforced political correctness:

Use of these communication products is authorised provided that:
• such use is related to the context of the European elections,
• such use is not linked directly or indirectly to a commercial purpose,
• such use is in no way associated with data or information that is of a racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, revisionist, defamatory, insulting, obscene, pornographic or paedophile nature or tending to incite violence, especially racial violence; likely by its vary nature to undermine respect for the dignity of the human being, equal rights of women and men and the protection of children and adolescents; inviting minors to commit illicit or dangerous acts; encouraging others to commit crimes or offences or to consume prohibited substances; inciting suicide; inciting discrimination or hatred of a person or a group of persons on grounds of their origin, membership or non-membership of an ethnic group, a nation, a group, or a specific race or religion; excusing certain crimes (in particular, murder, rape, war crimes and crimes against humanity); contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality;



When I grew up, I read about the Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union hurling accusations of ‘revisionism’ at people deviating from the path of scientific socialism and its correct implementation.

Is the European Parliament about to prohibit such deviations, or has it concocted its own definition of what constitutes the ‘crime’ of revisionism?

As long as I don’t know, I have to count myself among the suspects.

Ralf Grahn


  1. I suppose it's rather this definition (source:wikipedia):
    "Historical revisionism (negationism), a particular form of historical revisionism concerned with the denial of facts accepted by mainstream historians", in particular with regard to the holocaust.

    I suppose that are not a revisionist in this sense...

    I am more "afraid" of the line of the ToU: "contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality;"

    Who ever put this in there, is already acting against accepted principles of morality by keeping this so vague that everything and nothing could be subsumed under this point.

  2. Julien,

    It goes without saying that I am
    contrary to someone's public policy and to someone's accepted principles of morality, as I suppose all of us are, who speak and write freely.

    I left it for the intelligent reader to find, which you did. Who is to judge the acceptable level and compared to what?

    I checked the Wikipedia source you mentioned before writing, but it was just one of many examples.

    In principle any tendency or desire to revise politics, attitudes, etc. qualifies as revisionism according to my dictionary.

    Too much political correctness is nearly as bad as some of the 'crimes' it wants to make disappear.

  3. Hi, Ralf, Julien,

    You're right, "revisionism" is too difficult to define. I'm sure whoever drafted this had only the best of intentions, and it's been included to protect the EU's public image, but it's the wrong approach.

    Instead of trying to protect its image, the EU should put all of their promotional material into the public domain and send it out into the internet. If "revisionists" want to put up a banner advertising the EU elections, then let them. If they want to deface the banner in protest to the EU, then let them do that as well.

    I'd go so far as to say that if anybody can actually find a commercial use for this material, even that should be allowed. If someone's making money by selling postcards advertising the EU elections, then at least they're advertising the elections!

  4. Attaboy, Josef, you caugt my underlying message:

    When the real problems are that the European elections

    a) offer little true choice for EU citizens (of government, engaging top candidates and themes), and

    b)the interest of citizens is catastrophically low, even given the above,

    the powers that be should be grateful for every use and abuse of their precious graphic elements, instead of writing a lot of bureaucratic stuff on politically correct use.

    Both Julien and you belong to the minimal proportion of EU citizens trying to make European integration interesting (as it deserves to be). Keep up the good work!


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