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Christian

DC Gets Political

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Perhaps they want to do one of those stories where two heroes meet in uncertain circumstances and inadvertently think they are enemies and end up fighting and then realise they are on the same side and team up to beat the bad guy.

You know, before it's too late.

 

Yes, we all know that the real villain is voter apathy!

 

Note: My comment was meant to be facetious.

 

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(I'm not taken with the argument that "not voting shows commitment" when people who've chosen to do so are as guilty for the election of a fascist clown in London as those who actually voted for the scumbag or put him as their second choice after the BNP.)

The idea that not voting for anybody has the same effect as voting for someone makes no sense.

 

Well, I wouldn't say it has the same effect but, as the quote goes, all that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. Maybe overstating it a bit in these circumstances, but the the general principle is right there. I'd be very much surprised if low turn-out hasn't had as much a hand in the election of BNP councillors in this country as the increase in intolerance and bigotry has.

 

I feel quite strongly that I have to use my vote, whether it's local or national elections.

 

That's me. As for everyone else: vote - don't vote - I don't care. Except to say if you don't vote then don't fucking complain about the elected officials and their policies that will effect you for the next 4 or 5 years.

 

Yes, we all know that the real villain is voter apathy!

Note: My comment was meant to be facetious.

 

Ha! That's what you think! :tongue:

 

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[Well, I wouldn't say it has the same effect but, as the quote goes, all that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. Maybe overstating it a bit in these circumstances, but the the general principle is right there. I'd be very much surprised if low turn-out hasn't had as much a hand in the election of BNP councillors in this country as the increase in intolerance and bigotry has.

Precisely: letting shit like that get elected with the dregs of the vote while you sit on your hands because the labour/libdem/plaid cymru/other candidate isn't quite the man of your dreams is bloody stupid. They're politicians, so of course they're scum, but some are less scummy than others, and those are the ones you should be voting for.

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Unless you're actually taking to the street and complaining and fighting against the system, of course.

Believe it or not, there are elements on the Left who are going to be complaining about the elected officials and their policies, no matter who is elected.

There's certainly a situation in the world now, where when the largest Socialist Party in the Netherlands is taking an anti-immigration stance and talking about the necessity of privatization, where it really has become an issue of politics failing the people.

Why are you letting elected officials make your decisions for you and countless other people?

The first responsibility of a person in a democracy is to organize and resist.

 

I just find a hard time beliving that people are apathetic enough to hold that sort of attitude, Dog. Why are you not out there fighting against this system? It's not a matter of the guy not being "not quite the dream candidate", it's that their polices are antithetical to what I believe in.

If John Kerry's platform was to end the war in Iraq, get rid of the Patriot Act, create a progressive tax system and end loopholes for corporations, then I would support him, as not quite my dream candidate, but one with policies that I would like to see. As it stood, Kerry wanted to do more to win the war in Iraq, was in favour of the Patriot Act, and had no real policies on changing taxes or economic issues.

It's not that he wasn't my dream candidate, it was that he was pretty much George W. Bush without the Narcissism.

 

Actually though, I would have voted in the London elections. My anger at Livingstone and my not living there allowed me to take a harder stance than I actually would have had I lived there. The Fourth International position was to vote for Sian Berry as the first preference vote and Ken Livingstone as the second preference vote. That makes sense to me, and in this instance, I would've followed the Party line.

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Actually though, I would have voted in the London elections. My anger at Livingstone and my not living there allowed me to take a harder stance than I actually would have had I lived there. The Fourth International position was to vote for Sian Berry as the first preference vote and Ken Livingstone as the second preference vote. That makes sense to me, and in this instance, I would've followed the Party line.

So why have you been taking issue with people who've pretty well said the same?

(Oddly, the majority of "spoiled" ballot papers this time out appear to have been not so much spoiled as left the second choice blank. Maybe if a few more people had deigned to list Livingstone as an "oh, allright then" option, we now wouldn't have a suicide blond Roderick Spode running the country's capital. It could also be argued that a lot of the bile felt towards Livingstone lately might have less to do with anything he's actually done over the last four years* than a pretty vicious media battering from the loathsome Evening Standard.)

 

*(Some of which is pretty dodgy, but rather less so than the tirades of racist, bay gashing, misogynistic drivel Johnson spouts whenever somebody points a microphone at him.)

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*(Some of which is pretty dodgy, but rather less so than the tirades of racist, bay gashing, misogynistic drivel Johnson spouts whenever somebody points a microphone at him.)

 

Bay gashing? I have images of an enormous knife cutting away swathes of the San Francisco shoreline.

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That's embarrassing: I've never typed a spoonerism before.

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Actually though, I would have voted in the London elections. My anger at Livingstone and my not living there allowed me to take a harder stance than I actually would have had I lived there. The Fourth International position was to vote for Sian Berry as the first preference vote and Ken Livingstone as the second preference vote. That makes sense to me, and in this instance, I would've followed the Party line.

So why have you been taking issue with people who've pretty well said the same?

(Oddly, the majority of "spoiled" ballot papers this time out appear to have been not so much spoiled as left the second choice blank. Maybe if a few more people had deigned to list Livingstone as an "oh, allright then" option, we now wouldn't have a suicide blond Roderick Spode running the country's capital. It could also be argued that a lot of the bile felt towards Livingstone lately might have less to do with anything he's actually done over the last four years* than a pretty vicious media battering from the loathsome Evening Standard.)

 

*(Some of which is pretty dodgy, but rather less so than the tirades of racist, bay gashing, misogynistic drivel Johnson spouts whenever somebody points a microphone at him.)

 

I must have misunderstood your position. I thought you were taking a negative view of those who support a non-major ticket candidate.

I thought your position was, "Those who voted for Nader, Greens, etc. last election are responsibile for W. Bush getting into office a second time!". Bush stole the election, but that's beside the point. Supporting Kerry was just as unteneable a position from my position.

 

I think the major miscommunication is that I was skipping back and forth between American and British politics in my comments.

The electoral system in England is different, so that you can have a first and second preference vote. That doesn't exist over here.

 

EDIT:Oh, you know what else? I said I didn't vote in the last election, and I figured I must have had a good principled reason for not voting. But, I was heavily involved with the Party for Socialism and Liberation at that time, and I wondered why I wouldn't have voted for their candidate, and I just realized the reason I did not vote in the last election here was that I was not a legal American citizen at the time. So, that explains it.

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That's embarrassing: I've never typed a spoonerism before.

As Jessie's post suggested, if you take San Fran as shorthand for gay culture, it's a pretty good spoonerism.

 

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Very true, Jason.

 

Christian: they don't normally allow a second choice in elections over here (the libdems have been banging on about how there should be proportional representation with ballots allowing second and third choices for as long as they've existed), but for some reason Mayoral elections do. (It'd be interesting to see what different it'd make to the ballots if they did this for the next general election.)

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Damn! People should be fighting for that. It's so sensible.

With that type of system, I would vote for Obama as a second preference, but as it stands I cannot support Obama in any way.

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Yep, that's what the libdems have been saying for the last twenty or thirty years. The main argument against seems to be that it's too complicated for the ignorant peasants who make up the electorate to comprehend (which is ridiculous bollocks when you look at the retarded scumbags who were capable of naming Spode as their second choice for mayor after the BNP candidate...)

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The number of people who did not use their second vote suggests that it is more than the BNP who might be deemed puzzled by the very simple voting process. Around twice Boris's majority in lost votes ...

 

although it has to be said these people are probably the ones who voted for Boris.

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Isn't it totally possible though that some people are so committed to one party or candidate that they chose not to use their second preference vote?

 

The ruling class and their elitism is always so endearing though, isn't it?

"I can't understand why these awful peasants are so worried with material goods. There's so much better to spend your life on." states the upper-class woman from her manse on the hill.

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(I'm not taken with the argument that "not voting shows commitment" when people who've chosen to do so are as guilty for the election of a fascist clown in London as those who actually voted for the scumbag or put him as their second choice after the BNP.)

The idea that not voting for anybody has the same effect as voting for someone makes no sense.

Well, I wouldn't say it has the same effect

...because that is blatantly untrue...

 

but, as the quote goes, all that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. Maybe overstating it a bit in these circumstances, but the the general principle is right there. I'd be very much surprised if low turn-out hasn't had as much a hand in the election of BNP councillors in this country as the increase in intolerance and bigotry has.

Okay, but then why was the BNP's base in those constituencies more energized than its opponents'?

 

 

I feel quite strongly that I have to use my vote, whether it's local or national elections.

For myself, I think it's very important to vote in every election, but I don't believe I have a political or moral duty to cast a vote in any given race.

 

 

That's me. As for everyone else: vote - don't vote - I don't care. Except to say if you don't vote then don't fucking complain about the elected officials and their policies that will effect you for the next 4 or 5 years.

I disagree fervently with that second part: why should anyone not use their right to free speech just because they couldn't stand any of the candidates that the system served up to them?

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Isn't it totally possible though that some people are so committed to one party or candidate that they chose not to use their second preference vote?

It's almost certain.

 

Here in the U.S., we have something that's analogous if not strictly similar: In races where people can vote for multiple candidates, and where multiple seats on a homogenous governmental body are up for grabs (like on a school board), some will only vote for one candidate, so as to not accidentally edge out their favorite by contributing to any other candidate. The name I've heard for this practice is bullet voting.

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That's embarrassing: I've never typed a spoonerism before.

As Jessie's post suggested, if you take San Fran as shorthand for gay culture, it's a pretty good spoonerism.

Some rightwing types really would like to see harm come to the Bay Area because they identify it with gay people.

 

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Believe it or not, there are elements on the Left who are going to be complaining about the elected officials and their policies, no matter who is elected.

I believe it easily: the system here is such that it almost never puts up for a vote far left candidates. But then there are also crankish groups like the too-pure-for-this-world socialists, for whom no existing politcal system or viable candidate could ever come close to their (unattainable) social ideals.

 

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I suppose you could take it that way.

But, I think the position taken by most of these people is that voting for a political candidate is giving away your rights to another person, and that everyone should be taking an equal part in all governmental decisions, rather than allowing others (elites) to make decisions for us.

I can't say that this ideal isn't based in fact, as you have Socialists becoming Social Democrats the more popular they get or Greens becoming neoliberals. Or, look at what's happened to the unions in the United States.

It's the exact reason that the Communists and Anarchists originally decried the Social Democrats. You cannot change the system from within, the system will always change you.

I am a firm believer in direct democracy, and I do not believe it is unattainable, although at this point it is just a dream.

I guess you could say that the fault of the far Left is that many of us don't seem to realize that we have to work in the current system, even though the ultimate goal is to overthrow that system and replace it with something better.

 

But, like I said, I believe if you are a believer in organizing and fighting for what you believe in with the people, always fighting against the government for more rights, that's the best position to take. For many on the far Left, this is the only type of politics, to be involved with the people.

We shouldn't ever grow complacent. The Socialist cause is not to find the perfect golden human and elevate them to the position of godhood so he can rule us wisely and give us everything we need. We're not Leninists or, Marx forbid, Stalinists. The Socialist cause is to be free and rule ourselves.

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I'd be very much surprised if low turn-out hasn't had as much a hand in the election of BNP councillors in this country as the increase in intolerance and bigotry has.

Okay, but then why was the BNP's base in those constituencies more energized than its opponents'?

Because they're out there whipping up unrest and feeding paranoia. Those who have a strong desire for change will always be more vocal and active than those who might complain but are just too fucking apathetic or jaded to do something about it (the same way that many people will complain to the relevant authorities about TV programmes or adverts they don't like, but those who don't care or do like them will raely write in to say "well done"). In this case I believe it's a combination of the BNP supporters being energized, and their opponents' supporters being complacent.

 

 

I feel quite strongly that I have to use my vote, whether it's local or national elections.

For myself, I think it's very important to vote in every election, but I don't believe I have a political or moral duty to cast a vote in any given race.?

 

You don't believe you have either a moral or political duty to vote, but you do think it's important?

I'm confused.

If you don't feel it's your responsible duty then in what way do you feel it's important? I'm not being sarcastic or snidey, I really do want to know.

 

 

That's me. As for everyone else: vote - don't vote - I don't care. Except to say if you don't vote then don't fucking complain about the elected officials and their policies that will effect you for the next 4 or 5 years.

I disagree fervently with that second part: why should anyone not use their right to free speech just because they couldn't stand any of the candidates that the system served up to them?

 

I'm not saying that if someone chooses not to vote they're wrong, just that they shouldn't complain about the government they get.

I do understand the point you're trying to make, but if they can't stand any of the candidates presented to them, and they still feel strongly enough to complain about what is provided for them (and voted for by the majority*), then they obviously don't believe there is anyone who represents their views. Correct?

 

If that's the case get up there and fucking stand for election. Seriously. If someone is just going to fucking complain that there is no-one who represents their views and are just waiting on some mystical "perfect candidate" who is an identical mirror of their beliefs to appear before they can be bothered to get off their arse and vote then maybe they should stand themselves instead of not doing anything but still whinge about it.

 

 

*of course I realise that if someone get's 40% of the vote they don't have a proper "majority" but they may still have the most votes.

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That's the reason why I have a problem with bourgeois democracy. It teaches the people to be complacent on votes. If you truly believe that the only way you have to be involved with the political system or show your opinion is to show up at a polling booth every so often for a few minutes and then standing back and either smiling or complaining while the elites are in office making your decisions for you, then there is a very serious problem.

Voting is a very small part of a democracy.

 

Now, voting can be important. Why? Because living in somewhat of a democracy is better than living in a a totalitarian society. It's better to vote for neoliberal guy A or kinder, gentler neoliberal guy or outside the box non-media darling candidate guy than to have absolutely no choice. World history has shown us it is easier to force change through a system based on democracy than one based totally on authoritarianism.

 

Now, are some people apathetic? Sure, they are. And, I'm not going to stand up for those people. That is not my point.

But, I've known Anarchists who refuse to vote who are far more committed than myself or anyone else I know, who spend a good portion of their life involved in organizing and protesting.

And, I feel if you're going to say those people have no right to complain, when they are ACTUALLY trying to do something, because they choose not to vote, there is a real problem with priorities.

The State is not going to do anything for you. Never once has the State done anything for anyone. It is the people who force change through popular will, and popular will does not come from saying, "I really like this candidate! Maybe he'll do something for me!".

 

And, frankly, it's just going to get worse, and I hate to take a moral judgmental stance, but I am really tired of that apathetic attitude by people. As the State continues to fail us more and more, we need to be ready to fight for our needs and our rights.

 

Oh, and by the way, no, I do not think I know better. I think my beliefs are better, but I do not think I am some sort of all-knowing demigod who can fix the problems for the people, and I think anyone who takes a step back and decides on that position is very dangerous.

I think the people know best. The people working in their own benefit will create the largest good for the largest number of people.

But, yes, I do think the people who are taking the stance you describe should be joining and working directly with a Party that is democratically based, and if they can't take the time to get organized, you're right, they really have no right to complain.

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Voting is a very small part of a democracy.

It's actually a very big part of a democracy (like the one they had in Athens, if you were one of the comparatively small number of male Athenians who actually got to vote, of course), but it's more of an excuse for a change of guard in the oligarchy under the kind of representational system popular in the western world. Given the number of people in this system who can't be bothered to vote once every four years, radicalising the system would likely still produce an oligarchy who ran everything, but then they'd be unelected as well. (Well, so's the current American oligarch, but you take my point.)

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Well, yeah. Obviously I overstated my position. I meant "voting should be a small part in our current system". Direct Democracy is based on voting, and I base my conception of democracy of the modern form of democracy that was supposed to spring from the French Revolution (what our Liberal form of democracy is supposed to be based on), but which was immediately bastardized, which is based in the voting system, so yes, voting is a large part of a true democracy, but it is still a part.

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It's definitely an important part, but it's also too much effort for a lot of people, which is why the historical efforts to make it possible for everybody to vote on everything quickly ran aground.

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Cause and effect are backwards there.

It wasn't that the nice leaders wanted everyone to play, but the people were too lazy, so the leaders sucked it up. It was that the leaders immediately betrayed the concept. Within France, women didn't even get to vote until 1945, something that was supposed to be guaranteed. I mean, even just a small issue like that was immediately betrayed.

It was the separation of State and public that has led to the fact that people don't care to, or even think, they should get involved anymore.

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