Voting is Still Wrong

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Cueball Cueball's picture
Voting is Still Wrong

Quote:
Quote:
KenS wrote:

Voting is wrong, and parties suck.

And I'm not being facetious or sarcastic. I understand the longer argument behind that.

There is still the question of what is to be done about it beyond 'outing' and shunning the posers.

 

KenS wrote:

 

 

.... I would still like to see a 'higher' / more general level explication from Cueball about the connection between the 'raw' [unformed] phenomena of non-voting and some kind of movement or whatever you want to call more intentional activism.

Cueball made some comments along those lines upthread. I asked some questions about those. If you don't like the questions, go for a blank slate or pick up from what you have said already.

Well from what I know of you. You could take a few simple steps. The first step is to annouce to the NDP that you refuse to vote in any upcoming elections, until the NDP make electoral reform plank in its official platform, including economic disinsentives that make it difficult for individuals and other organizations to develop electoral profilce. That said, the organization itself might be useful, so there is no need to turn in your party card. In fact, you should promote the idea that the NDP should take a direct roll in organizing and supporting extra-party activties, and start working on committees directly involved with community activism that interest you, and seeing what you can do to get the party to give concrete support to non-party progressive organizations, while observing and promoting the position of a principled non-voter.

 

From here: Voting Is Wrong

Benoit

When you invite a lot of people for a feast, you are not eager to compute the rate of participation. Likewise, publishing participation rates gives exposure to non-voters and they don’t deserve any.

Cueball Cueball's picture

You seem to be giving me a lot of attention.

Benoit

I say to me, perhaps he (you) is just a kid who needs to be taken by the hand or else possessed by some bizarre phantasms that need to be cured.

Cueball Cueball's picture

And I think you are an egomaniac with delussions of grandeur. For one thing talking to yourself in third person in public is often taken as a sign of imbalance.

One thing about stupid people, is that they are often overly impressed with their own intellectual abilities, which seem sagacious to them in the light of the huge effort of mind it takes to come to the most banal conclusions. Hanah Arendt, whom you have referred to before but clearly don't understand, made a point of looking deeply into the results of the toxic blend of banality, ego, and the will to impose "the stupid" (reified as an ideological totalitarian absolute) upon others using the force of the state, interogating the idea that it is the imposition of the ideological absolute that is the penulitmate mediocrity that encompasses the sum total of the banality of the whole, regardless of the banner under which it operates.

Fidel

Cueball wrote:

In fact no. Losing legitimacy has been the fudamental event behind numerous movements world wide. For example, the Soviet Union, where compulsory voting was mated to a system similar to the one we have here where official state organs determined who could be selected as candidates, collapsed because it no longer had authority to govern. All governments need the aquiesence of a substantial part of the population in order to be able to govern.

Russian economist Stanislav Menshikov agrees in general with Canadian Fred Weir and American David Kotz that dissolution of the USSR was carried out illegally in 1991.  Dismantling of the Soviets, the very institutions which could have made democratizing the FSU possible, was carried out in part of a larger"revolution from above" by Yeltsin and his Euro-American backers. Russians and very many citizens of the USSR never asked for western style "neoliberal" capitalism, only that Soviet socialism be reformed and democratized. And just for comparison today, even Russia's PR system with stiff 7% minimum threshold for political party recognition would be considered more democratic than Canada's dated first past the post Westminster system as far as Canada's Green Party is concerned.

KenS

A suggestion Cueball, that if you think Benoit posts fluff you don't need to reply. I doubt if anyone would notice.

As it is, if in one of the serial replies of the exchange you happened to say something of general utility, I'd probably not have read it.

KenS

Cueball wrote:

Quote:

KenS wrote:

.... I would still like to see a 'higher' / more general level explication from Cueball about the connection between the 'raw' [unformed] phenomena of non-voting and some kind of movement or whatever you want to call more intentional activism.

Cueball made some comments along those lines upthread. I asked some questions about those. If you don't like the questions, go for a blank slate or pick up from what you have said already.

 

Well from what I know of you. You could take a few simple steps. The first step is to annouce to the NDP that you refuse to vote in any upcoming elections, until the NDP make electoral reform plank in its official platform, including economic disinsentives that make it difficult for individuals and other organizations to develop electoral profilce. That said, the organization itself might be useful, so there is no need to turn in your party card. In fact, you should promote the idea that the NDP should take a direct roll in organizing and supporting extra-party activties, and start working on committees directly involved with community activism that interest you, and seeing what you can do to get the party to give concrete support to non-party progressive organizations, while observing and promoting the position of a principled non-voter.

 

Thanks for the suggestion of what I as an NDP member could do. But I've been asking about what guides your politics, strategy, whatever.

 Like I said, the formulation "voting is wrong, parties suck," while abbreviated does seem to be in line with what you have said.

The longer form being about the various institutional reasons that a commitment to party politics, while you might allow is a legitimate progressive activity, as far as you are concerned such commitments are part of the obstacles to change. We are best off cutting loose from political parties.

Even if I haven't given it full justice just now, you've made the negative critique clear in this thread.

My questions have been about what kind of movement that is where you locate yourself- outside of political parties- YOU see making a start at overcoming all this. So I'll repeat my questions from the earlier thread.

 

Cueball wrote:

"So start a movement Cueball. Nothing is stopping you. It would be a good way to put your words, thoughts into concrete action. I'm sure there are lots of folks who would be interested in joining."

They already have. More every election.

 

Ignoring the baiting challenge, the relevance is in your reply.

 Are the increasing numbers of non-voters the conditions for a movement, or are they the movement itself? [in process maybe?]

Because you did also say "building a movement that formalizes the act of not-voting, as a clear political statement, will actually give not-voting political weight." And clearly we have seen no formalization yet.

Because you did also say:

Cueball wrote:

Losing legitimacy has been the fudamental event behind numerous movements world wide. For example, the Soviet Union, where compulsory voting was mated to a system similar to the one we have here where official state organs determined who could be selected as candidates, collapsed because it no longer had authority to govern. All governments need the aquiesence of a substantial part of the population in order to be able to govern.

This change did not require the existance of a formulated political revolutionary movement, with a program and a policy, beyond the general will that the system need to be more accesible and representative.

 

Obviously it doesn't have to be revolutionary to be a movement. And it may not even have to be explicit to be a movement. But what is lacking in your explanation- both reference to electoral politics in Canada and the complete collapse of governing legitimacy in the Soviet Union- is how there is anything more than a shunning.

And as said before: If you don't like the questions, go for a blank slate, or do your own follow-up on your original comments.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I dunno Ken. Any ideas?

KenS

In other words...

 

I like criticising the politics of others.

Critiquing the severe limitations of others' politics is how I define my own politics. Can't get enough of that.

I wouldn't want to identify to the folks I endlessly criticise what my own politics are.

[Or you only have a vague idea of your own politics beyond critique. Juest guessing which of those it is.]

KenS

And for the record, had you identified your politics I would have let it be.

I asked the questions above because you made comments that I thought I'd understand where you are coming from if you explained or elaborated.

Once you explained enough that I understood, very likely it would be something I have fundamental differences with. If so, for me it goes into the "agree to disagree category".... and I don't generally see any point in discussion on the particular topic once I realize that.

Mojoroad1

KenS wrote:

In other words...

 

I like criticising the politics of others.

Critiquing the severe limitations of others' politics is how I define my own politics. Can't get enough of that.

I wouldn't want to identify to the folks I endlessly criticise what my own politics are.

[Or you only have a vague idea of your own politics beyond critique. Juest guessing which of those it is.]

 

Bingo.

Cueball Cueball's picture

KenS wrote:

And for the record, had you identified your politics I would have let it be.

I asked the questions above because you made comments that I thought I'd understand where you are coming from if you explained or elaborated.

Once you explained enough that I understood, very likely it would be something I have fundamental differences with. If so, for me it goes into the "agree to disagree category".... and I don't generally see any point in discussion on the particular topic once I realize that.

Presuming objection is not in my mind a really good starting place for a productive discussion, imo.

KenS wrote:

In other words...

 

I like criticising the politics of others.

Critiquing the severe limitations of others' politics is how I define my own politics. Can't get enough of that.

I wouldn't want to identify to the folks I endlessly criticise what my own politics are.

[Or you only have a vague idea of your own politics beyond critique. Juest guessing which of those it is.]

 No. In other words I am doing an estimate on materials, and co-ordinating a job right now, and don't have time to getting into a lengthy post about organizing.

So, from the premise I have outlined and from the suggestions I have made previously, why not envisage a way that you personally could use the organizational strength of the NDP to further facilitate the development of a grass roots movement, beyond cattle call that happens every four years.

Or, I guess you could talk about me some more.

Benoit

Cueball wrote:
 

Hanah Arendt, whom you have referred to before but clearly don't understand, made a point of looking deeply into the results of the toxic blend of banality, ego, and the will to impose "the stupid" (reified as an ideological totalitarian absolute) upon others using the force of the state, interogating the idea that it is the imposition of the ideological absolute that is the penulitmate mediocrity that encompasses the sum total of the banality of the whole, regardless of the banner under which it operates.

Hannah Arendt was rescued from Nazism by the United States. She would never have spitted on their democratic process like you do.

KenS

 

"Or, I guess you could talk about me some more."

 

Like you said, don't make presumptions.

Don't presume I wouldn't be satisfied with a treatment of my substantive questions that follow from your own comments.

Given the aggregate of time you put into posts even now, my first inclination is to be skeptical about the lack of time. This does after all come after a few blowoffs and smart allecky diversions. You could have said in the first place that you'll give it consideration later when you have more time.

But on the other hand, the vast majority of your posting on Babble is critiquing the politics of others, which likely you can do with 5% of your attention. I can understand that it might be more of a challenge explaining yourself.

If this is more of a challenge, it can wait.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Benoit wrote:
Cueball wrote:
 

Hanah Arendt, whom you have referred to before but clearly don't understand, made a point of looking deeply into the results of the toxic blend of banality, ego, and the will to impose "the stupid" (reified as an ideological totalitarian absolute) upon others using the force of the state, interogating the idea that it is the imposition of the ideological absolute that is the penulitmate mediocrity that encompasses the sum total of the banality of the whole, regardless of the banner under which it operates.

Hannah Arendt was rescued from Nazism by the United States. She would never have spitted on their democratic process like you do.

Hanah Arendt was very critical of "democracy" and how it was practiced in the USA, not only in the in realm of how systemic prejudice operated to marginalize people of colour, but in fact wrote scathingly about how "democracy" was laid out in the constitution of the United States.

Quote:
 “mistake civil rights for political freedom, or to equate these preliminaries of civilized government with the very substance of a free republic, For political freedom, generally speaking, means the right to be a participator in government' or it means nothing”.

-- Hanna Arendt

She in fact proposed a completely alternate system of democractic process that she calle "Council  Democracy" as replacement for "representative Democracy."

In other words, it is not I who "spitted on" Arendt but you who are spitting upon her by misrepresnting her views, with your uniformed bastardizations.

Benoit

Cueball wrote:
She in fact proposed a completely alternate system of democractic process that she calle "Council  Democracy" as replacement for "representative Democracy."

Guest what? Council democracy is a close cousin of deliberative democracy.

Cueball Cueball's picture

KenS wrote:

 

"Or, I guess you could talk about me some more."

 

Like you said, don't make presumptions.

Don't presume I wouldn't be satisfied with a treatment of my substantive questions that follow from your own comments.

Given the aggregate of time you put into posts even now, my first inclination is to be skeptical about the lack of time. This does after all come after a few blowoffs and smart allecky diversions. You could have said in the first place that you'll give it consideration later when you have more time.

But on the other hand, the vast majority of your posting on Babble is critiquing the politics of others, which likely you can do with 5% of your attention. I can understand that it might be more of a challenge explaining yourself.

If this is more of a challenge, it can wait.

Don't expect me to do your thinking for you. I am more than happy to chat this up some more later, but within this thread, and the last I have either directly or indirectly answered your questions.

In short form, I have stated that I think political activity in the realm of electoral politics, how it is practiced in Canada is a waste of time. The reasons I have outlined variously before. I have proposed that progressive organizations, and persons would be better able to confront the issues at hand by engaging in community based organizing, in spite of the corrupted electoral system, and in favour building up local democratic organizations, toward the purpose of shifting the political agenda to what is quixotically called "the left." This includes demanding a democratization of the electoral system, as part and parcel of the demand.

The shape of the actual movement, in its precise form would be determined by agenda's set by the communities themselves, and that is a "first principle". The specific details are not for me to determine, though I have laid out some of them previously in these thread, especially those that demand the full enfranchisment of all citizens in the country, so that the electoral system might actually be used as a tool for progressive change, as opposed to entrenching the power of the state sponsored political organs, and the interests they serve.

 Now, I have to go purchase:

 

Rebar:

 

10 -- 10mm rebar at 8’

12 -- 10mm rebar at 6’

3 – 15mm rebar at 6’

6 – 10mm rebar at 3’

Wire

 

Insulation

3 -- 2 x 8

3 – 2 x 8

5 – 2 x 8

And a quantity of plywood, which has yet to be determined.

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

First of all, I am not 100% a fan of all of Arendt's ideas. Though I do think she contributed a great deal.

However, I do know that whatever it is that you mean by "Deliberative Democracy" and what Arendt meant by "Council Democracy" she did not demand compliance through authoritarian measures such as forced voting, and that participation in such councils was concieved of as a voluntary act, and that she also never berated the press for not witholding election results. Moreover, you just made the assertion that Arendt did not "spit upon" American democratic institutions because they "saved her", which is a bit of an exageraition, when in fact she basically said the US constitution was a load of shit.

I am just correcting your misrepresentation of the facts, and your appeal to her legacy but in a fascist form.

In other words if you really believed that your ideas and hers were related, the last thing you would be doing is demanding that people "vote" in US elections, or advocating mandatory voting of any kind. I don't think she rejected voting in such elections, but Aerndt clearly recognized the problems, and was very clear about demanding an alternative to a system that she viewed as totally inadequate to the name "democracy."

In fact she called for the end of "suffrage as we know it today."

Benoit

Arendt and I are thinking exactly the same: that is, if a political system is not able to attract forcefully all people to participate in those Councils, then Council democracy will end up being controlled, like what is the situation today in our representative democracy, only by those who have a lot of leisure time, which are the elites.

http://www.athene.antenna.nl/ARCHIEF/NR05-Arendt/SITTON-Hannah%20Arendts%20Argument.html

Cueball Cueball's picture

Regardless, asserting that full participation is an essential aspect of making the democratic process work, is not the same as saying that the press should be silent on election results, and that voters should be forced to the polls like cattle. I defy you to find for me any quotation from Arendt where she delves into either of your totalitatian concepts. 

In fact, from the outset the system was designed to protect that control, and from the inception of the British parlimentary systems non-voters have asserted thier right to be included in the process, by exerting preassure from outside of the electoral process. Do you actually believe that the Queen just decided one day to expand those elligible for particiapting in the house of commons, because it was just and right? Far from it. In fact the gradual reform of the democratic process has been engineered almost entirely by non-voters through exerting preassure from outside the existing democratic process, from which they were excluded, largely because of their lesser financial standing. The same situation persists today, if not explicitly, but implicitly through the mechanisms in the election act.

Electioneering is still, after all these years primarily the domain of the wealthy and the middle class, and the election act enforces this state of affairs. And not suprisingly it is those persons who are exclude from participating in the "debate" as participants, who are the least likely to vote.

I have asserted that the system is already "controlled", and because it is controlled it has been corrupted to the end entrenching that control to an ever greater extent with each election. I have outlined how this is done, using economic disinsentives that prohibit participation in the "debate" from the lower stratas of society, for instance by proposing themselves as candidates. Electioneering is still, after all these years primarily the domain of the wealthy and the middle class, and the election act enforces this state of affairs. Participating in the "debate" is an essential aspect of Arendt's thesis on "Council Democracy", but you ask that persons must authorize a system which relegates them to mere voters, who voice opinions based on "sentiment", as Arendt's would have it in her critique of the "representative" system.

You have opined that you would like to see people forced into a scheme that Arendt explicitly rejects, while at the same time spouting a lot of whimsical, yet frightening neo-Jungian social Psychobabble, where ones relative attitude to your ideology, and the society you wish to master, can be interpretted as psychological illness that can be cured. Phantasms indeed! This type of thinking has more in common with the bizarre social experiments conducted in Pol Pot's massive re-education camp, than with Hannah Arendt, whose legacy you wish to exploit to your fascist end.

KenS

Cueball wrote:

Don't expect me to do your thinking for you.

Thats rich. Diversion layered on diversion. First you try to give me advice on what I could do when I ask you to explain your politics. Then when I thank you for said advice and ask you again to explain your politics, I'm asking you to do my thinking.

Cueball wrote:
  I am more than happy to chat this up some more later, but within this thread, and the last I have either directly or indirectly answered your questions.

No you did not. But in what follows there is at least some sort of indirect referenece to your earlier comments I asked you to elaborate on.

Cueball wrote:

In short form, I have stated that I think political activity in the realm of electoral politics, how it is practiced in Canada is a waste of time. The reasons I have outlined variously before. I have proposed that progressive organizations, and persons would be better able to confront the issues at hand by engaging in community based organizing, in spite of the corrupted electoral system, and in favour building up local democratic organizations, toward the purpose of shifting the political agenda to what is quixotically called "the left." This includes demanding a democratization of the electoral system, as part and parcel of the demand.

The shape of the actual movement, in its precise form would be determined by agenda's set by the communities themselves, and that is a "first principle". The specific details are not for me to determine, though I have laid out some of them previously in these thread, especially those that demand the full enfranchisment of all citizens in the country, so that the electoral system might actually be used as a tool for progressive change, as opposed to entrenching the power of the state sponsored political organs, and the interests they serve.

That at least counts as an answer idenifying your politics. Its kind of thin gruel compared to asking for elaboration on those earlier comments of yours.

But you did say it was a short form. Apparently a consequence of that time consuming construction management heavy lifting.

 

Cueball wrote:

Now, I have to go purchase:

 

Rebar:

 

10 -- 10mm rebar at 8’

12 -- 10mm rebar at 6’

3 – 15mm rebar at 6’

6 – 10mm rebar at 3’

Wire

 

Insulation

3 -- 2 x 8

3 – 2 x 8

5 – 2 x 8

And a quantity of plywood, which has yet to be determined.

 

 

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

I try and stay out of the mud you know. Wouldn't you? But sometimes its necessary.

So, aside from that cheap shot, Ken, we have yet another hodge podge of vituperative attacks and no content, neatly wrapped up in a question which is not specific enough to get a grip on. I give you specifics about what I think you can do and you are offended, I am talk generally about theory and you ask me for specifics.

So, what precisely is the question, and from which post or statment of mine does it refer. By which I mean not statements of mine that you have extrapolated from what I have said, but what actual statements of mine do you want clarified, in a quote from me if you please?

KenS

You could add this to the list of things it would be neat to see some elaboration on.

Cueball wrote:

In fact, from the outset the system was designed to protect that control, and from the inception of the British parlimentary systems non-voters have asserted thier right to be included in the process, by exerting preassure from outside of the electoral process. Do you actually believe that the Queen just decided one day to expand those elligible for particiapting in the house of commons, because it was just and right?

My questions again are on the nature of movements [or conditions for, whatever]. There is lots of elaboration on the negative critique. Obviously it would be inconsistent at the least to lay out what such movements would be like. Like you said- "to be determined" is one of the organizing principles.

But you have made a number of comments about the role of 'non-voters', which is what I've been asking you to elaborate on. The earlier ones I asked you to elaborate on were about de-legitimizing a system that then collapses [happened in collapse of Soviet Union, looking to it here?].

The agitation from the inception of the British parliamentary process by non-voters was to be included in the parliamentary process.

You call them all 'non-voters'. But they seem like pretty different types of agents. So far it reads like some aphorisms.

Some connecting of dots maybe?

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

People who were previously disenfranchised are usually the motivators of their own enfranchisement. Or are you thinking that women became members of the electorate, simply because men thought is was a good idea?

KenS

My previous post crossed with yours- it isn't explicitly a reply to your post above it.

So here for the third time I post the questions.

KenS wrote:
Cueball wrote:

Quote:

KenS wrote:

.... I would still like to see a 'higher' / more general level explication from Cueball about the connection between the 'raw' [unformed] phenomena of non-voting and some kind of movement or whatever you want to call more intentional activism.

Cueball made some comments along those lines upthread. I asked some questions about those. If you don't like the questions, go for a blank slate or pick up from what you have said already.

 

Well from what I know of you. You could take a few simple steps. The first step is to annouce to the NDP that you refuse to vote in any upcoming elections, until the NDP make electoral reform plank in its official platform, including economic disinsentives that make it difficult for individuals and other organizations to develop electoral profilce. That said, the organization itself might be useful, so there is no need to turn in your party card. In fact, you should promote the idea that the NDP should take a direct roll in organizing and supporting extra-party activties, and start working on committees directly involved with community activism that interest you, and seeing what you can do to get the party to give concrete support to non-party progressive organizations, while observing and promoting the position of a principled non-voter.

 

Thanks for the suggestion of what I as an NDP member could do. But I've been asking about what guides your politics, strategy, whatever.

 Like I said, the formulation "voting is wrong, parties suck," while abbreviated does seem to be in line with what you have said.

The longer form being about the various institutional reasons that a commitment to party politics, while you might allow is a legitimate progressive activity, as far as you are concerned such commitments are part of the obstacles to change. We are best off cutting loose from political parties.

Even if I haven't given it full justice just now, you've made the negative critique clear in this thread.

My questions have been about what kind of movement that is where you locate yourself- outside of political parties- YOU see making a start at overcoming all this. So I'll repeat my questions from the earlier thread.

 

Cueball wrote:

"So start a movement Cueball. Nothing is stopping you. It would be a good way to put your words, thoughts into concrete action. I'm sure there are lots of folks who would be interested in joining."

They already have. More every election.

 

Ignoring the baiting challenge, the relevance is in your reply.

 Are the increasing numbers of non-voters the conditions for a movement, or are they the movement itself? [in process maybe?]

Because you did also say "building a movement that formalizes the act of not-voting, as a clear political statement, will actually give not-voting political weight." And clearly we have seen no formalization yet.

Because you did also say:

Cueball wrote:

Losing legitimacy has been the fudamental event behind numerous movements world wide. For example, the Soviet Union, where compulsory voting was mated to a system similar to the one we have here where official state organs determined who could be selected as candidates, collapsed because it no longer had authority to govern. All governments need the aquiesence of a substantial part of the population in order to be able to govern.

This change did not require the existance of a formulated political revolutionary movement, with a program and a policy, beyond the general will that the system need to be more accesible and representative.

 

Obviously it doesn't have to be revolutionary to be a movement. And it may not even have to be explicit to be a movement. But what is lacking in your explanation- both reference to electoral politics in Canada and the complete collapse of governing legitimacy in the Soviet Union- is how there is anything more than a shunning.

And as said before: If you don't like the questions, go for a blank slate, or do your own follow-up on your original comments.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, again you have reiterated many of the extrapolated ideas that you are associating with what I have said. This is why I asked you to directly reference what things you wanted clarified, specifically, not the editorialized version that you have tried to insert in my mouth -- for example, the word "shunning" does not appear in anything I wrote.

Nor does it seem that your editorialized version is based on any feasible variant of the meaning of what I wrote. For example, I didn't suggest that you shun the NDP, I in fact, encouraged you to use your connection to the NDP as a tool for supporting grass roots community based activism, as opposed to wasting time on the electoral process. I also posed that you say that you will not vote until such a time as the NDP seriously takes up the challenge of supporting changes in the Elections Act, that are unreasonably prohibative to the full enfranchisement of all citzens, regardless of their economic ability. 

That isn't shunning that is suggesting you modify your relationship to the NDP. And it was also a direct appeal to formalize your objection to voting, as a political act -- I don't think its necessary for everyone, to have everyone elses email address for a movement to exist.

Now, are you going to address my previous point about womens suffrage and how it the movement came to be succesful, given that women, were not voters, and excluded from participating in the electoral system?

KenS

Sheesh.

Where did I say I thought you were suggesting I shun the NDP? I said that your advice as to what I should do is irrelevant- I'm asking you about your politics.

And if you think I've 'extrapolated your ideas' or am coughing up an 'editorialized version' then like I have said every time: "If you don't like the questions, go for a blank slate, or do your own follow-up on your original comments."

The text of your comments are there every time I've asked you to comment on them.

 Translation: "The comments look interesting. But I don't understand where they fit. If my questions about them are not helpful, then just follow up on your comments however you want."

The only thing I would add is that I keep seeing reference to non-voters as agents obviously of some kind of importance. But if following up on that isn't going to get you anywhere, forget it.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Re: I demonstrated several instances of "non-voters as agents obviously of some kind of importance":

Cueball wrote:
People who were previously disenfranchised are usually the motivators of their own enfranchisement. Or are you thinking that women became members of the electorate, simply because men thought is was a good idea?

Benoit

Cueball wrote:

In fact, from the outset the system was designed to protect that control, and from the inception of the British parlimentary systems non-voters have asserted thier right to be included in the process, by exerting preassure from outside of the electoral process. Do you actually believe that the Queen just decided one day to expand those elligible for particiapting in the house of commons, because it was just and right? Far from it. In fact the gradual reform of the democratic process has been engineered almost entirely by non-voters through exerting preassure from outside the existing democratic process, from which they were excluded, largely because of their lesser financial standing. The same situation persists today, if not explicitly, but implicitly through the mechanisms in the election act.

To me a legislation mandating people to go to the poll would be the best way to acknowledge, pay respect and build on the past combat of these frustrated and unwilling non-voters.

Fidel

So apparently we don't need minimum wage or child benefits updating and indexed to inflation, and millions of jaded Canadians who don't vote apparently don't need proportional democracy. What they need to do is sit back and abstain from voting every four years for good measure, and let the conservatives have their 22 percent dictatorship in Ottawa and hope for a visit fromthe lady of the lake in the mean time. The struggle for democracy continues.

Benoit

A minimum wage updating and indexed to inflation is precisely the kind of candy the elites give to the mass to keep them happy with the status quo.

Fidel

Benoit wrote:

A minimum wage updating and indexed to inflation is precisely the kind of candy the elites give to the mass to keep them happy with the status quo.

Now you're joking, right?

KenS

Cueball wrote:

Re: I demonstrated several instances of "non-voters as agents obviously of some kind of importance":

You've recounted a few descriptions of instances of the relevance of non-voters as agents.

You know my questions are about the potential for a movement- following your two comments which I have numerous times quouted and asked if you wanted to follow up on:

..the first being the increasing numbers of non voters here. The second being the reference to the collapse of legitimacy in the Soviet Union.

Benoit

Fidel wrote:
Benoit wrote:

A minimum wage updating and indexed to inflation is precisely the kind of candy the elites give to the mass to keep them happy with the status quo.

Now you're joking, right?

 

- Henry Paulson Jr. pocketed half a billion US dollars the day he quits Goldman Sachs to become United States Treasury Secretary.

- Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, criticized the US tax system for allowing him to pay a lower rate than his secretary and his cleaner.

 

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

KenS wrote:
Cueball wrote:

Re: I demonstrated several instances of "non-voters as agents obviously of some kind of importance":

You've recounted a few descriptions of instances of the relevance of non-voters as agents.

You know my questions are about the potential for a movement- following your two comments which I have numerous times quouted and asked if you wanted to follow up on:

..the first being the increasing numbers of non voters here. The second being the reference to the collapse of legitimacy in the Soviet Union.

 So, I think we agree that socially positive action does not in fact require participation in the electoral process, such as it is, or even participation in the organizations of authorized power. I would argue, actually, that historically speaking the greatest advances in social organization have occurred as a result of the impact of "non-voters" (those that do not, or are not allowed to participates in the social organizations of power directly -- the disenfranchised) -- voting, particularly voting as participatory process that involves the entire polulation is actually quite a new thing. Further, I will assert that all states must have legitimacy in the eyes of a substantial portion of the populace in order to function, and this is as true of a "democracy" as it is of a fascist dictatorship. The act of supressing dissent, is an act of enforcing legitimacy, but it is also one that is conducted by those who voluntarily side with the state, and see it as legitimate. That said, no state can survive if it is not wedded to some faction within the society that is willing to enforce the states legitimacy.

 For example the Russian revolution, when seen as an event seperate from the "Civil War" that followed was actually a pretty bloodless affair. The Czar's power was simply swept away because even the army and the police force, were unwilling to supress the revolutionary movement.

In fact, most "revolutions" though generally concieved of by many as being an act of revolutionaries who sieze power by force, are actually about the failure of pre-existing state that has lost legitimacy and no longer has the consent of enough people to govern, and so therefore, no longer has a force that is able to supress those who reject the states authority. In the power vacuum that then exists, new forces (the revolutionaries) who are organized and have legitimacy in the eyes of a substantial number of people (not necessarily a majority) move into the power vacuum and assert power usually in the name of a new ideology, in the feudal period this was expressed usually as the title of a new monarch, often backed up with the ideological authority of a religious sect, but in the modernist phase of social development most often in the name of a political ideology.

The point is that the legitimacy of a state is fundamental to its ability to maintain power, regardless of how authoritarian the regiemes fundamental ideology is, and there is a point where societies reach a point of "critical mass" where they simply are unable to govern. We in the "Western Democracies", are fast approaching this point, as can be devined by very low voter turn out's in elections, and that the most important thing for progressive social organizers to do at this point is to properly prepare grass roots social organizations and networks that are properly going to be able fill the power vacuum, and do so with enough legitimacy that even the tools of state repression, such as the army and the police forces, stand aside or support the new power structure.

Now, none of what I am saying is explicitly a rejection of "democracy" per se. But on the other hand, I think it is very important to be clear about what we mean when we say the word democracy, and what that entails and how it operates. In the above analysis in this thread, and the last, I have gone into details of how the system of elections in this country is designed to bias the system against disturbing the fundamentals of how the system is managed for the benefit of those who already have economic and political power, against those who do not. In particular I have focussed on how it works to force people who are not wealthy to become mere observers of the system, and not participants in the "debate", as Arendt would have it.

I think it is important now to start talking about what it is that we want to see in the fundamentals of our democracy, and how power is distributed and earned, as opposed to the details of to what end that power is used: increased welfare, less welfare, more police, less police, etc. etc. This is because if we can manage the transition so that more people are enfranchised so that they have a real voice at the table, the results of those "debates" will certainly be altered so that they more fairly represent the interests of people other than those who are well off.

I think there is general agreement on many basic principles of the immediate changes that would be beneficial to this end. The primary one being some kind of proportional representation, and to this I have added a few more, dealing with the removal of economic disinsentives that act to disenfranchise the economically marginalized.

I have gone to great lengths to show how this marginalization not only effects workings of democracy overall, as a competition between state supported factions that manifest themselves legally as organs of the state, which is manifestly true by benefit of the fact that they are actually funded by the state, but also to show how the internal workings of those organs (of which the NDP, sadly, is now one), are directly skewed toward the interests of entrenched power of wealth, even though they pose themselves as being opponents of each other. The very election system by design acts to do this by necessity, since the marginalized, are the most likely not to vote partly because the real game (being a candidate and being elected) is one beyond their reach.

In the US, what is most dangerous about Obama is that he has renewed the legitimacy of the state, while at the same time not actually offering (apparently) any changes that will make the state more fair just or democratic.

The strategies for dealing with this deficit of real democracy that slowly and incrementally skews the system further and further away from the interests of the marginalized are arguable. But in liu of a party that is agressively and clearly calling for the renovation of the electoral system, the basis upon which the distribution of power is determined and therefore how it is used, I propose that not-voting is the most expedient means of causing the crisis of legitimacy within the state or force one of the state factions to try and open up the channels of power to those who are presently disenfranchised.

Of those factions, the NDP is the most likely candidate to call for electoral reform because they have the most to lose by the disillusion of the marginalized in our society, because that is their traditional constituency. But, as yet, the NDP has been very fickle in taking any kind of real stand on these issues, and seems content to jealously guard itself against any intrusion on its power, when it is able to achieve it. For example when it achieves power in any of the provincial elections.

In my view, for this fickleness, the NDP should be punished.

We do not need another promise for a referendum on electoral reform, what we need is the NDP to make the elections themselves the referendum on electoral reform based on a clear and precise and well articulated program.

It is concievable that the NDP might take up this challenge, but by wedding itself solely to the existing power structure and legimizing that power structure by making the false elections the primary mode of its operations, when those elections are the primary expression of the ideological underpinning upon which the state legitimizes itself as "democracy", is doing nothing but making itself irrelevant when the point of critical mass of illigitmacy is reached.

Fidel

Benoit wrote:
Fidel wrote:
Benoit wrote:

A minimum wage updating and indexed to inflation is precisely the kind of candy the elites give to the mass to keep them happy with the status quo.

Now you're joking, right?

 

- Henry Paulson Jr. pocketed half a billion US dollars the day he quits Goldman Sachs to become United States Treasury Secretary.

- Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, criticized the US tax system for allowing him to pay a lower rate than his secretary and his cleaner.

Well thank goodness for Hank Paulson and the plunge protection team intervening to save free market capitalism from itself. I think they're going to need a few more plumbers though. And kingmakers like Buffet go to prove how the rich rule the roost in America.

But billionaire oligarchs never gave workers anything in Canada or the U.S. Minimum wages, and what's left of our social safety nets in both countries were fought long and hard for by American and Canadian workers and social activists fighting the good fight after tens of thousands were martyred by two world wars. The knock-down drag out struggle for democracy continues.

Cueball Cueball's picture

This is not a thread about the essentials of capitalist economics, or WWII. Thanks.

KenS

OK. Cool Cueball.

I'll have to digest to see what I think specifically about the role of non-voters as agents.

But my first thought is that it has no particular relevance to questions of how you have laid out possible agendas in turn of this century Canada.

KenS

Cueball wrote:

The point is that the legitimacy of a state is fundamental to its ability to maintain power, regardless of how authoritarian the regiemes fundamental ideology is, and there is a point where societies reach a point of "critical mass" where they simply are unable to govern. We in the "Western Democracies", are fast approaching this point, as can be devined by very low voter turn out's in elections, and that the most important thing for progressive social organizers to do at this point is to properly prepare grass roots social organizations and networks that are properly going to be able fill the power vacuum, and do so with enough legitimacy that even the tools of state repression, such as the army and the police forces, stand aside or support the new power structure.  

I don't at all see assuming its going to be a power vacuum. Yes, quite possibly it will get worse- and that may lead to many more people 'voting' to give up on it all- including many of us now committed to the NDP. And the people will have to organize 'alternatively'.

But it strikes me as being fundamental whether or not you think you are organizing to fill a vacuum.

though it might also make no definitive difference in how you get started.

 

Cueball wrote:

Now, none of what I am saying is explicitly a rejection of "democracy" per se. But on the other hand, I think it is very important to be clear about what we mean when we say the word democracy, and what that entails and how it operates. In the above analysis in this thread, and the last, I have gone into details of how the system of elections in this country is designed to bias the system against disturbing the fundamentals of how the system is managed for the benefit of those who already have economic and political power, against those who do not.

 

There is much more clarity about this. And in general, theres not a great deal problematic for me in the elaboration that follows.

But I have these little alarms that go off when negative critique is so much better developed than the analysis of what to do. Yes, one cannot and should not if you could, design the future.

But those warning bells again- why is it so undeveloped even at high levels of generality?

For example [but not necessarily the best example]: what about things like expecting a power vacuum? Or even not having a language /discourse for gauging such?

KenS

Cueball wrote:

I propose that not-voting is the most expedient means of causing the crisis of legitimacy within the state or force one of the state factions to try and open up the channels of power to those who are presently disenfranchised.

I don't know about most expedient. Pretty damn effective it would be, yes. If it were to take off.

But what about the fact that electoral reform is one of the things least likely to turn the cranks of progressively inclined folks? Its one of those things that only a portion of the activist cadre make a priority of. These are not by and large the non-voters. They could become non-voters if they saw sufficient strategic reason. But even if they did, what commonality would they have with the legions of long term non-voters?

And take a deeper look at the reasons the federal NDP never makes electoral reform a rallying cause. For all that is made of how provincial sections who have been in power have a vested interested in first past the post.... in many cases, this being very much one of them, institutionally the federal and provincial parties are different animals.

There is virtually no resistance to PR in the federal party. Not even much corporeal floating 'unenthusiasm'.

Counter to that, there are some very organized lobbies within for making PR an issue. Ed Broadbent counted, and still counts, for a lot on his own.

The unadmirable reason the federal party does not make PR specifically and electoral reform generally an issue is simply because it is not on the radar of very many voters.

you can argue thats a failure of imagination and leadership. But it isn't resistance and entrenchment.

Hell, even the Green Party- with a corner on the we're different and not like the rest niche, can't make PR and electoral reform work for it. It energizes the supporter cadre in spades, but has no traction among the broader 'Green Party inclined'.

DrConway

You know what I love about you 'voting is wrong' people?

You have no fucking clue what an advancement even this flawed system of ours represents over the old Divine Right of Kings, or rule by generals and admirals who could command the greatest military force to take hold of the government.

Try chafing under the rule of a despot and then tell me you still think the ability to elect our own leaders is "wrong".

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

What's not despotic about a system that deliberately creates hurdles in system that whole classes of people simply can not afford to jump?

You are talking about the right to vote for which member of the ruling class to elect to the highest office:

Quote:
Layton comes from a long line of politicians. His great-granduncle, William Steeves, was a Father of Confederation. His great-grandfather Philip Layton was a blind activist who led a campaign for disability pensions in the 1930s. His grandfather, Gilbert Layton, was a cabinet minister in the Union Nationale government of Maurice Duplessis in Quebec, and resigned due to the provincial government's lack of support for Canadian participation in World War II. His father, Robert Layton, was a Liberal Party activist in the 1960s and 1970s, and served as a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet minister in the 1980s.

The Devine Right of Kings is the ghost in the machine.

Fidel

Cueball wrote:

The Devine Right of Kings is the ghost in the machine.

Are you saying Jack is another Hitler, campaigning on the left and all the while owned by Emil Kirdorf types, big biz and banking interests? What Canadian political party today would stoop so low as to campaign on the left and then stooge it up on the right once they seize phony majority dictatorial rule? It's stupefying to say the least

Webgear

Fidel wrote:

Are you saying Jack is another Hitler, campaigning on the left and all the while owned by Emil Kirdorf types, big biz and banking interests? What Canadian political party today would stoop so low as to campaign on the left and then stooge it up on the right once they seize phony majority dictatorial rule? It's stupefying to say the least

From my point of view, all politicians from all parties at all levels of government have several common goals:

 

  1. To gain control of the parliament from other parties.
  2. To take control the view and actions of people.
  3. To remain in control over people’s views and actions.
  4. To eliminate all other opposition.
  5. To live of the work of others.
  6. To build their own empires and legends over time.

Of course I may be wrong, but this is my personal view.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Fidel wrote:
Cueball wrote:

The Devine Right of Kings is the ghost in the machine.

Are you saying Jack is another Hitler, campaigning on the left and all the while owned by Emil Kirdorf types, big biz and banking interests? What Canadian political party today would stoop so low as to campaign on the left and then stooge it up on the right once they seize phony majority dictatorial rule? It's stupefying to say the least

Jack Layton is not nearly as clever as Adolph Hitler.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Cueball wrote:
KenS wrote:
Cueball wrote:

Re: I demonstrated several instances of "non-voters as agents obviously of some kind of importance":

The Czar's power was simply swept away because even the army and the police force, were unwilling to supress the revolutionary movement.

Really I thought that the Cheka merely became the KGB. I think the current fascist state that controls our country is about as ready to wither away as teh Cheka were in the Soviet Union.

 

Rich people are not going to hand power over because people stop voting. they will merely say thanks and while they enjoy a the free ride.  

 

I am awaiting this new breed of political activist. So active they refuse to take part in politics. But they will build a new and better organizational model and while they await the people with the guns and power now to hand them the keys to the treasury. I think it is a wonderful dream I can see it in technicolour myself.  Cueball how's the mass movement building thing going for you?  Hopefully for your dreams you are getting a better response to your particular view of leadership in other forums with real people cause you haven't seemed to light a fire of change here.  But then I rarely am willing to follow people who persistently insult my world view as they try to convince me of theirs.

 

No I don't believe the Cheka or other power groups within Russia disappeared and I don't think the same groups will disappear in Canada either. 

Benoit

Compulsory voting means that if you are caught skipping an election, you will have to go defend yourself before a court of justice. I imagine the judge saying to Cueball: so you feel you are a prisoner in our state, would you like to be put in a real jail to become a martyr, after all, Nelson Mandela has achieved a revolution from inside his cell?

Cueball Cueball's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Cueball wrote:
KenS wrote:
Cueball wrote:

Re: I demonstrated several instances of "non-voters as agents obviously of some kind of importance":

The Czar's power was simply swept away because even the army and the police force, were unwilling to supress the revolutionary movement.

Really I thought that the Cheka merely became the KGB. I think the current fascist state that controls our country is about as ready to wither away as teh Cheka were in the Soviet Union.

I am not really sure what you are talking about. First of all, I specifically excluded from the discussion the "civil war period". That was the caveat. The Cheka (later the NKVD, MGB, KGB) came into existance primarily as a force to repress competing new power structures, such as those of the anarchists, Mensheviks, and the SR's, and this happens in the period that can loosely be described as the "civil war" period. The actual siezure (replacement) of power was actually quite bloodless, until the Bolshviks started centralizing and consolidating their grip on power, against their competitors. This doesn't actually have anything really to do with the collapse of the Czarist state.

Oh, and I didn't say anything about Canada being a fascist state. Keep your pants on. 

Benoit

Compulsory voting is mainly to make sure nobody is voting at your place. This type of crime doesn’t just affect you, it affects all citizens.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Benoit wrote:
Compulsory voting means that if you are caught skipping an election, you will have to go defend yourself before a court of justice. I imagine the judge saying to Cueball: so you feel you are a prisoner in our state, would you like to be put in a real jail to become a martyr, after all, Nelson Mandela has achieved a revolution from inside his cell?

You are absolutely right. That is precisely the type of thing that those who adminstrate judicial systems, in the service of a Fascist cause say.

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