Is Canada really a democratic society or are we governed by the usual elites?

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NorthReport
Is Canada really a democratic society or are we governed by the usual elites?

Federal Election 2019: Singh says he’ll introduce mixed-member proportional representation ‘without a referendum’

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said during a town hall in Victoria, B.C., on Friday that he would introduce mixed-member proportional representation “without a referendum” if elected prime minister.

https://globalnews.ca/video/5964115/federal-election-2019-singh-says-hell-introduce-mixed-member-proportional-representation-without-a-referendum

melovesproles

Good!

Paladin1

What is mixed-member proportional representation?

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture
Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The question should be "Is Canada governed by the many, or by the few?"  Or "Is Canada a democracy or does it have a ruling class"?  

The term "elites" is actually of right-wing origin, and was created to divert attention and anger away from the actions of the wealthy as a class and misdirect it towards a small group within the ruling class whose power is less legitimate than the power of the ruling class as a whole.

Essentially, it's a variant of saying things like "the problem isn't capitalism, it's the Jews" or things like that.  "Elite theory" was pretty much always coded antisemitism, or, as Marx would have called it, "false consciousness".  The poiunt of elite theory is to imply that the status quo would be treating everyone perfectly well were it not for...well..you know...whichever subset of people within capitalism is being offered up for "othering" that week.

I strongly recommend that everyone on the left keep the focus on class(and white male supremacism) instead of being diverted to 

bekayne

So who chooses who are on the party lists?

Paladin1

Michael Moriarity wrote:

This.

 

That's a lot. Looks pretty interesting actually, time to do some reading.

Ken Burch wrote:

The term "elites" is actually of right-wing origin, and was created to divert attention and anger away from the actions of the wealthy as a class and misdirect it towards a small group within the ruling class whose power is less legitimate than the power of the ruling class as a whole.

Right wing origin? Where did you see that?

When I read about the history of elite I came across this.

 

Quote:
It was Vilfredo Pareto who, in 1902, gave the term the meaning that it has today. We mostly think of Pareto as the economist who came up with ideas such as “Pareto efficiency” and the “Pareto principle”. The latter – sometimes known as the “power law”, or the “80/20 rule” – stipulates that 80 per cent of the land always ends up belonging to 20 per cent of the population. Pareto deduced this by studying land distribution in Italy at the turn of the 20th century. He also found that 20 per cent of the pea pods in his garden produced 80 per cent of the peas. Pareto, however, was not only an economist. In later life, he turned his hand to sociology, and it was in this field that he developed his theory of the “circulation of elites”.

I haven't found any real mention of elite having it's origins in the right-wing.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Paladin1 wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:

This.

 

That's a lot. Looks pretty interesting actually, time to do some reading.

Ken Burch wrote:

The term "elites" is actually of right-wing origin, and was created to divert attention and anger away from the actions of the wealthy as a class and misdirect it towards a small group within the ruling class whose power is less legitimate than the power of the ruling class as a whole.

Right wing origin? Where did you see that?

When I read about the history of elite I came across this.

 

Quote:
It was Vilfredo Pareto who, in 1902, gave the term the meaning that it has today. We mostly think of Pareto as the economist who came up with ideas such as “Pareto efficiency” and the “Pareto principle”. The latter – sometimes known as the “power law”, or the “80/20 rule” – stipulates that 80 per cent of the land always ends up belonging to 20 per cent of the population. Pareto deduced this by studying land distribution in Italy at the turn of the 20th century. He also found that 20 per cent of the pea pods in his garden produced 80 per cent of the peas. Pareto, however, was not only an economist. In later life, he turned his hand to sociology, and it was in this field that he developed his theory of the “circulation of elites”.

I haven't found any real mention of elite having it's origins in the right-wing.

This quote, with sources, is from the Wikipedia page about Pareto:  "He maintained cordial personal relationships with individual socialists, but always thought their economic ideas were severely flawed. He later became suspicious of their humanitarian motives and denounced socialist leaders as an 'aristocracy of brigands' who threatened to despoil the country and criticized the government of Giovanni Giolitti for not taking a tougher stance against worker strikes. Growing unrest among labor in Italy led him to the anti-socialist and anti-democratic camp.[10] His attitude toward fascism in his last years is a matter of controversy.[11][12]".          

And, from the same entry, this:                                                                                                                                                                 

"The future leader of Italian fascism Benito Mussolini, in 1904, when he was a young student, attended some of Pareto's lectures at the University of Lausanne. It has been argued that Mussolini's move away from socialism towards a form of "elitism" may be attributed to Pareto's ideas.[23] "                                                                                

The term "elite" ends up dovetailing with delusional-but-potent notions such as "the Jews control the banks"  or "culture is controlled by gays or other 'degenerates'" or "the Chinese are buying up Vancouver"(as if it's intolerable for a small group of wealthy Chinese people to be purchasing large swaths of commercial property in a large city in Canada, but it's no big deal when wealthy Toronto-born anglophones do exactly the same thing).

I'll stipuulate that it was an overstep to say that elite theory was right-wing in origin, but as that passage shows, it was always reactionary in implication the author of elite theory was headed in a right-wing and anti-democratic direction throughout his intellectual life.

The way "elite theory" plays out in U.S. politics(and there are clear variants on this within Canadian political and economic discussion as well) is in the repeated references to the idea that the economic and social problems in society are not based in excessive concentration of wealth and political/social/economic power in the hands of the wealthy, but that "Hollywood types" are supposedly conspiring to destroy "traditional American values", or that gays are seeking to end "traditional families", or that George Soros is supposedly using his fortune to thwart the will of the virtuous conservative "Christian" majority. It is connected to the mindset that holds that the greates threat to working people is not corporate greed but immigrants "taking our jobs"(the immigrants are not the elite, obviously, but they are used in the elite theory manner to direct popular discontent away from the forces doing the actual damage to working people).

North almost certainly didn't know this, but the whole point of talking about "elites" rather than "class" is to prevent any alternatives to the existing economic structure from ever gaining general support.  If working people can be persuaded that the issue is power being held by an undeserving, illegitimate "other" within the existing structure rather that the structure itself being the issue, the structure will always be preserved, whether preserving it does the many any good at all.

cco

bekayne wrote:

So who chooses who are on the party lists?

The parties. I imagine the NDP would have some kind of primary, while the Liberals would have inner party staff hand out high list slots to insiders, in a mirror of how FPTP candidates are chosen.