Voting is wrong

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Cueball Cueball's picture
Voting is wrong

janfromthebruce: wrote:

Cueball wrote:

Firstly, I would like you to clarify is how you can genuinely support a political process that is overtly skewed too maintaining the status quo, in favour of the interests of the well-to-do? On the elections Canada web site is says that the object is to create a "level playing field". However on the very same page is explicitly excludes people who can't afford to throw $1000 at the government every 4 years for the privilege of becoming a candidate. This biases the sytem against the poorer members of society and relegates them to the status of volunteer foot soldiers, or mere voters, for the established factions who are paid handsomely for each vote they aquire.

Secondly can you also clarify for me why such a system does not progessively shift the agenda of the entire system (including the quasi-independent subsidiary state organs we like to call "political parties") away from those items that might benefit the interests of those who are relegated to the status of mere voters and foot soldies because it is economically unfeasible for them to field effective competition to the existing state funded (and therefore controlled) political organs?

[ 08 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

 

Cueball, if you were to run as an NDP candidate and won the nomination, the NDP riding association pays the 1000 dollars, and not you personally. I just wanted to clear that up for you. So yes, people within the NDP can run who are economically challenged, and yes, they do win nomination races.

 

 

Of course. And what of it? That is precisely the point. Persons, especially those from the poorer segements of our society are prevented from forwarding themselves as candidates competing with the established parties. Instead they are relegated to the role of mere voters or foot soldiers.

Of course we will be told that working your way up in the party structure is just part ot the process, but that is irrelevant. The party structure enforces a pre-established agenda, and policy outline already, which persons must, more or less conform too.  Not to mention the existance of established power blocks within the party.

Changing the party from within is the bait that is thrown to those who dissent from the adopted agenda. But the fact remains that the party itself depends largely on the largesse, not only of the government, but also those well-to-do donors who keep the party functioning in all its facets in and out of elections cycles, and those persons, quite naturally have interests which influence the party. That is aside from the fact that the well healed have time to go to meetings, attend workshops, and otherwise manage the party so that it does not ever seriously undermine their interests.

So, from top-to-bottom, in the election process, the internal organizational realities of the official parties skews the agenda away from those who are the least well off in our society, slowly and inexonerably toward what we call the right.

You have merely made the agruement, which co-opts those political activists from the lower strata of the society by promising, more often than not, the lesser of two evils on the basis that the worst outcome can be prevented.

"Preventing the worst outcome" is not progressive. Progressive is changing what exists now and making it better.

 If the NDP were truly interested in benefitting those who most need the support of our society, they would first and foremost take on those issues that directly affect their ability to enter the political arena as full enfranchised participants by demanding the election deposits be pro-rated for income, or dropped altogether, and making the elimination of the FPTP the central theme of its policy platform, even if this this actually was detrimental to the parties long term prospects. But no, the NDP cynically offers up progressive sounding anti-poverty statements, and worker positive platform positions, aimed at attracting votes from the underclass of our society, rather than energizing them and empowering them to stand for themselves.

 

Taken from here: Compulsory voting Mark III

 

Jacob Two-Two

"That is aside from the fact that the well healed have time to go to meetings,"

 That's well-heeled, not healed. There, now that I've destroyed your arguments with my crushing logic, there is no need to say anything further.

 

Oops, sorry. I was channelling Benoit for a second there. Anyway, I agree with much of what you're saying in principle, but I don't agree about the $1000 deposits. Elections aren't about giving every crank with an axe to grind a soapbox. They should be a legitimate contest between qualified applicants. If you really have the stuff to contend for a government position, then you shouldn't have to pony up your own dough. You ought to have the organisational skills, social connections, and ability to inspire others to get a hundred people to donate ten bucks to your cause, or whatever other combination gets you going. If you can't manage this, you won't be much of a leader in any case, so why are you running?

I agree that the political arena should be far more accessible to the average person, but you should still have to show some drive and competence on your own. If you can't raise a thousand dollars, then you definitely can't run a campaign.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

"That is aside from the fact that the well healed have time to go to meetings,"

 That's well-heeled, not healed. There, now that I've destroyed your arguments with my crushing logic, there is no need to say anything further.

 Lol 

janfromthebruce

Correcting people's spelling is kind of impolite and babble policy says that we should not do that, so I cringed when it was just done. That's all I have to say on that matter. I sometimes am spelling challenged and I am suppose to be considered a very literate English language learner/educator.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

janfromthebruce wrote:

Correcting people's spelling is kind of impolite and babble policy says that we should not do that, so I cringed when it was just done. That's all I have to say on that matter. I sometimes am spelling challenged and I am suppose to be considered a very literate English language learner/educator.

 

 

He was making a joke. Not an issue.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
Oops, sorry. I was channelling Benoit for a second there. Anyway, I agree with much of what you're saying in principle, but I don't agree about the $1000 deposits. Elections aren't about giving every crank with an axe to grind a soapbox. They should be a legitimate contest between qualified applicants. If you really have the stuff to contend for a government position, then you shouldn't have to pony up your own dough. You ought to have the organisational skills, social connections, and ability to inspire others to get a hundred people to donate ten bucks to your cause, or whatever other combination gets you going. If you can't manage this, you won't be much of a leader in any case, so why are you running?

I agree that the political arena should be far more accessible to the average person, but you should still have to show some drive and competence on your own. If you can't raise a thousand dollars, then you definitely can't run a campaign.

Ahh, Jacob, you were doing so well on the last thread, and you have to pull out the pejorative argument about "cranks".  I have been expecting this well worn angle of defence of the system to rear its well-heeled head from the murk of the reigning ideology.

First off, what do you mean by cranks? Who are these cranks? And why are you calling them cranks? Because they are not established enough? Don't wear the right clothes? Live on the streets? Spend too much time in bars? What?

Secondly, there is already a proviso that a person must get a 100 signatures to witness their candidacy.

Do you mean 101 cranks?

Thirdly, why not simply pro-rate the deposit on the basis of income. My $200 is Jack Layton's $1000 in real terms, and if the point was merely to remove the serious from the non-serious, seriously, taking $20 out of pocket of a welfare mom, is a pretty serious business.

Issues of competence, based on financial ability are absurd in a stratified economic and social system. It would take me about a day to raise the $1000 dollars (actually I have it now), just among my own friends at $100 a pop. This is not the case for those I know whose friends are not as well off, as perhaps you or I are.

Meanwhile, some can throw $1000 at an election as an afterthought. I don't see at all how this is evidence of competence, or ability. Belinda Stronach had no financial obstacles to face when she purchased her "sand-box"... sorry I mispelled that I meant "soap-box."

 Your arguement is just a rehash of "if you are so smart, why aren't you rich", in the long form.

KenS

While I understandably don't agree with it Cueball, your critique of the electoral system makes sense.

 Given that critique, the NDP as a collective group is essentially beyond redemtion. [Redemption not quite the right word. But reform didn't fit either. Effectively beyond being a political instrument that could be worth being part of. Something like that.]

 That being the case, why do you spend as much time as you trying to 'educate' us?

Cueball Cueball's picture

KenS wrote:

While I understandably don't agree with it Cueball, your critique of the electoral system makes sense.

 Given that critique, the NDP as a collective group is essentially beyond redemtion. [Redemption not quite the right word. But reform didn't fit either. Effectively beyond being a political instrument that could be worth being part of. Something like that.]

 That being the case, why do you spend as much time as you trying to 'educate' us?

 I am not trying to educate you.

 

Even if I wanted to, how could I. You have disagreed, and then said my critique "makes sense" in the same sentence. It's very hard to get a handle on that.

What precisely did you mean by:

"While I understandably don't agree with it Cueball, your critique of the electoral system makes sense. "

Brian White

Someone mentioned something like "voting validates the system". But doesn't non voting do exactly the same thing?  How do you register a protest as a non voter?  You do not vote. How do you register your belief that compulsory voting is faschism? You do not vote. How do you register your wholehearted approval of the system as a non voter? You do not vote.  This is like roger moore playing  james bond. (He registered every emotion by raising the same eyebrow the same amount.)

So non voting can mean everything and nothing at the same time.

Just like George Bush, you are in favour of deregulation.  If the NAZI party of canada becomes powerful, what is your response. "I am a practicing non voter, I will not vote even if racist brutes are likely to take over" ( After all Harper wins with 22% of registered voters).

We need to conscript people to give an hour of service to their country every few years.  It is a minimal amount to have to do for your country.

Lack of will allows people like harper to govern. 

 

 

 

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Voting is how the Nazi's got into power. And it was not voting that put them out of power.

remind remind's picture

Brian White wrote:
We need to conscript people to give an hour of service to their country every few years.  It is a minimal amount to have to do for your country.

Lack of will allows people like harper to govern.

That is a short sighted comment, if there ever was one, perhaps if more people would have voted, Harper may well have gotten a majority. You do not know the will of the people. You know your will and are ascribing others with that.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

 Godwined.  Time to move on.  

Cueball Cueball's picture

Gowined by who? I wasn't the one who brought up the Nazis. That was Brian. If all you can offer for comment on content are misdirected pop culture "internet aphorism" cheap shots, when you clearly can't read more than one post into the past, then feel free to move on.

I'd call it willful CBADD: Chat Board Attention Deficit Disorder.

Tommy_Paine

I think not voting is a vote against the system, and should certainly be allowed.  Low voter turnout is an indication of many things-- all of them reflecting poorly on our institutions and our politics and politicians.

 Accordingly, I should not be voting.   But I do.  But with less and less conviction each time.

KenS

Cueball, your critique makes sense at a minimum in that it is logically consistent. But more than that, its a political position I understand and see the point, even if I don't agree with it.

 OK, so you are trying to 'educate us'. Given your political position would indicate that there isn't any 'space' that the NDP could be sufficiently changed to be worthy of support, what is the reason for engaging with us, on a very sustained basis?

 For you, what is the point in criticising the positions the NDP takes?

Benoit

Tommy_Paine wrote:

I think not voting is a vote against the system, and should certainly be allowed.  Low voter turnout is an indication of many things-- all of them reflecting poorly on our institutions and our politics and politicians.

 Accordingly, I should not be voting.   But I do.  But with less and less conviction each time.

One fundamental right each citizen has is to be motivated by participating to the democratic process. Therefore, non-voters are only showing their alienation if they are not keen to fight for this right.

Brian White

Well, you are entitled to your opinion.  But  nobody can prove that not voting means anything one way or another. Thats the whole point.  You have people in poor countrys been turned away from polling booths with guns while here,  they are too lazy to make the effort even with time mandated off work to vote!  Well, if you do not vote, why should you get the time off?

If you want real democracy, people have to participate, whether they are anti system, or too darn lazy. I do not see a lot of attacks on state institutions in Canada so not voting is not a vote for or  against anything. If there was some type of resistance movement, you might say it was a "vote" against the system but there is nothing.

Tommy_Paine wrote:

I think not voting is a vote against the system, and should certainly be allowed.  Low voter turnout is an indication of many things-- all of them reflecting poorly on our institutions and our politics and politicians.

 Accordingly, I should not be voting.   But I do.  But with less and less conviction each time.

Benoit

Also, favouring violent means to change the system and participating to any discussion forum is fundamentally contradictory.

genstrike

Benoit wrote:
Also, favouring violent means to change the system and participating to any discussion forum is fundamentally contradictory.

No, it isn't

Benoit

genstrike wrote:

Benoit wrote:
Also, favouring violent means to change the system and participating to any discussion forum is fundamentally contradictory.

No, it isn't

 

Yes, it is.

Brian White

Well,  the polls and voting numbers showed that harper negative adds were most successful in making liberal voters stay at home. If they had voted, if they were legally compelled to vote, the chance of a liberal ndp government would have been greater. But imagine what it would have been like if 90% voted.  All the poor people would have voted and I am pretty sure the NDP would have done much better. Barack Obama won by 8 millions votes.  If about 3 million black first time voters had not come out it would have been a lot tighter. If Obama had been a white democrat, could he have won?  I believe that the system is a lot safer and a lot more robust when all the people rich and poor, black and white, homeless and multi homed, vote all the time. By not voting you are leaving it up to harper to change the rules and make it impossible for the homeless to vote.  Silence is taken as consent.  and consent is approval.

So non voters are approving the worst stuff that harper does. By not voting against him. Shame on them. And shame on you guys for those grubby little excuses to dodge your duty to your neighbours too.

You either stand for something or agree to the worst by standing by and letting it happen. 

remind wrote:
Brian White wrote:
We need to conscript people to give an hour of service to their country every few years.  It is a minimal amount to have to do for your country.

Lack of will allows people like harper to govern.

That is a short sighted comment, if there ever was one, perhaps if more people would have voted, Harper may well have gotten a majority. You do not know the will of the people. You know your will and are ascribing others with that.

___________________________________________________________ "watching the tide roll away"

Benoit

And how come hardcore separatist Quebecers are very motivated to vote in Federal elections while some other kinds of would-be "dissenters" are not???

Cueball Cueball's picture

KenS wrote:

Cueball, your critique makes sense at a minimum in that it is logically consistent. But more than that, its a political position I understand and see the point, even if I don't agree with it.

 OK, so you are trying to 'educate us'. Given your political position would indicate that there isn't any 'space' that the NDP could be sufficiently changed to be worthy of support, what is the reason for engaging with us, on a very sustained basis?

 For you, what is the point in criticising the positions the NDP takes?

 

As I said, I have no interest in educating you. I think you are sold on the NDP. I didn't ask you to post. Nor did I send you any PM's alerting you to the educational opportunities. Let me know if you have anything to say other than to my motives.

This is a board for discussing politics. Many people other than dyed in the wool NDP fans come here. Again it seems your final point is basically I should shut up. The NDP is topical to this discussion because it poses itself as the "left" wing of Canadian politics that represent marginalized voices that are marginlized by systemic prejudice against them. I am merely pointing out that it is a sop for public discontent that safely discharges political energy from those marginalized persons, and functions as an integral part of the system in that manner, willingly accepting biases in the electoral system because it benefits the party. As such the NDP is pertinent to the analysis.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Brian White wrote:

If you want real democracy, people have to participate, whether they are anti system, or too darn lazy. I do not see a lot of attacks on state institutions in Canada so not voting is not a vote for or  against anything. If there was some type of resistance movement, you might say it was a "vote" against the system but there is nothing.

 

I am sorry Brian I have just demonstrated how the system is not designed for the full participation of marginalized people. Poor people are welcome in the ranks of the foot solidiers and voters for the official parties, but they are presented with serious economic liabilities should they actually want to be participants in the system and compete against the state funded political organs. 

 

Kloch

Even if one accepts the premise, that the NDP, or any parliamentary left movement, acts as a kind of safety valve for public discontent, I don't think you can automatically assume that not voting is an appropriate tactical response.

 To Brian's point, suppose voter turnout went down to 20%.  I would agree that the system would indeed lack any legitimacy.  However, in the absence of popular based, self-sustaining political institutions to replace the current system, I don't see how that, in and of itself would translate into meaningful political action.  It would be like people who voted for Obama because they wanted "Hope" and "Change", without any clear understanding of what kind of hope and change he was bringing.

For my part, I do vote NDP, and without any illusions that we will have the New Jerusalem tomorrow, but with the hope that they would be at least marginally better than the alternatives.  That being said, that doesn't preclude organizing other movements and groups to try to improve conditions for people, outside of the NDP (assuming I had any time).

Aristotleded24

Tommy_Paine wrote:

I think not voting is a vote against the system, and should certainly be allowed.  Low voter turnout is an indication of many things-- all of them reflecting poorly on our institutions and our politics and politicians.

 

I think "None Of The Above" should be a ballot option, and that if that option wins out, then that constituency goes unrepresented.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Kloch wrote:

Even if one accepts the premise, that the NDP, or any parliamentary left movement, acts as a kind of safety valve for public discontent, I don't think you can automatically assume that not voting is an appropriate tactical response.

To Brian's point, suppose voter turnout went down to 20%. I would agree that the system would indeed lack any legitimacy. However, in the absence of popular based, self-sustaining political institutions to replace the current system, I don't see how that, in and of itself would translate into meaningful political action. It would be like people who voted for Obama because they wanted "Hope" and "Change", without any clear understanding of what kind of hope and change he was bringing.

For my part, I do vote NDP, and without any illusions that we will have the New Jerusalem tomorrow, but with the hope that they would be at least marginally better than the alternatives. That being said, that doesn't preclude organizing other movements and groups to try to improve conditions for people, outside of the NDP (assuming I had any time).

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.

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.

In fact, I am saying that the reform of the system is the program and policy itself.

Kloch

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.

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.

In fact, I am saying that the reform of the system is the program and policy itself.

 Well, personally, I'm not arguing that voting should be compulsory.  Even if it were, and even if people were fined or jailed for not voting, I honestly don't know that it would deligimitize the state in the eyes of the citizens.  Furthermore, I'm not certain that deligitimizing the state would simply become a fundamental event that would create a movement towards reforming society. 

Suppose abstaining became a criminal offense.  How would you convince people to break the law and go to jail?  And even if it wasn't a criminal offense, I don't see how we go from not voting to creating a mass-movement towards reforming society. 

IMHO, I think that a more accurate description of electoral politics, would be to say that the state has been deligimitized, and that people simpy don't care.  I can't recall the writer who coined the expression, but "inverted fascism" might accurately describe the current state of affairs, where we have non-participation, non-legitimacy, but no one revolts so no one cares.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Kloch wrote:
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.

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.

In fact, I am saying that the reform of the system is the program and policy itself.

 Well, personally, I'm not arguing that voting should be compulsory.  Even if it were, and even if people were fined or jailed for not voting, I honestly don't know that it would deligimitize the state in the eyes of the citizens.  Furthermore, I'm not certain that deligitimizing the state would simply become a fundamental event that would create a movement towards reforming society.   

If the ideological mantle upon which the state justifies it existance is "Democracy", and no one is voting then the state and the founding pillar of its ideological caus beli is obviously not legitimate in the eyes of the citizens, since voting in a democracy indicates their approval, regardless of who they vote for -- winning or losing.

Nor is it certain that the delegitimized state will created the necessary conditions for change. But going back to the example of the USSR, one sees that it did precipitate a collapse as Gorbachov's faction attempted to renovate it to give it legitimacy. Situations like that also precipitate all kinds of possible outcomes, including fascist repression, and this was indeed attempted by a faction within the CPSU against Gorbacheov, and it was that attempt that failed, and finally caused the sytem to implode.

But building a movement that formalizes the act of not-voting, as a clear political statement, will actually give not-voting political weight, which it does not have, since it is merely sentiment, which no one is trying to clearly articulate or voice in the form of a movement.

 These non votes are lost votes as far as the powers that be are concerned, and the demands would be simple enough.

1) No 10% cut-off on deposit refunds or expenses. 

2) Proportional representation.

3) No deposit on candidacy

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

"That being said, that doesn't preclude organizing other movements and
groups to try to improve conditions for people, outside of the NDP
(assuming I had any time)."

 Personally I think the constraints(or illusions there of) alluded to above are far more effective at marginalizing the political voice of the nation. I don't think our current electoral process warrants the the 5 minutes it takes to fill out a ballot.  While it's humbling to know people in other countries are turned away with guns I can't help but think of the whole process as being anything more than a clever charade that provides cheap heavily consumed sedative media content.  The announcment that there was a low voter turn out further boots the ego of those that participate in the charade and let's them believe they have some importance because they took a minute to draw an x on a piece of paper.    Once you leave the poll of course is where you see the real votes people are able to cast: will it be kraft dinner or mcdonalds for dinner?  Will we fill up with 87 or 89 octane?  #7 or #2 plastic?  If people stopped voting and spent the energy they have been giving to elections on seeking out alternatives to the above the country would be a better place for it.

janfromthebruce

Cueball wrote:
Kloch wrote:
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.

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.

In fact, I am saying that the reform of the system is the program and policy itself.

Well, personally, I'm not arguing that voting should be compulsory.  Even if it were, and even if people were fined or jailed for not voting, I honestly don't know that it would deligimitize the state in the eyes of the citizens.  Furthermore, I'm not certain that deligitimizing the state would simply become a fundamental event that would create a movement towards reforming society.   

If the ideological mantle upon which the state justifies it existance is "Democracy", and no one is voting then the state and the founding pillar of its ideological caus beli is obviously not legitimate in the eyes of the citizens, since voting in a democracy indicates their approval, regardless of who they vote for -- winning or losing.

Nor is it certain that the delegitimized state will created the necessary conditions for change. But going back to the example of the USSR, one sees that it did precipitate a collapse as Gorbachov's faction attempted to renovate it to give it legitimacy. Situations like that also precipitate all kinds of possible outcomes, including fascist repression, and this was indeed attempted by a faction within the CPSU against Gorbacheov, and it was that attempt that failed, and finally caused the sytem to implode.

But building a movement that formalizes the act of not-voting, as a clear political statement, will actually give not-voting political weight, which it does not have, since it is merely sentiment, which no one is trying to clearly articulate or voice in the form of a movement.

These non votes are lost votes as far as the powers that be are concerned, and the demands would be simple enough.

1) No 10% cut-off on deposit refunds or expenses. 

2) Proportional representation.

3) No deposit on candidacy

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. 

Cueball Cueball's picture

They already have. More every election.

KenS

Cueball wrote:

 The NDP is topical to this discussion because it poses itself as the "left" wing of Canadian politics that represent marginalized voices that are marginlized by systemic prejudice against them. I am merely pointing out that it is a sop for public discontent that safely discharges political energy from those marginalized persons, and functions as an integral part of the system in that manner, willingly accepting biases in the electoral system because it benefits the party. As such the NDP is pertinent to the analysis.

 The NDP as an institution, and the role it plays, is most definitely pertinent to the analysis.

But my questions were not about your analyis here. They were directed at the hundreds and hundreds of posts you have logged at criticizing the weaknesses, inconsistencies and deficiencies of particular policies of the NDP.

Given your politics, what is the point of that? Explain to me why one should see that as anything more than carping that of late, out of frustration, I have taken to calling it?

 What I have written so far here is easy fodder for some smart alleck remark. Thats fair game. But please don't leave it at that. Its a serious and legitimate question.

 For some examples: "I don't care how you see it" is fair game. But there is still the question.: essentially, why do you do it? Where does it fit into your politics? Etc.

 

Cueball wrote:

In fact, I am saying that the reform of the system is the program and policy itself.

 

 

Cueball wrote:

But building a movement that formalizes the act of not-voting, as a clear political statement, will actually give not-voting political weight, which it does not have, since it is merely sentiment, which no one is trying to clearly articulate or voice in the form of a movement.

These non votes are lost votes as far as the powers that be are concerned, and the demands would be simple enough.

1) No 10% cut-off on deposit refunds or expenses. 

2) Proportional representation.

3) No deposit on candidacy

 

 This I don't understand. If the system is fundamentally flawed, essentially a sham exercise to keep people distracted, then what is the point of such modest demands? PR isn't that modest a demand, it will take quite a bit to accomplish it. But those pushing it are way within the mainstream, and how in your terms would achieving it change the system one little bit?

 

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.

   Despite appearances to the contrary, I wouldn't challenge you like that. What does any of us know about what others do or don't Do ? For all I know you may do all sorts of things that concretely work at overcoming the limits of democracy. I just challenge you on the one thing I do see: what does endlessly challenging the particular content of the NDP have to do with challenging the limits of democracy.

And in fact, I'm not saying you should shut up at all.

 You should start more threads like this.

 Negative critique of the politics of others is a legitimate launching point for expressing ones own politics. But in those hundreds, if not thousands of posts... with occassional points where you appear to be dogging people across multiple threads.... I don't see you ever using that as a segway into your own politics.

 But I posted the quote immediately above for your your one line 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.

Stockholm

I think "None Of The Above" should be a ballot option, and that if that
option wins out, then that constituency goes unrepresented.

 

It might interest you to know that in the state of Nevada - all ballots have to include "none of the above". It only ever seems to get a maximum of 4 or 5% of the vote - compared to about 45% of people who are so completely content with their lives and so indifferent to the outcome and so equally satisfied with all the choices that they decide not to both voting at all.

Kloch

If the ideological mantle upon which the state justifies it existance is "Democracy", and no one is voting then the state and the founding pillar of its ideological caus beli is obviously not legitimate in the eyes of the citizens, since voting in a democracy indicates their approval, regardless of who they vote for -- winning or losing.

Don't know if I agree with that?  Does lower voter participation mean that democracy is illegitimate, or that people simply find the choices that they have to vote for meaningless?  I'm probably quibbling over semantics but I think there is a major difference between people saying that political parties are all the same, and saying that the system itself is flawed.

 

1) No 10% cut-off on deposit refunds or expenses. 

2) Proportional representation.

3) No deposit on candidacy

 

All your proposals are interesting, however, I don't see how it legitimizes the democratic process anymore.  Also, doesn't 2 contradict 1 and 3 a bit, since proportional representation, but definition, requires organized political groupings, whereas 1 and 3 favours individuals?

That's not to say that they are proposals that I would oppose, but just that making society more democratic ultimately requires more socially oriented economic institutions.  That's a kind of organizing that requires both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary activism.

Cueball Cueball's picture

KenS wrote:

Cueball wrote:

 The NDP is topical to this discussion because it poses itself as the "left" wing of Canadian politics that represent marginalized voices that are marginlized by systemic prejudice against them. I am merely pointing out that it is a sop for public discontent that safely discharges political energy from those marginalized persons, and functions as an integral part of the system in that manner, willingly accepting biases in the electoral system because it benefits the party. As such the NDP is pertinent to the analysis.

 The NDP as an institution, and the role it plays, is most definitely pertinent to the analysis.

But my questions were not about your analyis here. They were directed at the hundreds and hundreds of posts you have logged at criticizing the weaknesses, inconsistencies and deficiencies of particular policies of the NDP.

Given your politics, what is the point of that? Explain to me why one should see that as anything more than carping that of late, out of frustration, I have taken to calling it?

 What I have written so far here is easy fodder for some smart alleck remark. Thats fair game. But please don't leave it at that. Its a serious and legitimate question.

 For some examples: "I don't care how you see it" is fair game. But there is still the question.: essentially, why do you do it? Where does it fit into your politics? Etc.

Listen, if you can't respond to me without trying to impugn my personal motives at every step of the way, all you are asking for is rude language and abuse.

I might as well ask "why do you post, post after post of pro-NDP propoganda. Why do you do it?" 99% of what I write about the NDP is in response to other peoples pro-NDP propoganda -- most of which has nothing to do with politics or policy, and everything to do with bragging, excuses, endless discussions of one two digit number, 17%, or nattering about how evil the Liberals are -- recently, thankfully, the introduction of Elizabeth May to the scene has added some nuance to this noxious mix of empty propoganda by giving many here the opportunity of engaging in vitriolic personal attacks against her.

To me it amounts to so much partisan baseball commentary, and sometimes I try and point out why.

So, I will answer your question, even though it is a stupid one. This is a political discusion board and I post what I believe to be true. What else?Lets talk about about "carping" why are NDP'rs always attacking the other parties? Jack Layton should shut up obviously. Why can't you be positive about Harper for once. Why bother if you honestly think they are not listening?

Honestly, Ken, when I logged on just now and saw a long detailed response I was delighted to think maybe you were going to forward something based in the subject topic, or about the analysis, but this contribution is trite.

There is one thing more. The NDP's position in all of this is unique. It is only the NDP that pretends that it really the voice of marginalized persons in this society, and as such it is necessary to examine the roll it plays in duping people into accepting this biased system.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Kloch wrote:

If the ideological mantle upon which the state justifies it existance is "Democracy", and no one is voting then the state and the founding pillar of its ideological caus beli is obviously not legitimate in the eyes of the citizens, since voting in a democracy indicates their approval, regardless of who they vote for -- winning or losing.

Don't know if I agree with that?  Does lower voter participation mean that democracy is illegitimate, or that people simply find the choices that they have to vote for meaningless?  I'm probably quibbling over semantics but I think there is a major difference between people saying that political parties are all the same, and saying that the system itself is flawed.

 

1) No 10% cut-off on deposit refunds or expenses. 

2) Proportional representation.

3) No deposit on candidacy

 

All your proposals are interesting, however, I don't see how it legitimizes the democratic process anymore.  Also, doesn't 2 contradict 1 and 3 a bit, since proportional representation, but definition, requires organized political groupings, whereas 1 and 3 favours individuals?

That's not to say that they are proposals that I would oppose, but just that making society more democratic ultimately requires more socially oriented economic institutions.  That's a kind of organizing that requires both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary activism.

This is a good point. I am of two minds on this issue, really. The above forumlation assumes that one is not going to take the step of eliminating parties altogether. In a system dependent on parties, it is not necessarily the case that they have to have special advantaged status under the election law.

 But ultimately a no-party state, where one votes only for representatives is preferential, in an idealized state. Also, pragmatically speaking, short term reform is more likely going to attract the support of factions within the existing system. 

 But you are not going to see more socially oriented economic institutions arise in a system where the decision making power is balanced in favour those forces whose interests are contrary to those who are economically disadvantaged, within the parlimentary structure as it is now. We have 30 years of backsliding on this to show for believing that.

Stockholm


But ultimately a no-party state, where one votes only for representatives is preferential, in an idealized state."

 

I guess that makes the City of Toronto an "idealized state" since that is exactly what we have in municipal elections - a non-partisan ballot where everyone just elects their own "independent" representative who is then free to take whatever positions he or she wants to take!

 

I never knew that i lived in such a workers paradise! Who knew?? 

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:

I think "None Of The Above" should be a ballot option, and that if that
option wins out, then that constituency goes unrepresented.

 

It might interest you to know that in the state of Nevada - all ballots have to include "none of the above". It only ever seems to get a maximum of 4 or 5% of the vote - compared to about 45% of people who are so completely content with their lives and so indifferent to the outcome and so equally satisfied with all the choices that they decide not to both voting at all.

Can that spot actually go unfilled if NOTA wins?

Having said that, I kind of see your point. George Carlin never complained about politicians (with the exception of Raegan) because he correctly pointed out that they are drawn from the general public.

Stockholm

i don't know what happens is NOTA actually wins in Nevada. maybe they need to have a new election with new candidates. i don't think it has ever happened.

But the point is that if you take the trouble to go to the polling station and vote "None of the Above" there can be no doubt that you are expressing protest against all the choices. In contrast, if you don't vote at all, MAYBE it means "none of the above" or maybe (more likely) it means ALL OF THE ABOVE. A non-vote can just as easily mean that you like everyone on the ballot and therefore you feel that nothing is at stake in  the election so you won't take the time to vote.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Stockholm wrote:

" But ultimately a no-party state, where one votes only for representatives is preferential, in an idealized state."

 

I guess that makes the City of Toronto an "idealized state" since that is exactly what we have in municipal elections - a non-partisan ballot where everyone just elects their own "independent" representative who is then free to take whatever positions he or she wants to take!

 

I never knew that i lived in such a workers paradise! Who knew??

Actually yes, Stockholm, municipal elections are generally far more fair than the Federal or provincial parliments. The problem is that these institutions have very little power. The amount of power they have is determined by the upper parliments which determine their mandate.

These are managerial bodies, and it is not suprising that they have been shaped to provide good management. Good management is a good thing, anywhere. It's only when you get to the upper echelons of power that you need to ensure that power does not get into the hands of the wrong people -- limiting the power of subsidiary representative institutions, while at the same time ensuring they function well as managerial bodies, is one way to do that.

Cueball Cueball's picture

That is not a point. That does not mean that people approve of the sytem or are content with, or anything like that. One does not follow from the other. If you are going to vote NOTA, you might as well stay home.

 But I am not suprised that you like to promote the idea that it doea. Of course, you would say that.

KenS

Cueball wrote:

 

Honestly, Ken, when I logged on just now and saw a long detailed response I was delighted to think maybe you were going to forward something based in the subject topic, or about the analysis...

I did comment also comment directly into the subject topic, and it might even possibly be connected to questioning what you are doing discussing NDP policy at the lengths you take it to.

 I even commented on some of the same contributions that others have, and its pretty easy to see the dotted lines between my questions and klochs even though we don't say the same thing.

 I'll readily agree that I've put in the two different discussions- and they may not be related. [I'm waiting for you to elaborate your politics to see if I think they are related.]

 So far you've chosen to reply only to the one you find offensive [and I will agree is quite pointy].

Kloch

This is a good point. I am of two minds on this issue, really. The above forumlation assumes that one is not going to take the step of eliminating parties altogether. In a system dependent on parties, it is not necessarily the case that they have to have special advantaged status under the election law.

 But ultimately a no-party state, where one votes only for representatives is preferential, in an idealized state. Also, pragmatically speaking, short term reform is more likely going to attract the support of factions within the existing system. 

No-party state is an interesting idea (the snark comments about Toronto notwithstanding).  However, again, I find it hard to believe even if society evolved to the point where economic inequality were reduced, and individual liberty expanded, that like-minded people wouldn't still form political groupings to advocate for their self-interest and some mechanism of managing groupings versus individual candidates would have to be put into effect.

 

 But you are not going to see more socially oriented economic institutions arise in a system where the decision making power is balanced in favour those forces whose interests are contrary to those who are economically disadvantaged, within the parlimentary structure as it is now. We have 30 years of backsliding on this to show for believing that.

I agree with you there.  However, I don't think you can write off parliamentary systems altogether though.  For my part, I'm not convinced that we've gotten all the "mileage" (for lack of a better term) out of parliamentary democracy in terms of improving working conditions for people, the 30 years of reversals not withstanding.

 

Stockholm

The US Congress is practically a non-party system. there is virtually no party discipline and members can vote however they want.

Do you think that makes the American political system superior to ours?

"That does not mean that people approve of the sytem or are content
with, or anything like that. One does not follow from the other."

 We don't know one way or the other. Maybe not voting implies a rejection of the system or maybe it means total contentedness with the system and indifference to the outcome. I don't buy tickets to college basketball games. Does that mean that I am expressing a need-seated rejection of the whole concept of teams from post-secondary institutions playing basketball - OR does it mean that the game simply doesn't interest me and i don't care about who wins or loses.

If you don't vote, the meaning of your "act" (or lack thereof) is open to interpretation and you have no control over how it is interpreted.  If you think that by not voting you are helping pave the way for some sort of glorious violent revolution in Canada reminiscent of bread riots in St. Petersburg in 1917 - i think you better give your head a shake - it ain't gonna happen.

KenS

Cueball wrote:
KenS wrote:
 

 The NDP as an institution, and the role it plays, is most definitely pertinent to the analysis.

But my questions were not about your analyis here. They were directed at the hundreds and hundreds of posts you have logged at criticizing the weaknesses, inconsistencies and deficiencies of particular policies of the NDP.

Given your politics, what is the point of that? Explain to me why one should see that as anything more than carping that of late, out of frustration, I have taken to calling it?  

I might as well ask "why do you post, post after post of pro-NDP propoganda. Why do you do it?" 99% of what I write about the NDP is in response to other peoples pro-NDP propoganda -- most of which has nothing to do with politics or policy, and everything to do with bragging, excuses, endless discussions of one two digit number, 17%, or nattering about how evil the Liberals are -- recently, thankfully, the introduction of Elizabeth May to the scene has added some nuance to this noxious mix of empty propoganda by giving many here the opportunity of engaging in vitriolic personal attacks against her.

So, I will answer your question, even though it is a stupid one. This is a political discusion board and I post what I believe to be true. What else?Lets talk about about "carping" why are NDP'rs always attacking the other parties? Jack Layton should shut up obviously. Why can't you be positive about Harper for once. Why bother if you honestly think they are not listening?

Fair question. Leave out the Harper part. We both know that there isn't a great degree of criticising Harper on this board. A certain amount of venting and people practically trying to figure out what is going on and/or ways to oppose. But no one thinks they are listening.

In practice, the vast bulk of discussion is sort of en famille. While not all of it is partisan- a great deal is such as you have pointed to.

This is in the fine old tradition of people arguing for their political position- whether that is a partisan based one or not. As is always the case, a lot of it is not very edifying. And the partisan 'point scoring' is one of those non-edifying parts. But its the stuff of politics and political discussion whether we are talking electoral politics or more broadly speaking.

So to your question of why spend so much time talking about "how evil/venal the Liberals are" or how much people do not trust EMay and find her a poser- the answer is simple and pretty transparent. Its politically motivated.

I will allow- and notably raise this myself- that because there are so many NDP partisans on this board, the aggregate result of that torrent of criticism of the Liberals and Greens amounts to carping that has the same effect as what you at times do single-handedly with topics on the NDP: effectively make it impossible for Liberals or Greens to mount an internally oriented discussion aimed at improving what their party of choice offers.

I will say in my own defence, that when Green activists have opened up on organizational issues I have engaged from a perspective of what I would be thinking if I was in their shoes. But that sort of thing is a speck on a huge wall that is more or less like you discribed it: little or nothing more than partisan point scoring.

And I'm not talking about blame, I'm answering your question about why people do it.

Cueball wrote:

To me it amounts to so much partisan baseball commentary, and sometimes I try and point out why. 

I've already pretty clearly agreed with the first part. But I don't see you doing the latter. When do you point out the 'why' part?

The stream of your posts as they apply to the NDP are about the particular deficiencies and misrepresentations of the particular policy in question at the moment. When is this ever connected to the limits of the NDP as an insitution?

Is it anything more than making sure the NDP gets its share of lumps on babble? Its not my place to question the legitimacy of that- and I'm not. I'm questioning where are your politics in this? Whats the 'purpose' that is equivalent to the transparent purpose of the partsan baseball commentary. IE, you ARE doing the same thing as everybody else in that commentary pit. We know why I am doing it. Why are you?

 You aren't by any means the only one criticisng the NDP without another party preference. To use another as an example, I have a much better idea of MSpectors politics with a small fraction the number of posts. [Leaving out that you are totally unique not so much on the volume front, but for not dropping it when the point has been made.] As quirky as are the politics of Frustrated Mess, I have a FAR better idea of his politics than yours... again, at a fraction of the volume.

 And, to practice what I preach and drop it when the point has been made- I'm not going to keep this up.

KenS

.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Good, its ad hominem and off topic.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Stockholm wrote:

The US Congress is practically a non-party system. there is virtually no party discipline and members can vote however they want.

Do you think that makes the American political system superior to ours?

 No because the issue is economic disenfranchisement. The American system is far worse in many aspects. Moreover it is completely different in how it asserts systemic financial liabilities.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Kloch wrote:

This is a good point. I am of two minds on this issue, really. The above forumlation assumes that one is not going to take the step of eliminating parties altogether. In a system dependent on parties, it is not necessarily the case that they have to have special advantaged status under the election law.

 But ultimately a no-party state, where one votes only for representatives is preferential, in an idealized state. Also, pragmatically speaking, short term reform is more likely going to attract the support of factions within the existing system. 

No-party state is an interesting idea (the snark comments about Toronto notwithstanding).  However, again, I find it hard to believe even if society evolved to the point where economic inequality were reduced, and individual liberty expanded, that like-minded people wouldn't still form political groupings to advocate for their self-interest and some mechanism of managing groupings versus individual candidates would have to be put into effect.

 

 But you are not going to see more socially oriented economic institutions arise in a system where the decision making power is balanced in favour those forces whose interests are contrary to those who are economically disadvantaged, within the parlimentary structure as it is now. We have 30 years of backsliding on this to show for believing that.

I agree with you there.  However, I don't think you can write off parliamentary systems altogether though.  For my part, I'm not convinced that we've gotten all the "mileage" (for lack of a better term) out of parliamentary democracy in terms of improving working conditions for people, the 30 years of reversals not withstanding.

No. Its a drain on political energy. We should abandon it entirely. Actively work to reform the basic system. Furthermore, the basic outline of the election act should be embedded in the constitution directly.

jrootham

Cueball wrote:

Actually yes, Stockholm, municipal elections are generally far more fair than the Federal or provincial parliments. The problem is that these institutions have very little power. The amount of power they have is determined by the upper parliments which determine their mandate.

This is a classic illustration of the distance between this theory of voting and reality.

Toronto politics are utterly dominated by the power of incumbancy. My recollection is that in the last 2 elections, there has been exactly 1 incumbent defeated. The incumbents elected included one who was on the front pages of the local newspapers as having his office rent subsidized improperly. Not to mention all of Tom Jakobek's capers.

When voters got annoyed at the Mulroney government they knocked it from a majority to 2 seats.

You want to replace a system that at least sometimes makes changes to one that is incredibly change resistant and susceptible to corruption.

This helps marginal communities how?

 

 

 

 

 

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