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Thread: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

  1. #16
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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by bolshevik View Post
    I don't think that not voting by itself improves the condition of the working class. It is unfortunately the case that most of the (majority of?) workers who won't vote in the upcoming election will do so out of feelings of cynicism and demoralisation rather than to make the positive political statement of commitment to fighting for a socialist future that motivates my position.

    It is also true that a large parliamentary majority does make it easier for a bourgeois party to implement its policies. However I believe this is secondary to the balance of class forces, general economic situation and the needs of capital which are the main factors in deciding what those policies will be.

    I know this from my own experience in New Zealand where the equivalent of the Tory party was in power from the mid-70s to the mid-80s (with a substantial majority in the first past the post system NZ had then) when they were replaced by the supposedly more left-wing (at least in a liberal-left kind of way) Labour Party - who proceeded to begin the privatisation of the welfare state and moved to curb the strength of the trade unions, both things the much more right-wing National Party had not done in the previous decade. The needs of capital dictated this rather than the size of the parliamentary majority or the left, centre or right nature of the capitalist government. Even if a parliamentary majority is small there is always recourse to a "government of national unity" to get through the policies required by the capitalists.

    In my opinion it is essential to always be trying to get across the idea that it is our own strength as an organised class that is the only real defence against any attacks the capitalist class, and their government, inflict upon our class. Of course a mass militant workers movement and its revolutionary component would contest capitalist elections but that would be in the context of militant class struggle being the primary focus and any elected representatives being very much aware and openly conscious of their role as being class war combatants in the enemy camp.

    But that is quite different from "socialists" telling the working class, with varying degrees of explicitness/implictiness, that all that can be achieved is radical reforms and presenting the institutions of bourgeois democracy as the main arena of the struggle for any social change (the Socialist Party and their approach to the water charges being a current example of this). In my opinion that consolidation of reformist ideology and buying into/encouraging acceptance of capitalism as the natural order outweighs the secondary effect that having more left-reformist parliamentarians might have.
    I think that these Labour parties (Blairite) were a creation of the State. In this thread you are saying that people should not vote for any left party.
    It is quite possible to advocate for a vote for a party or person for which you have only limited support. People are perfectly well able to grasp that.
    For example, to ask people to vote for the SP, or SWP while giving a warning of why you think they will not deliver.

    It is about class solidarity, and building opposition. Anyone you would be prepared to march alongside is surely fit to be voted for ?
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  2. #17
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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    As Garret Fitzgerald said ........"it might work in practice .... it will never work in theory."


    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post

    My point is that Fitzgerald, who you seem to quote with approval,
    It you think that I was quoting Fitzgerald with approval.... then you are 10 times thicker than I have previously suspected. What Fitzgerald said was an absurd joke ...... which perfectly describes those who spend their time parsing Marxism while the population starves around them.
    Last edited by riposte; 13-05-2014 at 10:42 PM.
    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

  3. #18
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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by riposte View Post

    It you think that I was quoting Fitzgerald with approval.... then you are 10 times thicker than I have previously suspected. What Fitzgerald said was an absurd joke ...... which perfectly describes those who spend their time parsing Marxism while the population starves around them.
    " When completely without a logical point to make ....throw insults about " Henry J. Blythe.

    The idea that communism is indifferent to poverty is ridiculous.

    Try "capitalism" for that.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    " When completely without a logical point to make ....throw insults about " Henry J. Blythe.

    The idea that communism is indifferent to poverty is ridiculous.

    Try "capitalism" for that.
    I have never thrown insults around on this forum since I joined...... my statement re: "being thick" was conditional on whether you understood the import of the Fitzgerald quote and my motivation for using it. I will now afford you the credit of understanding the nature of a conditional sentence.
    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    I think that these Labour parties (Blairite) were a creation of the State. In this thread you are saying that people should not vote for any left party.
    It is quite possible to advocate for a vote for a party or person for which you have only limited support. People are perfectly well able to grasp that.
    For example, to ask people to vote for the SP, or SWP while giving a warning of why you think they will not deliver.

    It is about class solidarity, and building opposition. Anyone you would be prepared to march alongside is surely fit to be voted for ?
    I think this is a tactical question. Sometimes calling for a critical vote to some candidates can be the right thing to do (as I think it was in 2009 when I advocated a vote to the Socialist Party) and sometimes calling for no vote to any candidates can be the right thing to do (as I think is the case in 2014). It is based on an assessment of which tactical approach can, in each concrete situation, best be used to advance the ideas of revolutionary Marxism.

    I am quite happy to accept, and engage with, a critique of my position on voting in any particular election if it is based on that same premise but not when it is based on a lesser-evilist implicit acceptance of the necessary existence of capitalism.

    I think it is quite a different thing to march beside someone in a campaign on a specific issue where you both agree on the limited immediate demands of the campaign despite any other political differences and calling for a vote for them, with the critical political support for their overall programme that is implied by such a call to vote for them.
    Last edited by bolshevik; 14-05-2014 at 04:33 PM.

  6. #21
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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by bolshevik View Post
    I think this is a tactical question. Sometimes calling for a critical vote to some candidates can be the right thing to do (as I think it was in 2009 when I advocated a vote to the Socialist Party) and sometimes calling for no vote to any candidates can be the right thing to do (as I think is the case in 2014). It is based on an assessment of which tactical approach can, in each concrete situation, best be used to advance the ideas of revolutionary Marxism.

    I am quite happy to accept, and engage with, a critique of my position on voting in any particular election if it is based on that same premise but not when it is based on a lesser-evilist implicit acceptance of the necessary existence of capitalism.

    I think it is quite a different thing to march beside someone in a campaign on a specific issue where you both agree on the limited immediate demands of the campaign despite any other political differences and calling for a vote for them, with the critical political support for their overall programme that is implied by such a call to vote for them.
    You are amalgamating two things there which are quite separate, and if referring to what I said, doing so wrongly.

    Voting for the least worst ,critically, is nothing to do with whether or not a person accepts or supports capitalism.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Colette Browne argues very cogently in today's Independent (I can't seem to post the link) that the more disadvantaged and working class people stay away from the polls, the more mercilessly right-wing and pro-privilege government policies become. This is because the more wealthy and privileged almost always make sure to vote. This creates a downward spiral where governments become more and more neoliberal as less-well off people decide the system has nothing for them and keep away from voting.

    So yes, we can stay away from the polls, allow the state to become ever more nakedly neoliberal and work for a radical response to that, but so far there is no sign of anything emerging from that apart from apathy and resignation.

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Richardbouvet View Post
    Colette Browne argues very cogently in today's Independent (I can't seem to post the link) that the more disadvantaged and working class people stay away from the polls, the more mercilessly right-wing and pro-privilege government policies become. This is because the more wealthy and privileged almost always make sure to vote. This creates a downward spiral where governments become more and more neoliberal as less-well off people decide the system has nothing for them and keep away from voting.

    So yes, we can stay away from the polls, allow the state to become ever more nakedly neoliberal and work for a radical response to that, but so far there is no sign of anything emerging from that apart from apathy and resignation.
    The last general election had a large turnout and yet it has produced one of the most right wing fascist governments that this sorry excuse for a country has ever produced.

    Collette Browne is talking through her rectum. Confirmation bias is a malady not an answer.

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    You are amalgamating two things there which are quite separate, and if referring to what I said, doing so wrongly.

    Voting for the least worst ,critically, is nothing to do with whether or not a person accepts or supports capitalism.
    I accept the correction as although my comment is true for most people making the "vote for the least worst" argument it is not necessarily true for all using it.

    But how does this approach apply in a situation where the least worst option is choosing one capitalist party over another rather than voting for a leftist - for instance in the USA choosing between the Democrats and Republicans?

    And are you presenting this as a principle of ALWAYS having to vote for someone rather than as I present it as a tactic?

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    "The last general election had a large turnout and yet it has produced one of the most right wing fascist governments that this sorry excuse for a country has ever produced."

    Sean, need I remind you that the last election also produced by far the biggest contingent of left TDs in Irish election history.

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Richardbouvet View Post
    "The last general election had a large turnout and yet it has produced one of the most right wing fascist governments that this sorry excuse for a country has ever produced."

    Sean, need I remind you that the last election also produced by far the biggest contingent of left TDs in Irish election history.
    Correct. With most of them joining and outdoing FG.

    As I said, one of the most right wing fascist governments ever produced.

    It is voting that produces scum governments. Not the lack of it.

  12. #27
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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by bolshevik View Post
    I accept the correction as although my comment is true for most people making the "vote for the least worst" argument it is not necessarily true for all using it.

    But how does this approach apply in a situation where the least worst option is choosing one capitalist party over another rather than voting for a leftist - for instance in the USA choosing between the Democrats and Republicans?

    And are you presenting this as a principle of ALWAYS having to vote for someone rather than as I present it as a tactic?

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
    I'm not discussing this in terms of personal principles, more in terms of class struggle, which is what underlies elections.

    In terms of vote, it is always, in class struggle terms, most useful to vote down the right and - where lefts are standing - vote for them and put pressure on them to deliver. If they don't then their weaknesses will have been exposed and it will be a learning process for the people who voted for them.

    In Greece - would you call for a vote there ? Not voting would leave the door open for the far right (even further than it is already). A strong left vote builds the confidence and organisational capacity of the working class. Elections are a period of political reflection and at times intense discussion for the whole population. Standing aside from that is a huge opportunity missed for spreading your ideas and for confronting those you disagree with. It is an opportunity to put forward your programme for examination by voters. If you think that entry into the Dail or to local authorities is a waste of time, then it is surely still right to get stuck in to that debate by standing for election, whether as a member of a party or a left independent, while making it clear your would not take your seat. Far too few people have any left candidates to vote for.

    I think good for people of the left to be in local government. Look at Seamus Costello, who seemed to know how to work in that position to cut across individual clientelism and to prove himself in practice as a representative, creating a stronger platform for his political standpoint.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  13. #28
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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    "It is voting that produces scum governments. Not the lack of it. "

    Practicable alternatives please? Or do we just sit around and do nothing?

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Seán Ryan View Post
    Correct. With most of them joining and outdoing FG.

    As I said, one of the most right wing fascist governments ever produced.

    It is voting that produces scum governments. Not the lack of it.
    I understand your inclination to give up on trying to bring about any change (beyond critical analysis) but I find it disappointing.

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    Default Re: "A Communist's View of the Elections" Irish Local Elections 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    I understand your inclination to give up on trying to bring about any change (beyond critical analysis) but I find it disappointing.
    I don't agree. I'm incredibly active in trying to bring about change, well beyond critical analysis. I did my analysis decades ago and have been acting on it ever since. I'm not a great fan of perpetual analysis either. For the vast majority who engage in it, I see it as a device of procrastination or avoidance.

    Generations have voted in successive groups of maggots. Every time we hear that more folks need to vote, to get it right.

    Indeed the principle of voting is shown to be very accurate by a mathematical anomaly know as "wisdom of the crowd." So, I absolutely agree, that the more people who vote, the more representative the government will be. Folks think I don't get that. They're wrong. I absolutely agree that a gombeen fuelled only by self interest, is indeed entirely representative of the majority.

    But a gombeen scumbag does not represent me. And no crowd, no matter how big, has a right that I'll ever recognise, to foist a gombeen on me and demand that I recognise their porcine god.

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