Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
So in the end, your argument boils down to the Politician's Syllogism:

The left is losing. Therefore the left is doing something wrong.
This is something.
Therefore, this is what the left is doing wrong.

Please get back to me when you have a useful critique. And no, "vote for the lesser evil, because what could possibly go wrong (aside from having your constitution rewritten by DeutcheBank)?" does not qualify.

Fun fact: If the PSOE had been in opposition two months ago, the amendment that enshrined deficit terrorism into the constitution would not have passed. How's that for making the institutional structure more amenable to left-wing organising?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 09:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of course it goes without saying that the PSOE in opposition would have bravely defied the EU because, well, because.
by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 11:01:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because, not being in power, it doesn't have to be as serious™.

Hey, the first time in 18 months that Zapatero said the EU and the ECB needed to do more about the crisis was at an electoral rally this Friday! That is, on the way out. I bet you they will be vociferous about it now that they're in opposition. Hence

In any case, the constant sentence against him on the left-corner has been "why did not yo do/say/defend this while you were in power?"
Read the diary.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:06:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But why is speaking ineffectually such a plus?
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 09:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because even if you cannot enact policy you can steer the debate in the right direction. The right wing understands this, but the left doesn't seem to. And it's the hegemonic, centrist party that needs to understand it. As JakeS never tires of pointing out, the right wing finds fringe extremists extremely useful to steer the debate, while the centre left finds radical leftists threatening, maybe becuase of a fear that the "unseriousness" will rub off on them.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 09:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They way one steers the debate in the right direction is by making the case, not by handing power over to the right which they will use to further limit the range of permitted discussion. JakeS has it backwards, however. The fringe right reserves 90% of its energy for advancing its own case and attacking the left and moderates. The fringe left, however, is all about attacking the "betrayal" of moderates and each other. One notes that the instances in which right wing extremists urge their voters to stay home are few and far between - and their enthusiasm for symbolic gestures is minimal. The right is about power, what remains of the left is often about striking a pose. Imagine that the PSOE had been in the position of the PP, running a campaign utterly bereft of concrete proposals. The sound of angry "left" demands for specific promises would be high pitched indeed. And yet, the right knows how to play the game -  even though their actual policies are not liked by a majority.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought by "speaking ineffectually" you were referring to ZP and the PSOE making "the right noises" while in opposition.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:14:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expect some clear examples, in the political space, in a European country context, preferably in a non-English official language country.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:15:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bwahahaha.

I believe JakeS is allied with the Socialistisk Folkeparti which is most definitely not fringe given their ability to get 10% of seats in the Folketing, 15% of Danish seats in the European Parliament, and comparable proportions in regional and local elections.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've discussed many things in the past with Jake, and to be honest, he is if anything much more pragmatic, and centrist, than the political strain of which I count myself as well as the political party of which I am a member.

My party has been in a number of governing coalitions and held a number of ministries over the past decades, including the last left-wing coalition here led by Lionel Jospin and the PS.

I don't think you have much background on what the European political left really looks like, else you wouldn't make such absurd statements.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:55:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My vast ignorance is of course obvious. To an ignorant person like me it appears that the finance right dominates the EU, that the weak SD parties have been swept away like dust and the most successful further left parties are struggling to break 15% of the vote. However, thanks to your instruction, I now know that, as usual, none of this is due to any tactical or analytical defect on the part of the left, it's all due to the perfidy of the Social Democrats.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:23:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the Third-way Social Democrats in the 1990s agreed to gold-bug- and neoliberal-inspired institutional structures in the Eurozone. They then proceeded in the 2000s to undermine the social safety nets and to ride the Eurozone credit bubbles. When the crisis hit they shared the right-wing diagnosis, they protected TPTB like the right-wing and then they got fully on board with the Austerity™ out of Seriousness™.

The successful left wing parties polling around 15% did none of this.

And you suggest the right strategy is to vote for the Social Democrats even if you agree with the left parties.

In addition, given a Social-democratic hegemonic party of the left and an also-ran party of the left, what vote percentage would you expect the also-ran to get? Assume the right/left split is 50/50 and assume the hegemonic party beats the also-ran 2:1 and you get the respective 30% - 15% vote shares.

On what basis you thumb your nose at the 15% of the also-ran calling it "not successful? Under European PR systems, that 15% translates into seats in parliament as opposed to zero representation in Anglo-American FPTP systems.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not at all sure I know a solution, however, I am sure that 15% representation (or similarly a few "progressive" US congresspeople) is not success. Success is when you, you know, win. Losing and giving impassioned speeches, principled ones even, is not winning.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite. And third-wayers have been winning... what, exactly?

Incidentally, I seem to have missed your undoubtedly enthusiastic endorsement of the chaps who mounted a primary challenge to Lieberman an election cycle or so back. Care to refresh my memory on that subject?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 01:23:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"3rd way" is a meaningless term either as a critique or a platform.

Your enthusiasm for Lamont (that was the name of Lieberman's opponent) at this stage is hard to fathom.

by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 04:27:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"3rd way" is a meaningless term either as a critique or a platform.

Sadly, the third-wayers disagree with the latter. Which fact falsifies the former.

Your enthusiasm for Lamont (that was the name of Lieberman's opponent) at this stage is hard to fathom.

I have no particular opinion on Lamont.

I have an opinion on the need to primary a useless waste of space like Lieberman. Lamont could be an almost as useless waste of space as Lieberman, but hey - lesser of two evils, right?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 04:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given a massive incumbent advantage in a thoroughly corrupted political system, primarying an entrenched incumbent like Lieberman is worthwhile even if the alternative is only moderately better ~ and, indeed, proved worthwhile despite failing in the end, as the backlash to the independent run meant that Lieberman was well advised to retire after the end of the term that he had won.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2011 at 03:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was the semi-official name of the political platform.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 07:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Historically, it was a name used by groups that claimed to be on neither side in the cold war.

Right now it is a kind of vague statement of semi-conservatives.

However, I think we are at a historical low point for information content of political labels.

by rootless2 on Tue Nov 22nd, 2011 at 08:17:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DLC: About The Third Way
On Sunday, April 25, 1999, the President Clinton and the DLC hosted a historic roundtable discussion, The Third Way: Progressive Governance for the 21st Century, with five world leaders including British PM Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Dutch PM Wim Kok, and Italian PM Massimo D'Alema, the First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and DLC President Al From.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2011 at 09:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here - from a non-english speaking country, no less.

http://www.irishleftreview.org/2009/06/17/left-polemicist/

by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:25:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland is non-English-speaking!?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:36:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ILR are fringe left?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I denounce your hegoministic anti-lacanism
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 11:31:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's spelled hegemonistic I believe.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 11:45:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you try wrestling with autocorrect.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 11:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your autocorrect contains hegoministic?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 11:52:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no but it kept correcting to all sorts of even stranger words before i was able to get even an approximation.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:16:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure and begorrah.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:37:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, the fact is that the PP vote is stable, they get 10 to 11 million no matter what, no matter what they propose or don't propose.

The PSOE vote oscillates between 7M and 11M because the left voters actually think for themselves and 1/3 of potential PSOE voters are not tribal so it does matter to them what the PSOE says or does.

The PP vote and the core PSOE vote conform to what Altemeyer calls 'right wing authoritarian'.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:22:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because unlike your Democrats, PES parties recognise (and use) a blocking minority.

There are various possible explanations for this, ranging from them being centre-left as opposed to the Democrats' centre-right, to blocking minorities being more difficult to form and the political system therefore not having evolved a consensus against using them.

But for the present purpose, the reason does not matter: The simple, and quite striking, reality is that throughout this crisis, Eurozone PES parties have been far more willing to use blocking minorities than governing majorities to push back against right-wing economic extremism. The contrast is remarkable. At least to anybody who has been paying attention.

It would help you form a cogent argument if you had passing acquaintance with recent political history on the continent you are attempting to describe.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 04:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How could I have overlooked the brilliant way the SD opposition has blocked austerity measures in ... um .. all those countries I don't know about?
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 09:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why, then, should we reward them with our vote?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 09:20:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Votes are not rewards. They are political acts that should be done for advantage.

I vote for a somewhat weak local Democrat because I know that the voters in my locality would pick a much worse right winger if she failed. That's not a reward, it's self-preservation.

by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:06:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want the local party to replace the bums with someone better you don't vote for the bums.

Because Spain doesn't have open primaries, the only way sympathisers can pressure the parties is at the general election. Even acquaintances who are members of PSOE admit that, as members, they have little influence on who the cadres and candidates will end up being.

And, in this case, it's beginning to sound as if ZP and his entourage believe that the severity of the crisis, the economic environment they have had to act in, and the pressures they received from the EU to enact certain policies exonerate them so even after the worst election result since democracy was restored in 1977 the PSOE leadership intends to steer the party into the next Congress. I'm beginning to suspect ZP wants to directly influence the choice of his successor even though he didn't even run for a seat in parliament this time around.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:12:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course a vote is a reward. Do ut des. And politicians all over the world do know that they have to reward their voters or at least fake a reward.

It seems to be a special pathology of the american democrats that they don't want to recognize that. Say what you want about machine politicians, but they did understand that.

(The american right tends to call Obama a Chicago machine politician. I always sigh: "If only!")

by IM on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 10:27:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a peculiar claim to be made in the middle of a discussion of how PSOE lost an election by chosing Mrs. Merkel over their own voters.

The problem is not that politicians are playing the game wrong, however, it is that activists are. The program advanced by NoLesVotes is to "punish" the main parties by assisting the PP to take power.  

by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:13:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The main parties are punished by voting for the minor parties, in part because the absence of open primaries prevent people from "primarying" the socialists-in-name-only. That the right wing won is seen as an acceptable side effect of trying to vote out the bums on your own side.

But, also, in countries with adequate PR systems the left gets their seat share whether it's split 50-0 or 30-20, so there's no problem whatsoever with getting 15% of the vote.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:52:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you think it worked? To me, and obviously I may be wrong, you still have a duopoly, but the worse side is now in power - and as you noted the PSOE leadership is excusing it own performance as due to exigencies.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PSOE leadership continue to work at lowering the chances I'll vote for them next time around by being self-righteous about being bastards.

And your point is?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 07:21:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
>The problem is not that politicians are playing the game wrong, however, it is that activists are.<

That is an assertion you should try to prove.

Do you also think the electoral losses of 2010(democrats) and 2008 and 2006 (republicans) can be blamed on activists playing the game wrong? I would blame the economy, at least regarding 2010 and 2008.

The conservative irish government lost power too; I and conventional wisdom would explain that with the economic conditions. What is your explanation, Fianna fail activists staying at home?  

by IM on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 03:21:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think your views are extremely coloured by experience with majority first past the post system. In a proportional system, it's very possible for a small party to achieve more influence by being in opposition than being in government.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How could I have overlooked the brilliant way the SD opposition has blocked austerity measures in ...

The French PS shot down a constitutional suicide pact not dissimilar to the Spanish one not so long ago. The Spanish PSOE rammed one through while in government. With procedural legerdemain that one could have called a coup d'etat if one had been inclined to be legalistic about it. So tell me again how voting for PES parties helps shape the institutional landscape in the left's favour? 'Cause I really want to know.

um .. all those countries I don't know about?

Not my fault you haven't been paying attention.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 01:35:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh you mean the "golden rule" of Sarkozy which was designed to be an election gimmick. How brave of them. Oddly, the US Democrats just defeated a similar rule without needing to be in opposition. Perhaps the difference is that neither France nor the US at the time were truly worried about bond markets and did not need to go as far as Spain:

. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/074c8362-d55f-11e0-bd7e-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1eMtHqIfg

Others, however, regard the amendment as an empty gesture, since it allows for debt and deficit limits to be exceeded in times of economic recession or emergency situations that threaten "the financial situation or the economic or social sustainability of the state"

by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh> I expect you've got some evidence for that appreciation?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This appreciation:

rootless2:

the "golden rule" of Sarkozy which was designed to be an election gimmick
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IS that controversial?

PARIS -- President Nicolas Sarkozy has used the crisis over the euro and his relationship with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to set a potential political trap for the Socialist opposition less than nine months before the French presidential election.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/world/europe/23france.html

The measure is facing strong opposition from Socialists who say it's a publicity stunt in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election.

http://www.france24.com/en/20110727-golden-rule-sarkozy-socialist-party-roma-controversial-trees-can al-midi?page=7

François Hollande et Martine Aubry répondent que la ficelle est un peu grosse et qu'ils ne se laisseront pas entraîner dans «une opération de communication».

http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/01012351213-la-regle-d-or-le-joker-de-sarkozy
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 03:45:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was all the same not "designed to be an election gimmick". It was and is requested by Angela Merkel. Sarkozy's main policy effort for months now has been to stay closely hitched up to Germany whatever happens. He would surely have liked to make electoral capital out of doing the Congress show at Versailles, but he would also very seriously have wished to comply with the German request. What really put the kibosh on it was the PS victory in the elections to the Senate.

Sore losers, the Socialists.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 04:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think the Socialists are not telling the truth?
by rootless2 on Tue Nov 22nd, 2011 at 11:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're not reading what I'm saying. Which doesn't surprise me.

You know, if you're sincere, it's odd how you know every trick in the troll book.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2011 at 11:43:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is what you wrote:
<sigh> I expect you've got some evidence for that appreciation?

I then cited the NYTimes, the Socialist Party, and French TV.  If you don't like that evidence, I don't care.

by rootless2 on Tue Nov 22nd, 2011 at 07:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thread too narrow, so new top-level comment here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 at 02:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
Oddly, the US Democrats just defeated a similar rule without needing to be in opposition.

How brave of them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:18:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PSOE passed one while in government.

And now they're not.

Funny how that works.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PP passed one while in opposition¹.
And now they're in government.

Funny how that works.

¹The collaboration of PP was necessary to achieve the needed quorum for constitutional amendments.

res humą m'és alič

by Antoni Jaume on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:42:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite.

One non-trivial difference: The constitutional amendment in question is core PP policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:44:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series