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To me it's remarkable how happy many "on the left" are with being marginalized. Comfortable with losing. Secure in their own self-evaluation as "correct and principled" and happy to blame others for their inability to mobilize the population. The West's Left of the 21st century. Ready to write critiques of policies made by others.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 01:46:05 PM EST
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The PES parties were actually functioning social democratic parties until the first half of the '90s. Where for "social democratic" you should read "the parliamentary arm of the labour unions." There really wasn't any "left of the PES" policy space worth talking about until the third-wayers took over in the two election cycles around 1990.

Then we had ten years of third-wayers, whom the left supported - as you argue it should. It didn't become adequately obvious that this was a cul-de-sac, both electorally and politically, until two or three election cycles ago.

Since then, the left in most of Western Europe has been bootstrapping an organisation that can catch the votes the third-wayers are shedding. But it's not terribly surprising that voters move from the PES to the left through an election or two on the sofa. You may find this flirtation with the sofa party counterproductive. I would agree. You may even find it disappointing. But you can't pretend that it is unexpected.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 02:26:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't argue the left should "support" third wayers. I argue that people should vote tactically and that the tactic of not voting or voting for a party that cannot win seats to "punish" is a tactic that has been shown to not work very well.
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 03:48:40 PM EST
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The left overwhelmingly does vote tactically.

You will notice that it's centre-left voters who stay home, because they cannot bring themselves to vote for the left, and won't hold their nose and vote for the centre-right.

And... remind me again how enthusiastically you endorsed the primary challenge against Lieberman?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 04:04:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Liberman - you mean the critical vote that passed the most significant infrastructure investment in 50 years and the historic health care reform? That guy? I sent money to his opponent, however, I had little hope because the opponent had turned his campaign into a progressive joke and because the right voted tactically for someone they hated.  See how that works? They knew they could not win the seat for someone they wanted, but they could get a 50% win by denying the seat to the Democrat. That's why the right authors laws and the left authors papers about Lacanian interpretation of civil liberties (c.f. Zizek).
by rootless2 on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 04:20:03 PM EST
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Yes, I see how that worked: The state went from being contested by an Independent and a Republican to being contested by a Democrat and the same Independent.

Net result: The Independent went to DC, the Democrats got practical experience in organising a campaign. If they learned from that and do better next time, that was a net win. If they didn't learn and won't do better next time, it was neither a win nor a loss relative to the alternative.

Considering how well you appreciate the importance of practical on-the-ground organisation for left-wing political groups, I would have thought that you would see the value in that sort of exercise.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 05:00:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience is the opposite.

As some here might have noticed, I am a member of the Swedish Pirate Party. Despite gaining no seats in national parliament elections, political successes to date includes having converted about 10% to a position of supporting legalisation of filesharing and having the EU Data Storage Directive postponed time and again, despite Sweden being one of the driving countries for enacting that Directive in the first place.

I think proportional elections make all the difference. Since all votes affects the seats, parties need to protect their flanks in another way and are therefore more sensitive to challenges, even if those fails to take away seats in the short run.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 04:40:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lefties.

I know more than a few and I don't know anyone who is happy about being out of power or who likes losing. We campaign to win, and we vote tactically in the second round. As for the party, it certainly criticises the right-wing policies being adopted by Sarkozy (and also by so-called social democrats like Zapatero in Spain) but also proposes policies and, when in power in coalition, enacts them.

I don't know anyone who feels marginalised either.

Again, you cut a ridiculous figure here, projecting upon people here, many of whom are in fact politically active and engaged, your phobias about US strawmen and women of your own construction.

Let me ask you: have you ever been in Europe even? And if so, for more than a two-week vacation?

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

by r------ on Tue Nov 22nd, 2011 at 05:46:24 AM EST
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I've never left Borracho Junction Texas, my home town.  But, thanks to Fox, I have a good idea what happens in Europe and other parts of Africa.

There. Feel happier now?

by rootless2 on Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 at 03:07:49 PM EST
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