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Nearly 30% of people who voted for the PSOE in 2008 will sit the election out in utter disgust and contempt at the PSOE's economic policies since May 2010 (which, in fact, have been for naught as far as the crisis has gone), topped by an insane right-wing constitutional reform steamrolled through the parliament as an emergency measure with little debate and no referendum, on the excuse that it would "avert a 'rescue' of Spain" (and look at Spain's bond yields now - so, also a failure on its own terms).

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 Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 07:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. And I recall very well Michael Moore saying the same things in 2000 about his "disgust" with the Clinton administration and Al Gore. After all, Clinton/Gore deregulated banking, chopped big holes in the social safety net, facilitated media concentration, and so on. So the correct strategy was clearly to sit out the election. After all, what could go wrong? And, clearly, after 4 years of the right, the public would be anxious to move radically left.

This theory has been repeatedly advocated and tested over the last century. Somehow it always ends up with the right further entrenched in power, more misery, more structural impediments to real change and weaker left.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 07:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because supporting the quislings has produced so much better results?

If you don't like what the left is doing, go out and fucking organise something different. That's what some of us are doing. But don't give us your whining little hissy fit that people don't get in line and vote for the lesser evil. That argument only works for so long, and you spent your quota a while ago.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 07:50:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it produces better results. Over 100,000 dead civilians in Iraq may not mean anything to you, but they do to me. During the Katrina debacle, when the National Guard was sweeping people away to secret prisons, Blackwater thugs were patrolling the streets of New Orleans with machine guns, and police on the Danziger bridge were engaged in slaughter, we saw the fruits of the stupid purism of the fake left.

The effects of a right wing government in spain will be ugly and long lasting.

By the way, Quisling cooperated with the Nazis - the right. He was disgusted with the weak, waffling, social democrats.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 08:00:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The interesting thing nowadays is that the Social Democrats seem to be, if anything, slightly to the right of the conservatives across Europe on economic issues...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 08:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really? Consider event the pathological case of the British Labor Party under Blair and Brown and compare to the current government.

Or compare what a SPD/Green government in Germany would be doing with what Merkel is doing.

You think that the social democrats are to the right?

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 08:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I was thinking Hungary, Greece, it seems Italy,  and of course Germany. The current policy (minus perhaps the solipsism) is a continuation of the Hartz reforms. The internal devaluation in Germany started then, didn't it, under the leadership of the later-to-become Gazprom executive? That the SDP has now a chance to develop perhaps a backbone and stand up for the rights of the people who actually work for a living is a different issue, and has to do with the fact that in Germany there is now a significant threat from the left.

The creation of a serious left alternative, in fact a revived Social Democratic political presence, requires the destruction of most of the sold-out SD parties and building alternatives on their left.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 10:54:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or compare what a SPD/Green government in Germany would be doing with what Merkel is doing

A CDU government would not have managed to get the Hartz4 legislation through. Never ever. A CDU government would not have dared to take us into Afghanistan. We wouldn't have had 10 years of sinking wages, an import deficit, a war, the erosion of freedom in order to prevent terrorists who aren't interested in us anyway.  

by Katrin on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the hundred thousand Iraqis Clinton killed with his sanctions? Or do those don't count because they were killed by someone with a D after his name? Or what about the couple of hundred thousand Yugoslavs that Albright got killed when she torpedoed the chances for a peaceful dissolution of Yugoslavia?

Are you really so delusional that you believe the Democrats don't start colonial wars for fun and profit?

If you want Democrats to start winning elections, you need to convince them to stop doing stupid shit like that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 08:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Odd how "leftists" resort to right wing stories so quickly. If you want to equate Clinton's sanctions with Bush's shock-and-awe or pretend that Albright caused the Serbian campaign of genocide, go ahead, but don't expect me to applaud.

Obviously, Clinton's policies were often terrible, but Bush's were much worse and, furthermore, increased the structural power of the far right - worldwide.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 08:43:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You were the one counting bodies.

I suppose you might postulate an ethical difference between starving someone to death and giving him a bullet to the back of the head. I suspect that the dead guy would beg to differ.

Obviously Bush's policies were worse than Clinton's. Just as Clinton's were worse than Reagan's. Because that's what you get when you make triangulation the principal plank of your political strategy, and the left doesn't force you to include them in your triangulations.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 08:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The theory of "the left" that it can "force you to include them in your triangulations" by sitting out elections and sulking (or equivalently voting for symbolic parties) is the theory under debate.

In that Clinton was worse than Reagan (which is false, but what the heck), it was because Reagan succeeded in bringing about structural changes that increased the power of the financial and military sectors and assisted in organization of the far rights political apparatus. When one permits an unsatisfactory social democrat (like Carter) to be replaced by the right wing, the effects of this change do not disappear at election boundaries. Clinton had to operate in the world Reagan had made, just as Obama has to operate in the world Bush made - and just as some possible future less right wing government in Spain will have to operate in the world the PP makes.  The right keeps focused on power - putting in right wing judges in one step, building up a right wing bank regulator in another and so on. The left, fixated on its own disappointment, gives a multi-year opening to install Franco-ist officials in the bureaucracy to the right because the PPOE acted like nearly all social democratic parties act under pressure.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 08:58:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You sure as Hell don't force anybody to include you in their triangulations by voting for them no matter what they do while in office.

And I'll remind you that the most important institutional entrenchment of right-wing economic policy in Spain since Franco's death happened two months ago, under a PSOE government.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 09:05:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh come on. Voting is an exercise of political power, not a love affair. Rublaca promises to tax banks and protect the health care system and says that the indignants have a point. Yet that's "too late" for the disappointed lovers of the fake left.
by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 09:13:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PSOE promised that before the last election too, and what they delivered was a constitutional change which will lock in right-wing economic policies for the foreseeable future.

If you believe that there is any structural, institutional gain from voting PSOE over PP, then you're kidding yourself. There is structural, institutional gain in voting for the post-communists. But prissy whiners like you who insist that anybody who isn't voting PSOE is effectively supporting the PP are not helping to get that point across.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 09:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starts in 2020,

Unlike Germany, Spain will not specify the size of the deficit cap in the constitution. According to the draft, the new clause will merely say a cap must be set by either the European Union or, in its absence, the Spanish parliament. The limit could also be broken at times of recession or national crisis.

just marketing pr that means nothing.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 10:49:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you mind sourcing your quotes?

This is from a diary of mine on the topic:

There's only one provision of the proposed New Article 135 (in Spanish) which will have immediate effect:
Los créditos para satisfacer los intereses y el capital de la deuda pública de las Administraciones se entenderán siempre incluidos en el estado de gastos de sus presupuestos y su pago gozará de prioridad absoluta. Estos créditos no podrán ser objeto de enmienda o modificación, mientras se ajusten a las condiciones de la Ley de emisión.
Credits to service interest and principal on the public debt of the various Administrations will be understood to be part of the expense account of their budgets, and their payment will have absolute priority. These credits won't be subject to amendment or modification, as long as they keep to the conditions of the law by which they were issued.
Update [2011-8-30 3:59:57 by Migeru]: The emphasised text is what's being added by the amendment.
The only provision with immediate effect is that paying the national debt takes priority over health care, education, unemployment insurance, national defence, etc, etc.

On top of this, the Socialis presidential candidate came out and tried to sell this to the public with the argument that it was "a pro-European reform". As if we're stupid.

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 Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 01:12:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny that there is a similar amendment in the US constitution, put there to prevent rejoining Confederate states from defaulting on the Union civil war debt.

Here's my quote source

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/aug/26/spain-constitutional-cap-deficit

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This will prevent Spain from defaulting on the Euro wars debt.

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 Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:03:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"But prissy whiners like you who insist that anybody who isn't voting PSOE is effectively supporting the PP are not helping to get that point across."

Indeed - because most people who are not voting PSOE are not voting left, they are just not voting, thus assisting PP. Arithmetic is so inconvenient at times.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 10:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boycotting elections that are essentially undemocratic is also an act of political power.

If you have paid any attention to what was said in the squares of the indignados, you would know that.

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

by r------ on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 09:23:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is an act of political power - for the right.
They are more interested in actual power, not symbolic gestures. Except symbolic gestures by the left which result in actual power for the right.
by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 10:46:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The right already has power, via its ownership of the economy.

You seem to confuse the political process and the right's use of it to arrogate legitimacy of its entrenched power with the actual obtention of power itself.

I would suggest this undermines your analysis completely.

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

by r------ on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 06:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... proven over and over again in their effective engagement in the Republican primary process ~ their willingness to throw the occasional moderate Republican to the wolves in favor of someone toeing the radical reactionary lines of the moment allows them to exercise far more effective discipline over their elected representatives than the approach of the left, not getting started until too late to affect the make-up of the candidates on offer and then buying heavily into the blinkered media hyperfocus on Presidential campaigning.


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 Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 11:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... to filibuster much of that. So putting that entirely down to the Bush administration and none of it down to the cowardice of the Democratic Senators that is promoted by LOTE voting is oversimplifying quite a bit.

The PSOE certainly deserve to lose based on their performance. Demanding that people vote for failure because the primary rival part of government will do more damage in succeeding than the current party of government did in failing is a fine stand to make, but its unrealistic to expect enthusiastic support for that among the people let down by the current government's multiple and massive failures.


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 Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 12:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"cowardice" is not a useful term to describe the workings of political power.
by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 01:57:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you prefer "craven hypocrisy", I'm fine with that. Large numbers of Democratic Senators voted against their avowed principles, clearly due to an expectation that voting their avowed principles would substantially increase their risk of losing an election.

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 Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cowardice would imply they wanted to do something different, knew it to be the right thing, and yet voted against their own principles.  That seems hard to believe. One can see, for example, that Carl Levin from MI continues to push for military detention of civilians - even against the wishes of the Obama administration. More accurately, many Democratic party representatives are supporters of the national security state and happy to support their local corporate oligarchs. And the people who do vote tend to agree with them.

A habit I'm trying to cure myself of is the "left" habit of considering it "betrayal" or "cowardice" or some other similar sin when politicians act in accordance with their political interests/programs.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not state nor do not make the assumption that Senators have principles over and above seeking power and seeking to maintain power.

"Avowed" principles are what they say. Whether their avowed principles are in line with any deeply held personal convictions ~ well, I do not believe that we have any reliable means to determine what they actually believe, and a term which cannot be identified with an empirical observable is pragmatically irrelevant to the issue at hand.

The language of "cowardice" only assumes that they believe that they face greater risks of being punished from moving from center right positions to centrist positions than they do in moving from center right positions to further right positions. Or, in rare cases, greater risks of being punished from moving from centrist to center-left positions than they do in moving from centrist to center right positions.

Of course, under universal LOTE voting by the left, that belief is warranted so long as there the rival party of government is always even further right than they are.


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 Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with "craven" is that it distracts from issues of power politics to issues of celebrity character. The leadership of PSOE may well be craven, the leadership of the British Labor party might be corrupt, but the forces governing their decisions are economic, geopolitical and sociological. No? Railing about the perceived character flaws of political figures seems a distraction.

And it's peculiar to me how focused on national politics the "left" has become. Why are there not left wing mayors and regional/local officials making the case for radical politics in most western nations? It's quite interesting to see how much of an effect Laguardia had on New Deal politics - the populist mayor of a big city with a huge media presence.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 04:34:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to add, this is why Greens in France recently, DLinke in Germany, Working Families in NYState and others are so interesting.
by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 04:35:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its your decision to view it as railing at character flaws, as that's not what I was doing.

I understand that that reading is more convenient for your argument, since pigeonholing what I said into a category for which you have an already established argument allows you to soapbox rather than discuss.

And while economic, geopolitical and sociological constraints determine the present terrain within with individual and community action takes place, it would be a quaintly 20th century approach to presume that they strictly determine the outcome, and to ignore the role of individual and community action in reproducing those constraints, and in so doing, shifting the boundaries of what is possible.

Take the US 2000 election, for example ~ the then members of the Green Party have every right to be upset at the strategic blunder from a Green Part perspective that Nader made in focusing his attention on swing states, when the tweedle dee and tweedle dum argument could have been made with far stronger total electoral effect for the growth of the Green Party if taken to the taken for granted states instead.


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 Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:04:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
Why are there not left wing mayors and regional/local officials making the case for radical politics in most western nations?

Because the big conservative or the big socialist or liberal (depending on country) usually wins those seats too. But, in Europe it is more common to find small parties of any color locally then nationally, for the simple reason that it takes a smaller critical mass to gain local seats. And any party that is represented nationally is likely to be represented locally too. So I am at loss why you seem to argue that there is anything special in this regard with the french Greens or Die Linke in Germany.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 07:04:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sitting here safely in Paris, I would say that eight years of Bush were a good thing. Accelerated the eventual bankruptcy of the world's most powerful terrorist state, in the process isolating it perceptibly from the rest of the Western democracies and, more importantly, inflicting lasting damaging to the image our peoples have of it. Shining beacon no more, especially since the generation which know the War is slowly dying off.

A win-win as far as I'm concerned. And, it is ridiculous to speak of a left in America. There isn't one, aside from a marginal (and purposefully marginalized) group of intellectuals (Wallerstein, Chomsky, Perry Anderson, et c.), primaily in academia.  

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

by r------ on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 09:15:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn right.

Bush's greatest achievement was fucking up in Iraq.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 10:04:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perry Anderson is English. Poor Brits. It's not as if they have a shortage of pomposity without him. By the way, if you want to read actual left-wing thinking, try E.P. Thompson's Poverty of Theory which concerns Professor Anderson quite a bit.

And it was a good thing for the far right, the global elites, and the "left". Which strikes some of us as an interesting sociopolitical phenomenon not unrelated to the class interests of "left" intellectuals.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 11:25:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last time I checked, Perry Anderson was still teaching at UCLA.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 12:00:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What of Krugman then? He's left enough for me. Actually, reading his books, his position on many issues seems to coincide very much with my own.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 07:13:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the conventional far-right, right, center-right, center, center-left, left, far-left spectrum, Krugman is, despite his training and profession manipulating long since falsified social theories, somewhere ranging from center to center-left.

Given a right party that has elected officials attempting to take right wing actions under the cover of far right wing rhetoric, and a "left" part that has elected officials attempting to take center-right wing actions under the cover of center-left wing rhetoric, Krugman tends to be very useful in calling both the right wing out on their extremism and the center-right wing out on their actions failing to live up to their center-left rhetoric.

Of course, his economics is still neoliberal "in the long run", so there remains the genuflection to balanced budgets and loanable funds fallacies "in the long run" ... but he stretched out the Keynesian short run about as far as a mainstream economist can get away with stretching it, so as long as his attention is on the current situation through to the next half decade, there is remarkably little damage done by the long run neoliberalism.


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 Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:32:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, as you say, the roots of all structural misery were layed during Clinton's tenure.

Indeed, from a economic structural perspective any of the Bushes are doves compared to the Clinton times.

Tax cuts for the rich you can get rid off easily. Measures that define how economy (financial system included) works, much more complicated.

This has been a slippery slope for the last 30 years. We should have not did it. In some cases the so-called left did more damage than the right.

That being said, while I did not vote in the last elections (because I was away), I would have if I could. The brutal austerity that you see in Portugal was highly foreseeable (like EU/IMF/ECB troika on steroids, by option).

Anyway, I think it is time the social democracts follow the way of the communists, the anarchists... the way of the dodo. We need breathing space for something new. Precisely what, I do not know. But the old solutions are not working.

by cagatacos on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 12:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
something new seems overdue.
by rootless2 on Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 at 03:36:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Therefore, let's vote for the old. That will encourage renewal.

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 Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 at 04:23:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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