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French Elections: The Morning After

by afew Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:05:15 AM EST

The official results in the first round of the French presidential election (99% of votes, some overseas votes yet to come in):


(Source: Le Monde)

This is the first time in the Fifth Republic that an incumbent president has been beaten in the first round of the election. The polls on the second round show him beaten by a margin of from 6 to 10 points, and the pollsters have been pretty much right up to now. In spite of UMP noise and talking points, Sarkozy looks set for an exit, stage right. (Insert big smiley here).

But... With a good turnout (80.16%), generally held to be favourable to the left, it is more from the right that Sarkozy has been rejected. Marine Le Pen gets a record score for the Front National, leaving Jean-Luc Mélenchon way behind. The pressure-from-the-left situation we could hope for hasn't materialised.

Why? Certainly, Sarkozy himself bears a large share of the responsibility. Over a decade in power he has constantly worked the levers of fear, insecurity and xenophobia, and he has predictably enough made the extreme right's bed. Secondly, the Front National's facelift with the daughter instead of the grimacing old ultra-right daddy seems to be working. But there also seems to me to be here a vote by default, since the left overall has not developed and communicated efficiently a narrative that could offer voters a new angle on where things are going and why. Insofar as a narrative has been efficiently put across, it has been "immigration is responsible", from the right.

Sarkozy probably won't benefit personally (though expect huge noise over the next fortnight on xenophobia, security, Islam as he attempts to drag FN voters his way). But the left is in need of a total mental refit.

Not that anyone here will find that surprising.


Display:
Use as French elections open thread ad lib.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:21:18 AM EST
Looking at Le Monde's maps, I see some interesting trends.
  • Hollande did above average in most of the Massif Central, except its southeastern part, where Sarko did well. What's up with that region? (IIRC Chirac's home village is around there.)
  • The international narrative is that Le Pen and Mélenchon were gunning for the same disaffected voters. Yet I see that only in the North, elsewhere, there is anti-correlation between the two: for example, the Massif Central, the Pyrenées, Brittany and Languadoc are more lefty.
  • Le Pen also has a clear rural strength and is weak in most urban areas.
  • The places Eva Joly polled at above 10% seem rural, too, which is not typical for Greens.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:54:42 AM EST
Awesome maps from Le Monde.

To enhance the correlations I have selected the top and bottom 5th for each candidate. Some observations:

  1. Mélenchon and Joly appear to have a similar distribution, being strong in the South East and towards the Pyrénées and weak in the north except Paris. Mélenchon has strength in the centre (around Limoges).

  2. Compared with Mélenchon, Hollande was strong also in Paris but not in the South East, only in the South north or the Pyrénées. The region of high support for Hollande around Limoges is much larger.

  3. Bayrou has a strong cluster basically coinciding with Pyrénées Atlantiques (Pau, Bayonne) and is weak in the North and South East.

  4. Sarkozy is strong in the urban areas, especially along the Eastern border of the country, the north-East region, and in Paris. He's weak in the strip just north of the Pyrénées, where Hollande is strong.

  5. Le Pen is strong througout the North region, and in the South East, and weak around Limoges, Pyrénées Atlantiques, Bretagne, and Paris. The anticorrelation DoDo points out between Mélenchon and Le Pen is quite clear.

  6. Sarkozy vs. Hollande: Sarkozy is strong in the North and East and Hollande in the West. Both do well in Paris.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:43:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Limoges is a traditional Communist stronghold.

  2. Paris: this is the first time a candidate from the left has won Paris in the first round. All Paris region departments voted Hollande in 1st place except Sarko's home base, the wealthy Hauts-de-Seine.

  3. Bayrou's home base is the Béarn area (Pau etc).

  4. The two regions where the FN has built a strong base are the North and PACA (Provence Alpes Côtes d'Azur). The anti-correlation points, imo, to the fact that Mélenchon failed to make an inroad into the FN electorate.

  5. The broad regional differences are traditional.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chirac is from the Corrèze, which is also now Hollande's home base (and where Chirac first said he would vote Hollande). That's just South-East of Limoges and on the western flank of the Massif Central. It voted heavily for Hollande.

The South-East of France is traditionally right-leaning, just as the South-West leans left.

The Front National has always been relatively strong in rural areas. However, that doesn't amount to a decisive advantage in number of voters on the national scale.

Quite a lot of Greenish people have moved out to the rural areas...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:54:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, the green dots on the Le Monde maps  are single municipalities that could represent a few hundred voters. It seems they are mountain villages with a few ecolo/post hippie families...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly, they also track Mélenchon and Poutou fairly closely.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:46:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last I looked, the Le Monde map used Joly results for mapping Poutou, with exactly identical geography..

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 08:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's right. No one seems to have pointed it out to Le Monde.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 09:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...The pressure-from-the-left situation we could hope for hasn't materialised.

Why? Certainly, Sarkozy himself bears a large share of the responsibility...

While handing Le Pen the spotlight, towards the end of its article, the Guardian agrees:

François Hollande on top but far right scores record result in French election | World news | guardian.co.uk

Sarkozy had run a rightwing campaign from the outset, chasing voters on the extreme right by focusing on immigration, saying there were too many foreigners in France and following Le Pen's lead in claiming unlabelled halal meat was a key concern of French voters. He had recently stressed conservative family values and the Christian heritage of France. His strategists will now have to decide whether he lurches even further to the right.

Some observers already claim his strategy had backfired, failed to boost him and only served to increase Le Pen's final result, which was double that of her father in the last presidential election in 2007.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:08:26 AM EST
"lurches even further to the right"

I dont think so, he got the right now it is time for him to get the center.

by the way with this Lepen surprise, I am wondering if those calls i read lately on Eurotrib for more proportionality in the parliament will continue to be voiced LOL  ;-)

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fredouil:
he got the right

The FN got a big chunk of the right, and those votes are not going to come to Sarko easily.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:35:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes but he is not competing with Holland for FN votes on who is the most right wing.The undecided voters are likely to be found in the center.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:23:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For FN voters he is competing with abstention. I think that's a much bigger circle of undecided voters.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the polls, he will only get 50% of the Le Pen voters. 20% will go to Hollande and 30% will stay home. To get the absentees alone to vote for him will be a challenge.
by IM on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:30:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely the right would prefer Sarko to Hollande. It's usually the left that considers their ideological neighbour the worse enemy

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:46:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy stole the FN's electorate in 2007. Now comes payback.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:41:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The way to fight extremes is to give people little reason to vote for them, not to prevent a democratic choice.

If you want to go against democracy, there are arguments for them, but then state it plainly.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally would prefer far-right parties in FPTP countries (Britain's BNP too) to lose their argument of being shut out by the election system and show the incompetent and just as corrupt nature of their cadre when elected in a proportional system.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:05:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, I take you were a Le Pen voter; I'm curious about your second round preferences.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no I dont even vote, I dont care enough for it and voting Lepen is now pointless, it s 30-40 years too late (amazing how Lepen daddy was spot on then).

If Sarko manages to pull it off this time, Marine will enjoy her 2017 ride with no incumbent, look like she is the most popular with the 18-15 yo.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 08:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not surprised you don't vote. Fits perfectly with the rest of your sense of civic responsibility.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:15:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right up Franco's alley: do like me, don't get into politics

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:11:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

I fortunately do not live in France ( i enjoy my beach life in Australia) anymore it is not honest for me to vote as I do not pay tax there nor bear any consequences of my vote.

And I dont care much anymore of what s left of Europe/France, that s also true.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:31:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Casse-toi pov' con.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:47:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dont care much anymore of what s left of Europe/France

You wouldn't be commenting here if that were true. And you wouldn't issue 100% baseless attacks against foreign students of French universities.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:54:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A poll by Harris for Catholic magazine La Vie says that practising Catholics (defined as those who go to mass at least once a month) voted

47% Sarkozy
17% Bayrou
15% Le Pen
14% Hollande
3%  Mélenchon
2%  Dupont-Aignan
2%  Joly

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:44:11 AM EST
Any particular reason for this?

What religious themes (if any) were made erdge issues durimg the campaign?

by Euroliberal on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both Sarkozy and Le Pen made a big play of anti-Islam themes, especially scares around halal meat.

But the campaign didn't otherwise touch on religion. I think the practising Catholic electorate is staunchly traditional-conservative, that's all.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:06:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would be the issue of Catholics with halal meat? Unless it was labeled as fish, it would seem to be as big an issue as a Catholic who happens to eat a kosher hot dog.`

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 Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't suggesting the issue was specific to Catholics, just that it was the "major" religious issue of the campaign.

As such, it was used to insinuate the Muslims were taking over the asylum.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it regarded as being sacrificed to Allah? In which case, there's Acts 15:29:
That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
They probably don't take much notice of the rest of this verse.....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:42:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there any Protestants who bleed their meat, as the Jews and Moslems do? After all, it's all there in the Old Testament.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:49:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Old Testament is regarded as being (selectively) overridden by Jesus. But my quote shows that the ban on blood is explicitly retained in the New Testament....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
t depends on how literally you take it. I wouldn't have thought halal constituted being sacrified to idols, which would imply an altar or an actual idol rather than a technique and a prayer.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:56:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if it were a "sacrifice to Allah", its hard to see how a sacrifice to the God of Abraham would be a religious obstacle for a believing Christian of any sort.

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 Apr 23rd, 2012 at 09:53:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW what does Dupont-Aignan stand for?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sovereigntist right, it appears.

Ex-UMP, opposed the "EU Constitution" in 2005. His party was founded as an "authentic Gaullist". He's associated with Jacques Pasqua (authoritarian interior minister in the 80s) but didn't associate with Declan Ganley's Libertas because, despite their agreement against the EU they don't share the economic ultraliberalism.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:19:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, anti-liberal sovereignist nationalist claiming Gaullist (therefore anti-FN) credentials.

It's Charles, not Jacques, Pasqua.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:34:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reaktion auf die Wahl: EU warnt Hollande vor großen Staatsausgaben - Europas Schuldenkrise - FAZ reaction to the election: EU warns against big government spending Hollande - Europe's debt crisis - FAZ
Der Sozialist Hollande hat in seinem Wahlprogramm angekündigt, den Sparkurs des aktuellen Präsidenten Nicolas Sarkozy zu beenden. Davor warnte Rehn indirekt. ,,Wir haben mehrere Fälle gehabt wie Belgien, Zypern, Malta, Polen, wo die Regierungen zusätzliche Maßnahmen ergriffen haben, um dieses Jahr ihre fiskalischen Ziele zu erreichen", sagte er der Zeitung. ,,Ungarn hat sich anders entschieden. Die Kommission hat daraufhin empfohlen, Zahlungen aus dem Kohäsionsfonds unter Bedingungen auszusetzen und der Ministerrat ist der Empfehlung gefolgtThe Socialist Hollande has announced in its election manifesto to end the austerity of the current President Nicolas Sarkozy. Rehn warned indirectly against that. "We have had cases like Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Poland, where governments have taken additional measures this year to achieve its fiscal targets% u201D, he told the newspaper. % U201EUngarn has decided otherwise. The Commission then recommended to suspend payments from the Cohesion Fund under the conditions and the Council followed the recommendation
by Katrin on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:09:35 AM EST
I am shocked.  Who saw this coming?
by paving on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:38:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume you're being ironic?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:42:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I am always a bit surprised when I see stuff like this. It is open unashamed contempt of democracy, without any pretence. In fact what he said was: "Sheeple, you can tick off the ballot as you please, but we know how to prevent the policy changes in any way." It's a point of no return.

Reminds me of the day when my son gave up to make a secret about his smoking. It altered the relationship profoundly and there is no way to reverse that.

by Katrin on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:07:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When trust is lost it's nearly impossible to rebuild. This crisis is making it look like the European Union is a zero-sum game, not a win-win situation. After all, the trade balance game is a zero-sum game.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah yes: good arguments. The left has plenty of them. The right has an appeal to emotions instead. And that works.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Mélenchon's campaign appealed to sentiments: the big rallies, the red flags, the Internationale.

Seems it depends on which sentiments work best.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:54:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but that appeals to too few people. I am thinking of something like those young people in 1950 who opened the French/German border and burned the barriers. The impact of the pictures was because of the symbolic value. They had hit on the right object.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:30:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The one argument Hollande could make that might work is a threat to break the EU apart unless the ECB & German government change their tune. With Netherlands now in deficit it may be possible to isolate Germany diplomatically, but it would be best to start laying the groundwork for a believable alternative - France as the leader of the Seuro. He could campaign on ending austerity, avoiding a debt-deflation death spiral, and breaking the vice that is crushing the southern members of the EMU, amongst others. Depends on whether he wants to just make a squeek and then shut up or whether he actually wants to insure a different approach in the EMU.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, he could. There are ways out of the mess. It remains to be seen if he wants to. That's really the question: does he want more than some token alterations of the fecal pact but otherwise TINA? We are always coming back to this question.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:42:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least he has asserted his desire for a different direction in EMU policy. That is a positive. Now we wait, and, for some, agitate.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, now we wait. And patience is a virtue...  Sigh.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 05:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An article that goes in the same way:
European turmoil, American collateral
by Xavier in Paris on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:57:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But given that the sober Dutch are in no danger of defaulting on their AAA-rated bonds, why the turmoil and panic? Because, perhaps, the Dutch are indeed sober - and a significant number of them have said "enough". Having seen the devastation inflicted on the Greek, Irish and Spanish economies by tough austerity measures, many have concluded that the pain is simply not worth it to meet an arbitrary 3% deficit rule.

Moreover, Greece, Ireland and Spain have shown that meeting a deficit number in a depressed economy is akin to chasing a moving target: because budget cuts depress the economy, to achieve a one percentage point of GDP reduction in the deficit requires cutting by more than one percentage point. And when one misses one's target, even more cuts are necessary. Better, then, not to go there at all, reason the Dutch.

When markets contemplate that it's likely that another austerity-skeptic, François Hollande, will win the presidency in France, then the pattern becomes impossible to ignore: the "core" eurozone countries are fragmenting. While it would be foolish to make predictions, what is probable is that Germany's political isolation within the eurozone will deepen, leaving German taxpayers unwilling to continue backstopping the whole system.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 05:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The USA has done that for close to 40 years - the era of the Global Minotaur. The EU does not have a sufficiently strong government to even try. But Germany could, at least within the eurozone. Do you suppose, if the tried, they could carry it off for ten or twenty years? That might be less evil than what is now happening.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One point that Stiglitz elides is that an important reason that the lesson of the "class of '97" was to run surpluses is one of national sovereignty.

Which in turn suggests that the most stable situation is the one in which the political hegemon is running deficits, and its clients is running surpluses - because the clients cannot very well force the hegemon to pursue these destructive internal policies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:52:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We cannot say we weren't warned
repeatedly

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:13:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Observer: EU commission: Dutch crisis no reason to dodge rules
Related: Dutch government unravels over Brussels budget rules

...

"The three-percent target comes from the Stability and Growth Pact agreed in Amsterdam in June 1997, under the Dutch EU presidency. It is perhaps good to remind everyone the history of the deficit target," commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said during a press conference.

His colleague in charge of economic affairs, Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, warned: "It would be the end of the EU if commitments were not respected."

"We trust they will find budgetary solutions, not because they will be more popular, not because 'Brussels' says so, but because it is good for the Dutch economy and for the Dutch citizens," he added.

(My emphasis)

They're upping the ante, aren't they?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:26:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They will run out of threats, if they keep up this speed.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:47:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What more can they say after Juncker's the Euro will outlive us all?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:51:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Euro, Currency immortal:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 02:10:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't this all incredibly sad and depressing?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 02:14:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 02:28:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How many Dutch believe that the required cuts will be good for the citizens of Netherlands?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:27:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depending on how one defines Bayrou and the minor candidates, the Right (Sarkozy/Le Pen) has a 45-40 advantage over the Left (Hollande/Mélenchon) with 9% for Bayrou and 6% for others. On purely ideological grounds, one would therefore expect a c. 55-45 win for the Right in the second round.

Th fact that Hollande has a (declining?) lead in second round opinion polls seems to indicate that Sarkozy's "personality", incumbent track record, and the fractured nature of the Right are the main reasons why Hollande still has a good chance.

The problem (to me) seems to be that the right has a clear narrative (it's the immigrants' fault) whereas the left's main selling point seems to be "look at the mess the Right in Office have made" and we're not as bad as they are and now deserve our chance. Not a very inspiring narrative.

I am old enough to remember when social democracy in Europe and liberalism in the US was the dominant narrative in politics, media and academe and any dissenters were or could be dismissed as rubes, extremists, racists or as slightly unhinged.

Why is it that the most extreme degradations of the Right - Vietnam, Chile, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the banking crisis - have served only to undermine the left and strengthen the very forces that brought us these catastrophes?

Mostly it can be put down to "third way centrists" trying to prove that they are serious people who won't let themselves be outflanked by the right. It was, after all, Democrats (Kennedy/Johnson and Obama) who escalated Vietnam and Afghanistan, "Social Democrats" like Blair who led the charge for Iraq and social democrats liberals or technocratic centrists who (by and large) implemented bank bail-outs.

Somewhere along the line social democrats and liberals lost faith in their own message and contented themselves with triangulating with their opponents. The Greens took on the green agenda and human rights became a fringe concern.

A lot of it may have to do with power leaking from political systems to global corporations subverting the power of nation states. But overall there has been a failure of the collective imagination, of our common humanity and a triumph for xenophobia, naked self interest and corporate greed. Wasn't higher standards of education for all not supposed to overcome all this?

Where, exactly,, is the vision the left is now leading with?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:37:11 AM EST


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:41:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Leadership may not be among the "lefty" pols who are, as you say, less concerned with principle and more concerned with neolieral triangulation.

But I suspect a narrative is emerging elsewhere, not least here, but also amongst the Occupy movement, where new economic narratives are being tested. Previous faves such as Krugman are brushed aside as their ideas are tested and found wanting and newer stars such as Keen emerge. This is a young movement and, as yet unaligned, but when it does come to the fore, it will do so everywhere.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly the Irish Occupy movement has just come out in support of a Landlord who was evicted from his €2.5 Million Home for failing to pay his mortgage, despite the fact that he owns and rents 21 other properties which he has refused to sell to pay of his debts...

It just seems too easy to co-opt  protest movements sometimes...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:06:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the paticular idiocies of one group of people who ally themselves to the Occupy movement shouldn't discredit the rest.

There is a germ  of a good idea in Occupy globally, particularly in the US, but they have found it difficult to sustain  what is necessarily a slow burn movement when the only tactics seemingly available to them are those of short term protest. It has been less succesful in europe where existing agit prop groups have too easily co-opted the brand.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been less succesful in europe where existing agit prop groups have too easily co-opted the brand.

In Spain, the 15M, Real Democracy Now, and People Affected by the Mortgage have been rather successful at fending of cooptation by existing agit-prop groups. Maybe the British "Occupy" is different.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:10:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I forgot the Spanish protesters, who have been far more succesful and organised than the US. They more than anyone are showing the way.

As for UK occupy, ...sigh. Where to start...

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:36:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Occupy Movement in Dublin occupied the Sherrif's office to protest an eviction of an elderly couple.

From their €2M home.

Two years after the eviction notice was issued.

They own 20 other properties and have business interests in Germany.

I'm not sure that this is the place to going looking for a brilliant new narrative ...

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:08:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
perhaps related?
But the preferences of developed, aging polities -- first Japan, now the United States and Europe -- are obvious to a dispassionate observer. Their overwhelming priority is to protect the purchasing power of incumbent creditors. That's it. That's everything. All other considerations are secondary. These preferences are reflected in what the polities do, how they behave.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
whose bright idea was that?

<facepalm>

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:31:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced by the hypothesis that a narrative will emerge elsewhere.

What I'm seeing is that, though a Krugman did NOT really had his say, its explanations are considered, even on the radical left, as inefficient.

This is, I believe, one of the differences between right and left: to the right, it doesn't matter that Sarkozy's or austerians policies didnt work: they know that, even unsuccessful, these policies will take a step in the general direction they deem positive.

My feeling is that even people like Krugman or Stiglizt have very important difficulties to get their message  through, so I don't think someone applied their ideas yet. It is part of the right's narrative to explain the contrary, because the right has found itself in a difficult position after the 2007 (-2012?) crisis in terms of communication. Pretending that keynesians policies have been tried and that they failed, even if an outright lie, is good to get them out of the communication trap.

And it is a common error from the left side to just accept this statement as fact.

The quantitative easing from the FED illustrated:

No keynesian infrastructure projects (like Tennessee Valley Authority) here... everything's financial.

by Xavier in Paris on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't fight something with nothing.  At the moment that's what The Left has: nothing.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I have this feeling that in many countries (including my own), the left is just useless. Not because it lacks money, organization or anger it could channel, but because it lacks ideas. That's where we come in, I suppose. And this is not at all limited to those who are centre-left or who have drunk the third-way kool-aid, but basically all of them. I don't think I could mention even a single Swedish social democrat who both gets it even rudimentary policy-wise (no matter what the issue is!), and who is in a leading position, or interested in exploiting these things in an electoral way. There is one guy who seems to get it in Sweden macroeconomy-wise, Jonas Sjöstedt (as he is a econo-ph.d), but he is sadly the new chairman of the old commie party (even if he's the bannerman of the previously purged democratic socialist splinter group), so to most people he still carries the toxic commie deaths-head.

But still, it begs the question: why are these establishment leftists often so damn dense and uninterested in actual policy? I know that they are, because I do know quite a number of them.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:37:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they got their positions due to their ability in electioneering (for the third-wayers) or factional backstabbing (for the secterian commies), not policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 08:00:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Left leaders used to come from the labor movement. Now they come from the party bureaucracy, or worse, journalism/academia.
by rootless2 on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 10:37:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Left leaders used to come from the labor movement. Now they come from the party bureaucracy, or worse, journalism/academia.

When you criticise "left" leaders in this way, are you referring to the comprador class leadership of the social democrats or the 'radical' left?


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All of them. I mean here in the USA, we can listen to comrade Chomsky, Comrade Hedges, or Comrade Crispin Miller or others explain the "left" position, and find in it nothing - exactly the same as someone like an Anthony Weiner or Kucinich or Lieberman or Schumer or Cuomo or ...

If it were not for the people who come out of the remains of the civil rights movement, we'd have absolutely nothing at all.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:21:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No substantial difference between Chomsky and Lieberman, but a world of difference between the Lieberzombie and Mittens.

That's a... low resolution political spectrum, shall we say.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:24:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course there are differences, but the similarity is the absence of solution.
by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:41:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How much the willingness of the top unions to pass losses to others has weakened left? Industry unions seem to be more willing to agree that the employer may contract cleaning or other services to lowest bidder than to accept lower pay rises.
by Jute on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:12:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because industry unions know that they are competing in a global marketplace, and if they can't compete, everyone will lose their jobs.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:31:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For Swedish soc-dems factional backstabbing is a must too, at least if you come up the long way. (The other option is to get recruited for being famous, and those guys are mostly in it to make money.)

The best young politicians (interested in policy, interested in understanding what is going on) in all well-established parties tend to sort themselves out. Once they see ideas they fought for be discarded for short-term gain (in particular short-term gain against another faction in their own party) they tend to go bitter. Leaving those that enjoy the power-game for its own sake to advance.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:30:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's where we come in, I suppose.

Except that we don't, because we're not part of the party apparatus since we were 15.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The idea is something like that the pure politics types dominating the parties need somebody to install the policy in them. They are the unwitting slaves of some dead theoretician, in other words.

That said, there still remains the little question how to get their ear.

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Think tanks. Which require money. The labour unions are absolutely flush with cash. Let's have them donate some of it... to us. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 05:35:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is still the problem how to get them listening to the right think-tanks. The german unions do have a think tank:

http://www.boeckler.de/imk_36261.htm

But I haven't seen success in the public sphere yet.

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 05:50:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And German parties each have their own Stiftung.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 06:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Think tanks are not a way for you to get their ear, it's a way for them to get people to make the noises they want made.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 06:05:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And a source of sinecures.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 06:12:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that is so, they're failing pretty badly as the left doesn't seem to have any think tanks of their own, or at least none that anyone ever heard of.

Here in Sweden, we have the Think Tank of the Labour movement (Arbetarrörelsens tankesmedja) which is just a few years old. It has three (3) employees, and no one cares about it. The central labour union have thousands upon thousands of full time employees, most whom are not apparently paid to think about policy. People I know in the labour movement tell me that the main reason why there is no intellectual development in the Swedish left is a general stuck-in-the-walls tradition of anti-intellecualism and anti-freethinking. Something the right has much less problems with, at least around here. The main think tank of the right (they have lots) is called Timbro. It's well financed, well organised, very influential, has been around since the early 80's, and most importantly: it doesn't toe the party line. While it generally says stuff the right want to hear, it has the intellectual freedom to say stuff the right does not want to hear, and the donors accept this. That is why Timbro is so very successful.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 06:20:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't political parties have "foundations"?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 06:25:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some do I suppose, and the last few years have seen an explosion of think tanks, most who don't do much and whom no one has heard of. Checking Wikipedia, they're called stuff like Civitas (never heard of), Cogito (might have heard the name), Agora (leftists who obsess with identity politics, at best voters don't care, at worst they get pissed off), Fores (neoliberal greens - don't ask), Sektor3 (never EVER heard of them, and they seem unusually retarded, naive and irrelevant even compared to the usual Swedish establishment types).

The last one is the second think tank people actually care about: SNS. More or less loosely connected with the Swedish big business community. Was recently involved in a scandal where the businesspeople wanted to stop a report which claimed that maybe private for-profit schools and nursing homes weren't the best thing on earth since pre-sliced bread. But the thing to note here isn't that they tried to censor the think tank, but that the people on the think tank started resigning en masse, going to the media, and in the end won the fight.  

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:50:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The short answer is:

It's a lot of work (example) to simultaneously derive an accurate theory of political-economics and policies based on that theory.  Existing organizations who have the people and funding are uninterested (see Jake's comment.)  Ad-hoc groups, e.g., ET, don't have the necessary support structures and funding to see it through.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In France Le Pen is not counted as part of the traditional right - and its electorate does not switch easily to voting for the traditional right (they tend to go 50% right, 20-25% left and the rest abstain)

Bayrou used to be part of the traditional right, but has broken with Sarkozy and his electorate is now one third right, one third left, one third abstain, so really "in the middle".

Hollande and Mélenchon have a decent programme, it's been ignored to a decent extent because of Sarkozy's permanent sniping and throwing of crazy ideas around

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you calculate on the numbers we know Hollande should barely win. Of course it's not that simple:

Hollande    28.63%
Melanchon   11.13
Joly         2.28
Other left   1.97
1/3 Bayrou   3.04
1/5 LePen    3.6

Total       50.65

The polls, of course show Hollande getting between 53 and 56 percent of the second round vote.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:14:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason for this discrepancy would be that a good part of the FN and Bayrou voters will stay home for the second round thus bringing down the denominator in the calculation.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:24:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose it comes down to how far Hollande can court the Bayrou vote without alienating (and reducing turnout) on the left. Sarkozy perhaps has the bigger problem in trying to court the Le Pen vote without alienating the centre. On balance I would upport the general view that Hollande will win - albeit it could be close.

My bigger concern is how much difference a Hollande victory will make: will he really stand up to Merkel/ECB et al regardless of his "decent programme"? IS he another triangulator or will he be strong enough to lead Europe in a new direction?

Perhaps Merkel will be weakened ahead of and then defeated in the next German election that then there could be a pathway to a new direction.  Just when will the EU/Commission/Council/Parliament/ECB accept it is primarily their responsibility to regulate banks and develop a growth/jobs strategy for Europe?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:31:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless Hollande is willing to leave the Euro,and maybe nationalize the banks, he can't do too much before the markets bring France to it's knees.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
IS he another triangulator

He's a moderate centre-left politician, but not Third Way. In this campaign he's mostly stuck in a linear fashion to being moderate centre-left. Not much triangulation I can see.

Frank Schnittger:

will he be strong enough to lead Europe in a new direction?

That is the 64K euro question. (See discussion in Sarkozy : Danse Macabre). I was hoping for a stronger impulsion from the left in this first-round vote, that would push him to fight on the European front. But it hasn't shown up...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that is the real question with Hollande.  France seems willing to give him a chance, and part of that is their long memory.  Hollande is playing it one way right now but I and others remember his tone from 2004-ish which was different.  His character in this campaign is designed to contrast the frenetic Sarkozy which is obviously very unpopular.

Hollande just needs to play it smooth and get the job, and it seems that he and the PS have figured that out a while ago and played this well.  When running against an incumbent you have to make them the issue, not you, because people fear changing and prefer the devil they know.

If Hollande can pull off the victory May 6th he can turn it up a notch.  It really comes down to who makes up his government, after all.  I am most interested in where Montebourg falls, as his PS-primary performance cannot be ignored.

Most important with a Hollande presidency will be the immediate end of a legitimized xenophobia.  All of this awful things Sarko has been throwing around will cease quickly.  This election is a clear case of "addition by subtraction."

by paving on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:46:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's do the right, then:

Sarkozy     27.08%
1/2 Le Pen   9.01%
40% Bayrou   3.64%
Other right  1.8%

Total	    41.53%

I don't know what to do with Cheminade. Lyndon LaRouche WTF!?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:34:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The LaRouchers are probably going to stay home when their guy is no longer on the ballot.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:42:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If these assignments are right,we're looking at a 6:5 lead for Hollande, not a 45:40 lead for Sarkozy.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:58:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I may be wrong, but I doubt Cheminade's voters are seasoned LaRouchies. Probably mostly gullible folk who'll vote in no discernible pattern in Round Two.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:20:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At 2 votes per thousand you're getting very close to the margin of error, e.g. people putting the wrong ballot in the envelope by mistake are more numerous than faithful Cheminade voters... If the second round spread is the same as the Cheminade vote, a revote is quite likely.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 09:01:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Add Dupont-aignon at 1.8%.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:43:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's "Other right 1.8%"

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:56:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Core Dupont-Aignan supporters are Sarko-haters. According to this poll yesterday, they would split 43 - 37 - 20 between Hollande, Sarko, and abstention.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:23:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, date of that detailed poll was 31/03. Still, Sarko can't count on more than a minority of D-A voters.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a tool at le Monde to play with:

http://www.lemonde.fr/election-presidentielle-2012/article/2012/04/23/simulez-le-report-de-voix-au-s econd-tour_1689349_1471069.html

You have to put Sarkozy up to 90% of former Le Pen voters until he wins.

by IM on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Feeding reasonable assumptions from the most recent polls into that, Hollande wins by about 55 - 45.

But - caution - the electorate of the second round is not a carbon copy of the first-round electorate.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it wound up being a little closer than the exit polls predicted between Sarko and Hollande, and Le Pen wound up doing a little better.

I trust Sarko is still doomed.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:00:27 AM EST
Yup. still doomed{+}, the FN voters and Bayrou voters won't go for him in anywhere like the pluralities required for Sarko to win on that basis.

{+ Hollande could still conceivably lose, but it would take an implosion by Hollande ~ its not going to be due to Sarko making up ground.}


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 Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that the presidential election is over : Hollande will win, anything else would be an enormous upset. And I don't want to waste my nervous energy on him over the next couple of weeks : he's not worth it.

What I'm interested in is the next stage : the legislative elections.

France is only a presidential regime when the president has a parliamentary majority. In most domains, the president's formal powers aren't that strong. After several episodes (Mitterand, Chirac) where the president didn't have a majority, the centre left and centre right (Chirac, Jospin) pulled a sort of soft coup d'état and put the legislative election after the presidential election, thus guaranteeing (more or less) a presidential majority, and thereby, de facto, giving the President much more power than he is actually allotted in the constitution.

Hollande will get a majority. But what sort of majority will it be? That's the interesting question.

Firstly : probably a much bigger one than yesterday's vote would indicate. The two-round system, combined with the split of the right-wing vote between two parties which will not co-operate, will see to that...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:46:33 AM EST
Indeed. I'm not sure how Hollande winning counts as loss for the Left, exactly.

Although I suppose we'll have to see if he's in favour of Austerity by Other Means.

I think the Far Right vote is mostly just an incoherent protest vote.

Sarkozy, like the buffoon he is, played the race card, and someone else cashed it in.

Too bad. Bar some chattering, I don't think it will affect the final result.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 09:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's at best a potential opening for the left, or at least for something more sensible.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 09:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Far Right vote is mostly just an incoherent protest vote.

Incoherent, certainly. There isn't anywhere near 18% of voters with a coherent far-right ideology (probably less than half that).

What fascinates me is the systematic error by all of the polling institutes : they had Le Pen 3-4% low, and Mélenchon 3-4% high. They are not transparent about how they massage their figures -- the French are, apparently, fairly devious about their political opinions when polled -- but on its face, that indicates a certain percentage of people who claimed to intend to vote Mélenchon, who ended up voting Le Pen.

This seems sociologically plausible to me. One of the reasons I was excited about Mélenchon's campaign was that I perceived him as able to reach out to the incoherent Le Pen voters. But in the end, he ended up aggregating the usually splintered far-left vote -- no mean feat in itself -- and no more.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 09:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is always the question of how promising the terrain is for building toward improved performance in the future.

Succeeding in something is generally a better platform to build in than not succeeding in something, but I don't know enough about the dynamics of relationships in the French parliament between the primary party of government and other parties that it may rely upon for confidence to know how promising a Hollande presidency with a Socialist led government in parliament is for making further gains.


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 Apr 23rd, 2012 at 10:02:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
What fascinates me is the systematic error by all of the polling institutes : they had Le Pen 3-4% low, and Mélenchon 3-4% high. They are not transparent about how they massage their figures -- the French are, apparently, fairly devious about their political opinions when polled -- but on its face, that indicates a certain percentage of people who claimed to intend to vote Mélenchon, who ended up voting Le Pen.

I see it more as Le Pen getting less and Mélenchon getting more by how the numbers were handled. I mean, they try to weigh together a demographical picture that is in my experience based on gender, age, education, occupation and how you voted last time. They are bound to get systematic faults and without knowing the models, some faults can be in all pollsters models.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we (speaking from a FdG perspective) don't have among the most important of our constituents, the popular classes, though much strides were made, we're not there yet. This is shown in our poor showing outside of the major population centers - we did great in IDF, well ahead of the FN, but far less well elsewhere.

Channeling Zizek, once a scapegoat narrative has taken root among a class, it is very very hard to unroot it, and I'm hard-pressed to recall an example where such an unrooting has actually taken place, but this is precisely what Mélenchon and the party set out to do, with admittedly mixed results. But those mixed results were, in truth, better than no results, as it is a very very hard task, one we need to take care of over the long haul.

And, the reality is that if you told me we were going to get 11% three months ago, I would have been ecstatic, though now admittedly it isn't quite as satisfying as if the past month of excellent polling hadn't taken place.

It's not over yet, and hopefully a proper left front will have the seats in the parliament to govern, of course once we've gotten Hollande elected.

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

by r------ on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 11:41:55 AM EST
are going to be a hard slog for the FDG.

It's not clear to me the extent of co-operation / competition there will be between FDG and PS, in the first round. At 15%, you can fix bayonets and go over the top. At 10%, a certain amount of circumspection is required.

I hate that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 11:51:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do we have any numbers on the demographics of the vote?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's really not so hard.  People support FN because they feel it is speaking directly without "politician speak" and beating around the bush.

If you want to defend the things FN attacks, such as immigration, you need to do so in a way that is honest.  People can tell when they are being deceived.  FN is not deceptive in their intentions - they say they are against the foreigners and they are.  

PS and the left must ask itself "What is the purpose of immigration and why do we support it?"  "How does it benefit France?"  "If it is not working, how can we improve it?"  Then it needs to answer those questions in public.  That is how you neutralize the FN argument.

If the answer is "immigration keeps wages low for you rural Frenchies" then you know you have a bad political position and are going to want to deceive the voters - they pick up on that.  Then again, if that's the reason for immigration, maybe you should oppose it as well!

Opposing immigration for reasons OTHER THAN XENOPHOBIA can work, and can be fair.  But clearly the argument and rationale for why XX number of immigrants are allowed into France has been lost and needs to be re-examined and re-stated.

I feel that the % of people who are against a "changing France" is rather small, maybe 5-10%.  

by paving on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:01:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The trouble is that people see the most problems with immigrants if they have no or little contact with them. "Rural France": how many immigrants live there?

People see social coherence dwindling and are afraid. They are right. But then they blame immigration...

by Katrin on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 01:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reaction to the far-right is not to let them dictate the framing and focus.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:01:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
remember what George Wallace said about his political career. Something like: When I spoke about schools and roads and jobs, nobody cared, but when I started yelling about (black people), they went wild.

People who are motivated by bigotry are not amenable to any kind of other appeal. They are angry at the enemy and will pull the roof down on themselves if necessary.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've heard some talk that Hollande might lash out against French big business. Is this just talk, or should I worry as a stockholder of Total S.A., the biggest French company there is?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:22:11 PM EST
"Lash out" = ?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 02:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I have no idea what I'm talking about here really as I haven't followed the campaign, but I was thinking along the lines of extra taxes, increases in the withholding tax, or even outright price controls  in the name of fighting inflation or direct wealth extraction, things EdF have suffered previously, albeit when it was a fully state-owned company.

IIRC, Total has already had to promise not to close certain French refineries in the next few years, despite ridiculously low crack spreads.

Speaking of a general lashing out, I do not care particularly if French politicians just lambast Total or shoot poison rhetorical arrows at it, that's fine by me. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:25:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The government holds final consumer price control in its own hands, since it can vary the indirect taxes on petrol and diesel. A Socialist government instituted a sliding scale of this kind in 2000. The present government isn't applying it.

Make large corporations pay company tax at a normal level instead of wriggling out of it, that is surely on Hollande's agenda. What constitutes a "normal level" and what the result would be for Total's profit margins, I don't know.

As for refineries, isn't it a bummer for shareholders' interests when governments meddle with offshoring plans? You have my sympathy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of the refineries have to go, and they will go as soon as the time limit runs out. Why? Because it seems Europeans have decided they want to consume less refined products than they used to, and it makes more sense to put the refineries closer to the consumers (in Asia) than to ship the refined products across the entire world, globalization notwithstanding.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:45:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you heard that the government plans to nationalize the oil companies and expropriate the shareholders? Be afraid, be very afraid... Oh wait, that's Argentina.

You can also search for the studies that pointed out that, on average for the past 100 years, the French stock market has had better returns under left wing governments than right wing ones. YMMV of course, it's probably best not to ask for stock tips from ET: who knows what kind of pranks we might pull out :).

by Bernard on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I would never ask for stock tips here (or anywhere else), I just like to use the wonderful amount of knowledge and analytical power that somehow seems to exist at this site ("get your news X years early at the ET"). :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:27:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is a rumour that can not be sourced to anything Hollande has actually said, I would guess it is a rumour started by his opponents. The reason could be to get market noise that is interpreted as the markets being scared of Hollande victory, that then might even trigger a market response which can be used to prove the interpretation right. Could be intended for use before second round voting, but given how certain a victory looks for Hollande I would guess its primary goal is for after the election.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
should be remembered the next time people are tempted to explain how some social democrat and/or green could crush right wing opposition by going populist.
by rootless2 on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 02:30:32 PM EST
What good is a social democrat or green in power if they will aid and abet the destruction of the european social model by the EU institutions?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 02:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point, but not relevant. It would be nice if left populism generated massive popular support, but the failure of this tactic to work cannot be remedied by noting the limitations of some alternatives.
by rootless2 on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:49:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that electoral politics appears to be irrelevant to getting out of our predicament.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 04:03:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's limited, but critical. That is, we cannot elect people who will solve the problem, but we can elect people who will not rush turn dire prospects into irredeemable catastrophe.

 

by rootless2 on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 05:52:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Optimist!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:27:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Left Front success to triple votes should be remembered the next time people are tempted to explain how some social democrat and/or green will fail if s/he goes by principles.

Also, the FN success to increase votes should be remembered each time the center-right goes populist in hopes of stealing their votes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes: The left front jumped from 2% to 11% in, what? a few months? Even with the "trauma of 2002" discouraging people voting for non-socialist left candidates. The FdG campaign set the agenda of the elections, and it seems to me has shown a spectacular dynamic. There are parliamentary elections coming. Let's see there how things fall.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, the parliamentary elections will come after Hollande is 'mugged by the markets'. Depending on how he reacts, his pre-programmed presidential majority may not materialise.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It took twenty years for the FN to get 20%
by Xavier in Paris on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 03:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but:

the social democrat did get 28%,

the green did get 2,2%,

the left-populist did get 11'%,

the radical left did get left 2%.

Lesson: A coalition of the left is necessary.

Your lesson: If we just follow "even the liberal"  New Republic, everything is well.

Doubtful.

by IM on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for telling me.
by rootless2 on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:19:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is your lesson then?

That nothing can ever be done?

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My lesson is that something else must be tried.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:58:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something else is mighty vague.

And winning is not much better, if you are neither able to show what winning means nor even how to win.

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 09:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first step is to recognize what does not work. Otherwise one simply continues to fail in the same old way.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:33:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:
Lesson: A coalition of the left is necessary.

Unfortunately, a coalition of the left is probably not necessary. The mechanics of the anomalous French two-round electoral system is likely to deliver power to the PS, with little or no necessity to make concessions to its allies or competitors on the left.

Firstly, Hollande will be elected, not by a coalition, but by the co-optation of those who voted for candidates who voted for other candidates of the left.

For the legislatives, it's even worse. The Greens will get, theoretically, between 15 and 30 MPs -- a historic record -- exclusively in districts where the PS has agreed not to run an official candidate against ours (more on this anon). The FDG, in my analysis, does not have enough support to enable them to significantly increase their current representation (15 MPs I think) without negotiating something similar with the PS.

The best result we can hope for is that the PS will not have an absolute majority in parliament; but even in this case, those holding the balance will almost certainly be in a sort of feudal relationship.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:25:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There seems to be a sort of quasi coalition, at least regarding the greens. And if the voters of the other parts of the left just stayed home, Hollande would lose. So his (possible)success rest on the voters behaving as if there is a left-wing coalition.

And if the socialists don't get a majority in the legislative, they are dependent on the other parties; the responsibility to exploit this situation is theres, of course.

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:40:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And what should the takeaway be for those who advocate embracing built-to-fail neoliberal garbage when PASOK fails to get even 20 % in two weeks?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:30:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps you should ask someone who advocates neo-liberal policies?

It is, I suppose,  convenient to have a script where those who think 11% electoral showing with a good candidate indicates a limitation of tactical utility, those who fail to cheer for the militant populist approach that is bound to work sometime, must necessarily have an even more ridiculous point of view.

by rootless2 on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 06:49:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is, I suppose, convenient, to have a script where those who note that triangulation inevitably leads to the triangulator being discredited after adopting designed-to-fail policies must necessarily have an even more ridiculous point of view.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 07:56:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"triangulation" is a meaningless buzzword and wildly off point. The argument I make is that apparently in the OECD podium pounding class struggle traditional leftism is a message that cannot attract serious public support much above 10%. I base this argument on 30 years of history in OECD countries.  To attempt to counter this argument by pointing to the manifest limitations of weak social democrats is to demonstrate the left's tendency to look for excuses instead of solutions. Maybe some can take comfort in the theory that impoverishment and social chaos will strengthen the left, but based on the evidence Ms. La Pen will benefit more than the Left Front.

How do you build a social consensus or a political force that will successfully push for a democratized economy and stymie the efforts of the neo-feudalists? I don't know, but it's an interesting question at least to me.

by rootless2 on Mon Apr 23rd, 2012 at 09:16:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed it is, which is why I cannot fathom why you keep sniping at people who try and fail while cheerleading for people who do not even try.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:54:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am for winning, not trying the same thing over and over and failing over and over.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Winning, in order to get nothing done. Sounds like a plan. I'm still not convinced of why I should help you win since your win appears to be an end in itself.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, I don't think "trying and failing" is an acceptable end, and winning is a step. One can consider how to, e.g. build alternative economic structures under a weak social democracy. Under a strong right wing regime, one considers (in despair) how to prevent disaster.  I learned a lesson during the Bush Regime about the difference. In the EU now, one sees what right wing dominance means. Every win of the past is in danger, every step forward is nearly impossible, the population is frustrated and more and more amenable to nationalism and xenophobia, institutional barriers to reform are ever stronger. Since Marx or possibly before, the left has had a fatal desire for the apocalyptic moment when the system will magically crash and somehow from the catastrophe a new world will emerge. The evidence, however, seems to favor a frustratingly slow effort to win by small steps.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 08:59:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the EU now, one sees what right wing dominance means.
Yeah,
ElPais.com in English: Spain enters new recession with worse to come, says central bank.

And, in Spanish only... The Socialists call on the citizenry to "defend themselves" against the government.

When in office, they were unable to defend the country from the EU. When out of office, they're unable to defend the country from the government.
The PP government is awful, but it appears that the only reason to elect a PSOE government is that they would slow things down, not that they would actually do anything positive.

We're talking about a PSOE leadership that 1) defended a constitutional debt brake in their last throes as government; 2) thought that their worse ever electoral result was "the best possible under the circumstances" and got themselves elected to the party leadership on that basis.

Bah, humbug.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 09:15:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the failure of PSOE or the similar failure of the Clinton Presidency does not make the "take a stand and lose" approach any better.  

I'm not advocating mindless support for e.g. PSOE. I am noting however that the oft repeated claims that all one has to do is take a strong populist stand to rally the masses is not a claim that agrees with the evidence. It appears at this juncture of history that people find right wing populism more attractive than left wing populism.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:17:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, at the time of the latest elections you were chastising people for not voting PSOE in sufficient numbers to prevent a PP absolute majority.

The only option people have left in modern "democracies" is to withhold their vote from politicians who make mistakes. If the PSOE refuses to change their leadership, what are voters to do?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:17:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that is the only option or even a sensible option. How is "withholding" a vote for a weak social democrat to the benefit of a strong neo-feudalist a useful strategy?

If you look at the strategy advocated, for example,  by Gar Alperowitz in the US to build cooperative business - its a strategy that might succeed with a weak social democratic government in power but will not with a far right government in power.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:44:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How is "withholding" a vote for a weak social democrat to the benefit of a strong neo-feudalist a useful strategy?

Simple risk-reward. But apparently the Spanish Social Democrats are even impervious to the signal that the voters send them when 30% of their voters desert them. They still blame circumstances and pat themselves in the back.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:11:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no risk reward in play. It is more in the interests of comprador social democrats to lose power and reap the rewards of being loyal opposition than to defy e.g. the ECB. It's not as if they lost the election and repented or as if this mechanism has ever worked anywhere.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:45:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what's my optimal strategy as a citizen? To join the comprador?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:49:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think really it has to do with seeing electoral politics as a secondary, a necessary but secondary realm. Start a co-op.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
social democrats to lose power and reap the rewards of being loyal opposition

Loyal to whom?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
I am noting however that the oft repeated claims that all one has to do is take a strong populist stand to rally the masses is not a claim that agrees with the evidence.

It appears this would be a strawman.

Two things stand out:

  1. You appear to argue that it is common (on this blog I presume) to argue that the left needs to run in elections more to the left. I would say that while that argument exists it is by far shadowed by the argument that the large parties to the left needs to govern more to the left. In general they govern to the right of where their voters thought they ran, which leads to a loss of voters and a decline of the institutional structures that benefits the large parties on the left.

  2. "all one has to do" - I think you would rarely see claims here that election outcome is solely determined by political message.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:15:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an argument I see a lot - often associated with your (1).

The argument that "the large parties on the left need to govern more to the left" is one I do not understand. What is the meaning of "need" in that statement?  If the claim is that they would be more popular if they tried to govern further to the left, I think that might be true or false, but is unlikely to be put to the test. Certainly we can see that Hollande, like Obama, has been very careful to work hard not to hint that he would govern much to the left on the theory that such a program would lead to electoral defeat.

A more interesting question is: what events could make the large left wing/social-democratic parties take on a more ambitious left wing program (and what would that program look like) or what realistic prospects are there for replacing those parties with other parties that would not be subject to the same forces. Certainly, the McGovern reformers who swept the Democratic Party of the US in the 1970s and the Greens in Germany show that it is very difficult to avoid being turned into exactly what you displaced.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
The argument that "the large parties on the left need to govern more to the left" is one I do not understand. What is the meaning of "need" in that statement?  If the claim is that they would be more popular if they tried to govern further to the left, I think that might be true or false, but is unlikely to be put to the test. Certainly we can see that Hollande, like Obama, has been very careful to work hard not to hint that he would govern much to the left on the theory that such a program would lead to electoral defeat.

I don't see how governing to the right of where you where perceived to run by you voters (see PASOK, PSOE) is going to make more electoral sense then governing where you ran.

But on to "need": in particular they need to govern more to the left in order to strenghten and not weakening the structures in society that strenghtens their party, in order to not gradually loose. Over time the soc-dems in Europe are not winning, they are loosing.

rootless2:

A more interesting question is: what events could make the large left wing/social-democratic parties take on a more ambitious left wing program (and what would that program look like) or what realistic prospects are there for replacing those parties with other parties that would not be subject to the same forces. Certainly, the McGovern reformers who swept the Democratic Party of the US in the 1970s and the Greens in Germany show that it is very difficult to avoid being turned into exactly what you displaced.

Ay, there is the rub. Depends on the party and the party structures I would say. Does it have a base with anything to say in influencing te party line? Does the unions still matter? If so, can either be influenced?

So, what decides the party line? If it is hunger for power, then the power argument might sway those who could reach power. At least the french soc-dems appear to have power ambitions, unlike their German counterpart that chooses to be junior partner to CDU over being the senior partner with Die Linke as their junior partner. Anyway, if you manage to establish what their bottom line is - policies, money, power and for whom - then credibly threathening it should do the trick.

Otherwise you need to go for building parties that are structurally dependent on their members so that they are harder to co-opt.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, I don't think "trying and failing"

Beats failing to try.

Since Marx or possibly before, the left has had a fatal desire for the apocalyptic moment when the system will magically crash

Horseshit.

The system will crash because it pursues policies that are fundamentally untenable. Pointing this out does not show a desire for the crash, it shows a prediction of the crash. That you regard the elementary macroeconomic identities underlying this argument as "magic" does not demonstrate that you are politically sophisticated. It demonstrates that you are economically illiterate.

If you pursue those policies when you are in government, you are making things worse. It doesn't matter, in the final analysis, that a government further to the right would have made things worse faster. Unless you have a clear plan for how to stop making things worse, the system is eventually going to fail.

When it fails, you will be discredited, because you were complicit in its failure.

And when that happens, the left needs to have parties and movements that are outside the cozy consensus of compulsive centrist disorder sufferers. Because you can bet your constitution that the right will have such movements.

Sniping at those left-wing movements is not productive.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 09:28:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you pursue those policies when you are in government, you are making things worse. It doesn't matter, in the final analysis, that a government further to the right would have made things worse faster. Unless you have a clear plan for how to stop making things worse, the system is eventually going to fail.

Yes. This is the Albert Speer defence: better to be inside the regime moderating it, than to be outside in the opposition, which also by chance happens to be far less comfortable, or more dangerous. The Albert Speer defence is a bad idea 99% of the time.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The contrast to the Albert Speer defense should be something better than the Ernst Thalman plan - first crush the weak social democrats and then the people will naturally rise against the Nazis. Worked out so well.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ernst Thalman plan - first crush the weak social democrats and then the people will naturally rise against the Nazis.

Source? Methinks that's a rather twisted alternative history.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hardly a controversial theory. Even Wikipedia can explain it

At the 12th party congress of the KPD in June 1929 in Berlin-Wedding, Thälmann, in conformity with the position adopted by the Soviet Union leadership under Joseph Stalin, adopted a policy of confrontation with the SPD. This followed the events of "Bloody May", in which 32 people were killed by the police in an attempt to suppress demonstrations which had been banned by the Interior Minister, Carl Severing, a Social Democrat.

During that time, Thälmann and the KPD fought the SPD as their main political enemy, acting according to the Comintern policy which declared Social Democrats and Socialists to be "social fascists". By 1927, Karl Kilbom, the Comintern representative to Germany, had started to combat this ultra leftist tendency of Thälmann within the German Communist Party, but found it to be impossible when he found Stalin was against him. Another aspect of this strategy was to attempt to win over the leftist elements of the Nazi Party, especially the SA, who largely came from a working class background and supported socialist economic policies. These guidelines on social democracy as "social fascism" remained in force until 1935 when the Comintern officially switched to endorsing a "popular front" of socialists, liberals and even conservatives against the Nazi threat. By that time, of course, Adolf Hitler had come to power and the KPD had largely been destroyed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Th%C3%A4lmann

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:41:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want, I will even try to dig up the sadly prescient polemic of Leon Trotksy against Thalman's program. Not a big fan of Trotsky, but he called this one perfectly.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a controversial theory, and your version is twisting it even more.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's hardly a substantive response.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:09:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your wikipedia quote mentions the Bloody May. What would you have expected from the KPD, that they tamely give up the right to protest and be banned because a SPD government wants it? The KPD made terrible mistakes, but you seem to think only the KPD did, because that fits in your narrative.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean, narrative? The social fascism theory was official policy, not only in germany but all over the comintern. And the communists didn't make a mystery out of it, but rather shouted it from the rooftops.

Stalin himself invented the thing, though: Thälmann was just the simple minded figure-head Stalin kept in place to keep the KPD more pliable.

Now how much this fraticidial policy mattered is another matter: After all nobody wanted to cooperate with them anyway. For good reasons: Just ask the POUM and the anarchists how fighting in one front with the communists worked out for them...  

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:37:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By narrative I mean Rootless's attempt to whitewash the social democrats, which obviously has your support. Perhaps you shouldn't cite anarchists in support of your narrative though. Nor wordsocialists

Do you really want to hash out the battles of  1929 or 1936 now?

by Katrin on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:04:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, if you want to whitewash the stalinist parties of the thirties, go ahead. And is really cheap to turn Mühsam into same sort of Thälmann supporter because of his famous poem from the beginning of the twenties.

And the narrative of social fascism was invented and told in admirable discipline by the communists, the KPD being as usual the model pupil.

And no, I don't claim a popular front would have worked if the communists had tried it earlier. But is a simple fact that they didn't pursue one until 1935.

And that the role of the communists during the spanish civil war showed the limits of a popular front can't be denied either.
 

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 05:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, if you want to whitewash the stalinist parties of the thirties, go ahead.

I don't think challenging the whitewashing of the SPD's role and the unqualified negative portrayal of the KPD constitutes the whitewashing of Stalinist parties of the thirties. It says a lot, however, that Social Democrat supporters like rootless2 (who brought it up) and you spend so much more effort and emotion on denouncing the KPD than on denouncing the bourgeois parties. After all, a popular front could have achieved only so much as a minority without the involvement of the supposedly democratic bourgeois parties, but the Enabling Act passed with a two-thirds majority, with the approval of the cowardly to pro-Hitler predecessors of CDU, CSU and FDP.

is a simple fact that they didn't pursue one until 1935.

That's simply untrue. They pursued one from spring 1932, first in the form of a general strike offer, then an offer directly to the Prussian SPD in June 1932, finally another direct offer to the SPD and liberal parties in January-February 1933. These offers were rejected. If you want to argue that SPD and ADGB had reasons to be sceptical, you will also have to admit that the 1929 or 1932 KPD had plenty of historical reasons to be wary of the SPD.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you are just making things up. I have not offered a theory of the 1929-1933 in Germany. You seem to assume that as long as any other party or factor can be blamed, your beloved social fascism theory can be justified.

"I don't think challenging the whitewashing of the SPD's role"

But I have said nothing about the politics of the SPD: I just pointed put that the KPD followed the social fascism theory from 1929-1933: A simple historical fact you still deny.

" and the unqualified negative portrayal of the KPD constitutes the whitewashing of Stalinist parties of the thirties. "

The stalinist KPD of the late twenties and early thirties truthfully portrayed is a unqualified negative portrayal.

"It says a lot, however, that Social Democrat supporters like rootless2 (who brought it up) and you spend so much more effort and emotion on denouncing the KPD than on denouncing the bourgeois parties."

And that says a lot only of the weakness of your position; instead of challenging my facts, you make assumptions about my motives. Why should I say anything about the right-wing parties? They did not invent social fascism after all and more importantly they don't find apologists on this blog. This discussion started when you and Karin wanted to whitewash the strategy of the KPD between 1929-1933. If you want me to discuss the right-wing turn of the Zentrum past 1930, their flirting with a Zentrum-NSDAP coalition after the first 1932 election and so on, I can do that too.

 "After all, a popular front could have achieved only so much as a minority without the involvement of the supposedly democratic bourgeois parties, but the Enabling Act passed with a two-thirds majority, with the approval of the cowardly to pro-Hitler predecessors of CDU, CSU and FDP."

You don't say. I have pointed out again and again that a popular front perhaps wouldn't have much difference anyway. So what? The KPD didn't even tried.

"That's simply untrue. They pursued one from spring 1932, first in the form of a general strike offer, then an offer directly to the Prussian SPD in June 1932, finally another direct offer to the SPD and liberal parties in January-February 1933. These offers were rejected."

There were no offers to be rejected, The KPD supported the popular initiative to topple the prussian government in 1931, they worked together with the NSDAP in the Berlin public transport strike in 1932.
The "offer" was directed to supporters of the SPD and teh ADGB, to join a unity front with the KPD against their leaders. But that is of course just another version of social fascism: if you just want the gain the supporters of another party, that is not an offer of cooperation.

In May(!) 1933 the position of the KPD still was:

,,Die völlige Ausschaltung der Sozialfaschisten aus dem Staatsapparat, die brutale Unterdrückung auch der sozialdemokratischen Organisation und ihrer Presse ändern nichts an der Tatsache, dass sie nach wie vor die soziale Hauptstütze der Kapitalsdiktatur darstellen.

Is that supposed to be an offer? I only see the repetition of the social fascism theory, even after the catastrophe.

If you want to argue that SPD and ADGB had reasons to be sceptical, you will also have to admit that the 1929 or 1932 KPD had plenty of historical reasons to be wary of the SPD.

Tu quoque? Do you still want to deny the existence of the social fascism theory between 1929 and 1934 or do you want to argue that is was right?

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I have said nothing about the politics of the SPD:

Indeed. You don't say anything about the politics of the SPD and you demand that we are as uncritical.  You even tried to insinuate that all criticism of social democrats was (and is, I suppose) stalinist.

This discussion started when you and Karin wanted to whitewash the strategy of the KPD between 1929-1933.

No, it started when you end Rootless deplored a left that is unsupportive of social democrats. You tried to insinuate that all criticism of social democrats was (and is, I suppose) stalinist.

by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You make the word insinuate do a lot work here. I said nothing of the sort. Or I would call the SAPD stalinist. They weren't; neither was the USPD.

You on the other hand explicitly denied that the KPD did follow the social fascism strategy from 1929-1934. Do you want do deny that they were a stalinist party from the late twenties too?

"Is, I suppose?)" There are not a thousand Stalinists left in Germany. Hell, there are more Trotskyites.

And I apologise for calling you Karin, Katrin.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You on the other hand explicitly denied that the KPD did follow the social fascism strategy from 1929-1934.

I deny the claim that the KPD saw the SPD as their "main" enemy. I even more deny all claims that there were no rational reasons for Left opposition to the SPD.

And I apologise for calling you Karin, Katrin

You are welcome. No need to apologise for your mistake.

by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:40:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a nice strategy: you insinuate I was trying to whitewash stalinism, because I criticise social democrats penchant for acting against the interests of the class they ought to represent. I didn't quote Mühsam and Tucholsky to make them Thälmann supporters. I quoted them to show that the traitor party was criticised by people who can't be suspected to act on orders from Moscow. Funny how social democrats always are creative when they delegitimise criticism, eh? And who is the one here who is trying to whitewash criminal parties of the thirties, and in a cheap way at that?
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is the crux of the discussion:

social democrats penchant for acting against the interests of the class they ought to represent

rootless doesn't seem to be denying that the Social Democrats do not represent the class that you think they ought to represent. He even seems to claim that it's in the nature of things given the balance of power in the broader political economy.

The question is, suppose you're doing something else to build alternative bases of power in the broader political economy. At some point presumably a party that represents this alternative power base will be a competitor in electoral politics and will be worth voting for in preference to the Soc Dems because they can "win" (which is "what matters"). But, if you never vote for alternative parties, how do you know they're ready for prime time?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I accused you of whitewashing stalinist parties in general and the KPD in particular, because you denied the fact that the strategy of the KPD between 1929 and 1934 was suicidal and was indeed following the social fascism theory. A simple correction of your misleading narrative, no strategy involved.

Mühsamn and Tucholsky are not proponents of the social fascism theory and indeed were often quite unhappy with the politics of the late KPD.

As far as delegitimisation goes: Traitor party?
Who is delegitimising now? And in very unoriginal way, I grant you that.

"And who is the one here who is trying to whitewash criminal parties of the thirties, and in a cheap way at that?"

You. I don't whitewash a single criminal party of the thirties. You on the other hand are on a path where next you tell me that Bucharin was indeed a german-japanese-trotskyite agent.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:59:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean that supporting Brünning's austerity policies was not criminal?

That's a good one.

Again: Austerity carried the Nazis to power. Any effort to oppose the Nazis which did not oppose austerity was built to fail, and would have given at most a very temporary reprieve.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:05:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Austerity carried the Nazis to power. Any effort to oppose the Nazis which did not oppose austerity was built to fail, and would have given at most a very temporary reprieve.

Hindsight is 20/20. Given the state of economic science back then, you couldn't be sure austerity wouldn't work. It's only after the Great Depression we got conclusive evidence, even though TPTB do their best to ignore it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For anybody with eyes to see there was plenty of evidence already in 1929/30 that the gold standard was untenable. That economists had not yet pulled their heads out of their asses does not, I would submit, mean that one is not permitted to look out the window and react to obvious reality.

And of course if you want to argue based on what was known at the time, it was not at all stupid for the KPD to attempt to recruit or co-opt the SA - they recruited from similar demographics, and they had arguably greater overlap in their economic policy prescriptions than existed between the KPD and the pro-gold standard SPD.

It happened to be wrong, but it was not stupid. Attempting the same thing today would be stupid. Just as supporting austerity today would be even more stupid than it was then.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:44:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now we know better but the Serious People have forgotten. The Social Democrats are part of the Austerity consensus. And, while our societies are busy repeating the 1930s as farce, why not have our own rehashing of the Social Fascism debate?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First time as tragedy, second time as farce... :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:06:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But nobody, the KPD included, opposed austerity. And I can claim mitigating circumstances: WTB-Plan. Not followed through, but a lot more constructive then social fascism".

And some countries followed the orthodoxy without going fascist, so your fitting anything into your box is wrong anyway.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:47:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, this WTB plan? The one the SPD killed out of fear of the inflation monster?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 12:02:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least someone in the SPD pursued it. There wasn't a WTB-Plan inside the KPD. And if someone inside the KPD would have proposed one, he would have been purged.
by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 01:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mühsamn and Tucholsky are not proponents of the social fascism theory and indeed were often quite unhappy with the politics of the late KPD

Right. More interesting for our point here is that they were quite unhappy with the politics of the SPD. So your insinuation that only stalinists who get their orders from Moscow can be principled  critics of the SPD is proved wrong once more.

As far as delegitimisation goes: Traitor party?

Never heard that before? Here is another one:

Tucholsky, Kurt, Werke, 1932, Schnipsel [9] - Zeno.org Tucholsky, Kurt, Works, 1932 Snippets [9] - Zeno.org
s ist ein Unglück, daß die SPD Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands heißt. Hieße sie seit dem 1. August 1914 Reformistische Partei oder Partei des kleinern Übels oder Hier können Familien Kaffee kochen oder so etwas -: vielen Arbeitern hätte der neue Name die Augen geöffnet, und sie wären dahingegangen, wohin sie gehören: zu einer Arbeiterpartei. It is unfortunate that the SPD is called Social Democratic Party of Germany. If she were the called since August 1914 Reformist Party or party to the smaller evil or Families can make coffee here or so: the new name would have opened many workers' eyes, and they were gone to where they belong: to a workers' party.
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:23:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have indeed heard it before and don't think the revival of musty communist paroles from the twenties very illuminating.

And yes, I have read my Tucholsky too and that is another reason why I reject your remodeling him into a Thälmann supporter. And no, citing Ossietzky won't change that either.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yes, I have read my Tucholsky too and that is another reason why I reject your remodeling him into a Thälmann supporter.

And nothing will change your disingenuous strategy of calling all critics of the SPD "Thälmann supporters".

by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see: Willy Brandt, SAPD activist, thefore critic of the SPD: Not a Thälmann supporter!

(Herbert Wehner: Thälmann Supporter!)

Easy.

And somebody who thinks the social fascism strategy of the KPD in the late twenties and early thirties was right, is a Thälmann supporter.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:08:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And what is someone who cries "Thälmann" because social-democrats are criticised for their right-wing policies, eh?
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I discuss Thälmann only in his historical context. Some others here like to babble about traitor party meanwhile. Quite the way to debate. Or the build a coalition of the left.

And here you and the KPD of days past indeed touch: You but think pesky things like coalitions are not necessary, as long as the own sect is pure enough.  

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point it bears pointing out that the SPD is the one that refuses to govern with Die Linke.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:38:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, thanks for telling me what I think about coalitions and compromise! And which coalition introduced the "Hartz" legislation? Or decided to take part in the wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan? And if I reject these policies I am unable to compromise and only concerned about the purity of the sect, eh?
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stalin himself invented the thing

Apparently it was Zinoviev, but Stalin resurrected it later.

Thälmann was just the simple minded figure-head Stalin kept

Here you deny Bloody May as potential motive, and forget about Thälmann's later deviation from the policy.

Just ask the POUM and the anarchists

That was years later and a thousand kilometres away.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever: It was a comintern policy. And so local factors like the bloody may didn't really matter.

Especially not in the period of stalinisation for the KPD.

What deviation? There wasn't one. And Thälmann had his clear limits and was kept in place by Stalin after the KPD wanted to replace him for incompetence. And rewarded this intervention with slavish support.

"That was years later and a thousand kilometres away."

"Fornication-- but that was in another country / And besides, the wench is dead."?

The international brigades - who were purged too - did think differently. And 1936 is not that far away from 1929-1933. And the spanish civil war did show the limits of a popular front policy with the stalinists.

by IM on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 05:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
local factors like the bloody may didn't really matter.

Because you say so? I guess you don't see any relevance of the SPD's positions at the start of WWI, before, during and after the Spartacus Uprising, during Brüning's two cabinets, and the November 1932 elections in which it campaigned with the "Nazis und Kozis" slogan; either.

What deviation?

You could have found an indication in this same sub-thread, but now see another reply to you. You bring too much emotion behind a selective reading of history.

And 1936 is not that far away from 1929-1933.

Just considering the many 180-degree turns during Stalin's rule (for example on economic policy), 7-3 years make a difference.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:44:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, now you get
annoying. What the hell do you know about my emotions?

You have a selective reading of history: You just take the popular front strategy of 1935, make a retcon and let it start in 1932. That did not happen, however much you seem to wish it out of an emotional investment in the stalinist KPD. I mean really, I can understand a Rosa Luxemburg fan, but Thälmann the stalinist?

Once again: If you appeal to voters, members etc. of the SPD and the ADGB to revolt against their leaders and form unity front with the KPD against their leaders, then that is not an offer of alliance, but rather a simple try to gain voters etc.

And since you like to retread farther and farther in history: Was there a unity front with SAP or KPO? What is your excuse for that fact?

Deal with it: The KPD was much to occupied with purges and hating social democrats to fight fascism. If you live in a world where Trotsky is the main enemy and then Braun and then perhaps Hitler, you are not a very good anti-fascist.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[not directed at IM in particular]

This debate appears to me to have become more about emotion than facts. In particular, there's excessive playing the player rather than the ball. All try to stick to the argument rather than kicking each other.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:20:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean really, I can understand a Rosa Luxemburg fan, but Thälmann the stalinist

And who is a Thälmann fan here? It was you who equalled not voting social democrat with Thälmann's policy!

by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:28:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not at all. I just pointed out that the KPD of 1929-1934, lead indeed by Thälmann, followed a strategy of fighting mostly the social fascists.

Now you will answer SPD this and SPD that. But riddle me this: how well did the KPD cooperate with the SAPD?

And that is by the way why I mentioned how the communists in Spain dealt with the POUM. Or was the PUOM a bunch of neoliberals too.

And traitor party - that is indeed the language of social fascism.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:38:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you will answer SPD this and SPD that.

Yes, because that is the topic here! Social democrats reliably introduce right wing policies. At this point of the discussion you introduced Thälmann. Now you try to defame every critic of social democrats as a stalinist. Pointing out how universal criticism is makes you complain I cited Tucholsky or Mühsam as supporters of orthodox KPD policies. No: only you believe in the fairy tale that this criticism was something stalinist! My topic IS "SPD this and SPD that" and I come to the conclusion not to vote them. They are not a party of the left.

by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My topic IS "SPD this and SPD that" and I come to the conclusion not to vote them. They are not a party of the left.

And rootless argues that the "left" is, then, smaller than 15% in the OECD over the past 30 years, and then we bicker and then Sarkozy and Le Pen form a coalition government.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:23:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, is it the left's fault that the SPD is not a left party? Of course it looks more impressive if we count social democrats as leftists, but they want a policy of austerity, poverty, and war, and that is NOT leftist policy.  
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:46:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is only your topic. My topic is the policy of the KPD in 1929-1934. You started the discussion with denying the social fascism strategy of the KPD and Thälmann.

That, to return to the beginning, was indeed the narrative of the KPD during the early thirties. You still haven't answered why the KPD was unwilling to cooperate with the SAPD e. g. And your excursions to Tucholsky and Mühsam doesn't change anything about KPD policy.

"Now you try to defame every critic of social democrats as a stalinist."

You can surely prove this tall claim? I did nothing of the sort.

"Pointing out how universal criticism is makes you complain I cited Tucholsky or Mühsam as supporters of orthodox KPD policies. No: only you believe in the fairy tale that this criticism was something stalinist!"

It wasn't. It also has nothing to do with the KPD. Stalinist criticism like that of the late KPD is indeed Stalinist.

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:28:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It also has nothing to do with the KPD.

Exactly! So, can you suppress to cry out "Thälmann" when I blame social democrats for policies that are detrimental for the working class?

(And I hit the "4" only by accident)

by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:50:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if you stop defending Thälmann and the social fascism strategy of the KPD.
by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 08:46:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't stop that. I have never started.
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 08:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you are conflating IM's and rootless' positions here. If IM was advocating voting for present day social democrats even when they obviously don't represent leftist positions I missed it. Not that arguing about the history of the 30ties isn't worth it.
I hear there'll be a rerun soon.
by generic on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 08:15:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I'd expect that they would act rationally instead of facilitating the consolidation of power by Hitler.  I don't care if their feelings were hurt.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:00:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incredible to whom you attribute facilitating the consolidation of power by Hitler. It was more than leftists' feelings that was hurt. You are not belittling the murders of hundreds of leftists in the Weimar Republic, are you?
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the time of Hitler's consolidation of power, Thälmann was arrested and a hundred thousand KPD members followed him. At that time, it was some leaders of the SPD and allied unions who failed to act rationally and still sought a compromise (most ridiculously when the unions believed that being allowed to hold May Day parades is a sign of compromise, only to find themselves occupied, appropiated and arrested in the next few days). Remember, there was no ADGB general strike and the SPD leadership failed to activate the party militia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:40:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While the English Wikipedia article is misleading itself, it hardly claims someting as strong as you did.

  1. There was no "Thälmann plan", there was a "social fascism" doctrine which originated in the Soviet Union five years earlier.
  2. The Wikipedia article messes up the timeline. The internal struggle in which the Bukharinite Kilbom opposed Thälmann in 1926 didn't concern the "social fascism" doctrine, which was resurrected by Stalin only in 1929.
  3. The "social fascism" doctrine was not about crushing weak social democrats to get people to rise against the Nazis, but about treating social democrats as the left wing of fascism and refusing cooperation. The conflict with the Nazis was a little bit hotter than the one with the SPD...
  4. As even the English Wikipedia article indicates, the KPD's adoption of the social fascism doctrine didn't came out of the blue or simple deference to Stalin, but was in reaction to the SPD leadership's attitude towards May Day street demonstrations and the police violence that followed (which was never investigated, although victims included SPD members, too).
  5. It is debatable whether the confrontation with the SPD after 1929 contributed to the rise of fascism (the attempt to form an independent union arguably did), but attributing sole responsibility (and not attributing any responsibility to the SPD leadership for the lack of cooperation) is way off.
  6. The English Wikipedia article completely omits to mention that from early 1932 onwards, Thälmann broke with the policy side of the "social fascism" doctrine and sought a wide cooperation (even including liberal parties) to overthrow Hitler.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 04:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh fucking great, Thalmann broke with the social fascism doctrine in 1932. Similarly, the captain of the titanic decided to make a sharp turn after the boat hit the iceberg.

Otherwise, you introduce a number of minor nit-picks that avoid the point. The social fascism strategy was a fiasco of stunning proportions - as predicted by Trotsky and numerous others. And today we see not only the same idiot theory that the far right is not as dangerous as the social democrats, the same sullen excuse that "they started it", and the same suicidal idea that racist "populism" can be made leftist.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, no.

What DoDo points out is that when the allegedly social democratic parties prefer to govern with the right over governing with the communists, the communists are not wholly unjustified in regarding them as the centrist wing of the right.

Your logic - that a nominally right-wing cabinet must be prevented in the next election at all cost - should lead people to vote for SPD, no matter how Schröderite they have become. In fact, the more Schröderite, the greater the motivation to vote for them, because they insist on not coalitioning with Die Linke.

Essentially, the SPD is giving the voter an ultimatum: Give us an absolute majority and we will govern like the CDU but minus 10 %. Or give us less than an absolute majority, and we will govern with the CDU.

The correct response to that is not "OK, I'll give you my vote." The correct response is "fuck off and die."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 09:52:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not my logic, it is your caricature of my logic. My logic is that sometimes the right is very dangerous and it is important not to make the same mistake Thalman made. The Nazis were NOT "nominally" right wing and the Communists were stupid and reckless in the extreme for regarding the SDP  as the greater enemy or for the delusion that they could win over the "populist" SA.

As impressed as I am by the power of saying "fuck off and die", I have to ask what it accomplishes. A lot of what passes for "left" thought these days seems to boil down to "we'll give them the finger until they respect us".

--
The big demonstrations in London and Washington against the US attack on Iraq a few years ago offer an exemplary case of this strange symbiotic relationship between power and resistance. Their paradoxical outcome was that both sides were satisfied. The protesters saved their beautiful souls: they made it clear that they don't agree with the government's policy on Iraq. Those in power calmly accepted it, even profited from it: not only did the protests in no way prevent the already-made decision to attack Iraq; they also served to legitimise it.
---
- Zizek.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:58:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain and Greece today, it is not immediately obvious that the EPP is more harmful than the PES. Preventing an EPP cabinet at the cost of stunting a left-of-the-PES party is therefore not an obvious tradeoff.

It depends, of course, on the election rules of the country in question. In Britain, you'll have to vote against the Tories at the UK level, and work on taking the devolved assemblies. In Scandinavia and Germany, where proportional systems prevail, you can vote for left-of-PES parties without worrying about splitting the vote. In France you can vote for left-of-PES in the first round and against UMP-FN in the second.

But the notion that it can never make sense to support a left-of-centre party at the national level is a case of American parochialism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:12:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet again, the mistake of Thälmann and the KPD wasn't to claim the SPD as the greater enemy. And the Žižek quote (from here) is a nice one, but his argument isn't against the hard or extreme left but a 'postmodern left' that takes an anarchistic stance, preferring extra-parliamentary action, and doesn't want to take over the state. He contrasts the anti-war protests with Hugo Chávez's policy of taking over the state and organising supporters.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:32:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it was. the social fascism theory depicted the social democrats as the most dangerous enemy.
by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zizek points out that a "politics" of empty gestures is a form of cooperation.
by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 08:13:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The lesson here is that the truly subversive thing is not to insist on `infinite' demands we know those in power cannot fulfil. Since they know that we know it, such an `infinitely demanding' attitude presents no problem for those in power: `So wonderful that, with your critical demands, you remind us what kind of world we would all like to live in. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where we have to make do with what is possible.' The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can't be met with the same excuse.
Now tell me how the kinds of policies we would advocate on this site are "infinite demands" and not "precise, finite demands", except if one accepts that anything that isn't TINA is an "infinite demand". For instance, when we're told that "the fiscal pact is here to stay" (even though it hasn't been ratified in most countries yet) and therefore even if you think it's nonsense you have to work within it.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 08:49:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not a follower of Zizek. He's a smart guy and is often thought provoking, but I don't agree with everything he says. In this case, however, he is on point. The demand "Social Democrats should stop acting like Social Democrats and should instead act like something that we imagine would be better" is an infinite demand.

Rejecting the logic of austerity is not a finite demand. A finite demand is something like: co-operatives should get access to the same credit that is given to banks, or improving tenants of abandoned properties should be able to take title and clear the debt, or e.g. crowdfunding should be legalized, or access to public transportation should be low cost. ...

by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 09:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rejecting the logic of austerity is not a finite demand.

But the logic of austerity is not a law of nature. It is something that has been imposed politically since late 2009. And the imposition of that "logic" hasn't been without a substantial amount of arm-twisting.

So, why should the Social Democrats have accepted the logic of austerity in the first place?

On the other hand, you're right that rejecting the Maastricht treaty, is not a finite demand. However the Austerians have managed to get a new "treaty" negotiated in about 3 months. So, apparently certain kinds of treaty reforms are not infinite tasks. A treaty reform becomes infinite when it's a demand for the purpose of improving the lot of the general population.

In that vein, Yanis Varoufakis' Modest Proposal is a finite demand since it is explicitly built within the institutional constraints out of a sense of "urgency" (we don't have time for bona-fide treaty negotiations). The democratic deficit, TINA, and institutional constraints featured prominently in this panel discussion:

Of course, while there is no time for bona-fide treaty negotiations there's always time for a treaty imposed by Merkozy on the rest of the 27 on the argument that TINA.

Why anyone should vote for those on the "left" who accepted such a treaty is beyond me anyway.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 09:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rejecting the logic of austerity is not a finite demand.

I'd give it at least a 30 % chance that Hollande turns out to disagree with you on that point.

A finite demand is something like: co-operatives should get access to the same credit that is given to banks, or improving tenants of abandoned properties should be able to take title and clear the debt, or e.g. crowdfunding should be legalized, or access to public transportation should be low cost. ...

Of those four demands, one violates the logic of austerity, which you tell us to accept as a given, one violates the sacrosanct idol of private property (which, one must presume, you would also tell us to accept as a given), and the last two, while perfectly fine policies in their own right, are supply side and will therefore not contribute to solving the problem.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:08:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh fucking great, Thalmann broke with the social fascism doctrine in 1932.

At least you admit it. Now, will you admit that the SPD's rejection of these offers and its policy after the Berlin strike (not to speak of what it did in the teens and twenties), and the SPD leadership's failure to seek confrontation with the Nazis and cooperation with others until the final moment wasn't that wise, either?

Otherwise, you introduce a number of minor nit-picks that avoid the point.

Minor nitpicks that together destroy your position. Besides, your whole argumentation avoids more significant points:

  • the SPD support for Brüning hurt the SPD's credibility with voters;
  • the KPD's blindness in not seeking a popular front earlier and more seriously is mirrored by a similar blindness of the SPD's leadership;
  • the SPD was also blind to the fact that the courts and the constitution won't protect them against a fascist coup (and that even after it happened to them once in Prussia) and failed to mobilise their unions or militia;
  • with or without a popular front, the SPD and the KPD just weren't enough in terms of popular base, and the Nazis wouldn't have risen to power without the support or cowardy folding of the bourgeois parties.

as predicted by Trotsky

Speaking of Trotsky's letter, have you read it all? While he argues that the KPD's policy is stupid (believing in December 1931 that a fascist takeover in a civil war is only months away), he does so with the parallel of his own cooperation with the later backstabbed Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries against Kornilov, denouncing the SPD in the process in quite "social fascist" tones:

Leon Trotsky: For a Workers' United Front Against Fascism (1931)

The Social Democracy supports Brüning, votes for him, assumes responsibility for him before the masses-on the grounds that the Brüning government is the "lesser evil." [...] We Marxists regard Brüning and Hitler, [SPD PM of Prussia Otto] Braun included, as component parts of one and the same system. The question as to which one of them is the "lesser evil" has no sense, for the system we are fighting against needs all these elements. But these elements are momentarily involved in conflicts with one another and the party of the proletariat must take advantage of these conflicts in the interest of the revolution.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"At least you admit it. Now, will you admit that the SPD's rejection of these offers and its policy after the Berlin strike (not to speak of what it did in the teens and twenties), and the SPD leadership's failure to seek confrontation with the Nazis and cooperation with others until the final moment wasn't that wise, either?"

There was no offer. And why there wasn't an offer is explained nice by Trotsky: If you just want to gain, the voters, activists of another party in order to destroy them, you don't offer anything. And laying the blame for the cooperation of KPD and NSDAP in the Berlin transport strike on the SPD is hilariois. On the problems with cooperation and confrontation more below.

 "the SPD support for Brüning hurt the SPD's credibility with voters;"

Yes. On the other hand, when the SPD in 1932 opposed papen and Schleicher, the results were not much better. Also, there still was DDP-Zentrum-SPD coalition in Prussia and the SPD wanted to preserve it. Now the prussian government and it's importance tended to be overestimated, but if you remember the size, that is understandable.

" the KPD's blindness in not seeking a popular front earlier and more seriously is mirrored by a similar blindness of the SPD's leadership;"

A popular front with the KPD, that wasn't possible because of the position of the KPD anyway, would have ended all cooperation of the SPD with Zentrum and DDP. Especially in Prussia. The general problem of your cooperation demands is that a cooperation with DDP and Zentrum was possible and a cooperation with the KPD was possible, but not both. In the end a cooperation with neither was posssible.

 "the SPD was also blind to the fact that the courts and the constitution won't protect them against a fascist coup (and that even after it happened to them once in Prussia) and failed to mobilise their unions or militia;"

True. But the civil war in austria, where your recommendations were followed, was lost.

 "with or without a popular front, the SPD and the KPD just weren't enough in terms of popular base, and the Nazis wouldn't have risen to power without the support or cowardy folding of the bourgeois parties."

exactly! And that is why your complaints that everything would have gone well if just the SPD would have fight - with what allies? - are so unrealistic.

"as predicted by Trotsky"

 Trotsky indeed pointed out unwittingly the problems of a popular front with communists. (And that was not years later and miles away)

by IM on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:33:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The system will crash because it pursues policies that are fundamentally untenable."

Well, in the long run we are all untenable but the claimed imminent demise of capitalism seems about as reliable as the claimed imminent return of Jesus.

Of course as soon as enough leftists denounce the false consciousness of the followers of hegemonist thinking, the revisionists, the sectarians, and everyone else, I'm sure the fucking revolution will happen right away.
That's such a great program and it has such a brilliant track record. Oooh, I'm going to be "discredited" and will lose my Scientific Socialism merit badge. Fear and trembling.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:21:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, I don't think anyone around here is waiting for the "crash" or the "revolution". The thing with democratic societies is that there is a way to relieve the pressure: elections. Only dictatorships explode into revolutions, as people feel TINA to direct action.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's enough of "things have to get worse before they can get better" on this blog too. The question is whether people are advocating it or just resigning themselves to the reality of social dynamics. It gets to a point, though, where it makes no difference.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm responding to what Jakes wrote.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While all responses are replies, not all replies are responses...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:21:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So I misinterpreted your remarks?
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

I never anywhere stated, for I do not believe, that social collapse will bring about the end of "capitalism."

Judging by historical experience, however, it will bring about the end of the centrist parties. And if you have not cultivated an organisation outside the cozy centrist consensus, then you will be caught with your pants down when that happens.

Now, betting that this will not happen before the next election is usually a safe bet, in the sense that you will be right more often than not. But that is also true of the betting that the stock market will keep on rising this week, and betting that not doing a maintenance checkup on your nuclear power plant will not make it blow up this week. Or any other bet with a large probability of a small upside and a small probability of a catastrophic downside. If you keep taking that sort of bets you will, eventually, lose your shirt.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What exactly in historical experience validates that theory?

The Vichy Socialism of Mitterand, for example, preceded not the collapse of the mushy centrist parties but the collapse of the far left.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rolls eyes
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because obviously neither the rise of fascism nor the destruction of the Mediterranean EU members offer examples of collapse of the unreasonable centrists...

If you have some historical experience that validates the performance of compulsive centrists in a serious economic crisis, I'm all ears.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 09:35:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"compulsive centrists" - nice meaningless phrase.

It's enough to make one miss vulgar class analysis. At least that is more sophisticated and illuminating than pseudo-psychology of that sort.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:07:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tell me again what advantage the SPD derived from its support of Brünning's pro-Nazi economic policies?

Then please elucidate the advantage to be gained by a broader left front embracing Brünning's pro-Nazi policies.

Alternatively, you can explain how a broader left coalition would have been able to sway the social democrats away from supporting Brünning's pro-Nazi policies.

Because the crux of the matter is that Brünning's policies were built-to-fail. Any party that embraced them would be dragged down with them, as becomes obvious when you examine the electoral results of the relevant parties.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 05:34:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the SPD pursued stupid policies, therefore the social fascism line of the KDP was ok?
by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 09:30:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The SPD pursued stupid policies. What is the proper response to that? To vote SPD?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 09:46:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes. Perhaps not allying with Nazis would be sufficient though.

I don't get the theory that one should approach politics via grievance. Politics is about power.

by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Politics is about power.

That's rather the problem, it tends to become power for power's sake.

So basically one has to cozy up to the aspiring powerful in hopes of being able to enact policy when the aspiring powerful becomes powerful.

Expecting the aspiring powerful to have a policy is too much.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:31:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
Perhaps not allying with Nazis would be sufficient though.

When was KDP allied with the Nazis?

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:46:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely not to vote for a bunch of stalinists. Or do want to retcon the KPD into some sort of New Dealers now?
by IM on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 01:06:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe just give up on politics an emigrate.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 03:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or: The SPD pursued stupid policies and didn't like protest, therefore banning protest was quite ok.
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the difference between a successful smart political activist like A. Philip Randolph and a stupid puppet like E. Thalman. The Democratic Party of FDR essentially sold out black America for votes of racist southerners. However, Randolph used a combination of cooperation, support, and credible threats to win concessions that (a) got big living standards improvements and (b) increased political power that eventually lead to the success of the civil rights movement. That's because Randolph had a moral center and an understanding of political dynamics, while Thalman was a bureaucrat who believed in simple slogans.
by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:10:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You might want to look up Ernst Thälmann and his biography. Okay, it is your parallel: Randolph operated in a two-party-system, I believe. What was his chance to get elected into state parliaments, Congress, presidential elections without joining one of the racist parties?
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey look, back in the 1940s "marching" worked:
In the early civil-rights movement, Randolph led the March on Washington Movement, which convinced Franklin D. Roosevelt to desegregate production-plants for military supplies during World War II.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually they did not have to march - the threat worked.
by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:47:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they had constructed a situation in which they social democrats considered them valuable allies but understood they had finite demands that had to be met.

That is, they played the game of politics. And, yes, it's both ugly and dangerously corrupting.

by rootless2 on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:06:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because crushing the protest brutally would have damaged the war effort and so. Better to quietly give in a bit. Much depends on the situation you are in. Small wonder that our masters want a high level of unemployment to discipline the working class.
by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 11:21:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in the long run we are all untenable but the claimed imminent demise of capitalism seems about as reliable as the claimed imminent return of Jesus.

You taken a look at Greece lately?

That is what happens when allegedly social democratic parties govern to the right in fear of losing the next election if they govern according to reality.

Spain and Portugal are going to provide the next couple of equally illustrative examples, because PSOE and the Portuguese PS made the same mistake.

And if Hollande fails to govern to the left, you're looking at a FdG vs. FN or UMP (depending on the staying power of UMP) election in 2017.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:25:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and the FdG would lose that election.

So we better fucking hope that Hollande governs to the left. I can live with the PS losing a PS vs. UMP election in 2017 because PS didn't TINA. FdG losing a FdG vs. FN because PS did TINA... not so much.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's kind of lacking in utility to bewail the weakness of social democratic parties - especially in client states - and earnestly wish that radical left parties would have more support.

If only the would - you know - show some gumption. But they won't - they are what they are.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:21:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it is apparently not lacking in utility to bemoan the weakness of the left, and snipe at them for having the temerity to suggest that policy is more important than positioning.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:27:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sniping at all. I would have been happy to see e.g. the Left Front win 20% of the vote, I am simply attempting to understand what possible strategies are viable given the actual results.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:46:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes you think all that's done is to bewail and to wish, respectively?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 12:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm responding to what he wrote. I have seen 1000000 denunciations of weak social democrats. Seems like at some point one should move on to a fresher topic. Social democrats often govern to the right of their rhetoric. I am so old that I remember being surprised that Mitterand governed like the Vichy bureaucrat he was and not in accord with the program he ran on. But at this point I am less surprised and do not see the value of repeatedly demanding that Social Democrats "should" act in a different manner from how they act.
 
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Social democrats often govern to the right of their rhetoric.

Yes. That's where the name traitor party comes from. You seem to attribute that behaviour to weakness though, where I see mendacity.

So, we have the choice between right-wing parties openly saying  they want to drive inequality up, wages down, and fight some wars against brown skinned people if the US want that and social-democrat parties not saying openly that they want about the same policy, but doing so if elected. Or else we vote left parties and are accused that we don't really want power if we vote so small parties. Because these parties split the left vote, have a problem with dogmatists, and so.

by Katrin on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:10:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't attribute to either weakness or mendacity. I believe it is the product of the social order. One can imagine that a consistent behavior of social democratic parties in many states over many decades is "mendacity", but I think that just avoids the issue. The social democrats seem to be subject to "class" pressures that produce what they are.

But I also disagree that the social democratic parties are the same or follow the same policies as the right wing parties.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:51:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A right wing party wouldn't have introduced the "agenda" and the Hartz legislation. They wouldn't have dared! Often social democrats are worse than right-wingers, because people don't watch out enough or have illusions that a right wing policy is inevitable if social-democrats introduce it. More often social democrats are slightly better, but not good enough. Sometimes they are even doing something useful. The latter happens when they get a good healthy kick from the left.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:15:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh please. One of the strange aspects of the current left is that it seems to have tossed aside all class and power analysis for concepts such as "betrayal" and "greed".  A RW government would simply have taken the same concepts further. Those concepts don't fall from the sky, but result from the struggle of capital to subordinate labor and to protect upper classes from market forces they don't approve while exposing the rest of the population to market forces that are in the interests of the upper classes.  The difference between a SD/Green implementation of such policies and a Thatcher or Pinochet one, may seem unimportant to you, but I don't share that opinion.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference between a SD/Green implementation of such policies and a Thatcher or Pinochet one, may seem unimportant to you,...

And for you there is one method to show that one takes that difference seriously: voting SD/Green, eh?

by Katrin on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 04:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nixon goes to China...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:38:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough. Suppose now that you disagree with the way Social Democrats govern and you're not on the right. What do you do?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 02:53:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not at all sure of the answer to that. Something different must be tried.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:13:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as?
by Katrin on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:16:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. start agreeing with the way the Soc Dems govern
  2. become right-wing


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:29:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disagreeing and getting beaten consistently may make people feel better about themselves, but it is functionally the same.

Zizek's nasty remarks about the London anti-war demonstrations can't be wished away.

by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:13:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. start a think tank to influence policy making.
  2. build a social movement and organize, so that you're ready to sweep the elections when/if the old parties screw up badly.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:41:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
build a social movement and organize, so that you're ready to sweep the elections when/if the old parties screw up badly.

Funny you should say that. ElPais.com in English: Group that spawned 15-M splits over change in structure (24 April 2012)

During a special assembly on Sunday, members approved the change in the group's structure. That sparked 48 hours of name-calling and insults on social networking sites such as Twitter. The row has come just weeks before a public demonstration that has been scheduled for May 12, which will kick off a series of marches to mark the first anniversary of the 15-M movement.

Now DRY appears to have split. One faction of the organization, headed by spokesman Fabio Gándara, has - for some time - been arguing for the need to change the group's structure, in an effort, among other things, to speed up the decision-making process at assemblies, where members have demanded full consensus before taking a decision.

The other faction, however, says that DRY would lose a lot of its broad representation if it were to change its status from a loose grassroots group to a full registered organization. While some in DRY are looking at making the group more operational, others want to study ways to improve its internal methods to attract greater participation.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 06:47:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Groups that lose contact with reality, start behaving like amoebas... :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on what you call reality. I'd say the PSOE leadership is a group that has lost contact with the reality of life for a large segment of the population.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really know what the Spanish occupy people are like, but remebering what I read about the British variety, they were total naive, unrealistic dreamers with a bone of practicality in their bodies. Sure, PSOE might live in a dreamworld economics-wise, like the rest of the European establishment, but at least they are practical people, or to use our favourite word, Serious people.

Well, I don't think I'm really referring to Serious people, but rather serious people. Krugman and Stiglitz are serious, but not Serious anymore. The British occupy people are neither.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 07:30:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The idea I like the most right now is to combine Alperovitz's methods of building cooperative business in conjunction with other institutions, while slowly pushing electoral strategies. The reason SD parties "go weak" is that they are influenced by the right wing consensus in the corporations/institutions. The labor unions used to be a counterweight but are now nearly worthless and lack initiative. So building up some strength in the economy some other way seems essential.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something different, only so long as we keep dutifully voting for the hegemonic party of the Left.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 03:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When it makes sense, certainly. I'm not a believe in empty exercises or celebration of powerlessness.
by rootless2 on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 07:29:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am yet to see a situation in which you say it doesn't make sense.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 03:58:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Talk about fighting the battles of the 19th century...

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, yes indeed. All old is new.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 01:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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