Tuesday, February 03, 2015

I'm With George. End the Politics of Fear. Vote Green.

The Guardian's George Monbiot sees the neoliberal consensus collapsing.  This, he argues, is the time to let go of the politics of fear.  He is addressing his fellow Brits who are heading to the polls in May but his message is one that should resonate with all Canadian progressives.

Here is the first rule of politics: if you never vote for what you want, you never get it. We are told at every election to hold our noses, forget the deficiencies and betrayals and vote Labour yet again, for fear of something worse. And there will, of course, always be something worse. So at what point should we vote for what we want rather than keep choosing between two versions of market fundamentalism? Sometime this century? Or in the next? Follow the advice of the noseholders and we will be lost forever in Labour’s Bermuda triangulation.

Perhaps there was a time when this counsel of despair made sense. No longer. The lamps are coming on all over Europe. As in South America, political shifts that seemed impossible a few years earlier are now shaking the continent. We knew that another world was possible. Now, it seems, another world is here: the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus. Any party that claims to belong to the left but does not grasp this is finished.

A survey by the website voteforpolicies.org.uk reports that in blind tests (the 500,000 people it has polled were unaware of which positions belong to which parties), the Green party’s policies are more popular than those of any other. If people voted for what they wanted, the Greens would be the party of government.

Fearful voting shifts the whole polity to the right. Blair’s obeisance to corporate power enabled the vicious and destructive policies the coalition now pursues. The same legacy silences Labour in opposition, as it pioneered most of the policies it should oppose. It is because we held our noses that there is a greater stink today. So do we keep voting for a diluted version of Tory politics, for fear of the concentrate? Or do we start to vote for what we want? Had the people of this nation heeded the noseholders a century ago, we would still be waiting for the Liberal party to deliver universal healthcare and the welfare state.

Society moves from the margins, not the centre. Those who wish for change must think of themselves as the sacrificial margin: the pioneering movement that might not succeed immediately but which will eventually deliver sweeping change. We cannot create a successful alternative to the parties that have betrayed us until we start voting for it. Do we start walking or just keep talking about the journey we might one day take?

Change arises from conviction. Stop voting in fear. Start voting for hope.


Ron Waller said...

I don't know if the Green party is the best option. They have some market fundamentalists among their ranks. Their platform has a "job creation" payroll tax cut for businesses (EI, CPP.) Fact is Canada has among the lowest payroll taxes in the developed world. So this is neoliberal nonsense.

There is also the EcoFiscal sham led by Preston Manning and Chris Ragan. They want to jack up pollution taxes as a justification for more tax cuts for the rich (what they call "harmful taxes"): income tax cuts, investment tax cuts, corporate tax cuts.

So, in short, people should keep an eye out of what the party's are presenting and vote for the best platform that's out there.

Ron Waller said...

BTW, it should be noted that strategic voting does not work.

First, under First-Past-the-Post caveman voting, ANY party can win a fake majority on 39% due to vote splitting. The only way to fix this nonsense is with electoral reform. (Proportional Representation or Ranked Ballot Voting.)

Second, it's impossible to know what party to strategically vote for. The vote moves around during campaigns, which is why parties campaign.

Third, the neo-con party needs 39% of the RIGHT-WING vote to win a "majority." So left-leaning and centrist voters aren't going to help them unless they vote neo-con.

Last, the Liberals play the neo-con horror card during elections. Go so far as to say that a vote for the NDP is a vote for the neo-con party. But in reality, they are trying to weasel their own fake majority.

So voters will not benefit from abandoning their values at the ballot box. In 2011, half of Green voters (4%) voted strategically. Did that Stop Harper!! ? Obviously not.