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11762Re: SA-VIC: SA election results smash records!

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  • lordludd66
    Dec 15, 2004
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      Right,Bob - a parlimentary road to socilaism and a cult
      of "personalities".
      Now why did nobody think of that before?

      --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobgould987"
      <bobgould987@y...> wrote:
      >
      > By Bob Gould
      >
      > Further to Nigel Irritable's measured and careful discussion of the
      > local government election results in Victoria, it might be useful
      to
      > add some elements.
      >
      > Firstly, whether socialists decide to run independently in
      elections
      > is a tactical question to be decided by the socialists concerned.
      In
      > my view it's lunacy to counterpose such electoral exercises to the
      > work of socialists who decide that their tactical orientation is to
      > work in the Labor Party or the Greens.
      >
      > It's even worse to delude yourself that engaging in a fairly
      > straightforward electoral exercise solves the central strategic
      > problems facing socialists -- whether you're relatively successful
      as
      > the Socialist Party and the ISO have been in Victoria, or
      relatively
      > unsuccessful as the DSP/Socialist Alliance has been everywhere in
      > recent times.
      >
      > The particular strategic problem facing socialists is clearly the
      > hegemony of the Labor Party over the organised working class and
      the
      > demonstrated viability of the Greens as a small mass electoral
      > formation to the left of Labor, based largely in the new social
      layers.
      >
      > It's pretty clear that when they engage in their independent
      electoral
      > activity the Socialist Party and the ISO do so quite seriously, in
      the
      > way that Nigel Irritable describes.
      >
      > The DSP tends not to do it in that way because of its preoccupation
      > with the internal life of its own apparatus, which absorbs the
      > energies of that organisation almost totally.
      >
      > Several conjunctural factors obviously have a bearing on the
      Victorian
      > local elections. Firstly, the Labor Party in Victoria has a more
      > limited tradition of participation in local elections than it does
      in
      > NSW and Queensland, for instance.
      >
      > Secondly, and this is an area where people who know more than me
      might
      > enlighten me. It's my impression that when the reactionary Liberal
      > government of Jeff Kennett enforced wholesale amalgamations of
      local
      > councils in Victoria a few years ago, it introduced
      > first-past-the-post voting everywhere. It appears that a number of
      > mainly Labor and Green municipalities have reintroduced
      proportional
      > representation, which is a progressive step. I'd be interested to
      know
      > when that happened.
      >
      > An even more progressive step would be to increase the number of
      > councillors from three to four per ward, thus lowering the quota
      to 20
      > per cent. Maybe Steve Jolly could consider such a proposal for the
      > Yarra council.
      >
      > In the federal elections, the Socialist Party chose not to run,
      > implicitly recognising the great polarisation in Australian society
      > between the Labor-Green and the Tory sides of politics in those
      elections.
      >
      > The ISO, which did run in the federal elections as part of the
      > Socialist Alliance, avoided to a large extent the extravagant
      > anti-Labor rhetoric of the DSP, but the DSP rhetoric tended to
      > dominate the Socialist Alliance campaign, for which the SA paid the
      > inevitable penalty of a vote so small as to be off the electoral
      radar.
      >
      > It seems to me that better electoral result for the Socialist Party
      > and the ISO candidates of the Socialist Alliance in the Victorian
      > local elections is directly due to the less sectarian and more
      > sensible tone of the ISO and the Socialist Party, both to the
      broader
      > Labor movement and to the Greens.
      >
      > On the face of it, Steve Jolly's statements before and after his
      > election seem quite reasonable. He counterposed himself as a
      socialist
      > both to the Labor Party and the Greens, but he also made an appeal
      to
      > the better traditions of the Labor Party and to the ranks of the
      > Greens for better collaboration around progressive policies. All of
      > that seems to me entirely reasonable.
      >
      > He delivered his vote for mayor to the Labor candidate and
      explained
      > why. As he only had half a quota, it's quite clear that Steve Jolly
      > was elected on the Labor Party surplus, which carried over to him
      as
      > preferences. Half the votes that elected him came from Socialist
      Party
      > voters, and half from Labor voters.
      >
      > I base this interpretation on local newspapers in Yarra, which have
      > been sent to me by a friend. Was it the case that Steve Jolly and
      the
      > Socialist Party actually exchanged preferences with the Labor
      Party?
      > That's a genuine question, because it's not entirely clear from the
      > local paper reports.
      >
      > Anyway, it seems clear that Jolly's election is the product of a
      good
      > deal more sensible strategic orientation than that of the DSP,
      both in
      > the terms described by Nigel Irritable about concentrating
      seriously
      > in one area, and also adopting a more realistic overall approach to
      > the continuing grip of Labor and the Greens on the masses.
      >
      > PS. One shouldn't underestimate, in this kind of political
      exercise,
      > Steve Jolly's individual personal role. He's a colourful immigrant
      to
      > Australia with a strong Irish accent and in a modest way a
      charismatic
      > figure with a long history of socialist political agitation behind
      > him. The human element should never be overlooked as a factor in
      > electoral politics.
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