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Re: electoral success

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  • bobgould987
    By Bob Gould For a month or two I ve observed a self-denying ordinance on contributing to the Green Left list, which these days is mainly a sounding board for
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 5, 2007
      By Bob Gould

      For a month or two I've observed a self-denying ordinance on
      contributing to the Green Left list, which these days is mainly a
      sounding board for very unusual contributors such as Nemo, Mato Ska
      and the rather nasty Stalinist Roger Raven, who libelled me as an
      agent provocateur.

      However, Dave Riley's latest bit of alternative-universe wierdness
      prompts me to break my vow.

      For quite a while Riley has been engaged in a wierd and lenghty
      polemic on the Socialsit Unity list in Britain attacking some
      socialist who argue the tactical case for rejoining the British Labour
      Party. In the course of this discussion Riley has made a number of
      assertions about Australian politics that clearly aren't true.

      The overseas audience has little way of testing Riley's assertions,
      being observers from afar.

      Riley has his good days and his bad days, and today must be one of his
      very bad days, because he has clearly forgotten which list he's on,
      and he has written an eccentric piece for an Australian audience that
      relies on them knowing nothing about Australian politics. That might
      work for Riley's British audience, but not for Australians.

      Riley's method is unpleasant in the extreme, but it's revealing. He
      attacks the current Greens, implying that in some way they
      illegitimately grabbed support that by rights should go to the
      Socialist Alliance. He does this by presenting a biased and inaccurate
      account of past disputes in the Nuclear Disarmament Party and the Greens.

      He writes as if political support can be transferred by some process
      of manipulation, which tells you a lot about his own state of mind but
      nothing about mass politics.

      The Greens have won their support by systematic agitation over a very
      long period, but Riley makes no allowance for that. It's merely, in
      his book, a matter of some past manipulation.

      In passing he makes the claim that there were only about 750 Greens
      members at the start of the Iraq war, when in fact there were about
      5000. He has to lie like that to draw attention away from the obvious
      failure of his own project, the Socialist Alliance.

      Even more dangerous politically is Riley's attack on the existing
      Australian electoral system, which includes an implicit attack on
      compulsory voting.

      In the real world, the Australian electoral system, while not perfect,
      has a large number of useful features from a socialist point of view.
      For a start, there's compulsory voting, including a legal obligation
      to enrol to vote.

      In practice, 93 per cent of eligible voters are enrolled and 95 per
      cent of those vote in elections. Compulsory voting ensures that the
      most exploited, who are excluded in the US and Britain, actually make
      up a large part of the Australian electorate. That's an underlying
      reason for the constant problems facing the reactionary parties
      resulting from a changing ethnic and cultural mix of the population.

      Secondly, Australia has optional preferential voting, which Riley also
      attacks. This gives the electorate a chance to vote for a more leftist
      group and then give a preference to Labor, for instance. That's hated
      by both the Australian conservatives and Dave Riley.

      Further, Riley implies that proportional representation doesn't exist
      in most municipal councils, while in fact it is very widespread
      throughout the country, and leads to the election of many Greens
      councillors alongside Labor councillors.

      Proportional representation in local government elections was
      introduced in Victoria by the Bracks Labor government.

      Riley's most barefaced piece of verbal fudging concerns elections to
      Australian parliaments. Proportional representation exists for the
      upper houses of five state and territory parliaments and the federal
      senate. In all of these upper houses there are elected Greens
      representatives.

      To make matters almost insufferable from Riley's point of view, the
      proportional representation system was introduced by Labor governments
      in the five state upper houses, transforming them from non-elected
      House of Lords set-ups into far more democratic institutions. Most
      recently and most spectacularly this democratic reform was carried
      through in Victoria.

      The elephant in the room of Riley's political babble is that Australia
      has a larger mass political workers party, a bourgeois workers party,
      the Labor Party, and a smaller but important mass electoral formation
      on the left, the Greens.

      The real electoral politics of the workers movement in Australia
      revolves around the struggle for a united front between those two
      groups to defeat the Tories.

      Riley's problem is that his own rapidly declining formation is
      minuscule by comparison with the other two and has an underlying
      hostility even to the need for a united front between the two formations.

      In my view it's this political problem that drives Riley's incoherent
      meanderings.
    • dave_r_riley
      ... [The bullshit artist lives I see. Offering another tome of great import for the little world of us lesser mortals.] I have been diagnosed by Doctor Robert
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 5, 2007
        --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobgould987"
        <bobgould987@...> wrote:
        >
        > By Bob Gould

        [The bullshit artist lives I see. Offering another tome of great
        import for the little world of us lesser mortals.]

        I have been diagnosed by Doctor Robert Gould ( Official Psychiatrist
        to the Marxian Left)and I am therefore so crushed and so ashamed that
        i will now go to my room and sulk...maybe take a bex, have a cup of
        tea and a good lie down....
      • rogerraven
        Personally, I thought Bob s absence greatly improved the quality of the discussion group. I urge Bob to continue this selfless and noble act of self-denial.
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 5, 2007
          Personally, I thought Bob's absence greatly improved the quality of
          the discussion group. I urge Bob to continue this selfless and noble
          act of self-denial. Let me assure Bob that he could do the left no
          greater service.
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