Why can’t the 99% simply vote in a government that acts in their interest and not that of the 1%
At a simple level parliamentary elections sound like the ideal way for the mass of the ‘have nots’ to use their numbers to overcome the power and influences of the tiny number of have’s. Occupy talked about this division in the language of the 1% and 99%; a crude approximation that does reflect a reality where the number of wealthy decision makers is actually very tiny, indeed less than 1%. So, why can’t the 99% simply vote in a government that acts in their interest and not that of the 1%? [Listen to this article]
Sometimes the old ones are the gold ones. The attempt by the Irish state to damage the electoral chances of the Anti Austerity Alliance by hitting them where it matters - in the pocket - reminds us of how shallow parliamentary democracy is. The Anti Austerity Alliance is the political front the Socialist Party runs under but for the next elections its unified with the SWPs People Before Profit as the rather lengthy AAA - PbP.
It's broadly understood that cash determines who wins an election more than any other factor. Indeed with the US presidential election, for almost a century, the winner has always been the candidate who had the most money behind them. So in terms of influencing the outcome of an election denying a party the right to fundraise is probably the single most effective tactic short of banning them outright.
In a further confirmation of the empty nature of electoral democracy its been revealed that the Dublin City Council manager wrote to the company building the controversial Poolbeg incinerator to assure them they could ignore the two city council votes against the project. This after a special meeting when 50 out of 52 councillors voted against the proposal!
Austerity was never going to be defeated by the vote. We don't live in an economic democracy, we live in an economic dictatorship where only those with vast wealth determine its course. Parliament provides a useful illusion, one that limits our dreams and stops us acting to make them a reality. The real defeat in Greece will not be the capitulation of Syriza but rather if that capitulation is broadly accepted as the end of the road of struggle.
It now appears that the Syriza's insistence that the severe nature of what the Trokia demanded meant that the Greek people had to directly decide through referendum on whether or not to comply has been replaced with the more standard 'We can decide for you' of electoralist politics. That is unless the letter from Tsipras offering a deal that the Financial Times has leaked is a forgery, which seems unlikely.
According to how uncritical individuals and organisations are of Syriza they are currently taking one side or another in an argument as to whether this indicates a sell out or is some new master stroke. But it reinforces our criticism of the hopes placed in electoralism and Syriza. Once more the people who elected them and those in solidarity with them across Europe are reduced to being spectators in something akin to an episode of West Wing.
Turkey goes to the polls June 7th and for the first time it looks like a radical left party, the HDP may get enough votes to claim seats in parliament. In the last couple of weeks of the campaign at least two HDP officers have been bombed, the driver of a HDP election vehicle was shot dead and unknown numbers of its activists have been arrested by the Turkish state.
Why is the Turkish state and the ruling AKP party so threatened by the HDP? The HDP presents itself as anti-capitalist and aspires to end religious, gender and racial discrimination. It has a 50% quota for women and a 10% quota for the LGBT community when fielding candidates. It's an expression of the movement coming out of Gezi park but also of the new ideology of the PKK and despite the peace process any manifestation related to the PKK continues to be repressed by the Turkish state.
The election of the radical left party Syriza in Greece has demonstrated how democracy and the capitalist market are enemies of each other. Far from accepting the democratic result of the election the response of the markets has been to try and make the mild anti-austerity measures Syriza was elected on impossible.
A lot of left reporting of Greece reduces us to spectators of a West Wing like show where we are required to unthinkingly cheer the good guys in their efforts to get one over through clever negotiation methods. We don't quite understand what is going on but we are required to believe our side are doing their best because they are the 'good guys'. And we like it when they appear to land a blow on the EU establishment. But does this drama tell us much about what is actually happening in Greece.
Do we live in an economy or in a society? Last night Europe's central bankers sent the clear message they expect us to be the well behaved slaves of an economy rather than equals in a society. Less then two weeks after the Greeks had elected an anti-austerity government the ECB in effect told them they intended to block the promises of change that government was elected on.
Having written a long piece on the election of Syriza yesterday I saw this morning that they have gone into coalition with what has been described as an anti-migrant right (or even far right) party called the Independent Greeks ( or ANEL). ANEL have a strong anti-ECB stance but on the level of seeing Greeks as a victim of an 'International Conspiracy'. Tie that into their leader claiming falsely that Jews pay no Taxes and it should sound warning bells. They do have 15 elected members so it gives the coalition a strong majority and Syriza have worked with them in the past. Presumably this and their strong anti ECB stance is why Syriza has decided that their anti-migration policies are not important. [Translation into Greece]