Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To Combat Liberalism Or To Build a Coalition?

"Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly. Our comrades' minds and our Party's work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing."

- Mao Tse-tung, On Coalition Government, Selected Works, Vol. III, pp. 316-17.

"Bill raises the spectre of "stampeding nervous NDP voters into the Liberal camp," as though NDP voters were as dumb as cows. But when I raised it, it was mainly in the context of the NDP's brutish excommunication of Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove for suggesting that maybe it wouldn't be so evil to vote Liberal in those ridings where a Liberal vote could keep a Conservative out of office.

"Since neither Bill nor I addressed this matter adequately, here's my modest proposal, to meet Bill half way, in counsel to both Liberals and New Democrats: Don't get stampeded by anyone. Vote with your heart and your head.

"Just be sure to vote for whichever candidate is likely to keep the Conservative at bay."

- Wrecker and Splittist Terry (Zionist Stooge) Glavin.

Comrade and Hero of the People Bill Tieleman: (Insert sound of crickets here).

Do read his response. He was asked to directly address the suggestion of strategic voting by progressive Liberals and New Democrats. That's why he was offered space to respond, but all he says on the subject is "I agree people should vote with their hearts and heads -- but neither my heart nor head would ever let me vote for a Liberal like Hedy Fry or Joe Volpe."

I know Liberals who would never vote for Hedy Fry or Joe Volpe.

Why the dodge? It's necessary to avoid the occasion of sin, that's why. Bill hasn't forgotten what happened to Buzz. Not to say Bill doesn't correct me in a couple of places, and good for him, but this is going nowhere.

Seems to me we could both use some help from the Idealistic Pragmatist. My main point is I'd hate for the NDP to become as toxic as the Greens, and for this to happen, federally.

10 Comments:

Blogger Stephen said...

Ideally, we would have some system of proportional representation, and then the entire question of strategic voting would be moot.

Until then, though, esepcially given the ideological rigidity of the current federal government, I think strategic voting is essential for all progressives.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Bill Tieleman said...

Comrade Glavin - first, you are to be commended for not only finding a Maoist picture and posting it but also an appropriate Maoist quote!

Reminds me of the old days when you and I fought together to stop the Maoist CPC-ML of Hardial Bains from taking over student newspapers and organizations. What fun!

But on to your main point - strategic voting.

I've addressed this one before and many times, so I'm not avoiding it. I just needed to correct your comments so much that I ran out of space at the Tyee.

And I'd say you are avoiding dealing with the problems of the Liberal Party in power, glossing over their record of regressive behaviour, which is very similar to that of the Conservatives.

But here's my position: If you are a New Democrat voter and feel that a Liberal MP is better than a Conservative MP and the NDP can't win - well, you have a difficult choice to make.

I think whether you are an NDPer or a Green or a Conservative or Liberal you are usually happier voting your conscience than guessing what every other voter in the riding will do and how it will crunch out.

But that said, sometimes you have to make tough decisions in tight ridings.

Terry has elsewhere argued that splitting the left vote provincially by voting Green instead of NDP helped re-elect Gordon Campbell. He says voting strategically would have resulted in a BC Liberal defeat.

I can't argue that's not possible, but it's also not clear at all that the Green vote is left-wing, progressive or all "stolen" from the NDP.

Some Greens - including Green leaders - are environmental right-wingers who are more comfortable with Conservatives on most issues. Jim Harris, the former Green leader, was previously an active Tory.

Similarly, some NDP voters second choice is Conservative, not Liberal and some Liberal voters would rather vote Tory than NDP.

See what happened in 1997 when NDP ridings like Dave Barrett's and Dawn Black's swung over to the Reform Party!

None of this is simple stuff.

Anyway, our electoral system requires voters to choose between different parties with greater or lesser chances of winning.

Any party that advocates cooperating with another party risks losing its own support - so that won't happen - even under a Proportional Representation system.

So - strategic voting is both a complicated decision with both philosophical and practical considerations.

It is not simple and it is not a simple solution.

Lastly, I'm not worried in the least about what happened to Buzz Hargrove happening to me - because I don't recommend strategically voting Liberal and I don't send out materials endorsing Liberal candidates.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

I agree.NDP voters should vote NDP,forget this strategic voting nonsense.
As for Buzz,no sympathy there either,to suggest NDP voters vote Liberal,where they think the NDP has no chance is just nonsense.From a prominent member of the NDP just stupid.It puts more money into the coffers of other parties while depleting NDP resources.The logic of this is what?
Dirk
http://www.gimpchronicles.com/

1:17 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Reminds me of the old days when you and I fought together to stop the Maoist CPC-ML of Hardial Bains from taking over student newspapers and organizations. What fun!

Terry, I didn't know you were a Cuppie. Were you part of the crowd who fought on the barricades for the Chevron?

10:02 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Reminds me of the old days when you and I fought together to stop the Maoist CPC-ML of Hardial Bains from taking over student newspapers and organizations. What fun!

Terry, I didn't know you were a Cuppie. Were you part of the crowd who fought on the barricades against the Hoxha-worshipping hordes to save the Chevron?

10:05 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Stupid unresponsive Blogspot. Apologies for the duplicate.

10:34 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

Bill: You're right. I was guilty of "glossing over their (Liberals') record of regressive behaviour. I was also guilty of glossing over the NDP's record of regressive behaviour, which would be worth an entire column. . .

DPU: Yep, Bill and I are both CUP alumni, and we did our best to extricate the Chevron from the clutches of the Maoists. My contribution included putting a pie in Eric MacMillan's face at a national conference in Halifax. Dang, student life was a blast.

3:48 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

PS, Bill:

You never did say an NDP voter should vote Liberal when it would make the difference in keeping a Conservative out of office, but nevermind. You wrote: ". . .it's also not clear at all that the Green vote is left-wing, progressive or all "stolen" from the NDP."

True indeed. And for the record, unless and until we get some form of proportional representation, I can't see a Green vote ever being a sensible choice for a progressive voter.

But, as for Green votes being votes that would otherwise go NDP, in that Winnipeg Free Press analysis I wrote I referred to an Ipsos-Reid poll that showed Green voters being two-and-a-half times more likely to identify the NDP over the Liberals as their second-choice preference. That was in B.C., mind you.

Federally, especially with May wooing Garth (Mr. Property Rights) Turner of all bloody people,I suspect you're right, that it's simplistic to think of the Greens as a "left" alternative.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

"I can't see a Green vote ever being a sensible choice for a progressive voter."

Terry, out of curiosity, do you think that applies to all ridings, including ones where the Conservative candidate has absolutely no chance of winning?

7:36 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

Stephen:

A point I've been arguing for some years now (and especially in that book I wrote recently) is that "environmentalism", as a separate category of thought, is doing more harm than good. On its own, it tends to fuzzy thinking, when those issues addressed by "environmentalism" should be central to mainstream politics. To establish a political party that is at least ostensibly in aid of furthering "environmental causes" is a symptom of that folly, to put it kindly.

If we had an STV system, or any kind of effective proportional representation, my argument might not hold any water at all. But we don't, so it seems to me that people who sincerely care about those things we have come to call "environmental issues" should suck it up and get involved in real poltical parties. Form caucuses in them. Do some cross-party work, caucus to caucus, even.

But creating a separate political party for "green concerns" perpetuates the problem. That's why I wrote: "I can't see a Green vote ever being a sensible choice for a progressive voter." I suppose it's conceivable that a vote for a Green candidate could make some sense in some extraordinary circumstances. I just can't conceive of those circumstances, buddy.

Cheers,

T

11:12 PM  

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