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France and a Fractured Left's Future - Warning for Progressives Everywhere

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snoochie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 03:14 PM
Original message
France and a Fractured Left's Future - Warning for Progressives Everywhere
Edited on Sat Feb-21-04 03:47 PM by snoochie
http://www.alternatives.ca/article255.html

The stunning results of the first round of voting in France's presidential elections was a warning bell for progressive forces everywhere.

The massive response in the streets to Le Pen's victory does not change the fact that the only choice for President was between the right and the far right. Several factors converged to produce this victory for the right. All have reflections in Canadian and global politics.

Voters stayed away in droves this year. Turnout was just 71.5 per cent, the country's worst showing since 1958. This crisis of representative democracy often benefits the right, and this crisis is spreading across the globe. French social democrats may blame far-left parties for the defeat. but the real problem is that social democracy has become hard to distinguish from the centre-right ... while parties further to the left have developed no strategy for winning mass support for a progressive alternative to neoliberalism.

The militarization of corporate globalization is polarizing society. The "war on terrorism" has dramatically boosted anti-Arab racism. Israel's aggression against the Palestinians is fanning fires of anti-Semitism. Jean Marie Le Pen reflects both forces.
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This is an absolute MUST READ for anyone considering voting 3rd party in the general election.

In 2002, The people of France had to choose between the incumbent, the conservative Chirac, and the challenger, the far-right Le Pen.

This happened because there were divisions among the left which splintered their vote among several candidates. There were eight from the left, six from the right, and two from the far right. The left spread their votes around to the eight candidates, and as a result the general election was made a choice between conservative and far right.

Luckily, that was only the 'primary' election in France, and during the actual election the leftists who diluted their influence were able to vote for Chirac.

We in America have no such luxury. We can splinter our votes in the primaries -- indeed, we have -- but during the general election it is winner take all. For that reason, we absolutely must have solidarity against the far right candidate, which is obviously the incumbent.


As much as I loathe the fact that corporatists... oops, I mean centrists, are taking over this party, we can afford to make no mistake about the effect of a fractured leftist electorate.

Rage, gripe, bitch, whine... do whatever you must to alleviate the sting of voting for backstabbers, but do it anyway.

Leftists all over the world, as well as I and my children, implore you.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yup. This is a train wreck that WE have the power to stop, *now*. (n/t)
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-04 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. What's your plan?
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-04 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. That is a timely warning.
Now look around you. Centrists despise progressives in the US. They would much rather work with Republicans. The left can have a voice, or it can subordinate that voice to the pro-choice corporate party.

What would you do?
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snoochie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-04 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Actually, I've been on the fence about that for weeks
Edited on Sun Feb-22-04 03:54 PM by snoochie
I seem to flip between thinking that it's imperative to get bush out no matter what, to wondering if it's really better that innocent foreign civilians are killed in our wars for empire than for us to face a threat of a fight on access to abortion. I wonder if it's really better that democrats are elected, when nowhere near enough of them are willing to raise a stink about the voting rights threatened by BBV.

As of today, I'm firmly on the fence. If Kucinich doesn't get the nomination, I don't know how I'll vote.
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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-04 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. That tells you at least one thing.
At some point, ideas matter. Maybe that point isn't the same for everyone, and maybe we won't all extend from the same principles or in the same way, but somewhere along the line we engage fundamental ideas.

As you contemplate the potential healing of the left and center split, ask yourself what and where the ideas are.

It's free advice. You can also ignore it.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-04 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Ideas do indeed matter, but if the battle

is between a man with some good ideas (though not enough) and a man with no good ideas, what do we do?

We can vote for the man with some good ideas, or we can insist on voting for a third man with better ideas and no chance of winning, splitting the vote like the French did, and helping the bad man with bad ideas.

Perhaps we can influence the man with some good ideas to hear more good ideas and act on them. How do we do that?
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Sensitivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-04 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Problem is Most of the Factiousness based on trivial electioneering stuff
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cryofan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-04 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
4. European Left sold out the citizens by encouraging 3rd world immigrants
which is just another aspect of neoliberal tactics of shifting the source of funds for social spending FROM progressive taxation (read: the upper class pays for much of social spending) to the Ever-Increasing Spiral of Growth THrough Immigration (read: Neoliberal Ponzi Scheme).

I will repeat that: the left has been subverted by the neoliberals who want to use an immigration/population growth (unsustainable Ponzi scheme) to fund social spending, as a REPLACEMENT for progressive taxation, where the upper classes paid for a much larger share of social spending.

A sellout is what it is called. No wonder that the so-called "far right" is in favor in EU. But of course that is ignoring the fact that their right is left of our left.....
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Donna Zen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-04 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
8. I found this today
Why Im even voting, while I can.

There has been much heat and a little light, within this forum, in our nation, and in our world. In my opinion, todays issues (as defined by others often for their own convenience) are less about war, peace, left, right, crime, regulation, stock markets, jobs, or terrorism than about democracy itself. We live at a time when our founding first principles are under assault, and we are on the front line whether we yet realize this or not. It is not terrorists engaging in this assault; it is the force of our own fears, ignorance, and mutual animosities that threaten us, and threaten our democratic principles as a nation.
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