Elections Everywhere. Pass the Bottle.

June 7, 2014 at 9:18 pm (Uncategorized)

While I don’t usually vote, elections still hold a measure of interest for me, and I do like to, uh, participate. It might just be to test my bullshit detector, but it’s more likely just a fascination with the process of how we are managed under capitalism. Currently, I’m facing three elections. A provincial, a union one, and in the fall a municipal one.

The 2014 Ontario provincial election might go down on record as the most boring on record. Not a single piece of campaign literature has come into my mailbox. A few nights ago, I picked up the phone and a recording of the Conservative candidate told me that he was trying to meet every one in the riding, but since that was impossible he was relying on modern technology to reach people. (Erm, the telephone has been around for quite some time actually. Modern is hardly the word I’d use …) Turns out I was invited to participate in a “town hall meeting” (read: calls screened, no real answers offered). When they called back the following evening, my son hung up on them thinking they were telemarketers.  And that was that.

[Actually, a few hours after I wrote the above, the Liberals called to ask if they could count on our votes here]

So the governing Liberals ask voters to forget the years of scandal and essentially say vote for us because Tim Hudak’s Tories are scary. And they are. Hudak, whose shaky grasp of math (a person who works for eight years in a new job does not mean eight new jobs have been created) underscores his degree in the dismal science.  Not to mention the Conservative’s wet dream of cuts, cuts, cuts. And then there’s the NDP who triggered the election because they believed they could displace the Liberals (but seemed OK with Hudak becoming premier), yet have run an incoherent campaign with policies to the right of the Liberals and will likely have fewer seats for their efforts.  The comic relief here is that while the NDP have pissed off their left-wing and distressed sections of their base, the “Trotskyist” left of the International Socialists, Socialist Action and whatever Militant are calling themselves now are still beating the bushes for the party.  So I think, twelve million people or so in Ontario, this is the best bourgeois democracy has to offer?

The union election is comic relief. I work in the public sector and union membership comes with the job. Last month the “cousin” of the union I’m in had its election and the entire executive was re-elected. I can’t believe the members were so happy with the job, they decided to give them all another year of expense accounts; more likely they realized it wouldn’t make any difference who got it. But I digress. Since my local is spread over many workplaces, it’s a mail-in ballot. The day I received my ballot, I also received a letter from the current exec, the purpose of which was to trash the opposition slate. Pretty dreary stuff. The opposition slate promised a number of vague and hard-to-realize demands, “more democracy!”, “more transparency” even though many of them had been union bureaucrats as well. I think I might actually vote for the third candidate for president who included no picture or details on the ballot. Surprise!

Last but not least comes the municipal election later this year, or as it’s sometimes known the Rob Ford show. Ford as you know has received international notice as Toronto’s crackhead Mayor, but he  recently entered rehab. Still, he just can’t seem to stay out of the headlines. His SUV was impounded and the drunken driver (not Ford) arrested just a little while back. And last week, stories emerged that the Fabulous Ford Brothers lobbied the city for contracts for a printer that their family business was also talking to.  More of this gory story can be found in Robyn Doolittle’s depressing book, Crazy Town.

Sad thing this, the Fords’ have already won, because all of the candidates talk like Ford now. No, no, not the racism, the homophobia, the almost pathological aversion to telling the truth, and the bullying boorishness which are Ford trademarks, but the language of respecting the taxpayer and fiscal responsibility is on everyone’s lips. The left’s candidate, Olivia Chow, boasts financial strictness and continually reminds us that as an immigrant, she knows the value of a dollar.

And yet, this seems to be the way, the business of politics is arranged. But more than likely, I will be sitting in front of the TV watching the results (unless of course, there’s something good on another channel)’

Just to change the focus a little here at the end, there’s a very interesting piece posted on Libcom by a member of IP called Towards a Critique of the Democratic Form. It’s not about elections, but it does raise some interesting points about the broader question of organization.

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