Today’s election thoughts

Today’s election thoughts, and a couple of photos.

Jon Elmer sent me this amusing Vintage Voter site.

Vincent Pang sent me this photo album of protests against Harper’s second proroguing back in 2010.


Today’s election thoughts, and a couple of photos.

Jon Elmer sent me this amusing Vintage Voter site.

Vincent Pang sent me this photo album of protests against Harper’s second proroguing back in 2010.

1. I finished Christian Nadeau’s “Rogue in Power”. It was very good, and touches on all the themes I’ve been writing about here, mainly the Harper people’s contempt for democracy and their reinterpretation of the legal framework in order to undermine democracy. It’s also clearly written, concise, and well-argued. I’d recommend it, along with Lawrence Martin’s Harperland, for this election especially. Another good quote from Christian Nadeau’s book was when the Harper government cut women’s health funding on the grounds that it couldn’t support abortion abroad, and a Harper senator told protesters to “Shut the fuck up”, because they were going to further radicalize the government.

2. Yet another note on the constant polling. Dave Meslin, from Toronto, has a very nice 7-minute TED talk on political apathy using Canadian examples. One thing that he says, very well, is that political parties are partly a barrier to participation because they are so dependent on polling and market research that they have emptied themselves of meaningful content. Every day we are told Harper is getting a majority, then that he’s not, then that he is, then that the NDP is surging, then that they are not, as if these are all things that are happening. They aren’t happening. The election is a single event (advance polls notwithstanding). What is happening is a lot of market research that is specifically about corrupting the process of deliberation.

3. A lot of the progressive web is advocating strategic voting, and I don’t really have a problem with it. But I would suggest something that isn’t getting enough emphasis. There’s no need for strategic voting if turnout is high. If we assume, as I think it’s justifiable to assume, that Conservative voters are more dedicated than the majority of non-Conservative voters, less likely to change their minds, and less likely to be turned off the whole process by all the filthy tactics that Conservatives do in power, then Conservatives get wiped out by a few more percentage points of turnout, even with vote-splitting. Last election turnout was 58%. Probably 65% would do the trick 70 or 75% definitely would, if non-Conservatives are disproportionately apathetic (which I think they are). It reminds me a lot of the long strategic debates about street protests. Can we take the street, can we get to the fence… what’s trivial with 100,000 protesters becomes a long strategic debate with 12,000. The more (perhaps the most) serious strategic problem is the numbers, in both cases.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.