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Wage Slave News


2008 Federal Election Comment

27 October 2008

$300 million of government money, plus tens of millions of dollars more spent by each party to pay for advertisements that largely attempt to discredit their opponents, has just been spent in an exercise in futility. The new parliament will be almost identical to the last minority government that lasted just two and a half years. The voter turnout was among the lowest on record at just 59%. Why are voters so turned off? In the first place you often hear people say that it doesn’t make a difference. They are right. All the major parties support the current economic system, capitalism. As this system is based on the private ownership of the world’s riches and resources and the mechanisms for turning them into useful goods, all in the interests of those same owners, and as all parties compete to run and maintain that system, then we can say we have a choice between Private Property Party A, B, C, D, or E, i.e. no real difference and no real change. Not one party, outside The Socialist Party of Canada, has proposed any alternative to this current system in which billions live in poverty, millions starve to death or die from easily-treated diseases, hundreds of millions lack adequate housing or medical care, and even in our own rich country, over a million are forced to line up at food banks for paltry hand outs. All this, mind you, in the midst of plenty and signs everywhere of the ostentatious wealth of the owning class.

Secondly, there is a sense that our system is undemocratic. Voting every four years or so doesn’t cut the mustard. The largest voter block was the ‘did not vote’ group at 41%, added to the estimated 8% who don’t bother to get registered, that makes 49%. The Tories got something less than 40% of 51% of voters equals about 22 % of all adults. In other words, practically 4 out of 5 didn’t want Harper as Prime Minister. I’m sure most candidates are genuinely expecting to go to Ottawa to serve their community and country. Alas, they only get to serve a small cadre of party insiders who, with one ear to the capitalist class and their lackeys, the lobbyists, decide party policy. All members are under the discipline of the party whips and are told how and when to vote, as they are needed, and to jump up and shout and applaud whenever their leader speaks in the house. Is this democracy? Don’t they ever disagree with their leader, or think he gave a lousy performance and refuse to act like cheerleaders? The big event of the election season is the leaders’ debate. Elizabeth May of the Green Party, who put candidates in every riding, was refused permission to participate for the second time. Only a large outcry reversed this decision. But what about all the other parties? In a democratic society we should listen to all sides, shouldn’t we? Those who vote and do not back a winner feel that their votes do not count at all and representation does not match the popular vote. The Green Party polled almost one million voters but didn’t get one seat in the House. Proportional Representation would make every vote count but The Toronto Star editorialized against this system on the grounds that groups like Alberta First or religious groups might get represented in parliament! That system wouldn’t, of course, make any difference unless we had real choices to vote for. With universal suffrage, we have the potential for democracy, but our convoluted system, the influence of money, and the bias of the media all converge to prevent any chance of real democracy. When socialism and common ownership are established, there will be no need for political parties as they are expressions of the class system. Socialist parties around the world, when elected to power will use state legislatures, presently the tools of oppression of the working class, as an instrument of emancipation, ending private property, giving power to local councils, and then disbanding. We do not attempt to lay down any blueprint for future generations to follow as that would be undemocratic, but it seems plausible that local elected, accountable, recallable, councils would organize production and distribution of goods based on needs, and their decisions and performances would be subject to daily scrutiny. In other words, real democracy, from the people up will be the order of the day. This can only happen, though, when you, reader, agree with our position and decide to do something about it.

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