What would you vote if you lived in ...?

Steve 41oo
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 05:17 pm

of course

Although having done so I am intrigued about the BNF policies. Repatriation of all white people?
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Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 05:23 pm
I thought I'd take a different run at looking at different parties <reading platforms wasn't working for me - cuz you can say anything>

so off to Google to look at google news pages from different countries

What if I want to see more news about my country?

Google News is offered in several versions, each tailored to a different regional audience around the world. If the version you're reading isn't right for you, look below to select the appropriate one from the list. If we haven't included the region you're looking for yet, please let us know. And check back later; we want to offer Google News to all our users, so you can expect to see new additions over time.

* Argentina
* Australia
* Austria
* Canada (English)
* Canada (French)
* China
* Chile
* France
* Germany
* Hong Kong
* India
* Italy
* Japan
* Korea
* Mexico
* New Zealand
* Spain
* Switzerland (French)
* Switzerland (German)
* Taiwan
* United Kingdom
* United States

I'm reading the Australian page now - looking at what politicians seem to actually be doing.

<thanks for making me do this, nimh>
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Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 05:30 pm
fbaezer wrote:
You think I'm a moderate because I support free trade, distrust labor unions and don't swallow all the populist-antimperalist "left wing" agenda.
You should remember that I'm a reformed Marxist, who understood early enough that most of old Karl's ideas were untrue.
But this also means that the way my social thought was built is quite on the left side of the spectrum. I may have dumped my Lenin (and along with Walter, my Little Red Book), but do know that societies in the modern world move, basicall along class interests.

Actually, I thought you'd be farther out from my position in the field because I remember you worked for the PAN, or a PAN politician?

I have little up with Marxism either, actually, and I hope you dont actually group me with the populist-antiimperialist clan; no Chavez for me. (Ok, so I support the Leftists in Germany. Over time I've granted myself more leeway in letting my heart speak as well as my mind ;-)).

Blissfully, I'm too young to ever have gotten caught in any Lenin or Mao adulation. I like to think that, even had I grown up two decades earlier, I would have gone for anarchism rather than doctrinary communism, if anything. In fact, I've spent most my rebellious teen/twen days in furious debates with my father (perhaps because I otherwise pretty much agree with him 100%) about the guilt of the post-fifties West-European Cold War Left in apologising or neglecting too much of the Eastern Bloc horrors.

I even support free trade, since (thanks to my father) I discovered how it would actually benefit the developing countries - true free trade that is, not the forcing open of Third World economies for Western dumping while jealously guarding our own massive import restrictions/tariffs and agricultural subsidies. Free trade if fair trade.

But I also support strong trade unions, which will then be all the more necessary. And the balance to promoting free trade should also be assertive redistributionary government politics, otherwise the dynamic of the market will spiral the rich/poor divide within countries out of control.

fbaezer wrote:
I may have a biased view of Australian Greens because my sister-in-law and her husband lived in Perth for 20 years, and they have this thing about excesive environmental regulations there. They speak of absurdities (IMHO) like no suntan allowed on Western Australia's beaches. Too much for my taste. May be an urban legend, may be not.

Interesting! This is definitely getting a cool thread.
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Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 05:40 pm
ehBeth wrote:
so off to Google to look at google news pages from different countries [..]

<thanks for making me do this, nimh>

Heya Ebeth

Apart from the resources Sozobe linked in on page 1 this is another very handy country-by-country overview for Central and Eastern Europe:

European Forum Country Updates

The site is authored from a generally Social-Democratic perspective, but it offers a fairly concise, straightforward summary for each country. And in its new set-up (in contrast with the old version, also still online), the generalities of population, economic indicators, constitution are bypassed and the focus is really all on describing the political landscape. What are the important political issues of the day; what are the main parties and what do they stand for; what have the most recent elections been like - all neatly summarized.

One to bookmark.
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Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 10:54 pm
I may have a biased view of Australian Greens because my sister-in-law and her husband lived in Perth for 20 years, and they have this thing about excesive environmental regulations there. They speak of absurdities (IMHO) like no suntan allowed on Western Australia's beaches. Too much for my taste. May be an urban legend, may be not.

Most certainly an urban legend. Out on the beach you can't help but get sunburned and tan if you're able. I wonder if they are referring to the "slip, slop,slap" advisory to protect from the sun? As for excessive environmental regulations - another urban legend. I'm not a Green but for me there isn't enough environmental regulation here.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 12:26 am
Most of my (political) ideas are represented within the (Greman) Green Party as well - but unfortunately not representavely.
(Besides that, I'm deeply prejusticed against them since the 70's, when I tried to co-found a local 'green basis' :wink: )

(On the other hand, I'm totally pro strong unions - although I left them due to personal matters. ['Finance aid' still given through Mrs. Walter's membership in the metal workers union Laughing .])

And: I think, my take in the UK would be more difficult now since "Blair warns Labour against moving left to counter Lib Dems . (But actually, we have a very similar 'problem' within the SocialDemorats here as well. Sad )
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Steve 41oo
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 03:27 am
you know this intenet thing is quite remarkable.

there i was reading page 4 of todays Indy about Blair

then on my screen comes the same article posted by someone in Germany.

Damn could have saved 65 pence. Except i like the soduko.
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Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 01:31 pm

I worked, until quite recently, for a PAN politician, the Secretary of Governance (relationship of the Federal government with parties, Congress, the states and municipalities, the media, the churches + National Security, Civil Protection, Migration services, etcetera).

I voted for Fox he was able to oust the party who ruled the country for 70+ years, not because his conservative party... and supported Creel's efforts to further democratization (like prosecuting those guilty of the student massacre in '68 and in our little "dirty war" of the 70s).
Now Creel was to be President and I step aside (BTW, he may not even win his party's candidacy).

My best moment was writing the gist of President Fox's speech when he declared Mexico would not support in the UN's Security Council the Iraki adventure of "our neighbors, friends and allies".
I remember that the war supporters here on A2K were confident Mexico would be somehow bought and kept on writing about it. I had already written the speech and could not say anything.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2005 01:38 pm
I'm also pro-union for personal experience with the Teamsters back in the early sixties working as a night teletype biller for trucking companies. Our hourly pay back then was more than 50 percent of today's federal minimum wage.

Some business courses in business administration also claimed that unions helped non-union workers. I also believe that there are more benefits for all workers based on union demands. Organized labor is the only way most employers will listen to their workers.
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 04:49 am
Very, very interesting Fbaezer <nods>. And good job!

It also sounds like a few good reasons to work for PAN, at that junction.

I still consider you a moderate though .. Razz but then, I'm guessing you consider me a naive, all too populist leftie ;-)

c.i., you've been in so many countries of the world, talked with so many people, did you ever pick up on some party some place that you thought - hey, I'd vote for them?
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 05:40 am
Myself, Ive only listed the easy ones so far - Western Europe. I basically fit in the same category in all those countries: where possible, to the left of the Social-Democrats, but most always steering clear from the ex-, post- and real communists, Trots and other such traditionalist collectivists. In many countries there's a space in between for more free-thinking radicals, mostly with the Greens, though having been brought up a solid Social-Democrat I do sometimes get weary of their all too postmaterialist, liberal tendencies.

But, yeah, still - all the same focus, basically. If on a scale from left to right of 1-10 the traditionalist far left is at 1 and the Socialdemocrat and Labour Parties are at 3-4, I'm at 2.

Elsewhere is a different question, though. Take Central and Eastern Europe for example. Whole political system is shaped a bit different.

For one, the "values" axis of debate is more important, proportional to the socio-economic one, than in Western-Europe. Nationalism vs open societies, religion vs secularism: those debates make a stronger mark than in Western-Europe, where they might come up but left and right are still defined primarily by the welfare state-vs-capitalism axis. In that sense they're more like the US.

Secondly, history plays a larger role. Ex-communists versus anti-communists; the division that dominated Polish politics throughout the nineties, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Romanian and Bulgarian politics to a marked degree as well.

My affinities from the start, there, were with the left-liberal wings of the anti-communist civic movements of 1989, the liberal former dissidents. Not with any post-communist party, and not with the conservative, nationalist and/or christian parties. Back in the early nineties, those liberals, radical democrats, were in fact more stridently anti-communist than the conservative parties: compare the initial positions of Hungarian Democratic Forum and Alliance of Free Democrats in 1990.

That means, on the scale of 1-10, you'd have unreformed communists at 1, ex-communist at 2-3, and those radical democrats at 4. Thats where I'd be.

The only hypothetical alternative were the authentic, refounded pre-war Social-Democratic parties, but apart from the Czech Republic, they struggled, floundered and went under in the shadow of the much larger ex-communists-turned-pragmatist almost everywhere (barring a long-marginal parliamentary representation in Lithuania).

So sympathies were easy, back in the early nineties. In the Czech Republic, after the Civic Forum broke up, you had the Obscanske Hnutie (OH), the Civic Movement, uniting most all the famous ex-dissidents of the Forum. In Slovakia you had the ODU, the Civic Democratic Union. In Hungary the SzDSz, Alliance of Free Democrats, in Poland the Democratic Union. In Bulgaria, President Zhelev.

Not that I didnt have my misgivings: there was a strand of a-democratic elitism in those intellectuals' political projects, a sometimes explicit claim that there was a better alternative to the multi-party system, a more civic democracy in which "the best and brightest" minds would be voluntarily elected into enlightened, benign rule on individual basis.

The (in some cases understandable, but nevertheless telling) distaste for the coarse preferences of public opinion led these "anti-politicians" to sometimes unfair rhetorics against conservative counterparts, who were all too quickly accused of being rabble-rousers, even anti-semite (Walesa for example was treated rather unfairly, even hysterically, in 1990).

The same elitism tempted such intellectuals into an all too public disavowment of all that proletarian campaign-politics stuff, which had the dual effect of a complete failure of setting up effective political organisations of their own and provoking public distrust by appearing to sometimes prefer powersharing-through-negotiation with the old regime than having to weather the test of public approval.

All of that differed from country to country, of course, just some general patterns. Nevertheless, contrasted with the two other camps of ex-communists and conservative nationalists, it was clear who were the 'good guys'.

All that's gone too, though. That specific political stratum dissolved in three ways.

Some went under, mostly through the flaws I mentioned above. The OH and the ODU never even got into parliament in 1992. Zhelev lost the 1996 Union of Democratic Forces primaries against a conservative, free-market candidate.

Some tried a Social-Democratic course, like the leftist members of Solidarity who founded the Labour Union (UP). (And yes, he said through relay to Dag's Polish professor friend, the UP did actually at first make it across the threshold and into parliament wholly independently, in 1993). Eventually, however, they failed to make it on their own and submerged into ex-communist-led alliances. Rough versions of the same happened in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Latvia.

The third strand, most successfully, survived and remained influential for at least some time by transforming from centrist, civic-liberal projects into clearly profiled free-market parties of economic reform. This is what the Polish Democratic Union did, morphing into the Freedom Union. The Hungarian Alliance of Free Democrats in fact managed to do both of the latter two things at once ;-).

So, gone. All of which leaves Central and Eastern Europe a lot more difficult a place to recognize one's political soulmates in, for someone like me.

Ex-communists turncoated into ardent privatisers? No thanks.

Human rights activists ruling as libertarians? They deserve respect: in the nineties, it was often the radical freemarketeers who were also the most progressive when it came to minority and Roma rights, gay rights, et cetera - in Slovakia, the libertarian (if marginal) Democratic Party was the most multicultural-minded of the country. But I'm no free-market believer.

Devout catholics, nationalist populists? Nope.

Bolsheviks turned chauvinist, like in the Balkans? Worst of both worlds.

Wonder what Dagmaraka's take is on all the above... sorry to have made it into some kind of essay Embarrassed
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 06:44 am
I sent PMs to Dag, Paaskynen, Old Europe and Einherjar too, hope they'll post...
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 08:08 am
Here's my rant. Am quite seriously hungover, and don't have energy to read it after myself, so bare with me (ha, just noticed i said "bare" with me. funny. i'll keep it):
Well, populism is the toughest cookie in central europe. that, and calculating nationalism - especially in poland and hungary. funny that, not so much in slovakia anymore, or to be more exact, not as much. i don't even know who'd i vote for in my own country. Hungarians, most likely - the Party of Hungarian Coalition, SMK (funny thing about coalitions - Meciar tried to get rid of the opposition by proposing that coalitions need larger than 5% threshold to get into parliament, so coalitions had to become parties. and kept the coalition in the name - SDK, SMK... ) SMK, along with KDH are longest existing stable "traditional" parties in Slovakia. But unlike KDH, which is turning into a more and more rabied hysterical proponent of anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-anything unholy, SMK held a stable liberal democratic (in European sense) course and the leaders are solid. It has little to do with Hungarian issues per se in its agenda, although electorate is purely Hungarian. I do with they shed the ethnic label and open up to the rest, but that's not gonna happen. They might lose the Hungarian votes and not gain the Slovak votes. But many of my friends are thinking the same - voting for SMK in the next election.

Tough thing is to remain a strategical voter here in Central Europe. Voting as a matter of gesture is more counter-productive than in majority systems (though I still have issues with people who voted for Nader, my ex did and we nearly broke up because of that, ha.). All those conscientious former dissidents and democrats at heart vote stupidly. Well, not only them of course, but they should know better. That's why we ended up with Gasparovic for President, and not Kukan. My parents, sister, all of their and my friends, voted for Butora in the first round, because he's a 'good guy'. Honest, modest, good values. Problem is he didn't have a chance in hell to make it to the secound round. Entire countryside was mobilised and voted for Meciar or Gasparovic. So Kukan, who of course has his faults (former minor aparatchik and collaborant), but also strengths (a born diplomat, internationally known and respected) that surpass both other two crooks by faaaar and was the only one who had a real chance against the two, did not make it into the second round. My family and friends were stunned, absolutely stunned. We were left with a choice between a criminal and a raving lunatics. Well, both are a bit of both. They were counting on Kukan making it to the second round and voting for him THEN. Well, bloody too late. Grrrr, I am still so riled up about it, shouldn't have even started writing about it, now i'm pissed off all over again.
but that's true for the parties, too. You have to, if you want your vote to count for anything, look at the biggest players, and those are mostly bad or worse. choice is yours. Hungary is a real challenge, I hate the polarization of the political scene there. Actually, let me correct myself: I absolutely love it as an observer, it's fascinating, it's fun, it's ideal for me (studying how historic memory is being used in politics, Hungary is a beauuuutiful case, with all the double citizenship for Hungarians living abroad, and status law, and minority and cultural politics.....beautiful i tell you!)
Well, it's actually easy. I would vote FKGP. AAAhhahahahahahaha. <wiping tears off my eyes>. Actually, I have to post an interview with their vice-chairman i did in 2003, it was hillarious. the man thought i was czech and kept insulting slovaks left and right, i had a total blast. Anyhow, I would have the toughest time deciding what to do. I know who i would NOT vote for - FIDESz and MDF. But MSzP does not thrill me much more (we silly dissident daughters don't like former communists, even if the party has nothing to do with that past at this point) and SzDSz is very weak right now. And other parties are not even worth thinking about, in terms of their chances in the parliament. Probably still SzDSz - at least so they make it into the Parliament.
Poland scares me. Each years it gets more conservative, more populist, more nationalist. I think the political scene is by far the worst there. Hopefully temporarily. If I lived there, I'd pack up and get the hell out of there quick. No matter if they're leftist (and outright insane populists like Samoobrona) or rightist (like PO), the only winning ticket is rampant Polish nationalism, bleeeech. But I don't know enough about polish party platforms to make an informed choice. would have to look into it.
When it comes to Czech Republic, I get a rash everytime I see Klaus, but he can stay President as long as he doesn't become a prime minister ever again. Best would be to pack him up, along with Zeman, ooh, and add Meciar and Slota, and send them all somewhere. To Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch. I'll travel with my tools and hammer the gate shut myself.
CSSD had its corruption affairs this year, but i don't know. I still like that Gross somewhat (He's so young and handsome..... I mean, principled. Yeah, principled). And ODS is scary with its plans to cut taxes and other anti-social measures. It would be cheaper to just shoot all the retired and people dependent on welfare, ya know? That being the two main parties, CSSD it is. Although if they will be talking about a coalition with the communists, which is possible (paroubek mentioned it just a few days ago as one of possibilites after elections in 9 months) i'd back out. or no? hmm, also tough. Wouldn't go for ODS, but I would still want to vote, no matter what, and stay practical. I guess I would have to survive the communists (though i bristle at the thought, anyhow, i hope it's not going to happen)

human rights activists as libertarians? yes, funny that. although, to be honest, most probably just like the term and know nothing about policies and real life consequences they would bring. when you really start talking, most of them turn out to be way more on the left then they label themselves. It's just not very popular to be a 'leftist' here still. And dissidents-shmissidents. In Slovakia they were never popular, if anything, they looked suspicious to people. They are aging and want to remind the world of themselves as they are getting forgotten. Their 'liberal' outlook (which in and of itself is a complicated concoction of often contradictory values and stances) and America-clinging is interesting, but that would be for a separate post. There are good and valid reasons for them to be that way, and I respect it, though I don't subscribe...
An upsurge of young conservatives that is happening over the past few years is disturbing. and they are springing up like mushroom after rain. again, conservative in europe is not the same as in the u.s. they have a nasty anti-european, anti-immigrant, extreme free market streak, and it baffles me. how does it happen to a normal young person? i don't know (well, i do, but am still disturbed).
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 08:12 am
<nimh - I followed the link on the previous page - and now I'm trapped trying to sort out the parties in Latvia - every time I think I like a party, I find something less than stellar about them - tough exercise>
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Steve 41oo
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 09:40 am
not a party girl then ehBeth?

this is a well established British political party (I kid ye not) might be more up your street

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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 10:03 am
You'll get her started about the Rhino party ... or me about the Estonian Royalists or the Polish Friends of Beer Party or Latvian Luck... ;-)
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 10:04 am
Or Czech Party of the Friends of Beer. or Erotic Party.
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 10:11 am
Or Stark Raving Loonies. Is that England or Madison?

Oop, hadn't checked steve's link. England, apparently.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 10:12 am
Did I tell here that in the early 70's I nearly was elected in the student parliament as co-founder of the 'save-the-opening-times-of-the-university-beer-pub-party'?

(The two on the list above got in it! We formed this 'party' since we wanted to give a humourous response to the dozens of lenists-moaist-marxist-communist groups in that election. No-one really wanted to go in that parliament, but the openeing hours were really a topic - top hit, so-to-say Laughing )
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Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 10:22 am
We had a Party of Parties taking part here last time, but it didnt get much ... and a Not Another Party, but that one didnt even get into the elections.

The Independent Royalist Party in Estonia on the other hand, who, considering that Estonia has never actually had a royal family, suggested the Swedish Crown Prince might do, got into parliament with 7% of the vote in 1992! Razz.

"Latvian Luck" didn't have such, eh, luck, despite incorporating the Idiots' Party and proposing to up the number of parliamentarians from 100 to 10,000, so that every Latvian would get his turn within a decade.

in an addendum, nimh later wrote:
Turns out I might have been using the wrong translations all the time. According to this page of Latvian election results, it was actually not "Latvia's Luck" but the Electoral Union "Happiness of Latvia". Which got all of 0,88% in 1993. That its the same party is corrobared by its listing as "Happiness of Latvia (Fool's Party)" in this fascinating List of frivolous political parties taken from Wikipedia.

The Polish Party of the Friends of Beer in 1991 got 3% of the vote, and 16 seats in parliament (dont ask how many seats the Polish parliament had at the time).

Reading Dag's post above ...
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