Radical media, politics and culture.

Electoral Politics

Mexico Election Vote Count Begins Today
Under Cloud of Uncertainty

Electoral Commission's Mistakes Undermine Credibility of the Election

Center for Economic and Policy Research

The credibility of Mexico's electoral process was
thrown into question on Tuesday morning when the head of Mexico's
Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), Luis Carlos Ugalde, acknowledged
that as many as 4 million votes had not been counted in the
preliminary vote count that began after the polls closed on Sunday.

Mr. Ugalde said some 2.6 million votes were set aside "because the
poll reports were illegible or had other inconsistencies," and another
estimated 600,000 ballots "might not have reached his offices to be
included in the preliminary count" (New York Times, "Vote-by-Vote
Recount Is Demanded in Mexico," July 5, 2006) [
]. According to the IFE's preliminary results, 827,317 votes – another
2 percent of votes cast – were nullified (see here).

The total number of votes not counted is thus, according to the IFE,
more than 4 million, or nearly 10 percent of all votes cast. This
would be equivalent to more than 12 million votes not counted in the
U.S. presidential election of 2004.

"Calderon's lead in the preliminary vote count appears to be
statistically meaningless*, since the excluded votes are more than 10
times as large as his margin over Lopez Obrador," said economist Mark
Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"The Iceman Cometh"

Canada's New Prime Minister, Stephan Harper, Starts Governing

John Chuckman

Stephan Harper's first budget, while making little economic and social sense, makes a great deal of political sense. Tidbits of spending are distributed to enough disparate groups to aim at luring a majority-making coalition of diverse interests. At the same time, Harper toughly enforces quiet from party members known for blurting out embarrassing, socially-backward views.

His minority government represents little more than an intense public relations effort to achieve majority government, free of existing artificial restraints. The hazards this represents are suggested even under current restraints.

Why do I say the budget makes little economic sense? Every trained economist, including Harper, knows that skewing taxes back to favor consumption - his lowering of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) - is in principle unsound policy.

But if you were determined to re-tilt taxes to favor consumption, a tiny change is not the way to do it, because it is costly and inefficient to re-set the system for a consumer gain of one percent. A huge effort is now needed to re-program or replace countless cash registers and calculators, not to mention the reprinting of forms, receipts, and reports of many kinds.

In economics, often, events that mean one thing for individuals mean something else for the community. Thus, Harper's small change in the GST, which will be almost imperceptible to consumers in their individual purchases, still will manage to deprive the federal treasury of a substantial annual sum.

The measure does keep a campaign promise, but it was never a sensible promise, tailored, as it was, to appeal to people's prejudice towards a tax that features in most purchases, a promise offered without explaining the necessary consequences for federal finances.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"What Did Stephen Harper Actually Win?"

John Chuckman

There has been a lot of noise about the victory of Stephen Harper, leader of Canada’s new Conservative party, but just what did he win?

Votes in the recent election for progressive parties — Liberals, New Democrats, and Bloc Quebecois (quite progressive on social issues) — went from 64.8% in the 2004 election to 58.2% in 2006, a handsome majority that would be rated a landslide in an American presidential election.

Our Struggle is Against US Imperialism

I Believe Only in the Power of the People
Evo Morales


This is the text of a speech given on December 24 at the "In Defense of Humanity" conference.

What happened these past days in Bolivia was a great revolt by those who have been oppressed for more than 500 years. The will of the people was imposed this September and October, and has begun to overcome the empire's cannons. We have lived for so many years through the confrontation of two cultures: the culture of life represented by the indigenous people, and the culture of death represented by West. When we the indigenous people--together with the workers and even the businessmen of our country--fight for life and justice, the State responds with its "democratic rule of law."

What does the "rule of law" mean for indigenous people? For the poor, the marginalized, the excluded, the "rule of law" means the targeted assassinations and collective massacres that we have endured. Not just this September and October, but for many years, in which they have tried to impose policies of hunger and poverty on the Bolivian people. Above all, the "rule of law" means the accusations that we, the Quechuas, Aymaras and Guaranties of Bolivia keep hearing from our governments: that we are narcos, that we are anarchists. This uprising of the Bolivian people has been not only about gas and hydrocarbons, but an intersection of many issues: discrimination, marginalization , and most importantly, the failure of neoliberalism.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"Monsieur Cokehead

John Chuckman

I confess that while completely disagreeing with the aims of the Parti Québécois I think the party has had some riveting leaders. René Lévesque, the Parti's founder, was a fascinating man, a man whose disarmingly intimate manner of speech rarely failed to spark interest. You could watch him puffing cigarettes and rasping his eloquent words for hours. Later, the party chose Lucien Bouchard, perhaps the most electrifying public speaker Canada has produced. This was a man capable of giving goose bumps to listeners, a fiery intelligence on a mission.

Well, members of the Parti Québécois have just elected a new leader, André Boisclair. He doesn't quite fall into the category of exciting politician, but he is a capable speaker in Canada's two languages, better, certainly, than the party's last leader. He has the saving grace of appearing not to be subject to fits of rubbery facial gymnastics like the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Gilles Duceppe, a man who unfortunately often resembles the valedictorian student at a college for clowns.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

The Gomery Report and Quebec Separatism

John Chuckman

Following the Gomery Commission Report, the question often is asked, "What do the Liberals have to do to be thrown out of office?"

But the question is politically naïve. Let's be clear just what the scandal Justice Gomery investigated involves. Except for a limited number of individuals who took advantage and who should be prosecuted, the scheme was not about the Liberal Party enriching itself. However inappropriate the method, it was an effort to fund the fight against separatism.

Italian Playwright Dario Fo to Run for Mayor of Milan

Robert Simonson, Playbill

Hey, it worked for Václav Havel. Dario Fo, the Italian
playwright who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997,
has said he wants to run for the office of mayor in Milan,
his home city, next year.

"We must hold primary elections to choose the center-left
candidate for mayor of Milan," Fo said, according to the
BBC. He added that he wanted to help people "get our city
back" from conservative Italian prime minister Silvio
Berlusconi and current Milan mayor Gabriele Albertini. "In
Milan, we can fight a good battle to remove the right.
Winning here would have an enormous significance. After
Berlusconi, a center-left victory would be a breath of fresh

Fo is a well-known advocate of left-wing causes, and most of
his plays have espoused his political views. His most recent
play was the anti-Berlusconi political satire "The Two-Headed

A playwright being elected to high political office is not
without precedent in Europe. Václav Havel put down his pen
to take up office as president of the then-new Czech
Republic (part of the former Czechoslovakia) in 1993. He
served until 2003.

Olek Netzer writes:

"Open Forum on Political Organization"

Olek Netzer

Some weeks ago a person who, as I understand, is one of the leading voices in the British radical scene, posted here an article about Strategy and he had written, specifically, "we do not know how to organize effectively."

I have done much work learning and researching human behavior to answer my own and other persons need to organize for becoming politically empowered without falling into the pitfalls of traditional movement or party politics. So far, attempts to humanize organized power-politics have been invariably failing, giving rise to the expression "Paving One's Road to Hell with Good Intentions".

That was my early life's very painful experience too, and since then I have been busy finding out why exactly it happens and what the practical alternatives, if any, are.

Hoipolloi Cassidy writes:

"French Fries"

Hoipolloi Cassidy, Woid

At least the New York Times got it right: the French are pervs. Of course this has been the American view for ages, ever since those nineteenth-century tales of caution in which innocent 'Murican farm-boys end up in Europe, only to be seduced by women, wine, and fabulous health benefits.

That's been the unanimous response of that sector of the American Right that passes for a center. The Times has been popping with outrage about the selfishness of those French voters who overwhelmingly rejected the proposed European Constitution last week — even one of its art critics joined in. The gist was, that the French are so selfish they insist on working only thirty-five hours in the week but that'll learn them when some day they're overwhelmed by Screaming Yellow Hordes willing to work thirty-five hours a day, eventually. Bad enough that French people actually enjoy sex: now they want satisfaction on the job as well. Instead of the race to the bottom promised by neo-liberalism they demand a race to the top. Garçon! Champagne!

Citizens Union writes:

"Reforming Albany,"

New York City, June 9, 2005

Want to hear about ways to reform the New York State legislature? Attend a public forum in discussing this important issue.

CITIZENS UNION FOUNDATION and The State Affairs Committee of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York present



Michael Gianaris, New York State Assembly Member
Angelo Falcón, Institute of Puerto Rican Studies
Nicole Gordon, New York City Campaign Finance Board

6:00-7:30 PM

Association of the Bar of the City of New York
42 E. 44th Street
Stimson Room

Open to the Public

Please RSVP at 212.227.0342 ext. 43
or info@citizensunionfoundation.o­rg

This forum is an opportunity to discuss legislative redistricting, campaign finance reform and strategies for increasing voter participation to make elections more competitive.

To learn more about these and other governance issues visit GothamGazette.com.
Recent coverage includes:
Albany Reform: Make Elections More Competitive Why Gerrymandering Must Go

Civic Conversations foster public dialogue about important issues facing the citizens of New York."


Subscribe to Electoral Politics