Monday, April 28, 2008

The last leg

Well, I'm off work for the week to try and put in one last push - I'm currently in Clapham, in the Party head office, after a couple of hours leafletting, including Albert Square! (well, the one in Stockwell, that is, where it turns out, according to the blue plaque, Arthur Rackham - the guy who illustrated Peter Pan- once lived). Behind this gorgeous Georgian square is a spraqling council estate - which is much more pleasant to leaflet (fewer stairs - built low letter boxes, bugger).

Over the weekend I listened to the Wstminster Hour on Radio Four - it was interesting to hear the politicos and pundits trying to assess what would be a good outcome for each party - and it struck me how tawdry the passing show of the professional political pantomime really is. It wasn't a discussion of politics, policies, benefits, or even principle, but machine politicians trying to assess the fall of votes like a farmer watching the weather.

What matters for us is not the nose count (although we're always happier with more votes) but the number of people reading, discussing and agreeing with us. We don't want passive voters, but people to join us, or at least join the debate. Politics should be a two way process, not the passive spectator sport of the professionals in the mass media.

Here's something I wrote on this topic a while ago:
It's no wonder that people feel no pragmatic connection between their voting preferences and the outcomes; and no wonder that people feel so little connection with any of the parties. All these become are technocratic career structures for advancing politicians, a platform from which to project policy ideas to be reflected off the undifferentiated mass, which has no control over what is projected, beyond passive reflection.

This process of “mass culture” has, of course, been assisted by the spread of the mass media. The social relationship is the same, a few technocratic broadcasters/media barons, projecting images and ideas to be passively reflected by a land mass of consumers. Indeed, representative politics follows the same course. Instead of abstractedly measuring response in terms of money, it reads response in terms of flat votes, formally equal but failing to register differences in value or quality.
Hence why I'm happy to sprey leaflets around the place, and on new streets, to try and see if we can reach a new person and light the spark that sets them arguing.

Roght, off to lunch.

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention. They must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers’ candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the proletariat is to be swindled.
Karl Marx

I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don’t want, and get it.
Eugene V. Debs

The Socialist Party [ of Great Britain ] , campaigns on the maximum programme of socialism and nothing less than socialism.

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
John Quincy Adams