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Samoa’s surprise election stand-off, and the politician who will be a king – or queen – maker

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/04/2021 - 1:15am in

The country could soon have its first female prime minister


Counting of votes in Samoa. Photo from the Facebook page of the Office of the Electoral Commission – Samoa

Despite confident predictions from Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi that his Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) would take at least 42 seats in the 51-member parliament, the April 9 election produced an unexpected result. HRPP got just 25 seats – the same number as the opposition Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party. This tie has resulted in the extraordinary situation that the vote of one independent MP – Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, from Gagaemauga No. 1 district – is likely to decide who will form Samoa’s next government.

The April 9 election was Samoa’s seventh since universal suffrage was granted in 1991. Voting was compulsory for the 128,000 eligible voters of the Pacific Island state, in which 192 candidates competed for the 51 seats for a five-year term in the legislative assembly. The United Nations in Samoa team highlighted the peaceful nature of the election process:

HRPP has dominated the parliament over the last 39 years, with Tuilaepa in power since 1999, and this most recent election marks the first time an opposition party has won a significant number of seats. This is seen by some observers as an indication of a loss of public support for the prime minister and HRPP.

Samoa Observer, the country's largest newspaper group, interviewed young voters including Mulimai Laalai, who spoke about the significance of the election:

Ever since the HRPP came in power I've never seen any party come close to challenging them. But the 2021 General Election is different from previous elections as we now have two parties who are tied and this is a new development. I find it interesting and have the right to vote for whichever candidate, for change and improvement of our country.

Writing for the Devpolicy blog, Mata’afa Keni Lesa argued why the results should be interpreted as a loss for the HRPP:

We live in a country where many generations have known no other government other than the HRPP. The last change of government was nearly 40 years to this day.

The election results have already guaranteed a robust opposition party, an essential element of democracy that has been missing for a decade. It has been ten long years since Samoa has had an official opposition party recognised in parliament.

The tied election result is already a bitter defeat for Prime Minister Tuilaepa and his party who had arrogantly predicted that they would return to power with no less than 42 seats.

The MP who will choose between the HRPP and FAST said he will consult his constituents and wait for the final results before making a decision. He could be either a kingmaker or queenmaker – FAST's leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa would be Samoa’s first female prime minister if elected.

Fiame acknowledged FAST’s team effort for its election performance, while admitting she herself was surprised by the results. She told Radio New Zealand:

I think what we have been able to achieve is quite phenomenal. And I must credit the team and the immense support, not only locally but the Samoan diaspora. You know it is quite a phenomena. I would like to have a bit of time to see how that happened and why it was happening.

She also told tvnz that, regardless of the final outcome, she believes it is important to support women in politics:

I've been a very strong advocate of women's participation in politics. I don't think it's just being Prime Minister – I think [it's] in any field where women have trailblazed – so I think I've always been conscious… about being a role model.

Meanwhile, Samoan Observer published an editorial on how the deciding vote should be made by Tuala in consultation with his constituency:

This election may have given it unusual significance and power. But the seat is bound tightly to the country's 50 other constituents by a much deeper concept: Samoan nationhood. That puts the significance of a five-year parliamentary term in its proper perspective.

The district must make their decision about which party they believe can govern Samoa best. That is a judgement that must only be decided upon by a process of deliberation within the villages that make up the district – not outside it.

On April 14, Samoa’s election body announced that it had found double entries in the voting ballots, but the overall results have remained the same. At the time of writing, there has been no announcement of the final results of the elections, but it is expected that the new parliament will be convened before the end of the month.

Wisconsin court win stops purge of 129,000 votersBlack Voters Matter, Palast found list "wrong and racist"

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 11/04/2021 - 7:11pm in

On Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 5-2 to block the removal of 129,000 voters from the rolls. The Justices rejected a lawsuit brought by a right-wing group. On September 23, 2020, Black Voters Matter issued a report by the Palast Investigative Fund which proved that... READ MORE

Tory Flag-Waving Now Reaching Reaganite Proportions

Patriotism, someone once said, is the last refuge of the scoundrel. And the Tories have done their best to show how true this is, especially last week when it seemed that they wasted no opportunity to wave the flag. This also led them to generate more synthetic outrage towards the BBC. Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty raised Tory ire when Stayt joked about the relatively small size of the union flag on display during an interview with Matt Hancock or one of the other Tory ministers. This led to howls from the Tory press that the Beeb was sneering at the flag. They weren’t. They were laughing about the Tory’s sheer opportunistic use of it.

It’s no accident that they’ve started waving the flag in the weeks running up to the local elections. Their performance on health, the economy, Brexit and just about everything else has been dire. They’re still trying to privatise the health service by stealth, they insulted the nurses with a 2 per cent pay rise, which is in real terms a cut in their salaries, wages are still frozen, more people are being forced into real, grinding poverty, the queues at the food banks are as long as ever, or longer. The Brexit that Boris has been so desperate to ‘get done’ is spelling disaster for Britain’s manufacturing industry, and businesses dealing with the continent and ordinary Brits wishing to travel abroad are now faced with mountains of paperwork and bureaucracy. Bureaucracy which the Brexiteers blithely assured us wouldn’t happen. Hopefully this year will see us coming out of lockdown and the Coronavirus crisis. We’ve a far higher rate of peeps receiving the vaccine than the EU, but that shouldn’t distract attention from the colossal way the Tories have mismanaged the Covid crisis as a whole. As Mike’s pointed out in one of his articles, Tory bungling and corruption – they gave vital medical contracts to companies owned and run by their friends and supporters, rather than to firms that could actually deliver – that over 100,000 people have died of the disease. One of the good peeps on Twitter has shown how this compares to the numbers killed in some of the genocides and ethnic massacres that have plagued recent decades. And the report, which was supposed to show that Britain isn’t institutionally racist, has been torn to shreds with some of the academics cited claiming they were not properly consulted and seeking to distance themselves from it. And then there are the mass demonstrations up and down the land against their attempts to outlaw any demonstration or protest they don’t like under the guise that it would be a nuisance.

And so, with all this discontent, they’ve fallen back to Thatcher’s tactics of waving the flag at every opportunity. One of the hacks at the Absurder in the 1980s said that Britain had three parties – the patriotic party, who were the Tories, the loony party, which was Labour, and the sensible party, which was the SDP/Liberals. Which showed you the paper’s liberal bias even then. The SDP, Liberals and their successors, the Lib Dems. have sold out utterly, while after four decades of Thatcherism Michael Foot’s Labour party looks far less than loony. But the hack was right about the Tories and patriotism. Thatcher waved the flag as frantically as she could and constantly invoked the spirit of Winston Churchill and World War II. One particularly memorable example of this was the Tory 1987 election broadcast, which featured Spitfires zipping about the sky while an overexcited voice told the world ‘Man was born free’ and concluded ‘It’s great to be great again’.

Here’s another feature of Fascism that’s been adopted by the Tories to add to those on Mike’s checklist. Fascism is an ideology of national rebirth and revival. Thatcher was claiming she was making us great again, just as Donald Trump claimed he was doing for America. Just as Oswald Mosley called one of his wretched books The Greater Britain. And unfortunately, as Zelo Street has also pointed out, Fascists like the Nazis have also used people’s natural loyalty to their flag as a means of generating support for their repulsive regimes. British Fascism was no different. Mosley also made great use of the flag at his rallies, and this tactic was taken over by his successors in the National Front and BNP. This has been an embarrassment to ordinary, non-racist Brits, who simply like the flag. One of my friends at school was a mod. At the time, the union flag and British bulldog formed a large part of mod imagery without meaning that the person was a racist or White supremacist. During one of the art lessons my friend started painting a picture with those two elements – the union flag and bulldog. The teacher came over and politely asked him not to do so, as he was afraid people would like at it and come to the wrong conclusion. This was just after the 1981/2 race riots, so you can understand why. But it is frustrating and infuriating that ordinary expressions of reasonable patriotism or simple pop culture iconography have become suspect due to their appropriation by the Far Right.

But the real excesses of flag-waving were to be seen over the other side of the Pond in Reagan’s America. Reagan was wrecking his country with privatisation and an assault on what the country had in the way of a welfare state, while murdering the people of countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua by supporting Fascist dictators and their death squads. But, like Thatcher, he did everything he could to use the symbols of American nationhood. Like the Stars and Stripes. A Republican party political broadcast in 1984 or thereabouts showed the American flag being raised no less than 37 times. This was so bizarrely excessive that one of the Beeb’s foreign correspondents commented on it. As far as I am aware, no-one took him to task for sneering at it.

This flag-waving is part of the Tories attempts to present themselves as the preservers of British national identity, tradition and pride against the assaults of the left, particularly Black Lives Matter and their attacks on statues. I’m not impressed with the attacks on some of the monuments, like that of Winston Churchill, even though he was a racist. But in Bristol the only statue attacked was that of the slavery and philanthropist Edward Colston. None of the other statues in and around Bristol’s town centre of Edmund Burke, Queen Victoria, Neptune and the sailors who made my city a great port, were touched. And then there was the protest last week against the new school uniform policy at Pimlico Academy in London. This ruled out the wearing of large afro hair styles. So the students started protesting it was racist. The headmaster also raised the union flag, which led the statement from one of the students, Amna Mukhtar, that it weirdly felt like they were being colonised. And then some idiot burnt the flag in protest. The headmaster has now rescinded the school’s uniform code and taken the flag down. Now I gather that one of the Tories is now calling for every school to fly the union flag.

It all reminds me of the comments the late, great comedian Bill Hicks made when Reagan and his supporters were flying the flag and their outrage when a young member of the Communist party burned it. After making jokes about the Reaganite rage and hysteria, Hicks said that he didn’t want anyone to burn the flag, but burning wouldn’t take away freedom, because it’s freedom. Including the freedom to burn the flag.

Quite. And the Tories are wrecking our country and taking away our freedoms while cynically waving the flag.

So when they start spouting about it, use your scepticism and think of Hick’s comment instead. And vote for someone else.

Hidden Horrors in the Georgia Vote Law

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/04/2021 - 3:21am in

When we first reported that handing a slice of pizza to a voter waiting three hours in a line is now a felony in Georgia, other media ate it up (forgive me my puns). But there are greater horrors than pizza prohibition hidden in the 95 pages of Georgia’s new... READ MORE

Voting Gangnam Style: The Rise of Kim Crow

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 12:56am in

The Asian-American community is the fastest growing community in Atlanta and it’s the one that put Warnock and Ossoff over the top — and that scares the hell out of Georgia Republicans. So the Asian-American community are the prime target of their vote suppression attacks — it’s not just Jim Crow, now it’s Kim Crow. But the vote suppression of the Asian-American community is not... READ MORE

Palestinian Elections Under Fire: An Impossible Democracy Dilemma

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/03/2021 - 1:52am in

Many Palestinian intellectuals and political analysts find themselves in the unenviable position of having to declare a stance on whether they support or reject upcoming Palestinian elections which are scheduled for May 22 and July 30. But there are no easy answers.

The long-awaited decree by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last January to hold legislative and presidential elections in the coming months was widely welcomed,  not as a triumph for democracy but as the first tangible positive outcome of dialogue between rival Palestinian factions, mainly Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas.

As far as inner Palestinian dialogue is concerned, the elections, if held unobstructed, could present a ray of hope that, finally, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories will enjoy a degree of democratic representation, a first step towards a more comprehensive representation that could include millions of Palestinians outside the Occupied Territories.

But even such humble expectations are conditioned on many “ifs”: only if Palestinian factions honor their commitments to the Istanbul Agreement of September 24; only if Israel allows Palestinians, including Jerusalemites, to vote unhindered and refrains from arresting Palestinian candidates; only if the US-led international community accepts the outcome of the democratic elections without punishing victorious parties and candidates; only if the legislative and presidential elections are followed by the more consequential and substantive elections in the Palestinian National Council (PNC) – the Palestinian Parliament in exile – and so on.

If any of these conditions is unsatisfactory, the May elections are likely to serve no practical purpose, aside from giving Abbas and his rivals the veneer of legitimacy, thus allowing them to buy yet more time and acquire yet more funds from their financial benefactors.

All of this compels us to consider the following question: is democracy possible under military occupation?

Almost immediately following the last democratic Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, the outcome of which displeased Israel, 62 Palestinian ministers and members of the new parliament were thrown into prison, with many still imprisoned.

History is repeating itself as Israel has already begun its arrest campaigns of Hamas leaders and members in the West Bank. On February 22, over 20 Palestinian activists, including Hamas officials, were detained as a clear message from the Israeli occupation to Palestinians that Israel does not recognize their dialogue, their unity agreements or their democracy.

Two days later, 67-year-old Hamas leader, Omar Barghouti, was summoned by the Israeli military intelligence in the occupied West Bank and warned against running in the upcoming May elections. “The Israeli officer warned me not to run in the upcoming elections and threatened me with imprisonment if I did,” Barghouti was quoted by Al-Monitor.


IDF soldiers patrol the Palestinian side of Israel’s apartheid wall in front of a mural of Marwan Barghouti. Nasser Shiyoukhi | AP

The Palestinian Basic Law allows prisoners to run for elections, whether legislative or presidential, simply because the most popular among Palestinian leaders are often behind bars. Marwan Barghouti is one.

Imprisoned since 2002, Barghouti remains Fatah’s most popular leader, though appreciated more by the movement’s young cadre, as opposed to Abbas’ old guard. The latter group has immensely benefited from the corrupt system of political patronage upon which the 85-year-old president has constructed his Authority.

To sustain this corrupt system, Abbas and his clique labored to marginalize Barghouti, leading to the suggestion that Israel’s imprisonment of Fatah’s vibrant leader serves the interests of the current Palestinian President.

This claim has much substance, not only because Abbas has done little to pressure Israel to release Barghouti but also because all credible public opinion polls suggest that Barghouti is far more popular among Fatah’s supporters – in fact all Palestinians – than Abbas.

On February 11, Abbas dispatched Hussein al-Sheikh, the Minister of Civilian Affairs and a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, to dissuade Barghouti from running in the upcoming presidential elections. An ideal scenario for the Palestinian President would be to take advantage of Barghouti’s popularity by having him lead the Fatah list in the contest for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Hence, Abbas could ensure a strong turnout by Fatah supporters, while securing the chair of presidency for himself.

Barghouti vehemently rejected Abbas’ request, thus raising an unexpected challenge to Abbas, who now risks dividing the Fatah vote, losing the PLC elections, again, to Hamas and losing the presidential elections to Barghouti.

Between the nightly raids and crackdowns by the Israeli military and the political intrigues within the divided Fatah movement, one wonders if the elections, if they take place, will finally allow Palestinians to mount a united front in the struggle against Israeli occupation and for Palestinian freedom.

Then, there is the issue of the possible position of the ‘international community’ regarding the outcome of the elections. News reports speak of efforts made by Hamas to seek guarantees from Qatar and Egypt “to ensure Israel will not pursue its representatives and candidates in the upcoming elections,” Al-Monitor also reported.

But what kind of guarantees can Arab countries obtain from Tel Aviv, and what kind of leverage can Doha and Cairo have when Israel continues to disregard the United Nations, international law, the International Criminal Court, and so on?

Nevertheless, can Palestinian democracy afford to subsist in its state of inertia? Abbas’ mandate as president expired in 2009, the PLC’s mandate expired in 2010 and, in fact, the Palestinian Authority was set up as an interim political body, whose function should have ceased in 1999. Since then, the ‘Palestinian leadership’ has not enjoyed legitimacy among Palestinians, deriving its relevance, instead, from the support of its benefactors, who are rarely interested in supporting democracy in Palestine.

The only silver lining in the story is that Fatah and Hamas have also agreed on the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is now largely monopolized by Abbas’ Fatah movement. Whether the democratic revamping of the PLO takes place or not, largely depends on the outcome of the May and July elections.

Palestine, like other Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, does have a crisis of political legitimacy. Since Palestine is an occupied land with little or no freedom, one is justified to argue that true democracy under these horrific conditions cannot possibly be achieved.

Feature photo  | Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti appears in an Israeli court. Bernat Armangue | AP

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The post Palestinian Elections Under Fire: An Impossible Democracy Dilemma appeared first on MintPress News.

Pizza outlawed in GeorgiaTo Suppress the Vote

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/03/2021 - 2:45am in

I can’t make this up. The state of Georgia passed a law this week, HB 531, that outlaws handing out pizza slices and water to voters waiting for hours to vote.
But Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger objected to the law because, he said, his office had already ruled that pizza... READ MORE

Elections Are Not Democracy: Call To Boycott Upcoming Israeli and Palestinian Votes that Don’t Matter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/02/2021 - 5:46am in

JERUSALEM — Elections for the Israeli Knesset are scheduled for next month. It has also recently been announced that in May and June there will be elections held for the Palestinian Authority’s legislative and executive branches. Since both the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel exist to deny Palestinians the rights and freedom they deserve, one may question the wisdom of the Palestinian Authority holding elections, and further, ask whether or not Palestinian citizens of Israel should bother participating in the elections for the Israeli Knesset.

 

The Joint List

Between 40% and 60% of Palestinian citizens of Israel participate in the elections. In the last elections there was a considerable increase and this time around the expectation is that the number will go down dramatically.

When in 2015 the Joint List was formed, many thought it was a miracle. No one thought that the different political groups that represent the Palestinians of 1948 could ever agree to unite under a single coalition. But the Socialists and the Islamic Movement and everyone in between sucked it up for the good of the cause and they ran together. They won an unprecedented 13 seats; and in the 2019 elections, they again did what no one thought was possible: they won 15 seats, making them the largest block in the Knesset.

But, although the list is made of serious hard-working legislators, they have relatively little to show for their hard work, and the most pressing issue in the Palestinian community of 1948 has only become worse.

Violent crime within these communities is at an all-time high, with the proliferation of arms reaching absurd proportions. Granted, this violence is perpetrated by the State with the Israeli police standing by, and the source of the weapons is the Israeli military. Had these arms been used for political aims, their flow would have been halted long ago or else they would have overthrown the government.

Home demolition; lack of budgets and infrastructure; and the deepening of the racist laws and policies, not to mention discourse, have never been so bad. So if this is what happens when Arab representation is high in the Knesset, why bother? One should note that these outcomes are not the fault of the Palestinian parliamentarians but stem rather from the impossible environment in which they operate. An environment that is dedicated to making them fail. In fact, the Joint List could have doubled its number of seats, and still they would largely be ignored.

The Zionist parties will never collaborate with the “Arabs.” They will never join them in a coalition. As we saw after the last election, former General Benny Gantz gave up the chance to be the first one to beat Netanyahu in over ten years and become Prime Minister because he might have had to rely on the support of the “Arab” members of Knesset. So instead he turned it all down, broke his promise to the voters, and joined a Netanyahu-led government. Cooperation with the Palestinians is a red line that no Zionist politician will cross.

Now the Joint List is no longer what it was. The Islamic Movement broke away and voted with Netanyahu against dissolving the Knesset. They also cite differences with the rest of the List on issues like LGBTQ rights. It seems unlikely they will carry enough votes to get even a single seat this time around. There is also a great general sense of disillusionment and it is expected that Palestinian citizens will vote in lesser numbers, which will bring what is left of the Joint List to only seven or eight seats.

 

Call to boycott

When calls to boycott the elections are raised at this point, there is good reason to listen. Even when Palestinian political parties are at their record best, they are still unable to make a difference. The State has proven beyond any doubt that it will never end the policies of neglect and discrimination, so why play the game that Israel wants them to play?

In a piece in Aljazeera on the announcement of elections in the Palestinian Authority, Yara Hawari writes that “elections are merely technical procedures and are in no way interchangeable with democracy. They regularly take place not only in democracies but also in countries where democratic characteristics are lacking or completely absent.”

Israel Election Arab Voters

Translation | The grassroots campaign to boycott the Zionist Knesset elections

She writes this regarding the PA but the same can be said about Israel. The fact that Palestinian citizens may vote is merely a procedural matter and has little to do with democracy.

Two main forces have been boycotting the elections and calling on others to do the same. The first is the Northern Islamic Movement — which is not a part of the Islamic Movement that did run for the Knesset (that one was outlawed by the Israeli authorities and is led by the now-imprisoned Sheikh Ra’ed Salah). Leading the current boycott campaign, the Popular Campaign to Boycott the Elections, is the secular, progressive movement of Abna’ Al-Balad.  Raja Eghbarieh, the longtime leader of the Abna’ Al-Balad, has also been detained and is constantly persecuted by the State.

In a statement issued by the Popular Campaign to Boycott the Knesset Elections, the leaders of the campaign called on Palestinian citizens of Israel to avoid participating in what are now the fourth elections in two years. This, the statement says, confirms that the Zionist state is in crisis.

This will be the election for the twenty-fourth Knesset. The statement calls on potential Palestinian voters to avoid the “risk of being deceived for the 24th time! … Our position in principle is that the entire Zionist Knesset represents the crimes of the Zionist occupation of Palestine, the displacement of its people, racism, killing, the destruction of our homeland and preventing the right to self-determination of our people.”

The current reality, the campaign leaders correctly state, is that the most likely candidates for prime minister are one of three racists — namely Gideon Saar, Naftali Bennett, and Benjamin Netanyahu. And it is far more likely that the first two will end up working for Netanyahu in a government led by him.

 

The Palestinian Authority

There are signs of excitement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in preparation for the elections. Unofficial sources state that over 90% of the people who reside in those two enclaves have registered to vote.

One has to wonder, however, what the point is in participating in elections that at best promise to be a charade, if they are not canceled altogether. The Palestinian Authority itself has little authority and is seen by many as little more than a sub-contractor doing Israel’s dirty work by arresting Palestinian activists and providing intelligence to the Israeli secret police.

Even if the PA elections do take place, that only means that a small fraction of Palestinians are represented. Israel will never allow Palestinian residents of Jerusalem or the refugees in the camps outside of Palestine to participate. The most we will see is a reshuffling of chairs that will bring no change and no relief to the lives of Palestinians.

 

Elections that matter

Elections matter when they are a vehicle of democracy. Otherwise, they are nothing more than a process to legitimize a nondemocratic regime. Since Palestine is occupied and under an oppressive regime, there is no democracy and no reason for anyone to rejoice in elections, let alone participate. Be it under the pretense of a democratic PA or a democratic Israel, either way, the right move is to take a stance and to boycott, rather than lend them legitimacy.

Elections will matter in Palestine when they are called to include all people who live between the River and the Sea — one person, one vote for a single legislature and executive in a Palestine that is liberated. That will be the right time to vote. In a liberated Palestine with all political parties free to run and Palestinian leaders now in Israeli occupation jails free to lead — those will be elections that matter. Nothing less should be accepted.

Feature photo  | A poster that reads, “leave,” lies on the ground during a demonstration against a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the northern Arab city of Nazareth, Israel, Jan. 13, 2021. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post Elections Are Not Democracy: Call To Boycott Upcoming Israeli and Palestinian Votes that Don’t Matter appeared first on MintPress News.

Are Starmer and the NEC Plotting to Sabotage Labour’s Chances in the May Council Elections?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/02/2021 - 4:51am in

This is a question I’m forced to ask after reading Zelo Street’s article about the NEC interfering in the local Labour party’s election for candidates for mayor of Liverpool and the NEC’s interference in the selection meeting for my local Labour party, Bristol South. According to the Street, Liverpool’s Labour party had decided on an all-female shortlist to replace Joe Anderson. The probable favourite was Anna Rothery, who had the support of several MPs, one other mayor, three trades unions, as well as activists, academics and business people. This shortlist was then cast aside by the NEC and the three candidates on it told they couldn’t reapply. No reason was given for their decision. Zelo Street observes that nominations close tomorrow, which means that the NEC has probably decided on a favoured candidate. It’s a political stitch-up, with Starmer and the NEC parachuting a favoured candidate in over the heads of the local party and community. This has left quite conundrum about what should have been done instead. The Street writes

With party membership in freefall, many activists disenchanted, and Liverpool one of the few parts of the country to remain a Labour stronghold, what would have been the sensible thing to do? What would the Keir Starmer of February last year have done? What would Nietzsche have done?

I wonder if something similar is also being done to Bristol South for the local elections. We were to have an election meeting earlier this month, but were told we couldn’t. The party secretary has asked for another date at the end of the month or perhaps early in March, but has not received an answer. Meanwhile the Lib Dems have got out of the starting blocks early. We got a load of their bumf through the post this morning.

So what kind of game is Starmer and the Blairites playing? If they’re planning to parachute in their own candidates, then Starmer’s broken another of his election promises. This was something he said he would end. The Street quotes him as saying at the Labour leadership elections last year

The selections for Labour candidates needs to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local Party members should select their candidates for every election”.

As Mike’s pointed out many times on his blog, Starmer has very quickly broken his promise to stick by the policies and promises laid out in last year’s election manifesto, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise if this is another promise the slimy turncoat is going to break.

But I also wonder if he and the NEC aren’t plotting to wreck Labour’s chances at the May election with such interference in order to push through a further purge of the left. The Blairites in the party bureaucracy did their best to sabotage the party’s chances in 2017 and then last year as part of their long-term campaign to oust Corbyn. Discussing the catastrophic decline in party membership and finances, Novara Media considered that it might be a deliberate plot to engineer a crisis that would allow Starmer to purge the party further, and push it even further to the right to solidify the Blairites’ hold on it.

Unfortunately, this is all too possible. Liverpool and Bristol are cities where Labour has traditionally been strong. A few weeks ago the NEC intervened to suspend three local Labour officials and activists in Bristol, prompting a letter of complaint signed by local Labour party politicos, officials and activists. My guess is that Starmer’s treacherous faction aiming to lose the elections in these cities and blame it on the lingering influence of Corbyn. This would give them a pretext for further restructuring and moves that would turn it into Conservative party MK 2.

Of course, I could be a little paranoid here. But with the Blairites’ record of plotting against their own party, as well as Tony Blair’s active strategy of imposing the candidates he wanted on local communities, this seems all too possible.

See: Zelo Street: Labour’s Liverpool Louse-Up (zelo-street.blogspot.com)

Squash The Vote: The GOP Plan to Thwart DemocracyPalast on the Bill Press Pod

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/02/2021 - 10:13am in

We'll be studying the significance of the November election for years, but this much is certain: more people voted than ever before. Biden racked up more votes than any winning candidate for president ever — and Trump for any losing candidate ever. So what are Republicans going to do about it? Celebrate high voter turnout while convincing more people to... READ MORE

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