Seattle Local Elections: Ideologues Can Win

City-Hall

Every now and then we are blessed with the voters pamphlet in Washington state. It always makes for an entertaining read because every now and then we get an obscure local government race with 1 ‘serious’ candidate and a bunch of ideologues. I love reading these statements from our hardened libertarian and marxist comrades fighting to be elected to some obscure position. But part of me is a little disappointed at the same time. I want ideologues to be serious about changing the political world they live in, I want them to spark a serious dialogue about the direction of our future even if it starts in a small office.

Some Background:

In this case, the illustrious position is the “Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position No. 2.” The great thing about this race is we have one serious contender, the incumbent Courtney Gregoire, and 2 ideologues. In one corner is a libertarian known as “Goodspaceguy” (no seriously, he legally changed his name), and another is a hardened old Marxist by the name of John Naubert. Of course, turning the page we have Commissioner Position No. 5, which has a total of 9 candidates who apparently fall into the republican/democrat spectrum and write reasonable proposals. But that’s boring because they are all just trying to climb the politics ladder, wake me when it’s over, the No 5 race sucks.

Anyway, back to our more exciting Commission Position No. 2 race.

indexPort of Seattle don’t worry, I’ll completely evade talking about specific issues

It may be the case that these gentlemen seek to use the voter’s pamphlet as a springboard to destroy the bourgeoisie and not actually to win this prestigious position. But I operate on the assumption that if these people are attempting to participate in ‘bourgeoisie politics’ then they fundamentally do not advocate the violent overthrow of the state; otherwise they’d be in jail. So I assume that these two candidates actually care about winning the position and slowly steering Seattle politics to become marxist of libertarian. I think that’s very exciting and awesome, I want this kind of debate to be thrust into our nightly news and energize people about the political axioms we rarely ever question.

So I’ll present the original statements by our two candidates, and my re-written version. The hope being that, maybe one day the candidate will google their name and this post will pop up, they’ll read it, and begin to consider more seriously what they could represent in local politics; a dynamic change and potentially the beginning of a different future for Washington.

Socialism: Step 1. Become Port of Seattle Commissioner No. 2, Step 2. Crush the Bourgeoisie

 

GetPhoto.ashxJohn Naubert

Original:

The Socialist Workers Party campaign stands for the interests of the working class against the crisis of the capitalist system.

The fight of the Black Community in Baltimore against police brutality made it impossible for the authorities to sweep the killing of Freddie Gray under the rug.

I support the fight by the ILWU on the docks, Los Angeles port truck drivers for a union, Menzies contract workers fighting for $15 an hour and a union at Sea-Tac airport. McDonald’s and Wal-mart workers are part of the same fight. Rail and oil workers demand safe conditions on the job and in surrounding communities.

The controversy around Shell oil needs to be explained from a working class point of view.

The toilers of the world need electrification, from the U.S. to India. We need light after dark to advance education, culture and political struggle.   The reality is that coal and oil are not going away anytime soon.

The fight for more electrification around the world under capitalism must be coupled with a battle for workers control of conditions on the job to protect both land and labor.

Today’s struggles reinforce each other. The farm workers and oil workers support each other in Skagit, County.

Democrats and Republicans and “independents” who trail after them, aim to corral us into bourgeois politics. We need a labor party based on our unions.

We can look to the example of Cuba, where ordinary men and women, took power out of the hands of the capitalist rulers, changing themselves in struggle, and reorganized society based on human needs, not profits.

My campaign is about building a fighting workers movement that ultimately takes power out of the hands of the capitalist class.

I encourage you to read the socialist newsweekly at themilitant. com

 Socialism: Response:

This one is the most heartbreaking because I know that socialists can win in Seattle. Stop talking about Cuba, you are running for the port of Seattle commissioner No. 2, not the a state representative. Remove your reference to a socialist newspaper and please, for the love of everything holy, will socialists stop using 1920s socialist language in 2015? The fact is half of Seattle probably agrees with you, if you didn’t write your defense in such short sighted language you have a shot here. I argue that you can still be a hardened socialist and have broad appeal (i.e. maybe even win), if you take this seriously and show a professional face. The socialist message is an easy one, protect workers by supporting unions (popular in Seattle), engage in ‘democracy’ via collective decision making, and support a balance between environmental exploitation and domestic prosperity.

Socialism: Revision

The port of Seattle employs nearly 200,000 workers who are the life blood of our diverse community. Fair wages, safe working conditions, and collective bargaining are the foundation of my fight to protect and represent the interests of our community. This fight is a necessary one because year after year our port comes under attack from corporate interests via Shell oil and self-serving politicians. Democrats and republicans alike continue to infringe upon the rights of unions to represent the hardest working members of our society.

My mission is to protect the balance between utilizing the environment we enjoy and jobs with living wages for those struggling to survive. This balance is only possible when we hold corporations accountable for their actions and engage those who know the port best, its workers, in the decision making process. If elected, I would include collective labor in every decision I make as commissioner; for the workers should be our most trusted source of information.

The workers of Seattle must stand united against the relentless onslaught of profiteering politicians and the ever growing Capitalist oligarchy selling our port to the lowest bidder. The delicate balance between infrastructure development and environmental protection is only possible through collective decision making and not the never ending pursuit of profit.

The purpose of government is to protect its citizens from exploitation and represent your interests in the institutions we depend on. So please join me in my fight to protect Seattle’s dock workers and the greater Seattle community.

Libertarian: Endless Power! Commissioner No 2 Controls the Minimum Wage!… wait a minute…

GetPhoto.ashxGoodspaceguy

Original:

You the people of King County are the owners of the Port of Seattle, a governmental business, which you subsidize. Are you getting the prosperous King County that you want? Improving the economy and increasing jobs are goals of the port, so let’s make it easier for the long-term unemployed and the homeless and the many, many beggars to get jobs somewhere. These problem people aren’t being hired. The job-destroying minimum wage is forbidding them to work.

The minimum wage law produces unemployed people and homeless people and beggars who pester you and even criminals. We should abolish the job destroying, life-destroying minimum wage and return to supply and demand to set wages and prices. The effect of the minimum wage is to tell poor, unemployed problem people that they may not work. Abolish this unjust law which forbids work for problem people. Defend the right of free problem people to sell their labor at their low market rate. With more people working, problems decrease and the living standard rises. As we work for each other in our exchange economy, prices are largely determined by wages. By abolishing the minimum wage, we can get increased employment and increased production, which will raise the living standard and will lower prices.

Please study economics and listen to radio talk show hosts and read the news. When you vote for big spending candidates, you are voting to increase the waste. Big spenders become big taxers. The bigger the government, the bigger the waste. Government grows. Allocative efficiency falls. Blowing up the people’s Kingdome was wrong. Big taxers who you have elected have not implemented Goodspaceguy’s small government program. Warning: There are several people (some brilliant) who have been writing and producing under Goodspaceguy’s name. Increase election excitement; mail voters’ guide pamphlets early.

Libertarian Response:

Commissioners cannot change the minimum wage… This guy has been running for government positions for decades now, a libertarian can win in this state you just have to pitch it right. Please, do the state a favor and present Libertarians with a professional face. You could be the catalyst of a movement, instead you turned yourself into a joke.

Libertarian Revision-Turn the Tables:

I am a firm believer in opportunity. I want the most vulnerable of our society to have the opportunity of working hard for an honest wage; in the process they get the training they need to provide stable living conditions for their families. The Port of Seattle is being bogged down by self interested groups who want to stop the most vulnerable from providing for their families. Port unions want to control who gets whose job, turning the labor market into a game of who you know, rather than what you know; a dangerous spiral toward oppression for the immigrant community in Seattle. These policies virtually guarantee that those who come here without connections, remain poor and exploited as job opportunities remain non-existent.

As port commissioner, I would support policies which open the Port to bring aboard the best workers, irregardless of what ‘connections’ they have and in the process I would bring down costs and improve our competitiveness against the Port of Tacoma.

I want to treat your tax dollars as a precious resource; to be used wisely and never wasted. We can cut costs, improve competitiveness, and provide job opportunities for all walks of life. I would work together with small and large businesses alike to ensure that the port of Seattle works for Seattle, by providing fulfilling jobs for our community and by protecting the environment we love.

The livelihood of Seattle depends on a thriving port, so please, vote for me to say “Yes” to jobs, opportunities, and the continued well being for our community.

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7 comments

  1. Hi Plato

    I hope you don’t mind me addressing you like this; it’s much nicer than the duck name.

    I normally spam most unsolicited comments in my Blog but found yours interesting on my first visit and this one highly the same, but a little confusing because you cover a lot of ground in it and some of the “local” elections in your system don’t attract our Media, though the big issues certainly all get to us.

    I happened to come across these two American Posts just yesterday that are directly related to your topic:

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/20/europe-is-partying-like-its-1939/

    http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2015/03/23/no-point-in-more-defense-spending-with-liberals-in-charge-n1973781/page/full

    I find it difficult to understand why you have so many different “parties” involved in America right now, and though I like the simplicity and clarity of your style of debating I cannot make out what you would call your own personal opinion on who you would like to vote for.

    The author of both Posts makes it clear where he stands and says outright there is a new World out there today.

    My concern is about presenting socialism, capitalism, communism and others as if they are the real solution or problem when in fact very few countries in the World can really claim that they are one or the other of the old names.

    Forgive me, because I love America, but you have neither democracy nor capitalism as base as it was once defined. What you really have is a “Moneyed Oligarchy” in the worst degree, and you are not the only one. We have a lousy one of the same with a few additions of what they call Freedom; it’s good for getting the vote but it only benefits 1% of 1% of the people.

    I am currently doing a series of Posts on History and would like to have your views, if you would.

    IkeJ

    1. Hi Ike,

      Let me first say, I am glad I pass your ‘do not spam’ test that is a very kind compliment :). As far as my own position so I will clarify.

      I am disappointed that alternative candidates do not actively try and seek office. I think our country would be better served by serious ideologues who push their own opinions and ideals on local government and news. I think we benefit from this dialogue because it forces people to deal with the ‘axioms’ they hold dear (i briefly mention this in the post). By exposing what fellow citizens think, we are able to move the dialogue forward because we have more perfect information on our informed mob.

      I want politics to be a struggle of differing world views, not a struggle of who promises us the most goodies.I want nations to make sacrifices today for a greater future, not sacrifice the future for a better today. These are bold words and indeed it can be said that republicans and democrats have differing views of what the world should be like, but they are not ideologues, they are centrists. By virtue of being centrist they represent roughly the same world view, just with some changes on the edges (therefore I disagree almost completely with the stance taken by the articles you’ve sent me).

      Who should be elected? It’s no surprise, the centrist who I didn’t spend any time on is who should be (and will be) elected in that particular race. She is the only one who took the charge seriously, actually addressed issues with the port, and made a claim on the future (no matter how watered down it was). There is a big difference between ‘what we should do’ and what actually works. Theory and reality, in terms of actual governance are very different.

      Ideologues spend to much time pondering the big picture, and as a result, completely ignore the biggest picture of all; day to day administration. Unsurprisingly, many ideologues dont have many innovative ideas for reforming bureaucracy lending me to believe that their world views are inevitably flawed because their systems will meet the same failings as our existing ones.

      I’ll certainly stop by your blog and share my thoughts on your recent posts. Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Thanks Plato.

        [LOL, don’t know how to make those smiley thingies]. I don’t spam any good stuff, just the trolls; mostly the armies of specialist financial advisors “the locust plaque on the Webby.”

        Yes, I see what you mean and agree that we need more participation, certainly at the lower levels like the Port Authority. I was a bit confused about your use of the word ideologues because it can represent so many conflicting interpretations. But you are right. On our shores the main parties simply push their own people into the bureaucrat positions and we end up with the situation that the author in my links refers to in the case of the Top General asking for a man. In the end nothing gets done.

        What about the main question; the Top Job 2016? You have the name of your ideal winner yet?

        IkeJ

        1. Certainly my viewpoint is warped to be on America, as I don’t have any first hand experience with public policy in South Africa (for example). I certainly agree with the articles you sent in some nations, where the government simply serves as one massive employment scheme for its constituents; a true shame and waste of potential (which may explain why there are so many corruption scandles in South Africa recently…).

          By ideology I mean the way in which we interpret reality, it goes deeper than just saying I want more/less government control over the free market. Ideology is deeply intertwined with culture, how we raise our kids, how to behave at the dinner table, how I interpret political actions (poor men on the street, police officers who pull me over, etc). My first post on this blog I think introduces the concept nicer than my paragraph here. As I agree, people use the word ideology in many, many ways. Some of which I do not agree with.

          For 2016 I think it’s to early to tell. The primary season in the US is slow to ramp up, right now the field is pretty crowded and candidates haven’t really made any stances. I will likely be supporting a third party as the only ‘mainstream’ party candidate who I can truthfully claim to be an ideologue is Bernie Sanders. Even if I’m not a socialist I enjoy the fact that he forces people to talk about democratic socialism, I think that dialogue is very healthy for a nation.

          The mainstream libertarian (Rand Paul) has been watering down his voice recently, so i’m growing pretty frustrated with him and wish he was more like his father. but what can you do, he wants to win, not spoil.

          What about you Ike, I’ve had plenty of time to yammer on about my thoughts. I would be very interested in local politics over in your area. Maybe a post?

          Take care!

          1. Hi Plato

            OK, I shall gladly fill you in and I have done a few Posts on our situation. I shall find one that is relevant and let you have the link for starters. And the recent history will be part of my new series.

            A few points will have to suffice for now.

            We have simplified things. Except for a few that everyone else ignore we have no ideologues, racists, socialists, communists, liberals, conservatives or religious extremists. We call it a democracy because your Presidents one after the other from Carter onwards said we must call it that, but everyone who understands politics knows that we have a one man Oligarchy.

            This man decides on his Veep, successor and the one to succeed him [the next Veep sort of]; a committee of about 4000 makes the announcement and Parliament rubber stamps it.

            The Government [in reality the Oligarch in charge, currently an old guy by the name of Zuma with about twenty wives] appoints the judges to all the courts, all the chiefs of the armed forces and the police and ruthlessly applies the Rules.

            We have total Freedom; you can marry anyone provided it is with consent of that person. Gender is out. School segregation has been outlawed, as in sports but most of the schools are still basically color based and sport management ignores the government most of the time.

            A Port Authority like in Seattle, you may ask? Of course [and we have a few good sized ports because like you we are surrounded by two oceans]. the incumbent Oligarch appoints the person; we see no need for an election at that level.

            Am I serious, you may ask? Of course I am. It’s not a bad system; there is much compensation for the bad parts.

            IkeJ

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