Electoral Politics

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."

This article was originally published by our friends at the great magazine Mute. Anyone interested in current debate about precarity — and any number of other provocative and stimulating contributions on poltics, technology and culture — should get a copy of the latest issue M29:: The Precarious Issue::
This is the first of two articles, the second of which will focus on the discussion on communications strategy with particular empahasis on the works done in Milan and Rome.

"Disobbedienti, Ciao!"


[Hydrarchist analyses the death of the Italian extra-parliamentary political network, Disobbedienti (Disobedients), and reports on the rise of social precarity as a focus of political action in Italy.]

No formal announcement certified the end of the Disobedients (Disobbedienti) in Italy but the once dominant extraparliamentary network’s demise seems scarcely in dispute. What originated as the ‘White Overalls’ (WO) alliance between groups in the Veneto, Rome and Milan in 1998, encompassing satellite groups in other cities, is now in full decomposition as its constitutent elements abandon the logo and reassume identities related to their everyday territorial reality. The consequences are manifested both in a reshuffling of the relationships between the movements and the political parties, and a plurality of campaigns as the focus of struggle. But first some background and explanation.

NorthStar Anarchist Collective, FRAC writes:

"Voting: The Great American Hoax"


Direct democracy vs. electoral politics, an anarchist look at voting by Dispencer, who is a member or the Northstar Anarchist Collective in Minneapolis, and has been in Anti-Racist Action since 1998. (A response to "Beyond Voting," by Chris Crass in Clamor, Communique 42.)]

It is inevitable. As an Anarchist you will always encounter people who will want to engage you in debate on the topic of voting. It may be a co-worker, or perhaps a friend, a fellow activist, or a stranger on the street. Most Anarchists know that they do not believe in the capitalist system, or in the electoral process. We believe that the system is built to have the illusion of freedom while keeping a boot firmly on the throat of the lower- and working-classes, and particularly, people of color in the US and worldwide.

20 Amazing Facts about Voting in the USA

Did you know....?

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies:
Diebold and ES&S.



2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or
of the U.S. voting machine industry.

Common Dreams


3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are



"Losing West Virginia"

Mike Davis, Die Zeit

Is it time (to paraphrase Brecht) to elect a new American people?

American liberals usually profess great enthusiasm for the common people.
But sentimental populism took a hard blow on 2 November. The people, by a
slim but decisive majority, elected fear, deception and greed to four more
years in the White House. Indeed, with the exception of the Democratic
redoubt on the Great Lakes, continental America, from Idaho to Alabama, has
become a one-party nation under god. Not even Bruce Springsteen and 48 Nobel
laureates could ultimately swing Ohio to John Kerry. Bush dramatically
increased his 2000 margin of victory in 12 states, while Kerry earned less
than Gore in seven states, including his own Massachusetts.

Tap writes:

"Alternative Possibilities for Voting Procedure"

Scientific American

"Has there been any progress in developing fairer ways for people to vote in elections? I recall reading some time back about a system in which people would get one vote per candidate, not transferable between candidates; such a system was said to be fairer overall than one vote per voter." — Vitols, Anaheim Hills, Calif.

Donald G. Saari from the department of mathematics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., gives this overview of voting behavior:

"After two centuries of efforts by mathematicians and political scientists, positive results about 'fair voting procedures' are emerging. This is important because 'fairness' can be a casualty when current methods are used in multiple-candidate elections--such as this year's presidential campaign.

To illustrate, suppose that 200 voters prefer Alice to Candy to Becky (denoted by Alice > Candy > Becky), 195 prefer Becky > Candy > Alice, whereas only 20 prefer Candy > Becky > Alice. The plurality election outcome, where we vote for our top-ranked candidate, is Alice > Becky > Candy with a 200:195:20 tally. While we might worry whether these voters prefer Alice or Becky, Candy's feeble support suggests that she is of no interest to these voters.

"This assertion, however, is false. If we compare candidates in pairs, it becomes arguable that Candy is their favorite. These voters prefer Candy to Alice (215 to 200), Candy to Becky (220 to 195), and Becky to Alice (215 to 200); these rankings suggest that these voters actually prefer Candy > Becky > Alice. Notice how this outcome conflicts with and reverses the plurality ranking. Moreover, it shows that Candy's lack of votes more accurately manifests inadequacies of our commonly used election procedure rather than voter disinterest. The example also shows that, inadvertently, we can choose badly.

"The Empire Changes Gears"
James Petras Counterpunch

The history of US empire-building in Latin America has combined a great deal of political flexibility along with extremely rigid economic principles. Washington in its political dealings has come to terms, on a grand scale and for over two decades with a great variety of regimes, which to less knowledgeable observers would seem eminently pragmatic. Over the past 15 years, Presidents from both parties have established strong ties and positive relations with "nationalists" in Argentina (Peronist President Menem), "socialists" in Chile (Socialist Party President Lagos), "populists" in Ecuador (President Gutierrez), "laborites" (President Da Silva of Brazil). The key to understanding this apparent contradiction is to recognize that the political labels reflected pre-presidential or past political commitments, and were totally irrelevant to the operational behavior of these politicians once they took office (or even when they were campaigning for office).

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