Monday, March 21, 2011

#80 / Self-Government

Since I am a big fan of the "Next Blog>>" technique, I was delighted to find that one of those "Next Blogs" came to me, by way of a comment on my posting #79 on the "Two Party System." You can do some reading on a "New Kind of Third Party" right here.

I served as an elected member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors for twenty years, and was therefore elected five times in what were never "easy" races. I do note that County Supervisors are elected in "non-partisan" elections, in California. But I was always clearly of the "we" party. I did, in fact, run as a "we party" candidate for the California State Assembly (as a Democrat) in a special election held in 1993, but I didn't win. After some time, I realized that this was probably all for the better, since I am not, really, a "partisan" guy.

My pitch is (relentlessly) for "self-government," which means we have to get involved "ourselves." I don't think that self-government can be "taught" in any academic sense, but that we "learn by doing." Click the picture (if you are on the website - if you would like to find out about an audio seminar that suggests starting the "learn by doing" process through establishing a family self-government curriculum. I'm not recommending this; I recommend taking over your local government, by direct political involvement.

And I recommend that to everyone, whichever "party" they belong to. There is not a "right" party and a "wrong" party. The two-party reality of our politics, as I see it, reflects the essence of who we are as human beings: individuals, and part of a community. Both of these aspects of who we are must be reflected, I think, in any healthy and democratic politics.


  1. I stand corrected and am glad to learn more of your point of view.

    But you would agree that most of what I call "more local" elections, ie state assembly elections and quite a few municipal are not that competitive as single-seated elections, at least during the general election? My view is that folks tend not to be interested in non-competitive elections and thereby, in our current system, only get excited by the bigger elections where they have the least say-so. But if we made more of our "more local" elections winner-doesn't-take-all then they'd be more competitive and more interesting and folks would get to learn by doing more.

    Also, I think that the use of multi-seated elections in "more local" elections would encourage the proliferation of what my co-blogger and I have been calling LTPs or Local Third Parties that specialize in contesting more local elections and who vote strategically together in "less local" elections as a part of their wider MLKjr-like issue-advocacy. In smaller LTPs, more folks would get to learn-by-doing, since it's easier to keep things more decentralized in smaller orgs. If LTPs help to change voter habits, including greater turnout then their activism will trickle-up to affect "less local" elections for the better.

  2. I think right now our two major parties are the party of me and the party of me squared!


  3. Dear DLW:

    You got that right about the "me" and the "me squared" party! I also completely agree that "getting people interested" in elections is the key to what I think is most important - actual participation by ordinary people; thus, I don't disagree at all with the idea that changing the form of our elections away from the "winner take all" approach might be a way to achieve that, and that local elections are a place where your vote is more rather than less powerful.

    I just ran across another blog that you might like to see, if you aren't already aware of it:

  4. And my pov is that without winner-doesn't-take-all "more local" elections, these important elections will never sustainably get people interested in them. This is due in large part to de facto segregation by characteristics associated with voting preferences.

    I'll check out themonkeycage...

    Please, Do send folks twds!



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