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Saturday, May 01, 2010

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For god's sakes the subtitles are completely unreadable.

Yeah, the white-on-white are pretty bad. This might help.

(I also just increased the size of the embedded video and added some zooming instructions.)

Well, he seems like a nice guy. I hope he wins.

What happened? Where did it go?

Looks like Vimeo pulled it. I've replaced it with a YouTube link (in this case the video is divided into six parts, so you'll have to click through to see the rest).

I really appreciate your recognition of the potential of the Gonzalez campaign. It brings up a larger point having to do with the dismissal of electoral politics by most of the activist left-something I'd be interested in your thoughts on.

You might be amused by this piece on what a Gonzalez win might have led to-maybe not such a far fetched scenario, for reasons you mention.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2007/07/how-a-green-won/

The comments are worth reading-and pretty revealing of the deep shit which the self-described left has gotten itself into-and shows no signs of getting itself out of.

I am indeed amused. And the Democrats clearly agreed that it wasn't such a far-fetched scenario--that's why they spent so much money and brought out so many party superstars for a mayoral race.

I'd definitely agree that it's a serious mistake for the activist left to dismiss electoral politics (in fact I've planned to write about that at some point). I often wonder what the US left could achieve if it weren't so committed to participating in its own defeat.

This guy is kind of interesting... not quite as much as the Brazilian mayor/governor Jamie Lerner (whe he seems to be copying a bit):

BUT, it saddens me that his popularity will probably doom the Democratic Pole, the social democratic / leftist coalition that grew from nothing to 1/3 of the vote in the last election, and is a major sign of hope in a country where organizers the last major leftist party, the Patriotic Union, where systematically hunted down and torture-murdered (thousands of them) in the 1980's.

Here's what Wikipedia says about Mockus: "Under Mockus's leadership, Bogotá saw improvements such as: water usage dropped 40%, 7000 community security groups were formed and the homicide rate fell 70%, traffic fatalities dropped by over 50%, drinking water was provided to all homes (up from 79% in 1993), and sewerage was provided to 95% of homes (up from 71%). When he asked residents to pay a voluntary extra 10% in taxes, 63,000 people did so. His market-oriented social policies were much less successful. Poverty and unemployment levels were high throughout his tenures and continue to be a pressing issue in Bogotá's social life.

He successfully combined showmanship, fiscal discipline and heavy reliance on punitive measures. Amassing political support mainly from Bogotá's middle and upper classes, he has been much less successful attracting voters in the national level. In the past Presidential elections in 2006 he won less than two hundred thousand votes, less than 5 percent of the votes."

While it would be AWESOME to have a Green Party candidate win a presidency, especially in Colombia, I think you can see why any support for Mockus requires some pretty big reservations. The ideal scenario maybe is if he can agree to a deal with the Democratic Pole and combine more of their social policies with some of his more successful transparency and environmental based approaches, but honestly I'm not on top of the Colombian situation enough right now to know if such an outcome is even remotely plausible.

Anyone?

Here's the link on Lerner I forgot:
http://www.natcap.org/images/other/NCchapter14.pdf

Seriously this is some of the BEST READING you can do about progress in the third world. The whole book is pretty great and available free on their site too.

What's so interesting to me about "Natural Capitalism" is actually the way they disprove their thesis. They spend pages and pages showing how inefficient and unnecessarily wasteful our capitalist economy is, but then go on to assume that if pricing mechanisms change, that the "free market" economy will still lead to nearly perfectly efficient resource use.

The fact that this is very, very different from reality is part of what made me into a progressive radical.

Anyway, this book will blow your mind... and it puts people like Lerner and Mockus into better perspective I think.

lcl, thanks for the information and the links--great stuff.

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