Whedefit Gesgeshi Woude Henate Ethiopia

Ethiopia's opposition free-market party is rejoicing after failing to gain a majority in Parliament. Reuters reports. They're rejoicing because their new constituencies are concentrated in the capital—they won twenty seats out of the twenty-three that cover Addis Ababa—and because despite losing they posted impressive results for an upstart opposition party.

Being concentrated is good news, because the bloc will be very visible and no doubt reflects a shift in the capital's local political culture likely to influence much more than just national parliament issues. Moreover, as a wiser man than myself once wrote, the Socialist Party here in the US never made significant national political progress but still had large parts of its platform brought down on the country in later years. In other words, you can win in the big picture even when you lose in the small. The ruling prime minister declared an intent to liberalize the economy (if only slightly) before the election, and the stage looks set for that to happen at least a little bit.

Share this

Wasn't it Milton who said

Wasn't it Milton who said that in Free to Choose?

It isn't clear to me that

It isn't clear to me that the SP must have helped the cause of implementing socialism. They may have used clear terms in the political arena. So what? They may have drawn left wingers into fruitless campaigns, energies better spent on the greater of two evils, or outside electoral politics. As perennial failures they may have attracted a large number of kooks to prominent positions and discredited the socialist cause.

Yes, I'm projecting just a bit from the pointless efforts of the LP. But each new crop of LPers cites the SP experience asserted as evidence in favor of a third party strategy, and I've never heard any attempt to back up that evidence.

BTW, I was wrong to write "SPUSA". In its heydey in the US, the SP was the Socialist Party of America. The SPUSA was only formed in 1973 after several splinters and has never been significant.

Mike, you certainly have a

Mike, you certainly have a point. Socialist politics were all the rage back then. But the Socialist Party, using clear terms in the political arena, must have helped that along.

As I understand, the SPUSA did take over Milwaukee, but never spread to much more than that. Their tenure there must have influenced local politics (and probably that influence still lingers), and they were able to use that as a platform for a while.

Good for Ethiopia, but I

Good for Ethiopia, but I doubt any SPUSA analogy. Were the SP's wins concentrated in DC, NYC, or some other major city?

More generally, I've heard lots of people state that much of the SP's platform has been adopted, with an implication that the electoral threat posed by the SP caused mainstream parties to implement the SP's platform. Has anyone seriously tried to demonstrate causation? I suspect mere correlation -- socialist policies were on the upswing everywhere during and immediately after the SPUSA's tenure as the largest "third party" in the US.

If I confess to not having

If I confess to not having read any of Milton's work, only David's, do I get a demerit?