Dear Messrs Webb and Lustig…

Dear Messrs Webb and Lustig…

A response to Robert Webb and Robin Lustig's criticisms of those who choose not to vote, in the wake of Russell Brand's anti-electoral declaration.

Thankyou both for your contributions [1][2] to the debating point “should we vote for Labour in the next election.”

As a non-voter, I now feel well and truly told that by sharing Russell Brand’s view on the matter I have entered a grouping of people who are variously daft, dangerous, apathetic, politically flighty, talking through our arses, in favour of gulags and murder, poorly-read and that we just don’t know how lucky we are. How very kind of you to submit such deep and worthy thoughts to the highbrow liberal outlets of the day.

I wonder though were either of you, steeped as you undoubtedly are in the political life of this country, on a picket line at 7am in the morning yesterday? Or at any of the thousands of other picket lines up and down the country that non-voters I know personally have attended week in, week out both in the cause of their own work and in attempts to help save the jobs, or wages, or conditions of others?

Have you felt compelled to stand there patiently explaining to truly apathetic people what a picket line actually does? Have you watched, devastated, as truly daft people have deliberately flouted the democratic decisions of their peers, their friends, their families by walking into work and undermining the very essence of collective action for the sake of a few lousy bob?

Have either of you ever taken a truly dangerous police boot to the knee, or a baton to the face, in the cause of stopping a single one of the outrageous redistributions of wealth from poor to rich that have taken place under murderous governments, both Labour and Tory, in the course of the last 30 years?

No? You mean you haven’t given up hours, weeks, months, years of your time, spent an intimidating percentage of your own capital, risked your very livelihood and freedom for the sake of a hoped-for future you know you probably won’t live to see? Or even just to stop the world from getting any worse?

You haven’t done these things that I see my fellow anarchists do? I know you haven’t. Because I know that for all your fine words about the importance of democracy you, unlike my “apathetic” peers and I, have never actually found yourself having to go to the wire for something truly important.

You sit in your comfortable chair tapping away at your keyboard about the mighty democratic mandate of the people, about the influence of the ballot box, fully in line with and backed by the most powerful forces this island has to offer. You find yourself lauded by your fellow liberals and media pundits, pat yourself on the back and head off for a nice latte.

But you don’t know what it is to join the dots on Labour’s introduction of Workfare and tests for work availability and realise that people are going to die from it, that in one government’s time, maybe two at the outside, you’re going to be stood in the rain outside a jobcentre or a shop trying desperately to build enough momentum to force those bastards to cut it out.

You haven’t the faintest idea about the black fog of despair that descends as a non-voter when you read about Labour’s introduction of a few “minor privatisations” within the NHS and know as sure as eggs is eggs that this is a deliberate wedge designed to soften the service up for a full-on orgy of profitmaking that will ruin countless lives and end more than a few before their time.

And you clearly haven’t remembered your own past, as you are both old enough to have seen a million people stretched through the streets of London, telling a Labour government not to go to war in a land far away on a lie. A big lie. A lie that eventually would lead to the deaths of half a million innocents. A lie told over and over again by the very people you are now asking us to hold our noses and vote for. Not different people, the same fucking ones.

How dare you? How dare you sit there with that smug smirk on your fat wealthy face and tell us we are dangerously apathetic or impractically romantic when you can’t even face up to the fact that you vote for men who were the backroom boys of this murderous campaign done in our name. When you vote for killers who again and again follow the leverage of big money the moment they’ve occupied their comfy seats in the Commons. When you vote for the scum who have wrought such inconceivable damage against the working classes, who have in toffee-nosed accents told people living off nothing “go get a job or we’ll take your benefits you slacker.”

You castigate Brand for ranting about governments not representing him. You call on him and presumably us to “read some fucking Orwell.” I’ve read some fucking Orwell you blithering fool, enough to remember that even this icon of liberality was sharp enough to know of and sympathise with anarchist theory in Homage to Catalonia. Orwell would laugh at you and disavow any connection to your poorly-wrought propaganda for people to vote rather than fight. He would spit on your self-satisfaction you vacuous whelp.

It is not we who are uninformed. It is not we who deny reality. It is not we who pretend that politics for the last 30 years have revolved around who’s sat on the green benches and use that as an excuse to do the sum total of fuck all to contribute to our world and our future because some other bloke will sort it out. That’s you. It’s your casual acceptance and shrug of the shoulders that capitalist representative democracy is the best of a bad lot that has led to the utter destruction of first working class power, then our protections and rights.

You haven’t brought your thunderous disdain down on the hypocrites and charlatans who have lied to us over and over, with sharp suits and sharp smiles and sharp machine minds as they promise “we’ll be different, honest” and then promptly forget we ever existed the day after the election. No, instead you’ve carped and moaned at the millions of disenfranchised who have finally had enough of those liars.

You are the apathetic. You are the problem. It is your politics that must die.


2015 update: Rather amusingly, Mr "if you don't vote you get death camps" is now quitting the Labour Party because some people were mean to him on Twitter.

Robert 'Read some fucking Orwell' Webb wrote:
Maybe I'll vote for them. Maybe not.

Yeah Robert, that's the spirit of Orwell. Right There.

Posted By

Rob Ray
Nov 1 2013 07:42


Attached files


Nov 6 2013 16:21

Firstly, everything Commie Princess said.

What are you doing here? You did bring this argument to us. Not only do you know absolutely nothing about anarchism, you clearly can't be arsed to look up what it actually is all about. You'd rather pick a fight based on your own misconceptions and some stupid stereotypes. And then you say things like this

Also, please elucidate your real views on education so I can pick through them.

Why don't you just educate yourself on these things, there's hardly a shortage of writing on this site. Or would you prefer someone to spoonfeed it to you? I'm assuming that you're being belligerent and rude, you could just be bloody lazy. This is a comments field on a blog post, not an "educate a hostile neophyte who has no intention of listening" thread.
Do you behave like this IRL, wander into a room, decide you don't like someone and pick a fight? Are you just a seasoned internet troll? Do you log into Mumsnet and tell people they're shit parents or and tell people their cakes are crap? Was someone calling themselves an anarchist mean to you once? We all have our traumas. I was mugged in Spain once, however I don't imagine that all Spanish people are bag-snatching thieves, because that would be stupid.
Then you're a condescending little twonk

Lol, oh Stevie

It doesn't make you look like a skilled debater, it just makes you look like a prat. Anyway, anyone can drop to that level, so from now on I'm going to call you Pookie.

So Pookie, seeing as you're desperate to engage on one particular thing, possibly because it's easier for you to do a small amount of reading,

most politicians are guided by strong principles of fairness - take John Bercow MP, for example, who conducted the Bercow Report on children with learning disabilities, leading to millions in extra spending.

The State giveth and the State taketh away.
And lo, one shining day Saint Bercow, entirely on his own, having not taken into account AT ALL pressure from parents, educational pressure groups, teachers, benevolently decided to grant unto the grateful concessions. Which are incidentally having their funding stripped away. As a parent of a kid with special educational needs, it's on my long list of many reasons why I won't be moving back to the UK. I wouldn't want him in the schools there. This would be the education system, so graciously granted by our betters which is at the bottom of the OECD league tables for education. The likes of Mr Bercow are doing an excellent job, aren't they? I suspect if you let teachers run schools, at the very least they couldn't do as crappy a job of it as the Ministry of Education does.
You seem to be fixated on violence, I'm guessing someone broke some windows on a demo you went on. I could point you to the fact that of all the political ideologies, anarchism has generated the least violence, but you won't believe me or be bothered to check the facts for yourself. In my city we have annual riots, windows are smashed on an epic scale, there's looting, the occasional cop car is torched. This is what happens during the hockey playoffs. Quite clearly, all hockey fans are mindlessly violent. Oh no, because that would be a really stupid extrapolation.
There's more than one kind of violence, there's the one that breaks replaceable glass and then there's the long-term psychological violence of poverty. Like the 80,000 homeless kids who have to live in B&Bs in the UK. Or that one in three Londoners who live in poverty. Or people with disabilities being put through the humiliations of ATOS assessments (a Labour initiative) and benefit sanctions. People losing their homes because of the Bedroom Tax, also something you can thank Labour for.
Not expecting an answer, you've not responded to any other points beyond patronizing Steven with arguments predicated upon ignorance and prejudice. Have you considered taking this over to the Daily Mail?

Nov 6 2013 22:46

Well you learn something new every day, I didn't know you could spell admin: flaming removed G-L-O-K-D.

Seriously Pookie, we get that you can't be bothered to learn about what you're talking about, and that you consider it OK to insult, belittle, and patronise those people who have very patiently and politely tried to point you to resources you could have used to improve your understanding. Everyone reading this thread now understands that you (or at least your online persona) are a boorish, wilfully ignorant snip - so please have the courtesy to snip .

Also, that Book of Bad Arguments is genius, thanks for the link Chilli Sauce!

Nov 6 2013 23:55

I'm not going to have time to post a proper response until tomorrow (although Fleur's is excellent), but please can people, like OneKlart please remain polite, thanks.

Nov 7 2013 03:29

what about voting for a leaderless party that simply channels the votes from a federation? sort of the lines of the pirate party

Nov 7 2013 06:34
vicent wrote:
what about voting for a leaderless party that simply channels the votes from a federation? sort of the lines of the pirate party

There's no such thing as a leaderless party what you're talking about is a party without a formal leadership. Two problems there, first lets assume this informal party wins enough seats to take control of government, there's nothing to stop well established and charismatic individuals from forming a clique and becoming defacto leaders, which now have control of the state with no real means accountability until the next election.

Or lets further assume this doesn't happen and despite state institutions requiring clear hierarchies from Minister to juniors this informal party is able to remain a collective entity. Then it'd just be a much larger group that makes decisions over and above us.

Nov 9 2013 19:59

now this here... this is The Stuff.

Noah Fence
Mar 28 2015 18:13

This thread has just come to mind considering what is heading our way.
I've just inadvertently walked in to my first pre-election spat and its left me feeling angry, insulted and pissed off with myself for allowing it to happen. All it took was a casual comment about keeping my head down and ignoring the whole sorry charade until it was all over and before I knew it, my Labour supporting friend was beside himself with fury! All the old arguments came out about Tories with their cuts, privatisation and warmongering, how people have fought and died for the right to vote and how my anti establishment ranting would change nothing. I got the impression that he thought I was an antisocial animal for even mentioning my lack of respect for this precious jewel of democracy. It's funny how people think that to be anything but reverent about our vote is about as socially acceptable as having a wank in a playground but it's ok for them to pour out wildly inaccurate statements about any suggested alternatives.
Fucking Hell comrades, I wish I could fall asleep and wake up in 6 weeks time. The whole thing is just an embarrassment.