From "don't vote", Russell Brand now says "vote Labour/SNP/Green"

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Spikymike
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May 10 2015 10:08

Sylvia went through a number of political changes in her life but her internationalist class politics shone threw best during her anti-parliamentary phase and she certainly was the best of the Pankhurst family from the point of view of any socialist/communist.

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happychaos
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May 10 2015 11:02

Hi all,

We are having a similar discussion on an Aotearoa New Zealand Anarchist facebook group.

I don't follow Russell Brand enough to know his views well, but I liked the few videos I watched. I was genuinely surprised by his support for Ed Milliband and the Green Party Lady. This certainly undermines the “don’t vote” arguments he put forward. However, he’s made it clear he never never claimed to represent the political non-voting population. I am even more surprised to hear he’s been granted United Kingdom copyright for the logo "rEVOLution" (LOVE backwards) for 20 years for mechendise use. I presume there is some non-profit aspect to this and the story is a beat up. He’s not my political guru so this is hardly much of an issue for me. I still see value in some of the things he says just like I can find value in action blockbusters which are capitalist through and through.

As far as the Anarchist position on not voting, I have to admit to being incredibly frustrated. While I agree with “don’t vote, organise" (not-voting isn’t particularly high on my action list), I rarely agree with the supporting arguments given. Some of these are repeated above.

“Don’t vote, get organised” arguements are even more frustrating because they sounds better than "fuck voting" and other lifestylist blah-blah but it actually requires us to be not only "doing stuff", but being strategic and acheiving concrete wins. Without this is becomes a meaningless slogan (or a harmless brand for a small niche market).

Here are some comments on common arguments and my responses:

Parliament and voting isn't fundamentally changing society.
True. But neither are anarchist groups.

Parliament and voting only results in small-scale, rarely medium-scale wins, never large-scale wins.
True. But they are regularly larger than what anarchists achieve.

There's not much difference between left and right parties.
True. But for many people, the tiny differences between Labour and National, Labour and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans matter more that the difference anarchist groups make.

Social movements can win major issues, forcing change on governments or making it easier for left-wing governments to shift to the left.
True. But for most parts of the "western world" these wins and organisations are mostly historical and not part of today's consciousness.

The working poor, oppressed and dispossessed are most concerned about what affects their families in the here and now. They are driven most by concrete, short term wins. Not arguments that aren't backed up by their reality. Not long-term goals, such as overthrowing society. Not historical wins.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic. I want to be realistic and make our challenge clear.

Anarchism must be with the people, always. That means being where they/we are at and not where small grouplets are at, whether sitting in armchairs, philosophy circles, internet forums or small social scenes. Anarchism will only become the engine of social change when the working class win concrete gains today and through that struggle build the capacity, commitment, shared vision and culture to win a better tomorrow.

Sure, we should rail against the state. But we actually have to be for something too and have a plan to achieve it.

There are some great organisations already doing this, the IWW, SolFed, Solidarity Networks etc. "Don't vote, organise" is good propaganda. But as FARJ says, the best propaganda is action.

Just to lighten things up a bit, here are some subvertisements I did on the New Zealand Council of Trade Union’s “Get Out and Vote” campaign. (PS – Hamilton is a city in the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand that everyone loves to hate.)

The original:

Subverts:

Warm regards,
HC

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Noah Fence
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May 10 2015 13:01

HC - good post. I agree strongly with most of what you wrote and the very positive and sensible posts by others. The thing is though, we are human beings and as such fall prey to our emotions. For instance, I can see very clearly 'don't vote, organise' is a much better slogan than 'fuck voting' and it's a principle I agree with 100% but as someone who is incredibly frustrated by the whole thing the thought foremost in my mind and likely to spring from my lips is fuck voting.
I say inappropriate things all the time - I met a pair of my daughters friends for the first time last Sunday and within minutes I was talking about kicking the shit out of cops! God knows what they thought of me.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it may be unhelpful to be aggressive and dismissive, but considering the fact we are just people not inhuman propaganda machines, it is understandable and justifiable that our behaviour as anarchists isn't always productive. Brand has acted like a wanker so it should come as no surprise that anarchists shout 'wanker!' at him. To a large extent our lives are controlled and badly damaged by capital and it's violent enforcement of its will. If we react in an angry, violent manner in reaction to this, even if it doesn't help our cause, the I say fair enough.

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Red Marriott
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May 10 2015 13:37

For shallowness Brand was perhaps only bettered by Noel Gallagher - who called Miliband "a fucking communist".

boomerang
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May 10 2015 17:19
Webby wrote:
I met a pair of my daughters friends for the first time last Sunday and within minutes I was talking about kicking the shit out of cops! God knows what they thought of me.

Embarrassing rant about kicking shit out of cops -- classic dad move.

LOL. Seriously this was too funny just imagining this.

Quote:
I can see very clearly 'don't vote, organise' is a much better slogan than 'fuck voting' and it's a principle I agree with 100% but as someone who is incredibly frustrated by the whole thing the thought foremost in my mind and likely to spring from my lips is fuck voting.

How about "Fuck voting - Organise"

Scallywag
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Joined: 24-03-14
Jun 23 2015 00:40

His latest idea is even worse. He's suggested showing some sort of Christian like love for the police and campaigning for greater working rights for the police in order to make them side with us. sad

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Cooked
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Jun 23 2015 07:30

Im beginning to wonder if he's just publicly speeding through all the crap politics to finally arrive at the correct libcom line. All as an elaborate didactic stunt.