To Noam Chomsky on Boycotting Elections

To Noam Chomsky on Boycotting Elections

The following is a statement by ZSP.

To Noam Chomsky: Why We Boycott Elections

On June 9, Bogusław Ziętek, the Polish Labour Party's (PPP) candidate for President, published on his election website a list of famous leftist supporters, headed by Noam Chomsky. The information was press released and republished in various media in Poland (spread by the official Polish Press Agency (PAP) under the title "Ken Loach and Noam Chomsky Support Me". (An example in the main Polish newspaper can be seen here:,75478,7994946,Nawet_Chomsky_i_Loach_popieraja_Bogus...) It also appeared in different languages on the websites of international left groups where we also can learn that Chomsky supposedly supports the electoral campaign of the "Anticapitalist Left". (See:

Later, when somebody wrote to Chomsky to complain, an email was received stating: "... I have no record of this support or who initiated it, so can't try to pursue the matter. Do you have a record of some petition that I might have signed?" (Text of that email to Chomsky is below.)

The ZSP immediately thought to send a letter to Chomsky on the candidate Zietek but it is now questionable whether or not Chomsky actually signed his name to a list of supporters. Nevertheless, given Chomsky's occasional lapses into support of the authoritarian left, we thought he still deserved an open letter, not only on the topic of the candidate, but also on why we boycott elections in general.

Our political vision does not include reform from above or the rule of the revolutionary avant-garde over society. The creation of a libertarian society can only be created from below, by a mass movement of the working class and the control of production, distribution and social services in the hands of both the workplaces involved and the society. We do not need to participate in electoral farces but to put all our attention and energy into building militant grassroots organzations which are capable not only of overthrowing the state and capitalism, but also of practicing direct democracy. We see the committed building of such movements as the primary task of all tendencies of the social anarchist tradition.

We call on people to boycott elections not so much because of our criticism of the individual candidates, but because of the false promises of electoral democracy. Participation in "political life" is reduced to going to the ballot box and the society becomes alienated from the process.

We do not have to present any deeper analysis of the voting issue to our fellow anarchists since just about every serious organization holds a similar opinion.

Chomsky, a person who claims to identify himself with political philosophy, is often set in the role of "celebrity anarchist" - but this does not mean that his views are always representative of the anarchist movement. Although there are many different voices and opinions in this movement, we always find the views of the major organizations to have more legitimacy than those of individual celebrities, especially those with tenuous relations and no real participation in any of them.

We appeal to Chomsky to take this into consideration the next time he goes around praising the authoritarian leaders of the so-called left such as Hugo Chavez. If he would still like to publically place himself in the anarchist tradition, he should please try to start being more consistent. We would also ask for a clearer statement on the purported support of Boguslaw Zietek in the Polish presidential elections.

Members of the ZSP have been highly critical of this personality for a wide variety of reasons. First is the attempts to mobilize the left around a false prophet: Zietek has had and still maintains contacts with the ultra-nationalist right in Poland. His party is not necessarily anti-capitalist: they have had capitalists on their electoral lists. His union represents mainstream unionism, complete with extremely authoritarian bureaucracy and the union is instrumentalized for the purposes of building support of his political party. The support and financing of this party is less than clear. Furthermore, the party has participated in various acts of electoral malpractice, such as compiling false lists of candidates and running candidates with no political ties to the party but with the same names as other famous politicians, just to get votes from people who then mistakenly choose the wrong one on the ballot. The amount of political sleaze Zietek has been involved with is disturbing, as is the fact that he has even been found guilty by the labour court of violating workers' rights on several occasions himself.

We will send Noam Chomsky more details, along with the relevant documentation, in a separate letter.

ZSP is calling for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections. Our dreams can never fit in their ballot box. We will not hand over our power willingly and will fight with our last breath to take it back. We call for a more conscious, popular resistance to the electoral process and the representative bodies which make up the state in general. People intuitively know that these bodies do not really represent their best interests yet many see no active, viable alternatives. We call on people to get active and create organizations which will be the foundation of a truly popular movement which can undermine the state.

Noam Chomsky: do the right thing! Instead of supporting yet another authoritarian leftist leader, consider your support for election boycotts!



This is the text of the letter mailed to Noam Chomsky mentioned above:

To: "Noam Chomsky" <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2010 3:01 PM

Dear Sir!

You expressed your official support for one of candidates for the President of Poland, Boguslaw Zietek (trade union "Sierpien 80" and Polska Partia Pracy - PPP - Polish Labour Party).

Persons which induced you for expressing their support hid a lot of facts associated with this man from You.

You don't probably know about it, that Boguslaw Zietek was sentenced by the Polish industrial tribunal for breaking workers' laws. The sentence in this matter is valid. He was also also sentenced by a Polish work standards and safety inspectorate for breaking workers' laws. The control of a work standards and safety inspectorate showed that Boguslaw Zietek had obeyed workers' rights to none of persons employed by oneself. At the industrial tribunal a next matter is pending against this man.

It is proving that this man isn't treating seriously workers' laws and matters of the working class.

Boguslaw Zietek is talking recently about himself, that he is a socialist. But a few years ago he belonged to the camp of the extreme right wing. The trade union "Sierpien 80" a few years ago cooperated with the extreme
right wing from Europe and the United States: French Front National (J.M.LePen) and Lyndon LaRouche (The Schiller Institute).

Directed through Boguslaw Zietek Polska Partia Pracy (PPP) was founded as a union of several groups of the extreme right: Polish Confederation of Independent (Konfederacja Polski Niepodleglej - KPN), Christian Union of
National (Zjednoczenie Chrzescjansko-Narodowe - ZChN) and Polish National Rebirth (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski - NOP). The activists of these parties of the extreme right are still the leaders of the PPP.

The paper "Kurier Zwiazkowy", published by the union "Sierpien 80", was publish several "right wing" articles:

Several years ago the Polish left wing (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD- Democratic Left Alliance) began to lose public support because of poor governance. Then PPP proclaim, that PPP is the only left, to take the place SLD. That's why PPP in 2005 concluded an agreement with the extreme Left parties. But the true is that change of political allies by Boguslaw Zietek nad PPP it was only a change of tactics but not change of political
opinions. Boguslaw Zietek, in fact, is still a polish nationalist and anti-Semite and also he is anti-German.

In fact, Boguslaw Zietek never backed the fight of Palestinians up. He is simply an anti-Semite he has always been which as the Polish nationalist.

Persons connected with the radical Left in world (especially tied around French Trockists) which are advisers of Boguslaw Zietek are saying that this man is leftist. It's not true. They must this way say, because their
political career depends on it. Therefore they are lying to many known people which don't know, what is happening in Poland. So that's why they didn't inform you of all facts associated with Boguslaw Zietek.

Many Polish citizens know these facts, therefore nobody wants to vote for Boguslaw Zietek.


Below we attach a second letter written by some Polish anarchists. This is not signed by ZSP since some anarchists have cooperated with the August 80 union through Boguslaw Zietek himself, sometimes quite uncritically until recently. Since reference to that cooperation is here, we cannot sign it has we have always been against cooperation with this politician. Furthermore, we believe our straight opposition to electoralism to be more relevant than the historical examples alluded to in this letter.

Dear Mr. Chomsky

It came to our attention that according to his website you have signed a support letter for Boguslaw Zietek - lider of the Polska Partia Pracy (Polish Labour Party) and the Solidarnosc'80 trade union - a candidate
in the presidential run.

Assuming he wouldn't dare to fake such a support and that were sure you have no time to study any group asking for your backing, we, undersigned members of polish anarchist groups decided to write to you informing that we find it deeply concerning not only because of our disillusion with party-politics but also because Zietek personally represents a very mercenary approach to unionism. Our opinion is that he is using the union to forward his own political agenda, to the level of work-court cases against him be the union's employees.

On the other hand the political history of his party also requires noting - it emerged in 2001 out of a coalition between a number of political groups including hardcore right wing groups like KPN and NOP (Konfederacja Polski Niepodległej and Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski), which define the far-right wing side of polish politics and who's militant skinheads stand behind attacks against the left, anarchist and union movements in Poland. Halfway through the decade the party made a sharp turn to left, using the union to 'size' the left wing non parliamentary
groups and place itself in the current position.

Although we do sometimes cooperate, on the union level and meet them on marches we have no trust in them and find your support for them very surprising. The history of Russia, Ukraine and our own left-leaning military dictatorship before the second world war thought us not to trust the governmental approach and politicians. We find no actual steps taken by his groups to advance self-organisation or basic political education of the union members at the very least. Given the time one could easily draw parallels between his formations and bolshevism.

We would like to ask you to either denounce or back out from your support for this man. We can provide more in depth information regarding their activities, that had been omitted here out of respect for your time.

Posted By

Jun 14 2010 22:55


Attached files


Jun 29 2010 08:26

A small follow up: charges have been brought against activists of the Polish Labour Party for electoral fraud. Details are here:

Jul 6 2010 04:30

i see (via poumista) that this letter has been cited here: