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Do you vote?

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Convert
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Sep 11 2006 07:57
Do you vote?

How many of you bother voting?

I cant decide if I should vote to try to make life a bit better for some people that may benefit from a certain party. Or, if it just legitimises and reinforces the capitalist dictatorship we call democracy.

Thoughts?

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 11 2006 08:05

i've not had the chance to vote in a general election yet (missed the last one by a couple of days), probably wouldn't bother, though i'm sure i could dream up some imaginative slogan to spoil the ballot with to temporarily amuse the ballot counter ...

i did vote in the last euro elections though, because funding was awarded according to percentage of the vote, so i voted for the least harmful (greens), i don't know if i would again though, and i don't really feel that strongly either way

Blacknred Ned
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Sep 11 2006 08:44

Voting isn't just choice it's consent. Do you consent, in practice, regardless of how you vote, give support to the victors of the election? In the UK we have HM Loyal Opposition, that is rather the point of elections.

Of course people often raise the example of Hitler & the Nazis winning the Reichstag elections in 1933 (42% of the vote) & argue that to go out and vote against Hitler would have been the only ethical position. The truth is however that only action by the German working class would have stopped Hitler & too many of them were communists and social democrats reluctant to take to the streets where the real decision would be taken. Too long with the discipline of the factory and the theories of Marx!

Steve
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Sep 11 2006 09:21

Haven't voted since the general election(s) of 1974. Can't think of circumstances where I would.

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jef costello
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Sep 11 2006 10:05

I was out of the country for the last election so I didn't bother. I voted for KEn Livingstone as mayor first time around. I wouldn't bother voting now, although I did vote for a local councillor last time around because it was a guy tha I'd met at a no2ID meeting and he seemed very sound.

The only reason I'd vote is because local councillors are all chisellers, I'd rather have someone who could at least abuse the photocopying privileges or something.

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Khawaga
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Sep 11 2006 10:43

I generally do vote in elections (Norway), not that I beleive that anything good will come out of it. I usually give my vote to small leftists parties that rarely (in my district) get elected. However, in places where reps from these leftists parties do get elected (and once to parliament) they do an excellent job; exposing corruption, back-door deals, fucked up policies etc etc. Sometimes they push policies towards the left. For some people this has a direct impact on their lives (e.g. getting free kindergarten, refusing cuts in health care etc.). However, I am under no illusion that this actually changes anything at all. I wish blank votes could be cast (to symbolise being fed up with the electoral system or all of the parties), but since they can't, voting for that leftists party is the best option.

I also voted during teh EU referendum, which the "No" camp won. It was a huge thing, got to put radical politics on the agenda (against the free market policies of the EU). However, the day after (or two) parliament made Norway join the EEA (european economic area) which got us the four freedoms, later the schengen agreement etc.

tricky thing this voting issue. don't know whether I will vote in the next election.

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cantdocartwheels
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Sep 11 2006 22:23

Didn't bother registering last time round, they;re less sharpish charging you council tax if you're not on the electoral roll. Plus i culdn't be asked and the two candidates were a libdem student and some new labour shit who was on the NHS executive.
I went to the election count though to see some guys i knew who were running as independents (basic low key protest vote campaign) were doing, it was awful.

Oh and whether you as an individual vote or not makes no difference to how legitmate bourgeois democracy is, snatching on failing voting figures as if they make the anarchist movment legitimate is pretty pointless.

john
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Sep 11 2006 23:06
cantdocartwheels wrote:
snatching on failing voting figures as if they make the anarchist movment legitimate is pretty pointless.

but a society-wide momentum of high voting levels does create the appearance that most people see voting as a useful means to social/political improvement; which itself creates the feeling-of-no-alternative when we come to consider political organization - no?

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jef costello
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Sep 11 2006 23:09

Different points. Falling voting figures do show disillusionment with electoral politics and a recognition that there is no real choice. The problem cantdo was talking about is that anarchists tend to take this as a victory, when in fact it has nothing to do with anarchists.

john
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Sep 11 2006 23:19

but don't you think that for anarchism to work it needs some kind of critical mass - so that some kind of division of labour is still possible, and we can still have nice things like computers, etc. - in which case, the less people believe that there is no alternative to representative liberal democracy (and the more open-minded they are towards alternatives) the better?

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Sep 12 2006 00:14

I'd say it's apathy rather than cynicism Revol. Apathy is worse, I see so little happening and geographically I should be in some kind of hotspot.
We are losing badly.

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jef costello
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Sep 12 2006 11:06

I didn't intend to imply that voting really achieved anything. I'm shocked that you don't think that the general public are apathetic, I see so little happening and they're pushing us back everywhere. Defy ID, Defend Council Housing, PPP on tube, NHS privatisation, city academies, PFI chiselling away. There is no working class fightback.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 12 2006 11:35

but jef, apathy implies people don't care - people i know do care about these things but don't do anything about it, so where 'cynicism' and 'passivity' might be appropriate, 'apathy' really isn't.

i suppose its got something to do with the lack of passed-down experience of successful collective action after the defeats of the last two decades, so the idea of collective action simply doesn't occur to many people.

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jef costello
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Sep 12 2006 11:47

You're right there Joseph K. perhaps I'm thinking of defeatist, but the idea of fighting back and certainly when it isn't in their direct interest doesn't seem to enter the average person's mind.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 12 2006 12:04

i dunno if thats aimed at jef more than me but i was speaking from my direct experiences, both mine and of my co-workers, family, friends etc, not some reified 'average person'. jef's just a bit loose with his language (he does have two though), he was bemoaning apathy a minute ago, i'm sure he'll let average man go the same way

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 12 2006 12:09
revol68 wrote:
p.s the fact i quoted him should have told you that. You fucking neurotic narcissistic numpty.

Self disgust is self obsession honey. ;)

enough of those crafty edits, you quoted him 'agreeing' with me about 'average man', hence the ambiguity. now i'm off to find a mirror ....

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jef costello
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Sep 12 2006 15:45
revol68 wrote:
who is this mythical "average person"? if i ever found them i'd pay them well to join me in a great adventure to locate "the masses" as well.

tell me how much have you fought back in your job or community/ I'll be honest, beyond a few anti fascist things and handing out leaflets, i cna't say i've been involved in any real social struggle in my everyday life. But hey if we can project onto others, if we can pin the blame on the mythical "masses" or "average person', then I suppouse we can exhalt ourselves.roll eyes

I am an average man, although a much better one than you tongue, so I have done very little. When I say average man I mean people I have met who are not politicos. Eugenics was a pre-war policy and was never considered a war crime. It also continued in the United States after the war and in Sweden up until the 70s.

Black Flag
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Sep 12 2006 16:37

No fucking way would i vote for anyone.The reason is,as Convert has pointed out from the start,that there is only capitalist candidates and parties to choose from.And any anti-capitalist parties there are(if any)will become capitalist once they get elected or soon after.
However just because I don't vote,does not mean I am apathetic,far from it.I am very interested in politics and the community etc.Anarchy not apathy!

Dave Smith
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Sep 12 2006 17:56

By any means nessersary and if that means voting why not?

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sam sanchez
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Sep 12 2006 22:31

Because people cannot gain control over thier lives and the decisions that affect them by giving power away to 500 men in london.

Any means, fine. Any means that will work. But some means simply won't work to achieve a non-authoritarian society.

Dave Smith
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Sep 13 2006 00:30

if my vote means stoping BNP scum I will use it as such.
but I do not belive that any change of any real value can
be made at the ballot box, but never the less while I still
have one I will use it. will you?.
after all we are not free yet and must at least try to create
some kind of future for tomorrow.
My nightmare is a democaticly elected fachist goverment
( we dont have one as yet belive me!) whatever we can do to hold back the right is justified. It would be foolhardy to
give the bastards any help by being a stick in the mud.

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sam sanchez
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Sep 13 2006 09:03

Better to organise against the BNP scum.

My problem with voting is not so much that it acts as consent, because I think this is rubbish. Its not the voting, so much as the whole hive of activity and work that politically active people put into helping their party get elected, and all for nothing in the long run. Imagine if all the energy that goes into leafletting, door nocking and raising funds for election campaigns went into anarchist organising!

So I don't think the actual voting does the most harm, compared to other elements of elections. If hardly anyone turned out, there would probably be a right wing coup anyway. Our most important task would still be to organise.

john
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Sep 13 2006 09:09

I don't think you're going to stop the BNP by voting against them.

If a (more so than Labour) nationalist party did get into office, I think the way to oppose them would be through concerted civil disobedience and physical confrontation with their policies/people.

To vote is an act of consent for the political system as it exists at present. So, whilst you might not get a BNP government, you might (and probably will) get a Conservative one, which you have tacitly supported.

Personally, I view voting as a contribution to liberal democracy. As I don't want to live under liberal democracy, I try to limit my contributions to it as much as possible.

Whilst civil liberties, etc., might be better than no civil liberties, I still don't want to support a political system that constitutes a systematic refusal of many other liberties.

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Steven.
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Sep 13 2006 11:17
Dave Smith wrote:
if my vote means stoping BNP scum I will use it as such.

What have the BNP done to damage the working class?

Now compare that to what New Labour have done (privatising everything, closing down schools and hospitals, defeating strikes, launching wars killing hundreds of thousands, enforcing free trade rules, cutting benefits...).

Dave Smith
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Sep 13 2006 11:20

I get your point John but even if it appears as if I am
supporting the status quo I most cirtianly dont.
But untill the "great leap forward" I will and do use
any means. Yes grass roots orginiseation is what we need
but you and I must face the reality of our current
position. I would much prefer to petrol bomb mr griffin
out of south wales and into his grave but 15 years in
prison will only hurt me. The establishment can rot in
hell but fustration can get the better of me so I end
up putting a x in a box. sad aint it.

Dave Smith
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Sep 13 2006 11:23

What have the bnp done. well if you cannot see then
why are you on this forum?

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sam sanchez
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Sep 13 2006 12:21

They haven't done anything because they have not had the opportunity. They are shits none the less.

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Steven.
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Sep 13 2006 12:21
Dave Smith wrote:
What have the bnp done. well if you cannot see then
why are you on this forum?

I asked who had done more damage - the BNP or New Labour?

My point being that obviously New Labour have done far worse, so why on earth would you vote for them?

And btw is there a reason you keep putting extra line breaks in your posts?

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Devrim
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Sep 13 2006 12:52

Oh dear, the anarchists are discusing whether to vote, or not again. This does seem to come up quite regulary. It is quite sad really.
Devrim

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Lazy Riser
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Sep 13 2006 19:45

Hi

Ha ha. He's got you there Dev.

Quote:
What have the BNP done to damage the working class?

They damage my enjoyment of life for a start. I tell you what though, I can choose not to be damaged simply by ignoring them. As for the working class, the BNP stir up a lot of damaging division.

The BNP are so small in my area that I suppose I could say the Lib Dem's damage me more, and I vote Lib Dem in a Lib Dem / Tory marginal. It makes me feel dirty, just how I like it.

I think the far right over the years has done more damage to the working class than the Liberals.

Love

LR

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Devrim
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Sep 14 2006 07:43
revol68 wrote:
Devrim wrote:
Oh dear, the anarchists are discussing whether to vote, or not again. This does seem to come up quite regularly. It is quite sad really.
Devrim

I'd prefer it if you made some attempt at recognising the various forms of anarchist. I mean you don't see me making blanket pronouncements on communists or marxists.

And how the fuck do you know these people are anarchists?

And I'd prefer it if you didn't swear constantly.

Yes, I do recognise that there are different forms of anarchism. I also believe, as I think you know; that there is a revolutionary current within anarchism. There is also a load of rubbish.

I think that the blanket pronouncement is valid in this case as surely one of the defining characteristics of anarchism is its rejection of parliament, and bourgeois democracy. It does surprise me that this is a topic which keeps coming up on here.

No, I don't know that the people on this thread were anarchists. I would be quite surprised if they didn't define themselves like that though. Certainly in the past when we argued this point there were members of the UK anarchist organisations arguing that voting was ok.

On a slightly different point, I fully understand the desire of some anarchists to differentiate themselves from others, and why the term 'class struggle anarchist' is sometimes used (personally I would prefer it if the non-class struggle anarchist had to use a prefix like 'middle class liberal' anarchist instead, but I can't see them adopting that en mass). However, even within the boundaries of 'class struggle anarchism' there are some tendencies which are as leftist (with their positions on national liberation, and unions) as the SWP (for example). Yet they are accepted under this 'class struggle anarchism' banner. Even the AWG, which was rightly condemned from within the 'anarchist movement', was still treated in a much more comradely manner that a Leninist group, which had exactly the same politics, would have been. There is a tendency for anarchism to see itself as a movement, which gives a certain, but not complete, sense of legitimacy to my 'blanket pronouncement'.

Devrim