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Vote & Elections

Discussion in 'Anarchism and radical activism' started by blackcat, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. blackcat

    blackcatMember New Member


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    I know it's an endless debate... but i'd like to have other members opinion on this subject

    What do you think of the electoral system? Do you vote or not (precise where you live this will help to understand) and what do you think about blank votes??

    Also, what do you think about anarchists and communists who vote, and skinheads and punks who encourage the scene to participate to the electoral system (i'm thinking about organisations like Punkvoter.com who encourage the punks to vote and also peoples like Jello Biafra who tryed to be the mayor of San Francisco)
     

  2. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    Political parties are like Smarties, they are all different colours but all taste the same....

    Electing someone to take the decisions the peoples should take themselves isn't ever going to change anything. A lot of reformists will argue it will make things "less worse" but it's still choosing the lesser evil of the two.... If a doctor would ask me to choose between a generalized cancer or AIDS i'd tell him to fuck off because both will kill be anyway...

    I don't recognize myself in any political parties, revolution is the only solution. And blank votes is still stupid, it's still showing them that their game still works and that the circus is still going.... I doubt there is a real risk that your vote will be used against your will if you don't cancel your vote (unless you live in the USA... we all know what happenned in florida 2001) and anyway even if you vote they still can manipulate the statistics, and they already done it.

    Yes, situation is different depending where you live, but on a general basis...... Electoral system = Bullshit. Boycott elections.

    Anyway if voting could change anything, they'd make it illegal... :lmao:

    Btw,

    Punkvoter.com = Fat Mike = Nofx = Biggest anarchist in the world.
     
  3. NGNM85

    NGNM85Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Sep 8, 2009
     
    I think this anti-voting sentiment is a disease within radical culture. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few, like Chomsky, it seems to be widespread. Now, I don't argue thaty both of our political parties here in the US are bought off and hopelessly out of touch with the public. That said, there is a difference. Only about half of the eligible voters show up at the polls. if even .20%, one fifth of a percent of that, had turned up in 2000, we'd never have been sucked into this bullshit war. Would the working class still be getting screwed? Of course! But thats' still a difference of as many as a million or so dead, and thats' plenty sufficient. The same moral and ethical principles that are the foundation of my Anarchist philosophy drove me to the polls in 2004, to vote AGAINST that horrible little man. My morality compelled me to, I don't see how you can say you really care and do otherwise. Political action is not a zero-sum game, I can protest, sit-in, march, sign petitions, and vote, (Although not all at once.) they aren't mutually exclusive.
     
  4. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    Yep, USA is a particuliar case...

    But anyway i don't think "choosing the lesser evil of the two" is revolutionnary-productive.... This is sad to say, but it's always when the biggest tyran are in power that the peoples will revolt and start thinking about alternatives.... If everything is going good, the peoples will sit on their comfort and think "it's worse elsewhere, so we must be happy with what we have"...

    In history, ALL revolutions started because the peoples were sick to see a tyran or a dictator in power.
    Cuban revolution kicked out batista, Spanish revolution kicked out franco, Kronsdadt were against the red fascists, Even an asshole like Mao got in power because of an unstable situation (chinese nationalists)...

    And look what's going on in France... Since Sarkozy is elected (a real asshole who breaks liberties and never stop to pass repressive laws) the revolt is even bigger.... A few years ago there were the suburbs riots, then the anarcho-autonomous/anarcho-insurectionnalist movement.... There is more and more protests and peoples are radicalising, etc...
     
  5. oftmalsfalsch

    oftmalsfalschMember Forum Member


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    well, I think it depends on the method, how votings or the absense of those count.
    in germany only valid votes count, that means it doesn't matter if you give a blank vote, no vote or an invalidated vote. it just doesn't count. Additionally we have 1-3 political parties with high level votes (>20...30%) and multiple with 10% or less. fascists parties have around 2-5% in certain small areas up to 10%.
    the experience show, that especially the fascists motivate their electors (even the other smaller parties do so). so if 10000 people are allowed to give their votes and the fascists have 300 supporters (3%), but only 50% give their vote the ratio of the fascist is 6% (300 out of 5000). well in most parlaments of germany we have a 5%-clause, that means, if a party has less than 5%, it doesn't get into the parlament. that means if all people give a valid vote, fascist maybe don't enter parlament, but if not, the possibility for them increases.
    well entering parlament give the parties some more possibilities and rights. nothing I wish to give fascists...

    the complete differences if or if not in parlament are a bit difficult for me to desribe in english. further, many of the parties are conservative even with fascist tendencies. it's rather difficult to give vote without a headache...

    and well: a period of 4 or 5 years (depends) to elect a party without any further possibilty for participation is not worldshaking...

    so if elections would change anything they would be forbidden...

    but until there're better possibilities (at least in germany) everybody should use the possibility to vote for the least evil one...

    (well germany is not france. no mass-trouble anywhere by the people...)
     
  6. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    In canada, at the last federal elections we had the highest abstention percentage in our whole history. Two months after we began the elections for Quebec Province. And once again, we had the highest abstention statistics...

    Not even 60% of the population voted

    This is the proof we are sick of the elections. It's a big circus. Especially last elections, conservative government started elections just because they wanted to be a majority government.... Elections aren't a tool for citizens anymore, it's a tool for the guys who are in power....

    Some politicians are even thinking about obligating peoples to vote.... I think it's already this way in australia (and belgium and other countrys)


    Talking about germany.... Remember that Hitler accessed the power democratically, by manipulating the same system that's still in place...
     
  7. Bananaman

    BananamanExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Aug 9, 2009
     
    I voted once and lived to regret it. I did it mostly to vote against the people that were in power at the time. Now I feel stupid you should only vote for something you support and chances of political option I would support appearing any time soon are slim to none..
     
  8. Vince_Snake

    Vince_SnakeMember Experienced member Forum Member


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    And Ignatieff want to bring back the whole crap...
     
  9. NGNM85

    NGNM85Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I think this and the similar sentiments that have been expressed by others are completely missing the point. Again, I concede our politicians are hopelessly bought off and that substantial, meaningful institutional change must come from without, HOWEVER... Let's get serious, Obama/McCain might be different flavors of the same bullshit, but let's not kid ourselves by saying there is no difference. Now Obama hasn't gotten us out of the Middle East, and i'm not really surprised, but he has scaled down our presence there, and has made some minor token gestures to aid our struggling working class majority, that his opponants would not do. Personally, I don't give a flying fuck if the difference between McCain/Obama is even just ONE less dead person, soldier/civilian/Iraqi/American, because just one is worth it. The same morality that drives me to be an Anarchist and protest the war drives me to the ballot, there is no other way to see it. If you want to be consistent in your humanist values, theres' no alternative. Otherwise you just abdicate your responsibility as well as a piece of your moral authority.
    Also, I don't see any sense in fighting for more rights while throwing away the few you've got.
     
  10. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    I don't feel any guilt.... The problem is the system, not the peoples boycotting it.

    I'd feel even more guilty if i gave my name to Obama, because all the attrocities he will commit he will commit them IN MY NAME, with my vote. Maybe the situation will be a little better in irak, but it will still get worse and worse at middle orient with obama's politics...

    Like i said i understand USA is different, but i don't live in the country starting the most wars in the world...

    And anyway, seeing what happenned in florida 2001 i would have lost all faith in the "democratical" system if i were an american....

    Here's an interessing documentary:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 822130737#


    As long as peoples will keep to vote and pick the "lesser evil of the twos", normal peoples will keep thinking democratical system really works. But when we get high abstention percentage, it's passing a real message that peoples are sick of this circus...
     
  11. oftmalsfalsch

    oftmalsfalschMember Forum Member


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    well, that's not completely right...

    first, germany has a constitution law, based on experiences of Weimars constitution, which makes it really difficult to repeat it in such a way, second, the whole society has changed in a way, that such direct fascism has less chances. well, my ability to explain the details is rather bad due to my language barrier...
    but: there're enough things to critizise even for those, who favour the democratic system and also a latent fascism still exists in wide areas. the governments slogan since the 1950th: danger comes from left ...
     
  12. NGNM85

    NGNM85Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    The system may be the source of the problem, but these misguided attempts to "boycott" it are really just enabling it.

    "Rome was not built in a day." What can we do today? Here we have a choice open to us, one of the few instances where we can exert influence, the difference will probably be measured in human lives. Is human life so worthless that it isn't worth the 20 minutes it takes to check a form?

    The principle is universal.

    The problem is the electoral college, which I'll admit is a flawed apparatus, but if more people had showed up it wouldn't have happened. If all the so-called Anarchists had come to their senses and taken a half hour out of their lives nine years ago over a million people would be alive. Thats' a huge difference. The fundamental Anarchist principles drove me to the ballot, and I checked my box to send the message that I was apalled by the horrors that my government was perpetrating and that I opposed the administration responsible.

    Oh, they're sending a message, but thats' not it. The message is "We're too stupid and apathetic to care. Do whatever you want because we won't stop you. You don't even have to pretend like we matter." That is the message that the politicians are going to get. Without elections we'd get outright facism. Dropping out never accomplished anything.
     
  13. Bones

    BonesMember Forum Member


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    Sep 11, 2009
     
    You're not an anarchist. You're a liberal under the guise of radicalism, and you clearly have a very vague understanding of anarchism. The fact that you view anarchism as opposition to war, and that there is no way other to create "change" than to vote is evidence of this. The alternative is to build class power. This is NOT done through voting in bourgeois political systems. It is done through creating strong relationships with those in your neighborhood in order to communize resources and to kick the police out. It is done through taking over space (squats as well as neighborhoods). It is done through creating food programs (not FNB) and community gardens. It is done through arming yourself, and knowing how, and be willing to, defend yourself, your friends, and your neighborhood. It is done through sabotage and wildcat strikes. We aren't fighting for rights, because rights imply a system to grant them. We are fighting for absolute liberation.

    Plus, your idea that "humanists" should vote for democrats is ridiculous. Are you aware of what Obama did on his fourth day in office? He ordered the bombings of several villages in the Middle East. You can't be a "humanist" and support capitalism, and voting for a capitalist is supporting capitalism.
     
  14. NGNM85

    NGNM85Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    [quote="Bones]You're not an anarchist. You're a liberal under the guise of radicalism, and you clearly have a very vague understanding of anarchism.[/quote]

    Don't presume to tell me what I know. You want to discuss Bakunin, Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, Stirner, Guerin, Chomsky, whatever, that’s fine. I've read it. Don’t tell me what I know.

    [quote="Bones]The fact that you view anarchism as opposition to war,[/quote]

    That’s not what I said.

    [quote="Bones]and that there is no way other to create "change" than to vote is evidence of this.[/quote]

    That is also false, but I didn't say that either.

    [quote="Bones] The alternative is to build class power. This is NOT done through voting in bourgeois political systems.[/quote]

    The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    [quote="Bones]It is done through creating strong relationships with those in your neighborhood in order to communize resources and to kick the police out. It is done through taking over space (squats as well as neighborhoods). It is done through creating food programs (not FNB) and community gardens. It is done through arming yourself, and knowing how, and be willing to, defend yourself, your friends, and your neighborhood. It is done through sabotage and wildcat strikes.[/quote]

    Some of those things are good ideas, but a lot of this is just fantastical thinking. I mean, doing work in your community is great, but you’re just totally ignoring the big picture.

    [quote="Bones]Plus, your idea that "humanists" should vote for democrats is ridiculous. Are you aware of what Obama did on his fourth day in office? He ordered the bombings of several villages in the Middle East.[/quote]

    I’m going to try this one more time. Now, if a few more people had actually showed up in 2000, the Iraq war would never have happened. Would there still be pollution, wage slavery, gentrification, etc.? Absolutely. Yeah, ideally we’d live an equitable libertarian socialist paradise without poverty or exploitation, but I hate to break it to you it isn’t going to happen tomorrow. Now, it might be a bullshit choice, but if it makes the difference of just one life then it’s worth it. If you don’t care about that you’re not a humanist, and if you really don’t give a shit about anybody there’s no point in being an Anarchist. Let me see if I can explain this more clearly… Ok, you want to get rid of the nation state, right? Less intrusion of monolithic institutions in our lives. That is an entirely negative conception of freedom. The state maintains inequality, conducts warfare, but it also provides social security and locks up child molesters. There might be better ways to do these things, and again those are just two very small examples, but it does serve some needs. The issue is not just dismantling these institutions, achieving freedom for it’s own sake, but to protect life, to improve the quality of life. If it’s not for the good, for the betterment of our fellow man then what is the point? You need both a positive and a negative conception of freedom.

    [quote="Bones]You can't be a "humanist" and support capitalism, and voting for a capitalist is supporting capitalism.[/quote]

    What are you typing on? I mean that’s sort of a ridiculous statement. Did you build your own computer yourself? You have no point. Every time we eat, the clothes we wear, we contribute to cruelty and exploitation. Even if there was some way to avoid all that, which there isn’t, it happens through our taxes. That we are forced to make these little Faustian deals, to be “made daily agents of injustice”, is perhaps the greatest indictment of our social structure. The key is to always be cognizant of that, and try to make the best choices right now, while pushing for social change. I vote because the alternative is outright fascism, and because my candidate is less likely to kill so many people, or might kill a few less people, because I happen to value human life.
     
  15. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    But dude.... "a few more people" HAVE actually showed up in 2001.... Al gore is supposed to have won, but Bush cheated and used florida's law at his advantage... This story is all over the web and they are talking about it in "Hacking Democracy" documentary (i have posted earlier)

    Bush was a non-legit president... This just proves that democratical system is a big joke, even when enough peoples show up to defeat an asshole

    Not really, my vote isn't really going to save a million of lives like you are pretending...

    That's YOUR opinion, not really the message you sent... The message you sent to the government and to the public opinion is that you support democratic party and that a lot of peoples still believe in their ideas. At least, that's how they interpret it...

    Yes, opposition to fascism is what motivate a lot of anarchists to go vote, especially a few years ago in france when the National Front won the "first turn" of the elections...

    But in Canada, we don't have such partys (or the few fascist partys are too small to be a threat)

    Anyway, even with elections we can get to fascism. Once again, remember hitler has accessed the power democratically.
     
  16. NGNM85

    NGNM85Experienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    I watched the documentary on television some time ago. Personally, I don't trust the diebold machines. Paper may seem inefficient or old fashioned, but I like it better and I think it's more reliable. My district, many districts, actually still use the paper ones. (The kind with the boxes, not the chads.) There were some errors, people getting knocked off the rolls, whats' called "voter caging", and then the Florida debacle. However, the biggest issue in the 2000 election was the electoral college. The presidential candidate in our country does not win or lose directly by popular vote, they actually win based on a certaiun amount of electors, some states have more than others, anyhow, thats' how it works. Gore won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote. However, if more people had participated (Only about half of the eligible public does.) this really shouldn't have been possible.

    In 2000 it might have, but just one is sufficient. Thats' more than enough reason. Again the question is: Do you care? If the answer is "No.", I don't see much sense in being an Anarchist.

    Actually, in the primaries I vote Green/Socialist. I have no illusions about the Democratic party, they are merely a lesser evil.

    We don't have an official fascist party (We have Neo-Nazi groups, but they never win anything, and don't have a single person in congress.) but within the republican party is a growing faction that is essentially indistinguishable. The Bush administration were pretty close, ideologically, especially Dick Cheney. More and more the right is being dominated by it's lunatic fringe. My point about that was, voting is really the lynchpin on which it all hangs. Once a government stops even asking, even pretending, we're completely shut out. Now, theres' a very tiny sliver of hope in that the small turnout indicates that a lot of people are disinfranchised. (Unfortunately, a lot of it also has to do with really poor education, especially in poor urban, or rural southern districts.) Disinfranchisement is good, unfortunately, people are becoming depressed and apathetic which is bad. The forces of empire, corporations, politicians, whatever, they want apathy, apathy is easy to control. This is why it's so disturbing to see so many people just dropping out, marginalizing themselves, especially among the radical/activist set. Essentially, anybody who didn't vote against George Bush voted for him.
    Now how one should feel about that is a personal question, but I wouldn't think that should be attractive to anyone of a libertarian socialist/secular humanist orientation. It just bugs me to see people, especially people who have a lot of energy and passion, deliberately marginalize themselves.
    At the risk of sounding redundant, I voted against George Bush for the same reason I protested the Iraq War, or Chinese repression in Tibet, or whatever, out of a moral conviction. It's not a zero-sum game. You can march, sit-in, petition, smash windows if you really want,...and vote when the time comes,..just not all at once.
     
  17. AndersB

    AndersBActive Member Forum Member


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    I have been able two vote twice. And I voted both times. This is because I fell that even if my own philosophy rejects the Representative democracy, I have to vote to just get that little bit of influence. Also, politics in Denmark is a bit different than that of Canada and USA. We for example get to elect who to run the local church since the church of Denmark is part of the state and is able to collect taxes. Thus, since I'm a member (never bothered to leave the church) I voted to the local church council. I voted for a guy who I knew would preserve some of the land that the local church own. I voted for the better of my community.
    My other election was the election for the EU parliament. I voted for the peoples movement against the EU, thus voting against EU.
    Voting can sometimes change things for the better. I think that the more local the election, the better it is to vote. I haven't yet been able to vote for our own danish parliament, but when the chance come, I will vote once more. Again, the system is a bit different in Denmark and there is one party who I can agree with on most things.
    This is not supporting the system, this is just another form of protest. The effect of voting all depends on the system your voting within
     
  18. Bones

    BonesMember Forum Member


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    You can read all you want, but you clearly have a very weird understanding of anarchism. You're not an anarchist, because you think appealing to the bourgeoisie can solve the problems the working class faces.

    Can you explain this to me then? Also, protesting the way doesn't make you an anarchist.

    Maybe not, but you've already said that there is no other choice than to vote for the lesser of two (bourgeois) evils.

    Um, no. The commune is everything. What is the bigger picture?


    There is no way of telling how a different outcome of the 2000 election would have changed history, and to say otherwise is just making assumptions. This has no place in debate and certainly no place within anarchism.

    Anarchism is a struggle for liberation. We believe that through liberation will have a better quality of life. But it is still a struggle for liberation, and for agency over our lives.

    I'm not talking financially or economically supporting capitalism. I'm talking about politically supporting capitalism, which you do. I'm not concerned with making morally good choices, and I don't think a revolution will be born from this. The most important thing we can be doing is thinking of and enacting ways that create working class power.
     
  19. ungovernable

    ungovernableAutonome Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    Why a "working class" power? I never understood.... A exclusively-proletarian revolution is only one step away from turning into a marxist revolution with Dictatorship of the proletariat...

    A society isn't only the working class, especially in an anarchist society where anarchists consider working isn't an obligation.

    I agree with the rest of your post.
     
  20. butcher

    butcherExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Dictatorship of the proletariat= state capitalism where bourgeois 'leaders' or vanguard make decisions on 'behalf' of the working class.
    A truly liberating proletarian revolution would look very different indeed.
    However I kinda understand what you're trying to get at, as anarchist our aims are to destroy class divisions in society (and all hierarchy for that matter) not to replace our current ruling class with one taken from the working class. However, it kinda goes without saying that those with the most to gain from a revolution are the working class, thus encouraging working class 'consciousness' or power is an important step towards building a movement capable of smashing capitalism and the state.
     
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