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Voting Labour?

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rat
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May 29 2017 09:26

I like the way that there are British anarchists who will vote Labour — even try and encourage workers to vote Labour.

But at the same time there are tons of people who can see through the bullshit of democracy and refuse to vote. Strange.

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Chilli Sauce
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May 29 2017 10:51
rat wrote:
I like the way that there are British anarchists who will vote Labour — even try and encourage workers to vote Labour.

But at the same time there are tons of people who can see through the bullshit of democracy and refuse to vote. Strange.

I don't know about all that, Rat. For the record, I'm not going to vote although I don't really think it's worth arguing with other people who intend to vote. That said, of the British anarchists I know, even the ones who vote, I can't recall them encouraging others to do so. And the British anarchist organizations certainly don't encourage voting in any form.

Two other points: One, this shit is not only reserved for Britain. It's certainly an issue in the US and I've heard of these same debates happening in Spain and Turkey and I'm sure lots of other places.

Two, I'm not sure that most people who don't vote "see through" electoralism as such. Apathy towards electoral politics is a perfectly reasonable response to capitalist democracy, but "seeing through" requires a critique that I'm just not sure exists amongst the vast majority of non-voters. If it did, it seems to me there'd be much higher levels of non-electoral political activity and that's just not the case.

ajjohnstone
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May 29 2017 11:09

Coincidentally, Chilli, this article appeared today on non-voters

http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/40-of-non-voters-think-who-is-in-g...

A survey carried out for the Electoral Reform Society Scotland, found a significant number of those who will not vote on June 8 are not apathetic about politics.

Jonathon Shafi, Electoral Reform Society Scotland campaigns officer, said: “We find time and again that the claim that those who are not voting are totally apathetic is simply untrue...we find that large sections of those who don’t vote regularly discuss politics with friends and family. We also find that this part of the electorate want to make their community a better place to live. That is politics, just not in the ‘formal’ traditional sense: after all, this comes down to getting the power and resources to change things.” He continued: “Where we do find a disconnect with politics, it comes down in part to a strong feeling that their vote doesn’t make a difference. At a more personal level, they also feel that politicians don’t understand their lives, never mind being able to change it. This is an issue of political culture and how parties and politicians communicate with the public. But it’s also about how we deepen democracy and bring decision-making closer to communities.”

Two-fifths of non-voters think who is in government makes no difference to their lives. Meanwhile, a similar number (42 percent) said they felt all the candidates they could vote for did not understand their life. Just over a quarter (26 percent) of non-voters said they regularly talked about how to make their community a better place - with this rising to about a third (32 per cent) when those who probably will not vote are included. In addition, 27 percent of those who say they are certain not to cast their ballot said they regularly discuss politics with friends and family.

Scallywag
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May 29 2017 13:54

Still following this thread, thanks for the comments. I am pretty convinced now that there is just no point in voting in this election, maybe there is point in voting in some elections like to stop someone like Donald Trump becoming prime minister, but in this case there is no point lending support to labour. In fact the view that there is something even if its small for the working class to gain from backing labour is counter-revolutionary and I think those who have argued along those lines have been right to do so.

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May 29 2017 14:35

ajj, that does make for interesting reading, I must say.

zugzwang
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May 29 2017 15:42
rat wrote:
I like the way that there are British anarchists who will vote Labour — even try and encourage workers to vote Labour.

But at the same time there are tons of people who can see through the bullshit of democracy and refuse to vote. Strange.

Looking at the States, are the people who voted against Trump, whose ascension has aggravated far-right activity and hate crimes, just as gullible as well? Policy-wise too, I don't see how things could not have been different under, say, a Sanders presidency. Some of Trump's first executive actions were to enact his travel ban and give his approval to pipelines, and now he's he's trying to fulfill his campaign rhetoric of 'slashing taxes (for corporations and the wealthy),' cutting social spending and building up the military - all the usual right-wing stuff. Would all of this have happened regardless?

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May 30 2017 09:54

ZZ, Trump's extreme actions so far have been blocked by the other parts of government (the travel ban, for example, the wall etc).

Bernie Sanders would have faced exactly the same problem: but even more so as most of his programme would have had more opposition from within his own party than Trump (for example most of the Republicans are behind his agenda to cut taxes for business and the rich, whereas almost no Democrats would be in favour of Sanders' plans to redistribute wealth in the opposite direction)

zugzwang
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May 30 2017 20:18
Steven. wrote:
ZZ, Trump's extreme actions so far have been blocked by the other parts of government (the travel ban, for example, the wall etc).

Bernie Sanders would have faced exactly the same problem: but even more so as most of his programme would have had more opposition from within his own party than Trump (for example most of the Republicans are behind his agenda to cut taxes for business and the rich, whereas almost no Democrats would be in favour of Sanders' plans to redistribute wealth in the opposite direction)

Yes, I'm under no illusions with Sanders; on paper Sanders' programme sounds helpful (not ideal, capital and the state are still intact) for the poor and most vulnerable of society, redistributing income downward and so on, but in practice it's a different matter, him needing support to carry through his plans. Nevertheless I think the policies he would pursue and actions he would take would be less severe than what we're dealing with now, travel bans and so on. The surge in far-right activity as well would surely be less serious an issue than it is now, which is another aspect. I don't advocate voting (I don't keep up with British affairs; it might make no difference there), but I think it was strategically reasonable to vote against Trump if you lived in a state where you vote mattered.

potrokin
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May 31 2017 09:15
Scallywag wrote:
Still following this thread, thanks for the comments. I am pretty convinced now that there is just no point in voting in this election, maybe there is point in voting in some elections like to stop someone like Donald Trump becoming prime minister, but in this case there is no point lending support to labour. In fact the view that there is something even if its small for the working class to gain from backing labour is counter-revolutionary and I think those who have argued along those lines have been right to do so.

So you would vote for Hillary to keep Trump out but you wouldn't vote Corbyn (someone on the left) to keep May out? May being someone who will destroy the NHS, make the housing crisis worse, thus creating more homelessness, take kid's free school meals away, introduce a dementia tax, take away pensioner's winter fuel allowance, create more people reliant on foodbanks and legalize fox hunting etc. Weird, especially as I couldn't have voted for Hillary. I think it's obvious that a Corbyn led Labour government will be better than the Tories and thats why I'm voting for Corbyn- the revolution ain't happening any time soon. Why would you turn down the chance to vote for a government that will not only do less harm but will likely actually do some good? And I'm not counter-revolutionary, I'm just being realistic, I want a revolution that gets rid of capitalism but how much longer do the oppressed working class people struggling to survive, have to wait for this to happen?

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May 31 2017 07:40

Well Potrokin, a number of pretty good reasons why people are not voting Labour have been given. They are at least as valid as your hopeful vote. You talk as though the benefits you're suggesting are guaranteed. They're are far from guaranteed mate.
Have you looked at the history of the Labour Party? Phil's blogs are a good place to start. You've got to look at that - "it will be different this time", "at last we have a chance for a principled PM" doesn't mean shit. You are voting for party, not for a nice fella. All incoming governments both Tory and Labour, fail to deliver on their election promises. Always. Different this time? Not a fucking chance.

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May 31 2017 08:30

Yeah, potrokin, we went over this in quite a lot of detail in another Vote Corbyn thread.

I suggest you read that thread as it discusses the concrete reasons why people think there's no point voting for Corbyn (one being that, unless you live in Islington North, you're not voting for Corbyn, you're probably voting for someone in the PLP who hates him and was possibly even involved in privatising the NHS!).

potrokin
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May 31 2017 09:22

Yeah, I'm just a Labour voting liberal, not a real libcommie. I need to just shut up. How dare I express my views.

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May 31 2017 09:39
potrokin wrote:
Yeah, I'm just a Labour voting liberal, not a real libcommie. I need to just shut up. How dare I express my views.

Come on, that's pretty unfair. I usually like your contributions coz you are open minded and often express personal reflection and feelings rather than just straight ideology. It's a pity you posted that.

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May 31 2017 09:44
potrokin wrote:
Yeah, I'm just a Labour voting liberal, not a real libcommie. I need to just shut up. How dare I express my views.

Who said this? As an admin I will personally find and cut them wink

potrokin
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May 31 2017 09:58
Noah Fence wrote:
potrokin wrote:
Yeah, I'm just a Labour voting liberal, not a real libcommie. I need to just shut up. How dare I express my views.

Come on, that's pretty unfair. I usually like your contributions coz you are open minded and often express personal reflection and feelings rather than just straight ideology. It's a pity you posted that.

Well sorry but it's like I'm not allowed to express my opinion.

potrokin
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May 31 2017 10:05

It just felt like I was being jumped on. I guess I can express my opinion, but we disagree so I'm sorry. At the end of the day, I think a Corbyn led Labour government will do some positive things for the working class, and will do less harm than the Tories. You guys disagree, I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree.

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May 31 2017 10:30
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I am pretty convinced now that there is just no point in voting in this election, maybe there is point in voting in some elections like to stop someone like Donald Trump becoming prime minister

While I believe there's no point in voting, I also understand people like Potrokin's reasons to decide to vote for that nice Mr Corbyn (though in reality, they are voting for whoever their local Labour candidate is - in my case, the not so nice Liz Kendall). But I really don't understand why Scallywag thinks that horrid Mr Trump is nasty enough to vote against while that horrid Mrs May is not nasty enough to vote against. At what point does a politician become so beyond the pale that you'd go out and "actively" vote against them?

Anyway, I think we need to go back to basics. Voting in elections encourages the buggers. Also, voting means a misguided faith in the system that a vote for a particular candidate or party, for whatever reason, can somehow make a difference. It also means those with pro-revolutionary views temporarily put those views to one side in order to for the moment endorse capitalism (or at best a "kinder" form of capitalism) with their vote.

Now if people want to do that, that's entirely up to them and I won't condemn them for it because like I say, I understand. But coming on Libcom and proselytising the merits of voting in a bourgeois election for whoever they hope will form the next government, ie the political wing of the capitalist class in the UK, is poor.

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May 31 2017 10:32
potrokin wrote:
It just felt like I was being jumped on. I guess I can express my opinion, but we disagree so I'm sorry. At the end of the day, I think a Corbyn led Labour government will do some positive things for the working class, and will do less harm than the Tories. You guys disagree, I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree.

On that subject then, do you remember that Labour MPs passed a motion of no confidence in Corbyn 172-40?

Even if he did win the election, do you think he would be able to survive with only 40 MPs supporting him out of 650?

And a follow-up question then, if you don't, do you think that a non-Corbyn Labour Party would be any different from a Blair/Brown style Labour Party?

zugzwang
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May 31 2017 16:25
Serge Forward wrote:
... But I really don't understand why Scallywag thinks that horrid Mr Trump is nasty enough to vote against while that horrid Mrs May is not nasty enough to vote against. At what point does a politician become so beyond the pale that you'd go out and "actively" vote against them? ...

When they're wanting to impose a religious ban, turn down environmental agreements and deny the existence of climate change, openly declare their intentions to distribute income upward and are supported by numerous far-right groups/people, white nationalists and so on, which would only further empower them if elected (as it has in the States). I think that's a pretty good reason to attempt to keep them out of office by voting against them. You could of course try other methods as well.

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May 31 2017 11:08
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At what point does a politician become so beyond the pale that you'd go out and "actively" vote against them?

I advocate a points based system. We should probably form a workshop so that we can thresh out the criteria, how many points a particular misdemeanour should be allocated etc.
Any suggestions? Personally, I think the use of catchphrases should carry a high score - I heard Jezza say "foodbank Britain" on telly last night. What an absolute wanker.

potrokin
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May 31 2017 12:25
Steven. wrote:
potrokin wrote:
It just felt like I was being jumped on. I guess I can express my opinion, but we disagree so I'm sorry. At the end of the day, I think a Corbyn led Labour government will do some positive things for the working class, and will do less harm than the Tories. You guys disagree, I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree.

On that subject then, do you remember that Labour MPs passed a motion of no confidence in Corbyn 172-40?

Even if he did win the election, do you think he would be able to survive with only 40 MPs supporting him out of 650?

And a follow-up question then, if you don't, do you think that a non-Corbyn Labour Party would be any different from a Blair/Brown style Labour Party?

I don't know the answer to the first part of your question but no, I would not vote Labour if it was led by neo-liberals again.

Scallywag
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May 31 2017 12:45
potrokin wrote:
So you would vote for Hillary to keep Trump out but you wouldn't vote Corbyn (someone on the left) to keep May out? May being someone who will destroy the NHS, make the housing crisis worse, thus creating more homelessness, take kid's free school meals away, introduce a dementia tax, take away pensioner's winter fuel allowance, create more people reliant on foodbanks and legalize fox hunting etc. Weird, especially as I couldn't have voted for Hillary. I think it's obvious that a Corbyn led Labour government will be better than the Tories and thats why I'm voting for Corbyn- the revolution ain't happening any time soon. Why would you turn down the chance to vote for a government that will not only do less harm but will likely actually do some good? And I'm not counter-revolutionary, I'm just being realistic, I want a revolution that gets rid of capitalism but how much longer do the oppressed working class people struggling to survive, have to wait for this to happen?

I don't think these situations are comparable, the republicans are a lot worse than the conservatives here, and Trump represents a turn towards fascism in the worlds most powerful country. I only gave this as an extreme example where I think it throws something else into the debate - trying to keep a potential Hitler out of power, and fascism out of state politics - where I thought ok this MIGHT be a situation where we could consider voting or at least debate about doing so in a different context, but even then voting is still a really ineffective way of stopping fascism, or stopping Trump becoming president.

Also I know very little about how the American political system works, I don't understand the electoral college, or what states are safe republican or democrat seats and where it would be pointless to vote Hilary anyway. I also was never involved in arguments with American anarchists about voting Hilary so I don't know their arguments there, maybe the circumstances are a bit different and it is worth voting Hilary and effective doing so to keep Trump out or maybe its not, I really don't know.

But knowing little about American politics then I'd say that no I probably wouldn't vote for Hillary to keep Trump out, because doing so seems a completely ineffective way to stop that.

Also I never meant that individuals who vote are counter-revolutionaries, I still have no problem with anarchists who vote, but the argument that we have something to gain through voting, through engaging with electoral politics, and through supporting the lesser evil - I think really is a view point which is counter-revolutionary. It gives legitimacy to the electoral system, people think they can gain something from it, they think that this time its different, and it prevents them from organising.

Scallywag
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May 31 2017 13:43
potrokin wrote:
I want a revolution that gets rid of capitalism but how much longer do the oppressed working class people struggling to survive, have to wait for this to happen?

Well it would happen sooner if oppressed working class people realise there is nothing to gain through electoral politics, utterly reject it and organise.

I totally get though the sense of powerlessness, the feeling that anarchism isn't building any alternative to the status quo and wanting to vote because it feels like doing something at least.

zugzwang
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May 31 2017 16:16
Scallywag wrote:
potrokin wrote:
I want a revolution that gets rid of capitalism but how much longer do the oppressed working class people struggling to survive, have to wait for this to happen?

Well it would happen sooner if oppressed working class people realise there is nothing to gain through electoral politics, utterly reject it and organise.

I totally get though the sense of powerlessness, the feeling that anarchism isn't building any alternative to the status quo and wanting to vote because it feels like doing something at least.

And why can't voting against the greater evil (in the States it was abundantly clear who that was), which only takes 5 or so minutes as others have pointed out (time spans may of course vary), still exist alongside working-class organization? Voting is nothing to get too invested with. Why can't we do both?

ajjohnstone
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May 31 2017 16:45
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And why can't voting against the greater evil (in the States it was abundantly clear who that was),

I'm not sure we can say that.

Clinton was a proven evil. Trump we could only speculate about and surmise.

I recall many saw Ron Paul as a genuine libertarian anti-statist and anti-foreign-interventionists. He attracted a surprisiing amount of what you could say was "lefty-liberal" support. His advocates were out in force during the Occupy Movement appealing to their anti-corporate, anti-government sentiments and his policies resonated with many of them.

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May 31 2017 18:18
potrokin wrote:
Steven. wrote:
potrokin wrote:
It just felt like I was being jumped on. I guess I can express my opinion, but we disagree so I'm sorry. At the end of the day, I think a Corbyn led Labour government will do some positive things for the working class, and will do less harm than the Tories. You guys disagree, I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree.

On that subject then, do you remember that Labour MPs passed a motion of no confidence in Corbyn 172-40?

Even if he did win the election, do you think he would be able to survive with only 40 MPs supporting him out of 650?

And a follow-up question then, if you don't, do you think that a non-Corbyn Labour Party would be any different from a Blair/Brown style Labour Party?

I don't know the answer to the first part of your question but no, I would not vote Labour if it was led by neo-liberals again.

John McDonnell said...

Quote:
We are the party of business

Quote:
We are an entrepreneurial party

What makes you so sure these aren't neo-liberals we're dealing with here?

zugzwang
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May 31 2017 17:21
ajjohnstone wrote:
Quote:
And why can't voting against the greater evil (in the States it was abundantly clear who that was),

I'm not sure we can say that.

Clinton was a proven evil. Trump we could only speculate about and surmise.

I recall many saw Ron Paul as a genuine libertarian anti-statist and anti-foreign-interventionists. He attracted a surprisiing amount of what you could say was "lefty-liberal" support. His advocates were out in force during the Occupy Movement appealing to their anti-corporate, anti-government sentiments and his policies resonated with many of them.

Primary-wise I think Sanders was the obvious choice, who actually had the support to win the general election, but the Democratic party shenanigans aided in preventing that. I still don't think it's a question whether Clinton would have done less harm overall (could probably argue in some areas about that), and I think you can just look at their campaign promises to roughly judge who was the greater threat. (Didn't down-vote this by the way.)

Scallywag
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May 31 2017 18:12
zugzwang wrote:
And why can't voting against the greater evil (in the States it was abundantly clear who that was), which only takes 5 or so minutes as others have pointed out (time spans may of course vary), still exist alongside working-class organization? Voting is nothing to get too invested with. Why can't we do both?

Because if say labour is the lesser evil, and we say it's the lesser evil and encourage others to vote for the lesser evil then in a small way we've legitimised them, we've said that the working class can gain from voting for them, when we really can't. We would have then also given legitimacy to electoral politics and made it seem like we can make small gains through it when again we really can't. Offering that small amount of legitimacy will be enough for leftists and the working class to never break from statist politics, it won't create the mass disillusionment we need towards electoral politics to get people thinking about an alternative and self organising.

As for individual anarchists thinking that they might as well vote for the lesser evil but don't tell others to vote for them, well I've said that I don't have a problem with it, but actually if individual anarchists do believe that labour are a 'lesser evil' and think we can gain by backing them then I guess that is a bit of a problem - this thread has multiple examples why it won't work out, and why labour aren't a 'lesser evil'.

zugzwang
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May 31 2017 18:12
Scallywag wrote:
zugzwang wrote:
And why can't voting against the greater evil (in the States it was abundantly clear who that was), which only takes 5 or so minutes as others have pointed out (time spans may of course vary), still exist alongside working-class organization? Voting is nothing to get too invested with. Why can't we do both?

Because if say labour is the lesser evil, and we say it's the lesser evil and encourage others to vote for the lesser evil then in a small way we've legitimised them, we've said that the working class can gain from voting for them, when we really can't. We would have then also given legitimacy to electoral politics and made it seem like we can make small gains through it when again we really can't. Offering that small amount of legitimacy will be enough for leftists and the working class to never break from statist politics, it won't create the mass disillusionment we need towards electoral politics to get people thinking about an alternative and self organising.

You can still remain extremely skeptical about Labour, and the bourgeois State in general, while still voting for them as the lesser evil (if they indeed are). You don't have to be that invested in them, and there's no reason you still can't be organizing the working class outside of electoral politics.

Scallywag
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May 31 2017 18:16
zugzwang wrote:
You can still remain extremely skeptical about Labour, and the bourgeois State in general, while still voting for them as the lesser evil (if they indeed are). You don't have to be that invested in them, and there's no reason you still can't be organizing the working class outside of electoral politics.

People only have so much time, I think they are unlikely to get involved with anarchist organisations if they are already supporting labour and getting involved with them, especially if they think labour are effective, or that we can really gain from them.

I mean maybe anarchists can do as you describe, other leftists probably not. We need mass disillusionment towards the system.

Also I edited extra onto my last post.