'vote nobody'

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anarchol
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Jan 29 2007 17:12
'vote nobody'

The welsh assembly elections are looming and once against most people won't take part. Thinking about making some political capital out of this. Does anybody have any experiance of anti-election / vote nobody campagins? any useful ideas?

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boozemonarchy
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Jan 29 2007 17:20

maybe make a pamphlet outlining why voting is fucked up. you and your buddies go out to the polls, drop your pamphlets in different boothes, doodle on your ballot or write something subversive on it just for fun. thats just one simple and easy thing you could do if you you don't have many people to work with. people would probably just pick up a handfull of the pamphlets, start ranting some patriotic nonsence and toss them, so maybe makeing a bullet sheet to adhere more permanatly to the booth would be the key.

anarchol
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Jan 31 2007 22:05

This May, we will all be asked to vote for one or
other politcan who tells us they have our best
interests at heart, shoving leaflets full of lies
through our letterboxes in the forest load. Making
promises we all know they will never keep.

Voting is not an expression of power, but an admission
of powerlessness, by voting we do nothing but
legitimise an illegitimate government. Somehow, the
infrequent option to 'X' a box in favour of one or
other identical, single-ideology parties, has somehow
become accepted as ‘the democratic process’ - despite
the result having no effect on economy or social
policy.

Whoever you vote for, the government always wins. This
time make a difference, refuse to give any of them any
legitimacy. Vote Nobody in the assemebly elections on
May 3rd, simply write "Nobody" on your ballot paper.

Together, with NOBODY leading us we can take back our
communities!

NOBODY will keep all promises!

NOBODY will give you freedom!

Nobody in power means power for everybody!

Lets have REAL devolution, VOTE NOBODY!

Check out the campagin website (please note this is
very much a work in progress!) -
http://cardiff.revolt.org/campaigns/votenobody.htm

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madashell
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Feb 2 2007 11:02

While anybody who knows me will tell you how much I hate to be too critical, do you not think a "spoil your ballots" campaign fails to put across the anarchist critique of bourgeois democracy?

You're still focussing your political action on the elections themselves, on the toings and froings of the people in power rather than on everyday life. Surely an anti-election campaign misses the point somewhat?

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Steven.
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Feb 2 2007 11:10

i dunno mad, i sympathise on one level, but on another elections are times when pretty much everyone talks about politics a lot, it's very much on the agenda in people's minds and in general conversations, and it's a good time to gt ideas across to people. it's a useful time from a propaganda point of view.

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madashell
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Feb 2 2007 11:16
John. wrote:
i dunno mad, i sympathise on one level, but on another elections are times when pretty much everyone talks about politics a lot, it's very much on the agenda in people's minds and in general conversations, and it's a good time to gt ideas across to people. it's a useful time from a propaganda point of view.

I don't disagree, but I wonder whether campaigning for people to spoil their ballots is the best way to take advantage of this.

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Steven.
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Feb 2 2007 11:29

oh i didn't see the ballot spoiling bit, yeah that's a waste of time IMO, the only person who'll see it is some count worker.

anarchol
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Feb 2 2007 15:49

to be honest with you it's not something I've put much time or energy into (as of yet anyway). Fair point on the spoiling ballots part I lifted that from some other 'vote nobody' campagin to be honest. perhaps we'll drop the spoiling ballots part, dunno, gonna have a meeting next tuesday, see what people think.

The main idea is to capitalise on the fact that most people in wales won't vote (if previous form is anything to go by) so we can quite happily say "NOBODY REPRESENTS WALES" after the election. Also to produce a 'manifesto' which in design terms will be a spoof of party manifestos and in content an introduction to anarchism.

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Volin
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Feb 2 2007 16:15
Dim Llywodraeth wrote:
...produce a 'manifesto' which in design terms will be a spoof of party manifestos and in content an introduction to anarchism.

Yeah I like that. We'll probably do something similar in Scotland if we get our act together. I don't have a problem with the idea of spoiling ballots as long as it's recognised as a purely symbolic act and only a personal start in making a break with conventional politics. The emphasis obviously should always be on propaganda, bringing the question of 'alternatives', 'democracy' etc. to the only place it should be, in people's communities and workplaces. That, and ripping the shit out of politicos of every description.

Keep us up to date with what you're doing!

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Steven.
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Feb 2 2007 16:32

my idea at least one day when it's complete is some sort of anti-election propaganda campaign combined with the everyday manifesto: http://libcom.org/everyday-manifesto

trying to get other groups to sign up to it, do general prop like posters, leaflets, etc. - make some general window poster like political parties have, but instead of candidates names have big red+black one with Don't vote, organise! or some shit.

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boozemonarchy
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Feb 2 2007 16:43

I was only suggesting that when your in the booth you could just doodle on your ballot while adhereing some type of propaganda to the booth, not starting a campaign encouraging people to fuck around and doodle on the ballots, that really is a waste of time. Not voting diffentaly isn't revolutionary action or anything, but telling people why you don't is not to bad of an idea. Making up a little sheet and tacking in a ballot box wouldn't take to much time. I also like John's idea of posters that look like candidates posters, with "Don't Vote, Organise!" Seeing that during an election cycle would surely warm my heart up a bit.

When I read over my last, it really does seem like I suggested some sort of "fuck with your ballot campaign", sorry bout' that, not my intention at all embarrassed

What I really meant to get across was that while you yourself were in there you get put something on the ballot for the hell of it, just for fun.

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Steven.
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Feb 2 2007 17:01

i think it's better to just not waste the time going to the booth...

anarchol
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Feb 2 2007 17:04
John. wrote:
my idea at least one day when it's complete is some sort of anti-election propaganda campaign combined with the everyday manifesto: http://libcom.org/everyday-manifesto

trying to get other groups to sign up to it, do general prop like posters, leaflets, etc. - make some general window poster like political parties have, but instead of candidates names have big red+black one with Don't vote, organise! or some shit.

This is the sort of idea.

The last assembly elections in 2003 had a turn-out of just 38% (it was as low as 24% in some areas) As such 'voter apathy' is fairly big media issue at election time. Of course this also is due to the fact that some people in wales are anti-assembly as an institution.
This being wales it's easy to get a media profile. Was thinking of promoting a "antipathy not apathy!" line.
We haven't got much time for this upcoming election, however theres no time like the present to get the ball rolling, then we can roll it out for general and council elections.

anarchol
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Apr 10 2007 12:36

You can download the new vote nobody leaflet here: votenobody.pdf

Theres a site here: myspace.com/votenobody

Dan
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Apr 10 2007 22:32

Hi everyone.

I am new to this forum and I hope nobody minds me joining, I have known about anarchisim and have been in complete favor of it for a few years now. I liked the vote nobody leaflet, and I try to print it out soon.

mitr
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Apr 11 2007 09:41

Before now, I thought the term practising anti-democrat was a contradiction.

john
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Apr 11 2007 10:07

I like this leaflet

ftony
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Apr 11 2007 14:06

"vote Nobody - because Nobody cares".

great line cool

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 11 2007 14:07
Dan wrote:
Hi everyone

Hi dan, welcome to the forums! Feel free to introduce yourself here.

bobkindles
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Apr 11 2007 14:11

Why is it that Anarchists are so reisistant to participating in existing political institutions? I fully accept that the emancipation of the proletariat and the dissolution of the class antagonism cannot be achieved within the framework of the existing system, but I still feel there exist ways in which the revolutionary left can use democratic institutions to our advantage. In particular, through gaining positions of office it is possible to put forward transitional demands whereby we can expose the inability of the Capitalist system to ensure financial and material security and wellbeing for all the working class, and in doing so encourage the development of a class consciousness.

Whilst doing so, it is also possible, and advisable, to ensure that the proletariat is fully aware of the shortcomings of existing institutions and that a real improvement in the condition of the proletariat can only take place through class confrontation and revolution.

john
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Apr 11 2007 14:16

should we all join the Labour Party then?

bobkindles
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Apr 11 2007 14:22

No, most certainly not. There are many radical left-wing parties that participate in elections and consciously accept the limitations of doing so. May I suggest the Socialist Workers Party? The SWP is part of the Respect Coalition which allows the party to advance their political message and make transitional demands whilst still establishing a division between their revolutionary goals and the reformism other political parties.

john
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Apr 11 2007 14:34
bobkindles wrote:
May I suggest the Socialist Workers Party?

Are they still going?

I thought they'd converted into a pro-Islam party?

They don't seem to stand that much chance of wining the next election, though, do they?

bobkindles
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Apr 11 2007 14:41
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Are they still going?
I thought they'd converted into a pro-Islam party?
They don't seem to stand that much chance of wining the next election, though, do they?

Revolutionary Parties do not choose to stand in elections with the expectation of winning - read what I posted above. Although the SWP has chosen, particuarly as part of RESPECT, to engage with the Muslim Community as part of the ongoing struggle against Imperialism, prejudice against Muslism minorities within British society, and Militarism, it is fallacious to say that 'islam' lies at the centre of the SWP's politics - it is simply an extension of the Revolutionary left's struggle against War and discrimination within the context of the United Kingdom.

In terms of if they 'are still going' - the answer is certainly yes, the SWP played an important role in establishing and organising the Stop-the-War movement, and actively participates in important working class struggles, especially with regard to reductions in employment and expenditure in the public service sector. Do you want to talk about the role of Anarchist groups in the UK at the moment? I am sure it will not take very long.

john
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Apr 11 2007 14:57
bobkindles wrote:

Revolutionary Parties do not choose to stand in elections with the expectation of winning

the problem, though, is surely that in standing in elections (especially ones they expect to lose) is that they are channelling their efforts towards a process that could never be emancipatory - i.e. liberal democracy

Quote:

the SWP has chosen, particuarly as part of RESPECT, to engage with the Muslim Community as part of the ongoing struggle against Imperialism, prejudice against Muslism minorities within British society, and Militarism, it is fallacious to say that 'islam' lies at the centre of the SWP's politics - it is simply an extension of the Revolutionary left's struggle against War and discrimination within the context of the United Kingdom.

isn't the problem here that many of the Islamic groups that the SWP is aligned with are really conservative, hierarchical organisations, that have nothing to do with revoluationary politics?

Quote:
the SWP played an important role in establishing and organising the Stop-the-War movement

from all accounts I've heard they also played a significant role in turning the STW movement into a branch of the SWP, with a related breakdown in internal debate, and inability to attract people other than SWPs to it.

bobkindles
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Apr 11 2007 15:10
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from all accounts I've heard they also played a significant role in turning the STW movement into a branch of the SWP, with a related breakdown in internal debate, and inability to attract people other than SWPs to it.

I would like to inform you that the SWP recently organised what they termed a 'People's Assembly' which contained delegates from a wide range of different social groups and organisations including educational institutions, trade unions, and muslim organisations who engaged in discussion and debate regarding important issues facing the broader anti-war movement including the objectives and struggles that the movement could face in the future. This suggests a clear willingness to engage in internal debate.

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isn't the problem here that many of the Islamic groups that the SWP is aligned with are really conservative, hierarchical organisations, that have nothing to do with revoluationary politics?

I can't deny that many of the groups you specify are characterised by conservatism, and ideas we may consider reactionary. But that does not mean that they have nothing to do with revolutionary leftist politics. Overcoming ethnic and religous divisions within the working class is important for developing unity which is of the greatest necessity in working towards longer-term goals such as the dissolution of the class antagonism through revolution.

Quote:
the problem, though, is surely that in standing in elections (especially ones they expect to lose) is that they are channelling their efforts towards a process that could never be emancipatory - i.e. liberal democracy

As I have already stated, I agree with you in some respects - liberal democracy cannot achieve the full aspirations and goals of revolutionary socialism by the very nature of the fact that the concept of revolution involves the destruction of all existing political institutions - that is not to say elections are useless. The SWP is not limited to using elections to further its goals -as I mentioned earlier, the SWP also particpates in and covers working class struggles. In addition, through its multiple publications and through the Marxism event the SWP annually hosts, the party is able to contribute towards the education of Socialists and Progressives and develop revolutionary class consciousness.

john
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Apr 11 2007 15:22

bob - I can see your points - but I think the SWP needs to decide what it stands for. If it wants to be part of the mainstream of representative democracy, then people's assemblies with trade unions, NGOs and muslim orgs might be the way to go, but if it wants to make a consistent case against liberal democracy then I think it needs to be clear that these organizations are themselves invariably part of the problem.

As for working with reactionary organizations as a means of overcoming division within the working class - that's just ridiculous. I mean, if I work together with the local BNP, does that mean I've overcome some significant division in teh British proletariat?

bobkindles
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Apr 11 2007 15:37
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As for working with reactionary organizations as a means of overcoming division within the working class - that's just ridiculous. I mean, if I work together with the local BNP, does that mean I've overcome some significant division in teh British proletariat?

The BNP creates divisions within the working class in order to preserve the power of the bourgeoisie by exploiting the financial and material hardships that proletarians face through establishing scapegoats. Allying with such an organisation could not be justified because it is not conducive to furthering our aims - I feel the same cannot be said of working with Islamic organisations.

Quote:
bob - I can see your points - but I think the SWP needs to decide what it stands for. If it wants to be part of the mainstream of representative democracy, then people's assemblies with trade unions, NGOs and muslim orgs might be the way to go, but if it wants to make a consistent case against liberal democracy then I think it needs to be clear that these organizations are themselves invariably part of the problem.

What we are really talking about here is a debate that has faced the revolutionary left for a long period of time - a debate centered around what methods should be employed to further our goals and how one can reconcile principled opposition to the state, which functions as a mechanism for the ruling class the ensure the continuation of the existing system, and practical participation in elections. I accept that Anarchism has certainly made important contributions towards the study of practical organisation, and I feel that political parties should use a range of methods both within the state and in direct contact with worker's struggles - there is no irreconciliable contradiction between these two forms of Praxis. I support the SWP because I feel it is a party that best follows and represents the approach.

I would be interested to know - why do Anarchists, in theory, refuse to participate in elections and hold political office? I say in theory because I recall that Anarchists were willing to participate in the popular front government during the Spanish Civil War.

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thugarchist
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Apr 11 2007 15:49
bobkindles wrote:

I would be interested to know - why do Anarchists, in theory, refuse to participate in elections and hold political office? I say in theory because I recall that Anarchists were willing to participate in the popular front government during the Spanish Civil War.

He's got you there anarchists! Not only participate but illegalize and disarm their own forces in favor of state control.

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cantdocartwheels
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Apr 11 2007 17:45
bobkindles wrote:
The BNP creates divisions within the working class in order to preserve the power of the bourgeoisie by exploiting the financial and material hardships that proletarians face through establishing scapegoats. Allying with such an organisation could not be justified because it is not conducive to furthering our aims - I feel the same cannot be said of working with Islamic organisations.

Eh? I think you'll find that islamic organisations do divide the working class on quite a regular basis. How does giving political capital to islamists further our 'aims'? Whatever those might be in this instance. How is having a bit of a hobnob with the MAB or some other bunch of fundies going to bring about a classless society in britain or iraq?

Quote:
What we are really talking about here is a debate that has faced the revolutionary left for a long period of time - a debate centered around what methods should be employed to further our goals and how one can reconcile principled opposition to the state, which functions as a mechanism for the ruling class the ensure the continuation of the existing system, and practical participation in elections. I accept that Anarchism has certainly made important contributions towards the study of practical organisation, and I feel that political parties should use a range of methods both within the state and in direct contact with worker's struggles - there is no irreconciliable contradiction between these two forms of Praxis. .

At its heart, if you are campaigning for other people to vote for a party, you are telling them that elected representatives can sort out their problems, and you are alligning yourselves with the local or domestic bourgeoisie. You are telling them that bourgeois democracy 'works' and that it is acceptable to treat 'politics' as a seperate sphere from the economics of everyday life. If you stand in an election, but then say 'oh but actually we don't really beleive in this stuff we really want workers councils' no-one is going to take you very seriously are they.

Quote:
I would be interested to know - why do Anarchists, in theory, refuse to participate in elections

Because, like the majority people who don't bother to turn out to elections, anarchists hold that it is a pointless, futile and entirely disempowering excercise.
I'd say that from experience having helped in an election campaign that was an utter waste of time, money and effort which even had we won would have achieved nothing. Never mind the theory for a moment just look at the practice, the socialist alliance for example utterly collapsed partly due to its inability to do anything other than spend lots of time and money feilding local election candidates.

Quote:
and hold political office?

Again leaving aside the fact that being an mp or a senior member of a local council is pretty much going to make you a boss with considerabkle powers over a workforce, what is it that a ''socialist'' councillor or ''socialist'' mp can actually achieve? Say you were campaigning against this or that local tax, do you think having a socialist councillor makes the slightest bit of difference?

Quote:
I say in theory because I recall that Anarchists were willing to participate in the popular front government during the Spanish Civil War.

Some people would view that as at best a mistake, some would see the CNT as having been sold out by certain sections of its leadership, and others would see deeper problems in the praxis, organisational structure and theory of the CNT, but most on here would see it as a combination of the three i would imagine.

Spikymike
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Apr 11 2007 19:05

The problem with arguing over participating in elections or not with the SWP is that this is a relative side issue compared with the fact that they are not, in theory or practice, bar a few nice phrases, at all pro revolutionary or pro communist , but rather a bunch of worn out left wing social democrats who support an outdated state capitalist reform programme.

Whatever glimmer of hope may have existed in the SWP's predecessor in the old IS, that was consciously wiped out a long time ago.

Some of their members may be genuinely angry at the horrible effects of capitalism and a few may even know what communism really is, but this doesn't make their organisation any less of an obstacle to genuinely autonomous class struggle and the potential for revolution.

Still it reminds us all how much Lib Comers really do have in common despite our sniping at each other - it isn't just and issue of differing tactics - our goals and the SWPs are not the same.