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'vote nobody'

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frew
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Apr 12 2007 01:22

We ran a 'Vote Anyone! A Politician Wins!" campaign in the last state election. In Australia, voting is compulsory, so we turn up with our leaflets on polling day and are always very well recieved. This is largely due to the fact that people who don't want to vote have to turn up anyway. Here is the text we used:
http://com1.runboard.com/bnstateless.f3.t7
(The Board is from the region known as Anarchy in an MMORPG called NationStates, that I play.)
I agree with everyone who has argued that running in elections lends legitimacy to parliament. Campaigning around the nature of elections taps into peoples assessment of politicians as self-interested and corrupt. There is a lot of mileage to be gained from attacking parliament.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 12 2007 08:34
bobkindles wrote:
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.

hahahaha priceless! as someone who was politicised by the post 9-11 wars and who hadn't previously heard of the SWP (or anarchists for that matter), i quickly discovered them to be fine purveyors of opportunistic, machiavellian politicking and sabotage of any action outside the party. for instance when they failed to take over the local anti-war group because of the sheer number of new people joining they set up a rival one, which pretty much died on its feet after an email detailing their anti-democratic strategy (bussing-in/block voting, trying to reschedule meetings to times non-members didn't know) was accidentally forwarded to the wider list. then they constantly argued we should collaborate with the police, even when they were harassing and threatening a teacher who had previously been a named organiser. our delegate at one of the london conferences reported that it was impossible to meaningfully participate as the agenda had been stitched up in advance. they organised a london demo on the same day as the march at fairford because 10,000 people marching on a military base was 'elitist direct action' etc etc

and of course, the SWP like all good leninists/social democrats are a bunch of leftists i.e. those who seek to "manage other peoples' struggles" (leftist not meaning left-wing in general, leftist as opposed to communist), and thus are an obstacle to communism as the real movement of working class struggle. that said, some individual SWP members are pretty sound people, though they don't tend to stay in the party for long.

baboon
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Joined: 29-07-05
Apr 12 2007 11:38

I largely agree with the sentiments expressed by Dim in his anti-election leaflet. In Britain we've seen the seamless transition from the LP Callaghan government, to Thatcher, to Major, to Blair. Absolutely seamless, no major problem for the bourgeoisie whatsoever. So there has to be an affirmation of Dim's view that "they are all the same".
However, is leaving messages in the polling booth a way to situate or generalise a political position? The isolation of the polling booth and everything attached to it is a very effective weapon of the bourgeoisie. Leaving radical messages in a polling booth, spoiling papers, is, still, an essentially isolated and thus ineffective action, perfectly in accord with the reinforcement of atomisation and isolation.
Democracy, elections and increasingly longer and longer preparations for the latter are an important weapon for the bourgeoisie. Why? They fill us with illusions, divert, atomise and individualise us, and the class of gangsters who run our lives spend a lot of time, money and energy on maintaining the electoral circus. The result of most elections, in the major democracies, is generally well sorted out by various methods before the election, and whatever the result, the bourgeoisie always come out the winner.
It' s not enough to say that the bourgeoisie are "all the same". I've heard this said often enough only to be followed by sometimes "conditional" support for one fraction or the other of the bourgeoisie because it is slightly "better" in some way or the "lesser evil". One particular example of this is how "Thatcherism" in the 1980s was supposed to be an expression of capitalism that demanded, in some cases, an inter-classist "united-front" (ie, alliances with bourgeois or petty bourgeois forces). The same goes for "fascism" with bells on, as I'm sure the SWPer will agree. A couple of years ago, in the face of widespread apathy, cynicism and anger towards voting for anyone in a French election, the French bourgeoisie cleverly wheeled out the "fascist" Le Pen during the election process. This half-witted buffoon, whose programme would have been a disaster for French capital on day one, was presented as a threat in order to frighten individuals into the voting booth - and it succeeded.
You can see the results of the politics of the "lesser evil" in the posts by the SWPer above. What's presented as "revolutionary" is actually the forces of reaction, the counter-revolution.
Against voting, the working class must express more struggle on its own terrain, expressing its own solidarity as well. Whatever the conditions, this is the only possible revolutionary perspective. In Capital, during a period when voting and parliament did have something progressive about it for the working class, Marx wrote that the when two rights collide, ie, the right of capital to exploit the working class to the death and the right of the working class to fight back and stamp its own perspective, then "force decides the issue". Don't vote - fight.

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AndrewF
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Apr 12 2007 12:31
Joseph K. wrote:
which pretty much died on its feet after an email detailing their anti-democratic strategy (bussing-in/block voting, trying to reschedule meetings to times non-members didn't know) was accidentally forwarded to the wider list.

Is this online somewhere because it should be. They do this sort of stunt all over so it would be useful to have something to link up that demonstrates is can indeed be planned

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madashell
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Apr 12 2007 12:37
thugarchist wrote:
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.

Yeah, because that ended so well neutral

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Steven.
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Apr 12 2007 12:45
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
which pretty much died on its feet after an email detailing their anti-democratic strategy (bussing-in/block voting, trying to reschedule meetings to times non-members didn't know) was accidentally forwarded to the wider list.

Is this online somewhere because it should be. They do this sort of stunt all over so it would be useful to have something to link up that demonstrates is can indeed be planned

Yes it would. And joseph those experiences would be worth writing up quickly for the library...

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 12 2007 12:51
John. wrote:
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
which pretty much died on its feet after an email detailing their anti-democratic strategy (bussing-in/block voting, trying to reschedule meetings to times non-members didn't know) was accidentally forwarded to the wider list.

Is this online somewhere because it should be. They do this sort of stunt all over so it would be useful to have something to link up that demonstrates is can indeed be planned

Yes it would. And joseph those experiences would be worth writing up quickly for the library...

not online afaik, i'll ask around if anyone has it as i was only on the periphery at the time. i'll have a think about a write-up, shouldn't be too tricky but i'm pretty busy at the moment. good idea though, like a 'personal recollections' type thing yeah?

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Steven.
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Apr 12 2007 12:55

yeah. Cos that happened all over the country, but I'm not sure anyone wrote it up. Ideally a national account should be put together, but failing that a few individual ones'd be great.

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thugarchist
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Apr 12 2007 13:32
madashell wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
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.

Yeah, because that ended so well neutral

Right. Thats the point. The CNT sold themselves out at every turn. It would be hard to invent a story that included so many betrayals, mistakes and levels of incompetence.

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the button
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Apr 12 2007 13:36

It'd certainly be good to have the "bussing in" tactic e-mail on the internet. The normal line that the SWP take when they're challenged on that kind of thing is, "It's not our fault our comrades are so dedicated that they're prepared to travel to meetings," etc. It'd be good to have hard evidence that they do that shit with a view to taking stuff over. (Even though we all know that they do, IYSWIM).

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 12 2007 13:48

yeah i'll ask around because it was 5 years ago, i was a wee liberal and i didn't get the significance, i just thought 'cunts.' i can't remember the exact contents but i remember it led to some very ahem 'tense' meetings. actually thinking about it that email might have led to the founding of the rival group rather than being about it, that would make more sense. iirc a long-time SWP organiser resigned too, it was like a low budget lefty soap opera down here tongue

mic
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Joined: 11-12-06
Apr 12 2007 13:50

I hope it's not OT wink

magnifico
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Joined: 29-11-05
Apr 13 2007 14:12

Ashlee Simpson demolishes all of your arguments:-

Seriously

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 13 2007 14:27

who was her 1936 spanish counterpart? it's all starting to make sense now ... tongue

BB
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Apr 13 2007 14:51
Joseph K. wrote:
who was her 1936 spanish counterpart?

If you mean who i think you mean (FM), you're a damn sick puppy! wink

anarchol
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Joined: 22-09-04
Apr 14 2007 12:19
baboon wrote:
is leaving messages in the polling booth a way to situate or generalise a political position? The isolation of the polling booth and everything attached to it is a very effective weapon of the bourgeoisie. Leaving radical messages in a polling booth, spoiling papers, is, still, an essentially isolated and thus ineffective action, perfectly in accord with the reinforcement of atomisation and isolation.

We're not leaving the leaflets in polling booths, rather we're delivering them door to door around south wales, sadly we've only been able to print 15,000 copies of the leaflet so far which doesn't really go a long way. But we've done some of the larger working class areas in Newport, Cardiff and the valleys. We might target the 'media tart' district of cardiff this weekend seeing they all live in one area! We've sent some copies out to people around Wales who nomally take copies of Gagged! so hopefully it will have a fairly wide reading.

If anyone wants to chuck a few quid to print more, they're more than welcome like...

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Volin
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Apr 14 2007 18:55
Quote:
we've only been able to print 15,000 copies of the leaflet so far which doesn't really go a long way.

It's still really impressive Dim,

I'd like to aspire to something like that but for now I'm concentrating on postering my own town.