Elections

Articles giving an anarchist analysis of why elections to parliament change so little and how this is by design rather than accident

Parliament or democracy

Date:

From the 1850s onwards, against a background of great new wealth in society and a working class that was more independent and resourceful, the 'problem of democracy' became urgent for the rich and powerful. In general wealth was rising throughout society, but so was the greed of those who owned the new factories, mines and plantations. The key question was: what was to be done about the general demand for democracy, and about the incessant clamour for political rights which, during the revolutions of 1848, had almost got completely out of hand?

 

Green Party in government in Ireland showing true colours

Date:

For the first time in their history, the Irish Green party is in government. The deal that they struck with Fianna Fail has been criticised in many quarters as a “sell-out” – and with some justification, since the Greens have changed sides on the issue of Shannon airport’s use by the US military, the conflict between Shell and the residents of Rossport and the decision to route the M3 motorway through the lucratively re-zoned lands of Fianna Fail supporters, who happen to live near Tara. On these, and other issues, the Greens switched, overnight, from a position of opposition, to jobs in a government that is implementing them - with force when necessary.

Direct Action Gets The Goods – But How?

Date:

Elsewhere in this magazine (see ‘Anarchism, Elections and all that’), the anarchist case against participation in elections is outlined. The alternative political strategy put forward by anarchists is the use of direct action. This article sets out to examine what is meant by the concept of direct action and also to argue that it is impossible to combine electoralism and direct action, that by its nature electoralism is disempowering, and that real direct action and participation in elections are mutually exclusive. Politics in Ireland and elsewhere is dominated by clientelism. People see themselves as needing politicians to “do stuff” for them. The politicians who are most successful are those who play the clientelist game most effectively. And left wing or socialist parties and candidates who decide to play the electoral game find themselves drawn into this clientelist game as well. This has huge implications in terms of how they approach campaigning work.

Anarchism and Elections

Date:

We are all used to the scenario. You don't see your local political 'representatives' for years and suddenly when an election is called they're all swarming all over your neighbourhood like flies around cowshit - the politicians and the wannabe politicians. It's a scene which is going to be enacted all over Ireland - both North and South - shortly as general elections loom on both sides of the border. Yet again we'll have the great choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber as to who we want to sit in Leinster House or Stormont for the next four or five years - even though we know that it's not really going to make any difference.

The Presidential election in Ireland and the racist bump

Date:

Last weekend saw a presidential election in Ireland where the clear victor was a left wing poet (and career politican) called Michael D Higgins who got 56% of the vote.  However a no hope candidate who was, 1 of 3, yes 3 hosts of the TV show Dragons Den running for president managed to boost his vote from close to nothing (2%) to 23% through the simple trick of Trump like racist remarks directed at the Traveller Community, a very small ethnic group who until recently were nomads but were forced to all but bandon that life by the Irish state over the last couple of decades. 

In the aftermath of the result the media reached for the same sort of lazy analysis about 'econoic anxiety' and people 'left behind' that was seen in the US after Trump was elected.  In this video Andrew argues that the exit poll data tells a very difrerent story.

Anarchism and Elections

Date:

Passed by National Conference, July 2017. This paper sits under the State & Democracy paper. Have a look at that to understand contexts that are not repeated here.

Anarchism and Elections

        A Workers Solidarity Movement Position Paper

 


 

Absolute boy - The Youth Revolt that led Corbyn to a victory of sorts

Date:

Corbyn’s strong showing in the June 2017 UK elections has given a big morale boost to the left.  A considerable youth vote, self-mobilising in larger part as a reaction to the ‘me and mine’ selfish society revealed by the Brexit vote seriously set back Tory plans for a fresh wave of Brexit required austerity.  Activists used social networking to overcome what had previously been seen as an all powerful smear machine of the billionaire print press.  Very few outside the radical left expected this outcome, what drove it and more importantly where can it lead?
[ This is a long read so you can also listen to an audio of the text ]

This piece is not going to answer that in terms of assumptions and assertions but as far as possible through hard numbers.  66% of 18-24 year old’s voted Labour, only a quarter of that, 18% voted Tory [p4].  27% of those 18-24 year olds said the NHS was the most important issue for them, even though they are least likely to need it [p40].  For the over 65 age group this was flipped, only 23% voted Labour and over twice as many (58%) voted Tory [p4].  In fact, given the way the UK election system works, if only 18-24 year olds had voted, Labour would have been heading for 500 seats.  If it had only been those over 65 voting the Tories would have had over 400 seats.

An Anarchist Response to “Anarchists, It Is Our Duty To Vote In Elections”

Date:

As the title suggests, this article has been written in response to this article which was written over two years ago just before the last UK General Election and as Hillary Clinton was beginning her campaign for US presidency. Coming from my own knowledge and beliefs on voting I was surprised when reading fellow anarchist Paddy Vipond’s article that he omitted major anarchist arguments against voting. In addition to serving as a response to Vipond’s piece I will discuss what he left out under his headings and address some issues that have become apparent during this current election campaign particularly with the hope that Corbyn’s Labour has sparked among the UK electorate and indeed further than that among the international electoralist left.

Elections: Shouldn't We 'Fight on All Fronts'?

Date:
Anarchists are in favour of grassroots organising rather than engaging in electioneering. Some crticise this position, stating something along the lines of:

'But what about social housing, free education, and an increased minimum wage? That's change which will make a big difference to people's lives. And electoralism and grassroots organising aren't mutually exclusive. We shouldn't concede that ground to the right, we should fight on all fronts'.

Social housing, free education, increased minimum wage - there are worthwhile reforms which might be achieved by a left wing government, or might not, but they're fairly beside the point. It's worth remarking though that the best way even to achieve reforms through the state is by having strong social movements which can apply pressure to politicians.

Anarchists, Is It Really Our Duty To Vote?

Date:

Voting has just ended in the UK election. Many people are consumed with hope that Corbyn could win and implement his reforms “for the many, not the few”. For those of us who work with the broad left, it is inevitable that the topic of elections and voting will come up. Heated debates can occur between those of us who would rather ignore the electoral circus and those who strongly believe in using it as a vehicle on the road to a new society.

 

Before beginning, it is important to clarify the misconception that anarchists are against voting. We have absolutely no problem with voting - how else could we make decisions? We are against a system that allows for us to tick a box every four or five years which gives whoever received the most X’s to make decisions that affect our lives in a fancy building miles away from us. Politicians once elected do what they like because we can neither mandate nor recall them.

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter

Syndicate content