Left Chartists on Kennington Common
Our five-minutes-every-five-years worth of "democracy" happens on 6 May. But is there anyone out there who still believes that the world, owned and run by a partnership of private property and state regulation, is in any way controlled by electing members of parliament? That the great dictatorship of modern society is supervised by the House of Commons? That any social control exists over bankers running up massive debts to someone or other, or over police seen murdering and attacking people on television, or over judges finding them NOT GUILTY? Or any of the tin pots? or any MPs claiming expenses? or any of the "celebrities "?
But people know the real situation and we should not waste time and effort repeating it. Our energy should go in outlining our alternative:
- Every workplace, administrative unit, public institution, housing estate, media outlet, bank, be taken into common ownership and run by eltected committees
- That federations of these councils or communes are co-ordianted for greater administration
- All private and state property is abolished and replaced by a network of these collectives
Voting only keeps the present gang in charge. Perhaps one sole exception is voting against fascists . Some people say democracy gives us space to operate as socialists but this space was not won by voting but by direct action in the forms of strikes, riots, occupations, demonstrations and suchlike. Voting will not keep out the fascists if the ruling class decideon fascism to keep us down , as they did with Hitler and co in the
1920s. But we should not invite a bloody struggle and should do all we can to prevent modern day fascists getting political positions by voting against the BNP and their Euro mates.
Left: Arrest of a suffragette
Of course not all parliamentary candidates are careerists on the gravy train but, with the best will in the world, their efforts are quite unable to change the country, or even parts of it. Those on the political left should see the futility of seeking political representation and get down to organising against poverty, ill health, illiteracy and homelessness all over the world. This point was made by the early libertarians against those who wanted political parties for change in the long lost history of the last centuries. Many ordinary people, following the Chartists, campaigned for the Right to Vote for all. We now find our choice limited to Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum and a new choice faces us. What we need is not new leaders but a new system. Peter Kropotkin was right, Marx and Lenin were wrong, and we should learn from past mistakes.
Elections are not just a subject for abstaining or ridicule and derision but a time for serious argument and debate. People may still believe in politicians, we have to argue hard to expose every promise, word, dot and comma of this short-sighted option, not just seek to impose it. A recent discussion sparked off by the People's Manifesto came up with some interesting ideas -
- Arm pensioners on request so that they can rob banks to get enough money to live
- Put a 'None of the Above' option on ballot papers
- Disguise leopards as foxes to give the gentry a scare
- Make the police wear 'I'm Here To Help' badges
- Those in favour of ID cards with nothing to hide should be banned from having curtains
system for its own destruction, vote tactically for a hung parliament and watch them squabble, while we get on and organise.