Monday, May 3, 2010


Meeting on the role of elections in the strategy of the libertarian left and the changing of society at the North London Community House. 22 Moorefield Road, London N17 [The old Post Office  Sorting Office] at 8pm Wednesday 5 May. All welcome.                 

See previous blogs for material on this plus the different views offered by Dale Evans and PastTense.

In the meantime below are a few thoughts on voting, parties, parliaments and democracy.

"In many countries workers nominally have a more or less important say in the election of the government. It is a concession made by the bourgeoisie, both to avail itself of the popular support in its struggle against the monarchical and aristocratic power as well as to dissuade the people from thinking of emancipation by giving them the illusion of sovereignty."

Errico Malatesta (Anarchy p23)

"What is called democracy and is alleged to be government of the people by the people for the people is in fact the government of the people by elected rulers and would be called 'consenting oligarchy'"

Nicolas Walter (About Anarchism p32)

"...essentially the power is in the hands of capital, whether there are voting qualifications or some other rights or not, or whether the republic is democratic or not - in fact the more democratic it is the cruder and more cynical is the rule of capitalism."

V I Lenin ( The State p20)

"' Do you go to the polls? do you vote? Again, it depends on whether there is a choice worth making, whether the effect of voting is significant enough so it is worth the time and effort. On local issues I almost always vote.'"

Noam Chomsky (On Anarchism p241)

"Social life as a whole keeps up its democratic facade (with political parties, trade unions etc.) But these organisations, as well as the state, politics and public life in general are profoundly bureaucrastised. Any active participation by individuals in the life of political or trade union organisations can have, properly speaking, no meaning at all."

Paul Cardan (Modern Capitalism and Revolution p70)

"A party is not as classical doctrine (or Edmund Burke) would have us believe,  a group of men who intend to promote public welfare 'upon some principle on which they are all agreed'. This rationalization is so dangerous because it is so tempting. For all parties will of course at any given time provide themselves with a stock of principles or planks and these principles or planks may be as characteristic of the party that adopts them and is as important for its success as the brands of goods a department store sells are characteristic of it and important for its success. But the department store cannot be defined in terms of its brands and a party cannot be defined in terms of its principles. A party is a group whose members propose to act in concert in the competitive struggle for political power. If that were not so it would be impossible for different parties to adopt exactly or almost exactly the same program"

Joseph Schumpeter (Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy p251)

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