I'm going to have to agree that voting is a great waste of time (at least in this Country).

It's not that I believe that voting is useless, or that my vote doesn't make a difference. I fully believe in the power of voting to choose a candidate. However, I believe that you are voting for people, not for issues and that most candidates are so alike that it's irrelevant.

When you vote for somebody, you're saying, I think you would make a good ____ and that your stance on the issues is what I want. One would think that the fact that these people are called "representatives", that instead of representing their own views (and pocketbook, employment, and big business) that they would represent the views of their constituents. You don't see that though...nobody ever talks about how they voted for choice A on issue X because that's what they thought their constituents would want, it's all about how they voted this way because it would represent them well or not well. You can't vote for a person and expect them to represent you and what you want. Not only do their views change, but they may not even vote the same way that they said they would one they're there. This very much diminishes the actual representation that you receive by choosing a particular candidate.

I also have this belief that (at least in the "two"-party system, where in the very least we only have two candidates with a chance for winning...at least in the near future. Not that if it came down to my choice I'd pick either of them...) if you didn't know who won the election, and none of the newspapers mentioned any personal information about the candidates, that if all you had was the policies that they implemented, voted for, or made decisions about, chances are you would not be able to determine who had actually been elected. This is just my pet theory, and might not hold any water, so feel free to disagree. *grin*

But despite all my nitpicking with the representative process as a whole, it's more that idealistically I believe that significant change starts in the individual, and especially in the environment that you create around yourself. So shoot me, I'm a hopelessly naive idealist. If I believe in freedom, and freedom of religion, I am going to bring my children up with the freedom to choose their religion. If I believe in toleration and the basic worth of humanity, then I will demonstrate that in the way I treat the people around me. Although it sounds awfully silly, I believe this is actually a really effective way of affecting change in your life and in the world around you.

In short, I really believe that you can't force change, you can't legislate change, you can't change other people. People can only change themselves.

A vote is how you say, "I want this guy to win. If he does, we all accept him."

And if the other guy wins?

"And I'll accept the other guy if he wins. I accept this system of government. I support this form of government. I will obey this government because I agreed to follow what the majority chooses by voting."

That's what a vote says. Vote iff you support this form of government, because a vote is your signature on the social contract. If you want a dictatorship, monarchy, or something else then don't sign the contract accepting a democracy.

I know this is probably an unpopular opinion with our American friends, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. Please don't downvote this for the sole reason of disagreement.

I think that the lack of interest in politics in democratic countries today, and espescially USA, is a symptom of people having it "too good". If you were really discontent, wouldn't you want to make sure that someone you liked would get in power? As long as people are generally pleased (and this may not be conciously), they don't care who rule over them.

Note that this is probably not a good thing. It reminds me alot of the Roman bread and circus...

"You are the Roman Empire of today."
- Eddie Izzard to Americans

Addendum: To people who feel they can't influence the election with their vote; see the argument at Genuine but Insignificant Cause (a logical fallacy).

According to Bob Black, you are more likely to die on the way to the polls than to actually make a difference in the outcome of the election. This is perhaps especially evident after the 2000 US presidential elections. Voting is frequently a placebo, something engaged in by people who claim to care about politics but aren't interested enough to become involved in activism.

Anarchists frequently tout voting as an activity that merely justifies and affirms the system, without effecting any real change in it.

Interestingly, the US government does not actually want to increase voter turnout, propaganda to the contrary: They theorize that low voter turnout ensures that relatively little change takes place, thus making it simpler for their hegemony to stay in place.

Welll... If you don't vote you'll just be confused with the people that don't care about how things are arranged in their country. I'd say, vote blank. Lets see how politicians and the press will explain a sizeable proportion of voters not voting saying that they don't want any of the candidates. They'll have a hard time finding indentations if there aren't any...

Just my 10 cents.

The following is extracted from Ainriail - the Irish Anarchist list. The elections are coming within two days and there are quite plenty of syndicalist posters spreaded around Belfast. As a proof that syndicalists are on the right track, here's polls by The Observer (3.6.2001):
Do you think you and your family would be better off under Labour, or better off under the Conservatives or would it make no difference?
No Difference 45%

It won't make much difference to my daily life who wins the coming election.
Agree: 57%

And now let the syndicalists speak themselves:


The State Cannot Represent Us

The state is a top down institution which has always rested on domination and exploitation, it is an inherently repressive institution and as such is beyond reform. No matter who is elected to local or national government the permanent structures of the state, the courts and prisons, army and police, secret services, the upper echelons of the Home and Foreign Offices, the high ranking Mandarin's in the civil service, and other state institutions will ensure that the interests of the rich and powerful are protected at our expense. It is the role of the state to protect property and the economic status quo. And we must not forget that this is a status quo which sees the vast majority of people, the working class, produce the wealth of the world for the immense, and to us unimaginable benefit of a tiny controlling elite.

Against Global Capitalism

Capitalist interests, with the pursuance of a 'neo-liberal' economic agenda world wide, have unleashed a ruthless and unrelenting class war against working people across the globe. Rolling back the benefits achieved through years of struggle in the west and imposing crushing conditions to IMF and World Bank loans in the east and south. Whole multinational sweatshop economies, reducing workers to conditions of indentured slavery, have grown up while local industries have been decimated. These powerful capitalist interests constitute an undemocratic, unaccountable, de facto world government. Politicians are mere puppets to these interests only direct action can take them on. Nothing will change unless you act for yourself, take back the power and fight the system directly. Only direct action breaks down apathy and gets results and it is the first step towards real freedom, towards a free and just society.

It Is Time To Fight Back

Only by organising, fighting back and practising solidarity where we live and work can we really change things. That is where our power lies, that is where we can create a real alternative. By creating an economic and political union in the workplace and community we can impose by direct action that which the politicians can never give us from parliament. And only such a movement can stop the attacks upon us by whoever gets into office. Remember all the major political parties support Tory initiatives such as Public Private Partnership and Private Finance Initiative. These policies are open invitations to big business to come in and try and squeeze profits out of our already beleaguered and underfunded public services. A look at the recent Health and Safety record since the creation of Railtrack provides us with a deadly example of the benefits of our 'profit before people' society. Local Ministers since the establishment of the Assembly have quite happily carried out the cuts imposed by the New Labours government. Direct action is any form of struggle under the control of those involved, without reliance on intermediaries or middlemen. It includes every method of immediate warfare by the working class against their economic and political oppressors, such as, occupations, rent strikes, sabotage, work to rule, sit in strikes, the boycott, blocking roads and ultimately the social general strike.

Politics Is Too Important

Political and social issues are far too important to be left to the politicians and 'experts'. We need discussion and change to begin on the streets and in the workplaces. Ultimately we seek to replace the oppressive and exploitative state and capitalist system with a society where people are involved in and take responsibility for reaching their own decisions on the way we run society.

For Workers Control

This demands workers control of industry and of our communities. Jettisoning once and for all the parasites, our would be leaders at Stormont, whose first action we remember was to give themselves more gravy on the gravy train with a 30% pay rise, or Westminster, along with the yet bigger capitalist parasites who want to continue to rake in the wealth we create.

"Instead of taking part in these sectarian headcount's the Syndicalist Solidarity Network urges working class people to take direct action, On polling day we are asking working people to demonstrate their opposition to the current party political system and the system of 'representative democracy' by going out and spoiling their ballots. What is often referred to, by standing and would be politicians, as 'voter apathy' is a reflection that many working class people already know the system has nothing to offer them. We are asking people to do something a little more positive during this election, that is to go to the Polling Station and to spoil their ballots. Every spoilt ballot is counted and gives a clear message of opposition to our would be leaders. Spoiling your ballot also ensures that your vote cannot be stolen by electoral fraudsters. Simply not voting is not enough. Voting creates apathy, it is the act of getting someone else to take responsibility. People need to take responsibility for themselves. To secure a decent future for our selves our families our fellow workers and the world we need to take matters into our own hands."

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