Don’t Vote, Organize! :: Anarcho :: thoughtcrime ink books
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Don’t Vote, Organize!

by Anarcho


Published around 2001, 'Don't Vote, Organize!' is a concise, cogent argument from an anarchist in Scotland for active abstention from voting, and instead putting energies to workplace/community organizing & revolt.

From the introduction:

"It seems amazing that after over 100 years of electioneering, the Left still thinks that standing for elections is a good thing. It is even more amazing that certain anarchist thinkers are arguing along similar lines. Recent developments within the left and the US anarchist scene make it worthwhile to present the anarchist case against standing for elections.

The relative successes of the Scottish Socialist Party (what used to be Militant) in getting Tommy Sheridan elected as a MSP has seen many left groups turn towards the ballot box. The Socialist Alliance (a collection of Trotskyists joining together to present a common electoral front) stood candidates in the recent elections for the London Major with little success. In this it followed a long tradition of Marxist parties gaining a few votes here and there (and almost always loosing their deposits). Murray Bookchin, an anarchist theorist who is usually sensible, argues that anarchists should take part in local elections as a means of creating directly democratic community assemblies and, ultimately, a libertarian counter-power to the state based on confederations of these self-managed assemblies.

Before discussing Bookchin’s arguments, we will go over the basic anarchist arguments against standing for election and voting. One thing we can state outright is that it seems that few, if any, among the 'scientific' socialists desire to apply scientific analysis to their tactics. If they did then they would soon come to the conclusion that anarchist analysis, unlike Marxist analysis, has been confirmed again and again. After all, it was Bakunin who predicted in 1869 (three years before Marx foisted his Parliamentarianism onto the First International) that when “the workers… send common workers… to Legislative Assemblies… The worker-deputies, transplanted into a bourgeois environment, into an atmosphere of purely bourgeois ideas, will in fact cease to be workers and, becoming Statesmen, they will become bourgeois… For men do not make their situations; on the contrary, men are made by them.” [The Basic Bakunin] Similarly, Kropotkin argued that “in proportion as the socialists become a power in the present bourgeois society and State, their socialism must die out.” [Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets]. History has proven the anarchists correct – unfortunately it appears that most Marxists consider history as an irrelevancy to their politics."

Book information

Publisher: The Struggle Site (Wales)
Publication Date: Jan 05, 2001
Printer: Black Cat Press
Format: booklet
Length: 24 pp.


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