A friend of mine on Facebook made me aware of an article that he thought would interest me (as traditional a beginning to stories as "once upon a time") because it is an indirect response to one I myself wrote two days ago, although I don't know if the individual in question ever read mine, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/electioneering.html. Unfortunately, during this month the topic of the election is going to be impossible to avoid. The article is by a man called Thomas G Clark and he calls his blog Another Angry Voice; he describes it as: "Economics, philosophy, politics and other stuff from an independent
Yorkshire blogger." The post in question
is entitled "Why not voting is such a pitifully ineffective form of 'protest'.",
Mr Clark begins with a rather cynical judgement of his commenters which shows
that his website lives up to its name: "I
strongly believe in freedom of speech so I never delete comments from my
Facebook page or politics blog simply because I disagree with them, so this
article is intended as a riposte to those who take advantage of my
anti-censorship stance to use my work as a platform to promote their 'just stop
voting' agenda... The fact that people hijack my work to promote their
ridiculous 'just stop voting' agenda is bad!" Does this mean that
anybody who questions him is "promoting an agenda"? Maybe, Thomas,
they're just expressing an opinion in reply to your own, as I am doing.
The first reason Mr
Clark tables is
that boycotting an election is indistinguishable from apathy. He says: "If the opponent of the political status quo does exactly the same form of
non-action as the hopelessly apathetic fool who doesn't care a jot about who
rules over their lives or how the political system is structured, then how is
it even possible to tell how many of those non-votes are ill-conceived protests
and how many are manifestations of sheer apathy?" This is an
irrelevant point because who is sorting out one from the other? It matters only
to the government; and everybody I know who is refusing to vote is hardly on a
mission to gain governmental approval. Boycotting elections is not about
building some kind of numerical majority; it's about refusing to participate in
a fraudulent practice that gives credibility to a system that deserves none.
This is what I tried to explain to my UKIP-voting friends, see the link to my Electioneering article above. Mr Clark
goes on: "The 'just stop voting'
advocate will often try to claim that if enough of us stopped voting then the
election results would become illegitimate through lack of participation.
Without explaining the mechanism by which the establishment parties would be removed
from power after a mass non-vote..." This is not the objective of the
non-voters I discuss this issue with. We're not on a quest to bring down the
system through not voting; we know the rules of an election have no lower
limits on turnout figures. This is why I like anti-political movements like
"NOTA", see: http://notavote.co.uk/.
I've not looked at the comments on his blog or Facebook page, so maybe the
people he's referring to are of a completely different tendency to those I'm
familiar with. The point he made inevitably leads to the question of who will
carry on voting in place of those who don't. If a large percentage of the
population refuse to vote, says Mr Clark, it merely concentrates political
power in fewer hands, of those who do. He says: "If 99.2% of us stopped voting, then it's absolutely clear that
the 0.8% of us who are actually members of the three Westminster establishment parties would continue
voting for themselves... If the majority of people who oppose the system choose
to not vote, those who support the system will be at an obvious electoral
advantage... it's obvious that they (non-voters) are essentially condemning the
rest of us to perpetual Westminster establishment rule." In that case I wonder how he intends to
introduce a party into Westminster Westminster
that truly stands for non-establishment rule. History, including British
history, is replete with examples of anti-establishment firebrands who
desperately want to change the world by following the beaten tracks of the
political landscape, and failing. Why? Because those tracks are specifically
built to maintain the existing order. Remember the Labour Party was founded by
trade unionists who sincerely cared about the wellbeing of the British working
classes. Miliband's modern "new Labour" would make those early
pioneers gasp in dismay; indeed sadly one of them lived long enough to witness
Labour's demise, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/tony-benn-dies.html.
The saddest element to this impasse is that the corruption is an inward one too.
The establishment system doesn't forbid good men from joining it; in fact it
invites them warmly in... and then it transforms them into bad men. Those who
successfully resist are expelled.
Mr Clark's next gripe is: "Not voting is also a very good way of ensuring that unpopular extremists manage to get into power. A good example of this is the way that UKIP managed to become the biggest
party in the European parliament after
winning just 9% of the eligible vote." Well, I wouldn't describe UKIP
as either unpopular or extremist. A more apposite example, from Mr Clark's
point of view, might be that of the 2002 French Presidential elections in which
a low turnout in the first round led to the far right Front National candidate Jean-Marie le Pen being favourite to win
against a single rival. Many leftists who had not bothered to vote in the first
round famously went to the polls and voted for the conservative Jacques Chirac
wearing a symbolic handkerchief over their face to "protect me from ze
stench as I save ze country from fascism!" However the definition of
"extremist" is debatable. I personally consider it
"extremist" to drop bombs on people just so an oil company can drive
a pipeline through their village. I find it "extremist" to force
young people out of work into slavery, doing work for no money, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/cameron-pushes-workfare.html.
I find it "extremist" to turn a blind eye to the evil crimes of the
rich and famous, to the brutality of Zionist thugs in the UK Middle
East and to bankers with more money than God squeezing yet more
from the people. All the "mainstream centrist moderate" political
parties in this country have done all those things; and there's no reason to
think they're going to stop now. "If
we despise the current political system, then surely it is better to find a
political party that is proposing to change the system, than to simply abstain
and actually increase the chances that things will stay pretty much exactly as
they are." Mr Clark is breathtakingly naive here. I assumed
Yorkshiremen were more worldly wise, taking into account that the recent
history of Yorkshire has been shaped by the destruction
of its coal mines and traditional heavy industries. For the reasons I have
explained, we're never going vote in a government that will really propose
change. Mr Clark ends with: "Whether
you want to oppose the Westminster establishment... or oppose the political
system... by submitting a spoiled ballot paper, it's really important that you
make sure that you are registered to vote... to promote a form of protest that
is completely indistinguishable from complete apathy beneath the work of
someone who is passionate about political reform is deeply disrespectful."
This sounds to me like incitement to support compulsory voting, a system some
countries have including Australia.
Every citizen is required by law to enter a polling station and return a ballot
or face prosecution. This draconian method of increasing electoral turnout has
a nasty sting in its tail. It would mean that the "database state"
would have to become a reality; every person registered and monitored by the
system, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/young-people-and-1984.html.
If this is what Mr Clark is insinuating then I humbly suggest that he
reconsiders, seeing as he sites one of his influences as George Orwell, see: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-author.html.
I am one of these people who annoy Mr Clark so much, somebody who advises
people not to vote in the upcoming general election. I advise this because
democracy is a con. If we could change things by voting they wouldn't let us do
it. "The men in grey suits" decide everything and democracy is
nothing more than our hard-won right to put a cross on a piece of paper every
few years and choose our government's public relations officer. Real change, a
genuinely better world, will only come about when the people accept that fact
and act on it. In the meantime nothing can be achieved by rising to their bait
and playing their game.
See here for more details: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/vote-for-deek-jackson.html.