(Before I begin this post, I want to say that this is in no way a preaching post to be taken as ME saying what YOU do with your right to vote!)
This is a chance for me to discuss my position, open a discussion and explain why some politically active people such as myself do not vote in general elections.
Firstly let me explain my position and views:
“ANARCHISM, a social philosophy that rejects authoritarian government and maintains that voluntary institutions are best suited to express man’s natural social tendencies.” George Woodcock. “Anarchism” at The Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
“Harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being”.
For me I arrived at my anarchist perspective through years of study in philosophy, social psychology, International Relations and History. Also being well read on these matters has helped a great deal.
When I was younger and first eligible to vote, I couldn’t due to being homeless and unregistered, I felt so cheated by this and disconnected, deemed the underclass of society as a young adult with mental illness and no job or home, the right to vote fell to the bottom of my list of priorities. By my next eligible vote I was in a less dyer situation and registered, I campaigned for the Liberal Democrats and even got people who were not going to vote to vote. I felt empowered and thought this is it I can change things now, even though I was well aware that First Past The Post was undemocratic, I felt this “vote” would mean I was part of the movement for change.
Needless to say the Liberal Democrats then joined a coalition with The Conservatives and the rest is now a joke in the political rhetoric of the last 5 years. The Liberal Democrats took my vote and others and used it against us, with a political party which was in complete opposition to the policies I had chosen as a reason to vote Lib-Dem. Felling betrayed and as if I was a accomplice to a horrific crime on society, I began to re-think my position. I knew what I believed in, I knew what I wanted but still had no idea how to go about it?
When I started my degree in Philosophy I had already done an A-level and had been reading about philosophy since an early age. Being French it has always been instilled in me to pay great attention to philosophy and philosophers as without this “the theory of knowledge” how could one learn anything and truly understand the knowledge they posses?
Having always felt on the outside, regarding many things, such as my own personality, mental illness, political ideas, religious beliefs and generally in how I live my life. The only choice I had was to find a way to continue being as politically active but not compromise my mission to create change and to stay true to my beliefs.
So as I do most things I went head first into truly understanding my opinions and ideas for a better world.
I knew what I wanted in simplistic terms:
The list could go on, but these were fundamental things I knew I believed in and still do. I knew that we could all do what we do, as well as governments and institutions, without the little bits of paper which we call money, that we so desperately want more of. The reality is the powers that be have the agenda to control one thing, which in turn controls everything, those little bits of paper. The amazing thing is, that we allow ourselves to believe in this power, as if the “little bits of paper” were sent from the heavens and revealed to us, we put faith in money, holding it up as if it were a God, believing happiness is attainable through our faith. This is where governments hit us most and rely on us most, pulling a Houdini like magic trick, creating an illusion of power. But some of us are not fooled by this illusion and can see the trickery behind the trick.
Now let me tell you what I face as criticism as an anarchist and non voter, here are common things said to me by people:
So with the help from the internet I have found an alternative list of points on why not to vote:
To me regardless of who you vote for, the system and establishment is the problem, this is where we need to come together and change this. You may not like what I am about to say but I believe this to be true. There is no quick fix! You have to be in this for the long game, believe that little steps as well as large steps count, that people could start individually or as a community, the aim is to change the world we live in for the future of our planet and the amazing inhabitance of it, such as us, the rest of the animal kingdom, nature and our extended universe.
I think the biggest disillusionment is in ourselves, not believing we can do more as a community, countries, continents and the world as a whole. Thinking the powerful (who lets face it are only concerned in facilitating ego and power not people) are going to change this for us is in my opinion an indication of social control and public dis-empowerment. Instead of looking to others and the government, start and look at yourself, ask yourself could I be more politically active? Could I be an active member in the change I want to see? Thinking this is too small in significance is a disservice to us all. Everyday I try and contribute to change and suggest you do too if you truly want a better world.
So instead of shaming people into voting, or judging others for who they vote for, get proactive!
Here are some suggestion on how to create change and work outside of the government as well as ways you can put pressure on the government regardless of who they are:
Changing the voting system:
The Electoral Reform Society operates on a simple premise – that politics can be better than it is. We are campaigning for a better democracy.
NOTA UK The home of the None of the Above electoral reform campaign for the UK. We demand that legislation be passed making it law that an official ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option must be included on UK ballot papers for all future elections.
Alternative Ideas on Government:
The Venus Project proposes an alternative vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know in order to achieve a sustainable new world civilization. It calls for a straightforward redesign of our culture in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but as totally unacceptable. Anything less will result in a continuation of the same catalogue of problems inherent in today’s world. Today many people believe what is needed is a higher sense of ethical standards and the enactment of international laws to assure a sustainable global society.
Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG) is a bottom-up strategy designed to confront many of the limitations of modern western democracy. It eliminates the need for parties thus eliminating the need for campaigning, partisanship and arrogance in our political world.
And for a bit of fun and some inspiring ideas 12 Futuristic Forms of Government That Could One Day Rule the World
So whatever it is you believe in and want for the greater good, get active and do not let your power be dictated to you. You have it and can use it how and when you wish. Also next time someone is expressing their political or philosophical opinion such as myself, please treat us with compassion and less judgement, we can all learn from each other.
I shall leave you with two quotes which are very important to me from two great anarchists:
“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”
― Emma Goldman
Thank you for taking the time to read this and let us all create change!