Boycott Les Elections / Boycott The Elections 2011: Vote With Your Feet

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NDPP
Boycott Les Elections / Boycott The Elections 2011: Vote With Your Feet

Boycott Les Elections / Boycott The Elections 2011 - Vote With Your Feet

http://boycottelections2011.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-i-dont-endorse-voti...

'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

George Victor

To all the capitulators of Copoutsville.

ceti ceti's picture

In the same breath as boycott the elections, is a call for organizing armed struggle in the mold of the 1970s, so those who actually go this route better be prepared for drastic measures, otherwise they are just shamelessly posturing to the point of furthering the interests of right-wing hegemonic forces.

 

Either way, it's actually a pretty insidious strategy of ultra-leftism serving the interests of the bourgeois state (if not actually being agent provocateurs). 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Boycotting the election means the Cons get more seats because they're highly motivated. The only folks that boycott elections are those who normally vote for progressive or centre parties.

Get out there and vote!

6079_Smith_W

Here's another bunch of them.

http://edibleballot.tao.ca/

Maybe they can fight over who is doing nothing for the right reason.

wage zombie

NDPP wrote:

'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

Wouldn't they also make not voting illegal, if it could change things?

al-Qa'bong

Hi Winston.  Did you know that in one election during the Chretien years, Pete G. (perennially voted Saskytown's top activist) and I participated in the edible ballot campaign?  Our reasons were anarchistic.   He read out a manifesto while chomping down his ballot.  My story had its own drama.

 

I wrote about it on babble, so the description must be hidden away in the archives somewhere.

6079_Smith_W

Yeah.... I've done some stuff too. I understand.

And truth be told, they do win in the sense of humour department..... hands down.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

I'll say it simply; VOTE!

ghoris

Quote:
 'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

I missed have missed the part of Canadian history class where the teacher explained how Tommy Douglas and the CCF seized power in Saskatchewan through armed insurrection and 'direct action', followed by the imposition of Medicare on the bourgeois capitalists by a revolutionary anarcho-socialist vanguard.

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

NDPP wrote:

'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

Wouldn't they also make not voting illegal, if it could change things?

Thanks for my morning chuckle, WZ! Loved that one.

And let me add:

If issuing bombastic pronouncements could change anything, they'd make that illegal too!

 

janfromthebruce

lol Gloris - I'll have to read up on Tommy again because how he came to power was getting people to vote for what they want! Right on!

 

ghoris wrote:

Quote:
 'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

I missed have missed the part of Canadian history class where the teacher explained how Tommy Douglas and the CCF seized power in Saskatchewan through armed insurrection and 'direct action', followed by the imposition of Medicare on the bourgeois capitalists by a revolutionary anarcho-socialist vanguard.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

Freedom 55

ceti wrote:

In the same breath as boycott the elections, is a call for organizing armed struggle in the mold of the 1970s

 

I didn't see that anywhere in the blog entry above. Can you provide a quote or a link?

remind remind's picture

NDPP wrote:
Boycott Les Elections / Boycott The Elections 2011 - Vote With Your Feet

'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

Funny how short sighted, at best, she was when she wrote that and how people who quote her are too. Isn't it....?

Many countries have no "voting" and it is, or has been, illegal in them.  The powers that be know  majority voting would change things, that is why dictatorships break out. History, even recent history, is full of evidence otherwise, to what Emma Goldman says. Hell, right now  people are fighting on mass so they can vote and become engaged in their reality as a  person with rights in charge of their societal positioning.

Nor would the powers spend so much money, time and energy trying to suppress voting and societal engagement, if voting did nothing.

Really...if truth be told, once most people start voting and being engaged they don't stop, and they become more engaged in the process of democratic living, and mainly they do this because they started voting.

NDPP

What If They Called An Election And Nobody Cared?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/second-reading/gerald-capla...

"...If you were from 35 to 44, just over half of you bothered to vote. Among the 25 to 34 group, fewer than half could be bothered. And for the 18 to 24 year olds, barely more than a third thought it worth the effort..."

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

wage zombie wrote:
NDPP wrote:
'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman
Wouldn't they also make not voting illegal, if it could change things?

Ha. Except, many people are actually trying to make not voting illegal. It is already illegal to not vote in Australia. Besides, I'm not going to sit here and let you mock an Emma Goldman quote. I'm pretty sure that's against babble policy (and no, that doesn't mean that mocking E.G. quotes can change things).

6079_Smith_W

@ Catchfire

Except with all respect, I believe she's mistaken. 

And making voting mandatory does not take away anyone's option of casting a blank ballot. I don't see any problem there

NDPP

CHRY: Why Canadians Should Not Vote: Interview with Boycott The Election Campaign

http://angrymarxists.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/boycott-the-elections-2011/

knownothing knownothing's picture

People are pissed because they vote in the same two parties but this time things are changing.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

NDPP wrote:
'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

 

I think that is the dumbest thing, bar none, that I have ever read.

NDPP

Vancouver: Anarchist Agitation In the Leadup To Mayday And the Federal Election

http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=2011041221173

"Do any of these parties have a need or interest to get rid of the capitalist system and hence get rid of the problem? Hell no! Voting day is yet another symbolic day where people who lust for power, play on your fears and hopes.."

To Noam Chomsky On Boycotting Elections

http://libcom.org/blog/noam-chomsky-boycotting-elections-14062010

"...We call on all people to boycott elections not so much because of our criticism of the individual candidates but because of the false promises of electoral democracy...Our dreams can never fit in their ballot box. We will not hand over our power willingly and will fight with our last breath to take it back.

We call for a more conscious, popular resistance to the electoral process and the representative bodies which make up the state in general. People intuitively know that these bodies do not really represent their best interests, yet many see no active, viable alternative. We call on people to get active and create organizations which will be the foundation of a truly popular movement which can undermine the state.."

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Is this the slacktivist thread?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Boycott people who call for boycotts of elections!

al-Qa'bong

What do they call it when you keep doing the same thing, yet expect different results?

NDPP

Tyranny Of One, Tyranny Of All - Voting  -  by Darrell Anderson

http://www.simpleliberty.org/tootoa/voting.htm

"Although physically I am a prisoner of the political system, at least I can declare the bondage is not self-induced.."

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

What do they call it when you keep doing the same thing, yet expect different results?

 

The real problem is FPTP, not voting itself.

jimmyjim

Thanks for a lesson in Voter supression. You must be a Liberal scared of the NDP vote, tough we are voting and there is nothing you can say or do that will change that so better go start knocking on doors because it is the only way to win.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

NDPP wrote:

To Noam Chomsky On Boycotting Elections

http://libcom.org/blog/noam-chomsky-boycotting-elections-14062010

"...We call on all people to boycott elections not so much because of our criticism of the individual candidates but because of the false promises of electoral democracy...Our dreams can never fit in their ballot box. We will not hand over our power willingly and will fight with our last breath to take it back.

We call for a more conscious, popular resistance to the electoral process and the representative bodies which make up the state in general. People intuitively know that these bodies do not really represent their best interests, yet many see no active, viable alternative. We call on people to get active and create organizations which will be the foundation of a truly popular movement which can undermine the state.."

I read this article, and I just wanted to point out that this is not a statement by Chomsky. Instead, it is the election boycott supporters telling Chomsky why he is and always has been wrong to encourage voting in elections, rather than boycotting them. The boycott supporters will find no encouragement in anything Chomsky has said or written.

NDPP

George Carlin Doesn't Vote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk

Freedom 55

jimmyjim wrote:

You must be a Liberal scared of the NDP vote, tough we are voting and there is nothing you can say or do that will change that so better go start knocking on doors because it is the only way to win.

 

I'm not going to flag this, but in case you missed it, the mods have already ruled that this sort of comment is out of order.

Freedom 55

Boom Boom wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

What do they call it when you keep doing the same thing, yet expect different results?

 

The real problem is FPTP, not voting itself.

 

Do you think that falling voter turnout has hampered, or reinforced, the push for electoral reform?

Would there have been four referenda on proportional representation in the last six years if voter turnout was consistently in the 75-80% range?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Some political parties, notably the current Conservative Party of Canada, put forward considerable effort to discourage voting. They do so by, for example, lowering the level of "debate" (flooding the public domain with Republican style attack ads) , opposing innovation in getting young people to vote (such as in Guelph recently), and so on.

This is notable and significant.

Freedom 55

N.Beltov wrote:

Is this the slacktivist thread?

 

One person's slacktivist is another person's voter.

remind remind's picture

Michael Moriarity wrote:
I read this article, and I just wanted to point out that this is not a statement by Chomsky. Instead, it is the election boycott supporters telling Chomsky why he is and always has been wrong to encourage voting in elections, rather than boycotting them. The boycott supporters will find no encouragement in anything Chomsky has said or written.

Thank you for indicating this as at the quick glance I took, it seemed that it was a Chomsky quote.

simonvallee

Anyone familiar with the concept of the "useful idiots"? Because this is it. Right-wingers don't give a damn about what the people making those campaigns are saying, so the only ones who might not vote because of that campaign would be the left-wingers. Of course, if the left-wingers don't vote, policies will remain right-wing, because the only elected officials will be right-wingers, and they'll be quite happy to get 70-80% of the vote even if the turnout is only 30-40%.

The only ones who have to win anything from a boycott movement as a protest aginst right-wing policies are the right-wingers themselves.

As to the idea that voting never changes anything... That is just an absurd statement. Yes, it doesn't solve all problems, but one just has to look at how society was in the 30s and how it is now to realize that this is a crock of shit. The middle class exists because governments that supported at least to some extent policies to help the middle class and the works defend their interests against the interests of the richest. This greater receptivity to these policies came as more and more people got the right to vote and did so.

The question has to be asked too: if elections are useless and will never change anything... what will? What is your alternative? Revolution? Because you think it's likelier for everyone to rise up in the streets for a common shared vision of an utopia than for a left-wing government to be elected? Absurd, just absurd.

Mick

Here is the anarchist perspective from Common Cause & Union Communiste Libertaire

 

http://www.genuinechange.info

Every election time comes with its load of promises. They say that this time is the right time for change. Again. All parties, and even the one that's been governing since the last election, assure us that they'll make it all better.

Opposite of other electoral websites, we don't have anything for sale. We're not aiming at convincing you to trust us. We don't want your vote.

Here, we'd like to offer a different perspective of elections and politics in general, starting by asking the question "Voting, what's the point?"

 

http://www.levraichangement.com/

 

Toute période électorale vient avec son lot de promesses. On nous raconte que cette fois, c'est le temps pour du changement. Encore. Tous les partis, et même celui qui gouverne le pays depuis la dernière élection, nous assurent qu'ils vont tout améliorer. Mais plus ça change, et plus c'est pareil.

Contrairement à la plupart des autres sites électoraux, nous n'avons rien à vous vendre. Nous ne cherchons pas à vous convaincre de nous faire confiance. Nous ne voulons pas votre vote.

Ici, nous souhaitons présenter une toute autre perspective sur les élections et la politique en général, à commencer par la question « Voter, ça donne quoi? »

 

ceti ceti's picture

No one would argue that bourgeois parliamentary democracy is the be all and end all of political activism. But what's the point of boycotting, when your act is indistinguishable from the background noise of absenteeism? It is a self-defeating proposition, especially when the system itself will go on as usual, without even a dent in its legitimacy. Meanwhile, the hegemonic forces will increase their stranglehold on the discourse, leaving you with even less room to manoeuvre. In fact, you'll end up with your back further up against the wall.

The whole attitude is not just noxious, but reactionary, especially when anarchists and ultra-left types actually benefit from the social systems that were developed by what they would call bourgeois political parties. Indeed, the attitude of many of the ultra-left becomes indistinguishable from the tea party who also cling to absolutes and want to see the annihilation of the state. They need to realize that whatever their level of cynicism or disgust, they also as members of a society have an obligation to others -- in this case, not to let the very worst ruin even more lives and hard one gains of the people.

Does it lead to legitimization of the political process? Maybe, but not necessarily. You must fight on all fronts. But this particular strategy of Jim Crowing yourself is perhaps the worst.

Lord Palmerston

Well said, Simon.

melovesproles

Yeah, I can respect spoiling your ballot if you're just disgusted by your options but just boycotting is indistinguishable from apathy and laziness.  It's pretty obvious that lower voter turnout hasn't resulted in a crisis of legitimacy-just increasingly reactionary governments and a public discourse that ignores demographics who vote in disproportionate numbers.  Obviously, as has been stated above, electoral politics isn't going to radically change things but combined with other forms of activism, it can be relevant.

Slumberjack

Thanks for starting this thread NDPP.  If anything, it shows how difficult it is to drain a putrid swamp when people insist on refilling it over and over again.  Harper will likely have his minority, or Ignatieff will in the event of a total collapse on the part of the conservatives.  All of them will send along their thanks I'm sure for everyone's participation in a process that legitimizes everything that will follow.  Thanks for coming out everyone.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

wage zombie wrote:

NDPP wrote:

'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' - Emma Goldman

Wouldn't they also make not voting illegal, if it could change things?

Thanks for my morning chuckle, WZ! Loved that one.

And let me add:

If issuing bombastic pronouncements could change anything, they'd make that illegal too!

 

 

Of course they'll never outlaw bombastic pronouncements. That's the best way the have of letting people convince each other that they are actually accomplishing something.

Freedom 55

ceti wrote:

No one would argue that bourgeois parliamentary democracy is the be all and end all of political activism.

 

Since you took the time to pop back into this thread I really wished you had addressed the question I asked you in post #11. Did you actually read that somewhere, or did you just pull that out of your ass?

Freedom 55

melovesproles wrote:

Yeah, I can respect spoiling your ballot if you're just disgusted by your options but just boycotting is indistinguishable from apathy and laziness.

 

And spoiling one's ballot is indistinguishable from a voter error. But unlike voter abstention, nobody gives it a second thought.

NDPP

If You Don't Vote You CAN Complain

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/letters/54719

"...What that one-liner implies is that we, as law-abiding, tax-paying, contributing, knowledgeable citizens, cannot criticize the current political system because we boycott the vote. It advocates that we must vote in order to make our voices heard, even if we think there are no political parties that represent our beliefs and can carry them out in an honest and incorruptible manner.

It is unfair to accuse the non-voting public of apathy, indifference or ignorance to the state of their nation because they are unhappy with the electoral process. Voting never overthrew apartheid or Jim Crow in the United States. It never ended colonialism or imperialism. Neither can it end the oppression of liberal democracy.

Regardless of whether one chooses to vote or not, the reality is that change is brought about by far more than just voting..."

melovesproles

Fredom 55, it doesn't get a second thought because there's nowhere near the same numbers.  There'd be a lot bigger crisis of legitimacy for our democracy right now if 50% of Canadians spoiled their ballots.  Good luck explaining that as voter error.  Of course that would require time consuming things like you know organizing.  People don't vote for lots of reasons and 'delegitimizing the government' is hardly the prevailing one.  That would take actual organization.

JKR

Are we growing tired of democracy?

Quote:

Indeed, in his stump speech, Harper affects an air of annoyed distraction, saying he should be in the nation’s capital working, not stumping around the country in an election he calls “unnecessary.”

But beyond his pitch for a majority, his comments may also be a calculated bid to help him achieve it. His words and the Conservative strategy of negative ads before the campaign “have a depressing effect on turnout and make people, quite frankly, depressed about democracy,” said Paul Nesbitt-Larking, a political scientist at Huron College at the University of Western Ontario.

That can fuel an apathy that turns off voters and makes them reluctant to cast a ballot on election day — except for Harper’s own supporters.

“Some people would call it realistic. Some would call it cynical. Certainly calculating and strategic,” Nesbitt-Larking says.

The strategy might be working. Marland calls the election so far “boring. That’s a fact. There’s no way around it.”

 

Harper and the Conservatives want us not to vote.  Will we comply?

JKR

Light voter turnout does not delegitamize politics. Many municipal elections have turnout below 25% and there has been no call for political change because of it.

In the US voter turnout is also very low and there's been no political outrage as the Rpublicans laugh all the way to the bank.

 

How many Canadians even know what the voter turnout rates are?

6079_Smith_W

melovesproles wrote:

Fredom 55, it doesn't get a second thought because there's nowhere near the same numbers.  There'd be a lot bigger crisis of legitimacy for our democracy right now if 50% of Canadians spoiled their ballots.  Good luck explaining that as voter error.  Of course that would require time consuming things like you know organizing.  People don't vote for lots of reasons and 'delegitimizing the government' is hardly the prevailing one.  That would take actual organization.

I hear you, but I don't think so. It is already at 40 percent of voters, and 65 percent of youth. and in one of the recent US federal elections they had 78 percent no-shows. 

People may wring their hands, but no one is going to actually change anything just because people stay home and do nothing. The only difference might be in who gets elected, though of course, who cares about that?

... haha crosspposted with you JKR

 

And NDPP, those who don't vote might complain (I'm sure) but I  won't be listening.

ceti ceti's picture

Here's an original Maoist understanding of the boycott strategy: "the slogans 'boycott elections' and 'establish rural bases and create areas of armed struggle,' "

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mazumdar/1968/12/x01.html

It's all kinds of messed up given the extreme violence of the GPCR and the Maoist factions that emerged afterwards. Plus without organization, you'd instead see the sprouting up of extreme right militias instead of lefty hipsters who'd be massacred in an instant.

melovesproles

My point was that if those same numbers of 'novoters' (40%) instead spoiled their ballots, that might actually attack the legimitacy of our democracy.  It would show an organized, motivated movement against the false choices presented by electoral democracy.  Not voting doesn't have that same power because it's the opposite of organization.  It's a collective 'meh.'  If you want to change things, you have to organize.  The election 'boycott' is trying to beef up their numbers by cherrypicking the apolitical and apathetic but they don't actually have these numbers because they haven't tried to organize them.  An organized ballot spoil would be one way of doing this but it would be a lot more work and a lot more difficult.  It would actually have some significance too.

JKR

An organized "ballot spoil" would be met with scepticism and general amusement.

Rick Mercer would have a field day.

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