The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
If Voting Changed Anything It Would Be Made Illegal!
“Participation in elections means the transfer of one’s will and decisions to another, which is contrary to the fundamental principles of anarchism”- Emma Goldman
Sean Matthews • 6.11.03

The countdown to the elections has begun, with election posters appearing in our streets backed up with various politicians otherwise rulers knocking round our doors and practically saying anything in order to get an X beside their box. All with their different aims and policies but all poisonous with they’re constant in fighting and squabbling as to who can capture the anxiety and popular attention of the electorate. All gasping for the chance to implement the disastrous neo-liberal agenda in our public services, which Sinn Fein the acclaimed party of ‘socialist’ credentials initiated a few years back when Stormont was on one leg with Westminster in supreme command enforcing the vital dynamite when need be. They all have one thing in common which is that their legitimacy derives from our society separated into two ataganistic blocs: rulers and the ruled, masters and slaves, exploited and the exploiters. Once inside the chamber of authority they often fail to keep to their word or go back on their earlier commitments or use rhetoric to justify their the reversals, which is the norm throughout our parliamentary democracy.

One has to look at Labour’s track record especially over the last couple of years on important issues relating to education, privatisation of public services and their total commitment to protecting the interests and needs of big business. One man one vote becomes one wealth and 6 votes or beyond. Such is the nature of our representative democracy where you elect a master mainly every 4 years, without any mechanism enshrined to recall, dismiss or just generally make them more accountable to their constituents. Apart from the obvious which is that it is illogically false that this coming dictatorship of the 108 can represent the views and interests of the entire population of the North of Ireland, except those of the rich of course. Voting is not an expression of power, as the state likes us to believe in but merely an admission of powerlessness and disempowerment since it cannot do otherwise than reaffirm the government's supposed legitimacy and your continued enslavement. The state is and will always remain a set of institutions with entrenched power and privilege headed by a bureaucratic class who dominate and oppress the majority. It is sustained and maintained by psychological or violent coercion. There may be a change in rulers (head), but the rotten hierarchical class system (body) always remains in place, with a tiny intellectual class determining the fate and destiny of the majority who are excluded from the decision making process: 'This restriction of knowledge to elite group destroys the spirit of society and leads to its intellectual impoverishment' - Albert Einstein. As Anarchists we seek to help the disempowered take the power back from the few by direct action and direct democracy because we all have the inner power, creativity and ability to overthrow those who crush are individual liberty, diversity and fraternity.

Radical parties who utilise the state apparatus to achieve their goals always end up in miserable failure and soon become detached from their native ground or inevitably forsake their revolutionary principles. Electioneering results in a party becoming more moderate and reformist - indeed the party becomes a victim of its own success. In order to get votes, the party must appear “moderate” and “practical” and that means working within the system. History is littered with examples from the rise of social democratic parties post-1914 throughout Europe and Latin America. Not to mention the numerous radical parties in Ireland including Fianna Fail, Workers Party and the new fame on the block Sinn Fein who go down the prickly reformist road, and will eventually if not already leave their radical image and ideals outside the corridors of fame and glory. You cannot dive in a swamp and remain clean! What goes beyond all imagination and hysteria is the fact that old/ new bureaucrats will be elected without any authoritarian institution to implement their privatisation agenda and yet the tax payer will have to continue to pay for their fat cat slaries and all the privileges and perks that go with it, which is valuable money that could be invested in our deprived working class communities.

Real political and social change will never come through the elitist institution on the hill but through the self-activity, self-organised labouring masses dismantling all institutions of domination, division and exploitation. One man, one vote and other entitlements in the social and economic sphere although imperfect were attained by victorious social struggle from the state through men, women and children taking to the streets and demanding political and civil rights. Freedom and equality is always taken and not given voluntarily by the state and will never come through some vanguard party liberating the people. Workers emancipation is the task of the workers themselves! Michael Bakunin once wrote, 'the whole history of progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle there is no progress.'

Anarchists believe that society should be run and controlled by those who produce the wealth, the working class (majority), unlike today where a tiny parasitic boss elite lives off the sweat and toil of the many whose position is protected and enhanced by the state with all its instruments of repression and coercion. The boss class needs us more than we need them! People would become masters of their own destiny, spiritually and materially free from all forms of oppression and subordination to authority through a network of community councils and self-managed workplaces from below working upwards, an ultimate classless and stateless world. Each community or workplace would elect a delegate who would meet other delegates from various other workplaces and through mutual cooperation and co-ordination make decisions. However, each delegate would have a clear mandate that if broken could be instantly recalled, dismissed and replaced in contrast to the democracy of the rich today where you rarely see your ruler until he maybe calls at your door close to the election day. This is direct democracy and is real equality and liberty in solidarity. You may say it is a dream but what schools etc never teach us is that authority dressed up in whatever disguise is unjustified and unnecessary and was formally abolished by the social and political revolutions in Russia of 1917 and Spain in 1936 where egalitarian worker’s councils emerged but were violently repressed by self-appointed revolutionaries who continued to wield the stick of tyranny, intolerable oppression, brutality and wickedness. The Red flag also flew over Munster in 1920 during the War of Independence which is something our leaders wish us to overlook, which put to bed the idea that the Irish working class are always embedded with the forces of Conservatism.

Spoil your vote!
Educate, agitate, organise!
Spirit of revolt!




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

7 November 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Ted Honderich Interview
Mark Hayes


Disappeared and Disapproved

Anthony McIntyre


HMP Maghaberry: First Flames from a Tinderbox
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh


Housebreaking Ulster Style
Brian Mór


United Irishmen
Davy Carlin


From A Granny
Kathleen Donnelly


An Enemy of the Republic
Liam O Comain


Some Count, Some Don't
Michael Youlton


If Voting Changed Anything It Would Be Made Illegal!
Sean Matthews


Hackneyed Views of Cuba
Douglas Hamilton


Colombian Trade Unionist in Belfast: Meeting
Sean Smyth


2 November 2003


A Memo to Adams: Remember That Every Political Career Ends in Failure
Tom Luby



Anthony McIntyre


Ballot Papers and Elysium
Eamon Sweeney


Republican Prisoners and their Families Put at Risk due to Prison Strike
Martin Mulholland


Trust Without Honesty in the Peace Process?
Paul A. Fitzsimmons


The Letters Page has been updated.




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