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Archive for May, 2007

Does voting achieve anything?

Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on May 7, 2007

These are my thoughts on the previous blog topic. Now everyone’s had their say, and I feel up to it, I’ll give you a monster of a blog! So thank you to everybody who commented.
How many times have we heard and indeed said… “They do it to feather their own nests!Or… “Regardless of who gets in, nothing ever changes” There are may other sayings but you get the idea, and all are true to an extent, if not totally. So why do we persist in voting the same bunch of bent, corrupt politicians in again and again? Everyone who commented agreed that they are to far removed and out of touch from the electorate, but it’s not entirely their fault is it? The electorate is guilty of falling for or putting up with political lies and scandlels! So here’s the first problem, the electorate (Well some of them) know full well what goes on in Government and behind closed doors. Others vote for them because they offer the best lies or they truly believe that the potential candidates are going to do their best for the voters (Yeah right!). Then there’s the thick people of this country (All the Jade Goodys of Britain please stand up) who are so lacking any brain cells, that they will vote for the British National Party (BNP), as they aint got a clue as to what they’re saying or taking part in! So I think a portion of the blame has to placed on the electorate, for allowing these political tricksters to pull the wool over their eyes time and again!
Now, the politicians, they know exactly what they are doing, and what their limitations are before they up set people higher up the chain (Businessmen, their own business interests and the establishment, be it Royalty or other) and below (the electorate and pressure groups). And we all know which ones they try their best not to up set…? that’s right.. the higher. They only really pay attention to what the electorate say when it riots or attracts attention to what the politicians are actually doing. They know when they make decisions they make them for their own best interests, their own voters and their business friends. Basically they run things to their own business and political train of thought. But regardless of who we vote in, no matter which political ideology it is, they never seem to fix the problems they are elected to fix! They stop, stall, make excuses, spin it and drag everything through the mud and still don’t accomplish anything but preserve the status quo! (Some can’t even do that). They promise everything and deliver very little, unless it benefits them too. And they wont bother to rock the boat because they know the electorate will stand for it (After grinding them down for so long), and their business friends will reward them for not doing so.
So, we have the answer to why the country is tits up, and to be honest, you all knew about and thought of what I just wrote in the first two paragraphs, it’s nothing new. So if no politician is willing to make the drastic changes of curbing our rampant Capitalism and giving it a conscience as well as correcting our tax system that is proportionally wrong and not to forget the social problems, what’s the point? Our votes achieve nothing but the status quo, and the politicians know that, which is why they do what they do. We’ve already established that politicians stand up and take notice of what we say when we riot or create Civil Disobedience. So would more Civil Disobedience force the Government and politicians in to acting in our best interests instead of their own and their friends? Henry David Thoreau said in his Civil Disobedience essay (Read Civil Disobedience link for a summary) written against the US Mexican war and the US slave trade: 
“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?”
So, from reading this extract from Henry Thoreau, the Government and politicians rely on us to remain submissive and in fear that we’ll lose what little or what ever we have and that counter action may lead to worse situations if we try to rectify the problem if we ‘rock the boat’ or protest. Also, Thoreau says it is the fault of the state that the people of the country have to act in such a manner to fix the problems of the corrupt state, and he’s right, but, as I said before, some blame has to be placed on the electorate for letting the Government/politicians get to the point of legal corruption in the first place. Then again we can’t all just drop what we’re doing and go and protest, can we? It would take far to long to mobilize everyone and in the end the authorities would just do what they do with all protesters, and that’s beat us or confine us to one or two streets. And if the state is absolutely corrupt, for instance like the Totalitarian Arab States and the North Korean state, the message will not be seen by the majority of the populace and would most likely be used for the states own propaganda purposes.
So protesting alone will not always make the Government/politicians change the laws or policies it makes, supposedly on our behalf. So what else is there? Let me show you another extract of Henry Thoreau’s:
 “A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer,  asks me, as one has done, “But what shall I do?” my answer is, “If you really wish to do anything,  resign your office.” When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.”
The message here is very simple, you can stop any democratic state bu hitting it in the wallet! Money is where the state gets its power over us, the Government/politicians give us an ultimatum, and that is: “Pay us or go to prison!” If we don’t comply, they have no power, yes they can lock some of us up, but, if done on a large-scale (even if it’s a minority) they still have a big problem. Take the late 1980’s Poll tax for instance, how many people didn’t pay it or went missing? A lot of people think it was the riots that eventually had the tax abolished, but, it was the fact people would rather go to prison or disappear that frightened the Government and led them to abolish it. So if you take away the oil that makes the machine run, it will falter and grind to a halt. 
Now we have the Government’s Achilles heel, what about how the system of Government itself works? As Phil Gayle pointed out (see comments in previous blog) there are to many ideologies and opinions to achieve unanimous agreement from everyone, on all issues – and it would be incredibly stupid to think so to. Phil G goes on to say all the main political parties (Besides the extremists) have a lot of good agendas that, ‘combined’ would help the country. Phil G also said the people, regardless of party, do have some things in common. They all want the same thing, good public services, health ect… no matter what way they vote. So could the 3 main parties plus some non extreme fringe parties, work together on their common policies, with out bickering like children in a playground? I think they could not, as they all have their own ideas on how to improve the particular service or policy.
As usual Spice came up with a good idea, and that was:“Politicians are too far removed from the electorate to be truly accountable and it would be better if the local tier of government, i.e. local councils, had more accountability for managing (and reversing) their own social decline. If the mayors and the police chief constables were made to stand for re-election every two years and if re-election were based upon effective performance standards you would very quickly see a changes. Any position of responsibility for society should be one where the position holder is at risk of losing his or her job if they fail to deliver I think with a bit fo tweaking this idea could be workable”
The idea is similar to what the system is like now, only at present the same politicians and civil servents are left to carry on running for what whatever seat of power they wish and may get elected again. If we create a law which requires them to deliver what they are supposed to, and their lively hoods depended on it, it would be a step forward. Also, once they fail to deliver they are barred from entering politics or any other political service, this should make them get it right the first time around. If we add to this the holding back of tax for the Government, we may be on to something here.
Also, how about ‘WE’ get to decide how much Ministers get paid? And how long they take holidays for. In short, we make them work for us and not the other way round, make it how it’s supposed to be!
But there would be danger if we were to give everyone a direct vote on every political topic. Just think how many councils would lynch any suspected peadophiles and how many local councils would vote for their own system of Government? For instance, in a BNP dominated council, they would have votes on issues that would only benefit the white majority and leave the minorities out. Same goes for majority Muslim areas, they would implement their own system of law. What I’m saying is there needs to also be some checks and balences put in place so as not to give power to a popular idea or group of people.
So, we have some answers and I bet we’ll have plenty more ideas when others comment on this blog. But, does voting work? Well, in the right political conditions, yes it does. But at the moment, as everyone’s agreed, it isn’t going to work with the Government running us, when it should be us running them. So there should be a Government where at least all the basic needs of every voter is seen to, no matter which party is in power. And, a system where we the people make the majority of the choices that concern us, with some checks and balances put in place of course so as not to let the popular uneducated media driven lynch mobs take control. And a modified Candidate and re-election system, so as to make the politicians work for their money and make sure they carry out what they are there to do. So we all have to do, as Adelina said, get out there and remind the Government who’s in control and demand change and protest in a non-violent way like not paying tax till they do as we the people want (Within reason).
Here’s Henry Thoreau’s essay in full, it’s far better than my blog! 

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