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Never Mind The Ballots
31 Oct 2000
"To be GOVERNED is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the
right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so..."
-- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
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Anarchist Electoral Abstentionism
31 Oct 2000
"The anarchists' electoral abstentionism implies not only a conception that is opposed to the principle of representation (which is totally rejected by anarchism), it implies above all an absolute lack of confidence in the State. And this distrust, which is instinctive in the working masses, is for the anarchists the result of their historical experience with the State and its function, which has, at all times and in all places, resulted in a selfish and exclusive protection of the ruling classes and their privileges. [Anarchist abstentionism] strips the State of the constitutional fraud with which it presents itself to the gullible as the true representative of the whole nation, and, in so doing, exposes its essential character as representative, procurer, and protector of the ruling classes."

-- Luigi Galleani

Good Intent, Poor Resolve
31 Oct 2000
The current system must be abolished, revolution is necessary for any real change to occur. On this we agree. Yet abstention from elections is a foolish waste of precious resources available to build that revolution. Bush and Gore are working purely in the interests of the ruling class. This is clear. What is not quite so clear to the working class is that Nader, although far better, is not the final answer. By building the Nader campaign and voting for him, or whichever candidate is farthest left in any election, two very important things are accomplished. First of all we make connections within the class-concious members of the working class. These people are drawn left towards Nader, and can easily be shown that more than this is necessary. As the movement caused by candidates like Nader grows, many formerly apathetic people begin to join the ranks, this fact has demonstrated itself repeatedly throughout the course of the Nader campaign, and throughout history itself. This is the first step in the mobilization of the working class towards revolution. It is simply childish to waste this opportunity.
Secondly, by voting for Nader we build the possibility of a candidate like him getting into office in the near future. This is a very important step towards revolution. Right now many Nader supporters believe that a candidate like him will be the final answer. They will continue to hold these beliefs and hopes as long as this type of candidate is unsuccessfull. Once elected, however, a candidate like Ralph Nader will demonstrate to these people the truth, that NO candidate within the system can cause a significant change. With all solutions and alternatives from within the system attempted and failed, the people will see that revolution is necessary, that reformism can never succeed. This realization is invaluable to our cause.
In principle we agree, that the system must fall. But we must not let ourselves be blinded by our principles to the opportunities which presently exist to realize them. A great book to read on such tactics is "Left-Wing Communism; An Infantile Disorder" by VI Lenin. Abstentionists have failed in their attempts at revolution throughout the world because they were too proud, too set in their ways to take advantage of ANY and ALL opportunities presented to them. Participating in a doomed system like ours will make no real change as far as the system is concerned, but before you refuse any part in it you must examine all effects that this participation may have.
Building the Social-Democratic movement headed by Nader is an indispensible first step towards real social change, towards revolution. I urge you, and everyone, not to overlook the significance and potential of this movement.
A Vote for Nader is a Vote for Capitalism...
01 Nov 2000
If you cast a vote for Nader, you are casting a vote for rmaintaining oppressive capitalist social relations(the "compassionate" capitalism of Nader is comparable to the "compassionate" conservatism used by the Republicans to mask their oppressive social agenda). Much like the majority of the cuurent wave of confused "anti-corporate" activists, Nader is very much for a "fair" capitalism, seeing absolutely no need to challenge the fundementally oppressive nature of the class system as a whole. Anyone who considers themselves a socialist of any kind (anarchist, social democrat, Marxist, Leninist, or whatever) who supports Nader is a fucking hypocrite.

Revolution requires emotion AND INTELLIGENCE
01 Nov 2000
Excuse me, but had you taken the time to read and understand my comment you would have realized that I in no way think Nader's platform is a solution to America's problems at all. I very clearly stated that the purpose of voting for Nader would be to eventually get him or someone like him into office so that the people can see for themselves how ineffective any candidate is under a capitalist system. We agree that he is for capitalism, and we agree that his platform will do no good. But you and I making impassioned speeches about it on IndyMedia isn't going to change the opinion of the working class.
The vast majority of the population of America has lost faith in the Rebublicans and Democrats because they have repeatedly promised the world, and promptly failed to deliver. Now many are turning their hopes to Ralph Nader. As long as Nader and candidates like him continue to fail in electoral campaigns due to a lack of support by leftist citizens like us, complaining that Nader is "not-left-enough", he will not get into office and will not have a chance to demonstrate to the public that anyone, even a candidate like Nader in whom they have so much faith, can affect no real change in government. By supporting Nader we can eventually get him or a candidate like him into office, and then the working class can see him fail for themselves, instead of relying solely on the impassioned screams of people saying "fuck Nader". You may have noticed that nobody seems to care what we say, so we need to help them experience and discover for themselves that there is no solution short of destuction of the system.
If a candidate like Nader is elected, he will fail. When the working class sees him fail they will look for other options, other ways to solve the problem, now that they are disillusioned to Nader-like candidates. There is nowhere else for them to turn but left. By repetition of this process with farther and farther left candidates, the people will inevitably look to revolution, the destruction of capitalism, as the only solution. This may take years, but it is the only way it a revolution can ever succeed. The changing of the conciousness of the people to revolution is a slow process that happens in stages. We must look to expidiate the process by all means possible, but we must not abandon the process itself and demand instant revolution. I want it, and you want it, but if we are going to be realistic, mature revolutionaries then we must take adavantage of all opportunities to make this shift possible.
Voting for Nader solves nothing within the system, but is the first step in a larger process towards the system's destruction. Abstention from voting changes nothing, affects no opinions. Because like it or not, nobody cares whether a tiny group of leftists doesn't vote. Half the US population doesn't vote and they don't seem to mind. I think it would be in the best interests of our movement to put such childish banter aside and make realistic and effective steps towards revolution.

As to your accusation of hypocracy, considering that;

A) The works of Lenin have emphatically and repeatedly encouraged participation in elections as a way to turn the working class towards revolution, and by implementation of them he had a successfull revolution.
B) Lenin repeatedly criticized "leftist" groups in Germany, Holland, England, etc, who advocated abstention from elections. Notice that there was never a sucessfull revolution in these countries.
C) Abstention only hurts the movement towards revolution

It seems that those who can take a realistic look at the situation and make correct tactical choices, rather than screaming things like "fuck Nader" in a locker-room-intelligence type of way, are the only true Socialists.

And please, if you are going to respond to this comment, I urge you to take the time to read and understand it, and then make an intelligent response.
Leninists for Capitalists? What next?
01 Nov 2000
So let me get this straight... We are supposed to put our energies behind Ralph Nader (or "someone like him") specificially because we know full well that he is a capitalist who offers no real solutions, and we want a chance to prove this to the working class as a whole.

And this is a sound strategy for revolutionaries?

Here's a simple question... Why bother!? Why not reject electoral illusions altogether and agitate on the level revolutionaries were meant to agitate on: in workplaces, communities, and campuses.

Also, though I am very much against Lenin and his ideas (State capitalism is no substitute for socialism!), I am going to guess that even in his most opportunist moments (you know, beyond dissolving worker's Soviets, executing genuine revolutionaries, and what not), he never made a case for the working class to stand behind a canidate of the capitalist bourgeois. Perhaps you may want to thumb through an old copy of "State and Revolution" and double check on this one...

Choose and Lose 2000
01 Nov 2000
Anarchist Arguements Against Voting:
See also:
Propaganda alone is insufficient
02 Nov 2000
Well there are a few flaws in your logic.
A) Direct and immediate agitation would be based solely on your word that a Naderish Government wouldn't work. Nobody really cares what a small group of anarchists have to say. Agitation is essential, but it can accomplish nothing alone. That is the way it has always been. We need to prove it to them. If you childishly try to go directly to the solution without making use of the process then it is doomed to fail. Is this a sound strategy for revolutionaries?
B) State Capitalism was under Stalin after Lenin's death. There was a pure socialist state after the 1917 revolution and before Stalin, but not yet a pure communist one, cause these things take time.
C) "Parliamentism has become "historically obsolete." That is true as regards to propaganda. But everyone knows that this is still a long way from overcoming it practically. Capitalism could have been declared, and quite rightly, to be "historically obsolete" many decades ago, but that does not at all remove the need for a very long and persistant struggle on the soil of capitalism" -"Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder by VI Lenin, page 40
D)In Great Britain at the time of writing this next passage the Labour Party (a third party with a lot of support by the workers, much like our Green Party) was coming into power. Many communists comdemned them and refused to support them, as you are doing now. The party's leaders were Henderson and Snowden. "the British Communists should participate in parliamentary action, they should from within Parliament help the masses of the workers to see the results of a Henderson and Snowden government in practice, they should help the Hendersons and Snowdens to defeat Lloyd George and Churchill combined. To act otherwise would mean placing difficulties in the way of the revolution; for revolution is impossible without a change in the views of the majority of the working class, and this change is brought about by the experience of the masses, never by propaganda alone." -"Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder by VI Lenin, page 65-66

Please don't tell me about Lenin's views, I hate when people talk about things of which they are ignorant.

Why bother to show them this experience and not just agitate? Because that has never and will never work alone. I am sorry if you dislike Lenin, but the fact remains that we should probably take heed the advice of the only man to ever successfully overthrow a capitalist nation. Not voting sends no message to the masses, turns no heads. The fact that there may be a tiny tiny minority of anarchists not voting for reasons of "principle" does not stand out or send any message when half of the country doesn't vote out of apathy. You need to rethink your strategy and reform it so that it resembles something realistic and mature. Thinking you and a few chronies can topple the world without taking advantage of any opportunities available outside of you is no more than the view of a child playing Superman. Grow up.
Abstention is Submission
02 Nov 2000
I have read several of the articles on the site mentioned which provides anarchist reasons for not voting (
I agree with most of these things. All of these articles describe how voting makes no real difference within the system, and who you vote for changes nothing. This is true. It does not however provide us with any advantages which we would gain from not voting. As I have stated many times, we should vote for Nader not because of what he'll do, but because of what he won't do, and when he fails it will alter the views of the working class. This can further our cause. Even if he doesn't win this year we have to build the Green Party up for the big fall, because when it eventually gets in, it will fail, and everyone will look to other farther-left solutions, which will eventually lead to revolution. Voting for Nader, although causing no real change within the system, can further our movement. This is a very important advantage to voting, and yes, the only advantage. If you don't vote, someone still gets elected. If all the leftists don't vote, than the person who is elected will be a right-winger, this will lead the people to becoming increaingly comfortable with a conservative leader. Leftist abstention is submission to the political power of the conservatives within the not-yet-overthrown capitalist system. Voting for someone like Nader can indirectly help our drive towards revolution. But I am still to read any sound argument on how simply abstaining helps anything or anyone.