Labour, Tory, Liberal, Green or nationalist, whatever party is in charge, the fundamentals of the system are the same.
Whether we have the present electoral system, proportional representation, or whether many people vote or don’t vote, capitalism is the driving force for state policy. ANY vote is a vote for capitalism.
As working-class people, we are exploited whether we can take part in ‘free’ elections or live under an authoritarian regime. National and international capital continue to control the wealth that we create, and protect it through the police, legal system, and military.
Non-voters are told that, “If you don’t vote you have no right to complain”, but voting under these circumstances is just pretending that the system we have is credible, that voting gives us power. If that was true, the working class, the class that forms the vast majority of the population, would by now be living in comfortable material conditions, and have the functionaries of the state very clearly acting on our instructions to the benefit of all. This is obviously not the case though – we have next to no say in the decisions that get taken by the people we elect.
The system in the UK is called ‘representative democracy’, yet when have the interests of the working class ever been truly represented? Our standard of living has been consistently eroded for many decades under both the Tories and Labour. This is because the role of government is NOT to represent the interests of the people, but to represent the interests of capital. Whatever way you vote, you are voting for capitalism, you are voting to be exploited, and you are voting to be ruled over, bossed around and bullied by various institutions that can control you with violence or the threat of violence. When we vote we sell out our birthright to be free individuals that fully benefit from our own labour and our collaboration with other workers. This makes no sense and more and more people are beginning to realise it.
Ok, so what can we do instead of this impotent act of submission? Well, if we don’t want others to have power over us, then we shouldn’t willingly put our power in someone else’s hands! History tells us that those we give power to will betray us and abuse that power. Organising horizontally, using some form of direct democracy, where everyone affected by a decision gets a say in that decision, while not perfect, is infinitely more fair and practical than handing over decision making to individuals and institutions who’s class interests are absolutely opposed to our own. So…
DON’T VOTE, ORGANISE!!!
We should organise with our neighbours, workmates, other people we have shared interests with, and other working-class people who are subject to particular modes of oppression because of their identity, such as racism, homophobia, transphobia etc. We are the experts on what we need, and on the best way to run things for the common good. We can use direct action to achieve this…
Direct action is where we individually or collectively (usually collectively) solve a problem without looking to someone else to solve it for us. By this we mean, not just protesting and asking for change, but things like occupying, sabotaging, working to rule, refusing to pay their prices or their rent, and striking when WE decide if it’s time to strike, not when union bureaucrats and the state give us permission to. Plus of course, creating our own, horizontally organised groups and organisations, affinity groups, mutual aid groups and unofficial unions.
For example, when workers aren’t paid the wages owed them, rather than asking the government to give us better legal protection, we take action to force employers to pay. Such things have been achieved with only a few dozen people. Renters unions have had many successes such as getting repairs done and refusing to pay rent increases, sometimes with only a handful of people.
Imagine the power we could wield in our workplaces and our communities if thousands of us decided to refuse to be abused, oppressed and exploited any longer, and began to say NO!!!
Of course, in reality, people are understandably afraid of taking the state on. But direct action doesn’t have to mean an all-out fight to defeat capitalism in one go, but by confronting the system directly at any point we can start to take control. In fact, all the good things we think of as having been created by the state – free healthcare, free education, health & safety laws to protect us at work, housing regulations, sick pay, unemployment benefits, pensions – came about historically to put an end to organised campaigns of collective direct action that threatened their power. Mostly we do this collectively – where we would fail as individuals, together we can win. That doesn’t mean that individuals can never act on their own – sometimes an individual can take an action that can inspire thousands!
It’s time for us to stand up as individuals and as communities, and take our destinies into our own hands. It’s time to reject absolutely the legitimacy of the state and any top-down institutions that say they will represent our interests, such as political parties both large and small.
We, as a class, already produce everything required for our material needs. We, as a class, know very well how to operate and take advantage of the technology we already have, and how to innovate to create even greater technologies. The ruling class, and their illogical, dysfunctional capitalist system just obstruct optimal production of goods and services and prevent a fair, functional and practical distribution of the wealth we create.
This is now in plain sight and it’s time for us to act! It’s inevitable this will sometimes lead to confrontation on the streets and elsewhere. This can be scary but ultimately, we have to stand up for ourselves and our class by whatever means are necessary, otherwise we will continue to be ground into the dirt with increasing austerity, increasing destruction of our communities by local government and their policies of social cleansing, and through increasing authoritarianism and state violence. We can lay down and let it happen, or we can come together, realise our power, and FIGHT BACK!