I know you, you’re a subversive. You don’t buy into all that mainstream nonsense. You read Huffington Post, – an evil corporation that exploits writers – you watch RT, – literally Russia’s international propaganda network – and you’re not like the rest of us. You want to smash the machine!
Yeah, brilliant, let’s see it then.
Come on, I’m waiting.
Oh, that’s right. Like me you’re another talon-less fool just whinging about things on the internet. Maybe you go to the odd protest, how much has that managed to change? Did singing protest songs stop the inevitable march of corporate greed yet? No – Right, well read on.
(If you are currently waiting in the wings with both popular and military support, poised and ready to launch a coup d’état in the United Kingdom, you can ignore this. Whether I like you or not, you’ve got your shit together and are not the intended audience. This is the minimum expectation I have for a revolutionary to be excused from voting.)
This article is for those people, from the UK or not, who think that voting is bad because it encourages a politico-corporate machine that envelopes the whole world, including that nations you live in.
Here’s the deal. You’re in it. You are part of the machine whether you like it or not. The ‘machine’ is literally this world and everyone and everything in it. Your blood, sweat and tears, and those of everyone you know, help oil the cogs of this machine. The resources companies exploit are OUR resources. The harm done by governments worldwide is harm done to ALL OF US. Your voice is just one in 7.5 billion and those voices are not all equal. That inequality affects EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING ALIVE and EVERYONE TO COME.
So whether you choose to use that voice you have for shouting and then duck out when the real work starts is entirely your business. Just don’t you dare step to me pretending like that gives you some sense of politically revolutionary superiority because until I see you toppling your government you’re still just a pawn.
First and foremost all politicians are liars. They have to be. If they told you the truth you’d curl up in a ball and wither until death. They all lie to get your support. They give you hope. But they’re not responsible for your feelings. If you feel hope and then get disenfranchised when it’s smashed, more fool you for having hope in a politician. The only thing you’re a victim of there is yourself. In 2011 I voted for the Liberal Democrats as I wanted to go to university and they promised some stuff about tuition fees they didn’t deliver. It’s not their fault, it is mine. It is mine for believing them, it is mine for having that hope. They may be responsible for how they appeal to my feelings, but I am responsible for my feelings. Still, it’s no reason not to vote.
You might think politicians just want to stand up for corporate interests. That your views will never be heard regardless so there is no use in engaging. I thought the UK remaining in the EU was inevitable because of corporate interests? That’s what I was told. Why is it we seek to demonstrate only when the corporate voice is strong, and not when it seems to be undermined? And even if politicians will only stand for corporate interests – as George Orwell tells us – not all pigs are equal. There are pigs that are a little less piggy than others. Surely you want to ensure the less piggy pigs are in power? The fact is that apathy is what truly allows the real pigs to get away with their villainy. What is more, under enough pressure (and the social media age is the age of pressure!) companies have shown they will bend to our will if we suggest we will stop giving them money because of what they are doing. Corporate representation in government is not a reason not to vote. Not only is it a reason to vote, it’s a reason to actively engage in activism.
“Alright you preachy prick!” I hear you shouting, “Why should I vote?”
Here are the two main trains of thought.
Number one – If politicians are nothing but tools to service a big corporate machine I want them to be the tools that do the least harm. Better a pair of safety scissors in power than a machete, right? Not engaging gives those who wish to elect harmful tools a completely free mandate to do so. In my nation of the United Kingdom this is exactly what this revolutionary voter apathy has done. People have handed over their future to people living in the past and then shouted “unfair!” at the top of their lungs. When someone runs at you with a weapon, you fight or you run, you do not ignore. If you ignored all warnings and got hurt, well you can say I’m victim blaming all you like, you’re an idiot and partly responsible for the harm that was done. You did nothing.
There is, in this general election, a party that will do great harm to a great many people. They have already done it, made excuses for it, backed up their non-evidence-based policies and ideologically driven agenda with bluster and people have swallowed it. If you’re the enlightened revolutionaries, you know this. By choosing not to vote you are allowing it. That’s what you’re doing.
Maybe you don’t see the services slashed to the bone. Maybe you’re unaware of the pools of opportunities evaporating in the harsh environment. Maybe you’re not the person with cancer found ‘fit-to-work’. Maybe you’re not the small business that was swallowed by unscrupulous administrators that were also your financial advisers who ran you into the ground in the first place. Maybe you’re not the woman on benefits whose third child is the result of a rape or coercive relationship but who gets no additional support for that child. Maybe you’re not the youth in a deprived area whose only escape from gang involvement is a project whose budget is gone. Maybe you’re not the driver in a wheelchair who has to jump through hoops (probably literally if it’s an ATOS assessment…) to justify their mobility allowance. Maybe you’re not the university student who dropped out for health reasons and now can’t continue their education because tuition fees have tripled. Maybe you’re not the anxious depressive worrying about their Work Capability Assessment so much they hang themselves. Maybe you’re not the 50 year old who has worked an honest job their whole life only to have the job centre treat them like crap when they are made redundant and business won’t hire them because they’re too old. Maybe you’re not the ambitious young person who sits by their phone waiting for a call from a zero-hours job, who can’t organise their life because they need to work, but never know when they may get it. Maybe you’re not these people, maybe you know nothing of these people but these are all very real scenarios, very real worries, and very real people. Maybe you are not them, but you can speak for them and you can do that by voting for less harm.
I’ve used the example of doing nothing when someone is coming at you with a weapon, but this is politics. They’re coming at all of us. I cannot ignore that and I cannot abide anyone who, for ideological reasons, can. If you do nothing, they triumph. The people you hate and desire to destroy want you to do what you are currently doing.
You’re not going to smash the system that way – But if you’re more focussed on smashing the system than helping others you’re as bad as the politicians. In fact, you are a politician. That makes you someone who will inflict, or tacitly allow the infliction, of harm to further your own agenda. You’re an ideologue and a politician.
Point number two, and this one is presupposing you are an ideologue and point number one means nothing to you. By not engaging with the machine you simply strengthen the voice of those who do engage with the machine. Tactically speaking it is much better for the revolutionaries to organise a political campaign of voting in order to destabilise the leadership and the government – and that is perfectly possible. The system is not that rigged.
If Jeremy Corbyn is as dangerous for this country as Theresa May says he is every revolutionary in their right mind should be voting for him because even if they don’t like him they weaken the stranglehold of politico-coporatism. They create an opening, a weakness that could then be exploited to bring about revolution.
This is where the whole revolutionary idea falls down, you see. Adolf Hitler (Godwin’s Law invocation status – 3 for 3) did not rise to power as a revolutionary. He stole it piece by piece. Sure the Russian communists may have had a revolution, but it was steadily built up to, and the power vacuum after that was then filled by people stealing it piece by piece. The rise of far-right politics in Europe has not been a sudden, revolutionary change. It has grown, piece by piece. Brexit was not a revolutionary movement it was built up to piece by piece. You see the pattern here? Power is not stolen in one go, it is stolen incrementally. I’m not suggesting it can only be eroded and eradicated in such fashion, it’s just it’s such a damn successful model why wouldn’t you use it?
Is it really that you’re a revolutionary, or do you simply want to be admonished of all responsibility? Have your feelings been so hurt, your hopes so dashed, those promises made so broken that when the time comes to actually make a decision you have to sit on the fence because otherwise you might be responsible for something? If you vote one way or another, people might not like your decision, but if you don’t vote you can act all high and mighty and say “This is why I don’t vote!” with the snide superiority I so often feel from you. I can spot it so well because I’m a master of snide superiority, can’t you tell?
Are you a revolutionary, or a coward? Because, well let me continue…
Revolutionaries in the United Kingdom, with this election, have a unique chance to really mess things up. If they choose to vote, and vote tactically, they can upset the apple-cart more than has been done in this nation for a hundred years or more and without spilling a drop of blood.
This government has stumbled into a Brexit fuckpit it cannot escape out of without upsetting a lot of people. The reason they keep talking about ‘the will of the people’ and all that nonsense is to convince us that this issue is not a 50/50 and it categorically is a 50/50! If they renege on the deal, 50% of people will be irritated, if they follow through with it, 50% of people will be irritated. That’s what they’re stuck with. If Theresa May gets a bigger majority she will have the power to lubricate the gears of that political machine with the blood of as many paupers as she likes – and she will. The only conservative, financially stable policy from now is to turn the UK into a bigger den of corporatism than it already is.
Maybe you think that if Corbyn wins he will have to bend to those corporate interests too, firstly he will do so less willingly than May and in a way that provides benefit to all of us not just Sir Bullingdon-Posho-Fink-Smythe III the hedge fund manager. Secondly, let’s say he does. He will likely do so with a small majority and facing immense pressures already based upon how undermined his campaign has been. The media don’t like him, many in his own party don’t like him and no doubt if he wins there will be trepidation. If Corbyn is prime minister the opportunities for revolutionary change are huge because even if he isn’t making them himself (which he might!), his perceived weakness will be exploitable.
That, my friends, is how true revolutionaries think.
But let’s say no party gets a majority. Wow, even better. That’s some mad instability right there. If you really want to bring a system crashing down try to make slightly differing sets of ideologues agree on something in a coalition. A hung parliament is a pound-crashing, business destabilising, bank fucking mess. Hedge funds that speculate on currency crashes will still do well, but that’s money, not people. In people it creates unrests, stirs up the passions of far more of the population and that’s more revolutionaries to recruit. When power is diluted, people want to grab a bit for themselves. A hung parliament would let you revolutionaries increase your power. That would be using the machine, and its tools, to empower yourselves. It’s a strange concept in this era of persistent victimhood, I know – but again, that’s how true revolutionaries think. They use the tools at their disposal to undermine, destabilise, deconstruct and slowly insert their own agents. That’s how these kinds of battles are won.
Of course all of these are only possible if you organise, come together and vote, tactically, in large numbers.
Can you do that, or are you too busy squabbling on twitter?