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Direct democracy

by Ahmed Sunday, Oct. 29, 2000 at 5:24 AM

Revolution will happen slowly and hardly, but on my point of vue certainly not by voting through parlementarism and electoral aristocracy. In a way you're right when you believe that voting for nader will change something (let's imagine that 5% of US people vote for Nader: it will put the pressure on capitalists and republicrats). But non-electoral anarchists are right also when denouncing parlementarism. Firstly because they (and I) want to dismantle the myth of "delegation". Secondly there's the question of making revolution in the activist praxis

Revolution will happen slowly and hardly, but on my point of vue certainly not by voting through parlementarism and electoral aristocracy.

In a way you're right when you believe that voting for nader will change something (let's imagine that 5% of US people vote for Nader: it will put the pressure on capitalists and republicrats).

But non-electoral anarchists are right also when denouncing parlementarism. Firstly because they (and I) want to dismantle the myth of "delegation".

Secondly there's the question of making revolution in the activist praxis (in many aspects: authoritarian attitude, sexism etc.), this is crucial and a political, electoral party is probably not a structure for this kind of progress.

As many anarchist friends are saying: "be realistic, revolution is not for tomorrow...it is today and the day after tomorrow" ;-)

On the other hand a few "riot US activists" (I respect them anyway) believe that riot will bring a kind of spontaneous revolution. I think this way of thinking is the consequence of the ideological terror that dominated the US and the destruction of labour identities. It forced progressive forces and among them anarchist to be isolated and they survived and created through counter-culture (so they should be respected for their contribution).

If you need to believe that vote will bring change why not.

But there's many alternatives beetween parlementarist activism and dream of spontaneous uprising: strikes and

labour unions (mainstream, anarcosyndicalist...), all kinds of direct actions such as occupations (of boss office by workers, of local politicians offices by "citizens" defending local issues, occupation of non-used buildings by poor families organised in various collectives and using medias to prevent police actions and to put pressure on capitalists), demos of course, popular education, lobbyist strategies, student activism, non-monetary micro-structures, symbolic destruction of capitalism etc. (for example this is what did Jos Bové french farmer and anarchist: with many others they deconstructed with calm and joy a Mc Donald (with creative tools such as screwdriver, tracor or chain saw) to denounce capitalist globalization, WTO and to promote a non-productivist, non-corporatist agriculture respecting humans and nature.

Then they were threatened by "justice", in response french farmers invited all progressive forces to a "french seattle" rally, denouncing mainly the fact that "human being is for sale" and that "social progressive forces are criminalized by the state": up to 120.000 people came to the little french town of millau!!!

The state and the capitalist lost a battle. And it gave a concrete occasion for solidarity: from anarchists or tobin tax supporters to alternative labor unions, ethnic and antifascists groups. It gave energy and power to the whole progressive forces) . No political party created such a collective power, such a clear, strong, democratic and radical initiative. In fact they were out.

Anyway if Nader participation brings some US folk to escape from apathy that's great. If green party has good results in elections: on the one hand it will put pressure on the system, but consider that on the other hand the greens have to build coalitions or to participate in a way or another to the political oligarchy (with the desire to change it from inside).

Then comes the desillusion, believe me. As we were talking about europe, think about what happened to "center left" political parties in europe: the "socialists" in France represented a big hope when elected in 1981 but of course they became tools of economic elite, (now they're like "democrats"), same thing in Italy, spain, in belgium, same thing with greens in France or germany (around 10% in mid 90's I think, a seductive program and now they are fighting each other and they accept to make a coalition with a very capitalist "sociocrats" party) etc. And time goes on and they look more and more like politicians they were denouncing and many people goes back to apathy (or neo-fascist votes) because the system presented them the electoral aristocracy as the substance of democracy and the compromise beetween realism and hope. But this is not realistic, this is very naive because it does not question the political praxis. A friend of mine and journalist (who voted for greens in europe) told me "you know I think that marxism experience failed because it considered human being as naturally good and capitalism is also a totalitarism because it pretend that human beng is naturally bad" (so: cynism, winners vs. loosers etc.) .

I'd like to add that more generally if there's no serious focus on praxis among forces working to dismantle capitalism, then it is also falling in the pattern of human being considered as naturally good, so let's send people "representing" us in the power structure and let's hope that they will change the social, economic, environnemental structure. This is irrealistic and naive i think, 500%.

his is not against Nader, i think he knows and respect US

people much more than Gore, Bush and co. Moreover I know some US anarchist that are or were supporting the greens (anarchists are not one block!!!). I disagree with them, but I understand their point of view (a good score for Nader might lower state pressure on activists, may lower economic pressure on poor populations etc.) What is interesting is that these anarchists often don't declare their anarchism, and many greens don't realise that they are supported by some anarchists :-)))

Finally greens are victims of repression and censorship and as anarchist and first as human being we should support all persons around us whose freedom and freespeech is threatened by state and capitalist elites. Even if in the opposite situation anarchists may have few support.

Of course it's easier in a way to believe in riot and ready-made uprising or delegation of "citizen" power in a few hands (even generous, nice, full of good will ).

And to survive as militant, to find energy in an agressive

capitalist world (making its revolution, one more, very violent and deadly) we all need a certain dose of illusion in our humanist dreams. The past generations (anarchists, marxists, feminists etc) that fought for radical changes and/or revolution in europe, in the US and elsewhere had to believe that revolution (or major reforms) were coming soon. And thanks to them western countries had a lot of progress (such as the end of monarchy in france, the fight against religion lies and alienation in europe, anarchist-anarcosyndicalist labour movement in Spain or in the US, universal health system, women control over their body, public and free schools and other concrete parts of freedom and social equality).

This is what I say to non-militant passive people and it gives often good results, unfortunately many people have no time and did not even learn to think about such topics.

But what I want, as anarchist, is to confront people with their own praxis, this is a revolution that 19s century ideologies (even 19s anarchism in a way) did not consider as a priority.

If you need to vote do it but you will be confronted (in a constructive way I hope). And more important try to keep in mind other ways, tools and ideas.


Globalisation of capitalism? globalisation of alternatives!

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