Wednesday, April 13, 2005

How I will vote

Paul Anderson is at it. Phil Evdwards is at it. Ken is at it. SIAW are at it.

All declaring their intention to vote. The arguments are fierce, and uncomprimising - should we vote Labour or not?

I'll stick my neck out - this year, once again, I shall be joining the Socialist Party write in vote.

That is, I will not be voting for Frank Dobson - my local MP - nor for any of his rivals. I shall write World Socialism across my ballot paper, to indicate my positive preferrence for that, and my rejection of all the factions of the Capitalist Party.

I don't reject the idea of voting - after all, I'm the election agent for our campaign in the Vauxhall constituency, where I'm asking only those who understand and accept our case for socialism to vote for our candidate. We don't want any other sort of vote, and would rather leftists and old Labourites didn't vote for us.

SIAW note:
While we admire the SPGBs tradition of spoiling the ballot paper with socialist slogans, we cant see that it has ever had, or could ever have, any effect, beyond making the person who does it feel pleased with themselves for a few seconds.
Obviously, I'd dispute that. Voting is a collective action, a co-ordinated action, the cumulative expression of voices. One spoiler is a lonesome idiot (lit. Greek, private person), a million is a movement.

After all, in Argentina, spoilt ballots contributed to bring the government down back in 2001 (this is the first random artiocle I googled up to back up this argument). But that took a movment alongside the votes.

Spoilt ballots are counted - the party agents inspect them all to see if they can pitch for them (I hear cheeky Labour agents have tried to claim our Socialism ballots in the past). It's active abstention, no-one could accuse me of apathy for travelling across London to the part of town where I was registered to vote in order to scrawl World Socialism across a ballot paper.

But this is true of anything, even SIAW's argument kinda rests on extra-parliamentary pressure to affect the exercise of the outcome of the vote.

Anything without a wider movement, a cumulative voice and a social force is a wasted vote.

But we can't build that movement, that cumulation, unless some people stand up and act differently - votes with noses held and fingers crossed are equally effective. The choice is between the possiblism of a labour vote, and the impossiblism of standing up and being counted.


Blogger SIAW said...

To be fair to us, what we actually declared was our intention *not* to vote, since we live in a safe Conservative constituency and a vote for anyone other than the Tory would be as wasted as - yes, we'd still argue this - a spoiled ballot.
We take your points that what one does on election day should be related to the wider context and should be a positive act, but Britain right now isn't Argentina and spoiled ballots still seem unlikely to make any impact. It would be great if they did, but we'll be staying home on 5 May.

2:23 AM  
Blogger ReasonInRevolt said...

After the debacle we went through in the US supporting Kerry and the radicalization of the Left, I doubt you have much to loose either way. Don't be fooled, there is no such thing as a protest vote. Vote your concience, vote Socialist. I wish I did!

4:15 AM  
Blogger Bill said...


well, I'm a huge fan of Debbs' line: I'd rather vote for what I do want and not get it than vote for something I don't want and get that.


indeed, np, but I still take teh Morrisian view, one man is a lunatic, ten fanatic, etc, etc (must learn that quote properly). Unless we start positively agitating for a course we ain't gonna get it. But, I'm glad, at least, that youse aren't voting capitalist - unlike Ken's inventive circumulocations for voting Labour this time. Must be fun being a trot.

8:48 AM  
Blogger ReasonInRevolt said...

Have you seen the poll talked about here:

4:10 AM  

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