Personal Blog of Mark Hoskins – Anarchist Writer and Community Organiser
Those of you who know my politics well, know I won’t be voting for any candidate in tomorrow’s general election. Some of you think this is mad, some don’t.
But for those of you who think it’s mad, or those of you who don’t know my politics all that well and would have assumed I’d be voting for someone on the left here’s an explanation:
My rationale is not that I don’t believe their are better more honest and principled politicians out there than the ones in power, far from it. I’ve worked with many people on campaigns whose names will feature on ballot papers tomorrow. No, if the state was an instrument for real societal change, the type that would deliver a society based on Liberty, solidarity, real democracy and mutual aid, not only would I be marking a ballot paper, I’d have been out their canvassing over the last few weeks (as I have done many times in the past).
Ultimately, when we vote in general elections, we are not making decisions that allow us to have control over our lives, we are voting for who we want to make those decisions for us. When we act collectively on the other hand, as we have in our hundreds of thousands by refusing to pay the water charges, we are making a crucial decision as a society, and when we do that, we are ungovernable, we are only governed by ourselves.
That kind of collective action and collective decision making, is the only route to the type of society I described above. There are no shortcuts, there is no one else who can do it for us. Politicians aren’t “all the same”, but they have too many obstacles in their paths to be an effective vehicle for change. Look at SYRIZA in Greece, a socialist party with a radical program that had the people behind it; Within months they backed down, not because they betrayed anyone or because they were wearing some Scooby Doo villain’s mask and we’re just neo-liberals in disguise, but because when you play the game of state power, the deck is stacked. You can have all the power you want, as long as you use it within carefully guided parameters.
So yeah, I’m not going to be voting tomorrow. I will probably go and spoil my ballot (can you bring dogs into polling stations?). Am I asking you not to vote? Nah, I don’t care what you do as long as you remember that to change society we have to fight for it, and that no matter who is in government when Irish water is dismantled, it was the boycott, your power, our collective determination that brought that about.
Keep resisting and go sow the seeds of a new society. We have nothing to lose but the future.