Voting, Protest or Direct Action Alone Don’t Change Anything. We Need Them ALL AT ONCE. [PRAXIS, Blog]

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PRAXIS Blog.

After much soul searching, I’m going to vote for the first time ever this Thursday.

Since holding my nose to register and receiving my polling card, I’ve arrived at a few personal realisations about the spectrum of activism I now find myself occupying.

protestVSdirectaction

For a long time, I’ve understood that voting versus protest versus direct action are all false paradoxes. Voting and protesting are appeals to power (or demands from it), while direct action takes power back. Clearly, none of these forms are by any means mutually exclusive from each other. In fact, separated from each other they are all extremely limited methods of influencing change.

What I’ve come to realise is that the limitations of all these forms might only be overcome by practising them all at once.

People have argued this case with me forever, but I could never abide our hopelessly corrupt electoral system. They were frustrated by my unwillingness to participate in elections and I was frustrated by their willingness to follow a narrative controlled by the establishment.OS_DEMOCKRACY

I could never accept party politics because it never seemed like a feasible way of influencing actual change before. Parliament is (was?) too corrupt – tightly controlled by crude but effective hypnotists, (‘spin doctors’) on behalf of greedy, opportunistic psychopaths (‘masters of the universe’).

It’s terrifying that the kind of changes a Corbyn Government promise only seem possible now because they are so desperately overdue

extinctionsymbol

The sorts of changes we need to mitigate the effects of the various converging catastrophes around the world are monumental. I’ve been earnestly, relentlessly campaigning for these sorts of changes for a decade and a half now.

For a long time I signed petitions and protested, marching from point A to point B, but eventually I stopped wasting my time. Power either ignored, marginalised or suppressed all these forms. It felt like direct action was the only game in town if you really wanted to influence positive change.

I came to see parliamentary democracy as beneath my contempt. An elaborate spectacle to distract, divide and disempower us all.

So, instead of writing letters and occasionally ticking a cross in a box, I focused all my efforts on supporting small and increasingly large scale grassroots movements and direct action groups. (including campaigns to reclaim, unlock or otherwise Occupy Democracy).

Without fully realising it, I have been enduring the cognitive dissonance of campaigning outside the system for systemic changes. My only involvement in party politics has been cheering the few heroic exceptions and booing the many villains. Almost meaningless (except for the lulz…).

 

Unless we all actually negotiate with power, we can’t achieve the scale of change that’s necessary in time. (It’s already too late).

Until very recently, it felt like we were fighting an inexorable descent into unimaginably horrific dystopia. Then, from out of nowhere, Corbz has somehow managed to turn things around.

Where just a few years ago, our hopes and dreams were branded either naive utopianism or dangerous Thought Crime – they are now considered respectable, realistic and necessary.

Continue reading Voting, Protest or Direct Action Alone Don’t Change Anything. We Need Them ALL AT ONCE. [PRAXIS, Blog]

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Reconsidering Voting and Democracy. [PRAXIS]

praxis

PRAXIS

Followers of this blog will be familiar with my longstanding position on fake democracy. I actively campaign for a real democracy but I’ve never registered to vote; ‘I don’t negotiate with terrorists’. ‘I refuse to legitimise a rigged game’. ‘Don’t vote it only encourages them’. ‘Whoever wins, we’ll still get corporate governance’,…(and other snidey one-liners).

I believe real democracy should be practised daily with our families, friends and the communities we share. If parliament conducted itself with the actual democratic rigour and discipline that most occupations, squats and protest camps do, it would be in a much better state than it currently is.

DeMOCKracy banner

Each time the electioneering machine starts up, I stand on the sidelines terrified by the effect it has on everybody, voters and non-voters alike. It’s horrible. You can’t just turn it off, because it effects (infects) everybody. We’re all supposed to have black and white  opinions on things which aren’t black and white and which otherwise wouldn’t interest us in the slightest…we’re supposed to pick a ‘leader’ and a ‘party’…(or snipe and heckle from the sidelines…)

I have expressed my cynicism about the state of electoral politics in this blog and elsewhere ad nauseum.

I’ve also discussed the paradox of the ‘diamonds in the rough’. Principled politicians who actually speak truth to power, offering us hope for a better world. Idealists, in an environment where we must hesitate before using the word ‘idealist’, or ‘idealism’. When did ‘idealism’ become an insult? Idealism should be a virtue but it is generally conflated with naivety….why?

stop wars

Continue reading Reconsidering Voting and Democracy. [PRAXIS]

I’m only voting Labour because the Green Party asked me to

#GE2017

I’m still deeply uncomfortable about participating in this coming General Election. I like Corbyn a lot, but Liebore are infested with backstabbing Blairite scumbags. Such a shame we don’t have a real democracy. ‘Voting’ is a massively overrated means of influencing change. Your daily life choices and spending habits carry far more weight than participating in Wastemonster’s BS pantomime…

Still, I fully respect the Greens so here’s some memes wot I made…

Right-click, ‘save as’ to download and share if these speak for you too.

Square (Profile pic):

VoteLabourSquare

Fedbook Banner:

VoteLabourFedbookBanner.png

Twitter Banner:

VoteLabourTwitterBanner.png

A4 window poster (Colour):

VoteLabourA4.png

 

A4 window poster (Black and White):

VoteLabourA4Blackandwhite.png

giphy (8)

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#GE2017: VOTE TORY – Campaign Video 2 [Post Satire]

UK #GE2017

There now follows a partly satirical broadcast from the Tories.

Here’s the first Vote Tory campaign video by Ann Narkeh.

Loads more Post Satire here.giphy (8)

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#GE2017. Tactical Vote? Don’t Accidentally Vote for a Blairite.

Many voters are planning to ‘vote tactically’ this general election in order to remove the Tories from power. Despite Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron officially rejecting calls for such a progressive alliance, some local constituencies are making the necessary preparations already.

In order for Corbyn’s insurrection to really succeed, it is important to remember that the Labour party is infested with Blairite double agents. Blairites are politicians who support the so called ‘centrist’ neo-liberal nightmare of former Prime Minister and war criminal, Tony Bleurgh.

If you choose to participate in this year’s General Election, be sure not to accidentally vote for a Blairite!

giphy (8)

You can identify Blairites by checking their voting record.

For example, this is a list of currently serving Labour MPs who voted for the Iraq war.

Adrian Bailey, Kevin Barron, Margaret Beckett, Hilary Benn, Clive Betts, Ben Bradshaw, Nick Brown, Chris Bryant, Andy Burnham, Alan Campbell, Ann Clwyd, Vernon Coaker, Ann Coffey, Yvette Cooper, Jon Cruddas, Jim Cunningham, Wayne David, Geraint Davies, Jim Dowd, Angela Eagle, Maria Eagle, Louise Ellman, Paul Farrelly, Frank Field, Jim Fitzpatrick, Caroline Flint, Mike Gapes, Barry Gardiner, Roger Godsiff, David Hanson, Harriet Harman, John Healey, Mark Hendrick, Margaret Hodge, George Howarth, Lindsay Hoyle, Alan Johnson, Helen Jones, Kevan Jones, Gerald Kaufman, David Lammy, Chris Leslie, Ivan Lewis, Fiona Mactaggart, John Mann, Rob Marris, Gordon Marsden, Steve McCabe, Siobhain McDonagh, Steve Pound, Geoffrey Robinson, Joan Ryan, Barry Sheerman, Andrew Smith, Angela Smith, John Spellar, Gisela Stuart, Mark Tami, Gareth Thomas, Stephen Timms, Derek Twigg, Stephen Twigg, Keith Vaz, Tom Watson, David Winnick, Rosie Winterton.

This is a list of the 66 Labour MPs who voted to bomb Syria.

Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West), Alan Campbell (Tynemouth), Alan Johnson, (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle), Alison McGovern (Wirral South), Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Angela Smith (Penistone and Stocksbridge), Ann Coffey (Stockport), Anna Turley (Redcar), Ben Bradshaw (Exeter), Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South), Caroline Flint (Don Valley), Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Chris Leslie (Nottingham East), Chuka Umunna (Streatham), Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East), Conor McGinn (St Helens North), Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central), Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East), Frank Field (Birkenhead), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West), George Howarth (Knowsley), Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston), Gloria De Piero (Ashfield), Graham Jones (Hyndburn), Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham), Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East), Helen Jones (Warrington North), Hilary Benn (Leeds Central), Holly Lynch (Halifax), Ian Austin (Dudley North), Jamie Reed (Copeland), Jenny Chapman (Darlington), Jim Dowd (Lewisham West and Penge), Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse), Joan Ryan (Enfield North), John Spellar (Warley), John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness), Keith Vaz (Leicester East), Kevan Jones (North Durham), Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), Liz Kendall (Leicester West), Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside), Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree), Lucy Powell (Manchester Central), Margaret Beckett (Derby South), Margaret Hodge (Barking), Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood), Mary Creagh (Wakefield), Michael Dugher (Barnsley East), Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark), Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East), Peter Kyle (Hove), Phil Wilson (Sedgefield), Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North), Simon Danczuk (Rochdale), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden), Stella Creasy (Walthamstow), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth), Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South), Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland), Tom Watson (West Bromwich East), Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Vernon Coaker (Gedling), Wayne David (Caerphilly), Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford),

The Blairite response to the snap election was to sharpen their knives in preparation for yet another chicken coup attempt.

This time they put forward Yvette Cooper as their candidate for ‘post-Corbyn’ leader..

chickencouppantobannerDon’t make the mistake of voting for a Blairite!

You can identify Blairites by checking their voting record at theyworkforyou.com

TacticalVote

REMEMBER!

Voting is only one, extremely limited way of influencing change. Your daily life choices have a more significant influence on the world around you. Your attitude, behaviour and spending habits carry more weight than our broken democracy.

If you must participate in party politics, be sure your candidate reflects your values, principles and ideals. If there is no candidate doing this in your constituency, lobby your least worst candidate on the issues that matter to you, or consider running yourself.

All power to those trying to repair Parliament, inside and out.

Whether you choose to participate or not, stay strong.

Don’t allow this broken system to break you.

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Vote Tory Video [Post Satire]

UK #GE2017

There now follows a partly satirical broadcast from the Tories.

More Post Satire here.giphy (8)

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#GE2017: Seriously Considering Voting, Despite the Crushing Realities of Corporate Rule.

I’ve never voted, despite being seriously tempted to in recent years. With the snap general election announced, I’m now considering it more seriously than ever before.

I ‘vote’ with the little money that I have, by consuming as little and as ethically as I can. I try to make life choices which I consider more significant than a ‘vote’ on the establishment’s terms. The party political spectacle is ubiquitous and hypnotic though. It is forced upon us, to maintain the illusion of democracy while dividing and conquering most of us.

Not voting is generally frowned upon by those who do. Voters say things like, “You’re disrespecting the people who died for your right to vote“. Respectfully, the greater disrespect is to ignore the blatant corruption of the institutions which people fought and died for, surely? Participating in ‘elections’ and ‘referendums’ only validates a corrupted structure. Regardless who is ‘in power’ in parliament we are ruled by banks and corporations, as we have ever been. The Tories, their Blairite chums here and the 45th American presidency should by now have made this abundantly clear for all with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Elections and referendums provide the vital illusion of democracy, while restricting the parameters of mainstream debate and consciousness. They are less about democracy and more about sculpting objective reality. We are encouraged to have ‘opinions’ on ‘discussions’ which are controlled to deliver the outcome preferred by corporate overlords. These ‘discussions’ are more often than not divisive, absurdly polarised slagging matches (see Brexit). Meanwhile, debates of actual substance (TTIP, or whatever they’re calling it now, NATO, foreign policy, ‘security’, nuclear ‘deterrents’ etc) are had in private. Prior to the digital age, ‘shadow governance’ was dismissed as a fringe conspiracy theory. Today though, many of these theories have been substantiated, particularly those concerning toxic banking (see ‘too big to fail’).

Are insurrections within the mechanics of power, like those of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn staged or genuine? If they are genuine, is it really possible for such insurrections to influence real change within structures which are so demonstrably corrupt, or will they always be quelled?

WONKAVOTING

The only political party that really inspires me to ask this question is the Green Party of England and Wales. I’ve been tracking their activity for some years now. Their rhetoric is not hollow. They talk the talk and walk the walk. Their manifesto is outside the controlled parameters of debate. Their policies are solution based. They are 100% funded by their members and supporters, actively avoiding the toxic investments which have polluted the mainstream political parties. They’re calling for a progressive alliance “giving people the best possible chance of defeating the Conservatives and bringing in a truly democratic voting system”. (as I’m writing this, Corbyn and Farron have rejected these calls, again…). The policies and campaigns the Greens support almost exactly mirror my own (though their methods to promote these policies and campaigns differ somewhat).

For these reasons and many more, I recognise the Greens as the only real opposition serious about reforming parliament. This is why they are so marginalised by the controlled media.

Getting rid of the Tories would be good, but the absence of a truly democratic voting system is the more substantial root which we would do well to properly weed lest they return. This fundamental reform has been one of the main planks of the Green’s manifesto for a long time. Is it a deliverable promise, or the sweetest of false hopes? Am I naive to be even thinking about participating this time? Or could voting really be another platform from which to direct real change?

I’ve got over a month to decide whether I can stomach registering – May 22nd is the deadline. Any and all advice would be gratefully received.

Regardless whether I vote or not, I will certainly be doing whatever else I can to support the Greens’ efforts to unfuck parliament over the next two months and beyond.

Perhaps this election really could be an opportunity to finally direct our consciousness out of the myopic box of nightmares it has been trapped in for so long, towards a fairer, saner future.

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