Anarchism and elections
During the general election we were assailed with
a barrage of promises and pledges from all of the political parties.
Anarchists are the only political movement which reject participation
in elections completely, so read this page and hear the anarchist
case against elections - why they don't give people any power over
Anarchism is the only political movement which consistently urges a
boycott of parliamentary elections, and which refuses to partake in
the sham of parliamentary 'democracy'. Too often the anarchist
argument on elections is written off as just a fad or an attempt to
'appear' radical. We look at the concrete political arguments behind the slogan
'If elections changed anything, they'd make them illegal'.
Read the text of our main election leaflet. "The very act of going
into a polling booth and putting a number beside someone's name is in
itself an act of disempowerment; it is an acceptance that someone
else has the right to make decisions on our behalf. "
voting and spoiling your vote
With the arrival of electronic voting in three constituencies this
year we see it being used to restrict choice. There is no provision
for spoiling your vote.
The detailed anarchist
argument of why parliamentary elections do not give us
democracy. Also available as a
booklet for you to distribute locally
The media coverage of protests during the elections tends to be
almost non existent. Send reports of anything you see or that you are
involved in to firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also send us photos.
The record of
- Corruption drives the
Looking beyond all the political corruption of recent years
- It's all so
The then Prime Ministers of Ireland, Greece, France, Britain,
Italy, Spain and Belgium have all been associated with charges of
varying degrees of fraud, nepotism and political favouritism.
- Dublin Bin
charges - Liars and Cheats
The vote to implement bin charges in Dublin
Corporationonce again proved what a bunch of liars and cheats
politicians are - no matter what party they come from
- Our TAX
Money - Will we get a receipt?
What the Flood and McCracken and Moriarty Tribunals have
revealed that politicians and business people regularly exchange
massive sums of money without the slightest regard to
taxation. Over 85% of tax on income
is paid by PAYE workers.
- Local Elections - bring on the
When you take a good look at the people who are supposed to be
running your local area the best lesson to walk away with is that
we could do such a better job ourselves
- Wads of cash
Corruption, corruption, corruption, everywhere you go. No matter
where you turn these days, it seems to jump right up into your
face. Lowry. Haughey. Brown paper bags. Wads of cash. Bank Drafts.
Favours. Planning permission. Rezoning. The Cayman Islands!
Keep up with
News of Anarchism in Ireland after the elections
The Ainriail mailing list carries the latest news from the WSM
and the struggles anarchists are involved in. There are
more then 8 posts a week (and normally only 2-4). We post
printed articles to it shortly after they are
- Anarchism & Democracy
ANARCHISM is about individual freedom. But it is also about
building a society that has a fair system of wealth distribution.
For this reason, anarchists consider themselves to be democrats.
- Democracy, majority rule,
An element of real democracy is that decisions should be made by
those who are effected by them. For a lot of issues, only certain
people will really be effected by a decision, and so they should
be the only ones to make it.
- Dare to lead... with
Leaders get into positions of power where they tend to make
decisions that don't represent the views of the people who put
them there &endash; and then they spend their time convincing
people that it's the only option &endash; or you might call it
selling the deal to them
In Our Unions?
Trade unions were set up to defend and advance the interests of
workers, but over the years have become more and more dominated by
a largely unaccountable bureaucracy.
- Unions - how can the 'democratic
deficit' be tackled?
The leaderships see themselves as a protected elite, and many
union members feel powerless to do anything about it. Rulebooks
are often written in such a way as to make it as difficult as
possible for ordinary members to influence how decisions are
- If voting
changed anything...it would be illegal
June 6 saw a general election. Over the centuries, thousands of
people have fought and died for the right to vote in free
elections. So why, after winning such an important right, do
anarchists say we should not vote in elections?
- The State, Democracy and
What do anarchists mean when they say they are against the state
and how do we see society functioning without an elite running it
on behalf of everyone else.
- Don't vote...it only
Voting for rulers (whether you do so "critically" or any other
way) is supporting the idea that society should be divided into
rulers and ruled. We want to end that division just as much as we
want to end the division into bosses and workers.
- Smash the state
One of the best known catch phrases of Anarchism has got to be
"Smash the State". It's also one that's easily open to
- Election fever(1992)
HERE IT COMES, there it goes. Another doling out of our share of
"democracy". Where will we put our 'X'. Who do we want to rule us
for another five years? The answer for anarchists to this question
is easy, nobody.
Irish anarchists voted NO in the anti-abortion referendum.But, I
hear somebody say, don't anarchists have an objection to voting?
Anarchists have no problem voting.
referendum victory in Ireland
Pro-choice campaigners celebrated throughout Ireland as a
referendum which would have further restricted the availability
of abortion in Ireland was defeated.
- Fighting Nice and Getting
The ruling class got an almighty slap in the face when we voted
to reject the Nice Treaty. The Workers Solidarity Movement and
other anarchists campaigned for a 'no' vote
- Abortion vote (1992)
We are being faced with three separate, and each in their own
way highly insulting, referenda. These are on the right to
Travel, the right to Information and on the right to Abortion
in certain very restricted circumstances. Anarchists will be
voting Yes to Travel, Yes to Information and No to the so
called '"pro-life"' wording.
- Why can't you all get
In November 2000 about 70 or 80 people, from a number of left wing
groupings, attended a conference in Dublin calling for 'Left
Unity'. The organisers of the meeting wanted to set up an alliance
like the Socialist Alliances in Britain, or even a new party like
the Scottish Socialist Party. This would be an alliance, based on
Leninist groups, coming together primarily to contest the next
- Elections and the bin
Anarchists have always opposed participation in the sham of
parliamentary elections (choosing rulers rather than ending the
division into rulers and ruled) and this time around it will be no
- Beware the
Bolshevik modes of organisation have particular outcomes, the
centralisation of power. This sort of organisation means that
'Stalin didn't fall from the moon' but was the inheritor of this
- Who ever you voted for the
A look at the 1997 26 counties general election results and what
they meat for the Irish left
- Democratic left's disposable
radicalism (from 1996)
It was easy to predict that DL would jump into bed with almost
anyone who would give them a ministerial car. After all they
believe in the division of society into rulers and ruled, you
won't catch Rabitte or Gilmore calling for the workplaces to be
turned over to the workers.
- Follow the leader?
Organisation based on a small leadership telling everyone else
what to do is always opposed by anarchists. We have no desire to
be ruled, ordered round or dictated to. But is this not an
unrealistic position that takes no account of the real world?
- When the unemployed elected
their own TD (1991)
A survey of three labour exchanges showed that 90% of respondents
would vote for an unemployed party if there was one running. Is
this a way forward in the fight for decent jobs for all who want
them? It is worth taking a look at what happened in 1957 when an
unemployed candidate made it into the Dáil.
- Anarchism in
Action : the collectives in Spain
Throughout the history of the 20th century ordinary working
people have succeeded in taking things into their own hands and
making a go of it. Nowhere, however, has come closer to a fully
self-managed anarchist society then large areas of "republican"
Spain during the Spanish Civil War.
- The Mexican Zapatistas and
Little has been written about day-to-day life in the rebel area,
here we help to right this balance
- Workers self-management in
the Russian revolution
Factory Committees began to appear in Russia from March 1917
onwards. At first they struggled to limit the control of the
bosses and they took up issues such as the eight hour day. The
committees soon began to become more adventurous and began to
speak of actively running of the factories
- When France rebelled
People think of revolutions as buried deep in history. Yet, as
little as 25 years ago France was on the verge of a total revolt
with 12 million workers on strike, 122 factories occupied, and
students fighting against the old moribund system in which they
- Winning the Water War
Last year the domestic water charge was abolished. In 'Winning the
Water War', Dermot Sreenan, an activist in the Federation of
Dublin Anti-Water Charges Campaigns examines the campaign and the
demonstration of people power that brought about the downfall of
You are visitor number
(counter started April 02)
- Why are anarchists against voting in the forthcoming
- Most people would say the local and general elections
are democratic and are worth taking part in.
- Do people really hear the anarchist message given the
fanfare and hype that surrounds electioneering?
- The remainder of the left will be participating this
time around -, what do you make of this?
- There's a housing crisis, wages have hardly risen
despite the boom, and there are still huge waiting lists
in hospitals. People are looking for solutions.
- You mention the anti-Water Charges campaign as being
an example - what do you mean? Are you saying that
campaign was hijacked by electoralism?
- Do anarchists identify with the mood of 'apathy' that
is often evident at election time?
- You said early on that voting at local and general
elections makes very little difference, where is the
- Is the South African example applicable to here?
- In the forthcoming elections both the Socialist Party
and the SWP are running. Would a vote for them mean
- Have you an alternative to elections?
Want To get Active?
Here are some good places to start, campaigns and groups supported
Workers Solidarity Movement - Irish Anarchist
organisation involved in a range of struggles for a free, socialist
world. 087-7939931 or
Campaign against the bin charges - Opposing unfair double
taxation. For info on groups in your area phone: 087-6277606.
Gluaiseacht - Organising in a non-hierarchical way around
environmental and social justice issues. They have organised a number
of protests against Sellafield.
Reclaim the streets - Reclaiming public space for the
people to party! 087-9425422 or
Indymedia - An international network of alternative news
services, against the corporate monopoly of media:
Residents Against Racism / Anti-Fascist Action -
anti-racist groups email: Residents_Against_Racism@ireland.com /
Cork Peace Alliance - Organising against war and
imperialism The CAZ, 4 Knapps Square, Cork.