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Voting and the General Election, Calderdale-SolFed statement

We all know the old saying ‘if you don't vote, you can't complain’. A better one would be ‘ if all you do is vote, you can't complain’.

Dig a little deeper into the history books and what you find at the heart of change is direct action and organisation at a grassroots level. Everything from workers rights, women's rights, decent wages and even the right to vote itself have been gained this way, rulers typically resist change until they know they have no choice but to throw a few more crumbs to the people below.

Health & Social Care crisis: voting won't solve it !

Our NHS is in crisis: doctors' surgeries in Brighton are closing down, A&E waiting times are getting longer, hospitals are shutting up shop - and the sick and old are being left to die on hospital trollies.

The care system is in an even worse state: poor wages and criminal working condition mean there just aren't enough carers.

Here in Brighton most council contracts are privatised, and carers are often employed illegally: paid below the minimum wage, denied paid holidays, being forced to work long and unpredictable hours on zero-hours contracts and left to work without adequate training or supervision.

Of course the price of this isn't just being paid by the health and social care workers at the sharp end, it means health and care services are getting worse for all of us.

Vote With Your Feet!

In the last election, about 22 million of us didn’t vote [1]. That’s more people than voted for any political party. It’s not because we’re apathetic – it’s because most of us see through the “good cop, bad cop” routine of Labour and the Tories. Both parties support cuts, privatising the NHS, and making life hell for benefits claimants. [2] In the same way that a “good cop” will offer a cup of tea and a “friendly chat” while a “bad cop” shouts and makes threats, the Tories jeer at “scroungers” while Labour smiles and talks about the need to be practical. But whatever they promise in their manifestos, they both want to do the same thing – to screw us over on behalf of the rich.

CNT-E: Es nuestro momento, que continúe la ocupación de plazas y la desobediencia

A translation of this CNT-E statement is available here.

Las multitudinarias concentraciones y acampadas que están sembrando las plazas de ciudades y pueblos desde el pasado día 15 son un claro ejemplo de la capacidad organizativa del pueblo cuando decide ser protagonista de su propia vida; superando la apatía, la resignación y la ausencia de una toma de conciencia con la que articular respuestas, para afrontar y construir alternativas a los múltiples problemas que hoy sufrimos el conjunto de la población: trabajadores/as, parados/as, estudiantes, inmigrantes, jubilados/as, precarios/as...

Spain: It's our moment - may the occupations and disobedience continue!

A statement on the May protests by the CNT, our Spanish sister section.

The countless demonstrations and occupations that are taking root in the main squares of cities and villages since the 15th are a clear example of the organizational capacity of the people when they decide to be the protagonists of their own lives; overcoming apathy, resignation, and the absence of a self-awareness with which to articulate solutions to take on and construct alternatives to the many problems that today face all of us: workers, the unemployed, students, immigrants, retired, the casualised...

Failing the doorstep challenge

Election time is once again upon us. Time for the politicians to polish up their ideas and parade before us in an attempt to convince us that they, and they alone, are best suited to rule over us for the next five years or so. This time around, the Marxist left in its many shades are united in their opposition to Labour. Last time, they were almost united in arguing that the Labour Party, as the mass party of the working class, should get our vote. Now, the all embracing Socialist Alliance has taken its place alongside the SLP and the Socialist Party, urging us to vote for them and kick out the Thacherite ex-mass party of the working class.

If Voting could Change the System . . . the libertarian case for direct democracy

Politics is the art of
governing mankind by deceiving them.

Benjamin Disraeli

One of the defining tenets setting libertarian socialism apart from authoritarian political traditions of both left and right, is an unshirking commitment to the principles of direct democracy. This is the means advocated by anarchists for exercising and enabling genuinely participative decision making in all domains of human life. Rejecting hierarchical organisation, we argue that both parliamentary “democracy” and totalitarianism have the same intensions – to maintain the distinction between leaders and led, rulers and ruled. Both, in the final analysis, are designed to ensure our passive acceptance of a system that oppresses us.

Vote for change?

It’s election season again. It’s a time of photo-ops and promises, manifestos and controversies. But behind the endless announcements, allegations and denials, is anything really at stake? After 13 years of Labour government, many people want a change. The economy on which Gordon Brown staked his reputation as Chancellor has nosedived on his watch as Prime Minister.

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