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Never Mind the Ballots

Vote Nobody | 03.05.2005 05:23 | Analysis | Birmingham | Cambridge

Don't vote, it only encourages them!
May Day, 2005
United Kingdom

Never Mind the Ballots
Never Mind the Ballots

Are you tired of holding your nose and voting for the least repulsive candidate? Well so are we! On May 5th, election day, we're planning on eating or otherwise destroying our ballots to protest the futility of electoral politics.

This election will be annoyingly typical. The differences between the political parties are relatively superficial. They will set an agenda that reinforces the current power structure, while the broader issues of how we live will never be addressed.

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in -- the government being big business, and those who can afford to fund political parties, media empires, or hire lobbyists. The elected party is just the changeable mask on the face of corporate power.

Voting in this election is not only useless, it actually undermines democracy by giving legitimacy to prevailing edibleballot.tao.capower structures which are inherently undemocratic. Don't be guilt-tripped into voting for the least offensive party. Vote your desires and destroy your ballot.

Voting is really an insignificant act compared to the greater goal of creating authentic democracy. We need to participate in forging real communities through everyday acts of resistance and community building. A vote every couple of years is not democracy, it's repressive. Get over it.

It is true that voting should not be taken lightly or for granted, but the struggle for democracy should not end once we are given the vote. We need more than the illusion of democracy. We need to continue our resistance and defiance so that we all have power.

During this election we are encouraging people to eat their ballots by having our chefs develop delicious recipes. Check out great dishes such as The Ballot Burger, with a side order of Campaign Literature. Or perhaps you enjoy cheese and would like to try a Ballot Fondue. Of course, there are other interesting ways to destroy your ballot.

For more information and recipes, visit,
or email the Edible Ballot Society: ebs (at)

Vote Nobody
- e-mail: ebs (at)
- Homepage:


Hide the following 8 comments

George Bush wants you to boycott democracy

03.05.2005 13:20

Very funny but why do we want to listen to a US-funded campaign against our electoral system?

Vote Green!



03.05.2005 15:23

The website is from Canada actually, not the US...

But it's pretty irrelevant where this was written, or the nationality of the person who wrote it. The point is that by voting and telling yourself that's your political contribution for the next 5 years, you're taking part in, and contributing to, an illusion that serves the interests of those who will be in power regardless of which colour party wins the election - big business.

Boycotting the election is NOT boycotting democracy! I can vote Green, I like a lot of their policies...but it will achieve very little. Well, it might do if we had a proportional electoral system, I hear you say. Um,, not really. Loads of countries with PR end up with governments who put the needs of their powerful friends before those of the people they claim to represent.

And what if the Green Party actually got into power one day...perhaps as part of a coalition. Well, I think we need look no further than the once unimaginable turn around in the policies of the German Green Party to see what happens to people and parties when they get their hands on power in a 'liberal democracy'.

I respect many people in the Green Party and the people who vote for them. But you can't vote your way to a better world.



Let's push things forward

03.05.2005 15:26

Agree with the above geezer...

Get yr a$$ out there and vote man, even if you do spoil yr ballot... vote Green or Peace party or whoever you want even vote tactically to keep the Tories out...

Our job is to EDUCATE, so lets get educated and then the democracy will take care of itself.

mail e-mail:

Blame Canada

04.05.2005 07:42

Yeah, I know it's based in Canada but that doesn't stop it being a US-funded sop shop.

It's easy to think that our system is a waste of time, but seriously - if you think things are bad here try living in a country where there's not even a pretence of democracy. Flawed though it is, our electoral system does help us keep a check on these people's worst excesses.

Do something about it - Vote Green!


Use Your Vote arsehole.

04.05.2005 11:18

The anarcists ideological stance of not voting has more in common with the islamic fundamentalist (i.e the ones who attacked George Galloway in Bethnal Green). Perhaps these groups should join forces.

If the anaracist had a bit of forsight, they could have stormed the London Social Forum 2004 together inorder to beat up George Galloway/Weyman Bennet.


what are the anarcists actually doing to stop the BNP. (my gues fuck all, all month no trousers. )

red letter

Leave the cop-baiting out of it

04.05.2005 13:55

'..' if you have any evidence the Edible Ballot Society are 'a US funded sop shop', you should post it. If on the other hand, as I am sure is the case, you're just making shit up, think about what effects your actions will have. Groundless accusations that people within our movements are in the pay of our opponents can have terribly destructive effects - so destructive that these accusations have themselves been a favourite tactic of infiltrators.

And, as for spoiling ballot papers, that's even more pointless than voting. Have you, at any election, ever heard anyone say, 'wow, the number of spoilt ballots is up, that must mean the people are dissatisfied with bourgeois democracy'? Of course not. Why spoil your ballot and be ignored, when you could eat your ballot and be noticed?

And, red letter, if you were any kind of red, you'ld know that bourgeois democracy is a sham, and that the point of engaging with elections is _tactical_. Taking part in an organised campaign to educate people about alternatives is anything but an empty ideological rejection; it's a principled, tactical engagement, as is voting for a reformist party. Which tactic is correct at any given time is, of course, a matter of debate - but telling people to 'get off their arse and vote' _in any circumstances_ is precisely the sort of dumb fetishising of elections radicals should be working to counter.

Voluntary Slave

Who writes this stuff?!

04.05.2005 23:21

How can you possibly say that it doesn't matter which party you vote for? Are you trying to tell me that if the green party gets in, then the country will be the same as if the BNP get in? I'm under no illusion that either will, it's highly unlikely, but they will win some seats, which could throw a house decision...

But even between the main parties, policies on Europe and Immigration etc are different, and will have an effect on the country.

The comments on the green party - perhaps it proves a point, that the green party is too idealistic and much though there policies sounds nice, they just aren't feasible for running a country? Have you considered that?

I for one will be voting. If everyone who thought they wouldn't make a difference didn't vote, then the so-called "no chance opposition" would get in. Take for example the last French presidential elections. Everyone assumed they knew which 2 candidates would make it to the second round, so voter apathy increased. Result - a BNP candidate in the second round, running head to head against a right wing candidate for president. All the left wing voters were then stuck when it came to voting again, as they all expected their candidate to get through. So...don't vote, don't complain when that party you hate is running your country.


Sop shops united

05.05.2005 14:07

Only our apathy-activist Canadian friends can answer the question of who's funding them and what their real motivations are.

But this whole anti-electoral stampede reminds me of Germany in the late 1920s. The Weimar republic was weak, imperfect, corrupt even - yet what followed was ten times worse. And it was the forces of Big Capital who worked hardest to grind down the system until Germans were persuaded to reject democracy and embrace the "alternative". And what was the alternative they were presented with? Nazism.

It's those same forces now who have most to gain now from killing off democracy in Britain. It's only a matter of time before the voices that are now urging us to boycott the last vestige of democracy in this country suddenly propose that we dispense with the vote once and for all. Do you really think that by throwing away your vote we'll actually have more power? And do you really think that the "alternative" you'll be offered will be some kind of anarchist utopia?

In the 1980s, the Tory government progressively degraded our railways until the chorus of right-wing voices telling us "the system isn't working" gave them the justification they were looking for to sell the whole thing off to the private sector - with disastrous results.

How long now before the Murdoch media starts telling us that "democracy isn't working", and that our government would be far more efficiently managed by a private corporation? Maybe we could all be offered a cash incentive to "sell off" our voting rights to some business tycoon, who will then rule the country for us. That outcome seems eminently more likely to me than some kind of benign revolution.

What seems especially tragic is that this debate wouldn't be going on at all if more people in our bountifully rich, grossly-spoilt consumer-obsessed society understood the realities of life in the developing world, where the vast majority of human beings live, and democracy is either nonexistent or fragile at best.

Where people do not have the right to vote their leaders out of office in a free and fair election the inevitable, universal result has been massive inequality, gross corruption, and systematic killings of political dissidents. Our system is flawed and imperfect - but it will get a lot lot worse if we listen to these sops who want us to surrender our last right of defence.

Vote Green, Vote Respect, Vote Anything-But-Blair-Howard!