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Election Circus Comes to Town! Brummagem Star issue 1

D | 27.04.2007 11:42 | Anti-racism | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | Birmingham | World

Roll Up! Roll Up! The political equivalent of Billy Smart's Circus with be in your area! Clowns to the Left and Jokers to the Right, can the rest please stay in line and do as you are told. Thank you and have a nice day.

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5000 copies of Brummagem Star have been posted door to door in the South Birmingham area over the past few weeks. Issue 1 of the free paper has a 'Guide to Guilty Parties'; from Galloway Ego party to the Turd munching BNP via all the other unsavoury butchers, bullshitters and Etonians. It also has articles on anti-social behaviour, the higher education cash-in and community solidarity.

‘Tony Blair’s Nan doesn’t have to borrow money to pay the electric bill. David Cameron doesn’t queue up in my doctors. And Nick Griffin hasn’t done a days graft in his life’

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Hide the following 7 comments

great stuff!

27.04.2007 11:57

hope this is the first of many

I like it


27.04.2007 15:50

really like it, well done.

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and it's yoghurt-weaver free

27.04.2007 15:59

nice one!



28.04.2007 10:52

Absolutely brilliant stuff.

Keep it up!

Bradley Nuttal

so don't vote against fascists?

29.04.2007 07:41

So the logical conclusion of the article is that if we have the prospect of the BNP making a serious challenge (in Kingstanding or Shard End for example) we should simple boycott the vote,and, if necessary, allow them to get the respectability of a council seat?

They may have problems with this NNP split-off at the moment, which may hold them off this year, but the general issue doesn't change. Me I think that voting in elections is just one minor part of a wider struggle that happens in communities, and at work, and, yes, at the ballot box. Part of that means voting to keep fascists out of office. Another means that if you have the chance to vote for people who have a principled pro-working class record you should support them (eg Raghib Ahsan and John Tyrrell are two who currently spring to mind, one a candidate for Respect and one for the Socialist labour party)

Anarchists generally find themselves forced to grudgingly recognise the need to vote when it matters eg in Spain in the 1936 election.. their principles don't withstand the test of actual practice, even though they make a fetish out of the boycott. There has never been an effective conscious boycott, outside of situations where a vote is clearly blatantly rigged.


If voting changed anything...

30.04.2007 12:16

It appears that the articles in brumstar are not advocating an abstention from voting as some sort of isolated action but are rather suggesting that when we take direct action in our communities/work places to improve our own lives that who we vote for to represent us becomes irrelevent. I think anyone who proposes or supports direct democracy and self-emancipation would agree that any collaboration with or support for politicians, regardless of their political colour tends to do little for our cause.

Some anarchists in spain in 1936 did throw their support behind the government in the fight against fascism and it was clearly shown to be a mistake (though perhaps an unavoidable once given the circumstances?). They chose to support the very government that had earlier been machine gunning them down in the streets. The rise of fascism in spain (for what its worth in the year 2007 in britain) was not a response to the working class leanings of the republicans but rather a response to the inability of the republicans to curtail working class militancy. The same can be said of the fascist response to Allende's government in chile in 1973.

its important to remember where the roots of fascism come from. fascism is a form of government that props up the existing class antagonisms in society when conventional forms of government can no longer do so, it is almost inevitable then that as we fight for a free and equal society run by ourselves that we will come up against some form of fascist opposition, whether it comes from a democratic government using fascist tactics or from another form. With this in mind it seems pointless to invest your support for one or other political party that believes it is best positioned to represent your interests by working within a state apparatus that works against our fundamental interests.

If we are working for direct democracy, autonomy and equality then surely we should embody those principles in the way we fight for that world, not simply as a point of "ideological purity" but as a practical neccesity.

Nice paper by the way!

Bruised shins

Voting aen't the answer to the bnp!

04.05.2007 15:51


Whilst on the surface Andy seems to make a common sense point of voting to keep out the fascists we need to look at what's really going on and the implications of it all. The fact that I didn't vote yesterday won't m8 much difference to anything, but neither would voting.

If people fail to vote and the BNP get in, that's because of a general disolusionment in the political process and the anti-working class policies of political parties..politicians can blame themselves. Alot of reasonable people obviously don't trust politicians one bit. I think this explains the nos. of abstentionists (the bulk of which are not anarchists).

The response of liberals and the Left generally is to ask you to vote for anyone else / Labour 'without illusions'. This is hardly inspiring. After all some traditional Labour voters are turning away from that party to vote BNP because of their experience of labour so such requests aren't going to hold much water with them.

The danger of allowing the Right in by abstentionism is also applied to candadates to the left of labour who are accused of 'splitting the vote'. The arguements most marxists use is that all the other parties are openly pro-market so essentially the same, so it doesn't matter in this instance. Anarchists argue that marxists will reproduce a system of state capitalism (they don't stand for direct workers self-management) via political authoritarianism (setting up their own one party state to safeguard the road to socialism) ending up with another form of minority rule. These groups that idealise the early years of the soviet regime which crushed the factory committees, disbanded democratic workers militias, shot disident lefts, and replaced the embryonic forms of peasant/ worker self-management ('the dictatorship of the prols') with the dictatorship of the party, killed off the revolution...Stalin didn't fall from the sky hun! Asking people to vote for an swp / sp front won't help liberate us based on that track record!!

Further more the point is that representative democracy, (voting for someone else to make decisions on how society is run for you) is asks workers to give up power to someone who knows better; Marxists-Lenninists don't mind it. Anarchists reject this intellectual snobery and patronage. Even if there are people who seem like nice working class heroes eg Dave Nellist in Coventry, apparently, (assuming they aren't aiming at what I outlined above (although we know they are)), the long term effect of this would be to lull working class people to vote for another government to make life a bit more bearable, rather than the fact that the emancipation of the working class (actually all people) can only be achieved by our own efforts. What can be more isolating and atomising than going into a ballot box and putting a cross against the name of someone you may never meet?

Voting for representatives who usurp your decision making power is taking a complete detour from the aim of increasing participation in campaigns {ok a 'workers mp' may ask people to join a local campaign, but the fact they are in office will encourage people to think that this professional is better place to take care of their affairs for the greater part of the time than they are. Voting like this will not help us form the kind of genuinely alternative, directly self-managed, directly democratic institutions that will help to equip people with the skills and confidence to form a self managed libertarian socialist.

Fascism is a form of minority rule...obviously it's better to live in a bourgeois - democratic society than a Nazi one. But what will be pivotal in defeating fascism is building up a militant workers movement which will undercut the fasc. - ie organising in our communities and workplaces. Encouraging people to 'vote agaist the bnp' is garnishing illusions that this menace can be voted away to some extent; but that will only have a longer term deleterious effect on encouraging direct action based, grass roots responses to fascism which is where the answer lies.

The workers movement in Germany before World War 2 had one of the largest marxists inspired groupings. With a centralised leadership it was easy to decapitate it. Workers had been cultured in authoritarian organisational methods and politics....they waitied obediently for orders from above, until it was too late. Contrast this to the way that the workers in Italy responded spontaneously to try to defeat the fascists...a section of the labour movement there had been cultured in libertarian socialist methods. (Fascism came to power there partly after the communist leadership (outside of Turin) helped derail the revolutinary movement by refusing to extend the factory occupations;afraid of their autonomous character and the influence of anarcho-syndaclists, workers paid the price...Tom Wetzel's wrote a good pamphlet on this available form AK press)
www.anarchyfaq have a good section on anarchists and elections if I remember rightly.

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