Our previous post – A few thoughts on voting in local elections – argued that one of the reasons for low and declining turnouts at local elections was the feeling among a number of voters that it’s the unelected, unaccountable senior officers who hold the real power behind the scenes. As these officers can’t be voted out, these voters are concluding that there’s no point in even bothering to make the effort to go out and vote.
That’s one reason for not voting. Another is an increasing sense of disillusionment with politicians and the political parties. ‘Two cheeks of the same arse’ is a phrase that a fair few people have used to describe the current political set up between the Tories and Labour. Looking at the contests across Thurrock where in many cases, it was a straight fight between blue and red, that phrase seemed particularly apt…
Unsurprisingly, the majority of voters took a look at the paltry choice on offer and thought ‘sod that, they’re not worth the effort’. The turnout in Thurrock averaged 26.41% per ward. This is how the local new media covered the proceedings: A good night for Thurrock Tories as Labour take a bruising and slip to new low. To the credit of Thurrock Nub News, they did comment on the low turnout.
Across the country, a number of voters did go out with the express intention of spoiling their ballot papers. Quite how many, it’s difficult to tell and it’s safe to assume that any statistics about the extent of this would be in ‘hard to find’ places. There’s a bit of a debate as to which sends the more powerful message about legitimacy to the powers that be – a spoilt ballot or simply not bothering to turn up. In our view, if you’re engaged in other activity that’s intended to bring about radical change, then either of the above are fine by us:) As is tactical voting to get rid of a councillor who’s an absolute shit…
When you do the maths, the ‘winning candidates’ would be doing well to have captured the votes of 20% of the electorate once you take into consideration the number of people who chose not to vote. You would like to think that when their ‘wins’ are announced, instead of the whoops of delight and the hugging and backslapping, they would take some time out to think about how few people in their ward actually voted for them. Such reflection would make them ask some searching questions about their legitimacy. Dream on…we’re talking about local councillors who all too often, are full of their own bullshit!
Given how few votes the ‘winning’ candidates actually get, the blunt truth is that they have no real legitimacy. Maybe that’s what informs the behind the scenes power grabs by senior officers who seem to think they’re the ones running the show! Suffice to say, the system is pretty much broken and radical change needs to happen, sooner rather than later…
Here are a couple of brief contributions by comrades on what could be done to address the situation:
Ⓐ Time for a massive wave of public anarchy!
Hull: “Some polling stations were still reporting turnouts as low as 12 per cent by mid-evening, suggesting a massive wave of public apathy. Most reports say the lowest turnouts are in traditional Labour heartland wards.”
25% overall national turnout predicted. Is this what democracy looks like?
The overwhelming majority of people on a global basis, appear to have had enough of out of touch, growth-bound, obsolete, and state-owned political parties. We need to transfer power and energy away from the political class and towards strong and vibrant community groups based upon direct action, mutual-aid and solidarity. Where people’s voices are actually heard, where decision-making about our everyday lives and what happens in our communities, can be be undertaken at a grass-roots, truly democratic level, instead of being passed down from on-high by the ‘free-market’ and by systematically-corrupted and careerist, local and national politicians. They, and their system are obsolete – we must say fuck them, become ungovernable and stand with the natural constituents of anarchism, the non-voter!
★Carne Ross: ‘Anarchism is our only alternative’ – Viewsnight
This post is from the D.I.Y. Culture Facebook page
Solidarity with all non-voters today, who are getting slated by the privileged and powerful, telling us we are “the problem”. No, the problem is apathy on the streets. The problem people are those telling us to be “peaceful” and “reasonable” and that just ticking a box will make all of this go away. Only when we let go of that lie can we get on with the job at hand – fighting austerity tooth and nail, with everything we’ve got.
Democracy isn’t a tick in a box like the politicians tell us, it is when PEOPLE have the power – let’s use ours and fix this mess!
Direct action and organising WORKS, it has been proven time and time again.
On the other hand no matter who wins, they have nothing to offer except more austerity and corruption.
The poorest will still be paying Council Tax they can’t afford, charged HUGE court fees and threatened with prison when they fall behind.
Don’t get apathetic, get angry, organise, educate, agitate, engage in direct action, mutual aid and grass-roots movements, build dual-power, and raise hell by any means necessary.
Ⓐ …Nicole Sasha Post