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Anarchists' Convention Debates Voting

A group of anarchists is taking an unusual step to make its political voice heard going to the polls.
Well "Anarchists" - what do you think?

Anarchists' Convention Debates Voting

Mon Aug 16, 7:46 AM ET

ATHENS, Ohio - A group of anarchists is taking an unusual step to make its political voice heard going to the polls.

Anarchists generally pride themselves on their rejection of government and its authority. But a faction of them fed up with the war in Iraq (news - web sites) say they plan to cast anti-Bush votes this fall.

The voting debate was just one of the topics explored at the three-day North American Anarchist Convergence, which brought about 175 participants to Ohio University.

Some attendees rejected the voting proposal.

"Ultimately, those who are voting are either bad anarchists or not anarchists at all," said Lawrence, a "Californian in his mid-40s" who declined to give his last name. "No one can represent my interests. We reject political professionals."

Others said they are embracing their right to engage in the political process, and plan to vote for John Kerry (news - web sites), Ralph Nader (news - web sites) or anyone who can underscore their opposition to the Bush administration.

Susan Heitker, 32, of Athens, believes that the U.S. government is neither legitimate nor democratic, but she still plans to vote.

"To me, at least, it's important to vote," she said. "There was a time when I was not going to vote, but I really dislike Bush."

Howard Ehrlich, of Baltimore, also embraces his right to "engage the political system."

"I will certainly vote against George Bush because he is leading the nation to further violence and eroding civil liberties," said Ehrlich, who is editor of Social Anarchism, a 3,000-circulation magazine.
omg 16.Aug.2004 13:46


the kerryites invaded the anarchist meeting. like voting ever got anyone closer to revolution.

Why the hell not? 16.Aug.2004 20:36

an anarchist who lives in PDX and votes

My question is not "why would I vote?" but "why wouldn't I?". I do not believe that not voting sends a message that you reject the system. I believe that the powers that be interpret it as meaning that you don't care, and they can do whatever they want. It's not like we divert our revolutionary energies into voting; it takes less than 15 minutes. Let the reformists work on ballot measures and candidates, we don't have to, but we might as well vote on them. I see no contradiction in spending 15 minutes a year trying to change the system and the rest of the year trying to tear it down.

hear, hear 16.Aug.2004 23:05

registered voter against authority

You can vote for the few good people on the ballots, or vote in desperation if you feel you must. Regardless, it is the only vestige of control we have within the system. Why let the SUV drivers get all the say? Think of it as a sort of monkeywrenching, maybe you'll feel better.

Saying voting is against anarchist principles seems a lot to me like saying organization and meetings are against anarchist principles. Representation does not always equal authoritarianism... it depends on how the office is used and the personality which occupies it. We still have a say in that. Let's use it to our advantage, not our disadvantage.

omg 17.Aug.2004 05:35


voting is active consent to the state. put it this way, there will never be a revolution if the revolutionaries vote. i've never known of a reformist anarchist, but i now know two reformists who would call themselves anarchists or "against authority." voting is like stabbing your own heart. i've always understood anarchy to mean self respresentation. how do politicians fall into self-representation? organize the non-voters to stand up for themselves and you will have the majority everytime and be part of a revolutionary movement.

Voting as a tool 17.Aug.2004 10:04

Kaffeine Kowboy

Anyone who doesn't vote is a fool. It takes so little time and energy to vote, and it can be used as a very powerful weapon. Whether you feel it sends a message, can be used to set up the system for a revolution or just as a way to vent, it is an opportunity that has been given to us that many would simply ignore.
The smart anarchist uses whatever society gives him or her as a weapon against itself. To vote takes nothing from us (it is anonymous, costs nothing, requires no contractual agreement) and has the potential to achieve much. Never ignore what you can use just because of preconceived notions about what anarchy is or is not. A true anarchist thinks for himself.

Huh? 17.Aug.2004 11:12

Bison Boy

Lawrence the Anarchist: "Ultimately, those who are voting are either bad anarchists or not anarchists at all"

There's an ideological purity test for anarchism? Who knew?!

Juan: "voting is active consent to the state."

Failure to vote is passive consent to the state. Is that somehow better?