No need to be coy — I voted Green in 2015. ("But the election hasn't happenned yet?!" I've been getting a postal vote since the times when I used to travel like a mad thing, so I get to vote weeks before the main event.)
I voted Labour for most of my life, but Blair's illegal war in Iraq1 killed a million people and I just couldn't stomach it after that. And the Greens have a great set of policies, even if there isn't too much chance that they'll actually get elected in my constituency.
But anyhow: whoever we all vote for and in whatever numbers, Coca-Cola always wins. Politicians make a difference, yes. But gigantic transnational corporations control more of our lives and our futures than any politician.
If we're lucky we live in countries with political democracy. (Not complete — but certainly better than nothing.) The trouble is that we completely lack economic democracy. All the big decisions about how the economy runs, what is produced and promoted and at what price, are taken by big corporations. These companies are driven by profit — it is even illegal in many places for executives to prioritise anything other than shareholder returns. A philanthropic corporation is one that is trying to sell you something.
Political democracy has the theoretical potential to solve this through regulation and oversight, but that route has largely failed. Partly this is because any country going it alone comes under huge competitive pressure to conform. Partly it is because the immense wealth of the top 1000 corporations (who collectively control 80% of production) can buy political influence very efficiently.
As Rusty Rockets says:
Emily Davison would not be urging the disempowered people of today to vote, she’d be urging them to riot.(He also said the odd less complimentary thing about the political classes, but I couldn't possibly quote them here2.) So let's go ahead and vote for the least worst, or make a symbolic vote like mine, but let's remember that this isn't going to stop our headlong rush towards armageddon.
We need more!
Ok, here's what we'll do: join up, get up, kick up. Join a party, join a campaign, join a movement. There's no perfect party or movement to join, so we'll just have to join lots of them. And probably create some new ones while we're at it. And joining on its own isn't enough, so we'll have to get up and get active. And for a life philosophy? Kick up a fuss at every opportunity3.
So join a party — and not, unfortunately, the All Night Party. (Go ahead with that too if you're young enough — and make sure to write down that sure fire Solution to Everything when it pops into your head at 5am. If only I'd kept a paper and pen handy back then we wouldn't be in this mess.)
And if you're working then join the union — the people who brought you the weekend, capped working hours, employment rights, fair wages, pensions and the end of child labour4.
Our objective: complete economic democracy, complete control of all industries in service of humanity and society. (This objective has all sorts of lovely correlates: racism, sexism, ageism, etc. — they're all excluded because they make us weaker and make democracy harder. War? War is never the answer to any question posed by humanity as a whole. Climate change? Let's have a million green jobs as a start, and see where that gets us. The global spend on arms is many multiples of what we need to cut carbon emissions very quickly. And etc.: the possibilities are endless, and once we stop paying for all that obscurantism and obfuscation that goes by the name of lobbying and marketing and opinion forming it will all become obvious very quickly.)
A first step: nationalise the banks!
The only certainty in life is change. Another world is coming — let's dig in and work for the world that our children deserve.5
- Nearly 100 years after we first invaded!
- Except perhaps in a footnote: "By the time you get to be an MP you’ve spent so long on your knees, sluicing down acrid mouthfuls of Beelzebub’s cum, that all you can do is cough up froth."
- 'Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.' (Shaw)
- And, sometimes, self-serving bureaucrats sitting on the top and praying for nothing to happen so that they get to keep their nice pay check without annoying the employers too much — witness the dismal sequel to the fantastic action of 2 million people in the UK in November 2011, for example. But that's another story.
- Quoted from Glimpses of the Naughties.