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2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles
just vote - Get active
When you broach the question of politics, of having a say in the
way things are, voting is just about the only strategy anyone can
But is anonymously
checking a box every now and again enough to feel included in the
political process, let alone play a role in it? But what is there
In fact voting
for people to represent your interests is the least effective and
efficient means of applying political power. The alternative, broadly
speaking, is acting directly to represent your interests yourself.
This can be
called direct action. It is any action or strategy that cuts out
the middle man (or woman) and solves problems directly, without
appealing to elected representatives, corporate interests, or other
when people start their own organization to share food with hungry
people, instead of just voting for a candidate who promises to solve
"the hunger problem" with bureaucracy and tax dollars,
that's direct action. When people in a suburb come together
to form neighbourhood watch groups to monitor and stop crime in
their area, that's direct action.
In a lot of
ways, direct action is a more effective means for people to have
a say in society than voting is. With direct action you can be sure
that your work will offer some kind of result.
the power of a whole society in the hands of a few politicians,
and everyone else is kept in a position of dependence. Through direct
action, you become familiar with your own resources and capabilities
and initiative, discovering what these are and how much you can
Voting is only
possible when election time comes around. Direct action can be applied
whenever one sees fit.
no reason the strategies of voting and direct action can't
be both applied together. One does not cancel the other out. The
problem is that so many people think of voting as their primary
way of exerting political and social power that a disproportionate
amount of everyone's energy is spent deliberating and debating
about it while other opportunities to make change go to waste.
What we need
is a campaign to emphasise the possibilities more direct means of
action and community involvement have to offer. These need not be
seen as in contradiction with voting. We can spend an hour voting
once a year, and much of the other time acting directly!
A campaign for
direct action puts power back where it belongs, in the hands of
the people from whom it originates.
Ex Workers' Collective
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