Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (44)

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 44th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

We now have 1240 friends!

Recent blogs:

  • Why vote for politicians?
  • Who are "we"?
  • Why just land?
  • This week's top quote:

    "The first of May is the symbol of a new era in the life and struggle of the toilers, an era that each year offers the toilers fresh, increasingly tough and decisive battles against the bourgeoisie, for the freedom and independence wrested from them, for their social ideal." Nestor Mahkno, The First of May, 1928.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain


    Highlander said...

    As regards the MySpace 'why vote?' article - the SPGB advocate writing 'Socialism' across the ballot paper in a 'write-in' vote. However, that ballot paper will only be added to the pile of spoiled papers and be counted as such - it will not be counted as a special 'Socialist' spoiled paper nor will it force a Socialist candidate into the next election so the point was kind of lost on me. I do agree with ballots and I would disagree with the assertion, again from the article, that Anarchists don't like voting. They just don't like voting for somebody else to make decisions on their behalf for four years at a time - decisions which they are perfectly capable of making themselves for life.

    Darren said...


    Not sure what happens to the spoilt ballot papers - the comrades involved in the Vaux Populi election blog are probably more up to speed on these matters - but I was always under the impression that spoilt ballots can't be immediately discarded and have to be preserved alongside those ballot papers cast for the candidates standing.

    And when elections are so tightly contested in some places, I understand that the spoilt papers are chewed over far more than the ballot of some person who has voted for his or her Party unwaveringly for the last forty years. Go figure.

    Though I've not always been a good socialist in actively spoiling my ballot paper - depends if I was passing the polling station on the 'special' day - I do think that the ballot paper can be a weapon in the hands of the working class if and when we use it in it our own interest. And sometimes I do think that includes the matter of spoiling your ballot paper.

    Those people who abstain from voting for political and pro-active reasons are arguably disregarded and more easily dismissed than those political and pro-active workers who choose to spoil their ballot papers.

    You non-voters are more often than not just added to that pile of don't care . . .can't be arsed . . . what election? bloc of non-voters. If that wasn't the cause, I'd suggest there would a very real crisis of confidence amongst the political class about the declining turn out. They wring their hands for a time, but they get used to declining turn outs and carry on business as usual.

    One last point would be that no SPGB candidate who has ever stood for election has ever stood stood under the slogan of 'vote for me', rather it has always been the case that they (we) have urged that workers 'vote for themselves'.

    As far fetched as it currently might seem, if and when an SPGB candidate wins an election they would immediately be answerable to his or her constituents.

    The idea that they would seek to cast themselves as a 'political leader' for the workers who voted for them is anathema to our politics and our tradition. The SPGB candidate elected would be a delegate rather than a representative.

    Highlander said...

    "the ballot paper can be a weapon in the hands of the working class if and when we use it in it our own interest"
    - don't disagree with that.

    "They wring their hands for a time, but they get used to declining turn outs and carry on business as usual"
    - in much the same way as they do once they have disregarded the spoilt papers and declared a result you mean? (Having thoroughly chewed them over of course)

    I don't doubt that the SPGB 'winner' would be a delegate, and given the chance you would get my vote believe it or not, but to subsume oneself to the ballot system as it currently exists. ie. within capitalism, is to lend it a credence it just does not deserve.

    The fact that turnouts appear to be epidemically declining, at least in Western democracies, suggests a far bigger problem than just voter apathy ("can't be arsed"). Surely the secret is to engage those who are turning away from the traditional model and persuade them that no politician, however well intentioned, could plausibly represent their views as a whole. (I mean - does the States entire political spectrum really boil down to 2 choices?) Given that fact the alternatives have to be pursued.

    My preference is socialism minus the "state" or however you wish to define hierarchical authority - localised, co-operative, self-determination. I still think there is sufficient crossover there for socialists to stop worrying about anarchists and vice vera.