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Direct Democracy not Parliamentary Rule
Anti-parliamentary politics and the case against voting

Rejection of the parliamentary process is a part of a long tradition of anti-parliamentary activism by libertarians and anarchists. Here are a range of statements, arguments and activities on participation in voting for parliamentary representatives in Australia.

  • Election 2001 - For direct democracy not parliamentary rule - The anti-election campaign of Joe Toscano plus futher discussion links on not voting.

  • Politics and Parliament by Montague (Monty) Miller, from International Socialist 1913.
    Monty Miller was a supporter, then a member of the Industrial Workers of the World which adopted a strong anti-parliamentary stance.

  • The Passing of Parliament by Montague (Monty) Miller, from Direct Action 1916.
    These articles by Monty Miller are his analysis of the State, and why parliamentary politics are counter revolutionary. In fact, Miller argues that participation within parliamentary politics is a corrupting process.

  • Peter Singer on Direct Democracy by Dr Peter Singer, from Democracy and Disobedience, 1973.
    Eminent Australian Philosopher and bio-ethicist, near the start of his career in 1973, gave this definition of direct democracy.

  • The Case Against Voting by Colin Ward, from Freedom June 1987.
    British anarchist Colin Ward explains the anarchist Case against Voting within the British context of noncompulsory voting.

  • A Voter takes Direct Action by Anonymous Voter, 1987. From Anarchic Life No 3.
    A voter leaves an essay in the ballot box and takes their ballot home to be ritually burnt later.

  • Never mind the Ballots an LP record by Chumbawamba, 1987.
    British band Chumbawamba put out a record on participating in parliamentary politics. They said in a statement:
    We are not saying "Don't Vote". Whether we vote or not, or who we vote for, is largely unimportant. What is important is realising that it is not a cross on a piece of paper which counts, but how we spend the rest of our lives.

  • An anarchist anti-election campaign - 1998
    Joe Toscano and Steve Roper stand for the Senate on a campaign of Vote Informal or Don't vote.

  • A cartoon for the 2001 Federal election. Adapted from an original by Donald Rooum:

    Link to Cartoon (72kb)
    Don't Vote.
    It only
    power seekers.
When change of rulers happens to a state 'tis but a change of name for the poor.
Phaedrus: Fables (c. 25BC)

I entered parliament with what I thought to be the lowest possible opinion of the average member. I came out with one still lower.
John Stuart Mill

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force.
George Washington

Politicians do not serve ideals; they make use of ideals.
A.J.P. Taylor

Between the government which does evil and the people who accept it there is a certain shameful solidarity.
Victor Hugo

Every advantage gained by the people has been gained in defiance of government, never by its aid or as a gift.
Monty Miller (1916)

in general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one part of the citizens, and giving It to another.

The less government, the better, the fewer laws, and the less confided power.

Politicians are men who have interests aside from the interests of the people, and who, to say the most of them, are taken as a class at least one long step removed from honest men : and I say this with the greater freedom, because I am myself a politician and none can regard it as personal.
Abraham Lincoln

Real change comes about not because we vote for it, but because we fight for it, shout for it, work for it. Placing hopes and fears on who holds power, or who will gain power through voting, is wasting time which might be spent in creating alternatives, both for ourselves and for our communities.
Chumbawamba - 1987

A statesman is an easy man,
He tells his lies by rote.
A journalist makes up his lies,
And takes you by the throat.
So stay at home and drink your beer,
And let the neighbours vote.
W. B. Yeats

Those who choose the lesser evil forget quickly they chose evil.
Hannah Arendt

Nearly all great men are bad men. Power is poison....The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern; every class is unfit to govern.
Lord Acton

Never trust a politician - you know it makes sense

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Last modified: November 18, 2001

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