Below is a text recently written by some Bristol anti-fascists in light of the upcoming general & local elections
The General Election show is here and the politicians are doing their best to “perform”, to convince us that their particular brand really is something new and improved. But as the wheels of democracy put their spin on, look closely and you’ll see that all the supposedly different colours merge into one. Because when it comes to it, they all stand for just one thing: Capitalism.
Elections only serve to strengthen the system by presenting a carefully constructed illusion of influence, choice and change. In reality, voting changes nothing. Politicians always disappoint us with election promises quickly broken, serving not the people that elected them, but themselves alongside the rich and powerful interests they truly represent. Whoever you vote for, the rule of private property and profit remains unchanged. Whoever is at the controls, the state carries on it’s job, as always, as the instrument of class domination. A change of government will not change the attacks on us all: “austerity”, low pay and poverty, evictions and homelessness, police brutality and repression, surveillance, prisons, borders and nationalism, wars and racism… the list goes on and on. It’s not the players at the head of the state that we need to change, but the game itself. Shuffling the cards is futile when the deck remains the same.
Voting is an expression not of power, but of powerlessness. The clue, perhaps, is on the ballot paper itself. In school, a cross means “wrong” or “not the right answer”. We should apply the same thinking to all of the prospective candidates, their parties and the system they stand for. A cross in the box every four years means giving up our power to government and rulers who wield and abuse it while we have to patiently wait for the next elections for that all elusive chance for change. You will hear many people complaining how politicians have failed the working class. In truth, they can’t really be said to have failed if they never intended to help us out in the first place. Surely we’ve seen enough of the mismatch between what the greedy, lying, corrupt politicians say and what they do over the years to realise that real change is down to us rejecting their “proper channels” and false hopes for a better world. It’s time to abandon the sinking ship of parliamentary politics and instead vote with our feet and organise for ourselves.
What has all this got to do with antifascism?
Well, everything! Election time is one big celebration of their democracy. It’s not important who you vote for, just that you go along with it all and vote. But it’s no accident that the march of democracy worldwide has coincided with huge increases in inequalities of resources and power. In the so called pillar of democracies right here in U.K. Inc., we are seeing the greatest transfer from “the public purse” to private profit ever seen under the reign of Tories. This daylight robbery is being carried out without much fuss. “Democracy” uses unions, the very organisations supposedly fighting for workers, to disempower and pacify us perhaps even more effectively than the more forceful methods usually associated with dictatorships. But “democratic” states exert control and attack the working class with equal ferocity and ruthlessness as dictatorial regimes. They are simply better at disguising their tendency to totalitarianism, dressing it up with things like “tightening our belts” and making “tough choices”. Meanwhile the resulting conditions are just right for an upsurge in right wing politics, nationalism, immigrant blaming, racism and a divided working class. This is what we face today with the emergence of far right street groups like the EDL and Britain First.
We understand that fascism is inseparable from capitalism and the state. Beating fascism must mean destroying that which creates it: capitalism. We cannot fight one without coming up against the other and we see this most clearly in the police riot shields and batons protecting fascist demonstrations. Fascism, like the police, is a weapon of the rich to wage class war. Our antifascism must be part of a revolutionary class struggle movement and we have no interest in protecting their democracy as a “lesser evil” against fascism. While the routine and futile placing of hopes in boxes is enough for some, our hopes remain with our class and fighting together for a world free from police and politicians as well as fascists and all they stand for.
previous article written after last year’s local elections here