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Letter: The Vote or Twitter?

Dear Editors

Here’s a polemical question for the readers of Socialist Standard: 'Do we now have more power as consumers, texters, and members of the Twitteratti, than we have as mere voters?’

We know that our so-called leaders and their camp followers in the political chatteratti are increasingly out of touch and that Napoleon’s dictum ‘the people are just three hot meals away from revolution’has never been more apt. You only need to substitute the words pay-day loan, mortgage re-payment, zero-hours contract, health emergency, or pension crisis. And there you have it –life in contemporary Britain for millions of people.

Material World: Give Us the Vote

Material World

The right to vote matters little if you can’t cast your vote. On the basis of its claim to be defenders of democracy one would expect the United States of America to be in the forefront of encouraging participation in the electoral process since voting is held up as the foundation of democracy. Over 100 million Americans will cast a ballot in November’s presidential election but many will face disenfranchisement — those without IDs, those convicted of crimes, those that need to work, those that can't find childcare, those that can't travel, and often this disenfranchisement is deliberate. In 2008, the Supreme Court opened the door to more restrictive voting procedures when it upheld an Indiana law that required all voters casting a ballot in person to present a federal or Indiana photo ID. Since 2010, many other states have either introduced restrictive voter procedures or tightened up those in operation.

The Parliamentary Road to Socialism

IN 1871 at a conference of the First International in London, resolution IX which had the support of Marx and Engels read: “Against the power of the propertied classes the proletariat can only act as a class by turning itself into a political party”. That is the reason for the existence of the Socialist Party of Great Britain and why we advocate the parliamentary road to socialism.

The “power of the propertied classes” exist by virtue of their control of the state machine. It is putting the cart before the horse to claim as some do that the political power of the capitalist class (and its representatives) derives from its economic ownership of the means of living. On the contrary, capitalism and the rule of the Capitalist class exist because the overwhelming majority of the population support this state of affairs.

Book Reviews: 'How Voters Feel', & 'Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind'

The blank ballot

'How Voters Feel', by Stephen Coleman. Cambridge University Press. Paperback at £18.99

Like every other social process within the current alienated form of society, voting has become thoroughly fetishised into a hollow shell, compared with its potential. By examining the subjective feelings around voting Stephen Coleman opens up the question of how valuable that process could once again become, were it to be returned from its current status of begrudged duty into the realm of exciting, engaging action.

How Voters Feel does not seek to address the question of economic democracy or the unbridled power of transnational corporations, though Coleman does make in passing the point that:

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