Does voting matter?

Every four or five years, you get to vote for some well-meaning individual, who promises to cure unemployment, poverty and homelessness. After that, you have no control over them, no power to influence events. Tony Blair once said that you are at your maximum power when you vote. If this is the most power you have, it’s not a lot, is it?

Real power lies in the hands of the owners of the wealth in our society, the capitalists. They control the decisions that affect us most: what food to grow, what houses to build, what clothes to make. They do so on one principle: no profit, no production. Our needs come second to profit.

Voting for a party that works within this principle cannot address the problems of our community. Any party that promises this or that tax or law is leaving this principle intact, and the capitalists in charge. So a vote for them – Labour, the Tories, the Liberals, the Greens, the Nationalists, etc – is a wasted vote.

Maybe you don’t vote at all. Maybe you think voting is a waste of time because it doesn’t change anything. Certainly, we’d agree with you that a vote for Labour, the Tories, the Liberals or the others is a waste of time.

It’s a waste, particularly, if you leave it there, at the voting, at the nose counting, and take no further part until the next election. Democracy means much more than a cross on a bit of paper; it means organising, debating, discussing and examining the world around us to work out how to change it for our benefit. Democracy is too important to be left to the professionals.

We’d argue, though, that it’s still a waste of time unless you see that inequality of wealth means inequality of power. That as long as a minority own society, it must be run in their interest. Labour, the Liberals, the Tories, none of them want to do anything about that, they’re content just to beg the owners of our society for some scraps from the table.

There is, though, an alternative. You can join with your fellow workers with the aim of taking control of society, in which we do all the work anyway, and begin running it directly for our mutual needs. You can have the power of membership in a democratic organisation that does not seek to take power on capitalist terms, but just seeks to abolish this rotten system. You can use your vote to show others where you stand, and proclaim your opposition to capitalism.

That is why we campaign for the common and democratic ownership and control of the wealth of the world. If you do that, you can make democracy and equality mean something, and change the world so that it is run for your benefit, not the tiny minority’s. We’re asking you to join us in that campaign.

Next article: Cooking the Books – Capitalism : whose bonanza? ➤

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