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What I'll do instead of voting this election

What I'll do instead of voting this election

by Don Franks
August 5, 2014

A popular bumper sticker argues "If you skip voting it's not rebellion - it's surrender".

I don't think it's either of those things.

This election I won't be voting, because, after considering all the options, none of them do it for me.

Although this time round I did consider the possibility of voting for the lesser evil.

That would have meant voting for the National Party.

As a tired older worker with many hours toilet cleaning behind me I was very pleased to pass go at 65 and get my pension.

Labour vows to raise the pension age, which will hurt low-paid manual workers and Maori.

National has pledged not to raise the pension age. Sure, political promises mean little, but John Key has staked his reputation on this one, saying he would resign if he broke his word.

So, I was tempted to vote National on this issue of great importance to me. I won't though. National is a party of privilege who openly hold the working class in contempt.

In my experience, the Labour party also hold the working class in contempt. Over many years I've been on various union delegations to parliament, asking this or that Labour MP for help.

The formulae never changed. Some MP deigned to see us for a few minutes, and heard our submission, often visibly impatient for us to finish. Then we'd get a perfunctory platitude before being shown the door, after which nothing would ever change. On basic workers issues, Labour has shown no essential difference to National. In many cases they have been worse.

I did vote for Labour, once, in 1984. Like many thousands of other New Zealand workers I hated Muldoon and thought nothing else could possibly be worse. Then Rogernomics smote us.

The Greens are another capitalist party, who have amply demonstrated lack of principle. They preferred cabinet seats to opposing genetic modification. Now, I am ok with some of the genetic modification, but the issue showed what can be expected from Greens wanting seats at all cost. I believe that if the price of their inclusion was coastal drilling the Green MPs would pay up.

Mana I was going to vote for until they were bought by a flakey rape joke twittering huckster. The Maori party buddy up with National, so I won't vote for them either.

However, it's not so much the individual parties that I am weary of, it's the parliamentary charade itself. I have taken some interest in all elections since 1972 and have seen too many of them. I now know how the movie will finish, who did the murder, who gets the girl, who loses the farm. I am now only bored and irritated by this old movie. I want a new one.

Parliament used to be a radical idea. Before the idea had fully formed, we used to be ruled by Kings and Queens, who could, and would, kill you on the spot, if you crossed them. When writing his plays,

Shakespeare frequently had to contort history, so as to show his rulers in a favorable light. Otherwise he risked execution.

One person rule being a drag, people rebelled against it and in stages, by violent means, secured broader representation, for men of property, for all men, for all women.

During this process another royal house assembled itself. Where we once had the House of the Tudors, we now have the House of Capital. This house rules today as absolutely as Henry the eighth.

All economic matters of consequence are decided upon by capitalists, very often with no reference to parliament. Big worksites close, ruining people’s lives. Such closures need no permission from parliament. At present dairy farming despoils large areas of the country, if a Labour led government is elected agricultural vandalism will continue. Private profit will continue to dictate people's lives.

If working people want a happy secure future in a peaceful clean environment they will have to get rid of the capitalist system. Achieving that requires understanding how the real levers of our society operate beneath the beehive sideshow. I must admit that parliament is more entertaining than studying economics. Parliament is a soft soap with characters we are used to. Real life politics is harder.

This election day I won't vote. Instead of walking down to the Aro st hall and ticking a paper, I'll use that time, and a bit more, reading an economic marxist book , to try and improve my ability at arguing for a socialist future.


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