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Using the state and its political methods as a palliative?

+1 vote
There are some laws and policies that are really damaging. I'm sure we can find many examples, but for the sake of argument, let's use the drug war. Could direct action currently have the possibility of directly stopping the racism, criminalization, murder, and imprisonment of so many people, in the face of the state and all of the violence at its fingertips? If political pressure and voting are an effective option in ending the drug war, are they still unacceptable to most anarchists, even in the face of the tremendous suffering caused by the drug war?

Voting can never be anarchist in nature, but what about as a tool of anarchists? Are direct action and voting mutually exclusive? Can any attempt at stopping state violence against a population be considered inappropriate action? Does reform mean less to be oppressed by, but not enough to revolt... thereby serving the oppressors in keeping us complacent?
asked Mar 24, 2013 by formyinformation (2,370 points)
edited Mar 24, 2013 by formyinformation

1 Answer

–3 votes
Sorry to say this, but no, no, no.  "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes." (Josef Stalin)  The past twelve years of presidency have been quite sufficient proof that  voting does not change the man's mind whatever. If you really think George Bush and Barack Obama were elected by popular opinion, I don't know what I can do for you. The same goes for congressional decisions.

Also, if you're registered to vote, you're only participating in the government and also paying taxes to buy nice big shiny bombs.  

answered Mar 24, 2013 by solid_black (140 points)
And yet it can be - and is - argued that decriminalization is the opposite of legislation...

Removing a given activity from the purview of the police and courts and prisons is not the same as expanding the power of the cops. But if you take a broader perspective of how decriminalization is proffered as a strategy, it is always merely an acknowledgement of legislators that the activity is so widespread that it makes no sense to try to curb it through punishment.

In short, you are making two different (and some might say, opposite) arguments at the same time.
Ok yes, decriminalization is not legislation (de-legislation?). Well then is voting for removing drug war laws/policies not worth strengthening peoples belief in mediation and representation?
Now you're changing the subject by bringing up the question of relative worth. You are no longer discussing strategy but morality.
I feel like I was always asking that. That's the troublesome part for me-- I just don't see a solution by way of direct action to the drug war, and I feel like I ethically can't stand by and watch it destroy people. I can point and shout and decry and state and capitalism and police etc. for creating this mess and try to organize on a grass roots level but it's no match against the destruction, not to mention the damage to 'South American' countries. So yea I guess my question is, can I morally justify letting this war continue because I don't want to reinforce electoral politics/mediation/state/etc. by voting?
You're asking the wrong question for this website and for most of the people who post here. Most of us do not hold to ideas of morality any more than we hold to ideas about rights.

However you justify your own actions is up to you. You do not need to have people you've never met approve of them, and you shouldn't ask us to anyway.

The problem is bridging the immense gap between what you say you want (voting and improved legislation) and what you say you want to support (direct action and grass roots organizing). You can certainly do both if it amuses you, but principled anarchists will call you out on the contradiction. Especially if you justify your actions using moralism and rights-based arguments.