Friday, 22 May 2009

Make your vote count?

In the upcoming Euro elections the Nazi BNP look likely to win a number of seats. It is not inevitable, but the anticipated closeness of the vote in several regions puts greater emphasis on the tactic of voting for someone - anyone - other than the fascists in order to minimise the percentage they receive.

I have some sympathy with the tactic, but a couple of obvious problems accompany it. Telling people they should vote to keep the Nazis out - 'make your vote count' - will appeal to many, but not to all. The fact is that many people simply won't vote, however much you push this slogan, either due to general alienation from the electoral system or because there isn't anyone they want to vote for. It can also be used opportunistically by the mainstream parties to bolster their vote and credibility ('we may be shit, but vote for us because at least we're not Nazis').

There is a linked problem too, which is the tendency for anti-fascism to become closely associated with a defence of the political mainstream - a case of 'keep the extremists out', rather than 'keep the fascists out'.

I therefore still advocate the old Anti Nazi League slogan: Don't Vote Nazi. That is, after all, the central message, and it unites everyone (it also has the advantage of highlighting that the BNP are Nazis). People can then make their own minds up about whether or not to vote, without moralising and moderation from the Establishment parties or the distracting politics of tactical voting that most of the Left is now indulging in.

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