DO YOU remember when we voted to give away the €51 billion Corrib gas field to Shell and Statoil? No, well maybe you remember the day we voted to join the Iraq war by allowing US warplanes to re- fuel at Shannon? Or the time we voted to give tax breaks to private hospitals for the rich? It’s amazing how few decisions we are allowed to take. We do get to vote in the very occasional referendum and about a dozen general elections in an average lifetime, and that’s it.
This year’s election is about choosing which small group of politicians will rule over us for the next few years. Their promises and pledges are not too important; any of them can be forgotten as soon as the last vote is cast. Indeed the fact that the six major par- ties are all prepared to go into coalition with at least some of their rivals shows that nobody should expect any of them to challenge the existing order.
Even if some are serious about radically changing things, anarchists do not believe any real socialism can come about through the good actions of a few individuals. If a few can grant us freedom then a few can also take our freedom away. Anarchism is about real participative democracy - based on delegation rather than representation, with delegates being elected only to implement specific decisions. Delegates would not have the right to go against the mandate of those who elected them. Delegates would enjoy no special rights or privileges and, unlike TDs or MPs, would be subject to instant recall and dismissal if they disobey their mandate.
This idea is obviously the complete opposite to the parliamentary idea. We do not seek a few leaders, good, bad or indifferent to sort out the mess that is capitalism. Indeed we argue constantly against any ideas that make it seem such elites are necessary. Because we are for real democracy – the idea that we should all have control over the things that affect us at work, in our communities, nationally and internationally – we will not be taking part in the Tweedledum or Tweedledee contest with Bertie, Enda, Pat and Trevor. A choice of rulers is of no interest to those who want to abolish the division of humanity into rulers and ruled, bosses and workers.