Beyond Voting

Presidential elections are often the terrain on which radicals and anarchists debate the merits of electoral politics. This election season is no different. Social movements around the world and in the United States are declaring Bush’s defeat at the ballot box a top priority. As radicals, we have consistently opposed the policies of the Bush administration and have mobilized our opposition repeatedly to the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. We know that the Democratic Party shares the majority of the Republican Party’s platform. Both candidates represent ruling class worldviews and institutions of domination. What do we do?

There are many discussions about how to vote out the Bush administration.[i] I want to urge us to step back and talk about electoral politics and larger questions of strategy. For anarchists, voting and electoral politics spark intense debate because they bring fundamental questions to the surface. How do we believe revolutionary transformation happens? How do we build movement? Where does power come from? How do we act in the world? Does our organizing matter? From there we ask more specific questions. How do we as radical organizers, left activists and anarchists relate to elections and electoral politics in general? Are the elections an opportunity for strategic intervention or a waste of time? At the heart of all of these debates is the question of strategy.

Questions of strategy are always on my mind. Where are we going and how are we going to get there? I want to reflect on my personal relationship to electoral politics as an anarchist, because I think the presidential elections often get us debati

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