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(en) Canada, Ontario, Liberals, Conservatives, NDP...to hell with them! - ROAD* pamphlet

Date Mon, 16 Jan 2006 21:59:03 +0200


Here is a pamphlet (also attached along with a poster). Take a look at
it and please consider spreading either of them around. The pamphlet is
available online at http://road.cjb.cc/isthisdemocracy.html
<http://road.cjb.cc/isthisdemocracy.html> and the poster points to it.
> Elections and Democracy
Representation
We all have been taught that in a democracy people vote for the party
which represents their best interests. Today it is clear that this is
not the case. While parliament claims that we live in a democratic
society, the average person is less and less represented by any party.
Workers, the poor, the students, are increasingly entrenched in debts,
poor working conditions, and hit with more taxes, tuition hikes, and
other fees. The politicians like the fact that the people have been
imprisoned in this futile electoral system and are feeding off of us.

Looking back at the history of electoral politics, it seems that none of
the parties care about the interests of the majority of the people.
Instead,
only the interests of the rich and the multi-national corporations and
the employers are fully represented.

Voting=Useless

Whether ballots are fairly counted or not, the ruling party decides what
to do. Political parties are swayed completely by the interests of the
rich and are completely blind to our interests. It is not a democratic
"deficit", it is totally undemocratic. The government does not care
because it does not wish to properly represent the ordinary people who
keep this country running. Whoever we vote for, we will lose in the end.
Once the ballot is placed in the box, our voices are cut off and unheard
--"Ah, you voted? Well then goodbye! Your interests no longer matter."

The Unmentionables

There are a number of things which the Canadian public have not been
informed about and will not be informed about because our rulers do
not wish the people to know. Chances are that whoever you elect, the
following things will not change--another example of futility of elections.

Currently Canada is complicit in the occupation of Haiti and the
oppression of the Haitians. Every day more people are killed and the
Canadian media does not utter a word about it, nor do the politicians.
People all around Canada condemn the war in Iraq yet they do not see
that we are mimicking this. Others do not even know that their country
is engaging in such murderous behaviour.

The government is also issuing of so-called Security Certificates
which allow the state to detain people based on secret evidence that
they are a threat to National Security. There are currently at least 7
men being detained and they are being given secret trials away from the
eyes of the public. They are not even shown the evidence which allegedly
incriminates them. This is disturbing since CSIS and the RCMP have on
more than one occasion played a role in deporting INNOCENT persons to a
country where they are tortured. If CSIS and the RCMP are no longer
capable of discriminating between the innocent and the guilty then why
are they still given this power? Why are there security certificates?
Why are innocent people being detained and barred from their wives and
children? No politician has uttered a word about this.

We're told we live in a free society. We have freedom of speech, we can
work where we like, travel where we like, and can vote in elections. But
how free are we?

Speech isn't 'free' - for your voice to be heard you need the money to
print newspapers or hire billboards, or the power to have your opinions
reported. The mass media owned by the rich can drown out our voices at
will.

We can work where we like, but in every job there is a boss making his
profit from your work - the only alternative is to try living in
poverty. We
can travel where we like - as long as we have white skin or plenty of
money - people are even sometimes stopped travelling to demonstrations
to voice their opinion. And we can vote for one set of crooks or
another, but we can't vote to throw them all out. Some freedom!


Socialism?

But what's the alternative? A 'socialist' state like the USSR, China, or
Cuba? A Party running the state and ruling our workplaces, telling us to
take pride in our poverty while they enjoy the trappings of power?
Executions and psychiatric wards for political dissidents, and glorified
slavery for the rest of us? Some alternative. But there is a real
alternative - anarchism. Anarchism means a society run from the bottom
up, a society without rulers, a society where all are equal. A society
based on the equal freedom of all people, without a boss in the
workplace or a politician in the parliament telling us what to do but
doing nothing useful themselves, a society where we decide ourselves how
we are
going to live and work together.

That's anarchism, the only alternative worth fighting for.

"To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed,
law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached
at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded,
by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the
virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every
transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured,
numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented,
forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of
public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed
under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted
from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then at the slightest resistance, the
first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed,
hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned,
judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed, and to
crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonoured. That is
government; that is its justice; that is its morality."

P. J. Proudhon

The Lessons

History is not neutral. What we learn in school is the necessity for
government, rulers and capitalism. What we do not learn is that many times
it has been shown that this government is not necessary. People are not
inherently bad. Given the right conditions a spirit of mutual aid and
co-operation can grow.
History shows us that Anarchist ideas can work (ex/ Spain '36-'37). A
new society can be created with the workers in control. But it won't happen
spontaneously - We must organise for it.
That is why we need revolutionary organisation. An organisation that
draws together all those fighting for workers control. An organisation
that gives us the chance to exchange ideas, experiences, and to learn
from the lessons of history. An organisation that facilitates our
struggle together for a new society.

We do not need a group of leaders and their passive followers. We do
need an organisation working towards mobilising the masses of ordinary
people in the process of making the revolution.


Follow the Leader???

A CYNICAL EYE is directed at anarchists whenever they speak of
organisation. Is not anarchism the opposite of organisation? The simple
answer is NO. Is it then the opposite of large or complicated
organisation? The answer is equally simple, NO. So where do such
mistaken ideas come from?


Anarchists want an end to the present system and its replacement by a
socialism that is indivisible from freedom. Being just as realistic and
practical as anyone else they know that the bosses are well organised
and have the forces of the state at their disposal. To bring about such a
fundamental change will require a very high degree of organisation. So
where do the accusations that anarchists are incapable of organisation
come from?

It is not just that our opponents will tell lies about us, but also
groupings from the Right and the Left. These groupings do not have the
excuse of ignorance; their misrepresentation is a case of petty and
childish slander. But this hardly explains the confusion as their
readership is not
exactly massive. However similar misrepresentations in the National
Post, Globe and Mail, Ottawa Sun, on radio and TV, etc do have such an
effect that the "anarchism = chaos" idea is widely accepted by those who
have not yet met an anarchist.

Are Rules Necessary?

This is not to claim that there is a conspiracy by broadcasters and
newspaper editors to tell lies about anarchists. That would be quite an
absurd proposition to put forward in Canada today. Our numbers do not
yet inspire so much fear in the ruling class that they would go to such
lengths. The reason is that anarchists reject the view that there must
always be a division of people into rulers and ruled. The rich and
powerful (and those who would like to be rich and powerful) cannot
accept this. In their eyes, because of their own sense of superiority
and self-importance, to live without rulers could only lead to chaos.
The working class, they believe, are too stupid to run their own lives,
let alone the whole of society. They are absolutely convinced that the
absence of a small ruling group can only lead to disorder.

So then, what type of organisation should we seek to build? Two forms
are possible. The first is the one we are all used to whether it is the
trade
union or even in a campaigning group. This is a structure where the
decisions are made at the top and most of the electorate/members have no
effective say in the decision making process. We are expected to simply
obey. Though the handful of people at the top may have been elected we
have no real control over them. In no way are they really accountable to
the rest of us.


Organisation based on a small leadership telling everyone else what to
do is always opposed by anarchists. We have no desire to be ruled,
ordered round or dictated to. But is this not an unrealistic position
that takes no account of the real world? Back in 1912 miners in South
Wales began a
discussion about structures in their union. They looked at both sides of
the leadership issue. Although that was eighty one years ago, what they
found out (written below) still provides food for thought today and it
is worth quoting from:

The Good Side of Leadership

"1. Leadership tends to efficiency

One decided man[/woman], who knows his[/her] own mind is stronger than a
hesitating crowd. It takes time for a number of people to agree upon a
given policy. One man[/woman] soon makes up his mind.

2. He[/She] takes all responsibility

As a responsible leader, he[/she] knows that his advice is almost
equivalent to a command, and this ensures that his/[her] advice will
have been
carefully and gravely considered before being tendered.

3. He[/She] stands for Order and System

All too frequently, 'What is everybody's business is nobody's business',
and if no one stands in a position to ensure order and system, many
things are omitted which will cause the people's interest to suffer.

4. He[/She] affords a standard of goodness and ability

In the sphere of public usefulness there is a great field of emulation.
The good wishes of the masses can only be obtained by new aspirants for
office showing a higher status of ability than the then existing
leaders. This tends to his continued efficiency or elimination.


5. His[/Her] faithfulness and honesty are guarded

Hero worship has great attractions for the hero, and a leader has great
inducements on this side, apart from pecuniary considerations to remain
faithful and honest.

The Bad Side of Leadership

1. Leadership implies power

Leadership implies power held by the leader. Without power the leader is
inept. The possession of power inevitably leads to corruption. All
leaders become corrupt, in spite of their own good intentions. No
man[/woman] was ever good enough, or strong enough, to have such power
at his disposal, as real leadership implies.

2. Consider what it means

This power of initiative, this sense of responsibility, the self respect
which comes from expressed [leadership hood], is taken from the
men[/women], and consolidated in the leader. The sum of their
initiative, their responsibility, and their self respect becomes
his[/hers].

3. The order and system

The order and system he[/she] maintains is based upon the suppression of
the people, from being independent thinkers into being 'the mob'. Every
argument which could be advanced to justify leadership on this score
would apply equally well to the Czar of all the Russias and his policy
of repression. In order to be effective, the leader must keep the people
in order, or he[/she] forfeits the respect of the employers and 'the
public', and thus becomes ineffective as a leader.

4. He[/She] corrupts the aspirants to public usefulness

He[/She] is compelled, in order to maintain his[/her] power, to see to
it that only those who are willing to act as his[/her] drill sergeants or
coercive agents shall enjoy his[/her] patronage. In a word, he[/she] is
compelled to become an autocrat and a foe to democracy.

5. He[/She] prevents solidarity

Sheep cannot be said to have solidarity. In obedience to a shepherd they
will go up or down, backwards or forwards as they are driven by
him[/her] and his[/her] dogs. But they have no solidarity, for that
means [no] unity and loyalty. Unity and loyalty, not to an individual,
or the policy of an individual, but to an interest and a policy which is
understood and worked for by all.

Finally he[/she] prevents the legislative power of the workers



An industrial vote will affect the lives and happiness of workmen more
than a political vote. The power to vote whether there shall or shall
not be a strike, or upon an industrial policy to be pursued by his[/her]
union will affect far more important issues to the workman's life than
the political
vote can ever touch. Hence it should be more sought after, and its
privileges jealously guarded. Think of the tremendous power going to waste
because of leadership, of the inevitable stop-block he[/she] becomes on
progress, because quite naturally, leaders examine every new proposal
and ask first how it will affect their position and power. It prevents
large and comprehensive policies being initiated and carried out which
depend on the understanding and watchfulness of the great majority.
National strikes and policies can only be carried out when the bulk of
the people see their necessity, and themselves prepare and arrange them."

Leadership of Ideas?

Clearly the bad side of 'leadership' outweighs the good. The strong
leadership or rule of individuals stifles self-activity and creates passive
dependence.

A rejection of the 'leadership' idea does not mean that there is no
co-ordination, efficiency or organisation. Neither does it deny that some
people will know more about particular issues, be better speakers or
have more forceful personalities. Anarchists work for a society where
each person is represented equally and representative power is totally
decentralized so that no one person or group of individuals can have
more power than another.


Such a form of organisation excludes the possibility of a 'leadership'
emerging which would make decisions "on behalf of the members". When
decisions are taken, accountable delegates should be appointed by the
people. This means that the organisation remains under the control of
the people, and not under the control of any 'leadership', no matter how
well intentioned they may be at the outset.

Party of Church?

Some "socialists" operate with the idea that there is a "crisis of
leadership", that the working class need a leadership which will, of
course,
be the Party of these "socialists". Without the Party they can't change
anything. The Party is to be the brains, the vanguard of the class. Within
the Party the 'best' members make up the Central Committee, and the
'best' of these becomes the leader.

The process leads to a strict hierarchy in which policies and
instructions come from the top. Not totally dissimilar to the way the
Catholic church
works. Democracy becomes lost completely (this happened in the Communist
Parties and many of the Trotskyist ones).

This sort of set-up will lead workers nowhere except to more
exploitation and dictatorship as it did in Russia and China. Anarchists,
reject the 'top-down', or capitalist, form of organisation because we
know that the means you use will determine what you end up with. A
hierarchical and
authoritarian organisation can only result in a hierarchical and
authoritarian society.

Those who would dismiss our objections as 'nit picking' and our
alternative as 'inefficient' or 'unworkable' usually do so because they
regard their
'leadership' as all-important. They pay lip service to Marx's statement
that the emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class
itself...but either don't understand what he said or they disagree with
it but won't say so because to disagree with Marx is regarded as a type
of heresy in many left wing circles.

Anarchists have no objection to organisation. They are all for it. They
were a major force within the first international socialist
organisation, the
International Workers Association. They were the driving force behind
building trade unions in many countries including the USA, Argentina,
France, Italy, Portugal, Korea, Russia, Switzerland, Poland and many
others. More books have been published about the Spanish Civil War than
any other, so how is it that Leninists still claim that Anarchists have
never been capable of organising when each and every one of those books
will tell you that the anarchist CNT union had approximately two million
members? Surely this would not have been possible without a high degree
of organisation!



All right, says the cynic, but what about today? Things are more complex
and
complicated and anarchist forms of organisation could no longer work.

We only have to look across the sea to Spain once more. The National
Confederation of Workers (CNT-AIT) with several thousand members, the
General Confederation of Workers (CGT) with at least 20,000 members, the
CEEP, better known as 'La Co-ordinadora' which organised 80% of the
dockers and the Agricultural Labourers Union (SOC) with about 20,000
members all operate on anarchist organisational principles. They have
found no need to abandon these principles. Neither has the 15,000 strong
Central Organisation of Workers (SAC) in Sweden, nor have the anarchist
influenced unions in other countries.

Anarchism in Action

Like most people who hear about Anarchism you probably believe that "it
is a good set of ideas but unfortunately it would never work. People are
naturally greedy and selfish, if there was no government to look after
our interests there would be complete chaos".

But there are historical examples of anarchism working. The greatest of
these happened in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. It started with an
attempted fascist coup. In response to the coup the workers mobilised to
defeat fascism. Popular militias were formed by the unions and workers
seized factories. Peasants took over land that had been abandoned by the
landlords. This marked the beginning of the revolution for the
Anarchists. They believed that the Civil War had to be not just a fight
against fascism but also against the capitalist system that had spawned
fascism in the first place.


In the zones controlled by the Anarchists, workers self-management
became a reality. In Catalonia there were at least 2,000 industrial and
commercial collectives. At least 60% of "republican" Spain's agriculture was
collectivised.

In the workplaces councils or "comite" elected by assemblies of workers
and representing all sectors of the enterprise, were given the task of
administering the collectivised factory. Collectivised enterprises in
each sector of industry were represented in an Economic Federation. This
in turn was topped by a General Industrial Council that would closely
control the whole industry.

Here is a description of the organisation of gas, electricity and water
in Barcelona.

"Each type of job (e.g. fitters) set up a section consisting of at least
fifteen workers. Where there were not the numbers to do this workers from
different trades got together to constitute a general section. Each
section nominates two delegates that are chosen by assemblies of the
workers. One of the delegates will be of a technical calibre and will
participate in the 'comite' of the workplace. The other will be
entrusted with the management of work in the section.

The 'comite' of the building or plant comes next. It is nominated by the
delegates of the sections and consists of a technician, a manual worker and
an administrator. The manual worker has to solve difficulties that might
arise between different sections. He or she receives suggestions from
workers in the different trades and the sections give him or her daily
reports on the progress of work. Periodically the delegate calls the
sections to general meetings. At these proposals and initiatives which
are likely to improve production and productivity are studied as well as
ones to improve the workers' situation. A copy of the deliberation is
sent to the Council for Industry.

The delegates with administrative functions supervises the arrival and
warehousing of materials, records requirements details with book-keeping
for supplies and reserves, and keeps an eye on the state of income and
expenditure. S/He also deals with correspondence and it is his/her
responsibility to see that balance sheets and reports addressed to the
Council for Industry are prepared.

The delegate with technical functions supervises the activities of his
section, and uses every endeavour to increase productivity. To lighten the
workers' burden by introducing new methods. S/He checks on production at
the power stations, the state of the network, prepares statistics and
charts indicating how production is developing. At the summit there are
the Councils of Industry. One each for gas, electricity and water, Each is
composed of eight delegates, four from the U. G. T. (the socialist trade
union) and four from the C.N.T. These are capped by the General Council
of the three industries, which is also made up by eight delegates drawn
equally from the two unions.

This Council co-ordinates activities of the three industries; attunes
the production and distribution of raw materials from a regional,
national and
international point of view; modifies prices; organises general
administration; indeed takes and uses all initiatives useful to production
and the workers' needs. Meanwhile it is obliged at all times to submit
its' activities to the scrutiny of local and regional union assemblies"

On the Trams

Five days after the fighting stopped 700 tramcars, instead of the usual
600, all painted in the black and red colours of the CNT, were operating
on the streets of Barcelona. With the profit motive gone safety became
more important and the number of accidents was reduced. Fares were
lowered and services improved. In 1936, 183,543,516 passengers were
carried. In 1937 this had gone up by 50 million. The trams were running
so efficiently that the workers were able to give money to other
sections of urban transport. Wages were equalised for all workers and
increased over the previous rates. For the first time, free medical care
was provided for the workforce.

On the Land

The countryside also saw collectivisation. In Aragon, near the
front-line during the war, collectivisation took root and spread like
wildfire. In
February 1937 there were 275 collectives totalling 80,000 members. Three
months later there were 450 collectives with 180,000 members. Often the
peasants and farm labourers went further than their counterparts in the
towns and cities. Not only was production collectivised but in rural
areas consumption too. In many of these areas money was abolished.

Large estates were taken over by landless labourers, small holders put
their land together so that it could be worked more efficiently by the
use of
machinery. Collectives were based around the villages and federated on a
regional basis.

Usually the decision to collectivise was made at an assembly (a meeting
of the entire village). It meant handing over land, livestock, tools, seed,
stocks of wheat and other produce. The land was then divided into
sectors, each of which was assigned to a work group of about a dozen who
elected their own delegate. Produce went into the "pile" for communal
consumption. Each would produce according to their ability, each would
consume according to their needs.

Collectivisation did not only apply to the land. In the villages,
workshops were set up where all the local trades' people would produce
tools,
furniture, etc. for the village and also carry out repairs to the
collectivist's houses. Bakers, butchers, barbers and so on were also
collectivised.

The lot of rural workers and peasants was improved by the introduction
of machinery. Living standards rose, in the words of one collectivist
"those who had less now ate more and better - no one went short".
Education became a central concern and young children who had never been
to school were given the education denied to them by the landlords and
their system.

Women's Action

Gains were also made by women. They were present everywhere - on
committees, in the militias, in the front line. In the early battles of
the war, women fought alongside men as a matter of course. It was not
merely a case of women filling in for men who were away at the front.
They were in the militias and fought alongside the men as equals. They
were organising the collectives and taking up the fight against the
sexist attitudes of the past, which have no place in any real
revolution. During the war abortion was legalised in the "republican
zone". Centres were opened for women, including unmarried mothers and
prostitutes.

From all accounts there truly were changes in attitudes towards women.
One female participant in the Civil War has said: "It was like being
brothers and sisters. It had always annoyed me that men in this country
didn't consider women as beings with full human rights. But now there
was this big change. I believe it arose spontaneously out of the
revolutionary movement"

For more information:

http://road.cjb.cc <http://road.cjb.cc/>

http://infoshop.org/faq/index.html
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