Election Fallacies

Fallacies are things that sound logical, but turn out not to make any sense when you pick them apart. Since the UK general election is coming up in a year or so, it’s likely we’re going to see a lot of these bandied around by people who think that we can save ourselves by ticking a box. I’ll probably be too pissed off to write anything by the time it gets to the election, so I’m going to get in early and list some of the stupidest reasons people give for voting.

1. “People fought for the right to vote – so you have to do it too!”

This is the one that goes around most often. But is it logical? Not really. During the gin riots of 1743, working class people fought for our right to drink alcohol. But I don’t see anyone going around saying that getting drunk should be compulsory (well, no-one serious). At least one of the people who fought for the right to vote would agree, too. Catholic Anarchist Dorothy Day was arrested for going on a march for women’s right to vote, and even went on hunger strike, but guess what? She never voted once in her life.
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Right to Riot

There is not much that needs to be said about rioting – the facts are so obvious that we all know them deep down, even if we don’t admit it. That the news reporters who tell us fighting police is wrong, are hypocrites who also tell us that fighting wars is right (and never count the cost) – that is obvious. That the leaders who tell us to respect the property of the corporations, are hypocrites because all that they have was got by theft and murder – that is obvious too.

We all know that the ‘rights’ we have were got by insurrection and sabotage. It isn’t hard to work out that if we want to defend these rights or if we want more, then that will probably mean rioting again. While fighting for freedom is a good thing, being on the ground when it starts is hard and scary and involves some moral grey-areas. Not everyone on ‘our side’ will be a good person. Again, did we need anyone to tell us that? Have we ever seen anything that could make us expect any different?

We have a right to riot – it is undeniable. Until the rich stop trying to control our lives and take everything we have, there will be riots again. This isn’t hard to work out. So what is there to think about? There is one question that needs answering, and only one: What will you DO? Will you sit back and let your rights disappear? Will you join the oppressors and help them keep the rest of us down? Or will you head outside and take back the streets? Answering that question – now that’s hard. But courage starts with a choice. Whether you dare to make it is up to you…

(Also, check this out – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzDQCT0AJcw )

Black Bloc Tactics – A Quick Guide

Squatters protect their identities during an eviction

Squatters protect their identities during an eviction

What’s the point?

Masking up at an eviction resistance or a demonstration has two aims – first, to make it hard to identify you personally. This is done by hiding some identifying features like hair colour/length, face shape, etc, and by obscuring others such as eye colour, skin colour, and sex. The second goal is to protect each other by making it difficult to follow or pick out any one person in a crowd – this is done by all looking the same.

Why would you want to be anonymous, or help other people to be? The main reason is that if things kick off and you’re involved, you don’t want to be identified – that could mean jail time. What feels like justified self-defence against brutality at the time can be portrayed as irrational “hooliganism” by the courts and the press later. Even if you didn’t do anything but stand near where something happened, they can fabricate evidence once they’ve identified who you are and where you were. This happens, so it’s best to be safe and stay anonymous. The other reason is to stop police intelligence gathering. They film people at protests and try to build up a picture of who is there regularly, who the “ringleaders” are, etc. Do you want police extremist units to see you as a “serial protestor”, or a “ringleader”? Do you want them searching your house for evidence because they have you flagged as a probable organiser? Probably not.

Why black?

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Want to fight the cuts? Passive protests aren’t enough!

With the con-dem government and the rich imposing cuts, job losses, privatisation, and other bullshit, it’s right to fight back. But why stop there? Workers have always had worse pay and conditions than they deserve – even before the cuts. The government has always tried to screw us over on behalf of the people who get rich from our hard work: the bankers and the bosses. Fuck that! We need to create a new system, not defend the old one.Image of leaflet for text in this post

(This post is a re-working of a leaflet I put up here a while back – to make it relevant to the wider anti-cuts movement, and not just students. New pdf is here: We Don’t Want a Bigger Slice of the Pie… (print version) )

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Power in the Union? Against Student Union Elections

I believe that, by running election campaigns in student unions, the left is damaging itself. There are five reasons I’m going to give for this below – that elections take up too much of our time, that elections are unfair, that no union officer can really represent students, that student unions have no power worth taking, and finally that running in elections “disempowers” people.

Reason #1: Time Continue reading

How to Oppress People in Meetings

1) Make them invisible

 Make someone feel ‘invisible’, by ignoring them or their ideas. You can do this by not asking them to speak, doing other things while they are speaking, interrupting them before they are finished, and not responding to their ideas. This should make them feel insignificant, unsure of themselves, and incapable of action. Another option is ‘pirating’ their ideas – giving someone else credit, even though they did not come up with it first.

Example 1: When it is someone’s turn to speak, start talking to the person next to you

Example 2: When someone proposes an idea, don’t respond to it – act like it never happened

2) Ridicule them

 Constantly degrade and make fun of someone, or their social group, or their ideas. This will make them feel stupid and embarrassed, and make them look less important in the eyes of others. Ridiculing is effective because laughter is on your side, and the other person will look boring if they tell you to stop. You can do this by making sexist or racist comments about people, patronising them by acting like they can’t understand you, and making fun of them personally (for example, the way they speak). Always talk about how and why they speak, rather than what they actually say.

Example: When you disagree with a woman, make a joke about women being  ‘emotional’ or ‘irrational’. If you are criticised, just pass it off as ‘banter’. Continue reading

We Don’t Want a Bigger Slice of the Pie – We Want the Whole Fucking Bakery!

Leaflet- We don't want a bigger slice of the pie!

Leaflet- We don’t want a bigger slice of the pie!

Leaflet pdf – printable | Leaflet pdf – web

With the con-dem government and university management imposing cuts, debt, privatisation, and other bullshit, it’s right to fight back. But why stop there? Good education has always been mainly for the very rich (who can afford private education) and the quite rich (who can afford to live in ‘nice’ areas with better state schools, and pay private tutors). Workers have always had worse pay and conditions than they deserve. Fuck that! We need to create a new system, not defend the old one.

An alternative – taking what we need! Continue reading