NotApathetic is closed to new submissions. The site is available as an archive for you to browse. Find out more...

Not Apathetic

Tell the world why you're not voting - don't let your silence go unheard

They're not voting because...

i do not wish to be ruled or to rule...

i do not wish to be ruled or to rule over anyone else. i believe that the electoral system provides a fig-leaf for the organised violence of the state and the exploitation of capitalism. in short, i am an anarchist.

written 28th Apr 2005


Max replies: So what is your favoured method of bringing about the abolition of capitalism, if you don't want to use the barometer of elections to determine whether you have a majority to bring it about?

written 1st May 2005

Barbara replies: I have a lot of sympathy with our anarchist friend here. I don't much like being told how to live my life by the pompous politicos, because no-one knows better than I do what's best for me.
Remember "Back to Basics"? Don't do as I do, do as I say, as it turned out!

written 3rd May 2005

Al replies: Can the original poster or anyone else explain to me how anarchy can be a good thing?

To my mind society would break down, there'd be no police, so people would do whatever they liked steal, rape, murder at will. After being beaten up for all your money, presumably you'd have to stagger to a privately run hostpital (unless someones burnt it down- no fire service either).

This is just the concequences I can think of.

Is this not the case? I'm open to suggestions.

written 3rd May 2005

John Couzin replies: Al, have you read any the theory concerning anarchism? If not shut up until you have. If you know nothing of a subject what use is your opinion on that subject?

written 3rd May 2005

Andy P replies: Ah, I see - we are only allowed to post messages on this part of the web site if we have the proper qualifications.

I think Al has a valid point. The theory of anarchism is just that - theory. If John can supply us with convincing examples of real-world societies - and I mean hundreds or thousands of people, not two chaps and a dog - operating successfully according to anarchic principles, I should be very interested to learn about them.

written 3rd May 2005

Al replies:
I was hoping for a genuine and intellegent answer and reasoning behind this theory of anarchy somehow working as a system.

John, you provided a school girls argument "you don't know anything about it... and you smell, so shut up!"

If you have some intellgent reasoning, lets hear it, otherwise, I think it's fair to say I'm adding more to the post than you, so perhaps you should follow your own school girl advise.

written 3rd May 2005

james replies: I am the original poster. I don't think that anarchy can happen over night -- not the kind that I and others wish for. Anarchism is not a theory that you can prove, but a goal that is worked towards. I don't think that there is a point at which you could say -- this is it, this is the perfect society. Rather, it is a process. In today's society, even with thousands of police, there are people who murder and rape. In a cooperative society (with no money and freely distributed goods) there would, I imagine, be no reason to steal. Murder and rape would still be a problem, but hopefully less of a problem than today. I hope you understand what I mean by anarchy (no ruler) as opposed to anomie (no rules). The latter is not at all desirable. I do not wish to see violence and exploitation, which is why I am an anarchist. Perhaps I am a deluded dreamer -- but I am sincere in my beliefs, an optimist, you might say. Anarchism, then, really, stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraints of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth, an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations. Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays (1910).

written 5th May 2005

Calpol replies: Al: as James very eloquently explains, anarchy is quite different from what most people believe it to be. What you are describing is not actually anarchy, and I think that John Couzin's reply was trying to convey this, although possibly the frustrated tone of the reply (an understandable frustration, when so many people seem to misunderstand the concept of anarchism) made it sound more insulting than useful. It is actually good advice, though - it would be worthwhile trying to find out exactly what Anarchism is, rather than going by common hearsay.

I'm interested to see James's post, because it's the first one I've seen that I think gives a viable reason for not voting. Being an anarchist in our current society must be rather problematic, and although I don't necessarily agree with the ideals of anarchism, I can sympathise with them and I respect the reasons an anarchist would have for not voting.

(I am generally very pro-voting, although not pro any particular party, and I'm interested in finding people who have good reason to not vote)

written 6th May 2005

Andy P replies: Thank you, James, for your explanation. Keep dreaming, but I fear that you will be disappointed.

In a cooperative society (with no money and freely distributed goods) there would, I imagine, be no reason to steal.

That assumes that everyone has everything they could possibly want. Freely distributed goods only means that everyone has the same amount - which provides no disincentive to steal. And, as you say,

Murder and rape would still be a problem

The problem is that society is just the interaction of people. No society can be more perfect that its interactions - or its people. So until we get perfect people, we have to live with these problems caused by fear, anger, greed etc.

I agree with you that 'no rules' is bad, but 'no ruler' is not. Your ideal sounds familiar. Let's see: no ruler, just social order based on free association of people; rules created by society as a whole; liberation from the shackles of government...

Sounds like democracy to me. Remind me again why you weren't voting?

written 9th May 2005

crimson replies: "I agree with you that 'no rules' is bad, but 'no ruler' is not. Your ideal sounds familiar. Let's see: no ruler, just social order based on free association of people; rules created by society as a whole; liberation from the shackles of government...

Sounds like democracy to me. Remind me again why you weren't voting?"

because that's not what we have now, and so by your own implication, it's not democracy.

written 9th May 2005

Al replies: Thanks to the Anarchists for their explanation, it makes much more sence to me now.

I'm not aware of this in practice anywhere so it's not clear whether it would work but it would be interesting to find out. This is the sort of experiment that Reality TV should be used for!

Stick 4 groups of people on an Island (or possibly 4 separate Islands) each group follows a different system of rules. Perhaps Democracy, Anarchy, Dictatorship, Communism. See what happens, I don't claim to know.

written 10th May 2005

Tiger43 replies: To poster...... Someone has to be the head of the chicken. If there isn`t one it`ll just run round the farm yard with no direction to it. So, someone must be in charge.

written 11th May 2005

james replies: Tiger43, do you think that humanity as a whole is a chicken? It is not anything like a "body" with a brain controlling limbs and organs -- nor should it be. You have a Hobbesian view of human nature, it seems, and your argument seems to be against any form of democracy and in favour of a dictatorship. If that is your view, fair enough. But do you like taking orders, or just giving them?

written 11th May 2005

Max replies: I would still like to hear from James how his anarchist world would be brought about without some form of "show of hands". If there is no formal vote to establish that it is the wish of the majority, then a recalcitrant minority can, justifiably, claim that no such majority exists and take, possibly, violent steps to scupper the changeover.

written 12th May 2005

Tiger43 replies: To James.......You shouldn`t make personal off the cuff remarks like that, it doesnt endeer you to anyone. And it doesn`t make for clever reading. I immagined wrongly that you would understand that I was not refering to the world as a chicken literally. You obviousy did. What I was saying, is that you need leaders or people in control, whether it be government or businesess in a country for the purpose of stability. Unless of course your`e suggesting, everyone for himself and damn the country.

written 12th May 2005

james replies: Tiger43, I apologise. I snapped. Hope you can forgive me. Obviously, you weren't talking about a chicken.

Max: Anarchism does not preclude organisation. There are various different names for the organisations: communes, syndicates, etc. Basically free and voluntary associations which would co-operate with other associations. A collective may appoint a delegate to meet with delegates from other groups, these delegates would not be "representatives" in the traditional sense -- being unable to support any agreement not ratified by the group they represent.

Hey, I'm no expert. Why not look at the anarchist faq, it will explain much better than i can: []. Maybe you will get a better picture of what i believe in.

(Again: apologies to Tiger43. I didn't mean to lower the tone -- but I did.)

written 12th May 2005

Max replies: I wasn't saying that an anarchist society wouldn't be organised, just how will you know when there is a majority who want it?
Tried the website, the print is too small and closely-typed for me to digest it! Or indeed find the question I'm looking for.

written 14th May 2005

dcd replies: *tired old ideologies* trotted out on cue... what's happened? Did all the human inventiveness just suddenly stop in the 19th century or something?

Why is it considered so impossible for us to come up with a new political ideology?

Take democracy -- instead of coming up with better names for the TYPES of democracy that exist all around the world, we seem to be just making do with a single term -- undefined, imprecise and very foggy... and far too foggy as far as I am concerned for us to send people to countries to die in an attempt to turn them democratic.

A tiny taster of new and progressive thinking in other areas: Stomach ulcers are caused by helicobacter pylori -- a bug! (what a revolution and revelation that was -- thinking outside of "the box"), look at all the new cancer treatments too.

We are on the brink of a new age of extremely large ships -- over ten times the biggest we have right now -- all because of sophisticated new technology.

Daily, I read on the Internet of breakthroughs and discoveries that radically overturn traditional thinking -- that throws out the textbooks! How marvellous! What benefits!

Then I look at the governmental, political, economic and legal systems we've put up with for centuries, and despair!

For example, why is it impossible to have Bayesian factoring in a modern democratic system? Why can't we use technology to communicate, to vote, to poll opinion, for referendums on specific issues?

Why can't we, for instance, automate things preventatively -- such as making cars that cannot break the speed limit, taxes taken at source (etc) -- why allow us to make a mistake and then get penalised for it?

If you think about it, with rolling credit, flexible mortgages, and plastic cards, we should be unable to incur fees, charges and interest, and be able to eradicate poverty and homelessness by changing things structurally to HELP.

Instead of council houses, the government could provide low cost loans (not just that new restricted scheme for London).

It's just "accounting" after all -- as i understand it, people claim state benefits that are taxed! What's the point of THAT? They give with one hand and take away with the other!

Is VAT immoral?

Why is it that I work, pay income tax, then put the rest into an account that pays interest on which I pay tax...

Whenever I make a purchase using this already-taxed money, I pay Value Added Tax -- why?

... And then when I die, the whole lot is taxed again and whatever's left goes to my family, who put it in an account which earns interest that is taxed, and if they spend it it is taxed again with VAT?

OK. Yes, it is "the system", and we have to live with it... or do we? Can't we change to something better without having to change to a tired nineteenth century ideology?

Is that our only option replace Capitalism with Socialism? or Communism? or Anarchism?

*we can but live in hope*

written 14th May 2005

rhia replies: We could replace it with a libertarianism.

In essence, it an ideology that looks for the least possible government involvement in society, allowing for the maximum possible freedom.

All in all, this equates to less beaurocracy and red tape, less quangos, less tax (which would only be payable once), and less power for individual politicians (or indeed, any politician!).

On the 'downside', people would have to take charge of their own lives and look for their own direction in life.

written 18th May 2005

Tiger43 replies: To poster.......Well, go and give birth to your own country then, where anarchy rules. But make sure its on another planet well away from here. Thats just the kind of stupid talk we can do without.

People are trying to figure out and understand whats best for this country and all you can offer is anarchy.

written 18th May 2005

About Not Apathetic

NotApathetic was built so that people who are planning not to vote in the UK General Election on May 5th can tell the world why. We won't try to persuade you that voting is a good or a bad idea - we're just here to record and share your explanations. Whether ideological, practical or other, any reason will do.

A lot of users would like us to mention that if you spoil your ballot paper, it will be counted. So if you want to record a vote for "none of the above", you can.