System Thinking and the Informal Vote

George Monbiot, an author, political commentator and a columnist for The Guardian UK, occasionally gets things right and I have to agree with much of what he says in this article presented by the Permaculture Research Institute Australia.

I felt I should comment on his piece by relating why I voted informally (mostly due to lack of ethical choice) at the recent Australian Federal Election and you can read that in the article’s comment section. My action drew some criticism from some who questioned why I hadn’t at least voted Green. I felt that I had to reply to these criticisms with some further clarification and I repeat what I said in my second comment here:

I didn’t intend to reply to any comments referring to my previous comment but I suppose I shall have to now in order to clarify my opinion.

1. If I were to vote in the election, that would imply that I support the current system, which I don’t, because it is leading us down the wrong path and operates only in the interests of the system. The system depends on our complicit support and, without that, it would die.

2. If I vote, it doesn’t really matter who I vote for since political power and government is a meaningless facade to give the illusion that ‘free’ people really do have choices.

3. Ethics and politics just don’t go together. There are no truly ethical political parties, and yes, I have in the past supported the Greens.

4. Any party that advocates continued economic growth and prosperity (debt) as opposed to de-growth and simplicity does not possess the sort of vision that is needed to rightly direct the course of nations or the world.

5. Central government has not served us well and in fact only became necessary as society became ever more complex and the powerful realised that they would need some way of controlling the populace by blinding them with the illusion of liberty and happiness while indebting them to the system and extracting from them the ability to accumulate real wealth (not debt-based) and with it the power to direct their lives in ways that might be truly meaningful or to become rebellious. We need to see that we are trapped in, and to escape from, that snare.

6. The only government that is truly necessary should exist at the local community level and should exist solely to help organise the community resources, not suck those resources out of the community. This is the situation we are going to end up with no matter what happens in the future, if we end up with any sort of society at all, so this is where we should concentrate our efforts. We can no longer afford to support central government at any level from city through state, national and regional to the whole world.

That is why I cast an informal vote.

To the end of that last sentence I would subsequently add “…and will continue to do so until such time as the system is replaced, collapses or self-implodes, or I am rendered incapable of exercising freedom of choice on this material plane, whichever should come first.

Finally, just a note on the history of informal voting in Australia.  In recent times, informal voting went from a low of 3% of votes cast in 1993, increasing every election to 5.55% in 2010 except for a slight dip in 2007.  In the 2013 election, as yet unofficial figures put it at around 6% of votes.  I think it could be argued that as time goes by, more and more people are becoming disaffected by the process and outcomes of Australian democracy and this is also borne (yes, that is correct spelling) out by the number of people, especially the young, who do not register as voters even though entitled to do so. The number of unregistered voters currently stands at around 1.5 million as I understand it, or around 10% of possible voters.  It will be interesting to see how both of these trends progress into the future.

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One thought on “System Thinking and the Informal Vote

  1. Hear! Hear!

    I haven’t voted (for the same reasons) for some years now, But I must admit I did vote Green at the recent political circus, because I hoped their vote would rise, seeing so many people were against both the major parties. It’s a Catch-22, isn’t it? Refusing to vote in a system that is hell bent on promoting ecological collapse and hoping that collapse will happen quickly so that the earth isn’t further damaged.

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