Sunday, 3 June 2012

With votes still being counted it has become clear that the largest block of potential voters refused to take part in the fiscal compact referendum, rejecting the arguments that they could either vote for 'stability' or against 'austerity'. Quite possibly more people chose to boycott the referendum then the combined Yes and No voters. On top of this some 17% of the population who live and pay tax in Ireland were excluded from voting at all in the referendum. This means as many as 2/3 of the adult population did not vote in the referendum. Almost all the political parties and many political activists are reacting with shock and outrage directed at those who did not vote. In Ireland the WSM was alone among political organisations in arguing that the referendum was almost meaningless. Unlike almost everyone on the left we don't think that those who didn't vote are 'stupid' or 'sheeple'. Rather, they were, in many cases, smarter than almost all political activists in recognizing that the vote was so meaningless that the time it would take to vote was better spent getting the shopping done, watching some TV, playing with the kids or having a beer with friends. The huge boycott of the referendum is a continuation of the increasing disillusionment with politicians and the representative political system that has been growing for the last two decades. While once the perspective that little or nothing could be gained from the political system was only common in the most impoverished sections of the working class, this result confirms that it has become common across the working class. The left's role is to build on this rejection in the argument for a revolutionary alternative, not to try and act as a recruiting sergeant to drag people back into the electoral fold through strident declarations that the electoral process really has meaning.

With votes still being counted it has become clear that the largest block of potential voters refused to take part in the fiscal compact referendum, rejecting the arguments that they could either vote for 'stability' or against 'austerity'.

Quite possibly more people chose to boycott the referendum then the combined Yes and No voters. On top of this some 17% of the population who live and pay tax in Ireland were excluded from voting at all in the referendum. This means as many as 2/3 of the adult population did not vote in the referendum.

Almost all the political parties and many political activists are reacting with shock and outrage directed at those who did not vote. In Ireland the WSM was alone among political organisations in arguing that the referendum was almost meaningless. Unlike almost everyone on the left we don't think that those who didn't vote are 'stupid' or 'sheeple'. Rather, they were, in many cases, smarter than almost all political activists in recognizing that the vote was so meaningless that the time it would take to vote was better spent getting the shopping done, watching some TV, playing with the kids or having a beer with friends.

The huge boycott of the referendum is a continuation of the increasing disillusionment with politicians and the representative political system that has been growing for the last two decades. While once the perspective that little or nothing could be gained from the political system was only common in the most impoverished sections of the working class, this result confirms that it has become common across the working class. The left's role is to build on this rejection in the argument for a revolutionary alternative, not to try and act as a recruiting sergeant to drag people back into the electoral fold through strident declarations that the electoral process really has meaning.

This article continues on: http://www.wsm.ie/c/austerity-referendum-huge-boycott