Since we know that bourgeois democracy is a sham for the workers, many people ask what possible difference the method of voting can make?
While it is true that the choice between bourgeois parties is no choice at all, and also true that the bourgeois system as a whole can never deliver real change for working people, there are nonetheless times when revolutionaries must take part in bourgeois elections.
Participation allows us to put forward our political ideas at a time when people are more prepared to think and talk about politics. It can allow us to gauge the political maturity of the proletariat, and it can even allow us in some circumstances to get a comrade elected to one of the various parliamentary or council-chamber ‘pig-sties’.
Elected comrades can help the cause of revolution by using their positions to ruthlessly unmask and criticise these institutions and the whole rotten system to the workers.
So, given that revolutionaries sometimes have to use bourgeois elections, is it really an irrelevance which method of voting is used? Cannot one be more useful to small parties than another?
The current choice of voting methods being offered to the people of Britain on 5 May is between ‘first-past-the-post’ or the ‘alternative vote’ (AV) PR system, which is probably the [i]least[/i] representative version of ‘proportional representation’ in existence.
Simply voting for the party you want and the seats of the relevant executive body being awarded in proportion to the number of votes received by each party is the easiest way to get representation for small parties. Still, as poor and complicated as the proposed AV system is compared to the more direct method of PR described above, it still has a small advantage over first-past-the-post in enabling some representation of smaller parties and groups.
We therefore advocate voting for AV in the referendum on Thursday, since it will enable people who don’t want to ‘waste’ their vote by voting for a party like ours that ‘stands no chance of winning’ to cast their vote for the party whose policies they really like secure in the knowledge that if they really stand no chance of winning, then their vote will simply be transferred to their preferred second-best option: ie, the bourgeois party that they still imagine might be better than some other bourgeois party!
AV will not be the bringer of real democracy for the masses, but then nor would be the direct PR method. Only proletarian dictatorship emanating from social revolution will bring that. In the meantime, though, it just might help to make our work this side of the revolution a little easier.