In 2014, 22.1% of people didn’t vote (http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/nz-social-indicators/Home/Trust%20and%20participation%20in%20government/voter-turnout.aspx). This election, I’m going to join their ranks.
I see a system failing, people being consciously made homeless by mohair-suited politicians, and laws being broken by everybody, the most petty crimes being rewarded by the harshest punishments.
The typical response I receive to telling people I won’t vote goes something along these lines: “no vote is the same as a vote for National”. This reaction comes from the idea that the staunch blue under-belly of New Zealand will always turn out to vote, so the only way to combat it is to hold your nose and vote Labour, Greens or Mana.
Surely, the other side of the coin is also true, “don’t vote, it only encourages them!” This is the path I follow, the path of burning down the old to allow the new to flourish. We must clear the weeds from the garden before we can once again plant our kūmara.
The first weed that must be cleared is the illusion that our current system is working. We’ve known for years of our housing shortfall, and our politicians continue to commit to inaction. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11799625
Our political and economic systems are clearly failing to provide one of the most basic of human needs. We are not living in a social structure which provides for people.
The second weed to be cleared is the illusion that this system can be fixed. While this is usually a long and drawn out argument, there are a couple of easy examples which can be looked at. The easiest is the “new deal” which is the name for all the labour and social welfare changes which were made at the end of the great depression in the 1930s. These have all but been removed, as the drive to gather more profit has outstripped the ability of workers to maintain decent working conditions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal
The third weed to be cleared is the idea that capitalism is the natural state of things. Capitalism is the system under which workers sell their labour. A few hundred years ago, we had a feudal society in which workers were bonded to the land, and were forced to give a certain amount of what the produced to the lord of the land. Under feudalism, the lord took a portion of your produce, rather than paying you for your time.
Given that we haven’t always had capitalism, it’s incorrect to assume that we always will have it. We can imagine other systems, and we can make them work.
It’s hopeless trying to save our current system. Years ago people were struggling to get by on minimum wage, and today we still struggle. Years ago Māori were disproportionately incarcerated, and are still today. Years ago the bosses got away with not paying their fair share, and today they still do.
There’s only one way forward, break down what has been built, and start again with better ideals.
Why think inside the box, and vote for a non-solution? Instead, let’s come together and work to build our own solution, one which doesn’t care for the empty promises of politicians. Let’s shape the world into what we want, rather than what our landlords and bosses want.
Fuck voting, it’s time to make something new.