Some readers, who are not too familiar with anarchism, have probably been wondering why I have not been writing much about the topic which seems to be the buzzzzword of these days: “ELECTIONS”. Well, there is a proverb by a famous anarchist philosopher that says it all: “If elections could change anything, then they would most probably be abolished“. Or there is even a better one “Don’t vote! The government will get in anyway“, or another one: “Don’t Vote! It only encourages them“. Some may say “What?!? Aren’t anarchists pro-democracy?!?!?” Well, that’s precisely the point anarchists are pro-Democracy… pro-Real-Democracy that is, or as some scholars call it Radical-Democracy, where voting means something, where voting does have a direct impact on Everyday Life and the structure of the system. Anarchists love voting, they vote on everything – that’s what is called “Anarchy in action” (just watch the film “LAND and FREEDOM“ and you’ll see what I mean). Democracy (rule by the people) as a principle must be understood in its full scope, and be pushed to the maximum: going to the ballot box every 4 or 5 years and ticking meaningless boxes for particular individuals rather then ideas and principles, and not hearing from your MP until next elections or until another scandal surrounding him unfolds in newspapers… all that and more, can hardly be called a Democracy. In other words, of course it can be called Democracy, and indeed that is what is implied by politicians as Democracy, but that is hardly a fulfilment of the democratic principle.
Voting alone does not constitute Real Democracy! One is given the right and allowed to tick boxes every 5 years (much like playing a lottery). But one has no say over particular issues that arise in day-to-day political life, just like one has no real say over the most significant issues such as participation in the US-led Coalition of the Willing invasion of Iraq, or adopting the IMF white paper on poverty reduction, or adopting WTO protocols, or privatization of national industries to non-elected imperialist forces, or constructing another NPP, or participation in global capitalist financial system or any other issue that any government once elected will much too soon irreversibly treat as “yet another positive step toward liberalisation and integration in world economy”. These are areas where not only principles matter, but only ones that sooner or later will come back to directly affect the ordinary people who voted these decision-making governement and the parliament in. These are also the issues where these ordinary people have no say.
In Armenia, just like in any other country ruled by the Labrador class, democratic elections area ritualized spectacle – a type of spectacle that the government likes to stage and citizens like to participate with a sincere pretence of naivete. Yet by participating in this sham-democracy what citizens will do on May 12th is endorse the very sham-democracy that is in place. As an anarchist, I want to say this again: it is not the particular government or particular individual that matters, but the SYSTEM… yes, precisely this pseudo-democracy which allows us to vote on individuals’ reputations and charisma, and a narrowly-defines band of policies (if we’re lucky), but not on the issues which are significant and not in the way that would make a difference.
Today Armenia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world — a shame, given that in 1991the percentage of population with university degrees was way ahead of most Western European countries. People who have once enjoyed a sustainable and culturally rich way of life are now thinking with their stomachs in meaningless binaries (HHK or BHK), while fascism and Nazism is on the rise (especially among youth who have grown up in a tiny closed country with state-controlled and elite-class-mediated media riddled with racism, xenophobia, war, siege-mentality, nationalist myths and reductionist logic). Shame! But why the surprise? Have we not seen this same story repeat itself historically over and over again elsewhere in so many countries were rilling Labrador classes auctioned their entire populations into the slave markets of global capitalism? There is nothing new here – nothing to me surprised by: this is what you get with Capitalism and Sham-Democracy. The Polyarchy at play between the Republican Party (HHK) and the Բարգավաճների Հայաստան (BHK) is much too obvious – contesting the elections are the two hands of the same party – the Serious Business Party, while everybody knows this much too well. I was checking the candidate lists for the majoritarian system, and guess what: out of 41 constituencies that remain BHK clashes with HHK in only 4 constituencies. It’s like they set down together one evening and divided the map among themselves. It becomes only too obvious why BHK manifesto’s priority list is dominated by a complete abolition of the majoritarian system and a complete transition to 100% proportional representation system (not coincidentally, this is the direction in which we’ve been moving under Kocharian in recent years). At the same time the Dashnak Nazis are on the rise, while many other power-lusty individuals with their puppet-parties tryto occupied the Liberalist-Nationalist ground with total disregard of the broader picture of the global context. No vision, no future, no ideology, apart from the most cunning ideologies of them all – the Neo-Liberalist ideology — the one that does not declare itself as an ideology while saying that “ideologies of all kinds are bad for you. We are here to do the things in a natural way”.
If a system doesn’t work, then there is no point in saving it, or in participating in it and thus endorsing it, or even pretending that some elements of it still work or may work (if we only try to pretend just a little bit harder); and the last thing that one should do is to engage in a discussion on politics within the frameworks of the system’s discourse. Nietzsche’s wise words come to mind: If something is about to collapse, it deserves to be pushed.
Yet popular imagination of what a true Democratic revolution may entail remains framed by the memories and representations of the 20th century, and limited by the pallid achievements of neighbouring Georgia and Ukraine.