Deciding not to vote is a tough decision to make given that in the modern world, voting is the sole way of realizing democracy. It is through voting that society gets leaders who represent the society’s interests to the executive. Society further gives the voted in representational power to make decisions on their behalf (read society). Challenges arise when the elected representatives leave the people who elected them to live in the city. In no time, would have been detached from the electorate to the extent that they barely know the needs of the people they purport to represent.
Russell Brand dreams of a revolution; where society need not vote in order to realize democracy. According to him, there are other alternative ways of realizing democracy apart from voting. In short, he advocates for anarchism type of democracy. Anarchism is the theory of social change that bases its beliefs on the doctrine that nobody has the right to have power over another person.
People and scholars may say that Russell’s refusal to vote is a sign of apathy and lack of interest in politics. However, Russell is much more political minded that one may think. Politics does not entail voting or supporting a political party; it entails articulating your ideas in order for them to be considered in formulating policies affecting society. Furthermore, he is leading a revolution.
Jeremy Paxman, however, disagrees with Russell on the issue of his refusal to vote and yet he is a political magazine editor. The fact that Russell has never voted in his life gives him no experience of how the electorate feels once they have been abandoned by their electors. Refusing to vote has more adverse effects than voting. He needs to realize that his refusal to vote makes little change since the remaining electorate would still partake in the elections and choose their leaders who would still influence Russell directly.
The modern world is comprised of complex societies that need complex structures to operate. Matters such as security need someone delegated from society to tackle since an army cannot work without a commander, as well society cannot work without a leader. Such a leader needs to be approved by the people in a society since nobody has a right to have power over another, and then the society must come together and choose a delegate or delegates. In that case, the Russell belief would have been adhered to at the same time broken. In fact, in a bid to follow Russell’s revolutionary beliefs, one ends up violating them even more. His misinformed opinion about the revolution is not well articulated.
Russell, is opposed to voting on the grounds that though the antagonistic political parties advertise different manifestos, the end product has always been the same; more suffering to the majority weak population. He gives an example of a society where eighty five thousand Americans have the same amount of wealth as eighty five million Americans. With this, he seeks to clearly illustrate the gap between the rich and the poor which is ever widening. The representative society always elects sing the same songs of poverty reduction yet they increase their own salaries and deal a death blow to the economy.
These same politicians create a social underclass of people who have been deprived of basic resources. The ruling class, as the Marxists opine, consolidate power and make rules and laws that suppress their subjects.
As much as representative democracy, characterized by voting, is flawed, it is by far better than anarchism. The voting by members of the society to represent the rest creates institutions that make it easier for running of societal matters both economically and socially. It would be extremely difficult to run a society, a state or a nation boasting of millions in its populace using the anarchism method advocated for by Russell.
The only alternative to the prevailing voting systems is to conduct mass educations on the citizenry about the motives of representative democracy and the disadvantages that come with it. Society ought to embrace the culture of electing right minded people to parliaments who will put society interests above their personal interests. Young children should be imparted with knowledge from tender age to learn of the virtues of brotherhood and Godliness when associating with one another. Voting democracy is the best way in which each and every person’s voice is heard. Though, it is usually the majority whose voice that takes effect, the minority feels part of the government having been granted the chance to exercise their democratic right to vote.
Nelson, C., & Grossberg, L. (1988). Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Illinois: University of Illinois Press.