I. Anarchist Theories on Political Participation
Among anarchists, there is always much discussion and debate over the question of what role, if any, anarchists should play in electoral politics. The anarchist community is split on this question.
There seem to be three main schools of thought. The first is that anarchists should never vote. The second is that anarchists should decide on an individual case by case basis whether and when to vote and/or to engage in political activity (such as campaigning, fundraising, donating money, advocating in elections etc). The third is that anarchists should participate in politics and elections as much as possible.The first school relies on several beliefs. First, that the action of voting (and electoral politics generally) "grants legitimacy” to the state, and to “democratic” politics as a method of selecting “rulers”, all of which of course are illegitimate to anarchists. Secondly, that voting is totally ineffective as a means of advancing anarchism and anarchist goals. Lastly, that voting is a distraction from other more productive and philosophically and ethically consistent means of resistance to statism, including agorism, counter-economics, secession, education, advocacy, even possibly revolution.
The second camp would posit that anarchists should follow their own individual conscience and reasoning, and that there is no “anarchist position” as to participation in electoral politics. Anarchists can abstain from voting entirely, or can engage in certain circumstances, or can actively and enthusiastically participate in politics. No path is disqualifying. None of these approaches in and of themselves are antithetical to anarchism or to anarchist principles.
The last group believes that anarchists have a moral and ethical duty to resist the state and statism with whatever tools are best available and most pragmatic, including political activity and voting. Anarchists should strive to move society and “governance” in as much as an anti-statist, libertarian and anarchist direction as possible. Under our current system, voting and electoral politics is the most effective and meaningful tool to affect society and to limit, reduce and even potentially eliminate the state.