We do not live in a genuine democracy. Democracy does not look remotely like the political system we have currently in the United Kingdom. This, I’m afraid, is an indisputable fact.

Moreover, Russell Brand is right. Voting can often be a pointless endeavor – particularly when all of the major parties virtually stand for the same economic principles (austerity, neoliberalism) and, on the whole, represent the financial interests of a privileged minority at the top of society. Nah. It ain’t a democracy we got.

However, that said, I do not think we should completely abandon the parliamentary process and stop voting altogether. As recent events in Greece have illustrated; hope still exits. What Syriza represent is the important notion that we can still make headway through the limited democratic channels the Establishment (see Owen Jones for a definition of who this ‘Establishment’ are) offers us.

Firstly, I must apologise for my lack of articles in recent months. I have been busy making a documentary for Shout Out UK entitled, Anonymous: A Million Men. The trailer can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84_wShLNb4E. Making this film has been a somewhat profound experience (and indeed, a highly enjoyable one) – working closely with the hacker collective and protest group ‘Anonymous’ – opening my mind to a variety of radically different political ideas.

However, one of the most prominent ideas present in Anonymous – and indeed, with many of us on the Left – is the idea that voting is an essentially meaningless, archaic, administrative and bureaucratic handing over of power from one party representing corporate interests to another party representing the exact same interests. In a lot of ways, it is. And that’s not a cynical remark; that is me being realistic.

Many believe that voting can never truly bring about the radical political change the world is in desperate need of because the Establishment simply won’t allow it. Furthermore, history seems to prove these people right with the various ‘victories’ of the post-war social democrats being later systematically destroyed by Thatcher and the neoliberal Right. Even the NHS, an institution which my grandfather fought for after serving (and being wounded) in the Second World War, is under threat from greedy private hands. Can you believe it?

But the game has changed somewhat and Greece proves it. The two-party system is under fire. People have had enough. And importantly, this means that the Left can harness some of the traditional political mechanics to bring about radical, societal change.

Simply put, the neoliberal hegemony that has existed since the fall of the Soviet Union; the ‘there is no alternative’ mantra is now slowly being chipped away across Europe. There is an alternative and that alternative can gain popular support and become an elected government as Syriza have shown.  

Now, I am not saying that we should vote for the Labour Party and blindly put our trust in the two Eds just because they’re ‘a little better than the Tories’. The Labour Party are a bunch of spineless cowards – middle class kids with sterile, uninspired university educations – who have betrayed the working people they once represented. And for the folks who still cling onto the idea that the Labour Party may still be able to provide a genuine alternative to austerity and neoliberalism then I’m sorry to say that it’s time to let go. That parrot is dead.

Since the leadership of Tony Blair the Party has become infected by the same neoliberal ideology (free market, deregulation, privatization, etc.) which dominated the Conservative Party under Thatcher. Indeed, when the Tories lost another successive election to Blair in the early 2000s Thatcher herself said that it didn’t matter and the Tories had won anyway because the old enemy – the old social democratic Labour Party which I admittedly sometimes dream about – had been destroyed. Neoliberalism had won. There was no alternative.

This sadly has not changed under the leadership of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls who are still firmly committed to austerity and brutal public sector cuts.

So let’s not vote for Labour. Definitely not the Tories. And the Liberal Democrats… you must be joking! On a side note, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clegg joins the Conservative Party after the next election. ‘Orange Book Lib Dems’ (look it up, I can’t be bothered to explain it) are just another shade of neoliberalism. But then who do we vote for? Who is ‘Left’ – and please mind the pun?

Well, for starters I think that the Greens should be given a shot. They do appear to be a genuinely different party and I am impressed with their bravery and guts to stand up against the multinational corporate giants pulling the political strings behind our allegedly democratic governments. Furthermore, I would also like to draw your attention to new parties such as ‘Left Unity’ who are openly socialist (not a dirty word, it just means sharing) and are actually standing (in some areas) in the next election after raising the funds online.

Alternatives are out there. We just need to come together like the people of Greece did a couple of days ago. There is an alternative to neoliberal capitalism and it is not utopian or idealistic to believe that we can create a better world. Despite my admiration for Russell Brand, I urge people on the Left to vote in the next election.