An anarchists view on the vote and creating change

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(Before I begin this post, I want to say that this is in no way a preaching post to be taken as ME saying what YOU do with your right to vote!)

This is a chance for me to discuss my position, open a discussion and explain why some politically active people such as myself do not vote in general elections.

Firstly let me explain my position and views:

I am an anarchist in my political philosophical persuasion and am from the school of thought of Social Anarchism and Anarchist Feminism.

ANARCHISM, a social philosophy that rejects authoritarian government and maintains that voluntary institutions are best suited to express man’s natural social tendencies.” George Woodcock. “Anarchism” at The Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

“Harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being”.

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For me I arrived at my anarchist perspective through years of study in philosophy, social psychology, International Relations and History. Also being well read on these matters has helped a great deal.

When I was younger and first eligible to vote, I couldn’t due to being homeless and unregistered, I felt so cheated by this and disconnected, deemed the underclass of society as a young adult with mental illness and no job or home, the right to vote fell to the bottom of my list of priorities. By my next eligible vote I was in a less dyer situation and registered, I campaigned for the Liberal Democrats and even got people who were not going to vote to vote. I felt empowered and thought this is it I can change things now, even though I was well aware that First Past The Post was undemocratic, I felt this “vote” would mean I was part of the movement for change.

Needless to say the Liberal Democrats then joined a coalition with The Conservatives and the rest is now a joke in the political rhetoric of the last 5 years. The Liberal Democrats took my vote and others and used it against us, with a political party which was in complete opposition to the policies I had chosen as a reason to vote Lib-Dem. Felling betrayed and as if I was a accomplice to a horrific crime on society, I began to re-think my position. I knew what I believed in, I knew what I wanted but still had no idea how to go about it?

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When I started my degree in Philosophy I had already done an A-level and had been reading about philosophy since an early age. Being French it has always been instilled in me to pay great attention to philosophy and philosophers as without this “the theory of knowledge” how could one learn anything and truly understand the knowledge they posses?

Having always felt on the outside, regarding many things, such as my own personality, mental illness, political ideas, religious beliefs and generally in how I live my life. The only choice I had was to find a way to continue being as politically active but not compromise my mission to create change and to stay true to my beliefs.

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So as I do most things I went head first into truly understanding my opinions and ideas for a better world.

I knew what I wanted in simplistic terms:

  • A world beyond a monetary system
  • A resource based economy
  • Environmental conservation
  • Getting rid of archaic establishments
  • The use of technology for greater goods available to the worlds population
  • More education of the highest quality available for all
  • The abolishment of Nationalism, Capitalism, Elitism and Fascism
  •  Equality
  • Free Speech and less censorship
  • Using media for education and change

The list could go on, but these were fundamental things I knew I believed in and still do. I knew that we could all do what we do, as well as governments and institutions, without the little bits of paper which we call money, that we so desperately want more of. The reality is the powers that be have the agenda to control one thing, which in turn controls everything, those little bits of paper. The amazing thing is, that we allow ourselves to believe in this power, as if the “little bits of paper” were sent from the heavens and revealed to us, we put faith in money, holding it up as if it were a God, believing happiness is attainable through our faith. This is where governments hit us most and rely on us most, pulling a Houdini like magic trick, creating an illusion of power. But some of us are not fooled by this illusion and can see the trickery behind the trick.

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Now let me tell you what I face as criticism as an anarchist and non voter, here are common things said to me by people:

  • You are an idiot!
  • You are delusional
  • You must vote because you are a women and women dyed for the right to vote, if not they died in vain.
  • If you don’t vote you will not be able to complain or comment on the political situation
  • As an anarchist I hope you do not use any public services!
  • Even if you don’t like anyone, vote!
  • This one day is your chance to have a voice, do not waste it!

So with the help from the internet I have found an alternative list of points on why not to vote:

22 reasons not to vote:

 

  1. If one votes, one participates. If one participates, one condones and endorses the process, and subsequently, what those elected ‘representatives’ do and say in your name.

 

  1. Electoral promises are meaningless because politicians lie to gain the favour of the electorate, and then do exactly what they want once they have it. Then there is no accountability or recourse, other than waiting another 4 years or so to vote them out and replace them with someone else who will do the exact same thing.

 

  1. The act of voting grants legitimacy to the idea that it’s acceptable for the majority/collective to use the coercive arm of the state to impose their will on the minority/individual using force, or threats of force, and for that reason, it is immoral to vote. As such, the only way to truly de-legitimise the system is by not voting. When the people stay home in droves the international community won’t recognise the results of the election. This perceived legitimacy is such a concern for politicians that in some countries it’s now a legal requirement to vote (e.g., Australia).

 

  1. A non-voter effectively emerges from the electoral process with a clean conscience because they can proudly proclaim that what the elected ‘representatives’ subsequently say and do after they’ve gained power is not done in their name, not with their permission, and not with their encouragement.

 

  1. To not vote DOES NOT mean one relinquishes the right to then comment on, complain about, or protest the actions of the government, it is completely the other way round. When one votes one effectively makes a contractual agreement (the voter is officially recorded doing so), which hands over the right for someone else to speak and act in their name and assents to whatever the government does. A non-voter however, has not done so, and therefore retains the right to complain and object all they want.

 

  1. Participation in the system (i.e., voting) reinforces the idea that people can’t live together without violent control.

 

  1. Participation in the system (i.e., voting) implies that the majority knows what’s best for everyone.

 

  1. Participation in the system (i.e., voting) implies that the majority knows what’s best for the individual.

 

  1. Voting is effectively participating in mob rule, and the mob then enforces it’s views on the rest of society with the threat of violence.

 

  1. By voting, an individual literally advocates the use of force against peaceful people.

 

  1. Voting reinforces the idea the ‘people’ have the power rather than the unaccountable bureaucrats who make the rules.

 

  1. Voting is futile because invariably the better financed candidate wins.

 

  1. Statistically, any one vote makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on a beach. Thinking that their vote counts tends to give people a mistakenly inflated sense of self-worth, and participation in a system creates a passive sense of accomplishment.

 

  1. An individual’s ability to make an informed choice is zero if the only information they reference is from the overtly bias main stream media, government news channels (propaganda), politicians and party manifestos (sales pitch), or from an ‘enforced’ state school education (indoctrination).

 

  1. Voting sends a false signal to the elected politicians that the voter approves of all their policies. Voters therefore encourage them.

 

  1. If an individual has not come to firm conclusion about the election, that individual will do more for their country by not voting, rather than making a mistake.

 

  1. If the outcome of a vote is unknown, then voting is tantamount to gambling. If the outcome of a vote is known, then voting is futile.

 

  1. No individual has the authority to make laws their neighbour, or anyone else, must obey. Then how is it morally acceptable for any individual to delegate authority they don’t have to someone else, such as a politician?

 

  1. Should people who know more about games shows, sports, reality TV and celebrities, rather than matters of any real importance (economics, political philosophy, history, logic, critical thinking, etc) be in a position to vote and influence the lives of others?

 

  1. Supporting the lesser of two evils is still supporting evil.

 

  1. “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” – Mark Twain

 

  1. “I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don’t believe anything the government tells me” – George Carlin

 

 

 

To me regardless of who you vote for, the system and establishment is the problem, this is where we need to come together and change this. You may not like what I am about to say but I believe this to be true. There is no quick fix! You have to be in this for the long game, believe that little steps as well as large steps count, that people could start individually or as a community, the aim is to change the world we live in for the future of our planet and the amazing inhabitance of it, such as us, the rest of the animal kingdom, nature and our extended universe.

I think the biggest disillusionment is in ourselves, not believing we can do more as a community, countries, continents and the world as a whole. Thinking the powerful (who lets face it are only concerned in facilitating ego and power not people) are going to change this for us is in my opinion an indication of social control and public dis-empowerment. Instead of looking to others and the government, start and look at yourself, ask yourself could I be more politically active? Could I be an active member in the change I want to see? Thinking this is too small in significance is a disservice to us all. Everyday I try and contribute to change and suggest you do too if you truly want a better world.

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So instead of shaming people into voting, or judging others for who they vote for, get proactive!

Here are some suggestion on how to create change and work outside of the government as well as ways you can put pressure on the government regardless of who they are:

Changing the voting system:

The Electoral Reform Society operates on a simple premise – that politics can be better than it is. We are campaigning for a better democracy.

NOTA UK The home of the None of the Above electoral reform campaign for the UK. We demand that legislation be passed making it law that an official ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option must be included on UK ballot papers for all future elections.

Alternative Ideas on Government:

The Venus Project proposes an alternative vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know in order to achieve a sustainable new world civilization. It calls for a straightforward redesign of our culture in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but as totally unacceptable. Anything less will result in a continuation of the same catalogue of problems inherent in today’s world. Today many people believe what is needed is a higher sense of ethical standards and the enactment of international laws to assure a sustainable global society.

Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG) is a bottom-up strategy designed to confront many of the limitations of modern western democracy. It eliminates the need for parties thus eliminating the need for campaigning, partisanship and arrogance in our political world.

And for a bit of fun and some inspiring ideas 12 Futuristic Forms of Government That Could One Day Rule the World

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So whatever it is you believe in and want for the greater good, get active and do not let your power be dictated to you. You have it and can use it how and when you wish. Also next time someone is expressing their political or philosophical opinion such as myself, please treat us with compassion and less judgement, we can all learn from each other.

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I shall leave you with two quotes which are very important to me from two great anarchists:

“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”
Emma Goldman

“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

Thank you for taking the time to read this and let us all create change!

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ASLI launch new campaign and call for artists – Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery

ASLI launch new campaign – Mental Illness, Mental Health and RecoveryCALL FOR ARTISTS

We at Art Saves Lives are launching a NEW CAMPAIGN called “Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery” to raise awareness about how mental illness affects people, how art helps achieve better mental health and how it can aid in recovery. This coincides with the Mental Health Awareness Month of May but as usual ASLI want more than a month, so we are extending our campaign to 3 months.

Starting today the 5th of May and ending the 5th of August.

Follow the link:

via ASLI launch new campaign and call for artists – Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery.

 

via ASLI launch new campaign and call for artists – Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery.

Borderline Art – The Collection so far – by Charlotte Farhan

Borderline Art.

via Borderline Art.

Borderline Art 

A Collection By Charlotte Farhan

Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex and severe mental illness which I have and still struggle with on a daily basis. BPD is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder and there are two types: borderline type and impulsive type, I have the borderline type. Which is a cluster-B personality disorder, this means a person with this disorder displays behavioural and emotional problems with instability, problems forming interpersonal relationships, issues with identity and self-image. Personality disorders are extensive and defined through inflexible patterns of maladaptive inner experiences and pathological behaviour.

Having been diagnosed at 18 after displaying signs as young as 15 I did not understand or even know what this “disorder” was? It was only in my late twenties when I was unable to rely on drugs, alcohol and reckless behaviour to mask my inner turmoil and just blame my lifestyle for my behaviour. As well as self denial there was no information or treatment offered to me so I just swept it under the carpet with my PTSD and Dissociative Disorder. However all this sweeping just made my mental health worse and I started developing more mental illnesses due to my avoidance. I now haveagoraphobiaGeneralised Anxiety disorder and OCD and all of these developed due to me acquiring unhealthy ways of coping with my pain and instability.

I have been using art as a therapy since I was hospitalised in a psychiatric unit at 15. Although I stopped during my avoidance phase, I still have used some form of creative therapy: writing poetry and journalling when I was unable to afford painting materials. I could always find a piece of paper and a pen, allowing me some freedom of mind.

Now I use my art in all its forms to express my journey and how BPD affects me, allowing more dialogue and engagement regarding this misunderstood illness as well as inspiring others to talk about their own experiences and hopefully encourage people to use a creative outlet when managing their illness or aiding in recovery.

This is my collection so far…

Editors Letter – Issue 1 – Celebration of Women

FOLLOW THE LINK TO READ MY:

Editors Letter – Issue 1 – Celebration of Women.

 

via Editors Letter – Issue 1 – Celebration of Women.

Release date for ASLI’s first ever E-magazine

Release date for ASLI’s first ever E-magazine.

via Release date for ASLI’s first ever E-magazine.

You can’t keep spring from coming – Shake it off and embrace change

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
Pablo Neruda

The Poetry of Flowers - By Charlotte Farhan

The Poetry of Flowers – By Charlotte Farhan

February came and disappeared in a blink of an eye, this meant my first week of March not only came as a swift sharp slap in the face, but also this meant I had to emerge from my winter hibernation and get straight to work.

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Luckily I love my work and have a lot of exciting projects on the go at the moment. For the first time in my life all my education and studies are coming together to fulfill and make my career possible. It even feels like I may be seeing through the trees again and coming out of the woods. Proving again that no knowledge is a waste and not following the “correct” path sometimes pays off. It is your attitude and determination which gets you on your own path.

Over the last 9 years I have been building upon my knowledge even though at times I wondered what the point was to all of this, I questioned myself and my abilities time and again. However I knew that I had a mission to continue on and this was part of it. Upon reflection it is my next chapter I was preparing myself for. A sense of purpose has always been something I have struggled with, feeling that any purpose was diminished as my struggles got harder. This was just a test of strength and endurance which I had to face head on.

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My areas of study are:

  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Fine Art
  • Photography
  • Politics
  • International Relations
  • Languages French / English / Spanish
  • Journalism
  • Communication Studies

What I am working on this year…

  • Finishing my last module in my Philosophy and Psychology Degree. I have just written my psychological study dissertation, which was a phenomenological study on EMOTIONS and ART. I created the study and performed it on two participants and asked them a series of questions on their emotional responses to being shown certain paintings. Then had to write up my report and results. I now have 2 essays left and an exam. I also just registered for my final degree course which is my 60 credit honours subject, you can do it in anything you like so I have chosen to do it in level 2 CREATIVE WRITING as I have about 5 books waiting to be written, on my experiences, art, philosophy and psychology. I can’t believe by October I will be in my 6th and final year of my degree.

    Escapism - By Charlotte Farhan

    Escapism – By Charlotte Farhan

  • Regarding my own ART and upcoming exhibition in 2016, I am still working on my new collection and hope to be finished by December THIS YEAR!
  • As you may be aware I run a nonprofit organisation called ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL and this month is CELEBRATION OF WOMEN month in honour of International Women’s Day which was on the 8th of March. We have had over 1000 female artists submit work to be involved and to gain a place to be featured on our ASLI blog and NEW E-magazine coming out at the end of March. I am the editor of this magazine and am very excited with this quarterly art publication.
  • Also I shall be doing more illustration work later in the year (more details released soon)

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There is no turning back now….

 

 

Call for Female Artists: visual artists, writers, poets, performers and musicians

Originally posted on ASLI:

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CALL FOR ARTISTS

We at Art Saves Lives are so excited about our first “Celebration of Women Month”

This month of March was chosen in honour of International Women’s day on the 8th of March, however we decided a day was not enough!

So we decided to dedicate the entire month to women who use arts to better the world.

We are looking for female artists and creatives from all disciplines for our first ever ASLI E-magazine which will come out in the last week of March. Which will be filled with beautiful art, articles, stories and more…

We are also running campaigns on our website and social media sites about important concerns which women and girls face on a daily basis all over the world. We have asked artists to contribute art, creative writing, poetry, music, performance pieces, blogs and articles on these 4 topics:

  1. Equal Rights for…

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The devil finds work for idle hands – Painting to Escape Negative Thoughts

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In the past 2 weeks I experienced a relapse and have been struggling with day to day life. Being so overwhelmed by emotion, feeling unable to move or speak. My ability to self analyse had gone, my perspective skewed and my continuous questioning of reality was a preoccupation.

Hiding Beneath the Flowers - By Charlotte Farhan

Hiding Beneath the Flowers – By Charlotte Farhan

Unable to take my own advice and “paint my feelings”, not able to put pen to paper to explore the thoughts swimming around my head. So I lay there watching time do its thing, with every tick tock acting as a reminder of my own failings and stagnant mood.

Isabella No2 - By Charlotte Farhan

Isabella No2 – By Charlotte Farhan

So  a few days ago I slowly moved towards my paint brushes… Inspecting paints, finding colours and tools, making sure I did not invest too much energy for the  fear of disappointment.

Isabella No3 - By Charlotte Farhan

Isabella No3 – By Charlotte Farhan

A blank canvas stared up toward me? Begging me to surrender myself, asking me a million questions at once.  The void of white seemed oppressive and scared me back into submission.

I decided to go to my art room and look through my paintings in search of a connection to something,  which I felt had seemed to have been lost. However I did not get to do this as I was distracted by a stack of unfinished paintings. Looking sad and abandoned, five paintings waiting to be brought to life but like me were stuck.

The Poetry of Flowers - By Charlotte Farhan

The Poetry of Flowers – By Charlotte Farhan

 So I bundle the paintings into my arms and scurried towards my sofa, I got water and a large palette on the way. Managing to create a fort of warmth was my only real concern on such a frosty January night, determined I got the biggest blanket I could find (that I did not mind splashing paint on, as this was an inevitability with me) and I arranged the cushions into a area of ease and comfort.

Then in pure bliss I began to paint, not with any particular emotion but more a sense of ease and fluidity. I found that by concentrating on the colours and strokes of the brush I was “in the moment” being mindful and able to focus on everything I was doing as if I were in a trance or meditative state. As I was working on 5 paintings at once I did not even get to break my concentration as I had organised myself into a conveyer belt of art, continuously creating…

Omar No2 - By Charlotte Farhan

Omar No2 – By Charlotte Farhan

This is not always a possibility with my conditions but when it is there is this feeling that I am complete when creating art. As well as reaffirming that there is meaning in the action and doing of art. In the application of creativity you can arrive to conclusions and acquire clarity without any of this being involved in the image you create. This session which I managed to self medicate with in my hour of need was cathartic, the reality I was so unsure of became less important and the moments of focused clarity became the ideal and the goal which my mind has set its sights on.

My advice to everyone is that in order to silence the negative thoughts you must become proactive. Allowing the intrusive thoughts to swallow you whole will only lead to an immobile mind and body. This is not to be confused with the “autopilot” mind set, this does not lead to clarity and release, in fact it can be even more dangerous as it allows the mind to go through the motions without any awareness. Which some may argue sounds wonderful, but it gets you no where.

This is not a post to tell you all your problems can be fixed by art or painting specifically. This post is to tell you, I am struggling with it all, life in general but I am a fighter and sometimes a begrudging survivor but one all the same. There is no option but to keep going against the odds and for me sometimes picking up my paintbrush is all I can do to survive these cruel mental fragilities.

Here are the 5 paintings…

 

If interested in my art please visit my official website

Charlotte Farhan Art

Thank you for visiting

xxx

creative-minds

A New Beginning – let us paint our blank canvas of 2015

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“Sometimes the only way to move forward from a traumatic past is to paint a new future” Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com

So it is a new year and with this comes the assumption of an internal reset button which one can press and start again.  As far as notions go this is not a bad one if approached correctly with a positive attitude and an openness to whatever lays ahead.

I do not make resolutions as this kind of fait accompli put upon oneself is a recipe for disaster and failure. It does not allow for the mystery of the upcoming 12 months and what life has planned. So instead I set goals which do not have to be finished by 2016 but have to be started in 2015. I move forward with dreams and ambitions and make sure I do at least one thing I have never accomplished before. You may think I am just rewriting the new year resolution mantra and that it is not much different, however the difference is  I do not “expect” things from myself, instead I imagine my future and am lead by my dreams and encouraged by my fears.

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Last year was great. I became a published illustrator with The Wishing Machine which I am very proud of. Also I had 2 exhibitions one in Portsmouth and one in London, after 2013 I decided I would take a step back from exhibitions and concentrate on new collections. Myself and Sadie Kaye decided to take over the old ART SAVES LIVES and renamed it ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL. This meant I was Artistic Director and Co-Founder with Sadie.

 

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The Wishing Machine – by Sadie Kaye

 

 

I also joined forces with the talented Lisa Reeve and we are working together on a new book, a new online boutique selling handmade and recycled items as well as art from ourselves and selected artisans.

Charlotte Farhan and Lisa Reeve

Charlotte Farhan and Lisa Reeve

In late 2014 ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL was handed over to me and I became Managing Director along with my husband Mohammed Farhan and Lisa Reeve. Sadie Kaye remains Artistic Director but has taken a small step back whilst she concentrates on many other personal projects as well as her beautiful expanding family. We have decided to reinvent ASLI, with a new mission and plan. With ASLI set to become a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in early 2015 and already with a calendar booked up with exciting events, we are excited with our new venture.

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NEW WEBSITE LAUNCH on the 6th of January – http://www.artsaveslivesinternational.com

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This brings me back to my new beginning…

My plan for 2015 is to move forward and allow for my dreams to get even BIGGER!!

So with this in mind I better get started. No time to waste!

 

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.