Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Fuck The Revolution- Let's Vote!
Here comes the common refrain:
"If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome."
The opposite is true. By playing the game, voters agree to the rules. Only those who don’t play and withhold their consent have a right to complain about the outcome, especially since the winner will have his hand in the non-voter’s pocket.
Voting is not an act of political freedom. It is an act of political conformity. Those who refuse to vote are not expressing silence. They are screaming in the politician’s ear: "You do not represent me. This is not a process in which my voice matters. I do not believe you."
Non-voting has a rich and long history through which the dissenting electorate has expressed everything from religious convictions to political cynicism.
Who makes the decisions in our society?
Who writes public policy?
Years of social engineering has caused people to be deluded on this matter.
The White House and Congress don’t really make the decisions, Wall Street and the Pentagon do. Who wins the election makes no difference because all politicians must do what the elite want. Elections are a scam whose function is to neutralize resistance movements and dupe ordinary citizens into thinking they control and/or have a say in matters of the state.
Bad "leaders" or bad system?
Better to place this action in an institutional context. The forces placed on the elected person by the state machinery and pressures from big business dictate the outcome. Your vote is meaningless. You can argue all you want that "We need to keep up the pressure to demand Politician______ needs to listen to ordinary citizens, not to business" and you will rot on the vine as your words disappear into the indifferent air.
There is a difference between the state and government. The state is the permanent collection of institutions that have entrenched power structures and interests. The government is made up of various politicians. It is the institutions that have power in the state due to their permanence, not the representatives who come and go. We cannot expect different politicians to act in different ways to the same pressures. However, this is all ignored by the voting political consumer who wishes Politician______ was more a socialist, green, populist etc. and could ignore the demands of the dominant class in society while in charge of one part of its protector and creature, the state.
So, given that a successful State requires legitimacy and that one of the easiest ways to achieve legitimacy is through widespread voter participation, what is the responsibility of the voters for the actions of its government?
By voting, it is clear that each voter endorses the governmental system under which he or she lives. By the act of voting, each voter is saying: It is right and proper for some people, acting in the name of the State, to pass laws and to use violence to compel obedience to those laws if they are not obeyed.
Voting is the epitome of doing nothing. It is in fact far worse. People think they are doing something of value when they vote. It's hilarious. It's pathetic.
Elections do not secure popular control over the state, they do help secure state control over the populace. Voting is a ritual that reinforces obedience to state authority. It creates the illusion that “the people” control the state, thereby masking elite rule. That illusion makes rebellion against the state less likely because it is seen as a legitimate institution and as an instrument of popular rule rather than the oligarchy it really is. This is why even totalitarian states like Russia under Stalin had elections. Embedded within all electoral campaigns is the myth that “the people” control the state through voting.
There's far more potential in 80% of the political drones staying home or burning tires in the street on election night but neither of these things will happen here in Never-Never Land. Instead the usual 50% will show up to keep the facade in place and validate the system that beats on their heads every day. Then the folk can swell with a moment of civic pride and think that "Democracy", if imperfect has been once again triumphed. "Well at least we got the vote", and other such dripping bathos will resonate through the corridors of America.
We have no say, or very little, in what even gets voted on be it issue or candidate let alone considering if the vote gets counted.
But as long as the vote charade goes on the appearance of "having a say" remains intact. And you must admit this is part of the genius of the system. It really does give you a few minor openings and the appearance that you are playing the game. LTTE's and three minutes at city council and petitions and call in radio and hey, "Let's call it Democracy!. Let's vote!"
Better to pull off the masque.