Friday, May 8, 2009

Voting: On the Transformation of a Procedure into an Ideology

Democracy, as embedded in the process of voting, is in its essence merely a means to an end. Democracy doesn’t guarantee good government, as the quality of the government would logically depend among other things on the people who get elected. But nevertheless, those who abstain from voting in the United States are subject not just to ridicule but also to accusations that we are responsible for everything from the death of manufacturing to the death of communities, as indicated in this summary from the National Association of Manufacturers:

As Election Day rolls around, ask yourself: Are you worried about job security? Then vote. Do you care about increasing jobs in America? Then vote. Do you or does someone in your family have a job that is part of the manufacturing sector? Then vote. Do you care about your community? Then vote! Voting may seem like a time-consuming hassle, but it is your civic duty.

Voting promoters are not content to stop with adult voters alone. Instead, the Public Broadcasting Corporation is invested heavily in brainwashing young children about voting through their recent Why Vote? Lesson Plan, in which PBS tells teachers that students should be given good grades if their works shows the following:

· Students should have completed all assignments and actively participated in all discussions.
· Students should have completed two satisfactory bookmarks encouraging adults to vote.
· Students' bookmarks should be the evidence that indicates understanding of voting behaviors.
· Students should be able to list reasons why good citizens vote and how that affects all people.

We would do well to remember that this view of direct voting is relatively new, even in the United States. Federalists such as James Madison argued that direct election needed to be limited to its local context, and until the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, even US Senators were not chosen by direct election; moreover, technically speaking, Presidents of the United States are not directly elected to this day. The reasons for this are well articulated by James Madison, who believed that republican forms of government checked the excesses of democracy, in The Federalist Papers Number 10:

Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

Madison’s words echo Plato’s withering critique of democracy in The Republic, in which he compared voters in a democracy to sailors on a ship trying to steer for the captain:

Imagine then a ship or a fleet in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but who is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and whose knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarreling with one another about the steering—every one is of the opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation.

From these quotations it should be clear that Madison did not fetishize the vote as the end of good government; to the contrary, many influential and foundational texts in political philosophy viewed the popular vote with a critical eye? Why, then, is PBS teaching second graders to think that their non-voting Uncle Al is somehow an evil, evil man? The reason is because we have confused function with substance and ends with means; we have assumed that we can associate a process (voting/democracy) with the desired ends we wish to see coming out of that process (civil societies; the rule of law; civil liberties and civil rights). But in fact these ends which we would all agree are desirable do not necessarily come about through voting. There is of course the oft-cited fact that the Nazi party rose to power in Germany through a fair electoral process.

This is not to say that voting is always bad; rather, it is to say that voting is bad when it is conflated with all civil rights, when it is used as a tool to enforce complacency, and when it legitimates a process which subverts the liberties protected in a republic rather than encouraging them. In the current system of voting in the United States, gerrymandering ensures that our representatives, in effect, vote for us in congress rather than having us vote for them, since the majority party essentially sets their own constituencies. Moreover, we are rendered unable to gain information about local and national issues due to a national media that is controlled by huge like-minded corporations. And the two-party system ensures that none of this will change. The United States’s State Department criticizes China for being a one-party state and uses that criticism to validate the claim that China’s government is authoritarian. Yet would that not make a two-party state nearly as authoritarian as a one-party state, especially when there is such little difference in fundamental ways between the two parties? Doesn’t this logic indicate that the more parties that are allowed political participation, the more you have a state with substantive civil rights and liberties?

These are the reasons why we need to share our dissent with the US corporatocracy, with gerrymandering, and with the two-party system by Boycotting the Vote.

- Rudolf the Rocker

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Practice of Non-Voting

We have received several inquiries to our efforts of late, but among them one question emerges as such that cannot go unheeded. In preparing our response we find the task neatly admits a discussion of the oft proposed and long sought-for end point of our boycott already destined upon while also encompassing this initial query; a perfect opportunity and time for both. For in our present state we remain ignorant of the purpose, utility, or good reason of boycotting the two-party system (or truly any political system) even with fresh reminder of bloated corruption and decay.

One may fairly say that even if it stands as a poor system, riddled with both known and projected wickedness or ineptitude, it is not thereby proven as inferior, and thus worthy of revision, as compared to any other practicing formula. Coupled with this, a sober reader will perceive that any novel proposal contains within it inherent dangers in no way possible to foresee. The probability that we may find ourselves in a worse condition than before is in nowise phantasmagoric. Thus to the degree it is unrealized our reader is intoxicated by a powerful tonic of inaction. In this case reform from within appears far superior to even a meek revolution in form such as we propose. And so the nature of this question is such that we may never fully remove the ire of it, as like the heavy stone which sits upon our chest crushing the life out of us, immovable yet strangling all action; paradoxically this is totally resolvable only after the boycott has been assayed in practice.

Yet we have gained some familiarity with the alternative. We may only add to this that the two-party system represents a fundamental logical fallacy posed to the voter as a false dilemma. Only two options are represented as practicable, which in no way reflects properly all the true variables in question. In effect all remainders are treated as if totally reducible to zero. In the nature of vote counting we see an illustrative example of this: the individual’s intent counts for nothing – the only relevant data is that which may be equated to a number. When the two are taken together we see special conditions arise such that we may say the system itself fosters contradictions in our society.

Recognizing the false pretenses of our system is a task almost child-like in comparison to the decision of what action one should take in response to this determination. Even if one is cognizant of the self-effacement (compromise until any point of value is purged) one is bound to accept to work in the system and is able to cast off the politics of their birth, they will undoubtedly be doomed to wander aimlessly through humanity without ever finding their way in the distant points of the compass. Turning anarchist, watching the world pass bohemian, experimenting as communitarian, or indulging in a-political consumer-Epicureanism are the common end-points; yet one thing holds true with all: they seek to shirk responsibilities and escape inwards rather than confront the true problem of society (abandonment of society is the worst delusion). The unique condition of doubt is a force to be reckoned with once unleashed such that it may be the unexpected Frankenstein whom all too easily turns on its creator (or vice versa).

Ours is the apt response in the face of either cooption by the system, or escapism found in the luxury of personal fantasy – a rejection of the system without rejection of the world.

This view is in contradiction to the general conception of “civic gratification” parlayed in academic circles as the rational basis for what is otherwise deemed as the irrational act of voting (i.e. no direct benefit to the voter). The theory seeks a justification of the system by conjuring an explanation for why those who submit do so: the warm pleasure of “civic gratification.” Whence does this fluidic pleasure arise? It no doubt has more to do with the social status of voting in general and the perceived social acceptance resultant thereof than it does with a particular espousal of political views. Yet such justification cannot seamlessly mask the miasma and so a contradiction is inevitable. People confuse their frustration with the system as frustration with an individual party or candidate, even a single policy – they ascribe no systemic basis to their alienation. In order to address the perpetual estrangement we must obliterate the false sense of gratification and civic participation engendered in the system in order for us to reconcile ourselves to others. To counteract this we only need to introduce the self-evident truth of their cyclical separation.

Yet these academic ejaculations must be located in the broader context of a disillusioned and disaffected populace. Every electoral season, editorials in the local newspaper complain of voter apathy and cynicism. Even in the historic 2008 election, much-touted for its reach to previously spurned populations (anecdotal evidence surfacing as "human interest" pieces in the media of an elderly person voting for the first time in their life), 44 percent of eligible voters did not turn out. In off-year elections a majority of the electorate (referred in this theory as “free-riders”) already abstains from voting. Thus we see that a minority of the population who submit to voting hold the remainder of the people hostage to an inequitable system. It is elementary to note that any theory that eschews over half the voting age population is massively reductive and over-generalized such that its use as an explanatory model becomes negligible. Rather than any attempt to value or understand the “free-rider,” within the hypothesis they are written off all too easily. Thus we propose a more rational basis for the phenomena of voting, rather than some nebulous concept of civic gratification that applies to only a fraction of the population, we see empirical grounding for stark alienation as the proper justification for why people vote.

We see there is much left unknown in academic circles about the nature of voting.

At the root of this objection to a boycott of the two-party system we note the main protest is not precisely regarding the efficacy of the proposed plan (greater strategies have been executed in history), nor is it necessarily true that our opponents accept the current system (although lingering familiarity remains), but that there is a refusal to adapt alternatives to the current system. Our opponents thus do not truly reject the two-party system. There yet remains doubt as to the systemic nature of the abuse; or they delude themselves into thinking they can overcome from within – a fatal mistake.

As we arrive at the method, we discover the functions of the boycott are actually very simple to explain. This may come as no surprise as it has happened innumerable times in the past and recurs regularly in daily events all over the world. The only novelty in this regard is the application to our political context – otherwise it is thoroughly unoriginal.

In a discussion of how a boycott is to operate we may touch on a few particulars. Initially we may note that more political activism is required in abstaining and removing oneself from this system than accepting the default, reputed “participatory democracy.” This is only another proof of the true nature of our political system as designed to defuse and stabilize all political uncertainty in its diverse members. It acts to suppress individuated enunciation and compels conformity to preordained party line. Alternatively when we opt out of this system only then do we begin to participate in politics; specifically each issue is not thought out a priori (by the party) but must be contemplated and disposed of by the individual. Thus to the degree that our representative-democracy depends on participation this increases the status of democracy in the USA where parties may form freely among interested groups and people are not automatic in their political affiliation or thought.

In the same way that Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. saw non-violence as exactly not a passive response, the act of non-voting is a form of political fasting that is in no way a passive act. One fine example of function and success may be seen in the way that American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi has only days past won a hearing for appeal with the Revolutionary Court via a hunger strike. The essential operation performed is the same we advocate: an individual’s non-compliance by civil disobedience. We see enacted here the method of combating a large bureaucratic structure such as a government or corporation. It is a framework within which an individual may freely question or criticize these entities (its creation by our hands is a prerequisite for the freedom to challenge such institutions).

Finally we may say of the mode of its implementation that this boycott will spread across America exactly as a stormy cloud rolls over the land. In its locomotion, through osmosis and diffusion of matter, down to the atom and the outer rings of the electron, the appropriate elements will gather, catalyst will be reached and change will occur. The current conditions have prepared the way for such transmogrification in the frustration people feel toward the world built around them. And so our movement will be the cold front that blows over the hot tropic of seething discontent in America that prevails today.

Others that have lost hope will wait and see (the first will be their example). Detractors and zealots of the system may never see. But what is signally important is that everyone has held hope if only once in their lives for a change (we see recent success in Obama’s rhetoric); they all remember this if their mind is called to it, such that it has already happened in their minds once before and is not so hard to imagine it happening again.

The world is old, exhausted under the weight of its debasement, and so is used up. This does not mean we cannot be in our own selves pure, even as all the rest around us is bent on our being dragged down with them. We seek to settle a rupture between ourselves and the political measures under which we live. We leave as unanswered in this endeavor one last question of preeminence: Can people be brought together to this end? This will be taken up next time in greater detail, but briefly we may say that people will find common ground only in an apolitical party.

We seek to sway a body to move. We see a finger twitch in this inquiry. We will wait to see what else moves.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Heart of our issue: Why abandon the two-party structure?

In our various postulates posted to date, from all the well-meant toils of a chronicling of boycott-movements to the careful etching out of hard stone the merit of our ballot-box, even to our idyllic first declaratory statement – we have in all this work been nothing more than dancing about our true object – in vain have we yet missed the mark. For in every assertion, every analytic-turn we have assumed in our zeal the most important point as an already agreed upon constant and begun at the second step without taking the first.

It is at this moment we must interrupt the flow built up from our previous weeks’ scattered efforts to halt, self-reflect and drag the essential question into the light: What reason, if any, do we have to abandon the current two-party system? Given the prevalence of political abuse in and out of “democratic” structures throughout the world this is no mean question. The recent apparent electoral gains in the U.S., with the meteoric rise of our 44th President only heighten the bugbear of misstep.

There are several major flaws engendered specifically within the two-party system which must be weighed in the scales of this question. We may best start with the principle aim of the self-same structure: that the two parties will always contrast each other, akin to a Hegelian dialectical process, in an adversarial mode with such challenges always yielding to the superior policy.

In practice we know this not to be the case only too well (every school child is taught of political compromise in America, while saving for adulthood the lesson of its bitter results) – yet is there a single cause in the fault of this process?

In the collapse of communism and the rise of globalization a comparable identity crisis is evident in either of the parties: Democrats deregulating markets (Fannie and Freddie Mae for instance) and otherwise espousing conservative agendas (Blue Dog Democrats) as Republicans suture the welfare state and advance liberal economics (see Mike Huckabee). Clearly we have witnessed, if not in the more subdued aspects, the excesses this system leads to (Congress’ lack of opposition to earmarks devouring public coffers; campaign finance reform), but a sole example will suffice to crystallize our meaning.

The party response to our current economic crisis may be a fitting case, not the least for its import. The original response culminated in the (first) stimulus package and the more frantic inauguration of what would be called the TARP program (all its informal weekend-vicissitudes included ad hoc fashion). With so freshly and so sweepingly a revolution in government at recent date we may seek our point in what policy shift has thereby occurred. The abundantly obvious observation is that aid continues to overwhelmingly flow in favor of the corporation. The sums granted by the Federal Reserve alone (itself unmarked by any election), to ailing banks dwarf all other efforts to date. We must conclude the pattern of response to be markedly consistent, if diverse at the margins.

The point holds all the more firmly in its negative expressions. The superficial and flaccid response of the opposition party is undoubtedly founded on its naked hypocrisy (indeed, five months is too brief an interval even for the American public’s myopic attention span). Yet more to the point – at the passing of the TARP program in Congress the issue was treated as “above politics.” What manifest itself as opposition after this pivotal moment was rightly recognized as no more than the vapid theater of opposition.

Here we insist on pressing the point: are there not deeper similarities of response between the two parties? Is there not a commonly-held framework of decision-making “above politics” ("post-politics")? At any rate we are to believe that two separate and completely distinct administrations, representing antipodal political philosophies in the U.S.(truly the only options) have come to the same conclusion objectively while still adhering to the belief in a rigid distinction between them as a fanatic would.

Money is no slight trifle to our society – and yet our two-party system suffers no debate, no discussion, only quiet acquiescence.

It would seem the response to this economic crisis when considered in vacuum is abundantly illustrative of the effects which arise from a failure to spur alternatives to policy, yet this is not the complete picture. These developments are part of a larger process under way in our world. Even as the two parties fuse into one single, factional entity – the American public is being at the same time fragmented into two irreconcilable blocks. Is there an underlying explanation that may prove a general trend in two seemingly opposite phenomenon such as the rise of polarizing discourse and a state of comedy among the political elite?

Since the 2000 U.S. election cycle a palpable rigor mortis of political thought has occurred, and grown exponentially. The expression of this trend continues the ossification in all fields: from entertainment media (documentaries as one outgrowth; 24-hour news channels as another) to Political Action Committees sprouting with such fecundity across our nation. As both parties extend to new markets in these same vehicles are there not points of convergence in their mutual myth-making efforts (points where they tell the same story?) or even a demonstrable concert of action underlying? It would seem the rise of polarization in popular discourses is the perfect device to disguise or otherwise mask the rapidly coalescing consensus forming within the halls of U.S. power.

We do not base this observance solely on the smoke and vapor of suspicion. For its aggregate may be presented with force when considering the demographics of power. We see this in the case of ethics reform in Washington, which in practice is rent with disappointment that has crystallized over the cabinet confirmation hearings and the realization that the “new” administration is staffed with longtime political insiders. As such, precisely where we demand change remains the same. We realize our total defeat only when we recognize this excess as another policy in-step with the previous administration being faithfully repeated.

Yet we continue to hurl half-a-century-old (or more) personal indictments and vindictive flourishes at each other as if we could dig out the problem with our rage: Republicans scream “socialist!” until ironically their faces turn red, as if their party hadn’t reached a modus operandi with the welfare state years ago, or that bailouts for banks (which incidentally sever the invisible hand of the free market as if these lawmakers were their own present-day Shieks of some imagined Orientalist land of their creation)are any way different as they are for unwed mothers; while Democrats cry corruption and corporate interest, as if they too hadn’t lined their pockets in the same exact way - they don the guise of moral purity only as the most effective business model. Relegated to a foot-note in all this are the investigations into political corruption actively undermined by both parties – another case for synergy of interest, no doubt also “above politics.” Never in our history has either party acted with so much impunity.

The most fatal flaw of the system may be in its most ethereal remainders – namely its authoritative influence on what is permissible in the political discourse. Amidst the constant dirge of facts, experts, views and even an unbiased no-spin zone with such hard-hitting news reports we find our own voices are all the more edged out. The perfect form of this would be to nip our own perspectives in the bud drowning out not simply speech but thought as well.

Through all of our dissent and dissatisfaction the essential structure remains untouched and overlooked. Systemic mitigation of our input and our selves appear as all the possibilities have already been tried. All the conclusions are foregone. There is nothing emancipatory about these politics. And yet we are to believe in the progress to overcoming all the ills of our world – even as they mutate and proliferate. There is in fact an inherent balance to our political system. Proscriptives read: Submit and work within the system (indeed Obama’s presidency may represent the heights of such that is attainable thru these avenues). Yet what if it is precisely the system that is our obstacle?

All of these reasons, collusion among the parties, strife among the public, and the systemic abuse that continues apace bring ones self finally to the center of our labyrinth – when do we decide to leave the two party structure? What is our standard by which to judge, our bright-line for point of reference, our trip-wire? The answer will ultimately rely on what constitutes efficacy of the political system to the individual. A tendency for fragmentary views seems inevitable. However, what the decision calculus should not consist of is an overstressing of the benefits reputed to the system. These may be attributable to the larger system of democracy and society more than they are so finely applicable to the two-party system.

There will be a point in the near future when individuals recognize the ceaseless confrontation over long dead issues accomplishes nothing but our own undoing. Either politicians such as Obama will be able to steer us from this precipice to remain within the structure or the failings of such will manifest in awful detail taking us to the breaking point. Our stance is that no reform can come from the inside of this system any more than we may find guilt or remorse in the inner-workings of a machine gun at the site of a concentration camp.

We insist that the act of voting should not be treated as so profane and unclean, undertaken with as little thought possible for fear the more we think of it the less we like what it is we are doing. Our refusal to turn away from what it is we do will be the point at which the old pass away and the new must come to light.

At the end we may rightly ask: and what is the point of these supposed failures of the two-party system? This lack of difference between the two parties develops its most pernicious form when the individual discovers their views to be at odds with her or his party… for they find themselves left with no functional alternative. What political conditions may be said to exist if oppositional forces break down and dissolve?

Perhaps now we may hold some pride of accomplishment in the sweat at our brow as we look back at our work. In as much as we have at last come to the Thing which pumps life-force to all extremities we have entered and given a provisional look around the inner chambers of the Heart of our issue.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The efficacy of Boycott movements, with a special consideration of their place in U.S. history

The United States of America is functionally a novelty in human history. Observing the material wealth at its disposal, its economy being four times the size of its nearest rival; its seemingly limitless reach of above seven hundred military installations cast to the wind like so many seeds to pollinate in some one hundred sixty odd countries across the globe; the luxuriant status its language holds in universities and cities at all points, even at protests denouncing its self-same functions - all point to its unprecedented arrival, never before witnessed in human history. Taking no other point as proof but the sheer scale of this government, at times exceeding the bounds of human comprehension, thus we should in no way underscore our participation, nor presume our elections at all innocent or in any way neutral.

Mirroring the world-encompassing scope of the U.S. government, there are examples of political struggles engaging in boycotts from all regions, all global corners. The most familiar recent international example may be as a tool of foreign policy for innumerable governments (such as regards apartheid South Africa, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict or protest of the Olympics). Yet more examples are found in popular movements.

No less a figure than Mahatma Gandhi in his struggle to liberate India with his Quit India movement found in the boycott an essential strategy which critically expanded the challenge to British rule at the same time as magnifying participation (specifically drawing previously excluded women into the movement with the “home-spun” drive).

In fact the sheer array of groups who utilize the boycott is in itself astounding. From Feminists (albeit under the neologism “girlcott”), to the European revolutionaries of 1848, the LGBT community in California and its on-going opposition to Proposition No. 8, to the National “Negro” Convention’s boycott of slave-produced goods in the 1830s – all find empowerment and voice to their dissent through this tool. Such disparate groups as OPEC, American Second Amendment supporters, and anti-capitalists all agree in comedy the means to their salvation: the boycott.

But we do not need to go as far abroad to find such perfect examples. The revolutionary struggle which forged the independence of the United States, and should be counted as essential to its nature began with recourse to this same strategy as in March 1769, in opposition to "taxation without representation," merchants in Philadelphia organized a boycott of British commodities. Since the founding of the world-shattering republic of the United States we as a people have not let the boycott lie peacefully.

Indeed its use was put to spectacular effect by African Americans during the US civil rights movement (notably the Montgomery Bus Boycott). Yet not only did the boycott spark the social revolutions of the 1960s, but also in labor movements (the United Farm Workers grape and lettuce boycott) and anti-Semitic campaigns in the U.S. (the successful Jewish boycott organized against Henry Ford in the USA, in the 1920s; the Jewish anti-Nazi boycott of German goods in Lithuania, the USA, Britain and Poland during 1933).

From these few examples, not hardly exhausting the subject, we may conclude the boycott has been profoundly successful in the cause of virtually every conceivable human right. Now we propose to utilize this particularly American form to protest the stagnation in our own great country’s political system, and ultimately to realize the promises of political openness in our time.

We call on all American people to boycott U.S. elections until our collective demands for a fair and open electorial process are met.

There is no better method to derail the current power elite – a boycott is voluntary and nonviolent, thus it is unable to be stopped by the law. Only recourse to violence and coercion stand as obstacles.

Let this stale history lesson be not in vain. Let not the hallowed actions of the great past paralyze our present condition. Two questions remain, which shall be answered in the following week:

1) What we expect to achieve in present situation.

2) How to join.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

To Vote, Or Not To Vote? – The “Wasted Vote” in U.S. elections

Every other year the American politician with much consternation and soul-searching awakens the slumbering beast of the American Public – only more so with every fourth year. The politician does so with the clear image of opening Pandora’s Box in their mind. It is for these all-too-brief moments that the entire electorate is addressed, at first in a sober slothful way – but as the weeks roll into months there is a palpable change. What began in a low tide of monotonous tones undergoes rising tensions as doomsday draws near to leave the would-be Machiavellians in an almost maniacal fevered pitch, a final magnificent crescendo.

It is within this orgasmic theater house we are called on to choose a political representative, an ambassador of our demands on the state. What is it we are expected to accomplish? Where is the threshold of our success? And how may one actually take such an action on election day that could be termed a “Wasted Vote”?

The idea of a “Wasted Vote” is best crystallized in the “Get Out The Vote” slogan: “If you don’t vote… you don’t count!” Behind this claim to every individual’s unique contribution to society lurks the inevitable falling shadow of party politics – in as much as every such group is already located within the preexisting political order. As such the “Vote” to be mobilized strictly constitutes endorsement of one face of the American Janus or the other. To the degree that any third party option is marginalized to the zero point in these “grassroots” movements, this exclusion proves inherent in the form of the message: anything else revives the specter of the “Wasted Vote,” (voting for a third party is somehow not genuine, rather it means throwing the election into the favor of the opposition for nothing more than a splinter party without a base).

We have all been subjected to the immense force which goes into saddling the possibilities of the election with prejudicial commands of the media, the corporations and above all the party such that it seems decided well in advance. Given these overt distortions one may sincerely ask: Is it truly a wasted vote to withhold one’s ballot? Or is it a wasted vote to cast one’s ballot?

Apropos this question: What are we acquiescing to when we vote? The only unequivocal result is to legitimize the status quo. However important it may be to the voter to participate in the handful of “campaign issues” permissible in the discourse (incidentally as far removed from the real concerns of the government as possible) they perpetuate the violence of the system by lending their authority to everything that will persist as much as what’s yet to be done – all in their name. The case of the “Get Out The Vote” campaign in its marginal status may thus be seen as a rejuvenation of the system with young blood. Bombs will continue to fall in Afghanistan, as surely as the bailouts will continue for corporate (trans)America.

Whatever our individual politics may be we are all told that if we do not vote for one of the two parties then we are not really politically participating. In no previous democracy has there ever been so strongly insinuated a default position whereby the purportedly affirmative resolution to cast one’s ballot results in a truly negative outcome: as soon as you or I may cast their ballot they find their voice completely silenced. If one’s positive actions in our political system prove to be so utterly ineffective at offering change the only logical choice which remains is to abstain from voting.

So we return to the question: what is the true “Wasted Vote” of our times?

Friday, March 20, 2009

To the formation of a New Political Party in the United States of America

In order to release ourselves from the perpetual set-battle between “Red” and “Blue,” “Liberal” and “Conservative,” “Democrat” and “Republican,” and the binarism inherent in such a formulation,

Don’t Vote

So that we might realize the freedom of democracy and free association in these United States of America – a freedom not held in much of the rest of the world,

Don’t Vote

For a more complex political landscape that no longer stifles political innovation and thought returning us to the same debates, even as the world around us whirls in perennial fluxation,

Don’t Vote

To fully realize our human potential as expressed by and through society as the political, which will never be fully constituted in either existing party,

Do Not Vote

A political party is not a tradition – it is a response to the present. No political party should last more than a century. Beyond that it is no longer a political party – but an institution; with dangerous controls over our access to the political process and as such a threat to our very liberty. These two institutions are not included in the Constitution, their very prospect disdained by the Founding Fathers, nor are their inner-workings in any way monitored. Yet they presume to act as a “fourth check” to the carefully constructed three branches, a sieve to any and all of our political views. Thus a political party should cease to exert force on American politics after it has achieved its stated goal, anything beyond that is tantamount to a Tyranny of the Oligarchy.

Even in the face of this preponderate power, we can be assured of success if we take action now. Third parties in America have been unsuccessful to such a degree to loosen the grip of the Two-Headed Monster that by now they’ve become a sad joke. Yet the “Don’t Vote” party is already the most successful third party in American history. In the 2008 election an estimated 62% of the electorate turned-out for one head of the Big Two, giving the “Don’t Vote” party a substantial 38% of the vote. The truth is we no longer need to accept either of the parties while both contain obvious flaws. We simply need to realize we don’t need them. The time of accepting a party that meets only a portion of our views and demands, the time that we would accept either only on a conditional basis, or that it may come to the all-to-familiar calculation of “better than the other party” are over. Simply by boycotting the vote until our collective demands as Americans are met we take away all of the legitimacy of these unelected masters of our political universe.

Drop out of your party – become a so-called unaligned “Independent.” But do so for the right reason, and send an affirmative message to the powers that be – that you, as an American voter, are a more complex individual than is being represented by either party, and that you realize one or the other, both parties have the same politics, so-called “moderates,” “center of the aisle.” Together we can realize a new political frontier in America and bring the vote back to us.