You've Got to Stop Voting - by Mark E. Smith

(This article was edited and updated on April 8, 2012)

      The most common activist strategies, such as street demonstrations, protests, etc., rarely seem to bring about any change in government. There is only one nonviolent tactic that has been proven to work. Recently I asked the new president of a local activist group that had banned me from speaking, if I would be allowed to speak under the new leadership. I explained that I'm an election boycott advocate. The reply I got was:

 

"So my question is - how does NOT voting change anything? I can see actually writing in someone you believe in - but not voting simply is giving up."

I decided to answer the question as thoroughly as I could. Here's what I wrote, which I'm posting here with the person's name removed:

South Africa endured many years of violence under the Apartheid regime. Many people and countries worldwide boycotted Apartheid, but the US government insisted on supporting the Apartheid regime, saying that while the US abhorred Apartheid, the regime was the legitimate government of South Africa. Then the Apartheid regime held another election. No more than 7% of South Africans voted. Suddenly everything changed. No longer could the US or anyone else say that the Apartheid regime had the consent of the governed. That was when the regime began to make concessions. Suddenly the ANC, formerly considered to be a terrorist group trying to overthrow a legitimate government, became freedom fighters against an illegitimate government. It made all the difference in the world, something that decades more of violence could never have done.
 
In Cuba, when Fidel Castro's small, ragged, tired band were in the mountains, the dictator Batista held an election (at the suggestion of the US, by the way). Only 10% of the population voted. Realizing that he had lost the support of 90% of the country, Batista fled. Castro then, knowing that he had the support of 90% of the country, proceeded to bring about a true revolution.
 
In Haiti, when the US and US-sponsored regimes removed the most popular party from the ballot, in many places only 3% voted. The US had to intervene militarily, kidnap Aristide, and withhold aid after the earthquake to continue to control Haiti, but nobody familiar with the situation thought that the US-backed Haitian government had the consent of the governed or was legitimate. 
 
Boycotting elections alone will not oust the oligarchy, but it is the only proven non-violent way to delegitimize a government. 
 
A lot of people here are complaining about the Citizens United decision. Some want to amend the Constitution because there is no appeal from a Supreme Court decision (their edicts have the same weight as the Divine Right of Kings), but getting enough states to ratify is a long drawn out and not always successful process, as I'm sure you recall from the ERA. But suppose that the corporations spent ten to fifteen billion dollars on an election (they spent at least five billion on the last midterms, so that's not unreasonable) and almost nobody voted. Do you think their boards of directors would let them do it again?
 
Here are some of the most common canards that political party operatives use to argue against not voting:
 
1. Not voting is doing nothing.
 
If you're doing something wrong, or something that is self-destructive or hurting others, stopping might be a good idea. If delegating your power to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in the devastation of your economy, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your authority to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in wars based on lies that have killed over a million innocent people, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your consent of the governed to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in government operating on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy instead of on behalf of the people, do you really want to keep doing it? 
 
2. If we don't vote the bad guys will win.
 
We've been voting. When did the good guys win? Besides, it is often hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Suppose Gore had won, and then died of a heart attack. Do you think the Democrats who voted for him would have been happy with Joe Lieberman as President? Besides, Gore actually did win the popular vote. The Supreme Court stopped the vote count and put Bush in office. So just because the good guys win doesn't mean that they get to take office. Kerry also won the popular vote, but before anyone could finish counting the votes, he had to break both his promises, that he wouldn't concede early and that he would ensure that every vote was counted, in order to get the bad guy back in office again. Our Constitution was written to ensure that those who owned the country would always rule it, so the popular vote can be overruled by the Electoral College, Congress, the Supreme Court, or by the winning candidate conceding, and is not the final say. Even if we had accurate, verifiable vote counts, and everyone who voted, voted for a good guy, it doesn't mean that good guy could take office unless the Electoral College, Congress, and the Supreme Court allowed it. Even then, the good guy might fear that the Security State might assassinate him they way they killed JFK, and either concede or stop being a good guy in order to survive. The Supreme Court, of course, has the Constitutional power to intervene on any pretext, and its decisions, no matter how unconstitutional, irrational, unprecedented, or even downright insane, can not be appealed, so they do have the final say. 
 
3. If you don't vote, you can't complain.
 
What good does complaining do? When successive administrations of both parties tell you that they will not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions, you can complain all you want and it won't do you any good. But you don't need to vote to have the right to complain. The Declaration of Independence is a long list of complaints against a king by colonists who were not allowed to vote. The right to gripe is one of those unalienable rights that is not granted by governments or kings. If you're treated unjustly, you have the right to complain. A lot of people who voted for Obama are now angry with his policies and are complaining loudly. He couldn't care less.
 
4. It is a citizen's responsibility and civic duty to vote.
 
Only if the government holding the election has secured your civil and human rights. If it has not, if it has instead become destructive of your civil and human rights, "...it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." —Declaration of Independence
 
5. Your vote is your voice in government.
 
  In a democratic form of government it would be. In a democratic form of government, such as a direct or participatory democracy, people can vote on things like budgets, wars, and other important issues, and have a voice in government. In our "representative" government, people can only vote for representatives who may or may not listen to them or act in their interests, and who cannot be held accountable during their terms of office, which is the only time they hold power and are needed to represent the interests of their constituents. Waiting until somebody has killed a million people in a war based on lies, destroyed the economy, and taken away your civil rights, and then trying to elect somebody else, is much too late because by then much of the damage cannot be undone and your grandchildren will still be paying for it.
 
6. Just because things didn't work out the way we wanted last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, doesn't mean that they won't this time.
 
Some say that Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same experiment over and over and expecting different results.
 
7. If we don't vote, the Tea Party, the Breivik-types, and all the lunatics will, and they'll run the country.
 
They're a minority, no more than 10% at the very most. Of the approximately 50% of our electorate that votes, fewer than 10% vote for 3rd parties. The Apartheid regime in South Africa tried to seat the winning candidates after a successful election boycott where there was only a 7% turnout, but nobody thought they were legitimate or took them seriously.
 
8. You don't have the numbers to pull off an election boycott.
 
There are already more people who don't vote, who either don't think our government is relevant to them, don't think their vote matters, or don't think that anyone on the ballot would represent them or could, since anyone who represented the people would be a small minority with no seniority in government, than there are registered Democrats or Republicans. We have greater numbers than either major party, but they haven't given up so why should we?
 
9. People who don't vote are apathetic.
 

When you vote, you are granting your consent of the governed. That's what voting is all about. If you knowingly vote for people you can't hold accountable, it means that you don't really care what they do once they're in office. All you care about is your right to vote, not whether or not you will actually be represented or if the government will secure your rights. Prior to the '08 election, when Obama had already joined McCain in supporting the bailouts that most people opposed, and had expressed his intention to expand the war in Afghanistan, I begged every progressive peace activist I knew not to vote for bailouts and war. They didn't care and they voted for Obama anyway. That's apathy. But it's worse than that. Once I had learned how rigged our elections are, I started asking election integrity activists if they would still vote if the only federally approved voting mechanism was a flush toilet. About half just laughed and said that of course they wouldn't. But the other half got indignant and accused me of trying to take away their precious right to vote. When I finished asking everyone I could, I ran an online poll and got the same results. Half of all voters really are so apathetic that they don't care if their vote is flushed down a toilet, as long as they can vote. They really don't know the difference between a voice in government, and an uncounted or miscounted, unverifiable vote for somebody they can't hold accountable. They never bothered to find out what voting is supposed to be about and yet they think that they're not apathetic because they belong to a political party and vote.

10. If you don't vote, you're helping the other party.

No, *you* are. By voting for an opposition party, a third party, an independent, or even writing in None of the Above, Nobody, Mickey Mouse, your own name, or yo mama, you are granting your consent of the governed to be governed by whoever wins, not by the candidate you voted for. If there is a 50% turnout, the winning candidate can claim that 50% of the electorate had enough faith in the system to consent to their governance.

 

11. If we don't vote, our votes will never be counted and we'll have no leverage.

True, if we don't vote, our votes will never be counted. But how does hoping that our votes *might* *sometimes* be counted, provide leverage? The election just held in the UK had only a 32% turnout. Where people did vote at all, since UK votes actually have to be counted, they threw out major party candidates and voted for third parties (George Galloway's Respect Party for one, the Pirate Party for another) and in Edinburgh, a guy who ran dressed as a penguin, calling himself Professor Pongoo, got more votes than leading major party candidates. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/may/04/penguin-more-votes-lib-dems?newsfeed=true That's leverage, but it is only possible when the votes have to be counted and are verifiable. Those conditions do not apply in the US.


12. The choice is bullets or ballots, so it's a no-brainer.

The Department of Homeland Security has just used the authority that you delegated to the government when you voted, to purchase 450 million rounds of hollow-point ammunition that cannot be used in combat by law and therefore can only be used against US citizens. Your ballots authorized those bullets. There is a third option: not voting, not fighting, but simply withholding our consent. That has the result of delegitimizing a government that doesn't represent us and demonstrating that it does not have the consent of the governed. It is a legal, nonviolent, effective option called noncompliance. Noncompliance can take other forms, such as not paying taxes or creating alternative systems, but these cannot delegitimize a government. Since governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed," withholding our consent is the only way to nonviolently delegitimize a government that fails to represent us.

 

13. Evil people are spending millions of dollars on voter suppression to deny minorities the vote, and people have fought and died for the right to vote, so the vote must be valuable.

 

Nobody fought and died for an uncounted vote. While corporations do spend millions of dollars pushing through Voter ID laws and other voter suppression legislation, they spend billions of dollars funding election campaigns to get out the vote for the major parties so that they can claim the consent of the governed for their wholly-owned political puppets. If they didn't want people to vote, those proportions would be reversed and they'd be spending more suppressing the vote than getting out the vote. Voter suppression efforts are aimed at trying to fool the ignorant into thinking that just because somebody is trying to take their vote away from them, their uncounted, unverifiable votes for oligarchs who won't represent them, must be valuable.

 
--Mark 
 
(Items #10, #11, and #12 were added on 5/5/2012, #13 on 5/8/2012, and were not sent with the original email)
 
I waited a couple of days, and when I got no response, wrote to ask why. This was the answer:
 
"I did not respond because I have nothing to add to your excellent feedback - one way or the other. All valid arguments for your case. But most of us, and I do admit to including myself, do not act on reason - we act on gut. That sort of makes you a lonely person? But courageous nonetheless. Keep speaking out."
 
In other words, it is saying that I'm right, but since it makes people feel uncomfortable, I still won't be allowed to speak. I have been speaking out for six years, but since most organizations are in some way political party, candidate, or electoral issue related, they will not allow me a forum. In fact, most activist organizations are non-profit corporations themselves, so when they claim to be opposing corporate rule or specific corporate actions, it appears that they have an inherent conflict of interest.
 
 
 

 

Election Boycott News

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https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/electionboycottnews

 

 

Easy reference--

Five of Fubar's top essays on voting (including this one) are now in one place for ease of access:

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1431

The link is also on our front page, on the top right hand side of the blue banner, as "Consent to Tyranny: Voting in the USA"

Last week Terri, who is organizing a 2012 election boycott as a direct action, reposted "You've Got to Stop Voting" in the diary section of a site called FireDogLake and it was deleted by the admins, which led to this discussion on Fubar getting about 2,000 more hits from folks who wanted to know what it was that they weren't supposed to be allowed to read. Permission is granted to anyone to repost my writing anywhere they wish--spread the word! If you post parts or all of any of my essays to a website that has banned me, such as OpEdNews (dot) com or BlackBoxVoting (dot) org, a website that suspended me indefinitely like Care2 (dot) com, or a website that just doesn't like me, like BradBlog (dot) com, you can delete my name as author in hopes that it won't be censored as quickly.

The Powers That Be are spending at least six billion dollars trying to get out the vote for the 2012 election http://anti-imperialism.com/2012/08/23/more-us-parasitism-6-billion-to-be-spent-on-sham-election/ and a substantial part of that goes to political operatives and websites dedicated to protecting capitalist imperialism and the status quo.

 

I wish Rossi had lived to see this.

As a very small, relatively unknown website, where it was unusual for an article to get more than 150 total hits, in rereading this thread I noticed where only a little over a year ago we were all very excited when Rossi noticed that this essay was getting about 10 unique hits a day.

It now has over 17,000 views and consistently gets more than 200 unique hits a day. Rossi would have been very happy. As an expatriate who lived most of his adult life in Germany, he never lost his Kansas roots and never gave up on the citizens of the United States, no matter how far from coming to our senses most of us appeared to be. Rossi knew, after serving in Germany when he was in the army, that he no longer wanted to live here, and he was fully appreciative of Germany's superior labor laws, honest elections, socialized medicine, and other benefits. He griped cheerfully about being a wage slave for a large multinational corporation, and he remained an unrepentant far left radical in his politics.

Rossi qualified for full German citizenship, but never applied. I remember when he decided to vote in a US election and went through all the trouble of obtaining an absentee ballot and spending close to $10 to mail it, to be absolutely certain that it would arrive in time, only to learn later on that his ballot had never been counted because his state had no requirement that absentee ballots be counted. He never did it again.

This is for you, Rossi. We're not as good as you wanted us to be, but we're better than we thought possible only a year ago. Thanks for supporting us through our Dark Ages--I hope you're in a place where you can see that we're waking up.

 

 

Rossi

I believe with every fiber of my being that He sees and knows all that he wanted to know. He has peace in knowing that he made a difference even though he always thought he didn't.  My vision of that realm is one of teaching as well as learning... who among us who constantly questions and shares would call that vision anything but Heaven!

Fubar still feels like home... thanks for all the efforts done here

:)

Coacoa may now be in that "realm of teaching"

Coacoa and her husband had both been diagnosed as terminally ill and were receiving palliative care. I emailed Coacoa a couple of weeks before her birthday, January 16th, got no reply, emailed again, no reply again, emailed her husband, and again no reply. Coacoa hasn't posted here since, so it is possible that they are both in a hospice with no computer access, are both too weak to access a computer, or have both gone on to the realm of teaching where I'm sure they'll be welcomed among the greatest teachers where they rightfully belong.

Coacoa, we miss you!

 

 

Thanks, Coacoa--I know you're right.

This article now has over 40,000 views, something none of us would have believed possible when it was first posted.

Somewhere our Rossi is laughing--no longer a wage slave and having made a difference.

 

 

Sunday's election boycott in Italy.

Here are the URLs from two articles about Sunday's election in Italy that corroborate my contentions that voter turnout is carefully observed and remarked upon after elections, that an election boycott isn't necessarily just written off as apathy even by the mainstream media, that it doesn't require that everyone not vote--even a slightly lower turnout can be effective, that it doesn't necessarily result in a right-wing victory, and that it can lower a country's international credit ratings and thus influence policy decisions.

Low Voter Turnout in Sicily Suggests Anger at Politicians

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/world/europe/low-turnout-for-sici...

Protest party does well in Sicily election; turnout down sharply

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/protest-party-does-well-...

Tarek Shalaby on boycotting the Egyptian election.

The military junta in Egypt (SCAF) allowed parliamentary elections, but then turned around and dissolved parliament. As I had predicted, whoever wins the presidential election, the military junta will remain in control unless the revolution succeeds in ousting them. Here's Tarek Shalaby on Al Jazeera English:

 

Voting vs. Actually Doing Something

Nice, concise graphic summary:

http://twitpic.com/9keion/full

Obama is today's King Leopold

King Leopold of Belgium enslaved the entire African Congo for his personal profits. He never set foot there, he just sent agents, mercenaries, and troops, paying them to send back ivory and rubber, but he didn't give them any money to pay the Africans for bringing ivory and rubber, he just supplied weapons with which to kill Africans who refused to work. At a conservative estimate, half the population of the Congo was killed. Many more were mutilated, as Leopold's mercenaries and agents were particularly fond of cutting off the hands of people who didn't fulfill their quotas, and payments for the murders had to be accompanied by the hands as proof of kills.

The US (this didn't begin under Obama, but is continuing under Obama as we speak) also uses mercenaries and local proxies (the US government calls them warlords) to obtain cobalt, copper, coltan, industrial diamonds, rubber, gum arabic, and many other natural resources from the Congo, and a favorite method used by Obama's proxies (Africans friendly to the US but not to their own people--Africans the US put in power as African leaders after assassinating the elected leaders of those countries), to force people off their lands and make them work in the mines or on plantations as slave labor, is to rape and sodomize women, men, young children, and the elderly with tree branches and rifles--a method not even Leopold's most sadistic agents utilized to obtain resources.

The Belgian people thought, if they thought about it at all, that Leopold was a humanitarian who was helping to civilize the savages. People in the US, if they think about today's Democratic Republic of Congo, think the genocide of more than 6,000,000 Congolese is being perpetrated by local warlords, and never suspect that the US put those warlords in power, armed them, trained them, and then rewarded them for giving concessions to US corporations and killing and enslaving the Congolese so that the corporations can have easy access to the metals necessary for computers, cell phones, iPods, etc.

The death toll is comparable, the atrocities are worse, and the cover story is just as plausible to those who really don't care to investigate.

But that is only one instance of what the US is doing to "globalize" (read: recolonize) the world.

The US government is fully owned by the big multinational private corporations that fund it, and no matter who is in office, will continue to do the bidding of the wealthy global elites intent on continuing to murder millions of innocents and polluting the entire planet for profit. The profits involved are so enormous that they are almost impossible to imagine, but those profits all go to the wealthy elites and their puppets, with ordinary people in Africa never seeing any benefit and ordinary people in the US being taxed to pay for the troops and mercenaries that are committing these genocides on behalf of private corporations.

Yes, we do need a new system. This one isn't just broken, it is killing humanity and destroying the planet.

Many people in the US are afraid of change or afraid of different political parties or candidates because they believe that other systems were worse, so let's compare our system to others:

The old Soviet Union, fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany are good systems for comparison. Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler were all elected, just like US presidents, and their elections were rigged, just as ours are.  They all started or took part in wars of aggression just as the US does under every administration. They all denied basic human rights just as Obama does with his drone bombs and his assassination hit list, as Bush did with torture, and as previous US Presidents did by installing brutal dictators favorable to the US who tortured and murdered their own people with US training and support. They all spent more money on guns than on butter, just as this government does. They all governed for the benefit of private profits just as the US government does. They all made extensive use of prison or slave labor just as Obama does and previous US Presidents have done. None of them allowed public opinion to influence their policy decisions and neither does the US government.

Where the US differed was in providing a higher standard of living and more material goods to some (not generally to Native Americans, people of color, or the poor), however those days are gone forever. In order to comply with the demands of the corporations that fund, own, and control it, the US government has had to outsource jobs, deregulate and then bail out banks, destroy unions and the middle class, and is continuing to turn the US into a banana republic as it has done to so many other countries. Remember, the multinational corporations are multinational. They use the US as long as it is useful, and will squeeze every last drop of blood out of it they can, as they always do, but they don't particularly need the US because they're multinational.

Yes, we need a new system, mojo. Some hope is with the BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South African, who have united to try to stop the US from destroying them. Other hopes lie with countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, which, to a greater or larger extent, managed to get out from under the iron heel of the US. But here in the US itself, I see very little hope. Arundhati Roy told Occupy Wall Street in New York City of being happy to see people in the US rising up to join the global struggle, but here in San Diego I see Occupiers waving the imperialist US flag, registering voters, and believing that the government which they think used to respect their rights, might do so again. The US government only appeared to respect their rights when they were useful, and they are no longer useful. They are supporting the most fascist country on the face of the earth now, and it will never respect their rights or anyone else's. It has never cared for anything except profits and power and never will. And many citizens of the empire have never cared for anything except consumer goods and never will.

I was chatting on Twitter with a woman in South Africa last night who told me not to be depressed and to keep educating and informing people. I replied that I'm not depressed and that of course I'll continue to do whatever I can, but I pointed out that anyone who has ever tried it knows that raising the social consciousness of cabbages isn't the easiest task in the world.  ;)

 

 

The Social Consciousness of Cabbages

Good Morning, Folkie.  A Very Happy New Year 2012 to you.  And I am saying a huge Thank You for writing what you just wrote.  You are a teacher.  This larger picture you just drew...there is nothing like it on the comment boards of Salon.com following Greenwald's article.  The larger picture, an accurate perspective on what is really going on in the US, the world. 

When speaking about the Congo, I think of Eve Ensler (gosh I hope I got her name right...Vagina Monologues) and her work to gain attention to the plight of the Congolese women, the abuse and rape they endure due to the constant assault of the "warlord" parties and mercenaries that are there.  We never even hear about this as an issue except one segment on Democracy Now, Amy Goodman covered it.  

I had explained my no voting position to a neighbor last night, and when I was asked, well which countries have tried this...I actually drew a blank...covered my shortfall with more explanation on why it is useful for de-legitimizing the current empire.  Memory loss.  It shows up quite a bit these days.  And I just had read the info on OWS website, the link you had posted, where you had posted multiple different countries experience with not voting.  

At any rate, whether it's Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, it does not matter who...they are still playing within a system that regards humans as collateral damage, expendable, all for the sake of profit.  And although I am unable to recall and recount the historical facts very well...there exists in me this core realization, this deep understanding, that there has to be a new system completely.  Completely.  My role, is to figure out how to manage my time, my life, to support a new system and completely divest from the existing one.   And this is a hard task for me, being such a creature of habit and lover of creature comforts.    

I am so thankful I was able to read your broader explanation this morning.  More people need access to this info.

 

 

 

Sins of omission?

Thanks, mojo.

The problem with Amy Goodman, Eve Ensler, the Enough Project, Save Darfur (or whatever it is called), and all the other projects calling attention to the rapes and genocide in the Congo, is that they never mention the fact that the so-called warlords were armed, trained, and commanded by the US or by the big corporations that control the US. Perhaps they don't know, but some of them seem to have deliberately turned a blind eye to what was going on. In order to keep their tax-exempt 501(C)3 status and raise money in the US, it is not in their self-interests to pry too much into what is really going on and who is behind the resource wars in the Congo. That's why I only donate to keith harmon snow or to Friends of the Congo, not to any of the charities. The Congo doesn't need charity. Even after having been looted for decades, it is still rich in natural resources. All we need to do is stop stealing their resources and stop assassinating or overthrowing their democratically elected leaders who don't favor US interests over the interests of their own countries.

US capitalist imperialism sees any attempt by a country to keep (nationalize) its own resources as a threat to the US. In other words, any African who wants us to stop killing them and stealing their resources, we consider to be a Communist, terrorist, or threat to US national security. The US government believes that it has more right to the resources of African countries than Africans have, just as the US believes that it has more right to the resources of Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East than people there have. The way that the US, with 5% of the world's population, uses 25% of the world's resources, is through genocide, because people won't give up their resources unless we kill them. Sometimes we do it openly, sometimes through proxies, but that's what we do.

 

And AFRICOM

...is the new and official spy agency controlling the flow of information from and to African operatives on US payrolls. AFRICOM's mere existence is proof of "certain" goings-on on the continent.

 

Happy New Year, Rossi

and I thank you for letting me know what "AFRICOM" is.  Thank you.

und zueruck

happy new year to you too, our mojo. Peace be with you, throughout the year.

Cracking myself up again.

Somebody on Alternet posted a couple of comments agreeing with me. Here's the most recent one and my response:

ssivonda
I'm back...and you again have espoused something I've heard a long time ago. Well over 40 years ago, I asked my mother ( now departed) why she didn't vote. Her reply..." They're all no good". How did she know? I only wish I pursued that comment with many questions, as now I'll never know what her reasoning was.

    Like
    Reply

    4 minutes ago
    in reply to mymarkx

mymarkx
Isn't it interesting how political party operatives always depict nonvoters as apathetic? Voters are the ones who don't care that they have no power over government. They vote for people who won't represent them and then wonder why they're not represented. The approximately half of us who don't vote, care. We know that nobody in Congress is going to represent us, and we don't like what has been done in our name as if we'd agreed to it. Voting to elect somebody to office is like writing them a blank check--here's my power and authority, do with it as you wish. Then they hope that the next crook might not be quite as bad as the last crook. But they don't really care what happens or they wouldn't trust politicians. Nobody who really cares would trust politicians. Actually, even voters don't really trust politicians, as Congress has less than a 10% approval rating among voters. But who do voters think put those crooks in office? It wasn't your mom, and it sure wasn't me.

Here's the acid test. Ask the next person who tells you they're going to vote, if they think Congress is doing a good job. 90% of them will say no. Then ask them who they're going to vote for, and most will name a Member of Congress or a former Member of Congress. If that's not schizophrenic, what is? No wonder our economy is doing so bad. Half the country is willing to hire and promote people doing a lousy job.

Maybe voters should take a closer look at the way that big corporations are run. The highest paid CEOs get paid millions of dollars plus bonuses for outsourcing jobs. Just think how much money we'd have if we outsourced Congress!
 

 

you've seen this before, right?

Beautiful!

 

Love it! A pity it didn't happen--we wouldn't have the NDAA now, as I'm sure the overworked and underemployed Sri Gurvinder would have been too tired to sign it.

Funny! - yeah, why just congress???

And yes, that NDAA thing is scary.   

Crimethinc has some nice new stickers

Excellent!

I like!

Well placed..

I can think of a few other places to put them, too...

LOL....good thinking, Mojo.

 

The inside of toilet seat covers and the walls above urinals would be appropriate also.

I couldn't find these stickers on the crimethinc website yet, but as soon as I can I intend to get a bunch of 'em.

I sent a Tweet to Crimethinc

They Tweeted back that the stickers will be up on their website and available for purchase next week.

 

 

Fun with stickers.

My stickers arrived a few days before Earth Day. I've been having fun sticking them in bathrooms above urinals and toilets, on porta-potties at public events like Earth Day, in public bathrooms at restaurants, and on trash cans anywhere they might not be removed too quickly. I've also shared some with other people who asked for them. But you don't really need a sticker. Just writing "Vote here" with an arrow in appropriate places will do the trick.

I've edited and updated the original article today, eliminating references to people who no longer seem relevant, and adding three voting myths to the list.

Shut down the vote! Boycott 2012!

I added a few paragraphs.

I posted my above comment, with a few minor edits, on Occupy Cafe, and added the following paragraphs:

http://www.occupycafe.org/forum/topics/of-cabbages-and-kings-why-the-us-needs-a-new-system

 

In San Diego it was the Democrats who co-opted the Occupy Movement. First they started by registering voters, apparently something non-partisan. Then they moved on to getting Occupy San Diego to make demands on local and federal government. They understand that those in power will not accede to their demands, so their next step will be to encourage Occupiers to vote, in hopes of electing people who might. Of course those people will have to function within the current system, so they won't be allowed to accede any demands either. But liberals and progressives who fear Ron Paul, the Tea Party, and the Republicans, will vote for Obama out of fear that other candidates might be worse. It is difficult to imagine anything worse than genocidal war crimes, but that's not their concern at all--they are only concerned with their own personal civil rights, rights which have been totally eliminated under Obama and which no US administration will be allowed by the corporations to respect.

It is sad to see people attempting to Occupy capitalism, imperialism, and fascism instead of joining the global struggle for social and economic justice. But few US citizens understand that the global struggle is against US imperialism and colonialism. A couple of people at yesterday's GA attempted to block the constant rightward drift of Occupy San Diego, but they were ignored, the proposals were tabled for reconsideration at another two GAs, to meet the 3-day rule requirement, and their objections will then be swept away with the 90% rule OSD uses so frequently. The Democratic Party operatives respond to all objections by saying that making demands is just a strategy. It is. A strategy to co-opt Occupy San Diego into supporting the status quo instead of trying to change the system. After all, the system is, according to those who support it, basically good and just needs a few more good people elected and a few temporary reforms. It must be a good system, or else why would they have their cell phones and computers and livestreams manufactured with coltan mined in the Congo.

Only now it isn't just the Congolese  or citizens of other countries who are being brutalized. The global system of capitalist imperialism that has murdered so many millions of people and polluted so much of the planet is coming home now. The US is no longer a colony of England. The old colonial powers like France, Belgium, Holland, and Portugal are now smaller than the big multinational corporations. The US is now a colony of the big multinational corporations. And these big multinational corporations are more heartless and inhumane than any king or conqueror ever was. And as we have allowed them to do unto others, they will now be doing unto us. What goes around, comes around. Yes, it's the economy stupid," as Clinton said before pushing through GATT and NAFTA, but it isn't the US economy, it is the global economy. And the name of the system dominating it is US capitalist imperialism. That's the system that manufactures the pepper spray, the tear gas, the helicopters, the drones, the riot gear, the assault weapons, the bioweapons, and the nuclear weapons that enable the corporations to obtain the coltan to produce the videocams and laptops and cell phones Occupiers use to document police brutality. We are purchasing our own oppression so that we can document it. Because we're the only ones left who don't already know about it.

Resist!

Unfortunately, I had to do it as a "member initiated discussion," so it isn't likely that anyone will comment on it, and it will quickly disappear from view.

But I've Tweeted the link, both to Fubar and to OC, so perhaps a few people will see it.

 

Good addition

Thanks, Folkie.  I'm headed over to the link after this.  Thanks.

Very good point

Thanks Folkie.  The comment slid so easily into those low conversational tones that I had to go back and listen and see if I heard what I thought I heard.  That's what he said.  So, already, and have been, beating drums to go to war in Iran.

I just finished Glen Greenwald's article regarding progressives vs Ron Paul on Salon.com. I enjoy reading his articles and sometimes he appears on Democracy Now.  He is very intelligent.  Writes really well. Here's the link. 

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/progressives_and_the_ron_paul_fallacies/singleton/#comments

 

 The comments after the article got pretty involved in the morass of whether or not he is one way or the other. Greenwald summarizes really well the "fruit" that Obama's Presidency has stood for.  He says it very well. But really.....I can't believe that no matter what he, Paul, stands for now would not change once in office.  Once in office, I believe the same war mongering agenda will be carried forward.   And that's any candidate right now.  It's the system.  And its so broken.  I don't think we can fix it.  I think we simply need a new one.  

Another No Vote advocate...

With one stipulation however.  Not sure how I meandered into this website, but here's a link.

http://lewrockwell.com/peters-e/peters-e130.html

 

The stipulation that if a racist isn't on the ticket?

That invalidates everything else he writes. He probably saw some election boycott advocacy somewhere, and decided to copy it, but then pervert it into a plea for people to support a racist or stay home.

Putting a racist at the top of a corrupt system wouldn't improve the system, not even for racists. It certainly wouldn't change the system itself.

He's saying not to vote for the lesser evil or the greater evil, but only vote for somebody more evil than both put together. He's saying that a Member of Congress and oligarch, can represent the people better than other oligarchs in Congress. His favorite oligarch won't represent the people better than other oligarchs--the system wouldn't let him. It's lunacy, but I'll bet the guy is a great used car salesman.

Nobody who understands that the problem is with the system, not with the puppets fronting for it, would support a political candidate running for office within this system, no matter how perfect the particular oligarch's teeth or campaign lies.

No Member of Congress is against war, no matter what they say or how they vote. The US government is a war machine. Anyone who opposed war would have resigned from Congress by the time Congress started funding the fourth or fifth war of aggression, so as not to be a part of the war machine. You don't join Congress to stop war any more than you join the Mafia to stop crime.

 

 

 

Here ya go, turtle.

Truthdig just published an interview with Dennis Kucinich:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/truthdigger_of_the_week_rep_dennis_k...

I posted a comment and it has gotten one response so far:


By Mark E. Smith, December 30 at 8:46

The problem isn’t that Congress is addicted to war.

The problem is that oligarchs like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul are addicted to Congress.

And so are voters. They want different puppets, but are happy with the system of corporate rule itself.
------------
 

By MeHere, December 30 at 9:23 pm

Mark E. Smith has explained it perfectly well in his post.

Thanks Folkie

I just read and even commented on Truthdig.  There, on Truthdig, I am drum4one4all.   I don't know a whole lot about Ron Paul.  I know he is not pro-choice.  That sours him for me.  I don't know the issues surrounding whether or not he is a racist.  I just don't know.  But nothing he or Kucinich can or will do, will change the direction of this ship.  Also, I listened to a podcast this AM by James Rickard on KWN.  He casually dropped in the sentence that in Iran, the government will have you noosed to a crane and swing you back and forth.  I really would like to know if thats true or not.  Yeah, regretfully, the attack Iran drumbeat is growing.

Israel wants the US to attack Iran.

So you'll hear a lot of stupid things about Iran, just as you did about Sadaam Hussein, Obama bin Laden, and Muammar Gaddafi. When the US starts saying bad things about somebody, it means they plan to kill them and want people to believe they killed a bad person. Nobody the US attacks as "bad," has killed as many people as the US.

 

Magnificent young Canadian woman.

From my email:

 This (former) Canadian Senate Page, 21 year old Brigette DePape, earlier this year stood up in the Senate chambers on the day Prime Minister Harper was sworn into office and whipped out a red stop sign for the cameras that read "Stop Harper." She was immediately hauled away by security and fired from her 'service' job with the Canadian government.

She spoke to an audience in Vancouver this past Saturday afternoon on the topic of "Thinking Outside the Ballot Box." Thanks to Working TV for making it available on the internet!

She's a inspiring youthful voice for change and hope.

Running time - 12 min 27 sec

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwfhMRxMCjI&sns=em

See Ms Depape's wikipedia page here:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigette_DePape

I missed this...

glad I am seeing it now though.  Voting is apathy, is it not?....vs the other way around.    Withdrawing consent is hopeful.  Consenting to what does not change...that's apathy.  Good video.

My how times have changed.

One of the environmental mailing lists I'm on was discussing voting. I excerpted a portion of someone's comment and replied to it:

 

"Another choice would be to boycott the election, "Nobody for President" or some such slogan. It's good theater (sometimes) but on election day you'll be counted as someone who didn't care."


Whereas if you vote, no matter who you vote for, even if you vote for a third party or independent candidate, vote for Nobody, Mickey Mouse, or None of the Above, cast a blank protest ballot, or even deliberately invalidate your ballot, your name will be posted on the voter rolls as one who cared, who did their civic duty to the state, who granted their individual consent of the governed, and who thereby supported capitalism, imperialism, and the  continuing destruction of the earth by the 1%.

All your other constructive suggestions, like environmental activism, protests, strikes, etc., will be protests against the system that you personally legitimized by voting.

Isn't that just a tad schizophrenic?

----------------

I didn't expect a response, and when I noticed he'd posted one a few minutes later, I opened it cautiously, expecting that he'd just repeat some of the other myths about not voting. His simple one-word reply to my question took me by surprise and cracked me up. All he said was:

 

"Probably."

that got a laugh

acknowledgement...good.  Wonder what it means?

Own goal for Obomba-bots

Somebody Tweeted about a voter registration drive at Occupy Wall Street, so I Tweeted back that was the opposite of what they should be doing--they should be organizing election boycotts.

Immediately six Obomba-bots jumped all over me, calling me names, saying I was helping Karl Rove, and the usual shit.

By the time I'd first responded to them and then blocked them for spam, I found myself with four very hip and very cool new followers and this discussion had gotten 50 more hits.

Way to go Obomba-bots! Couldn't have done that without you if I'd tried. ;)

Thats great news!

Now that things are starting to gain momentum...maybe not voting for leaders we can't hold accountable will gain traction.  Yes, now's the time to register to NOT vote in protest of our non accountable leaders.  That our vote is to NOT vote.  Direct Democracy.

zero accountability

...is another crime. And we is the Po lice. Just wanna confirm that with momentum and all. Stuffs boilin.

peace, r

Link to a typical discussion about voting.

 

This is really long, but anyone who isn't already familiar with this stuff and wants to see the sort of discussions I've been having with political party operatives for the past five years should check it out: 

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1190

 

 

Olbermann has 300,000 followers on Twitter.

Probably more than a million watch him on TV. But I don't think he's going to say a word about not voting. 

Anti-austerity rally today. Ten people showed up.

And this happens to be the 8th largest city in the US. The rally was sponsored by US Uncut, the Green Party, and Activist San Diego. There were at least two organizers present from each group trying to recuit people to their group. 

The good news is that whenever the local socialists have a rally they get at least 30 people, sometimes many more. Plus the socialists have Mexican-American, African-American, Filipina, and other minority leadership and membership, while the groups holding today's rally have majority white membership with a few non-white tokens.

I counted myself, although I didn't hold a sign, and a homeless person from out of town who did, among the ten. So in reality, six organizers were only able to bring out two followers. Of course the cuts are being phased in slowly here, so we're boiling frogs, and many of the politicians who have been pushing through cuts to social programs will no longer be in office when the worst cuts take effect.

The socialist groups I tried unsuccessfully to join some years ago were also primarily white. Now that there are some minority-led socialist groups, I think I may try again, if my health allows. 

 

I did try joining another socialist group.

It turns out that their organizers are very much in favor of voting. Oh well.

I kept meaning to post a link to my response to those who accuse me of being against voting. I'm not against voting when it can empower people, as it would in a direct democracy or a democratic form of government. I'm only against voting when it disenfranchises people. Here's the link: 

The Value of Voting: http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1189

I created an account for the person in question.

I also forwarded a link to this topic along with Ann's comment. Best not to hold my breath about someone logging in and discussing something that probably makes them feel uncomfortable, even if their identity isn't known. I ended my email with this paragraph (community gardens are something this person and many others worked tirelessly for over many years and were eventually successful in getting local government to approve):

I guess that the actions deemed appropriate by those who support the status quo, i.e., the current power structure, are actions which are allowed by the current power structure. While such actions may improve things for many, they do not actually change the status quo. Personally, while I will support such things, such as the community gardens, I believe that unless we change the power structure, we'll end up with things like radioactive organic gardens with inedible produce when San Onofre and other nuclear power plants do a Fukushima, as they inevitably will unless they are shut down first. But with a corporate power structure, the fact that unsafe nuclear power plants bring in profits as long as they are kept running, but would cost a lot of money to decommission, very few are likely to be shut down before they melt down. That is just one of many reasons I believe that the system itself must be changed.

10 unique visitors daily

somebody's readin somthin'.

 

The selfish-interest vote is big this year.

Somebody just RT-ed a Tweet by Ralph Nader with a link to a get-out-the-vote website that uses selfish interests on local ballots, and the fear of losing their uncounted votes, to persuade people to vote to authorize the government to continue the wars, bailouts, deep sea oil spills, and nuclear meltdowns that are threatening us all with imminent extinction:

The Real Agenda Behind Voter Suppression

http://crywolfproject.org/commentary/real-agenda-behind-voter-suppression

I posted a comment in response, but since it is very unlikely that it will be approved, since it doesn't support the get-out-the-vote goal of the website, I'm also posting it here:

 

Of course we all remember when we succeeded and grew as a nation, strengthened democracy and put a damper on inequality, by voting in huge numbers for Al Gore in 2000.

Oh wait! That didn't happen because the Supreme Court stopped the vote count--they said we don't have a Constitutional right to have our votes counted at all, no less any right to have our votes counted in a way that is transparent and verifiable, or any right to have our votes determine the final results of an election in a way that cannot be overturned.

In a democracy, voting is the most precious right of all, and we know that we have a democracy because we can cast uncounted, unverifiable votes for candidates who won't represent our interests, and our votes might have some influence on the outcome of the elections, unless the Supreme Court decides they won't. Doesn't the dictionary say that democracy is a form of government in which Supreme power is vested in the hands of a Supreme Court?

What good will paid sick leave be if you keep voting to delegate to Democrats and Republicans the power to repay their corporate owners by allowing them to outsource your job?

----------------------

I wonder why Nader didn't look at the bottom of the article where it says that the culprits are the Republicans, and recognize that the site is a Democratic Party get-out-the-vote tool? Or has he himself become a Democratic Party get-out-the-vote tool these days? I made no mention of the real threats, like Fukushima, because I doubt if anyone on that site would care about anything they can't spend at Wal-Mart.

 

Bravo!

Bravo, Ann & folkie!

You've said it all in what you've both written here. Anyone unable to understand this is in denial.

By the way, this exact subject was what brought folkie and I together a long long time ago, way back when we were still trying to educate Dems on the subject. The issue of legitimacy is the most obvious part. No wonder zillions of dollars are spent on the process ...by BIGcorp. At one smaller crossroad in my quest for knowledge, I was wondering why the company I was working for at the time had donated monies to both major fascist parties. We can all now say "now we know".

r

I agree, BRAVO!

Ann, Folkie, and Rossini!

And I like that you posted the unique visitors part!

Go NON-VOTING. 

Divest! Divest!

The power in powerlessness.....

 

Bravo, Ann! And thank you.

I've never seen such a startling admission before either--the person who wrote it happens to be uncommonly honest and insightful. That's why I made the attempt to ask.

The fear of loss of power must be extreme indeed, as I don't know of any other issue that can't get a public forum. I regularly encounter groups both online and in real life where they pride themselves on addressing controversial issues--except this one. ;) 

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