A Penny for Your Thoughts--Six Billion for Your Vote - by Deborra Ann Low

$6 billion was blown on the 2012 election cycle. Along with that expense comes
one overall goal ? the legitimacy of the state. And even with that whopping
bill, non-voters still remain in the majority. When voters realize that it’s
not a matter of reforming the state but a matter of repudiating the state,
that’s when an election boycott movement can be effective.

Apathy comes when folks blame themselves for not being able to change a system
that was, from its inception, established as a tyranny and purely a mockery of
democracy ? a charade that has existed for nearly 230 years. But, while it’s
easy not to vote, what’s not easy is organizing all the reasons for not voting
and bringing them together as a viable non-violent movement in dissent of the
state ? a refusal to consent to tyranny.

What must happen, I believe, is the continual dislodging of political
operative lies that merely condone the government by leaning heavily on
reforms that merely backslide dissidence into ineffective, apathetic, and
counterrevolutionary instruments co-opted by statists who have no intention of
defending democracy or liberty and justice for all.

In my opinion though, faithful voters should not be unfairly blamed for
falling for the pack of lies ? that somehow voting for reforms can effectively
cause even an inherently adverse system to right itself eventually even though
that eventuality obviously never comes. People always want to remain hopeful ?
especially those who accept minuscule victories as a sign that David is
getting closer to slewing Goliath.

Instead, I believe the burden falls upon election boycott advocates to make
the case for voters to begin to responsibly assess the damage that has been
done to them by their continued participation in this government’s tyrannical
electoral system and the inhumane and genocidal policies it attempts to
legitimize in their name.

Once people become aware that their vote for a “lesser evil” in this “winner-
take-all” system, is essentially a vote against themselves and a vote for the
corporatist perpetrators of global genocide, then I believe it becomes
impossible for anyone to continue voting without making a conscious decision
to condone the evil they say they oppose. Once voters have made the undeniable
moral connection between their vote and the actions the government takes in
their name, they and the government they endorse with their votes, cannot
escape responsibility for their actions, even if the governed masses cannot
hold them accountable under voter-enabled systemic corruption. In short, it is
impossible to dissent against tyranny by giving it your consent. As Audre Lord
put it:

“It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how
to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in
order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning
how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools
will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat
him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine

In a fully functioning democracy, an election boycott has no meaning. In fact,
it could have a serious detrimental effect, because voting is obviously the
focal point of a truly democratic system.  Yet, that is the heart of the
problem in the US. We have never had a democratic government ? ever.
Therefore, across the board boycotting of the electoral system is not only
justifiable, it may be the only effective, non-violent way to repudiate a form
of government wherein absolute power is not vested in the people.

As evidenced by the multibillion dollar tab generated by the most recent
election cycle farce, wherein non-voters still out-numbered voters, this
outrageously wasteful expense, (while people are forced to suffer the
consequences of austerity measures and are told to “share the sacrifice” for
no reason other than the avarice of the ruling class), points to one important
conclusion. The sociocentric ruling class fully recognizes that effective
election boycotts have a dramatic impact on state legitimacy, even if they
have no effect on election outcomes.

If the state recognizes the utmost importance of twisting our arms or buying
our votes (no matter for whom or for what our ballots are cast), why should we
ever underestimate the full impact of a successful election boycott?  Why
consent to tyranny? Repudiate the state!



Link to source: http://deborralow.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/a-penny-for-your-thoughts-%E2%80%95-six-billion-for-your-vote/

January 22, 2012

My comment & Deb's reply

Deborra was kind enough to post this article to the Election Boycott News mailing list: https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/electionboycottnews/2013-01/msg00015.html so I thought I'd repost my comment from there and Deb's reply.

Me: I wonder why it is so difficult, despite all the evidence to the contrary, for
voters to understand that we do not have a democratic system of government. I
know we were all told that we do when we were in school, and I understand that
people really want to believe it, but the facts say otherwise. It really takes
a lot of denial to believe that a government which says that it does not allow
public opinion to influence policy decisions has any resemblance to a
democratic form of government whatsoever. It only takes a glance at the
dictionary definition of democracy to know that in a democratic from of
government, public opinion not only influences policy, but is the final say on
policy, because in any democratic system of government, supreme power over
government is vested in the hands of the people, not in the hands of the
government, so the government cannot ignore the public will.

Deb: I don’t know, Mark, I guess it’s because political operatives are really good at what they do and they know how to squeeze out every ounce of patriotic sentimentalism we all learned as growing up.  Union organizers, who are little more than loyalty marketing specialists these days, don’t help either. The only hurdle they really have to climb is getting folks to continually envision substantive victories where there are none.  It’s a literal game of bait and switch and the only way to keep folks coming back to the magic show (even though they’ve seen it a hundred times) is to scare them into accepting they have no other choice – because not voting will allow monsters to take over and eat them alive.  Also, when you get folks engaged in party politics it’s a team sport and folks get fully invested into the game, no matter how much they may personally stand to lose.  This is especially true in Unions  – they either remain loyal to the team, wear the team colors, or be treated like a traitor to the working class.  You end up with folks who are like members of cult who can’t hear, see, or speak for themselves anymore.  They get their talking points, their leaflets, and they’re turned loose like JW’s on a Saturday morning.


I have to add that Deb's article is the first time I've seen more than the most famous sentence of the Audre Lorde quote, and I can see why. It is much more dangerous in context than when it stands alone.


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