Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Vote for yourselves for a change

Harriet Tubman, the African-American abolitionist, one and a half centuries ago claimed: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Socialists in America are battling that very same ignorance she faced.

Democracy has no legitimacy if it only represents the interests of large corporations and the elite rich. Some voters primarily see voting as a duty and encourage increased voter turnout for all, while others consider voting to be a privilege and try to suppress the votes of the opposition. Ostensibly, the United States remains a representative democracy; however, this form of democracy no longer represents the interests of American workers. With their government now controlled by corporations and the wealthy elite, many voters are questioning why vote at all. Today, about half of eligible voters fail to cast ballots feeling and thinking that voting only provides legitimacy to a corrupt system, so they don't vote. In doing so, they score an own-goal against themselves.

America’s working class has suffered economically and it is that reality of not accepting the truth of their present conditions, which keeps many Americans in political chains to the two ruling parties. Many of those who backed Obama in the last election are now sadly disappointed. The attitude of many critics towards electoral politics is now powered by contempt. The financial journalist Max Keiser, thinks the Democrats and Republicans are the same - and equally support the system and the status quo.

"I wouldn't even describe Barack Obama or Mitt Romney as politicians,"
he said. "Mitt Romney is a private equity guy. He's not a politician, he's a private equity guy looking to do a deal. And Barack Obama is looking to get a job at JP Morgan, once he brushes up his resume as president of the United States. Look at Tony Blair, he was prime minister of Britain, on his way to becoming a partner at JP Morgan. The prime ministership was just like something you did in college - it's a nice thing to put on your resume - it's not an actively impressive role."
As in every  election, Americans are courted by the Democrats for their vote and that although theirs is only a small voice, it’s better than no voice at all. American workers  are constantly reminded by Democrat politicians  “Hey, we are the lesser of the two evils… what are you going to do, throw away your vote or give it to the military-corporate ruling class represented by the Republicans?”

Yet, the Democratic leadership, masked with a gentler more benign face, is nothing but the other side of the same evil coin.  No matter how Americans flip their political coin during election time, the landing – heads or tails – will result in the same type of non-democratic, non-representative government: a government of the, by the, and for the capitalist ruling class, heads you lose, tails we win. The Democrat politician as our enemy is very real and he is pretending to be our friend. That is the very worst kind.

It’s no secret that the American electoral system is mainly public relations extravaganza, a marketing affair, and the people who run it are the advertisers. After the 2008 election, an adverisrs convention aarded Obama with the best marketing campaign of the year.

The rallying cry for a voter boycott movement is, "if voting changed anything, they’d abolish it." It is not difficult to sympathize with that sentiment; however, it is self-defeating. By doing nothing non-voters simply make it easier for plutocrats to dominate. They will claim legitimacy even if only just 5 percent of cast their ballot. The capitalist class would simply interpret the failure to vote as proving people lacked the responsibility, education and intelligence to wisely manage their affairs.

Not voting is an abdication of democracy. Talking and protesting are not effective enough and usually result in manipulation and endless debates with little or no concrete actions. Nor do we want to see cracked heads and pepper-sprayed innocents. Voting is one of the foundations of a free and democratic society, and it is a responsibility of every worker to do everything in their power to ensure the continuation of our hard-fought-for freedoms. We must either become more democratic, with more voter participation, or sit back and watch the U.S. fall deeper and deeper into neo-fascism. We need to start voting for what we really want.

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