Over at I Cite, Jodi Dean has written the following righteous rant:
I’m going to be Istanbul next week, so I won’t be here to vote. I’m not going to fill out an absentee ballot, though. I’m not voting. Deliberately. The election won’t do anything but secure a false sense of connectedness from those who do vote to the oligarchy that continues to exploit us.
I’m not saying voting doesn’t matter. It does–to the pundits who want to talk about it, the networks who amp their ratings through it, the ad makers who collect the money poured in to the campaigns, the corps with enough money to buy their members of congress (who seem to get more expensive the more worthless they become).
Voting matters to all those circulating facebook injunctions to vote, telling us to tell our students to vote. Really? We should lie to them and try to get them to feel that this is change they can believe in? That their choices between fascists, oligarchs, and idiots are choices about what’s best for the country? No.
The guy running for re-election in my district is a bad guy blue dog. He’s running against a far right nut job. Blue dogs are already hurting the Democrats. No surprise there–they are basically Republicans who caucus with Democrats in order to screw them. I’m not going to hold my nose and vote for him this time. I prefer not to vote at all. No candidate for me, no vote. The dominant choices for governor are Andrew Cuomo and a nut job–the homophobe who emails people porn. Cuomo is pledging more tax cuts. Really? Like that will help NY schools and strapped communities? What about dealing with extreme inequality of wealth in the state? I bet a tax increase of five or ten percent won’t even be felt by some of the hedge fund guys down on Wall Street. But their tax dollars would certainly help the rest of us–in the form of schools where kids can learn, roads where we can drive, programs that can provide for the less well off.
If I thought we could get some of this by voting, I’d vote. I’ve given voting quite a few chances, though, and, get this, things are only getting worse. The more we vote, the worse it gets. Now this could be a correlation rather than causation. But if voting is what has gotten the criminals into office and given them the chance to plunder and exploit, then why should we think that voting will do something different?
Doing nothing would be better–especially if it became a mass strike.
Standing around would be better–especially if it became a rally or a march.
I thoroughly share Jodi’s sentiment, though I haven’t decided whether I’ll vote yet or not. The democratic party has exercised a sort of political blackmail for the last couple of decades: “vote for us or you’ll get them!”. In the meantime we get the same neo-liberal policies. We’re like Charlie Brown playing football with Lucy, yet when this is pointed out we get the same old lectures about the evil other side, encouraging us to try and kick the ball again when we know very well that our alleged side will proceed to enable and legitimate the evil other side. It’s madness. Meanwhile Rome burns. The left needs to seriously begin thing about ways of organizing outside of party politics, providing genuine alternatives. This won’t happen until we stop behaving like weenie liberals and bowing to this blackmail. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who argues “vote for the democrats or else you’ll get them” is immediately an apologist for these policies and therefore suspect. Until the democratic party illustrates a genuine willingness to take on their corporate overlords, they should be thought as little more than a more moderate version of the ultra-rightest, neo-liberal status quo. And so long as we keep eating the crumbs they throw our way none of this will change. Arguments from incrementalism and the difficulty of change do not pass muster. So long as you continually bow to these forces you will only push things further in the neo-liberal direction (as if they could get any further, for Christ’s sake, even Nixon was to the left of Obama). Incrementalism is just an excuse for continuing to champion corporate interests over the interests of the planet and the vast majority of people.