Voting is bad news if people think that all they need to do is
There are lots of other ways to vote-- with our wallets, in
There are many ways to change things, to fight the machine,
the system, besides voting. Those ways are essential. If people who
vote think they are doing enough, then voting itself becomes
More and more people are calling for people to intentionally
withdraw from the voting system. "Stay home and boycott the vote,"
they say. Many who say this do so because they believe that the
system is broken or bullshit. They believe that the answer to
fighting the machine is to disengage from it, and that includes not
Disengaging from the system is a major way to fight the
system. I believe we need to have that conversation here. To me it
is essential. I don't agree that the answer is to not vote. I vote,
but I don't expect much to come of it. Most of the time I vote
against worst choices and end up voting for lesser evils. Sometimes
I vote for third party candidates, in the rare cases where that's
even possible. I'll continue to do that. We need a lot more third
parties and third party candidates. And don't tell me Ralph Nader
cost Al Gore the election. That has been totally proven to be
I am moving more and more towards believing that the electoral
system is mostly broken-- not to the extent that people should not
vote, but that voting by itself is totally inadequate. We
desperately need to wake people to realize that they're not doing
enough if they just vote, or even just work for candidates. What we
really need is to disrupt, sabotage, undermine and radically change
the system using approaches outside of voting.
A Polling Place
(image by pasa47) DMCA
We need to make it clear to people that voting is not even a
bare minimum when it comes to making change happen. Voting and
campaigning for candidates are dumping one bucket of water out of a
flooding raft that is going to sink. . Campaigning in the electoral
system is not enough. It is essential to get people to realize that
the system is broken. Democracy is an illusion. The two party
system is a fraud. Perhaps what we need are yard signs to be posted
at voting locales, literally telling people that they are not done,
that just because they voted, they still have a lot of work to
The challenge is, "how do we build robust organizations that
support non-electoral change?" How do we get people to develop
regular relationships with organizations and organizers that/who
engage in non-electoral change on a long-term systematic basis. How
do we get them to keep working after they're finished supporting a
candidate, after the first week of November, or the spring voting.
We need perennial activists, not seasonal voters.
The occupy movement is doing it in many ways, helping victims
of foreclosure, helping Hurricane Sandy victims.
But we need to get people who vote to become aware of
non-electoral approaches to changing the system.
The machine-- the system that gives power to big corporations
and plutocrats-- that must be brought down. Changing it won't work.
It is, at it's core, driven by evil, sociopathic values and
policies. It takes waking people up to get them to realize the ways
the system works to keep them living within the illusion that all
they need to do is vote.
I'd like to see more writing on t his kind of thinking. To be
clear, I'm talking about articles discussing non-electoral
approaches to change. I'm not that interested in articles
that strictly call for not voting. We've published plenty of them,
even though pretty much all the senior editors disagree with the
idea. We need alternative solutions, not just the idea of not
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