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(en) US, Minneapolis, Anti-Electoral Voting in the Time of War*

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 3 Aug 2004 11:27:57 +0200 (CEST)


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Before I give my response to electoral voting in the time of war I
would first like to pose a question and that question is what kind
of world do we want to live in?
For me I want to live in a world that has fundamental core values
of equality, environmental protection, direct democracy,
decentralized power and pro community based institutions where
everyone has a direct say on how they conduct there lives and to
have a say to the proportion of how ecological and political and
social issues affects them. Instead of a rights-based society we
need to advocate for a society that is needs based.

We need to reexamine what it means to put our effort into
campaigns that essentially takes away the fervor and real direct
democracy from our workplaces and our communities and places
it in the hands of elected officials.

When it is time to go out and vote in November we in the antiwar
movement will be hoping for a better president. But when we
vote we legitimize the system by saying it is ok to do what is that
you do. By the system I don’t mean some ominous thing
that hangs out there in outer space but I believe that the system
can be broken down into two parts. First, the government, which
we could say, is the official line of never-ending candidates and
elected politicians that serve a limited time in an office and then
there is the state. I am using the state here as those political and
cultural structures that are hardwired into the system that
don’t and won’t change over time just because of some
vote. To name a few of these structures that don’t move
would be the military industrial complex, the prison industrial
complex, laws of property rights to ensure class privilege,
homeland security, mass media, and etc.

Now history has proved that we could elect a president that
might do a few reforms here and there but because of these
placements of the state the president is left virtually powerless to
enact any real systemic change, and that is not to say that the
person who becomes president would want to do that in the first
place. An example would be if the president wanted to help
redistribute the wealth into a classless society the president
would see a revolt of the magnitude that would and could only be
compared to likes of the civil war, congress would revolt against
the president, the military industrial complex would revolt,
capital would disinvest or isolate the United States As far as the
antiwar movement being involved in the electoral elections we
need to realize the position that we our endorsing. Article 2,
Section 2 of the Constitution states that, the President shall be
commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.
So when the antiwar movement votes for president they are
voting for this position. To think that the president would not
honor that role is a far cry from reality. This is akin to asking a
police officer not to be a police officer while they are being a
police officer. Buy voting for this position we are reinforcing a
system of empire and of war.

We in the antiwar movement who use the non-violent paradigm
tend to replicate at home what we are fighting against abroad
when we vote in the elections. We fight against the perpetrated
violence committed by the troops of both sides but here at home
we legitimize a system that gives the state the power to be the
only enforcer of legitimate violence as an institution. The
violence that the state partakes in is negative sanctions against
the poor, paramilitary police forces, police brutality, prisons,
surveillance, Cointelpro, death penalty, and many other violent
actions. The elected official could try to reform some of these
issues but these are the type of practices that help keep class
privilege in tack.

When we vote in the American system we are giving our
collective community empowerment over to an elected few that
uphold the capitalist system. When these people take power we
enter into a paternalist relationship and we collectively loose our
voice and power. They tell us what our values are, they never
ask. Every time there has been any real reform done such as civil
rights, Medicaid, welfare, the eight-hour workday, affirmative
action, environmental controls, etc. it was through long hard
battles by the people and not by a few elected officials. And when
we allow this to go on over time these same elected officials will
over time erode these very reforms.

We can see it now in the erosion of affirmative action in
Michigan, Bush’s cutting overtime pay, etc. Instead as
anarchists we believe that we should empower and put our effort
into direct action. By direct action I am referring to protests, wild
strikes, general strikes, sit-downs, council-communism,
participatory democracy, restorative justice, consumer boycotts,
and again etc. What direct action basically means is act for
yourself instead of getting a politician to act for you. When we
practice direct action, “it shatters the dependency and
marginalisation created by” (Anarchists FAQ, J.2) living in a
hierarchical society. We realize that we can conduct our own
lives in an ethical manner without relying on the police state.

Yet as anarchists we do not advocate for apathy around not
voting, instead of voting we need to advocate and agitate to form
real direct democracy in our work place and in our communities
and to fight inequality and all of it’s ugly heads.

Instead of the anti-war movement putting it's energy into getting
a democrat in office, or the “anybody but Bush,” we
should be organizing outside of “excepted” paths of
change (like electoral voting) and building a real threat to the
state and capital powers.

Towards a revolutionary organized anarchist resistance.

* This was a part of a panel discussion in Minneapolis titled,
“Electoral Voting in the Time of War,” by
A member of the North Star Anarchist Collective, Federation of
Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives (FRAC)
==============================
[Ed. Note: The conference was held in Minneapolis,
Minnesota in the aniversary of the strike where it
almost became a general strike.
"Bloody Friday" On Friday, July 20, 1934, at this street corner, 67
striking truckdrivers and their supporters were shot down by
Minneapolis police, acting on orders from the Citizens Alliance, an
anti-labor employers group which controlled city government.
Seventy years later we remember their sacrifice".
More information can be found at: http://www.1934strike.org/T34/history.php

See Also
http://www.ainfos.ca/04/jul/ainfos00333.html
(en) US, A Street Festival For The Working Class - Remembering 1934 When Minneapolis became a Union Town
Worker - a-infos-en@ainfos.ca
Sat Jul 17 06:04:29 GMT 2004


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