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(en) US, California, The dawn* #4 - Opposing Electoral Voting in A Time of War by a member of the North Star Anarchist Collective, Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives (FRAC)

From <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(Erik egh-A-the-dawn.org)
Date Sun, 17 Oct 2004 08:01:24 +0200 (CEST)

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This was a part of a panel discussion in Minneapolis
titled, _Electoral Voting in the Time of War_ , so that
is the way it is addressed.
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 their 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 re-examine what it means to put our effort into
campaigns that essentially take away the fervor and real
direct democracy from our workplaces and our communities
and place 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, the military industrial complex, the
prison industrial complex, laws of property rights to
ensure class privilege, homeland security, mass media, etc.

Now history has proven that we can 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 the
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. By 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 intact.

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 lose 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-cat
strikes, general strikes, sit-downs, council-communism,
participatory democracy, restorative justice, consumer
boycotts, and again etc. What direct action basically means
is to act for yourself instead of getting a politician to
act for you. When we practice direct action, it shatters
the dependency and marginalization created by 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 its
ugly heads.

Instead of the anti-war movement putting its energy into
getting a democrat in office, or anybody but Bush, we
should be organizing outside of accepted paths of change
(like electoral voting) and building a real threat to the
state and capital powers. Towards a revolutionary organized
anarchist resistance!
>From The Dawn, October 2004
* [Ed. note: The Dawn is an anarcho-communist journal]

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