Sunday, August 23, 2015

Is It Time To Vote Yet?

"Truth and justice will never, ever, come from above. We will have to construct them from below."

That statement from a communique released this week by the Zapatistas relates to official complicity and impunity in some ongoing murders of teachers in Mexico, but is also meant to apply universally.

Zapatista women celebrate 20 years of struggle in 2014
The Zapatistas are indigenous people from the southern state of Chiapas who staged an uprising on January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA took effect. The uprising shook Mexico and made news around the world.

The Zapatistas are still fighting to keep their lands. They also have become a kind of laboratory and worldwide clearing house for constructing alternative forms of governance. Chiapas is probably the most radical state. It's teachers often go on strike and are met with deadly repression and go on strike again the following year. The Zapatistas, officially the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, named themsleves after "Emilano Zapata, the agriarian reformer and commander of the Liberation Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution."

Zapatista flag
Their communique is a reminder that the power structure never gives up power voluntarily. If you look at the change that's occurred in the US it's come from and because of mass movements -- the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti War Movement, the Labor Movement, the Tea Party Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, the Women's Movement. Any legislative reforms that followed were forced by those movements.

We must exercise our power directly, not hand it over to politicians. Neither can change come through the ballot box.

As the great Anarchist Lucy Parsons put it, "Don't be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth."

It's a difficult idea for Americans to get used to, bombarded as we are from birth with the importance of voting, of  'exercising our democratic right to vote', of  our vote 'making a difference' and so on.

 Even the most disillusioned Liberals and Leftists, while conceding that voting isn't going to change the fact that both parties are the party of Wall Street, and that as far as economic matters go, voting is a waste of time, point to Supreme Court nominations. You've got to vote because of who will be appointing the justices.

That's a ridiculous argument for a couple of reasons. First, the current Supreme Court is the most business friendly court in history. No one even notices that, or that Democrats appointed some of tjhose corporate friendly judges.

It's really all about abortion. But what did this court just decide in the issue of gay marriage? As the court has always done it followed public opinion, as it has done and will do with abortion. The court's whittling own of abortion rights will end when a cut majority is unambiguously opposed to that, which isn't the case.

The IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, is a union formed by Anarchists. Anarchists realize that you'll never get around the problems that occur when you hand your power over to the state along with your vote. It's the state. That's where they differ with Socialism, which would retain the state. The IWW isn't even concerned about contracts. They exercise their power directly, on the shop floor. They simply walk out and maybe break up a few machines on the way out, and they don't run candidates for public office.


  1. Well hell, Bubba. I'm suggesting you don't call the arguments about voting, giving one small, minor example, ridiculous. It's insulting to those who probably support your views more than any other group here. I also think you've guessed wrong about the number of people among 'liberals' who agree with what you've said about voting.
    What would be interesting, and either prove or disprove some of your ideas, is if Mr. Sanders actually ran, and weirder still got a majority of the popular vote. What then, what of the electoral college, what would happen? That, I'd pay money to watch.

    Cheers, pal.

  2. "Si no hay justicia para el pueblo, que no hay paz para el gobierno." Emiliano Zapata, El Indio suriano