November 1, 2010

The Cult of Voting


“Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield power?”
– Dmitri Orlov
That’s the mystery at the heart of the cult of voting under “representative” pseudo-democracy, a system which is a proven failure on a practical level, and is now known to have been a criminal plot by larcenous elites all along.
It’s true that citizens really do care about voting. Many cherish the act. But the right conclusion they should draw is that representative democracy, under which their votes are hijacked to the ends of criminals, is a proven failure and scam. So if they want voting to be meaningful and productive rather than a grotesque self-mockery, they must get rid of the sham elitist “democracy” and deploy true positive democracy. Real democracy, direct democracy, participatory democracy, most of all economic democracy. Only here is voting worthwhile, since here voting is the formalization of a living process, instead of the rote robotic sterile ratification of an elite-imposed process which never consults the people or has any reference to their desires or health whatsoever.
Under representative pseudo-democracy, voting is just robo-voting, stamping a meaningless, pre-written sheet thrust in front of you, regarding which you have, by design, no knowledge, no input, no reason or even basis for hope or desire, no basis even for understanding. Your role is nothing than to robotically sign the affidavit, certifying your formal ratification of a passel of crimes beyond your ken. And if the gangsters ever run into any trouble, they simply roll out the fraudulent papers bearing your name and proclaim it as ratification of their legitimacy.
That’s the role of voters and “voting” under neoliberalism. It’s a calculated part of the scam.
Here’s an obvious question: If, as the elites contend, the people aren’t qualified for direct democracy, then how can they be qualified to elect representatives? You’ll look in vain for a good answer in The Federalist, which is the Gold Standard argument for representative “democracy”. If the answer isn’t there except for the same old boilerplate about formal debates, the deliberation of properly constituted legislative bodies, the ratiocination of alleged elites when they confer among themselves, and all the other crap which was disproven thousands of years ago, then that’s strong evidence it doesn’t exist at all. So from that we can infer that the republican elites were always conscious corrupt authoritarians who regarded republicanism, pseudo-democracy, as a scam which would make their power and crimes look more legitimate in the eyes of the people.
I’d never validate this rotten system by “voting” in one of its rigged elections. Those who do so, by collaborating with the scam, become collaborators in the system’s crimes. In a sense they forfeit all right to complain. (But I’m more inclined to tell the complainants, “Learn the lesson of what’s happening. If you now find cause to complain, then make sure you don’t fall for the scam again. Because that’s the real target of your complaint.”) The astroturfed voters become a claque who objectively applaud the robbers and vandals as they destroy the country.
The voting cult also tries to emphasize the negative over the affirmative. But I’d never be willing to vote “against” something. The systematic activism of relocalization contains vast negative implications. And if we ever found those insufficient, there’s always direct action. How myopic to let one’s vision of negative action be limited to the picayune act of voting against someone or something. I need something to vote for, if I’m going to compromise myself by voting at all. (And how silly when the robo-vote cultists implicitly admit that the system is 99% rotten but insist you should “vote for” the alleged 1% that’s good. Thanks, I’ll treat my refusal as a de facto vote against the rotten 99%.)
The fact is that there’s no moral or rational basis for the argument that if one marginally prefers one party or candidate over the other, that’s sufficient reason to vote for them. This is disproven by subsequent events each and every time, as those who were allegedly less criminal proceed to new prodigies of crime or fecklessness. This argument for voting is nothing but an authoritarian assertion which boils down to, do as I say because I say so.
“Get out the vote” propaganda is, as Dave Cohen said somewhere, not good civics but sentimentality. It’s romantic and reactionary.
Why would I “vote”? I reject representative democracy completely, and my goal is to convince others that this is the best way, morally, politically, and economically. I do not authorize anyone to “represent” me, and the vote cultists can’t authorize anyone to represent me either. They and their system have no legitimacy. The same is true vis the citizenry as a whole. The system these hacks impose upon us is simply an anti-sovereign, alien structure. The only reason it can exist at all is that enough people are still inertial enough that they suffer it to exist, and still fall for the sham of “voting” for it. I stress that this kind of voting is a de facto vote for the system as such, while failure to vote at all is a de facto vote against the system as such. Each phony election is therefore a plebiscite on the system, far more than it constitutes any choice among legitimate options. These alleged options and the alleged choice among them is almost never real.
For voting to be a value, we must go much further toward positive democracy, since negative “representative” democracy has failed in everything it claims to deliver – political participation, liberty, social stability, sense of security, the physical health of the citizenry, economic prosperity. Pseudo-democracy, which promised to deliver all these things, has instead not only failed to deliver, but has been used as a potent weapon in assaulting them all.
Nor is this an “abuse”. On the contrary, right from the inception, in the seminal Federalist papers, Madison and Hamilton openly said that the purpose of the Constitution, as they saw it, was to protect the criminal elite against the people, and to set up misdirectional ploys to divert the people from their unified interest.
So “voting” is actually bad for us. It demoralizes us while giving false legitimacy to the system. We must judge all actions and policies according to the metric: Does it strive to bring us closer to true democracy, or does it hinder that goal? Indiscriminate voting doesn’t meet this standard. An anarchist may be able to vote in a targeted way only, as a particular tactic. For example, if there were a particular referendum which did offer a real choice, then it might be worth going to the polls to vote on that referendum only. And perhaps at the local level representatives, while still not truly legitimate the way they would be under true council federalism, may still be accountable enough that it could be worth voting for one over another. That’s tactics. What we cannot do is believe in representative democracy in principle, in the voting ideology in principle, or act according to such false beliefs.
“Voting”, both in reality and symbolically, is the alienation of our own sovereignty and power. Like Rousseau said of the British with their parliamentary elections, they exercised their freedom once every five years, and each time their only act was to relinquish it.
The fact is that in principle a parliament or congress is a bourgeois institution conceived according to bourgeois needs and set up to help solve bourgeois problems according to bourgeois procedures amenable to the bourgeois mindset and always intended to accomplish pro-bourgeois outcomes. It is inherently anti-producer and anti-citizen. It’s structurally opposed to the interests of the people. The stuff that happens there isn’t an “abuse”. The system itself is structurally antagonistic toward citizen well-being and public interest policy. Congressional legislation will address these only under duress, only where circumstances force this upon it. And legislation will move to rescind any such concession on the parts of the elites the moment circumstances allow.
If we look at the circumstance of how much government elites must respond to the will of the people, as Rudolf Rocker says this is always a function of how assertive the people are, from the bottom up. Only direct action ever spurred legislative change. All worthwhile legislation was just a formal validation of existing facts on the ground. And the system will always rescind this validation the moment it believes this citizen-imposed fact on the ground no longer exists.
So “voting” is a perverse mirror image of this pantomime. Just as real citizen action can temporarily force legislative change, so the failure of citizen action, including the apathy of regarding “voting” as an acceptable substitute for citizen action, encourages the elites to disregard the people and trample their interests.
Lest anyone argue that “this demonstrates that representative democracy can work, we just need to be vigilant”, I respond that the people can never maintain that level of vigilance indefinitely. The chronic war of attrition being waged on the people by “representatives” who want to be corrupted and corporate lobbyists who want to corrupt them will always be won by the criminals sooner or later. It’s the same phenomenon as “reformism” against corporate rackets. In both cases (actually different forms of the same case) if we allow the rackets and the structure set up to accommodate them to exist at all, they will always wear us down, and we’ll always end up in the same cesspool. So it makes no practical or rational sense to keep repeating the same experiment. It has been empirically proven – freedom and prosperity cannot coexist with corporate rackets, and they cannot long exist under neoliberal pseudo-democracy.
(I’ll add that even if someone thought the war of attrition could be indefinitely “won”, this still should be morally repulsive to any human being. Why should we be willing to demean ourselves by submitting to such a struggle for no reason at all other than to allow a few disgusting criminal vermin the “freedom” to try to get away with their crimes? That’s not freedom at all, but a vile slander and trampling of it. If we the people want verily to be free, we need to start by freeing ourselves of the existence of all gangsters, and the whole repugnant struggle they force upon us. So even if the war were in theory “winnable”, it still wouldn’t be worth fighting, since with a flick of the wrist we can stop fighting it once and for all.)
Where the rotten system empowers only two gangs espousing the same ideology, anyone outside this ideology, and all of its victims, is disenfranchised. When the non-rich submit to “the vote”, they really just let a phony vote be palmed off on them. It’s like buying a raffle ticket where the prize doesn’t exist, because the organizers already stole it.
A few words about the liberals who spew pro-“voting” propaganda. Many are conscious criminals simply shilling for one of the gangs, namely the Democratic Party. For the rest, the cult of voting is characteristic of how shallow and feckless “progressives” are. They may sense the inadequacy of their mindset and action, but they’re too cowardly to break with the system, even to form an alternative party, let alone to engage in direct action. They try to assuage their conscience over how voting evidently leads to the same hermetic pro-corporate outcome. It’s the same dynamic as the way many “progressives” supported Citizens United. (BTW, Citizens United was a formal proclamation confirming the whole dynamic I’m describing here. That’s how confident and/or reckless the criminals have become, encouraged in part by the submission to the cult of “voting” I’m describing here.) Since their process liberal myopia renders them incapable for fighting for true free speech, they console themselves by making a fetish of the “process” of it. So it is with the fetishizing of the process of “voting” itself. In both cases, the substance and goal are drained from the term, which is applied only to a mechanical process. But a fetid cultish romanticism is wound around the term and the process, and this is intended to befog the fact that the outcome is the substantial opposite of what the ideal is supposed to mean. This fogging often works in their own minds, and the result is that they become objective collaborators with and astroturfers for the criminal elite.
Then there’s the pro-elite technocrats, mostly pro-Democratic, who like to sneer at discouraged voters the same way they sneer at the unemployed as “discouraged workers” and strike them from the unemployment statistics. They use terms like “apathetic” and “enthusiasm gap”. This demonstrates how liberal elitists hate what they consider the peasant scum, hate the idea of elections even as they try to convince the peasants to vote, and see the voters as another commodity, another metric.
Many liberal elitists claim to agree in principle that a high voter turnout is needed to confer legitimacy on the system. But they mean by this the same thing that’s meant where it comes to fraudulent plebiscites in totalitarian countries. Ever hear of the classical “99%” vote in a fascist plebiscite? That’s the essence of tyranny, and that’s the dream of the hack robo-vote advocates. Some even want forcibly enforced turnout, like in Australia where non-voters are fined. To the best of my knowledge, even Hitler and Mussolini didn’t carry their “innovations” that far. So that’s one for the pseudo-democratic liberals.
It’s typical that the turnout = legitimacy argument only goes one way. If enough voters turn out, the hacks and flacks will claim that legitimates the system. But if not enough turn out, they’ll implicitly (or in some cases explicitly) say in effect the voters aren’t worthy of the system.
That’s a basic distinction between a liberal and a true democrat. There’s no level of voter turnout which could be so low that the liberal would admit that prima facie the government is illegitimate. Where it comes to such things, a liberal will always side with the government. But nevertheless they still prefer the robo-voting facade, and this is the basis of the pro-voting ideology and propaganda. It’s the source of the whole “if you don’t vote you’re a bad citizen” fraud. What they really want is the complete liquidation of the people as citizens. That’s the basis of liberal elitism.
On the other hand, it’s a fact that voter turnout is always higher where a system has something more like real proportional democracy, as opposed to the winner-take-all de facto one-party system we have in the US. So anyone who believes in voting and who sincerely deplores low voter turnout ought to be fighting for change there. He ought to be doing all he can for improved ballot access, not just restoration of the Fairness Doctrine but enhancement of it in favor of alternate parties, better public financing of campaigns with lower threshholds to qualify, and most of all to help organize alternative parties themselves.
But on its face one can’t legitimately argue “voting is important” in itself, but support the two-gang status quo. That’s a self-contradiction, just like the “pro-lifers” who are pro-war and pro-death penalty, or the “defenders of marriage” who seem to have no problem with liberalized divorce laws.
So our course of action as citizens is clear. We need blunt tools, simple rules. Boycott all federal elections, and never vote for any Washington candidate. If you really want to take part in the act of voting, then do it to write “None of the Above”, or leave it blank if blank ballots are tallied. If there truly is a ballot question worth answering in the form of a vote, then do it. And I already mentioned how local elections may have a different dynamic.
But we should reject the cult of voting in principle and as bad practice. We should regard participation in their sham ritual as a disvalue, only to be undertaken in the case of the targeted tactical exceptions I mentioned.
For the big picture, our citizen activism is the activism of changing our way of life, relocalizing our polities and economies, both on a true positive democratic basis. Where system aggression forces us, we must engage in passive resistance and direct action. This is the only path to rebuilding our communities and the redemption of our democracy, our prosperity, our freedom, and our human dignity.
Robo-voting won’t help with any of this, and can only do harm.


  1. Amen, brother. Voting in this time and place is an act much like getting married for the second time, a triumph of hope over experience.

    So, I no longer bother with “voting” for one of the two sides occupying the same coin. But, as I have been to the polls, it is interesting to note how “voters”, as they are herded like sheep into the voting booth tend, in the main, to have the look of zombies about them. Just so.

    Comment by Edwardo — November 1, 2010 @ 8:44 am

    • I haven’t been to the polls, but I can imagine what it’s like.

      I haven’t heard of anyone trying to go down there to hand out pamphlets against voting as such. I bet he’d be arrested for “voter intimidation” or something, even though the “poll-watcher” thugs get to operate with impunity.

      Comment by Russ — November 1, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  2. This reminds me of Saramago’s “Seeing” in which the population of the capital city casts nothing but blank ballots and thereby asserts their sovereignty. The act of casting a blank ballot is far more evocative than not showing up. If even a third of the population actually turned out and cast blank ballots in protest it would be a shot heard round the world. Of course, such an act of defiance has its consequences, and in the novel, the police are sent in with predictably tragic results. I’m not sure if the current electronic machines would even allow for such a vote of no confidence?

    Great post, as usual attempter. Have you been following Damon Vrabel’s Council on Renewal (csper.org)? I am wondering how an alternative to the global banking debt counterfeiting machine can arise when the parasite has covered nearly the entire global network of exchanges.

    Comment by sandorgb — November 1, 2010 @ 10:52 am

    • Thanks, sandorgb. I haven’t read the story, but it sounds interesting.

      I don’t know a lot about this, but according to what I read in some places casting a blank ballot is actually more counted than if you write something in.

      I agree that if a large number of people did this and declared that they were doing it as a vote of No Confidence, that would be powerful.

      I hadn’t thought about it, but maybe you’re right, and the electronic machines are designed to prevent that.

      I haven’t read Vrabel but I’ve seen his name in these contexts.

      The alternative to system debt, in a nutshell, is to avoid participating in it as much as possible, purge all rents from our lives as much as possible, build alternative modes of trnasaction among ourselves, where necessary in the informal economy, and wait for the zombie to collapse, as it must soon do. (And perhaps the subversion involved in economic relocalization will help move up this date.)

      Comment by Russ — November 1, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

      • Damon’s a good guy. You should check out his blog and particularly the videos he’s produced to explain the reality of our system (the debt-money vortex). I’ve suggested he check out this blog, as well, in part because, like you and me, he’s looking for a way to create a real movement to change the system. (Check out particularly his Renaissance 2.0 video series. Youtube link below.)

        Regarding your latest post, you’ve helped me decide that I’m not going to cast a vote for any Federal candidate. Originally, I was thinking about voting anti-incumbent, but the choices are no better, if not worse (i.e., Carly Fiorina).


        Comment by Tao Jonesing — November 1, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

      • Thanks, Tao. Glad I could help. And thanks for the link. I’ll certainly check out Damon Vrabel and his movement ideas.

        Comment by Russ — November 1, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  3. I’ve written more extensively on the Federalist Papers, developing many of the ideas in this post, in the posts found here.



    Comment by Russ — November 1, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  4. On the one hand, I agree. On the other, I’m disgusted. Not by your post, but by the general response to the idea that voting against the incumbent is the way to “show ’em who’s boss”.

    I heard a terrible interview here in Chicago where a voter said, essentially, “I just haven’t seen the change I wanted, so the only way I know is to vote for the other party.” *The* other party. As if there were only one other party.

    So, I will vote. I still feel that I must. But I don’t see voting for a Republican or Democrat ever again.

    Comment by john — November 1, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

    • Russ, I deeply appreciate your posts. Your analogy of voting with the robo-signing is marvelous. Keep up the engaging work.

      Never forget that clean air, fresh water, healthy food, and hospitable shelter are non-negotiable human rights. The battle is never over until they are available for all people. Cheers, tawal

      Comment by tawal — November 2, 2010 @ 12:28 am

      • Thanks, tawal. I never forget those and would never negotiate them. That has to be the basis of the new movement and the alternative party.

        Comment by Russ — November 2, 2010 @ 5:00 am

    • I agree, voting for the “opposite” of the incumbent is just the equal and opposite stupidity. If people hate the Dems and react by voting for Reps, that does indeed show ’em who’s boss, but not in the way they think.

      (Although most of the people I’ve seen who said they were going to show ’em who’s boss said they were voting not for Reps, but for the Greens or another alternative, or that they were going to write “None of the Above”. So maybe it’s not as bad as you think.)

      I was referring to that, the so-called “two parties”, when I said people should reject voting for higher level offices, while perhaps there could still be a difference at the local level.

      So I hope more and more people agree on that baseline – never again for a Dem or Rep at the federal level, and preferably at all.

      It’s at that local level that we need to start forming an alternative party. At that point it would become possible and imperative to reject the Ds and Rs absolutely, once and for all.

      Comment by Russ — November 2, 2010 @ 4:59 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: