October 19, 2012

The Citizens’ Guide to Voting and Votism


These are distilled from previous posts and comments and presented in the form of a list with some explanations. Use any or all of them, whatever applies to your situation and the argument of the antagonist. I’ll repeat that local elections and ballot questions sometimes do present real choices. For example, if I were a California resident I’d register and go to the polls just to vote Yes on the Right to Know initiative. Of course I’d also have actively participated in the campaign for it.
1. Voting and citizenship, like all other things, must always be organic to one’s humanity and the community. An election could possibly be benevolent if organized and voted by an active, educated, fully participating and vigilant citizenry. (Though in this case it would be superfluous and therefore would never happen.) But system votism wants to quash all participatory citizenship and relegate political participation to a passive consumerist category, with the ballot box a kind of toy store aisle which periodically opens (but with only one broken toy on display, painted two different colors).
2. System voting is decadence. The definition of decadence: One throws away what works, in this case true democracy participation, replaces it with what doesn’t work, elite political hierarchy, and then desperately seeks a substitute for what was thrown away, in this case “representative democracy” and votism.
3. “Representative” government and votism is the alienation of political sovereignty. It’s anti-democracy and anti-citizenship. The complacent voter is a bad citizen.
4. Votism always means fraud and hypocrisy on the part of its propagandists and practitioners, since all system candidates are liars about every value they claim to uphold. To vote for the system is to vote for lies, and to exalt “the vote” is to exalt lies.
5. Your true citizen obligation is full political participation, not the decadent “vote”.
6. If you want to vote for real, vote for positive democracy and human freedom. That means fighting for it. Vote with your way of life, your direct action, and your passionate advocacy, every day, all year. Any other form of “voting” is a fraud.
7. Votism, like its companion corporatism, is empirically proven to fail, if the definition of “to succeed” is that something maximizes equal happiness, prosperity, health, physical and psychological security, peace, rational policy, social stability and comity, community bonds, a harmonious existence with the environment, all of these at a high level. For half a century it’s been physically and technologically possible for all these to be shared by all. Instead votism has presided over the deterioration of them all.
8. Throughout history, only direct action has ever accomplished anything. System reformism, in legislative, executive, or judicial action, has always followed bottom-up citizen action. Name a single thing votism ever got for the people.
9. Votism is a version of trickle-down. No matter how badly it’s failed so far, if you just keep voting when told to and otherwise remain passive, somehow it’ll lead to Better Policy somewhere, years down the line.
10. Representation is an affront to human dignity. We are capable of ruling ourselves and have the right to rule ourselves. I reject representative government in principle.
11. Votism, by claiming we need rulers over us, and that the candidates selected for us by elite Parties are in fact such qualified Leaders, is elitist. Its advocates are elitists. (The German term for this Leadership ideology is Fuhrerprinzip. That Anglo-Saxons don’t have such a term merely indicates that the Germans are more honest about their indelible authoritarianism. But the votism ideology evinces the same elitism.)
12. When we ponder the irrational and counter-factual things its ideologues claim for it, we see that votism is a secular religion. Why would I join your cult?
13. I don’t recognize the entitlement of anyone to “represent” me at all, even if such “representatives” were demonstrably meritorious persons.
14. “Representatives”, i.e. system politicians, are in fact the lowest gutter scum the species produces. Intellectually, morally, aesthetically, they’re repulsive and inferior. Even if I could accept electoralism in theory, I’d have to reject all the actual “choices” on offer.
15. Representative pseudo-democracy, at least in its US incarnation, is bad by conscious design. The Federalist Papers, especially numbers Ten and Fifty-One, are frank about how the goal of the 1787 Constitution is to suppress true democracy on behalf of political and economic elites.
16. The system offers “two” corporatist parties. Even by your fraudulent terms, where’s my “representation”? I bet if we had truly proportional representation, anti-corporatism would be doing very well by now.
17. Meanwhile we have fraudulent anti-corporatism just like we have the fraudulent version of every other idea. For example the moronic obsession with Citizens United, which was merely a formal ratification of the inherent status quo. It’s a fact of life that to the extent you empower the dollar, it will rule your elections. That’s why electoralism is inherently pro-corporate, elects pro-corporate representatives, and brings pro-corporate policy. If you want to break the corporate tyranny, it follows that you must seek an alternative politics outside votism.
18. Why would I vote for an organization (either system Party) which wants to kill everything I love and enshrine everything I hate? I want to totally eradicate both Washington parties, just as I want to eradicate all organized crime.
19. “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.” On the contrary, those who persist in voting for proven criminals are voting for the crimes they commit. System voters thus, at best, forfeit all right to complain. They’re actually complicit in organized crime and crimes against humanity. Votism, by design, makes one a collaborator in history’s worst crimes.
20. Voting as such is a plebiscite on the criminal system.
21. There’s no difference between principled non-voters and the “apathetic”. This apathy is simply a less conscious response to the clear malevolence and stupidity of the representative system.
22. Votism’s own advocates admit it’s purely negative, never positive. One is always called upon to vote against something rather than for something. There’s a special eloquence in the fact that today’s “progressives” call upon us to vote for “the lesser evil”. If that kind of extreme conservative cowardice is progressivism, the language must lack resources to denominate those who actually seek something better in life. That’s by design, of course. The language purges our ideas because the system, including its elections and those who support them, wants to purge our existence.
23. There is in fact nothing to vote for except the system itself. You can vote for Monsanto or for Monsanto, for Wall Street or for Wall Street, for permanent aggressive war or for permanent aggressive war, for the police state or for the police state, for the assault on civil liberties or for the assault on civil liberties. There is no election. There is no choice. Voting is a fraud.
24. So if you’re going to vote negatively, it’s better to become a survivalist or something than to meekly choose at random a “lesser evil” every few years.
25. Even by the system’s own standards the elections are frauds. The Constitution is set up with an anti-democratic Senate and electoral system. The system in general is set up to heavily favor concentrated wealth and entrenched infrastructure. Every sort of hurdle tries to prevent alternatives from getting on the ballot. Gerrymandering tries to prevent organic voting blocs from cohering on the basis of real community interest. Even voting turnout is suppressed through ineligibility rules, the fictive “voter fraud” and related laws (which are meant to suppress minority votes), and direct voter intimidation by the police and affiliated thugs.
26. So “representative democracy” is a fraud in concept, intent, strategy, tactics, and outcomes. 
27. A basic dividing line. Do you consider the outcomes of rigged elections legitimate or not? Those who support system votism say Yes. If you say No, you must seek true politics outside the system’s anti-politics.
I say all this well aware that peoples who have not experienced the so-called “bourgeois revolution” and its “elections” will often be ardent to try it for themselves, disregarding the universal bad experience history has proven them to be. But we who have undergone the full experience of representative government and its version of authoritarian hierarchy must get beyond this false enthusiasm.
We have to recognize that humanity’s only way forward is through building a decentralized movement seeking to relocalize all power, and the strategy and tactics of direct action on behalf of this.


  1. I can still remember how excited I was when I reached “voting age”. Now I could actually make a difference in the world!
    After a few years, reality set in and only local elections could rouse any interest for me. Then it became obvious how corrupt and pointless those were where I grew up. I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t “apathetic”. I was conciously refusing to give my approval to despicable amoral hypocrites. I think of it as a peaceful rebellion, like some other things I do in my life.

    Thanks for putting the whole thing so neatly Russ!

    Comment by DualPersonality — October 19, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    • I was never enthusiastic (and never voted), but I suppose at first I fell into the “apathetic” category. They’re all scumbags, but on the other hand any other system is even worse, so what’re ya gonna do, blah blah…

      Only later did I learn that there are alternatives to political elitism as such.

      Comment by Russ — October 20, 2012 @ 5:15 am

      • Never voted? Then you don’t really understand how seriously how some people take that privilege: they view it as a responsibility.

        I have never NOT voted in a presidential election. Until now. And when I try to encourage others to join me, they are frozen like a deer in headlights. Intellectually they cannot grasp that both candidates exist to sell-out his party’s base. Vote for Obama to kill Social Security and otherwise gut the social safety net. Vote for Romney to get more gun control and further gut civil liberties.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — October 21, 2012 @ 1:42 am

      • I understand it perfectly, since I know what it is to have responsibilities and imperatives, and the feeling that goes with it. Cf. #12, also. I’m just aware enough of the evidence to recognize the voting cult as a false “responsibility”, and any feeling that goes with it as false consciousness.

        I also disagree that having voted means one does have any such feeling. Most voters do so just as fatalistically and apathetically as the “apathetic” non-voters.

        Your argumentation strategy sounds good for anyone still permeable by the evidence, though it’s not likely to work on those still mired in the cult-think you describe. (Also, it’s probable that lots of Romney supporters don’t mind the assault on civil liberties, so you might not get far with that example.)

        Comment by Russ — October 21, 2012 @ 5:28 am

  2. Thank you for this superb summary Russ. I was always fascinated as to what drew people to professional wrestling. To the fanatics, the fact that it is completely phony is apparently a non-issue compared to the thrills of the theatrics. The TV bobbleheads and print media now cover the “debates” like ESPN sports analysts- often using boxing terminology to describe the contest rather than point out that 95% of the world’s obvious crises were not even discussed. The sad bit is that despite this overtly transparent charade, the consumers seem quite content to keep swallowing it whole. Decades of propaganda conditioning runs deep. I think it’s going to take more blunt trauma before the masses awake from the slumber. No doubt, that is coming soon. My fear is that they (we) will again be easily tricked into turning on one another.

    Comment by Pete — October 20, 2012 @ 9:00 am

    • The other day someone was saying she finds it “fascinating”, in terms of a spectacle. She seemed embarrassed to say she considers it meaningful.

      It is just like pro wrestling for the contestants, except that the violence inflicted on outsiders (and increasingly on the audience; I think of the time Caligula forced part of the audience into the arena when they prematurely ran out of convicts to slaughter) is as real as it gets.

      Comment by Russ — October 20, 2012 @ 10:29 am

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