reflections on american public opinion

Sam Pawlett epawlett at
Mon Mar 1 13:23:01 PST 1999

Depending on the district, 50-70% of the American people don't vote. I suspect that a higher percentage of non-voters live in poorer areas. Are these voting patterns any different at the state and civic level? The president and elected officials are in no way representative of the majority. Not that one can blame non-voters or that there is anyone to vote for, but this suggests widespread dissatisfaction with the political system. It also suggests a highly dysfunction political system and political culture. A sense, perhaps, that there is noone on the ballot who will faithfully represent their interests (or is this naive and rationalistic?). Who are these people and what do they think? Prima facie, this would be the constitency a popular movement or nascent left party aims at organizing. Surely, not all of these people are militiamen defending thiemselves from Fu Manchu or are anarcho-capitalists? Or are they just paranoid from watching too much Alfred Hitchcock? The militia movement, overwhelming working class, suggests that some form of injustice is sensed and felt. This injustice has to be properly cultivated with a solid analysis of contemporary political economy, structures of power and given expression in appropriate organizational forms. These forms will be worked out largely through practice and struggle.

Is this all pie-in-the sky?

Sam Pawlett

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