Laying Bets: W Will Win

Chuck Grimes cgrimes at
Thu Aug 17 01:09:20 PDT 2000

Throwing rocks at the same person you vote for is idiotic. No matter who you vote for a corporate lackey is going to win. Elections actually help the ruling class because it generates the illusion that we have control over the system. The less people that participate in it the weaker that illusion gets. The majority of the Proletariat do not vote; I encourage everyone that considers themselves a supporter of the working class to stand in solidarity and do the same.

Joe R. Golowka -----------

Well, if you haven't tried it, try it. You might like it. There is nothing hypocritical about fighting against the rulers you vote for, however I admit it appears inconsistent. The argument I made was the primary use of the vote was to symbolically select your opponent and the ground of battle.

I agree that voting and campaigning perpetrates an illusion, but we disagree on the particulars. The main particular of the illusion isn't that we have some measure of control and the vote represents control over the system. That is an illusion, but it isn't the main one. Of course we do not exercise control over the system through voting. What sufficient votes accomplish is a mass selection of A rather than B along with whatever differences there are in their respective policies.

So, the rational is voting accomplishes this selection, and further that the selection represents support. In other words, voting is supposed to represent the consent of the governed. But under this idea is the concept of people's identification with the state, that the state is the embodiment of people, or represents the collective will.

We both know this is false. We both know the state if it represents anything, it is the interests of the ruling class. You choose to abstain from voting, and thereby relinquish the one tiny piece of formal power you are offered as a token. I choose to accept the token and use it the only meaningful way I can, which is to help select my next opponent.

At first glance this appears to be a disagreement over tactics. You say abstain, and I say, well at least select.

Consider this possibility. Consider that there may come a time, when there is someone running for office who actually seems to represent your interests, and has already prove themselves to support policies you approve and that you have struggled in some small way to get into law. You would vote. So would I. But we would be voting for different reasons and from different understandings of our respective relations to the state.

I voted for Johnson in '64, exactly because he represented what I wanted to see done. At that particular moment in time, he had completed a legislative program in civil rights and anti-poverty that was by far and away the most progressive agenda ever attempted and much of it was accomplished prior to the election. We all know what happened after that.

I have asked myself many times, what was wrong, what didn't I see or understand? At first of course I though he was a deceitful son of bitch. But I have changed my mind. Johnson was cagey and a liar and more, but that wasn't the real problem.

The problem was I didn't understand the nature of my relationship to state. I thought then and for a long time after, that if only we could find the right people and get them into office, then all would be well. I had assumed that the state could in principle represent my interests, that it could in principle be an embodiment of my (the people's) will, and that I could in good conscience consent to its governance.

This is the core illusion. The entire concept of consent of governed is the mistake. And there is nothing like a draft notice in the middle of a war that you do not consent to, to bring that message home. It was an appointment notice for my own execution. But I still didn't get it.

The proper relationship between the people and the state is as absolute antagonists. We might acquiesce to or loose this or that particular, but never consent. In this regard you and I might agree.

However, I also don't believe that state represents the upper class either--exactly. I am assuming you intended the meaning of the ruling class to be synonymous with the upper class. And, I think the more astute members of the wealthy, understand perfectly that they are not represented by the state much of the time and that in fact they are antagonists. I think this is the purpose of weighted funding for both parties and then following the election, pursuing the winner into court, into the media, and into Congress, lobbying and funding their opposition, depending on what is at issue. I think this is the upper class equivalent to throwing rocks at the same idiot you voted into office.

Not voting, and not participating, and generally abstaining does weaken the illusion that there is a consent of the governed. However, the tangible result of that position I suspect leads to an ever deeping grip of tyranny, and not liberation or collapse. However, the more noisy, the more voting, the more active presence the people demonstrate, and certainly the more open hostility they present also weakens the illusion of consent, but with much less ambiguity.

Chuck Grimes

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