Saturday, March 19, 2011
The Chance and Need to Boycott the Election Process
This blog post and general idea was pulled/inspired from a blog posted by a supporter of the RCP-PCR here.
First I think it is important to point out that only about half to fifty five percent of the nations registered voters vote in the presidential elections. While only 37% of people that are legally able to vote participate in the midterm elections (1).
Considering that almost 45% of this nation does not vote in the biggest election in this nation I think that is a good sign that the average American is fed up with the US government. Further more I would place a bet that if we got all third parties to boycott the elections that the turn out would be lower that 50% for the presidential election.
The fact that 63% of the US population (that is of age to vote) does not vote in the mid term elections tells us a few things;
1) That the election process is unappealing to the masses in the US. If the people really thought elections were a real way to create change then they would participate more in local elections because that is where your votes have the most effect.
2) That people who wish to play entryism are wrong when they claim their correctness by quoting Lenin saying; "we don't separate ourselves from the mass working class organs". The fact that over 60% of the people in the US do not vote proves them wrong that the election system is a gateway to the masses. Not to mention that by participating with a current, or wanting to create a new imperial-capitalist party to take over an established one, you are still participating in imperialist bourgeois democracy and have no right to claim you represent revolutionary politics.
3) That a boycott could actually motivate more people for your cause than getting the "other" vote could. With a boycott we could measure the amount of support the government really enjoys from the masses. If we boycotted the presidential election and the percentage of people who vote dropped bellow 50% we could declare the election a victory. If we called a boycott and only 45% or less voted than we could make a legitimate claim that the US government does not enjoy popular support.
If someone really wants to know why there is little to no revolutionary consciousness in the US we must first look to the majority of the "socialist" groups in the US. How are the people in the US suppose to develop a revolutionary mid set when all the groups who claim to be revolutionary support nothing but reformist tactics and attack any groups calling for real revolution ultra-leftist? How is calling for revolution ultra-leftist? How is calling for revolution while denouncing revolution and participating in the imperialist elections anything but reformist and social-democrat-esk?
I fear that most groups in the US are fake paper tigers. They use the call "revolution" for opportunist reasons only. But in reality they support this imperialist-capitalist system by organizing and participating within it. These groups help the capitalist system by legitimizing it by trying to reform from within rather than destroying it from without or even by just not participating in the elections. By participating the legitimize the bourgeois democratic process. This obviously sends the wrong message to the most important group coming into the socialist circles, and that is the young people. The number of young people who say things like "we are real revolutionary socialist" followed directly by "wanna buy our paper or a book or some stickers or pins, how about a donation, vote for this person" makes me so sick to my stomach. Specially when you see these people wearing Che shirts and hear them quoting Lenin, Che, Marx yet then tell me how ultra-left I am for advocating for a uprising lead by the working class. Maybe the left is taking a turn to the right?
I think it is a no brainer that any revolutionary working class group should not be participating in elections while imperialist-capitalist is the only possible out come. We need to be providing an alternative ideology to this fake bourgeois democracy. Not giving the fake illusion that the elections give us any real chance at creating change. Boycotting an election may not be in itself revolutionary but it is the correct tactic for any group claiming we need a new system. Also for reasons already pointed out above a boycott would show the true number of supporters the US government has and would expose the real number of possible revolutionaries.
Written by: Dustin Slagle
(1) http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html (their source is the turnout for elections sided with population of people 18 and older)