by Christopher Alan Driscoll
Chris Hedges and Paul Street, two prominent second-tier left pundits have been recently promoting what I call the “Zinn/Chomsky Electoral Strategy.” It’s a strategy promoted by the late Howard Zinn and by the present Noam Chomsky. It goes like this: voting doesn’t matter, it serves no purpose and has no effect, so you should put all your efforts into movement building, but, you should still spend the few minutes it takes to vote.
The strategy is problematic on several levels, first of all, it pretends that voting is meaningless. It is not. Voting has an important function in the plutocracy. A vote, any vote in the phony elections, is an endorsement of the plutocracy, of the government that results, and of the state. It is not meaningless, not harmless, not just a waste of a few hours of your time. It is an essential prop for the totalitarian capitalist class. The capitalists use your votes, if you give them to them, to promote the idea that it is a benevolent democracy and that it’s governments and states have legitimacy. They don’t and you should refrain from giving them the ammo they need to propagate this lie.
Hedges, Street, Chomsky and Zinn are right that a massive movement outside of the system is necessary to take on the evil empire and it’s governments in more than 130 clients and colonies within the empire. Yet voting for these phony regimes that represent only the illicit power of the capitalist ruling class makes no sense. Many assuage their guilt by assuring themselves that they only vote for the good guys, whether that means voting for Democrats over Republicans, Greens and Socialists and Communists or independents like Ralph Nader, your vote still ends up sending the message that the plutocracy through its “elections” is alive and well.
Yet the majority--and overwhelming majority in the last federal election!--does not vote, and knows that voting is wrong when you are only allowed to vote for tweedledee or tweedledum, and when your vote is used by the illegitimate rulers to show that their system gets the approval of so many people.
We all know that voting in the phony-fixed plutocratic elections can only result in electing plutocratic candidates, professional politicians who always, ALWAYS support capitalism, imperialism and wars of aggression, plunder and destruction. Not to mention what these greedy members of the billionaire class are doing to the environment. Their pollution, their toxic waste, has caused the Sixth Great Extinction, killing off millions of species and leaving our ecology in dire poverty, close to the tipping point of total world destruction.
That’s what you are voting for every time you vote in plutocratic elections.