Recommended: Voting Green in a Swing State

This is a superb article by B. Sidney Smith, one which effectively and elegantly demolishes the lesser evil argument. The gist of his argument can be gleaned in the following:

As I have documented elsewhere, the partisan duopoly disenfranchises the entire electorate, left, right, and center. The American people as a whole, irrespective of ideology, have been locked out of running their own country as the writers of the Constitution intended they would. The mechanism at its root is dead simple and works in exactly the same way on both “liberal” and “conservative” voters. You are offered two choices, each of whom has been carefully vetted by the owners and is dedicated to serving elite interests. You are then persuaded that one of them is bad and must be voted against.

This is not to say that there aren’t real issues between the two; on the contrary, without the presence and validity of such issues the trick wouldn’t work. People aren’t stupid. But from the point of view of those whose interests the elected candidate will first serve, those issues are of minor importance.

Once voters are persuaded of the validity of a vote-against it only remains to ensure that the two political “sides” remain in approximate parity, a task ably handled by the corporate media in collusion with the parties themselves.

The only escape from this trap is to understand that the call of civic duty is a call to active participation (activism) in the political process. To those who answer such a call, voting-against doesn’t even make sense, because it means giving up on one’s own commitment to self-government. It is only when voting for the actual changes one wishes to see that it is rational to hope those changes will someday happen.

Common Americans — Alan Simpson’s “lesser people” — lack political power. This lack exists by design. Why does it exist by design? Let us recall here the fact that Colonial America did not have a social revolution. The actual American Revolution only replaced an aristocracy located at the imperial center with a ‘natural’ aristocracy located at the imperial periphery. The lesser people of that day suffered because the American Revolution was not a social revolution: Africans remained chattel slaves, much of white America was deeply in debt and would be forced by the natural aristocrats to pay for the Revolution and, as we know, the imperial-minded would soon begin to exterminate America’s aboriginal peoples. To keep the lesser people at arm’s length, the Founders wrote a constitution that institutionally secured elite rule. The lesser people have had to contend with that albatross ever after.

Amazing as it may be, America’s contemporary elite chaff under the yoke they believe the Constitution to be. Thus the great effort they have expended to ensure that the democratic mechanism fails to realize its legitimate goal: Creating a representation of Civil Society in the State. This mechanism instead creates instead a dubious legitimacy enjoyed by a political elite which willingly serves the ends of American capital in general as well as some fractions of capital in particular. The task of the citizen-activist revolves around breaking the bond that exists between the political elite and the higher levels of the economic system. Voting for change is one component of this project.

I also live in a swing state and will vote for Jill Stein.

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