The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

Demonstrate Against Fake "Elections"! May 21, 2004 by RedStar2000

To be honest, I'm "not very good" at thinking up useful practical "things for people to do".

But it seems to me that this proposal is "workable".

If you agree, perhaps you could organize something along these lines in your city.


This is an idea that came to me the other day; please modify it as you consider appropriate.


We all know, or should know, that capitalist "elections" are fake! The standard response of serious lefties is to simply ignore them.

Perhaps it is time to attack them.

This proposal is designed for a small local group (or group of groups); it should not be attempted without at least 25-50 committed people.

Begin by finding the locations of polling places in a working-class neighborhood. The demonstration will be a march from one polling place to another, continually moving until the demonstration ends. It will be a "sidewalk" demo; thus avoiding "permits", etc.

The demo will take place from the time the polls open until 8:00 am and/or from 6:00 pm until the polls close (Tuesday, November 2nd).

Sample Signs...

Kush or Berry -- WHO CARES?

No Votes for Rich Bastards!

Which Thief Are You For?

They're All Crooks!

Fake "Elections" -- REAL CRAP!

Four More Years...of WAR!

All Politicians Belong in PRISON!


Sample Leaflet...

Are You Voting Today? WHY???

Has your vote ever changed your life for the better? Has it ever increased your paycheck or reduced your rent? Saved you money at the grocery or the hospital? Cut your electric bill or reduced your bus fare?

Or kept your kid from being killed in some damn hellhole you never heard of?

Look, it's obvious. "Elections" in America are A BIG FRAUD.

They are popularity contests among rich people who are tired of just being businessmen or heirs to great fortunes, who want "fame" and to get their names into the history books.

They have NEVER done anything for us; but they've done plenty of things TO US! And plenty of things FOR THEMSELVES!

When you vote for one of those rich bastards, all you've accomplished is to allow them to claim that they represent YOU...which is nothing but A BIG LIE!

They represent ONLY THEMSELVES...their greed, their swollen egos, their lust for power and fame.

If you want a better life, the only way that will ever happen is if you ORGANIZE AND FIGHT FOR IT.

Voting in America's fake "elections" is a sucker's game that will change NOTHING!

Don't be suckered!


Modify this leaflet according to taste; but stay away from "lefty terminology" like bourgeoisie, proletariat, etc.

It wouldn't hurt to give a plug to Che-Lives at the end either.

If demos like this happened in a number of cities, I think it would have a very positive effect...breaking down the illusion that "real politics" consists of capitalist electoral charades every few years.

First posted at Che-Lives on May 12, 2004

The proposal I made was never intended to be "competitive" with other efforts to organize against the Bush/Kerry ruling class agenda.

It is intended to "open another front" against our class enemies...and moreover one that doesn't require the mobilization of large numbers of people, with all the expense and logistical difficulties that "big demos" require.

Many American workers continue to "have faith" in the electoral processes of bourgeois democracy...this is an illusion that I think needs to be directly confronted.

It's also the case that many working people are very cynical about bourgeois politics and refuse to participate...but their cynicism is "a-political". My proposal is that we should begin to politicize (radicalize) that cynicism -- try to transform it into conscious opposition to the prevailing social order.

It's not a "quick fix", of course...I think it's something that should happen on every "election day" from now on.

It's time to expose the charade of bourgeois "democracy".
First posted at AnotherWorldIsPossible on May 13, 2004


Why should we keep clear of leftist slogans?

The slogans may be as left in content as you think appropriate. It is leftist jargon that should be avoided at this time...people are often "put off" by terminology and specialized usage that they are not familiar with.


A campaign against fake elections is rather pointless if it is conducted outside polling stations. After making the journey most people, if not all, will go in.

True. The purpose of these demonstrations is not to "cause" a sudden drop in the turn-out; it is to raise the idea publicly that bourgeois elections are a context where people might be open to the idea.

They may go ahead and vote this time...but next time they may not.

And it's also to raise, of course, the idea that bourgeois "democracy" is, in fact, the dictatorship of the capitalist class...also in a context where the message has "immediate relevance".
First posted at Che-Lives on May 14, 2004


A number of these slogans would work fine as rightist slogans.

Which ones?


It would work even better as rightist opposition to the whole parliamentary system...

Are you suggesting that we should not oppose bourgeois "democracy" because some elements of the right may also be opposed to it?


The leaflet's better...but still is limited only to what you're against, not what you're for....

There's no requirement in this context to make "positive suggestions"...and it's a little early to call for proletarian revolution, don't you think?
First posted at Che-Lives on May 17, 2004


I'm suggesting that if your propaganda is indistinguishable from rightist, even fascist, propaganda, there's a problem that needs to be corrected. Ultrarightists are often against all the same things communists are - including "crooked politicians" and even "rich bastards" - and the difference is in what we're for.

That doesn't make sense. If we were to carry American flags, defend the war criminals in Iraq, say something nasty about immigrants, etc., then your criticism would be justified.

Only the most myopic ultra-rightist could read any support for his position into the slogans that I suggested.

In addition to which, of course, ultra-rightists do support candidates and even run for office themselves. That is a sensible perspective for them...they all remember that Hitler came to power because the Nazis outpolled their opposition in a bourgeois election.


There's always a need to put forward a positive program.

That just re-stating an old clichι in different words; no criticism is "legitimate" unless you have a positive alternative to offer.

At this time, the truth of the matter is that we don't have such an alternative. There's no way to "reform" the bourgeois electoral process within the overall context of bourgeois society itself...the money and the media will determine the outcome period.

The working class must disengage itself from the whole rotten process as a first step in its self-emancipation.

My proposal is a first step in that direction.

quote: is necessary to say that working people need to take power away from the rich. We need a government of workers and farmers, not a government of big business. Heck, why not say that it'll take a revolution to accomplish this.

One pretty important reason I don't suggest that is that I don't think we "need" a government, in the sense that you are using the word. I'm not a Leninist.

But more important, I think the call for revolution (no matter how you worded it) would be "noise" to most people at the present time and for a considerable period to come. At this stage, I think the reasonable goal is to make their disenchantment with bourgeois elections more conscious...and to get them acquainted with the idea that "if they want a better life, they'll have to fight for it".

I don't recommend, by the way, that people append a list of "worthy causes" to this demonstration or its leaflets. Everyone in the U.S. is pounded with appeals to support "worthy causes". I think people will find a leaflet that doesn't do that to be downright refreshing.


Candidates of the Socialist Workers Party (in the U.S.) routinely say all of that, and reach a larger audience by participating in the election campaign to boot. They also point out the fake nature of big-business "democracy", and that elections wouldn't really change anything even if a socialist candidate was elected. Everything you're trying to say by "attacking" the elections, in other words, but to people who won't ever see your demonstration.

Yes, you say that bourgeois elections are "fake" and you demonstrate that you "really mean that" by...running candidates for office.

I have no way of telling how many people you "reach" with this self-contradictory "message" (and neither do you)...but I don't imagine you fool very many of them.

Confuse, perhaps. But fool, no.


Your "attack on the election" sounds super-revolutionary, but it actually puts forward a less revolutionary program than SWP election campaigns do.

It's not intended to be either "revolutionary" or "super-revolutionary"...the point is not to see who can sound the "most revolutionary" in words.

The point is to begin the process of educating our class in what is begin with, what is needed is to disengage from illusions about reformism and bourgeois democracy.

It's not the end; it's the beginning that concerns me here.


Fight for what? What kind of demands?

Ten years from now it might be possible to offer a tentative answer to that question.

The idea that right now the left has anything to offer in this regard is, for the most part, illusory.

Once you've "demanded" that the U.S. should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, you've said about all that anyone is prepared to listen least for the time being.

I'm well aware that Leninist-Trotskyists "pride" themselves on their "skills" in formulating "transitional demands" -- demands that are supposed to infer the "need" for proletarian revolution without actually saying that.

That perspective has been employed for what, 70 years or so, without measurable success. I'm not interested in replicating failure...thus my proposal takes a different direction altogether.


Only by putting forward some kind of demands or program along these lines can you distinguish yourself from ultrarightists. Otherwise, your actions may not be in the interests of working people any more than theirs are...

By the very fact of demonstrating against the fake electoral process, we will have already shown that we "are something different" from all that's gone before.

I think people will notice that.


I really don't understand the whole concept of encouraging people not to vote.

Because it doesn't matter "who wins". They are all "pricks".


Why not start anti campaigning now so voters see that there's an "alternative"?

No reason why not, really. It's a matter of context more than anything else. "Election Day" is a de facto patriotic holiday when we "celebrate" our "freedom". But one could easily have preliminary demonstrations along the same lines...Labor Day would be a good choice--set up a "vote no" booth at locations where working class families go to picnic, watch fireworks, etc.

If people press you for an "alternative", all you really need say is "organize!" -- that no one in American ever got crap from the politicians unless they raised hell in the streets, the workplaces, the schools, wherever.

This is not a proposal intended to create "instant socialists" or "instant communists" or "instant anarchists".

It's much more modest than is to plant some seeds of rebellion.
First posted at Che-Lives on May 19, 2004


I've met plenty of ultrarightists who say all of those things. In all of those words.

Since I don't know any ultra-rightists at all, I suppose I must defer to your superior experience.

But we do have an Opposing Ideologies Forum here which I have read from time to time and I do not recall any sentiments even remotely approaching the slogans I recommended. Perhaps we lack the "right kind" of ultra-rightists.


The whole time the Nazis were running in multiparty elections, they were denouncing bourgeois democracy (sometimes using those words) and its corrupt, degenerate politicians, and even its rich (Jewish) bastards. In terms fairly similar to yours.

Well, I'm not running in multi-party "elections". I am denouncing bourgeois elections but not using those words. I am denouncing corrupt politicians but do not refer to their "degeneracy". And I'm denouncing rich bastards without regard to their nominal ethnic/religious affiliation.

If you want to "pull" what I advocate into the "right-wing", you have a lot more pulling to do...perhaps you should rent a tractor.


So don't we have an revolutionary alternative? I know I do.

Yeah, you sure do. Vote for your wretched little party!

How "r-r-revolutionary".


It's not a step in any definite direction, that's the problem.

Meaning it's not a step towards the "Trotsky-ization" of the working class.

True, it's not.


...anarchists can't really oppose the big-business state because they oppose its replacement with workers' power.

Workers' power? *Laughs*

You mean, as Leninists always do, state power for your own pathetic sect "in the name of the workers".


So you're unwilling to say anything you think most people won't agree with?

It is pointless to say things to people that they don't understand.

Speaking to you, of course, that is unavoidable. But other considerations apply when speaking to the working class as it is now.

Your party only sees working people as "potential recruits", so it is in your interest to hit people over the head with "the full package".

I'm not trying to recruit anybody to anything; I want to raise an issue with the masses -- the "elections" are fake -- and let them begin to think for themselves what that means.


What's missing, is precisely to show that a better alternative is realistic. That's not easy.

It's not even possible at this point. If anyone is so deluded as to think that voting for your party will make any difference at all...I can only hope they will come to their senses before they hurt themselves.


It's far easier to say everything is rotten than to suggest something is worthwhile - precisely because everyone knows already that everything's rotten.

Yes, that's true. But if "everything is rotten", why is that?

That is what a great many people do not know and that is what my proposal addresses.

If the political process is fake and rich bastards run it while everything gets worse, what's the implication of that?


None of the ultraleft tendencies pushing these proposals have ever done anything worthwhile, led any mass struggle, never mind a revolution.

Didn't those "ultraleftist" Situationists, something to do with the French General Strike of May 1968?

Or was that not really "worthwhile"?


It's not just because they refuse to participate in elections, but because that's a symptom of a general lack of tactics and [a] tendency to sit on the sidelines spouting rhetoric instead of participating in the real class struggle.

"Participate in Class Struggle! Vote SWP!" *Laughs*


Communists [sic], on the other hand, who recognize that it's a tactical question whether or not to participate in elections, have done all of those things...

And the signs of their successes are all around us, clear for everyone to see. *Laughs*


Ten years from now, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that you've followed the path of LaRouche, Newman & Fulani, and others, and gone from the ultraleft to the ultraright.

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

As it happens, I probably won't be alive in ten years myself...thus I will decline to speculate on your probable political destination. Besides, once a functionary, always a functionary, right?
First posted at Che-Lives on May 20, 2004
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