My thoughts on a proposed boycott of the 2012 election

The aforementioned thoughts take the form of analyzing a post from the Proletarian Center for Research, Education and Culture.

You need to let those around you, especially members of the establishment, know that you have made a conscious choice to abstain from voting because you know that the political system is entirely corrupt, rigged – even ridiculous.

“Members of the establishment,” unless they are suffering from a mental break, are fully aware that “the political system is entirely corrupt, rigged– even ridiculous.” How is electoral abstinence intended to affect them? Furthermore, if the purpose is to call attention to the system’s lack of viability, then what is the next step? Is there an alternative system being proposed? If not, then to what is the boycott supposed to lead?

You know that we live in a dictatorship – not even very cleverly disguised if you just open your eyes and pay attention.

If this is true, then isn’t an organized effort to call attention to this fact inherently redundant?

Let’s put out the word that we’re not going to be complicit in our own exploitation or the murderous schemes of imperialism!!

So this boycott will be accompanied by a tax boycott as well? Will it be accompanied by a call for nationwide mutiny by the armed forces and by law enforcement? The electoral abstinence of x number of citizens will have zero effect on domestic or foreign exploitation, at least while the revenue streams still exist and the exploitation has enough willing agents.

Whereas third parties have no possibility of winning the Presidential election due to corporate control over the electoral process and the media…

This is factually untrue, inasmuch as it confuses possibility with probability. Jill Stein, for example, is on the ballot in more than enough states to capture sufficient electoral votes. If she fails to win the White House, it will be because an insufficient number of voters selected her, not because she ‘didn’t have a chance.’ In effect, the problem here is not the system, or even the wealthy interests that have abused the system; the problem is the voters. (The same can be said at the congressional and local levels, where Green candidates who do the hard work of getting on ballots are almost completely ignored.)

I would be willing to accept as sound the assertion that the U.S.A. has become too large, too populated, and too unwieldy to govern under the system set forth in the Constitution. If the system itself lacks legitimacy, then it is largely because the system can’t function (to its professed intent) on such a scale, and can only be perpetuated as a thinly veiled sham. The Boycott Manifesto implies awareness of this perspective, but it falls short for lack of a key element: relevant action.

Can legitimacy be restored to the system? If not, then with what shall the system be replaced? A verbal disavowal of the system, accompanied by physical electoral abstinence, may offer ephemeral moral satisfaction, but then what? The system roars right along unchallenged, because, as the language of the manifesto clearly illustrates, the voices of the voters (participating or not) are irrelevant.

An electoral boycott, unless accompanied by some other concrete action, is by its very nature an exercise in irony. Attach to the manifesto advocacy for something constructive– dissolution of the union in favor of several smaller, more manageable republics, for example– and it gains meaning.

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