Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Don't Vote" video with commentary

Don't get me wrong, voting has its effect but let's not fetishize its importance. Listen to greater people than I, such as Emma Goldman, who said: "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."

Or the great Lucy Parson who said: "Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. "

Or Ambrose Bierce: "Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country. "

Or, and you knew this was coming, the inimitable Henry David Thoreau: "Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose."

Go out. Vote. Then engage in direct action within your community. Join community cop watches and document and disseminate instances of police brutality. Donate time and money to local charities such as Food Not Bombs. Talk to co-workers about labor issues, explain abuses of power to them (but don't be a dick about it) and organize against unfairness and hazards within your own workplace (okay, you can be kind of dick about this). Read about current events. Write about solutions and educate others, Read. Seek out alternative news. Read. Watch the mainstream media and mentally debate with what you're present. And, of course, read. Write to elected officials even during non-election years.

Voting will change society the same way a bumper sticker will teach you quantum mechanics. It takes hard work and indefatigable persistence. It takes a persuasive tongue, a steady hand and a truthful heart. Wisdom. Introspection. Action. These are the tools in a revolutionary's tool chest.

So I'll leave you with these words by Howard Zinn.

"If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates. "

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