Stay home tomorrow…

… especially if you live in a swing state.

I’ve always said that it’s OK to vote, as long as you don’t vote for one of the duopoly candidates. But now I’m reconsidering. I think purposeful abstention actually makes a much stronger statement than voting for a third party. Abstention constitutes a critique of the whole foolish charade of American ‘elections’, and third-party voting does not.

Abstention also drives pep-squadders crazy, which is always fun. It is amazing how affronted people get by a display of indifference to their manias, whatever those happen to be.

In the case of election mania, there is a certain moral indignation besides the injured amour-propre, a mix which can produce some extraordinarily puerile behavior. One correspondent of mine responded to one of my fleering drive-by facebook posts with the comment that “there’s a real world out there beyond the claustrophic confines of your little coven.”

I’m not quite sure where my friend is getting her information about conditions here in the coven, since she has never attended one of our Black Sabbaths, as far as I know. I personally would describe it as cozy rather than claustrophobic.

Another correspondent, more amusingly and edifyingly, responded with a fine link to old Dr Marx’s essay on ‘Indifferentism’, which of course, like everything else the incomparable Moor wrote, is well worth a visit. It’s a polemic, delivered with the great man’s usual brio, against Proudhon’s rather sweeping contempt for all kinds of working-class struggle, including strikes and so on.

Of course — I think I can confidently speak for the coven on this topic — we’re with Marx and not with Proudhon as regards any kind of real and substantial popular struggle. We were quite giddy about OWS, for example, which Proudhon would surely have deplored.

Hey, we wouldn’t even discourage people from voting if there were anything of consequence to vote about. Our beef with the electoral charade is precisely the fact that it constitutes an illusion of struggle, which supplants the real thing, like a cuckoo’s egg in a robin’s nest.  

I find it very difficult to imagine Trier’s most distinguished son exhorting people to vote for Obama. This is, after all, the fella who coined the phrase ‘parliamentary cretinism’.

27 thoughts on “Stay home tomorrow…

  1. We were at a friend’s house the other night, and Karen shocked everyone by stating that she had never voted. I had to admit a vote for McGovern in 1972. The host reacted to our pronouncements by saying that Karen and I were lucky to have found each other. Indeed, but this had little to do with our nonvoting habits.

  2. ” “Just a reminder that there’s a real world out there beyond the claustrophic confines of your little coven.”

    Yes, and the dear correspondent must know that in that real world, more than half of the population doesn’t vote.

      • This is one of the things that fanship does to you. You start out recognizing that your guy is not so great, but you think he’s maybe a little less bad than the other guy. Then you get very invested in the game and consequently in your guy, and you start defending things you would certainly condemn if the other guy did them.

        • It’s really team sports writ large, as I’m sure I’ve heard you comment before. Who the fuck cares what sort of people they are as long as the home team wins?

  3. “It is amazing how affronted people get by a display of indifference to their manias, whatever those happen to be.”

    I don’t have a PhD in psychology… or in anything else so the trite observation I’m going to make may be readily discarded. But I wonder if, like any fanatically held belief the mere existence of others who don’t hold that belief threatens the belief’s structural integrity somehow. A hint of skepticism and one is immediately diagnosed with some manner of implied psychiatric disorder; being a purist or whatever, though without the accompanying tolerance one would expect were it say OCD.

    Of course the amateur psychiatrist is accompanied by a number of other familiar forensic tactics. Like the offensive defense: used to maximum effect the other day after a coworker commented favorably using facebook regarding the marathon being canceled (though I was rather hoping they’d let it carry on for a mob of Staten Islanders to throw downed trees, cars and other post-“superstorm” debris in the runners’ path) to which a second coworker (who defriended me long ago, I’m proud to say (I think for using the I-word: “imperialism”)) reacted–without Obama’s name being mentioned, by the way–as if Obama’s mother had just been called a whore, somehow overcoming facebook’s word limit to point out each and every possible way First Coworker failed to do anything to help her fellow New Yorkers in this time of need, instead sitting on facebook making snide remarks about her president while he sweats and toils, in the face of monolithic GOP opposition struggling to….well, you get the point. But I degrees…

  4. This all was actually my fault. Your friend’s line was seemingly in response to a comment I wrote, and deleted too late, in response to her tl;dr screed on all the people the Dems were saving; I had said something along the lines of “Christ, but you are tiresome.” I killed it because I don’t see any point on picking on these people, especially when they’re your friends. She was irritating me, but I felt like I was overstepping.

    I did quote Marx (it’s part of the “opium of the people” quote) with reference to voting Dem, and then your friend supplied his almost completely irrelevant Marx article, which even concedes is unfair to Proudhon. There’s also that the “followers of Proudhon” stand in relation to him roughly as Marx himself did to Fourier or Saint-Simon, but once Marx gets on a roll…

    Somehow I don’t think the article was advocating voting for the bourgeois parties: the first words of the article, which Marx put into his enemies’ mouths, are “The working class must not constitute itself a political party.” The idea that the Democratic Party is somehow the working class constituting a political party is truly bewildering.

    • Bein’ an old Southron Protestant an’ all, I’m familiar with the use of proof-texts from Scripture, and I’m a pretty good hand at it myself.

      But of course the Bible — another book well worth reading, and not just hearing about — contradicts itself at least as often as Dr Marx does, and for the same reason: they were figuring it out as they went along.

      As we all are. The good stuff is at best a lightning flash in the murk.

      • I’m not sure I understand. I was saying that that Marx article doesn’t do what Heartfield seems to think it does (which is an odd position for an anti-capitalist to take anyway, in my opinion).

        Were you using “proof-text” in reference to my phrase? Heartfield’s posting? Marx’s version of Proudhon?

        I’ve read fragments of the Bible, obviously, but never the whole thing. It always seemed tiresome. What do you think I would get out of it if I did summon the energy to plow through it?

        I apologize for yelling at your friend.

        • My friend who sent the Marx link was proof-texting, I thought, and yes, the squib misfired, I thought. As for my friends yelling at each other, that’s fine by me.

  5. The whole team-sports thing is interesting. I just don’t have that wiring in my head. I remember pep rallies in high school, a strange blend of grotesquerie and tedium. The cheerleaders’ flashing thighs caught my eye, of course, but apart from that, it all just seemed insane.

    • I tried for a while as a boy to convince myself I cared about the Seattle SuperSonics. When they lost a sectional title, I told myself it was my fault for not focusing hard enough or caring like I should. I can’t remember if I was really upset or just trying very hard to be upset.

      I ultimately failed. I haven’t really gotten it since. It’s really uncomfortable, because I just can’t fake my way through an interaction about sports.

  6. I voted already – for some local candidates who oppose the attempts to site LNG and Coal transport facilities in our midst.

    It’s worth voting to stop that shit.

    Didn’t vote for Rombama or Obamney tho’

  7. Yeah, the local elections are more appealing. Though everybody is so bought that one wonders whether even local candidates aren’t just national candidates writ small. But then, maybe they’re not.

    • I also toyed with that notion for a while, then thought about the quality of city council “leadership” in major cities — especially NYC, and down here in my very own Washington, DC.

      They’re all just as sociopathic, greedy and bought; just smaller versions of “leadership” at the national level, out bucking for a shot at the big time.

      • “Though everybody is so bought that one wonders whether even local candidates aren’t just national candidates writ small.”

        Yes, one does wonder…

        “then thought about the quality of city council “leadership” in major cities — especially NYC, and down here in my very own Washington, DC.”

        Yeah, out here in the boonies of rural Oregon its a good ol’ boys club. However… they still have to get elected and there is a slate of candidates for the local county commission who promise to oppose any efforts to site an LNG terminal or coal transport terminal here in the county.

        So in a quite mercenary move I’ve voted for them. Are they lying? Will they change their position after getting elected? Will they end up joining the good ol’ boys club?


  8. Comrades, I almost got into a bar fight with bunch of Obama enthusiasts last night! We were out celebrating my dodging death for one more year and all of a sudden the whole bar started booing when the picture of Romney showed up on the TV. So I started booing when Obie’s image came up and of course that started the shouting match. I figured I should clarify myself in case bunch of drunk guys think I’m a right wing asshole! So I approached one of them and started explaining that my critique was from the left and went over the crimes of Obie. He didn’t want to have any of it and kept on saying how the Republicans are a bunch of “cowboys” and reminded me of the miserable years of W. When I told him that Obie’s record is worse than W, he got even more pissed off. Luckily, the bar tender intervened and we split but man, who would have thought bunch of Quebecois would be so passionate about this guy. Sadly, most western foreigners (even the relatively progressive type like the Quebecois) view Obie with much undeserved adoration.

    • That makes me really sad. I wanted to say that it made more sense for AmLibs to lie to themselves to sleep at night, but I guess in a way all of North America is the US back yard?

      I find it hard to imagine a bunch of Americans in a bar getting so heated about, say, a Chretien or a Harper. Or a Brown or a Cameron. Or a Tsipras or a Papandreou.

  9. I just posted this on my Facebook page. Luckily I have a polite group of ‘Friends’ so they’ll most likely just look past with a tinge of disgust, unlike MJS’s frenemies.

    “I just voted and I have no idea what I voted on! Despite my misgivings, because I have not done any research or heard any informed comment on the current election, it feels good to do my part and contribute my uninformed backing to people and laws that I don’t know anything about.

    So get out there and vote. And if you can’t decide who or what to vote for, do what I did and flip coins in the polling booth. If you’re feeling particularly entrepeneurial and want to make some extra cash, you could probably sell them at the voting site. Or if you have a bitchy, nagging, over opinionated significant other you could offer your vote to them as a cheap birthday or early-Christmas gift. Finally, you could go to your Facebook page and vote based on the number of posts in favor of a particular candidate or proposition.


    • Yes, I sinned as well. I’m rather keen on my assemblywoman for purely local, pothole reasons. My councilman is good, too, on the pothole and constituent-services front, and as he’s also a product of the “vile” Vito Lopez Bklyn machine, I had to vote for him just because the local libs/googoos/gentrifiers go ape shit about all things Vito.He’s so Old Brooklyn, as opposed to Meta Brooklyn. Hell, if they’re against him, he must be doing something right — namely securing goodies for his voters the corrupt old-fashioned way.

      As I was already there,I had fun filling out the oval for this lovely Marxist-Leninist:

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