let it all collapse, the icon for the www.punkerslut.com website
Home Articles Critiques Books Video
About Graphics CopyLeft Links Music

Can the Political Party
Help You?

By Punkerslut

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From "Politics" Gallery from RadicalGraphics.org

Start Date: July 15, 2009
Finish Date: July 17, 2009

"In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing.

"Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a "party line." Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, White Papers and the speeches of under-secretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, home-made turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases---bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder---one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them."
          --George Orwell,
          "Politics and the English Language," 1946

     We are all members of society. We each have an equal right to the decision-making process for how our society is organized. But many people who want to change society are using the political party. Their tactics are to encourage voters and have their candidates run for election. But does this method really help you out? Does your candidate fulfill your hopes?

     If you want to change something in society, you need to have your candidate elected. This is the option that the political party provides for you. And you're stuck to that candidate, if they're the only one who supports your platform. You'll have to support them in their other campaigns, in their other ideas, whether or not you're completely opposed to them. It's the only option of the political party, if you want to have a chance to change society.

     In many elections, it is a close match between the two political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. Your candidate wants to get more votes, which means broadening the platform. Many voters will not whole-heartedly agree with all proposals, but they'll agree with some. To make themselves look better, the candidate will make their platform less concrete, less meaningful, and less real.

     By moving towards the center, politicians are making themselves look more appealing to the undecided voters. If they're elected, they won't be enacting your vision; they'll only be enacting a heavily compromised version of it.

"Under parliamentary government parliament is the battlefield where the interests of the different classes of society meet; big and small capitalists, land owners, farmers, artisans, merchants, industrialists, workers, all have their special interests that are defended by their spokesmen in parliament, all participate in the struggle for power and for their part in the total product. The workers have to take part in this struggle. Socialist or labour parties have the special task of fighting by political means for the immediate needs and interests of the workers within capitalism. In this way they get the votes of the workers and grow in political influence."
          --Anton Pannekoek, 1938
          "General Remarks on the Question of Organisation"

     To get the vote of enough people itself requires massive mobilization of people and organizations. You're trying to get enough people to vote for a candidate who supports your platform. If you can get enough voters, why not encourage those people to fulfill your platform instead?

     For example, if you are working for labor rights and improved standards of living, form unions. Ten million workers on strike will do plenty to increase their wages. Ten million voters dropping pieces of paper into a box will do virtually nothing.

     A thousand volunteers creating labor agencies will do much for increasing employment. But if those same thousand voted for some law, they'll be some minority that gets overruled. A hundred people organizing for public awareness about discrimination can change the entire social order. But that same hundred lobbying in congress would be fighting a struggle they'd never win. Those who want to protect the environment would be more effective at convincing workers to strike for ecology. At least, when compared with lobbying a bunch of senators who live off of environmentally-unfriendly companies.

     The same number of voters, organized into associations, accomplish the same objective. And they can do it better! Become uninvolved with the government. Become involved with your community.

"In politics, naught but quantity counts. In proportion to its increase, however, principles, ideals, justice, and uprightness are completely swamped by the array of numbers. In the struggle for supremacy the various political parties outdo each other in trickery, deceit, cunning, and shady machinations, confident that the one who succeeds is sure to be hailed by the majority as the victor. That is the only god,--Success. As to what expense, what terrible cost to character, is of no moment. We have not far to go in search of proof to verify this sad fact."
          --Emma Goldman,
          "Minorities Versus Majorities"


join the punkerslut.com
mailing list!

copyleft notice and
responsibility disclaimer