Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Voting is a waste of time.

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 27, 2011, 5:50 p.m. EST by Dionysuslives (170)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Representative democracy has existed for over two centuries and the world is more screwed up now than ever. If people wanna waste their time running around in the hamster wheel of electoral politics then far be it for me to tell them to do otherwise, but I will not be guilted into following suit. No amount of "move to Cuba if you don't like it" or "if you don't vote, don't complain" are going to sway me either. Radical social change doesn't happen in the voting booth, it happens when people actively rebel against the existing social order.

60 Comments

60 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by aahpat (1407) 2 years ago

Your disaffection only guarantees the status quo.

Be creative and find new ways to use the democracy that bypass and neutralize the corruption.

Anything other than democracy is dictatorship.

the thugs have taken the air out of this democracy. You can help to re-inflate it or you can try to reinvent the wheel. At least 63% of Americans use the current system and most would be willing to fix what is broken about it. Taking down the system and re-inventing it is a minority view that would not be supported by enough people to allow it to happen.

[-] -1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

"Your disaffection only guarantees the status quo."

I disagree. An uncompromising critique of electoral politics is a starting-point from which substantial social transformation can finally get underway.

"Be creative and find new ways to use the democracy that bypass and neutralize the corruption."

Like I said in 2 other posts, the problem with representative democracy (and democracy in general) isn't that it's 'corrupt,' but that it systematically alienates an individual's capacity to think and act for him/herself into the hands of an external authority.

"Anything other than democracy is dictatorship."

Spoken with the conviction of a religious platitude.

[-] 1 points by aahpat (1407) 2 years ago

You talk and talk but say nothing.

[-] 2 points by mha (142) 2 years ago

If voting could change anything it would be illegal.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

Where have I heard that before?

Oh yeah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tYOnnLJpNU

[-] 1 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

you don't stand a chance against the police and military. the tea party unseated 50 or 60 in 2010. There's your evidence that it works. I won't guilt you but let me reason with you. How will the change you want come about other than by vote?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (27542) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Voting is a waste of time??? Only if your against change!!!!

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

Or maybe I just conceive of "change" differently than you do. I don't presume to know your motives so don't presume to know mine.

[-] 1 points by weepngwillo2 (277) 2 years ago

I could not disagree more with the foundation of your argument. Howeve, I think that the initial statement echos the sentiment of the majority of voters. We have been duped into believing that voting doesn't matter, allowed the one percent to to blind us through continually hammering on our differences. The truth is that if the 99% really did take back our govt. we would be able to bring this nation closer to the ideal of what it was supposed to be.

[-] 1 points by MaryS (678) 2 years ago

I think not voting for either party is a colossal mistake. For God's sake, don't let the Republicans back in. The only thing to do is vote Obama back in and then work hard to create another party. I think the time for it is now.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

I'm going to vote for Jill Stein.

Also yes, even if you don't think voting will do anything you need to vote the people from congress out ASAP. If you don't you're a masochist.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

Electoral politics is just a circus. At best, all it can do is temporarily alleviate symptoms, not fundamentally transform society. If voting makes you feel better then go ahead, but make no mistake: that's all it amounts to.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

"At best, all it can do is temporarily alleviate symptoms"

That's good enough for now!

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

And I'm the one who's supposedly the defeatist here.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

Well what the heck do you want?

People in congress are obviously not listening.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

What I want is action informed by critical analysis instead of just going through the motions. If we can't even imagine life beyond existing social institutions, then why bother trying to improve things at all?

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

Okay what does life beyond existing institutions look like then?

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I don't pretend to offer definitive solutions to all of the world's problems, just a lens through which we can engage in social struggle reflectively instead of just doing things for the sake of doing them. My response to Mooks further down on this page offers some reasonably concrete ideas without descending into a fixed ideology:

"I think that a major reason why the world is in such dire straits these days is from failed ideologies which claim to hold all the right answers; so, in response to your question, I honestly don't know. If this was 3 years ago and I was still in my 'naive young anarchist' phase, I would have said a decentralized network of federated communities run on the basis of direct democracy. My analysis has matured a lot since then and I am no longer as convinced that Classical Anarchist theory holds the key to human salvation, although I think that a number of important lessons can be drawn from it.

The problem with any sort of 'Ideology,' be it anarchism, liberalism neoconservatism, or whatever is precisely that any effort to create a pre-fabricated political program necessarily flattens social critique and ignores the complexity of the world that we live in. My analysis at the present time includes a recognition of the fact that, regardless of alternative modes of social cohesion that people might experiment with, there is A LOT of uncertainty at play in any effort to transform society as it currently exists. Having said that, I tend to favour small-scale, temporary associations of individuals who collaborate with one another on common projects in furtherance of their mutual desires. The concrete forms that this might take will emerge as those actively engaged in social struggle continue to experiment with them."

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

"Having said that, I tend to favour small-scale, temporary associations of individuals who collaborate with one another on common projects in furtherance of their mutual desires. "

So anarchism...

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

Reread that last paragraph. I was being critical of anarchism as an ideological tradition while still preserving aspects of it that I feel are useful.

[-] 1 points by joe100 (306) 2 years ago

The voting today is fraud. Without a paper receipt voting is not real. All voters should get a receipt with appropriate info on it. Without open multiple ethernet plugs on each voting machine - means the voting is not real. Get real voting first, without fraud... then see what happens.

[-] 0 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I refer you to my response to Edgewaters. It's not a matter of 'fixing' a 'broken' system, it's that 'the system' as such is designed to alienate an individual's capacity to think and act for him/herself into the hands of an external authority.

[-] 1 points by joe100 (306) 2 years ago

Benevolent leadership is good, but you are right, difficult to find these days. but it is out there. There is a place for Consensus, which is VERY powerful. Classical democracy with 90% majority is OK to use in some instances. And leadership is ok to use in work groups and the military. All three systems have a place.

To think there should be no leaders in the world just doesn't make sense. To think that Consensus will not change today's world doesn't make any sense. Consensus is hugely powerful.

I like competition and responsibility. Have competitions. May the best representatives, represent. In ancient human times leaders were chosen by talent and character, and not a popularity contest.

But I am struggling too, with what kind of system we should have. I no longer support, for the long term (not right now) I no longer support one person - one vote. I think people that are more qualified to decide something should have more votes. Let people who deal with schooling have more votes on schooling. Let people who are educating and experienced with road building, decide roads. Let people who are educated in healthcare decide those issues.

I think with the Internet specialized voting will happen, and the most qualified humans in a an area will have more votes and more decision power. With the Internet - qualification is possible, for the first time in human history.

[-] 1 points by devilliers123 (18) 2 years ago

Sad but true...

The Original Distraction Method

[-] 1 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 2 years ago

It seems to me that if we really work at it, we could use the 2012 election to change the face of Congress by voting in smart, non-ideological individuals who are there to do something smart and non-ideological. If, as some have said, they will be juniors and therefore not allowed floor time, etc, then they can make themselves heard by the people who elected them -- via the internet, without media slant. I wish we would at least give this a shot. Just because it's always been said that the vote doesn't matter, that does not make it so. Just because it has been said that you can't buck the system, that does not make it so. You buck the system when you are willing to make waves and if you aren't re-elected, that's okay.

[-] 0 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I don't want to "change the face of Congress," I want to cut Congress's face right off and make a suit out of it like Buffalo Bill in Silence of The Lambs. Democracy is a zero-sum game that I have no interest in playing. But, like I say, if you wanna "give it a shot," then don't let me discourage you. Just don't expect me to go along for the ride.

[-] 2 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 2 years ago

Ewwww; ugly suit. :)

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

The world was much more screwed up in 1811 than it is now. There's nothing inherently wrong with voting, it's achieved lots of things in the past.

It's just pointless right at the moment, when the system has been so thoroughly hijacked. Hopefully this is a temporary state of affairs. It is, after all, a fairly recent development of only the last 30 or 40 years.

[-] -1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

It isn't a question of representative democracy being 'broken' or having been 'corrupted.' To quote a slogan that I've seen around different Occupy sites (as much as I take issue with the reduction of social reality to empty slogans), "the system isn't corrupt, it was built this way." The problem with 'representation,' be it political or aesthetic, is that it involves a deferral of an individual's capacity to think and act for him/herself into the hands of an external authority or symbolic image. The purity of a particular representative's motives (in the case of political representation) is of secondary importance to this deferral of agency.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

What type of system would you put in it's place?

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I think that a major reason why the world is in such dire straits these days is from failed ideologies which claim to hold all the right answers; so, in response to your question, I honestly don't know. If this was 3 years ago and I was still in my 'naive young anarchist' phase, I would have said a decentralized network of federated communities run on the basis of direct democracy. My analysis has matured a lot since then and I am no longer as convinced that Classical Anarchist theory holds the key to human salvation, although I think that a number of important lessons can be drawn from it.

The problem with any sort of 'Ideology,' be it anarchism, liberalism neoconservatism, or whatever is precisely that any effort to create a pre-fabricated political program necessarily flattens social critique and ignores the complexity of the world that we live in. My analysis at the present time includes a recognition of the fact that, regardless of alternative modes of social cohesion that people might experiment with, there is A LOT of uncertainty at play in any effort to transform society as it currently exists. Having said that, I tend to favour small-scale, temporary associations of individuals who collaborate with one another on common projects in furtherance of their mutual desires. The concrete forms that this might take will emerge as those actively engaged in social struggle continue to experiment with them.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

But what do you say to all those who like the current system enough that they would be unwilling to support something so radical? I would think the vast majority of Americans would rather stay with the system we have than do something radical. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I'm not as concerned with obtaining a 'critical mass' as I am with struggling for my own vision of radical social change here and now. The fact is, regardless of how clearly one might express their social analysis, there will always be large segments of the population who oppose them tooth and nail. This is because, in an age where ideologies are marketed like so many boxes of cereal, it isn't the strength of arguments that wins people over but the ability to appeal to their sense of vanity. This isn't to say that, through small-scale personal interactions, radically-inclined individuals such as myself shouldn't be trying to formulate compelling arguments at the same time as we struggle to transform society. It just means that the sort of large-scale shift in awareness that I am looking for will not proceed according to the logic of the marketplace.

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

Every system has always had an element of corruption, and always will. Occupy probably has an element of corruption in its own small way.

The problem with direct democracy is nothing could ever get done. Some tasks need to be deferred. Would we have a national referendum every time someone wanted to get a patent approved or apply for a job in the civil service?

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I'm not necessarily advocating direct democracy. In fact, I think that the hard-and-fast opposition that many left-leaning social movements would like to set up between direct and representative democracy is not as clear as it is often made out to be. While delegates within a direct democracy are not mandated to express views/goals that do not directly originate from the communities on behalf of which they speak, it could be argued that some form of 'representation' still exists under direct democracy -- be it expressed through the delegates as individuals or the abstract concept of "the People."

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

Well, let's put it this way. I'm interested in things that can actually be accomplished, not theory. Here is one test I use. Can I have a conversation about this with: my neighbour; my family (mom, brother, uncle, etc etc); the guy at the corner store; the guy at the gas station; the postman; my coworkers - etc etc etc.

If not, it doesn't pass the smell test as anything that's really relevant.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

Action that is not informed by theory is just empty busywork. The reason why so many social movements go belly up is because so many of their participants don't take the time to think about why they do the things that they do or how best to go about them. If one`s desired ends are not contained within the means through which they attempt to enact them, then their actions will necessarily fail.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

Action that is not informed by theory is just empty busywork.

And theory that cannot be acted upon is nicely satisfying mental masturbation. The point isn't whether the theory is valid or not, but whether or not we can get the rest of the country to act on it. If we can pull large enough groups of people to look at things differently then we're in business; if not we're not going to go anywhere because nobody will listen to what we have to say. That's the main problem I have with the bunch that want to speculate on what to replace the government with or won't soil themselves by voting.

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

Action that is not informed by theory is just empty busywork.

Tired old radical trite. They say this in anarcho-syndicalist knitting circles all the time.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

And, in my experience, anarcho-syndicalists are enamoured with empty busywork. Who needs an evolving analysis when you have a 150 year old ideology to cling to?

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

That's a dismissal, not a counterargument. As such, it counts for nothing.

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

I'm not making a counterargument. I'm outlining what I'm interested in and why. Why does everyone on the Internet think every exchange is a lecture-hall debate? It isn't rational.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I don't care about rationality, just a certain amount of critical reflection. I'm not telling you where your priorities should lie so spare me the anti-intellectual moralizing.

[-] 1 points by Edgewaters (912) 2 years ago

I don't care about rationality

Then I guess we're done.

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

You might be done; I'm just getting started.

[-] 0 points by doctorlove (-10) 2 years ago

you must be a dillusional asshole. Get a fucking clue you loser

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

Oh please. Learn to string a coherent argument together or take a hike. Your insults mean nothing to me.

[-] 0 points by doctorlove (-10) 2 years ago

You haven't got a clue you jackass. I want you and all your subordinate asshole liberal friends to pack your shit and leave my great country, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. You queer

[-] 2 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

No. There, that was easy.

[-] 0 points by doctorlove (-10) 2 years ago
[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I assume you have something more than words to enforce your will upon me?

[-] 1 points by doctorlove (-10) 2 years ago

leave, leave and very leave douche bag

[-] 1 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

Pffftt... you're all bark and no bite. Don't make me laugh.

[-] 1 points by doctorlove (-10) 2 years ago

are you RantCasey from Saginaw? A fuckface

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 2 years ago

If you are not going to vote, that is of course, your option. But why do you feel compelled to deter those who are attempting to use the system that is in place to change it? No one would attempt to change your mind, your not voting affects nothing and no one.

[-] 0 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

Because I like to foster critical thought instead of just engaging in actions because I can't think of anything better to do.

[-] 1 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 2 years ago

That is as good an answer as any. Thank you.

[Removed]

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by karenpoore (902) 2 years ago

Massive occupations when voting starts. No vote - revolt!

[-] 0 points by pinker (586) 2 years ago

Good God. Then don't vote. This conversation has already been hashed and rehashed. Just don't vote. I have noticed, thankfully, that it's usually the same few people saying they won't vote, so I think most see what a futile statement not voting is.

[-] 0 points by Dionysuslives (170) 2 years ago

I don't intend to vote -- but I also don't think that abstention from voting is sufficient in itself to effectively challenge existing social institutions. Not voting is simply a personal decision that I have made because I regard it as a distraction and don't want to play that game. However, I regard my own participation in social struggle as being better spent looking critically at social movements such as OWS and asking myself how they can maximize their effectiveness and to what extent I, as someone who desires to transform social reality itself, can participate in them without totally compromising my own vision. In any case, I appreciate the concession.