An Open Letter to the Reformists Within Occupy Portland

photo by Kendall

David “Däv” O’Bryant

“The notion of “policy” presumes a state or governing apparatus which imposes its will on others. ‘Policy’ is the negation of politics; policy is by definition something concocted by some form of elite, which presumes it knows better than others how their affairs are to be conducted. By participating in policy debates, the very best one can achieve is to limit the damage, since the very premise is inimical to the idea of people managing their own affairs.” – David Graeber

It’s 2012. It’s an election year. It should be obvious by now that the many individuals and groups who have plugged into the Occupy Movement over the past half year are a very politically-interested set. We really need to talk about the elections. Moreover, with the May primaries just weeks away, with the Willamette Week rejecting the seriousness of Portland occupier Cameron Whitten’s bid for Mayoral candidacy–in their words, “We think Whitten stands to accomplish more as an activist than as a politician”–and with the ever present threat of Co-optation of Occupy Portland’s aims and energies by the very power elite who wish to dilute and destroy our message, we can’t really avoid having this discussion. With this in mind, I would like to suggest a few important things to consider over the course of this year.

1) There has never been an elected official in the US who has effectively stopped the encroachment of corporate power upon American life. Some Libertarian party folk point to Andrew Jackson as an example of a historical politician who stopped central banking in the
US, as an example of some supposed glory days of when American leaders had the backbone to resist the hegemony of anti-democratic power (an irony considering Jackson’s simultaneous treatment of indigenous peoples of America’s South land); however, empirical evidence would suggest that 175 years later, Jackson–like every other American politician before or since–ultimately failed to create a substantive historical shift that might have contributed to anything like a democratic society in the here and now. If we operate from the premise that it is real social change that we want, and not merely limited concessions and moralistic lip service, then there is more than ample evidence that accomplishing this through electoral reform will get us only so far, at best, and, at worst, nowhere at all.

2) When your enemies are writing the rules of the game, it is reasonable to refuse those rules. If you accept the premise that corporations have bought our democracy (and now stand to make billions from political speculation), you have to consider that the rules which those bought officials create for themselves are inimical to manifesting real political change within the margins allotted political operatives. Even before we consider the counter constituencies that have swallowed the narratives crafted by the corporate hegemons to promote their political agenda, we have to consider that the role of our elected officials may be far too limited in scope to effectuate the kind of changes we seek to institute in our society. In fact, it may very well be counter-intuitive for many politicians to create the changes which drive the demand to put them in office.

We see very similar manifestations of this in the social services, the prison-industrial complex, and the ever expanding military. If social services were successful, wouldn’t more social workers be out of a job? If crime rates are constantly going down, why do we keep spending more money on Police and building more prisons? If we are the dominant military force on the globe, why does “defense” spending keep increasing? This very same question could be lobbed at our elected officials: If our elected officials engendered the advancement of a truly democratic society, why would we need to keep them?

3) If we are to effectively work together toward our common political goals, we must move beyond zero-sum political games. Let’s face it, we operate in a winner take all, majoritarian electoral system. While plenty of other ideas, such as Proportional Representation or Instant Runoff Voting, have been advanced, we don’t have them yet. So long as this remains the case, anybody who votes for any candidate does so at the expense of all other candidates for whom they are not voting. Subsequently, any public support for any individual candidate, is a public detraction from all opposing candidates.

That’s fine, when we all agree on things. If the elections were a simple matter of voting 99% vs. 1%, we would probably have no problem coming to consensus on which party we endorse as a movement. The fact of the matter is, however, that Occupy is a lot more dynamic than that. In the past six months of Occupy Portland, I’ve met Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Progressives, Independents, Ron Paul Libertarians, Marxists, Anarchists, Leninists, Trotskyists and people from a wide variety of other political persuasions. For all of us to agree to support ANY candidate at the expense of all others is absurd.

I’m not saying that individuals within Occupy can’t support political campaigns. At the end of the day, though, I will not be voting this year. I don’t really care who anyone votes for–or if they vote at all. While we have ample opportunities to work together without undermining each other’s work, the elections do not represent such an avenue.

Obviously, this is only one perspective on a very dynamic issue. Ultimately, the discussion will continue in the weeks leading up to the Oregon primaries, and in the run up to the November election. As we continue our fight against the onslaught of the 1% against popular liberty and self-determination, it is important that we recognize the necessity of this discussion.

  24 comments for “An Open Letter to the Reformists Within Occupy Portland

  1. John Wood
    May 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato

    We, the 99%, have three ways to make ourselves heard, our voice through online petitions and other means of contacting legislators, our vote, or through revolution.

    Although some seem to be holding out for revolution, we’re not there yet. Things will have to get much worse first. Until we can muster 100,000 for a march or demonstration, we aren’t close to a revolution and will not change anything.

    I’m seeing results from online petitions and protests. The use of our vote, as flawed as all the candidates seem to be, can, at least, keep the worst of them out of office. A few hundred of us marching around the streets of Portland does little. For now, I’m doing all three. I vote, and I urge everyone else to vote, or you give up your rights to someone else.

    • Däv
      May 4, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      I think your Plato quote illustrates my point precisely. Engagement in politics is something altogether different from choosing policy makers apart from ourselves (See the Graeber quote at that I started out with above).

      We have far more than 3 ways to make our voices (and our actions) heard (and felt).

  2. May 4, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    All I’m getting from this article is that some activists are giving up. When fat cats hear liberals say they’re done voting, it makes their day. All it means is that our nation’s future will be determined by those with money and power, as well as the sheep they’ve indoctrinated. Imagine what our nation would look like today if those from the past who fought hard to bring attention to issues like racial prejudice and civil rights – putting pressure on legislatures, voting in politicians (not just presidents) with the best interests of the masses, voting out bad apples, etc. – imagine if they decided to hold hands and sing kumbaya instead. Progress has been made. Monopolies have been broken up. Institutionalized racist worldviews have begun to unravel. Members of the same sex can get married in some states, and openly homosexual people can serve in the military – there’s a recent one. These were all thought to be impossible at one point, but they were made possible through voting. There is no reason we can’t do the same thing today, but first we have to remove the ability for those with money to influence politicians. This can be done through policy. There are plenty of attempts to make it happen right now – is just one of them.

    This movement is unprecedented in recent history, and it is incredible to watch. It’s also frustrating to hear leaders of the movement discourage members from voting at such a crucial time, when votes can and do change things. We simply have to see the change through to the end. It’s not the easiest way, but it’s the most effective way.

    This is only one moment in a much larger narrative. It can be the moment when we rise up and work as one within the system to fix it, or the moment when we give up and allow the dark tides of corporate oligarchy to destroy the hard work of those who came before. You’re right that the corporations have tainted our political process, but officially the power still rests in our hands. We simply need to vote in enlightened congresswomen and men with strength and integrity, and stop pretending that voting in a president alone will solve our problems.

    • Däv
      May 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      “Vote or give up” is a false dichotomy.

      • Worthless
        May 4, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        True. Especially as we all know that the majority of people gave up before voting.

      • printhead
        May 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        so is “vote or support revolution.”

        • Däv
          June 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

          Did you completely miss the part where I said, “I’m not saying that individuals within Occupy can’t support political campaigns.”

  3. May 4, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    While I totally respect where you’re coming from Däv, and while my own decision to vote has always come with both an emotional elation (I fucking *love* Democracy) and abject despair of any vote I cast (I’m a realist) being marginalized the one part of your argument that misses with me is that there are many smaller and middling things that do get accomplished by voting the people into office. The bigger picture, the intrinsic changes we have been fighting and organizing towards won’t change, but depending on who gets elected into various offices makes a HUGE difference to many people in much smaller ways. How funds are allocated, what gets budgeted and addressed how, etc. It does make a difference. A Scott Walker as Governor is disastrous to any community he walks into whereas a John Kitzhaber at least has a much more public interest in mind. They may be shades of each other, but the shades make a difference.

    I vote, but I also Occupy and I write and I organize and I act. Personal diversity of tactics.

    • rothstei
      May 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Something that I think is completely missed by the exhortation that “you must vote” is criticism of the electoral system. While I still turn in a ballot, I find that the call to vote completely devocalizes any discussion of the ways that “voting” is systemically broken in America. Single-Member District Plurality (SMDP) voting is an absolute sham, and a direct means by which corporate capital retains control of the representative system. Rather that discuss SMDP, we are simply paraded a row of third-party candidates that are at odds to lose, and told that in this losing game lies our salvation. Rather than discuss the blatant racism that is gerrymandering, we are told to elect candidates that will, hopefully, gerrymander less. Rather than discuss the nationalism inherent in “civic duty” arguments, we are made to read story after story of the apolitical reality show that is campaign politics (let the “Green Party” activities in and around Occupy Portland be the first example of this apolitical reality show).

      Sure, it is still possible to turn in a ballot while boycotting the abattoir of democracy that is the US voting process (I do this every year). But in the effort to “get out the vote”, activists’ rhetoric buys into ideology that supports these systemic failures’ acceptance. From the majority of the “you must vote” activists, any real critique of these failures in the voting system is pushed aside. Voting may be a means of achieving small victories (or at least preventing larger defeats), but activists that try to convince other activists to vote need to stop leading with campaign literature, and start actually discussing the reasons that voting in the United States is fundamentally against the people.

  4. Doc Occupy
    May 4, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I find this kind of rhetoric disheartening and it makes me feel, as a reformer, like there may not be a place for me any longer in Occupy. I am not nearly as pessimistic as the writer. I have seen positive changed as a result of elections. I have seen positive change as a result of policy debate. I have seen the devastation that can come about when liberals accept the idea that the two parties are completely the same, most recently in Wisconsin. While I do agree that Occupy itself should be non-partisan and should not endorse candidates, the idea that you are somehow being revolutionary by promoting the idea that people should not vote is completely false and very damaging. As someone else above wrote, the 1% loves when the 99% become so disaffected that they don’t vote. Although the 1% are trying to undermine the electoral process through so-called “voter fraud” laws, really Voter Suppression, they can’t completely eviscertate the electoral system without losing all credibility. And so we vote. I have been tolerant of the anarchists, because I understand their aspirations. But as an educator and as an American, I find it disturbing that people in Occupy would want to take away the People’s most basic weapon: the vote. Think of how many people marched and died for women and African Americans to get the right to vote?

    • rothstei
      May 4, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      How come anarchists are supposed to be tolerant of people telling them to vote, but you think that people telling you not to vote is something which you can no longer tolerate?

      ” the idea that you are somehow being revolutionary by promoting the idea that people should not vote is completely false and very damaging.”

      How come people think that telling people what they are doing is “completely false,” proves a point? That’s an opinion, and not a fact. Anarchists have been part of Occupy since the very beginning, and these conversations that act as if anarchists were somehow enforcing their opinion onto others is pretty unfair. You seem like you want to lecture anarchists, and tell them all of these facts about what is “completely false”, but that’s you opinion, and you should not be forcing that upon anyone.

      As to the merits of the opinion: a lot of people died to eradicate monarchy as well, but that doesn’t mean we should be satisfied with the way things are simply because there is no longer a king. People died to get the vote, but if the vote isn’t working, then we should not just shut up and accept it. I find it disturbing that people spend their time organizing a three-legged entry for a rat race. The vote has become a sham, completely overrun with money, rigged by the elite, and based upon antiquated political science models that could barely be democratically suitable for the full population of the original 13 colonies, let alone 300 million people. It already is eviscerated, and voters, especially activist voters inability to recognize that fact has become a major siphon of effort and resources. I have been tolerant of voters, because I understand that not everyone can come to terms with this right away. But I nevertheless do find it disturbing so many side with the elite on this matter, and urge their fellows to “take their anger to the polls”, as if there was a ballot selection for fixing the problem.

      And by the way, the People’s most basic weapon is not a metaphor. It’s a weapon.

    • Däv
      June 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      I’ll reiterate: “I’m not saying that individuals within Occupy can’t support political campaigns.”

  5. Runtmg
    May 4, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    This is a fairly standard infantile underestimation of the true value of the political process. To begin with, I respect your analysis of the corporate controlled electoral system as well as it not being a vehicle for complete change. What I disagree with though is the defeated attitude approaching the issue. By not advocating a platform as opposed to a candidate means that the ideas you are seeking to build a revolt for are held hostage to the obvious limitations of the political system. It is almost as if you wish for the system to die irregardless of the men and women who would be crushed in a collapse of the system. Certainly, it is your right to vote or not to vote but in the end your reason for doing so is more of a reaction then a revolution.

    • Däv
      June 4, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      To be honest, I see system death as an inevitable part of social evolution. The system of British rule, for instance, died in the period of 1776-1789. Some were crushed, some prospered. That’s just an inevitable part of social change and should be something that everyone engaged in social movements should be aware of.

      More importantly, just as there is no such thing as revolution without tears, there’s no such thing as a bloodless status quo. Before questioning the many people who would be crushed by the death of the present social system (by completely different degrees depending on the degree of development we apply to counter-institutions to hedge the damage), consider the millions around the world who are being crushed in order to preserve the very life of the social system presently in place. Certainly no political candidate that I am aware of having any chance of substantive success is campaigning on a platform of ending the destructive forces of US imperialism, the increasingly profit driven war against bodies of color or the war on the working poor both here in America and around the world. Certainly millions of people are having their lives destroyed this very minute.

      While I fully support anybody putting forth efforts to put a stop to this and would even vote for candidates with the aim and capacity of doing so, when that option is not present, why the hell would anybody vote for the continuation of this social behavior?

      Again, the point of the above article is to articulate the FACT that while people can vote for whoever they like, this is not an area where we will come to a unified collective agreement and our collective efforts would be better spent on the tactics we can cooperate on.

  6. Worthless
    May 4, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    Congratulations. You and the 1% are in perfect agreement.

    They spend millions every election to make sure that minorities don’t (or can’t!) vote, women are discouraged, and the young people are distracted and don’t bother. If the system were so ineffective, then why would they bother?

    The old(er), rich(er), and status quo are making your decisions for you. And you sit like an infant in a high chair, waiting to throw the mush on the floor and thinking that makes a great statement.

    Instead: I propose you do both. Get out on the streets. Protest the corruption. And hit that ballot box and Vote. Do your research, find the candidate that you actually like, and vote.

    In 2008, the ‘record turnout’ where the youth ‘turned out in droves’, less then 57% percent of people who could vote managed to tear themselves from “American Idol” to do it. 2010, the ‘Tea Party Revolution’ saw a little more then a third voting.

    When you do not vote, you are actively choosing to reinforce the status quo. You want a change in government? You want a Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich in office? Would you think it’s cool to have Cameron Witten as Mayor? Can’t be done unless YOU get your ass in a voting booth. Every march in the world will not get it done. Five minutes with a ballot will.

    • Däv
      June 4, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Symbolic action and voting are not the only options of political discourse.

  7. Carlo Castoro
    May 5, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    The realization that the corporate elite’s interests are pitted against the general population should not be a conclusion but rather a starting point. The writer of this article is intelligent and understands the problem well. The challenge is not to decry the unfair system but rather to use any and every tool at one’s disposal to affect real, positive, lasting change. Voting is one of them. I worked with Moveon in the 2000 election to get out the vote for Al Gore. This was in the State of Florida where the election was decided by 537 votes. Tears were shed by many yet we had no clue what was in store for us. I want to ask the author of this article- Do you think Al Gore would have put us in Iraq?

    Also, I completely disagree that “There has never been an elected official in the US who has effectively stopped the encroachment of corporate power upon American life.” There is a long history of legislation restraining corporate power in this country including The Banking Act of 1933 aka Glass-Steagall. Horrifically, the banking lobby used their vast riches to lobby congress to repeal the law and in return we got the Great Recession.

    Therefore, the challenge is (as stated here by others) to vote ONLY for candidates who vow to comprehensively reform the electoral system. If that is the only result of Occupy, I believe, it will go down as one of the greatest populist movements in American history.

    • Däv
      June 4, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      To be clear that the banking lobby was able to “repeal” Glass-Steagall is an illustration of the historical failure of Glass-Steagall as an effective curb to the growth of corporate power, which was precisely my point. The growth of corporate power in the US has not been effectively stopped, thus the attempts to do so have clearly failed.

      Moreover, political vows are not effective change unless they are acted upon. Due largely to the element of corporate power in politics, there is little material incentive for politicians to actually care much for the political will of the people. We can put them out of office after they’ve gotten in and made good on their corporate alliances, but what are they actually losing? On the federal level, they get a fairly nice pension and are allowed to resume business with their new big moneyed connections that their posts as “public servants” have allowed them to acquire. Moreover, for many politicians who start from a moneyed position, taking office itself, comes with a pay cut as federal elected officials are generally making less money in their public role than they were making in the private sector. Given that dynamic, I don’t really expect much from the promises of people who have nothing, materially, to lose by lying.

      If we can change that, we can quickly work toward a truly democratic society. I don’t see how we will effectively change that through the ballot.

  8. Chris
    May 6, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    To all those commenting here –

    The problem with voting, as an institution, is that it grants legitimacy to the victor and to his acts while in office, no matter how vile; what’s more, the act of participating in the vote grants it legitimacy as an institution even when that institution is clearly corrupt. When we vote, we are saying, “we accept this, even if we have some reservations about the result.” It is like if we were hosting a footrace, and one of the racers had a sliver in their foot and another had a bunch of rocks in his path and a third jumped the gun, and when the latter won the race, we gave him the trophy, because maybe the race was grossly unfair and one of the racers cheated, but he did WIN, didn’t he?

    Recently we saw a Democratic president, supposedly the “good guy”, blatantly commit gross Constitutional violations for which he ought to have been immediately impeached – or failing that, shunned by the voters. Instead, we are now told that we’d better reelect him this fall, or else the other guy will get in instead, and he’s worse. Why should we, the people, accept this false dichotomy at all? Why should we give trophies to the winners of unfair races? Why should any of us recognize the legitimacy of the next President elect, considering the manner of his election? And if that President is acting without the consent of the governed, if he is in fact a tyrant, then does it really matter who gets into office, or what minority successfully voted him in?

    Locally, things are not quite so dire (or, considering Sam Adams’ irresponsible spending and obvious lack of concern for ongoing police brutality and all three leading candidates’ disdain for OPDX, maybe they are), and yet it is widely held that there are only three “real” candidates, while the other – what, 22? – have been excluded from participation in debates and discussions. If we allow this election to proceed, do we not thereby condone its faults?

    “Oh,” say the pro-voters, “but there’s no revolution around the corner. The people aren’t ready to rise up against tyranny yet, so this is the best we can do for now.” Very well. But if you think that voting is so important, then you should be the loudest voices crying for electoral change – whether that’s public campaign financing or lobbying restrictions or IRV or giving third candidates their rightful place in debates or instituting a parliamentary body or getting rid of the electoral college or whatever it’s going to take to restore the people’s democracy. Because when you’re asking people to participate in a broken system, if you’re not also fighting just as hard to tell people why the system you’re asking them to participate in is broken and needs to be fixed, then you’re just supporting the status quo.

  9. Justin Myers
    May 7, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I am heartened to see all the fierce defenders of voting in the comments here.

    I am one who believes that the parties are the true engines of power and influencing them from the inside is both doable and effective. The Daily Kos website creators advocated for this in their book Crashing the Gates, encouraging people to swarm the Democratic Party and pull it hard to the left.

    This is how I engage. I have been nudging and needling the Multnomah County Democratic Party for many years now. I would love more Occupiers to join me in the party. It would take about 200 people to unseat the leaders of the Democratic Party in Oregon, take over their budgets, offices and platform. We’d have instant ballot access for candidates and make a whole bunch of noise in the meantime.

    Join me. Take over the Democratic Party and make it responsive to the people’s needs.

    • Chris
      May 7, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      “Harkinson naively believes that progressives can change the Democratic Party from within. That is essentially what he is arguing when he says Occupy should “co-opt the Democratic Party.” By advocating this, he is serving a function that progressive publications like Mother Jones and progressive groups like Progressive Democrats of America have historically served. He is, whether intended or not, deterring the creation of alternatives to the two parties. And he is overlooking the history of efforts to change the Democratic Party from within, which include Dennis Kucinich’s campaigns, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, writer Upton Sinclair’s 1934 primary victory, and Howard Dean’s eventual demise in 2004.”

      -Kevin Gosztola

  10. May 7, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Carlos Castoro, while it is possible that Gore might not have put us in Iraq, if he’d died of an accident or illness, or been assassinated like JFK, his running mate Joe Lieberman, certainly would have.

    Worthless, the corporations do spend a few million in chump change suppressing the vote, but they spend billions funding election campaigns to get out the vote so that they can claim the consent of the governed for their wholly-owned puppets. Voter suppression is a way to fool people into thinking that their uncounted, unverifiable votes for people they can’t hold accountable, have value.

    John Wood, as Däv said, voting is not “participating in politics.” It is, at best, expressing a non-binding preference for those you wish to participate in politics on your behalf.

    There are definitely more than three ways to make ourselves heard, and noncompliance by refusing to vote is a legal, nonviolent, and proven effective way:

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories of somebody giving a trusted friend, relative, or partner the money to pay their rent or other bills, only to have the person spend the money on something else and the bill go unpaid. Vital responsibilities should not be delegated to anyone, no matter how honest and trustworthy that person is. Democracy is just a word for self-governance, i.e., government of the people, by the people and for the people, as Lincoln put it. You can’t delegate self-governance to representatives, it’s something we have to do for ourselves, like breathing or eating, and it is just as vital.

    • Worthless
      May 9, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      “There are definitely more than three ways to make ourselves heard, and noncompliance by refusing to vote is a legal, nonviolent, and proven effective way:

      If it’s so effective, then why hasn’t it worked in America? We generally have only a THIRD of people who could vote bothering.
      The 1% wants that balance point. Just enough of the hardcores (plus: themselves) voting, while the people who actually could get benefits from this don’t bother.
      Don’t forget: Voting isn’t just the President, it’s the mayor, the judges, the Sheriff. Can you imagine if we had a Occupy-friendly Sheriff in Multnomah County?

      Like the old tee-shirt slogan said “Vote F*cker”

      • May 9, 2012 at 7:28 PM

        Why do you feel that having an Occupy-friendly Sheriff in Multnomah County is worth voting to give your personal, knowing, and voluntary consent of the governed to the continued drone-bombing of innocent kids in Pakistan, Worthless?

        I don’t care what you think the other kids will do, I want to know if you have considered what you are doing. Voters are apathetic. Obama just “endorsed” gay marriage and immediately got a million dollars in campaign donations from gay marriage advocates who have apparently forgotten than he also endorsed ending torture, closing Guantanamo, ending illegal surveillance, limiting illegal settlements in Palestine, and many other things that he never intended to do in the first place and hasn’t done.

        But he will keep drone bombing innocent people, as will anyone in his office, because if they didn’t the military-industrial-complex would have them eliminated like JFK. Contracts for the drones and the bombs have already been signed. It’s business. The genocide-for-profit business.

        It is only in mid-terms and local elections that there is a 30% turnout. In Presidential races there is usually at least a 50% turnout, almost equally divided between the two drone-bombing parties who get donations in almost equal amounts from the big banks, corporations, and defense contractors, with a smattering of votes for people who have no chance at all of winning in a winner-take-all system where the votes don’t even have to be counted and more than 90% of votes, even when cast on paper ballots, are scanned and tallied electronically and are therefore completely unverifiable.

        Ironically, one of the things that some US voters are willing to trade the lives of innocent others for, is immigrant rights here in the US. Of course many immigrants to the US are fleeing US wars, drone bombs, and death squads in other countries. So even immigrants who were forced to come here by US government policies, are willing to vote to legitimize the US government, grant their consent of the governed to the US government, and authorize the US government to continue it’s murderous policies in return for normalizing their status here. I find it baffling. Maybe there are some who still have families abroad who are reluctant to join them here, and they think that more drone attacks might convince them (if they survive)? It is obviously safer to be on the sending end of the bomb than on the receiving end of the bomb, but it does not demonstrate any concern for the current and future victims.

        Some people want gay rights, reproductive rights, immigrant rights, better pay, more jobs, or less local police brutality (which won’t happen because local sheriffs get their riot gear and marching orders from Homeland Security), and are perfectly willing to delegate war powers to government, in the slim and very unlikely hope of getting their own rights, knowing that doing so will result in millions more innocent lives sacrificed to capitalist imperialism.

        So how many innocents are you willing to personally authorize the government to drone bomb so that you can have your forlorn and improbable hope of getting a sheriff who’ll refuse Homeland Security weapons and disobey Homeland Security orders? A thousand? A hundred thousand? A million? Or doesn’t it matter as long as you can cast an uncounted, unverifiable vote to delegate your responsibilities to representatives who won’t represent you?

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