Voting. Was Air your views... godena's support for election

Louis R Godena louisgodena at
Sun Aug 11 18:58:45 MDT 1996

"Ms Ang" (sorry,  my mistake) doesn't agree that:

> those who don't vote are passive participants in the
>electoral process.

Not everyone, certainIy, and, as you implicitly point out,  cynicism is
widespread even among those who regularly cast their ballot.    However,
virtually everyone has grown up in a climate of universal suffrage where
voting is regrarded as a normal part of positive political life in America.
It is against this political backdrop that one has to work to inculcate
ideas that reveal the bogus nature of capitalist "democracy" and the role
that ritual behavior (voting,  campaigning, etc) plays in upholding it.

She continues:

>I don't think they don't vote out of laziness but out of
>an awareness that it wouldn't make any difference in their lives.  Today's NY
>Times (Week in Review section) has a front page article showing that voting
>participation correlates very closely to one's income.  The more income, the
>more belief that the system has something to offer and they vote.  The poorer,
>the less they vote.

This is a commonplace--remember the Times used the figure of $15,000,  a
somewhat low figure when speaking of the working class.   Of course,  higher
incomes are going to enjoy a higher rate of participation than lower ones.
What of it?    Some 65% of workers still vote,  though this figure has been
declining steadily since 1980.    The point is,  voting in and of itself,
still enjoys widespread legitimacy in American political life.   As I said
in my earlier post:
         "This does not mean that they approve of politicians or the particular
economic system that they serve and represent.     It simply means that this
facet of bourgeois democracy still enjoys at least the tacit support of most

>Of most Americans, with money that is.

No,  Angie,  not just people with money,  but the great majority of working
class Americans,  the natural constituency of the left.

>Well, hopefully, this will be my last "spew" on this topic on this list.  I
>simply disagree that the action of supporting the elections or the action of
>working in a party that does will in any way be effective.

Well,  let's agree to disagree, and my regrets for the scatalogical
reference.    For the nth time,  I will say, that it is in my view
imperative that communists participate fully--in a principled and determined
way--in the institutions of their society,  and that this determination
coupled with a principled integrity can lead to the building of a
revolutionary movement even here in America.    Again,  I do not argue on
"behalf of supporting Clinton, but on behalf of participating in the
electoral arena....It is the system with which we have to work."

>Isn't the Comunist Party USA  [social democratic] in this respect? "work for
>whatever limited reforms are possible within it" (capitalism).  Isn't that
>what the party is doing (however misguided) by suggesting a vote for Clinton?

There are elements of social democracy within the Communist Party and,
especially, within the pages of its newspaper.    There is a wide gamut of
opinion tolerated within the Party,  which I think is not a weakness, but a
strength.    There view this election season is based upon the strategy of
defeating the ultra right.    As I said before, given the circumstances,
this is a tenable view,  but one,  finally, with which I disagree.

Louis (G)

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