Cockburn on confederacy

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Sun Nov 14 21:08:55 MST 1999

"Don't vote it only encourages them" was a button I picked up in the fall of
1968 when I was in High School. It joined other treasured items, like the
red-white-and-blue button of the "Centennial Committee to Promote the
Impeachment of President Johnson (1868-1968)" and my favorite, "Nixon's the
One/ Save One for Nixon" (circular lettering on a picture of several bullets
lying horizontally with one standing up.

I do believe it's true. Moreover it's a class phenomenon. The poorer and
darker you are, the less likely you are to vote. This is a function largely
of the tweedle-dum, tweedle-dee nature of U.S. bourgeois politics. The
classic example from the 70s --I suspect that it is still true-- that
whereas 90% of Puerto Ricans vote in Puerto Rico, 90% abstain in New York.

And whenever my fellow journalists brag about how "balanced" and "fair"
their coverage of issues is, I always point to the fact that the big
majority --those of us who don't vote-- are never, ever represented in the
talk shows, editorial pages or news reports.

And, socalled public "opinion" polls are consciously and systematically
falsified to exclude this point of view.


>Probably Jose is correct. But I wasn't involved in electoral politics
>at all, so whatever I'm remembering is not connected specifically
>to the "two party swamp" Jose refers to. Incidentally, an anarchist
>outfit in (I believe) Oregon coined a nice bumper-sticker slogan
>for the '76 election: "Don't vote in '76; it only encourages them."
>In connection with the two-party swamp, has anyone ever done
>any study as to the prior political involvement of people attracted
>to direct political action? Do they tend to come from those who
>have taken electoral politics seriously (and voted, etc.)? Or are
>they predominantly from that allegedly "apathetic" sector of
>the citizenry that stays home election day?


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