[Marxism] My last round with Jose G. Perez on the U.S. electorate

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Wed Feb 11 01:20:00 MST 2004


Julio Huato writes, "Political alienation is not part of the solution --
it is part of the problem."

I'm perfectly happy to let my debate with Julio on sources and methods
rest with just a couple of footnotes.

When I speak of "the press" I use the term as it is commonly used in
U.S. society, to refer to the "news media," those engaged in providing
(alleged) information and (purported) commentary on current affairs (for
example, "Meet the Press" on Sundays). It is a field I'm not entirely
unacquainted with having spent 1/3rd of a century in it. It is not
restricted to "print." But it is a much narrower concept than "the
media" in general. Most of "the media" in general --including AOL--
doesn't pretend to primarily address political and societal matters. The
"press" --the news media-- does. 

"The press" in general suffers from a variant form of the malady first
diagnosed by Dr. Frederick Engels a century and a half ago in Germany.  

"'Parliamentary cretinism' is an incurable disease," explained Engels,
"an ailment whose unfortunate victims are permeated by the lofty
conviction that the whole world, its history and its future are directed
and determined by a majority of votes of just that very representative
institution that has the honour of having them in the capacity of its
members." In the case of the press, what we face is parliamentary
cretinism by proxy, as well as the closely allied syndrome of electoral
cretinism.

If there has been a case of a bourgeois press outlet in the U.S. in my
adult lifetime that ever advocated or promoted abstention, I must
somehow must have missed it. "Go out and vote" editorials in November
are as inevitable as the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"
references and reprints in the month that follows it. 

Julio views "abstention" from elections as apathy. He thinks it shows a
higher level of consciousness if you vote for JFK II or George Bush II.
However, if this were true you'd have to conclude that Blacks and
Latinos and people who make less than $15,000 or $25,000 a year have the
lowest level of political consciousness in this society, in contrast to
white PhD's who have the highest, because they vote the most.

Actually, in a sense I believe that is true. The groups I single out as
disproportionately "abstentionist" do have the lowest level of political
consciousness -- of bourgeois political consciousness. 

Julio is able to only see the side of this that manifests itself as
political "apathy", a rejection of politics, without probing beneath the
surface to discover what I believe is at the core of the phenomenon, a
rejection of bourgeois hegemony over politics. 

Thus he is able to write what I quote at the beginning of this post,
that "political alienation" is part of the problem, not part of the
solution. He is unable to understand the contradictory character of this
phenomenon. 

José





More information about the Marxism mailing list