To Vote? Or Not to Vote?
A Resource Based Economy is inevitable.
One way or another, we will end up in an RBE. Technological unemployment, molecular manufacturing and abundant renewable energy will destroy the labor, material and energy costs of production. The price system will lose all relevance in everyday life. A moneyless society will become more and more intuitive to the general public as the years go by. Our job is simply to lubricate the process to ensure a smooth transition.
Well, election season is upon us in the United States. A week away, as of this writing. I previously wrote a blog here advocating that TZM/RBE advocates participate. Rather than rejecting the political system as a whole, reject the corporate duopoly we call the Democratic and Republican parties. The “Demopublicans” as Peter likes to call them. The best way, in my view, to protest the incompetency of the corporate duopoly is to vote third party, for a multitude of reasons.
I must first acknowledge that TZM is apolitical by nature. It advocates a Resource Based Economy, which we all know rejects the archaic representative democracy of our current paradigm as inefficient, outdated and easily abused. Based on this, I don't believe TZM has any business officially endorsing a candidate like I am about to. However, we as individuals may choose to collaborate with external organizations for the good of the RBE objective.
If you would like to see who I endorse and why, you can read my previous blog entry here.
But, why vote at all? That is the question vexing the TZM community. Isn't it better to refuse participation in an inherently corrupt system? As I stated before, I am on the side of participation. Though it is an admirable poetic expression to refuse participation in an unjust system, refusing participation may do more harm than good to our cause.
Third party votes quantify discontent for the status quo better than inaction. Voter turnout has always been low, and it has never made the slightest difference. On the contrary, it benefits corporate power by leaving the voting up to the gullible, ill-informed voters and business interests.
Let me be clear. Refusing to vote is not equivalent activism to sit-down strikes or boycotts. Both of those examples have something called leverage. There is no leverage in refusing participation in an election. Therefore, not voting does NOT put an end to the system of abuse and exploitation that is politics. It doesn't put pressure on the system at all. It does nothing to further any cause, but instead, results in greater abuse with less resistance.
Third parties influence main parties directly when support grows enough to threaten their viability. (This is an historical fact.) At that point, the "Demopublicans" must steal popular policies to remain competitive, which is how we ended slavery, obtained women's rights, child labor laws, reduced work hours, unemployment benefits, social security... Mere bandaids, of course. They don't solve the root problems, but they improve the lives of real people in the meantime, while we are still stuck in this system.
If we let the system consume itself, and collapse like a house of cards, an RBE is hopeless. A value shift is highly preferable. (Collaboration and altruism over competition and selfishness) Environmental preservation is mandatory. (The environment needs to be made a priority NOW, not decades from now during a transition!!) BOTH are in immediate danger by voter inaction. Political action is the best way to address both transition priorities.
Ask yourself, how will the RBE transition work if the Earth is a nuclear cinder? Or "counter terrorism" legislation that targets peaceful activist organizations like this one? Should we sit on our hands and do nothing? Well, I won't.
I prefer a smooth transition instead of a collapse and rebuild. I refuse to sit idle with my mouth shut while the business interests promote a culture of rampant consumerism that depletes the earth of important natural resources and makes the conditions of the environment unlivable, while exploiting and depriving the citizens of the world of basic necessities in the here and now. That is not a wise game plan for transition. That is no way to foster compatible values or preserve the environment for an RBE.
There is a false dichotomy that exists about this issue. Either you support this system through participation, or you support an RBE. I believe you can do both, thereby preserving the environment, and fostering a more compatible culture for an RBE, while helping real people that are suffering in this system and laying the foundation for the inevitable transition to an RBE. It takes little time or effort at all to vote, and need displace NO activist activities. We can go about our normal TZM activism without any compromises. We can do BOTH! Refusing participation in elections does not accelerate the process. It does exactly the opposite!
Finally, what if votes don't matter? What if the election numbers are now fabricated and we have no say at all? It is all an illusion. If such a radical, paranoid conspiracy theory were true, our third-party efforts would indeed be for nothing. In other words, worst case scenario, you waste a little gas driving to and from the voting location (unless you walk or ride a bike) and a few minutes standing in line to press a button or check a name. That's it. That is all you have to lose. Best case scenario, we voice our opinion for a platform that agrees with our core values and hold the corporate duopoly's feet to the fire with little effort, and potentially have a positive impact on people's lives who are suffering in the here and now (as well as the environment), pre-RBE. We have virtually nothing to lose, and everything to gain by voting.
(If a third party candidate gets just 5 percent of the popular vote, they receive 20 million dollars in clean public funding for the following presidential election, which would eliminate the ballot access issues they currently spend all their time and money on during the campaign process. They will have an opportunity to really shake things up for the first time since the Whig party dissolved in the 1800s.)
Our problems are technical, not political. And politicians don't have the necessary technical training to qualify for the job. However, those observations, although true, won't change our reality. We are stuck in a political, monetary-market paradigm for the time being. If you truly care about an RBE, you will vote Green in the meantime. Never as a solution – or main priority – but as a bridge toward an inevitable transition.