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why voting alone isn’t enough

October 23, 2012

Something a friend of mine said about average people never gaining control of our government without literally, physically, taking it back because it’s been bought and paid for by the wealthy inspired this relatively short, 15-point argument that simply engaging in electoral politics (i.e., voting) isn’t enough to change the system on its own:

1. We live in a predominately capitalist political-economic system.

2. Capitalism is a process in which money is taken to produce commodities (e.g., goods, services, etc.) that can be sold for a profit (M-C-M).

3. This process leads to capital accumulation (i.e., the accumulation of wealth) on the part of capital as opposed to labour due to their ownership of the means of production and finance.

4. Money, as a representation of value and medium of exchange, is a form of social power.

5. Money is considered Constitutionally-protected free speech within our system.

6. Money is a driving force in the political process (which now allows unlimited campaign spending by corporations and other collective entities).

7. The more money one possesses, the more influence one potentially has in this system.

8. The capitalist class, then, logically has a disproportionate advantage within our system, especially when it comes to influencing and shaping our representative form of government, than the working class and poor.

9. Those in power make the rules (i.e., laws and loopholes) and tend to do so with a view to their own preservation and well-being.

10. Their own preservation and well-being depends upon serving the interests of capital and finance.

11. It follows, therefore, that substantive changes in the political-economic arena that benefits the working class and poor rather than capital and finance needs to come from the bottom up, not the top down.

12. This form of political-economic opposition requires the working class and poor to expand their class consciousness, unite in common cause, and use their superior numbers and indispensable place in the capitalist mode of production to offset the disproportionate (and essentially undemocratic) influence of monied interests.

13. The greater the solidarity amongst the working class and the dispossessed, the greater the potential opposition.

14. The greater the opposition, the greater the potential for substantive, systematic change that favours the majority of the citizenry (the 99%) rather than the wealthy, ruling elite (the 1%).

15. Radical change, then, necessitates a concerted, working-class mass movement, particularly one geared towards more fully democratizing our economic system and institutions.

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