By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Like any twilight empire, America has some strange and perverse rituals that are generally excepted as normal by our unblinking masses. There’s the fascist war prayer of the National Anthem, which you can lose your livelihood for betraying with a knee. There’s the Kidz Bop chant version known as the Pledge of Allegiance, my own childhood protest of which had my archdiocese contacting the nearest exorcist. Then of coarse there’s the incessant soldier worship which mandates us all to repeatedly thank everyone who has ever served in our colossal armed services for preserving our “freedoms”, regardless of whether they launched drone strikes from Las Vegas cubicles or shot Cuban gardeners on golf courses in Grenada. But all of that jingle brained jingoism pales in comparison to the peer-pressure-palooza that is the right to vote.
America’s most prestigious imperial holiday comes every two to four years during the first week of November, the sacred ballot bacchanalia known as voting day, an absurd celebration of our mock democracy which everyone from grumpy porch-dwelling oldsters to bitch slapping gangsta rappers implores us to take part in upon the threat dismemberment. “Vote or die because, because… people died… for your right to vote… or die…” or some such nonsense. First off, no they didn’t. None of the last centuries ghastly geostrategic boogeymen, be they the starving rice farmers of Indochina or the sheep shagging opium lords of the Hindu Kush gave half a flying fuck about our electoral process. They were much more concerned with that of their own nations and our nations strong arm influence over it. Hell, even those “bastard Japs” would have stuck to there end of the Pacific if it wasn’t for FDR’s goading oil embargo.
And, hypothetically, if our young men and women in green really did die for our right to vote, that would be twice as tragic because they would have died for a total abject mockery of the word democracy. There is absolutely nothing democratic about picking your favorite grabby one-percenter to run your fucking life for the next two to four years. There are S&M contracts that are more democratic, at least there’s a fucking safety word. The only democracy that counts or is even deserving of the title is direct democracy, the original democracy. Personally, I’ll take Delescluze and Pericles over Jefferson and Hamilton any day of the fucking week. Until we achieve this standard, the standard being fought for as we speak in Rojava and Chiapas, our elections will be about as meaningful as the ones on reality television.
Does this mean that Comrade Hermit is anti-voting? No, sweet baby, Comrade votes but Comrade votes to protest and Comrade loves to protest. But I also believe in a diversity of tactics, a philosophy I call, the Brick and the Ballot Box, a homage to my kin back in the bandit country of Armagh. I generally do the Rothbard thing and vote for whoever the most antiwar candidate is because without war the states legitimacy swiftly falls to shit. Even here though I have a few caveats. I will not vote for any candidate who doesn’t call for a bare minimum of a 50% cut in military spending. If this bare minimum isn’t met by any candidate then I protest the vote itself by writing in something like “none of the above” or “roll this ballot into a sharp spear and go fuck yourself with it.” (Sadly, computers have largely rendered this last suggestion as symbolic as the vote itself.) What all this generally means is that when I do vote, I vote third party.
With that being said, voting may be a groovy way to tell the state to fornicate itself but real change has always been the product of direct action in the streets aka the Brick. It was the Brick that gave us the forty hour work week and the weekend (thank a fucking Wobbly for your freedom.) It was the Brick that gave us what little civil rights we have. And it will be the Brick that gets the fascist federal government’s jackboot off our kid’s throats for following the gender in their heart above the gender in their pants. The Ballot Box is fine but, contrary to popular belief, the Ballot Box is largely optional for real progress, the Brick is not. So if you’re not gonna vote, I say right on. But lets not let our plutocracy off that easy. You don’t have to meet me half-way at the Ballot Box, dearest motherfuckers, to meet me all the way in the streets. You bring the pessimism and I’ll bring my brick. The safety word is revolution, dearest motherfuckers. Lets fucking bring it.
Peace, Love, & Empathy- CH
Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post
* Waiting Room by Fugazi
* The National Anthem by Radiohead
* Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails
* In the Streets by Big Star
* Testify by Rage Against the Machine
* See No Evil by Television
* Public Image by Public Image Ltd
* My Doorbell by the White Stripes
* Street Fighting Man by the Rolling Stones