FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The End of Political Theatre

by BENJAMIN WOODS

“There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say.”

-W..E.B. Dubois (1956)

“Places everyone, Places” we are entering the final act of political theatre. The Presidential debates indicate the eminent conclusion of the 2012 Presidential elections.This election season has been equally entertaining as any Broadway show. Whether it’s the pep rally/Sunday revival that is the nominating conventions or tragic-comedy of Mitt Romney’s comment regarding the “47%.” But ultimately what makes this election theatre is the fact that the political and economic system of this society has been structured to restrict the acceptable terms of debate. How did this happen?

For all those who remember the 2000 elections, in Florida, a controversy developed concerning which votes would be counted in one of the closest presidential elections in US history. After the case was sent to the Supreme Court, the justices in Gore v Bush decided “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States”. This judicial decision reminds US citizens that in this Republic, not democracy, the Electoral College determines the winner of the election. In short, voting is a privilege, not a right.

At the founding of the US, when this drama was written, only property owning white males could vote. Originally the US senate was decided by the state legislatures.In fact, in agreement with several framers of the US Constitution, James Madison in in Federalist Papers No. 10 explicitly states the he believes the masses should not enter politics because they would want to redistribute wealth. It wasn’t until Blacks, Women and other disenfranchised people engaged in dynamic social movements that they gained the privilege to vote. In a capitalist society, the poor are denied a voice.

More recently, the Supreme Court facilitated the corporate sponsorship of this theatrical production per the Citizens United case. This far sighted judicial decision allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts in election campaigns. Although in 2008 Obama received a record amount of small donations, he received many large donations that helped him reach the record setting $745 million. In a report titled “America for Sale” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) states the Koch Brothers alone plan to give $400 million.

To a large extent, in 1972, following the Gary Convention, the Black movement began to shift its primary focus from militant grassroots organizing to electoral politics.This strategy has been a major error. The Black Movements primary focus should return to tactics such as the general strike, non-violent civil disobedience, and independent Black-led political organizations. Then, we can end the political theatre and get on the real show called: Liberation!

Benjamin Woods is a PhD candidate at Howard University in Washington, DC.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewable of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail