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We Need to Take Back Our Democracy on November 6th

No Compromise in Defense of Democracy

by BART GRUZALSKI

Across progressive websites and here at CounterPunch many have written persuasive articles about the choice between Obomney and Romobama, about how Democrats are self-deluded when they think Obama is anyone other than a servant of the 1%, and about how the 1% has a stranglehold on our democracy.  The two party system is a mockery. Given the political drift to the right, voting for the lesser of evils is now voting for evil.   Dave Foreman formed the movement Earth First! with the slogan “No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth” because he saw how environmental groups, in order to be “reasonable,” kept compromising and so giving more and more away to miners, developers, oil corporations, logging companies.  We have reached that tipping point in our national politics and need to take a stand: no compromise in defense of democracy.

As fantastic as it may seem, we still have a route to victory.  We can take back our democracy on November 6th if we get the message out and occupy the ballot box behind a candidate who is not going to put up with any more compromises of our democracy, who will push to clean up the political system, who will push for a democracy that we can all participate in, a democracy for all of us.  That candidate is Jill Stein, the New Green Deal candidate who embraces these values and goals for our democracy.

Occupy showed us that we want and need an alternative to a top-down government of, by, and for the 1%. That’s why the 1% couldn’t tolerate the Occupy Movement and brutally suppressed it.  Occupy also showed us something else crucial to the path by which we can, in fact, still take our democracy back on November 6th.  The first Occupy protest to receive wide coverage was Occupy Wall Street in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, which began on September 17, 2011. By October 9, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 95 cities across 82 countries, and over 600 communities in the United States.  That happened in just 22 days without the looming deadline of an election.  By using the same communication methods of twitter, face book, and emails, we have time to create an election surge to regain our democracy.  A surge for Jill Stein would quickly reach the “tipping point” that would bring in those voters who are only voting for Obama because they fear Romney—not wanting Romney and seeing Obama not winning, they would join the bandwagon.  It would also bring in those who are voting for Romney who have progressive values but deeply dislike Obama.  We don’t have to “believe” for this to be possible: it is the only route to regaining our democracy on November 6th and we can make it work.

Millions of Americans want our democracy back.  We need to get the message out that Jill Stein is not politics as usual.  Stein embraces  the need for people to participate in their own government. She calls it “political participation” and it aims to revive “direct democracy as a response to local needs and issues where all concerned citizens can discuss and decide questions that immediately affect their lives.”  It rests on decentralization, so that local citizens and groups can be involved. That platform supports “citizen involvement at all levels of the decision-making process” and demands “re-enforcement of our civil liberties of speech, assembly, association and petition. Citizens may not be denied the right to public, non-violent protest.”  We need and want to engage in the decisions that affect us all.

Voting in the coming election for Jill Stein is our duty if we want to oppose the corrupt political system we face.  We have reached the point where we can no longer afford to compromise on fundamental American values. This is much more than an opportunity to liberate ourselves from the rule of the 1%.  We have a duty to do so, not only for ourselves and our great grandchildren, but also out of respect for those who have given their lives to preserve our democracy and the American ideals of equality, liberty, and fair play. We can no longer permit any further strengthening of a government that only serves the 1% and is so blind to Climate Change that our descendants are already at risk.

Failing to vote leaves an unacceptable method for changing this system: revolution.  Violence will not achieve a democracy for the 99%–it will play into the hands of those who are creating a military-industrial surveillance state in which even our right to protest nonviolently has been radically curtailed.  Failing to vote is not an option if we believe we need to stop compromising and need to stand with those who created this democracy and fought to defend it. We have a duty to vote for Jill Stein: no compromise in defense of democracy!

Bart Gruzalski a professor emeritus of philosophy from Northeastern University.  He co-edited Value Conflicts in Health Care Delivery and published On The Buddha, as well as On Gandhi.