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If it was unclear to most American observers of the U.S. presidential elections, it was clear to most Middle Easterners, of whom I am one. I am talking about the recently solved mystery about what one Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton, would ultimately be willing to do to us Middle Easterners of the Iranian variety, if elected. I get the feeling that Barak Obama would likely do the same to us, but he’s coy about it, and keeps that kind of talk for special audiences only: Jewish ones, especially when the audience is packed by the AIPAC.
Now, in case you thought Clinton was only talking about obliterating Iran, you are wrong.
When a person running for a U.S. national office, any person, supports the ‘war on terror’, that person is also supporting the loss of civil liberties for the citizens of the U.S. He or she supports the suspension of habeas corpus (have you heard a single comment on that topic this election year? Not likely!). The same person supports the exorbitant theft of people’s money (taxes) and the hand-over of the same money to the financial-military-oil complex currently running the major levers of power in the U.S.
The same candidate supports the loss of all money for education, healthcare and all other needs of the working classes in the U.S., the very people who create all the wealth and provide all the services. The same candidate also supports all the international institutions created for the flow of the so-called Free Trade, which in fact should be called the absolute freedom, with no discrimination, of capital to do as it wishes to all; which in turn means the candidate will do nothing to stop the loss of jobs to cheaper labor markets, as well as the loss of purchasing power of the people in the U.S.; nor will the said candidate do anything to address poverty besetting 50 million people in the U.S., more to be added to these ranks as you read this.
So, when a desperate candidate, out of frustration and the need to show how tough s/he can be, announces s/he is willing and ready to obliterate a people far way across the globe, you can bet your sweet tooth that s/he will not hesitate a second to continue obliterating YOU, the American voter!
In fact, bet that the very candidate is so assured of your obliteration that s/he sees no problem enunciating, out loud and unashamed, the most horrid, the most vicious, the most barbaric thoughts; assured that none of the stench, the ugliness or the absurdity will be sensed, nor any emotional shocks caused for a second, thanks to the corporate media.
To sum up: when a political candidate running for national office says to your face that s/he does not give a flying duck about your education, your health, your jobs, your life or those of your children’s and grand kids’, you are obliterated!
A small example: I am an educator by day (and most of the night, which is what it takes to be an educator). We learned recently that teachers lost a ‘privilege’ previously available, which was the permission to deduct up to $250 a year on our taxes, for work-related expenses such as teaching materials (needed to do one’s job as a teacher). We can no longer deduct that paltry sum (which, to us lesser earners is not that paltry). And why? Budget cuts. Now, as professionals go, we occupy pretty much the bottom of the bottom rungs of all trades; lower than any carpenter, plumber, lower than a lot of wait staff and bartenders, way lower than accountants, and I hear even lower than some sanitary workers — God bless them. Even so, a lot of us pay out of pocket for tons of things we need to use in our work with our students.
For all the money we spend throughout the year, a measly $250 could be deducted previously. Not any more! Why? Because the war must continue. In most likelihood, the students who would benefit from such teachers’ expenditures are students in ill-funded schools, where the teachers have more need to reach into their own pockets (because the school isn’t providing the funds) to provide the needed things for their lessons.
Or take another example: as noted by Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association and professor of history at Cal State Los Angeles, in a letter to editors published at New York Times, “Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes a 10 percent across-the-board cut in state financing that would leave our state university $386 million deeper in the hole” (March 1, 2008).
The amount ‘saved’ by the government through denying the teachers a miserly tax write off, or the amount saved by cutting the California education budget by 10% could easily have been provided by suspending the war mongering for a few weeks. This is how wars of aggression obliterate people at home.
Clearly there is no shortage of money given by the American people to the government. The war mongers have no problem getting funded and would not let go of a penny of their budget (people’s taxes), even though the military budget of this country equals (or may in fact exceed) the combined military budgets of ALL other countries on this planet.
So, let’s not help the ruling class obliterate us any more. Let’s use this election year to get a tally of our own numbers and strength. Let’s see how many of us there really are! What is our actually existing numbers? Does anybody (besides the NSA and the CIA) know that number? What is the point of wasting votes by voting for establishment candidates? Whichever of the three establishment candidates gets into the White House, the fact and the ferocity of the Empire will continue unabated.
As you are right now, you are not represented. Period. Not only that, you are actively disenfranchised as you vote!
Just as you vote that once every two or four years, and just as you exit the polling station to go back to cook some food, pick up your kids from school, or go back to the office or the factory or the barracks, as you retreat to you ‘private life’ (very little of which is truly private, and majority of which is decided in the public realm of the political); as you deliver your full and complete political representational trust into a closed fist that then punches all life out of you and yours; you are obliterated!
You do not exist, except in so far as you grease the wheels of capital accumulation and migration. You can do your best and work your life away, but politically you count as zero. Until you start complaining, of course. Then the politicos pretend they ‘hear you’, just to shut you up. But how often has your mere complaining changed things?
Every time you vote and disappear behind the private life’s curtain, not bothering to demand anything for the political capital you hand over, you are obliterated a little bit more.
Every time you hand your tax money to the state and don’t get to dictate to them how to spend your money on you YOUR needs, you are obliterated.
Every time you vote using a machine that leaves no paper trails, you are obliterated.
Stop obliterating yourself!
This election year, let’s say ‘NO MORE!’ Say, ‘Ya Basta!’ Say, ‘Screw this stupidity!’ Let’s act like Wobblies would, like Yippies would, like any decent thinking human would, and turn the tables on them. Let’s come together and use this so-called democratic moment and turn it around.
In some countries elections are boycotted because the elections are so violently eschewed that to participate in them is to make an open fool of oneself. In the U.S., however, voting ‘irregularities’ are not accompanied by open violence (unless you are black, and until recent history your voting was inhibited by lynching, and later still your votes were simply counted very inaccurately, when counted at all).
In this country, about half of the population has been boycotting the elections for the last forty years: on average, voter turnout for federal elections since 1968 has been 46.3% (see: http://www.infoplease.com/, and do the math yourself). So, obviously a majority of the population has already marked the legislature and the executive branches as beyond their reach; boycott by default.
But to simply withdraw from the legislative branch is a huge capitulation; it may seem revolutionary to some, but such ‘revolutionaries’ would have to explain the recent Maoist victories in the Nepalese legislature in some dark, ‘reformist’ light (not in the bright revolutionary light they are currently praised); or else they must go looking for explanations for their own behavior for the past few decades.
On the other hand (and to repeat), caution is absolutely necessary on the really capitulatory side. Forget about anybody like Michael Moore’s pronouncements of support for Obama, or Medea Benjamin, Hollywood celebs, or any others who propagandize in favor of anything to do with supporting the Democrats. Get your own legislative seats: Fight for these seats, don’t just give them away!
All Democrats are on record supporting the destruction of other countries if need be (the ‘need’ of the U.S. ruling class, that is). That means they are willing, and will be able, to obliterate the U.S. citizens, too. All Democrats will continue to use the public funds provided by the citizens of the U.S. to oppose the wishes of the people of the U.S. to the same degree as the Republicans do right now. They already have been doing that.
So, why doesn’t the U.S. Left take inventory of its numbers at least? Here is a perfectly legal and available way of finding out how many of us there really are. If you are going to vote at all, vote Nader or McKinney, vote together and let’s get past that federal-money-bringing 5% point; it’s our own money: let’s take it back!
REZA FIYOUZAT can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org