• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous supporter has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Electoral Fetishism

Our word “elect” comes from the latin eligere meaning to pick out or choose. Bourgeois democracy celebrates the etymological sense of this word in elections. However, what, exactly, are we the people actually choosing?

The argument has been made by Marx, Badiou, and Chomsky among others that we do not so much as choose in elections as having parties, platforms, and candidates chosen for us.

Every politician in the Western “democracies” has to go through a complex vetting process which assures those truly in power that they, at best, will become paper tigers that will do their bidding and no more. Those foolish enough not to play by the rules will be eliminated by either defamation, extortion, or even, in the final instance, downright murder(JFK? MLK?).

However, those who now enter Western politics are well aware of the rules as well as the ultimate nature of the game. They knowingly enter the theater that is modern Western politics without any intention to fundamentally challenge either system or elites.

Yet, the electorate must in some sense be satiated. And that is done through a combination of spectacle, marginal issues, or at best policies which can be safely co opted by ruling elites.

Creating an appearance of change, of participation, of self empowerment even of crisis is crucial as long as the actual outcomes are handily managed by those with the most to loose.

Yes, on occasion compromises are made. But these, in the long run, are only undertaken to further enhance the long term power of elites.

Hence, personality and platitude become the very life blood of Western politics. We focus on biography, psychology, and style as if these individual components could ever budge the Sisyphean rock that is our daily political penance.

Issues, policies, and outcomes are all carefully manufactured and managed by a small number of power elites. The media, political parties, security forces (psych-ops), even the mafia and intellectual and artistic elites all work together to shape a political simulacrum within which our limited discourses and actions circulate.

To be sure, just as political actors are co opted into the system so, too, are ideas. The system is amazingly good at acknowledging, absorbing, and, then, transforming even the most radical challenges until they are just so much mush under the weight of the economic and social interests of American/Global oligarchy.

Yes, things change but according to the timetable of the powerful who are skillful in their manipulation of any political impulse that may percolate below. In the end, the people may make waves but, ultimately, the oligarchic elites will shape and ride them to their self-appointed shores.

 

More articles by:

Dan Corjescu teaches Political Philosophy at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail