Saturday, June 11, 2016

Vote against neoliberalism

Look, I get it. The Donald is a nasty piece of work; I can't really fault you if you vote for Clinton just to block Trump. And, frankly, Hillary is a pretty nasty piece of work; I can't fault you if you vote Trump just to block Clinton.

But...

Personally, I don't care that Clinton and Trump are corrupt, lying sacks of shit, and I don't care which is the more corrupt, the bigger liar, the more egregious asshole. They're politicians: corruption, lies, and assholery go with the job.

What I do care about is that they both are neoliberals: in their bones. (Trump likes to make mercantilist noises, but if he wins, and he may wall win, he will be a rock solid neoliberal.)

*Neoliberalism: markets in everything, disempowering labor, replacement of the nation-state with the multinational corporation as the locus of state power. There's plenty in neoliberalism to earn both progressive and conservative opposition.

If you're against neoliberalism, at the very least you have to stop voting for neoliberals.

The neoliberals have the number of both progressives and conservatives. They make sure you have a "realistic" choice only between two brands of neoliberalism. So when election day rolls around, you say to yourselves, "Well, better a left/right neoliberal than nothing." But what you get, every time, is a neoliberal.

We are not going to defeat neoliberalism by actually electing people who aren't neoliberals. The neoliberals have a lock on the political process. We can, however, undermine the legitimacy of elections themselves, elections that are rigged to elect a neoliberal every time.

We have to vote, and we have to vote against neoliberals, i.e. against Democrats and Republicans both. Conservatives should — if they wish to oppose neoliberalism — vote Libertarian or Constitution Party. Progressives should vote for Green or Peace and Freedom. A neoliberal Democrat or Republican will win, of course, but if we can push the plurality down to 20 to 30 percent, especially if we are also increasing overall participation, we will erode the legitimacy of elections. And it has to be across the board: not just President, but Congress, the Senate, governors, state legislatures, city councils, attorneys general, dog catchers.

We do have to be careful. If Libertarians or Greens start to actually start to win, that means they have been coopted by the neoliberals, and we have to vote against them too.

What this means is that about half the time, the "wrong" neoliberal, the neoliberal you like least, will win this or that election. This is the price for undermining the legitimacy of elections. Only when neoliberalism has been utterly defeated can we try to restore electoral legitimacy.

If you want to support neoliberalism only because you believe that order is better than chaos, if you believe the devil we know is better than the devil we don't know, so be it. Whatever the reason, you support neoliberalism.

Don't be a craven hypocrite, though. If you support neoliberalism, then vote for Trump or Clinton, whichever you think will be the better neoliberal. Don't whine and complain that you're "holding your nose." Be proud. If neoliberalism is what you want, for whatever reason, then say it! Support it! Praise its virtues from the rooftops!

If neoliberalism is not what you want, then condemn it! Damn its vices! And vote against it.

I don't think voting for a candidate who will surely lose is a waste of your vote.

I think that making a vote you cannot be unequivocally proud of is a waste, not just of your vote, but of your citizenship.

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