It is our duty as people who exist on land that was brutally taken and brutally exploited, to make time to be informed and active political beings.
It’s a huge relief that the midterm elections are over. Everything leading up to Nov. 6 felt like having a cystic pimple being squeezed. For Black, Indigenous and people of color, especially those of us who lean left to far-left, the constant and consistent “vote you lil’ fuckers, or you’ll DIE” from liberals of all colors felt like being pelted by dirty, newborn baby diapers. It didn’t matter if we wrote about and organized against voter disenfranchisement, white violence, systemic racism and the need to focus on the ways in which white people vote. It didn’t matter if our lives revolved around grassroots organizing and various means of protest. It certainly didn’t matter if we were well-informed human beings who understood that change doesn’t come entirely from the ballot box, but rather that, as Lucy Parsons put so perfectly in The Principles of Anarchism, “Governments never lead; they follow progress.”
So, here we are. The Democrats and their “blue wave” (or rather their tepid, little splash in an inflatable child’s-sized pool) took the House of Representatives, while alleged serial killer Ted Cruz kept his Senate seat thanks to the massive amounts of white people who fear a brown planet, while other key seats remained under Republican control. This morning blue voters can pat themselves on the back for ushering in more women than ever into office, as well was a few other notable wins which ought to not be firsts, but who are we kidding in Amerikkka? Another day under another imperialist, capitalist, white supremacist, misogynistic, queerphobic, colonialist government continues and we’re here to remind you that your vote is not enough because centrism won’t ever defeat fascism.
For many people, their participation in politics begins and ends with voting every two or four years. Part of this is because the United States government and capitalist entities have worked tirelessly to ensure that the working class has little time, energy or interest in participating in political matters, but for many other people, our existence is so heavily political and influenced by various oppressions, that we don’t have a choice but to pay close attention to what elected officials are up to the few days that they actually do work for the people, and we don’t have a choice but to organize against the ruling class aka, the bourgeoisie, the 1% and the people who uphold and protect them: police forces, judicial officials, politicians, etc.. It is easier to maintain a system of oppression that seems like it is either so terrible that we can’t do shit about it, or that it is so insidious that we wouldn’t know what to do about it because we know that the cuts hurt, but we cannot see the blade that sliced us open. But the truths are there and it is our duty as people who exist on land that was brutally taken and brutally exploited, to make time to be informed and active political beings.
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I believe what the system tells me about itself. I have full faith in its capabilities to replicate, uphold, and enact violence here and globally, which is all it has ever sworn to do since its inception.
by Briana L. Ureña Ravelo
This midterm season I have seen a lot of speculation about the cynicism of young (potential) voters, why it is, who is to blame, and what to do about it. Among younger progressives especially, there’s even more discourse that sympathizes with the cynicism, addressing issues such as voter suppression and purges, historic and current barriers to voting including the barring of those with felonies from representation, and the shit-show of the past two years and the inability for us to ameliorate the gap between how communities of color vote, especially Black communities, and how white people vote.
But that isn’t me. I am not recently made cynical, tired, or exhausted by the political system of the United States, nor am I apathetic. I am harmed and disenfranchised by the electoral system, yes, and I am also a part of it. I am from groups historically kept from electoral politics and other realms of civil, political, and social spaces. However, my heart was never broken by it because it was never placed in such a precarious and dangerous place, in the thicket of oppressor harm and statist hegemony.
Chalk it up to being a middle schooler and teenager of color in the Midwest during the Bush years, through 9/11 and the beginning of the War on Terror. By the time I was 14, I had gone to my first anti-war protest and was more regularly organizing and going to protests throughout the next year. By the time I was 18, when Obama was running in the first election I could vote in, I was ranting with a friend about our annoyance with people assuming we would, as two young Black girls, would be voting for the Black man. We knew about what his positions were on gay marriage and the war, and I had already made my decision to be a conscientious non-voter.
There’s nothing that could conceivably ever inspire me to vote, much less ignite a vigor or faith that was simply never there. There’s no way to mobilize me to an end goal that I never saw as a solution to the issues I see and experience daily. This is not so as to attack other QT/BIPOC people's cynicism or sense of defeat, and the real hurt, sadness, or anger there, or to belittle them for their demands and expectations. And if anyone feels that way, it is the system’s fault, not their own.
It is oversimplification to view all non-voters, especially those conscientiously choosing to not, as injured, sad, and hurt. As only waiting to be consoled and woo’d so we can fall back in love with electoral politics and the US system overall. A system that does not love me. Quite the opposite to deflated or cynical, in fact, my belief in the system’s history, role, apparatus, and intended results are fully enthusiastic. I understand what will happen. I know full well! I trust it entirely when it tells me about itself, day in day out, regardless of the bent of its participants, politicians, and moneymakers. Thus, I refuse to engage or invest in the fallacy of electoral politics as its own act.
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