Re: Will you VOTE? Why or why not? [K Feyh reply]

Tom Boland (
Fri, 6 Nov 1998 10:23:41 -0400

FWD  Re: Will you VOTE? Why or why not?

Author: Kathleen Feyh
Date: 1998/11/04

I voted once, in 1992, and have opted since then to refrain from
casting a ballot.  It is of less concern to me who holds the reins of
power than what sort of power exists in the hands of some over the
destinies (for lack of a better word) of others.

        Ours is a system within which private property is protected more
vigorously than human life and dignity, within which democracy is
equated with capitalism and the few who profit from the labor of many
are allowed to decide the fate(s) of others.  Yes, having 'good' people
in power who would change the laws and the priorities of government
could correct many of the injustices of our system.  However, this would
still leave us with a system in which some people hold the power
(because of the consent of many, but ultimately because of the ability
to physically coerce people) to determine the situations of others.

        'Representative democracy' is neither.  Rather than endorse 'good'
people who seek to take power from those 'bad' people who currently hold
it in order to wield it themselves, some (myself included) choose to
fight to take power from those who currently hold it and refuse to
either wield it over or yield it to others.  Power (other than physical
force) exists only if we consent to it.  Voting is to the current system
of power what consumption is to the market economy - it is consent.
Without consent, the only way the system could exist is through the
threat or use of physical force.

        By denying my consent to a system which I find not only disagreeable
but inherently imbalanced, I limit my participation within that system
to those things which I am forced to do under threat of physical force -
privation, imprisonment or other consequences (e.g., I pay my rent,
refrain from massive destruction of private property), choosing instead
to act within my community in whichever manner benefits the community.
If a label is needed here, the most appropriate for me would be

        I accept the criticisms of those who find this way of doing things less
beneficial than participation in the current system, from people who
continue to believe in the positive effects of participation.  I respect
their commitment to what they believe will do the most good for the most
people.  I ask in return for a similar level of respect for my refusal
to participate.

        Forgive the length of this message, and keep fighting - however you
choose to fight - for justice.

In Solidarity