I have never voted at the polls. It is not a statement that I make openly to many people in my life, as it is often met with great disdain and dismissal, or a “yes but…” kind of statement.
I am very passionate about this position. I always have been something of an anarcho- communist, a spiritualist, sympathetic to Marxism-Leninism, if you want labels. I see no positive outcome from continuing a secular, capitalist society built on the backs of slaves, colonialism, and poverty. I refuse to play into a ‘two party’ system that is fueled by big pharma, multi-million dollar corporations, Monsanto, and Hollywood. Seeing American democracy as two parties, two options, two solutions polarizing right and left ideologies, ignores the infinitely complex “hypercube” of possible solutions and ideas that are available. As written by Jordan Bates “The actual political ‘spectrum’ is not a simple 2-D gradient, but more like a 4-D hypercube with billions of ideologies occupying overlapping territories in an ever-shifting interconnected space… Left VS right is a misleading distracting hyper-simplistic, polarizing game that obstructs real progress.”
One argument that I am constantly met with in support of casting a vote is the position for voting as harm reduction, usually something along the lines of- ‘Yes I agree that both parties are corrupt, but I’ll vote as a way to reduce harm to this particular group of people.’
I do not believe that voting in America is harm reduction, but merely harm displacement, that is oftentimes temporary. In the words of revolutionary writer, thinker, and political educator Vienna Rye (@vrye) “…any gains won can and will be rolled back at whichever moment is convenient for the empire.”
I have been scoffed at for referring to the image of a cockroach swallowed by a chicken, and from the stomach of the chicken the cockroach is proclaiming ‘I am going to change the system from the inside!’
Can integrating into a system, change a system?
“They want us to believe our resistance should be narrowed into the electoral process and stripped of its claws.” (@vrye)
I will not vote for a woman, a feminist, a man, or a person of color. I do not want a ‘diverse’ oppressor, I want no oppressor. Intersectional imperialism is still imperialism. You cannot vote for someone to stop oppressing you, those at the top will never allow us to simply vote their money and power away. Liberation will only come with revolution- Revolutionary ideas, intentional material gain, and action-based organisation of the working class.
I have not voted at the ballot, but I have protested in the streets. I vote with my dollar. I choose local foods, I choose local small businesses whenever I can. In the future, I will grow my own food and be as self-sustaining as I can. I will kill my own animals and eat them. I will create meaningful work opportunities for people to escape the confinements of corporate colonization, to seek enlightenment, and create a space to encourage artistic freedom and expression. I will always say fuck the police, I will always advocate for the rights of native people who were slaughtered at the hands of imperialism, and I will always stand up for my brothers and sisters when their lives and freedom are threatened by corporate greed, corruption, and media manipulation. And I will not smile and nod at those who tell me that my ideas are too radical because they are not willing to abandon the comfort of their predictable lives to stand up for real justice.
Contributor: Kelsie Gerard
Kelsie is a graduate from the University of Cincinnati’s Sociology Department with an undergraduate focus in racial inequality and social stratification. Her interest in post-apartheid racial politics brought her to South Africa in 2018, where she worked on a farm in the North West province, further fueling her passion for local, regenerative food systems.
She currently manages a hostel in Northern California and someday plans to own a farm and hostel of her own.
In her free time, you can find Kelsie doing almost anything in the great outdoors; preferably rock climbing, backpacking, or snowboarding, but on a rainy day, look for her at a local coffee shop planning out her next adventure!