This article is dedicated to the fine people behind The Art of Not Being Governed and I wish them the best of luck in their VACATE THE VOTE Campaign.

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To be honest I wasn’t too concerned about the upcoming election. I don’t talk about mainstream politics that often because I find it so vapid and hypocritical. It wasn’t until I saw this music video with Lil Jon trying to make voting look somehow cool that I thought I had to say something about it. As an anarchist I found marketing politics to young people in this manner kind of offensive because it perpetuates the lie that voting is the best way to effect social change. The song is a rehash of a track that is really catchy so after the first time I saw the video I had the song stuck in my head for days. To keep myself from flinching every time the song spun around in my head, I replaced the #turnoutforwhat lyric with “vacate the vote.” In the video there is even this moment when a gun with a lock on it to keep the trigger from being pulled was featured, and I was overwhelmed with the irony.

Here we go:
Isn’t it so great a democrat finally has a shot to take Eric Cantor’s old seat in congress? Aren’t you excited to be voting for a new congressman this midterm election on November 4th? Well you shouldn’t, because voting is immoral. It doesn’t matter if you are for team liberal or team conservative, like Clay Aiken over Ruben Studdard, or are even cheering for Jacob to win Bella’s heart instead of Edward; voting is wrong and it forces the majority’s opinion onto everyone. The beauty of this false left-right paradigm is the function it serves in keeping third parties out of debates like the Libertawhovians. It’s so great that you alone have a good idea that will change the socio-economic landscape for the good of everyone because we just voted, and now it’s illegal. Don’t think of democracy as two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for diner. Instead think of it as my friends versus your friends and the headcount will determine the outcome.

The problem with democracy is that it forces the majority’s opinion onto untold minorities who are not consulted or may disagree on the issues. To vote means that you are complicit in this system’s form of political neo-slavery. Here are two characterizations that are commonly accepted about the two major political parties. Republicans are fiscal conservatives, but they have a habit of restricting personal liberties. Democrats are financially illiterate, but care a lot about your personal liberties. This is a false dichotomy. Liberals could advocate for a balanced budget and conservatives can try to legalize gay marriage, but is it politically correct for them to do so? Instead of voting to keep people out of my bedroom or my wallet, I want both. Ask not who you can vote for to force your opinions onto others, but how we can stop people from forcing their opinions onto others. Aggressive nationalists argue that voting matters because others have fought and died for my right to have a vote, so does that mean if I don’t vote more people won’t have to fight and die?

The more socially conscious argue that you aren’t voting for politicians, but rather for their stance on issues. Yet, do politicians usually keep the promises they make while on the campaign trail? The answer is obvious. How many wars did you vote for? I understand why I get so much heat from people when I tell them that I don’t believe in democracy. We have all been taught from an early age that if we want change we can find it through voting and that democracy is a form of political enfranchisement; not the disenfranchisement of everyone. I deeply sympathize with the strides people believed we’ve made with the 15th Amendment and women’s suffrage, but would those two groups have been in the same historical situations if there wasn’t a government backing up the votes of rich white landowning men? Voters think they have the problem of determining the political actions of governments and keeping politicians honest, but who decides what or who they get to vote on in the first place?

Voting is immoral because it grants certain groups of people the illusion of authority to use violence and coercion based on political opinions written into laws. Laws passed by both parties are contrary to voters’ beliefs, and restrict personal liberties while wasting even more tax dollars to do it at gunpoint. If we examine political action, I think voting is actually the most apathetic form of political activism. You check a box or pull a lever, and somehow things change for the better? Voting is one way to exercise your voice, but I would rather use my real voice to oppose a political philosophy that fundamentally discriminates against minorities. This insidious form of discrimination threats individuals with violence if they do not comply with elected politicians and their progressively restrictive laws. I don’t think other people know how best I should live my life, and I don’t think they should have that power. It’s okay though, I forgive voters for the role they play in propping up an institution that only knows how to solve its problems through violence. Voting for someone to pass the gun along to someone else is still the equivalent of passing the off gun yourself. Now you know, and maybe as individuals we can work within our communities to solve socio-political problems between ourselves, instead of turning to the gun of state.

If people advocate for the persecution of others long enough, won’t that inevitably bounce back on them? I think by pushing forward our own values of non-violence the free market will open up a plurality of solutions to solve disputes without the need for institutional violence. The issue I want to focus on is how well other people have imposed themselves in our lives and the lives of others. I actively fear this institution of people I don’t know and have never met convening behind closed doors to argue with each other about how to best run my life or disenfranchise me politically. I know I am not that important, but this conspiracy becomes true as voters put political leaders in DC. I feel like I am stuck in this statist paradox, and how would voting for others to do the same thing stop this form of oppression from happening? In the words of Doug Stanhope, “Democracy is the worst kind, I’m sorry but it is. ‘We get to pick our leaders.’ Well… what if I don’t want a leader, where does that vote go? I do good on my own. I don’t want to be led. Is that freedom?” Sadly I don’t think it is possible for this issue to be on the ballot. Everyone can think of something they would want to use democracy to change, but how long would it take for that opportunity to even manifest? We joke about things radically changing when the old folks in power die and our generation is in charge, running things. I don’t want to wait that long, and why do we need to follow in their footsteps? The loss of our freedoms are not validated through legalizing drugs and gay marriage, there are other things I care about.

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I have to give props to Kal Molinet of Liberate RVA for giving me a few of these arguments. When he first started “Spreading Anarchy” at VCU his sign read, “Ask me how voting is immoral.”

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After some time on campus he thought maybe changing the sign would be a more direct and effective way to market his message. When I use to hangout at the compass with him people would flick us off or tell us to leave, but after changing the sign people started to cheer us on and come over to tell us how the government is immoral.

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