Friday, 19 October 2012

A Bestiary of Voters – Voter 3

C’m’ere, li’l’ voter, Lara won’t say anything bad about you . . . HA! GOTCHA! THE GREATER-OF-TWO-EVILS, FIGHT-THE-SYSTEM VOTER. “Elections aren’t a mechanism for change. That’s what grassroot movements are for! America needs a wake-up call. We’ve suffered under Obama, but we’ll really suffer under Romney. The worse things get, the stronger our movement will grow.”

I have no sympathy whatsoever for this little voter. It seems to me to rely on a romanticised and uninterrogated idea of immiseration. But immiseration does not encourage solidarity, let alone the growth and co ordination of a mass movement, except under specific circumstances which do not prevail in the US today. That’s obviously a little sketchy and dogmatic but I don’t want to waste too much time on this one! PS: Ya wanna make somethin’ of it, huh buddy? Send me the link & I will endeavour to respond judiciously & with shrewd charm and perspicacity.

UPDATE: Cf. e.g. Marco Roth at the n+1 Election Preview, considering then ditching such a motive: "A little demon of an old leftist located in some attic of my mind whispers to me that a Romney win might, after all, be the very thing needed to galvanize a true socialist revolution in this country. If the non-union white working classes, or white formerly-working classes, who will continue to vote for Romney in flocks could finally be led to some kind of consciousness of how they screw themselves, time and again, through their continued immiseration, it might be better than four more years of Obama’s faux-liberalism. But the “it must get worse before it gets better” argument comes too easily to those who don’t really have to fear they’ll suffer the worst. I’m not on food stamps. I don’t live in a coastal flood zone, or on land earmarked for gas drilling. Instead of the old line, I’m trying to cultivate something I’ve started to think of as “post-democratic” subjectivity: my meaningful political actions will not occur in the voting booth."

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