As an anarchist, I have extremely mixed feelings about participation in bourgeoisie elections. Reading the excellent A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, one gets a deep sense that real political change almost always occurs through direct action taken by the people rather than through participating in elections and appealing to politicians in hopes that they will listen to the people instead of their backers in big business.
That is why historically many if not most anarchists have been opposed to voting. The argument is that participating in the election rat race with sacrifices of time, energy, and money in the hopes of getting a candidate elected who will then bring about change once in office is usually a doomed effort that ultimately results in little more than draining people of energy and enthusiasm that they could have instead devoted to organizing and direct action. I can understand this position, and I have felt some of the effects that it predicts first hand.
Despite these experiences and despite the risks of losing sight of the true battlefield within our hearts and out in the streets and halls of society, we cannot completely shun elections, for they can sometimes (though not often) prove beneficial to the cause of human freedom and progress. Participating in local elections and seeking to get others to participate brings us closer to a society that consists of decentralized communities governing themselves. As we move further up the ladder towards the federal government and ultimately the Presidency, the utility of voting diminishes and the potential for merely wasting one’s time in an ultimately discouraging and draining exercise in futility becomes all the more likely. The reality is that the Presidential race is a contest between corporate sponsored elites whose differences are mostly skin deep. The voting ritual then only serves to reinforce the top-down authoritarian system by offering the illusion that the people have a say in their government.
So, given all these reservations about voting, why then am I supporting Congressman Dennis Kucinich in his 2008 Presidential campaign?
I do so because once in a while the system breaks. Once in a while a true statesman gets involved in government out of a sense of idealism and a commitment to principles and makes it through to a position of power without bowing to elite interests. Once in a while such a person even makes it through the process without being corrupted. And sometimes such a person can truly fight for the people and be an asset in the struggle for a just and truly democratic society.
I believe that Dennis Kucinich is such an individual. Studying his life and his record in politics, you will find a good and honest man who consistently fights for progressive principles as a champion of the people. Where other politicians reveal a widespread pattern of compromise for the sake of political gain, Dennis demonstrates an unbending character and a tenacious courage to stand alone where his party cowers.
I think we can trust Dennis Kucinich. Instead of dancing around issues and trying to appeal to some imaginary creature known as the swing voter, Dennis addresses the great issues that face our society with bold plans of action instead of hollow rhetoric. We can trust that Dennis will give his everything as President to consistently fight for the progressive values that so many Americans care about but never find expressed by any of the candidates offered to us on a narrow slate every election season.
Dennis has a detailed plan for universal health care that will actually work and get to the root of the problem instead of ill-conceived attempts to plug up holes in a sinking ship. This issue is very important to me both as a passionate Christian and anarchist who is concerned for the poor and the sick and the oppressed, and as a strategist who recognizes that without universal health care, the workers of this country simply cannot afford to take the risks of strikes and direct action against oppressive employers because their lives and the lives of their families literally depend upon their continued employment.
Dennis has always opposed the illegal, immoral, destructive, and highly expensive Iraq War. Besides the honorable Republican Congressman Ron Paul, Dennis is the only consistent antiwar member of Congress and is the only antiwar progressive candidate for President. Dennis Kucinich opposes the Iraq War as well as the ominously likely war on Iran, but he is so much more than just a critic of the immoral wars of the day: he a true devotee to the causes of peace and social justice.
Dennis is a champion for the working class. He seeks to achieve a balance of power between labor and corporations – a balance that is severely lacking. And if that falls short of the revolutionary changes that most anarchists have in mind, then I say so what! It would be a big step in the right direction. Instead of focusing narrowly on ideological purity, we must work to improve lives now as well as fight for the future that we wish to see and build. We need short term goals within the system and long term goals that transcend the system.
I could go on and on about Dennis Kucinich and describe how he stands on each of the important issues that face America today. I could detail for you how in each case – incredibly enough – I have found in Kucinich a candidate who shares my concerns and is willing taking a stand for the good fight. I can share all of this with you, but in truth it wouldn’t fully communicate to you why I support Dennis Kucinich for President and why I strongly encourage everyone who reads these words to become better acquainted with the man via his campaign website.
At the root of it, I support Dennis for President because he has breathed new life into a very discouraging situation. I support Dennis Kucinich because quite frankly he inspires me. He cares about the same things that I do, and he speaks out and points to the hope that is always there but that is sometimes so hard to see. By taking action himself and running for President again, he reminds us that we can all take action together and that we are not alone. It’s an encouraging reminder that everyone needs once in a while.
If you care about progressive values for America or even if you’re simply fed up with the same old uninspiring politicians paraded before us by the media every election, then please visit Kucinich for President 2008 and find out more about the vision that Dennis has for our country and how you can help him.