Boycott the Vote!

It is election season again, and we at Red Guards – Los Angeles have been diligently reviewing the plans and policies of the two performers presented to us as viable candidates to head up this project of US Empire. We must admit, the differences between these two circus clowns are vast: Donald J. Trump, for example, is moderately taller and has a tinge of “autumn spice” to both his toupee and his skin color. He claims that Mexicans are thieves and rapists, and has presented the plan of building a “wall” to keep them out. Hillary Clinton, on the contrary, has a decidedly “barnyard straw” color to her hair, no apparent toupee, and a plan to summarily deport Mexicans back to Mexico rather than throw her weight behind a “wall” to keep them out.

On the issue of terrorist pigs who patrol our black and brown communities with itchy trigger fingers and the imperative to generate profits for a complex of private prison interests through policies of mass-incarceration, our orange candidate Donald J. Trump insists we must restore “Law & Order” to our communities. We must protect them from hoodlums and thugs who deserve to see the insides of prison cells. Hillary Clinton, appealing to a more liberal, college-educated demographic, prefers not to use the terms “thug” or “hoodlum” but the more SAT-friendly term “super-predators” instead. She speaks of “restoring trust” between the communities preyed upon and murdered by the pig-system daily, and their predators in the police departments.

On the issue of American Empire abroad is where the differences between our two candidates really shine—Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she has a wealth of experience and know-how: her time in the State Department allowed her to manage with cunning the affairs of US-Empire, choreographing regime change, supporting right-wing terror squads in Latin America, deftly maneuvering imperialist interventions in Libya and Syria, and ensuring with great skill the vampiric interests of the American capitalist ruling class all across the world. In this area we could hardly deny that she is a far more qualified executive than our orange candidate, Donald J. Trump. In this arena, Trump’s rhetoric (and his potential actions) are more bombastic and less subtle—where Clinton might use her connections in the CIA to funnel money into local death-squads and paramilitaries in order to destabilize foreign countries and instigate coups against “unfriendly” foreign leaders—Trump may chose to simply carpet bomb them. He is old-fashioned in that way. Where Clinton may employ the tried and true tactic of economic sanctions and embargoes to cut-off the supply of essential goods and service to foreign populations, thereby generating social unrest that could manifest into “popular” rebellions against local governance that would be easily exploitable by American ruling-class interests, Trump may simply chose to challenge foreign leaders to a duel or a street fight—who could say, really?

Upon careful consideration of the stark differences between these two colorfully painted puppets, we here at Red Guards-Los Angeles have determined that there is no conclusion to be drawn other than: FUCK THEM BOTH. Until “guillotine” makes its way onto the ballot, we see no reason to participate in this bourgeois spectacle.

With that said, we wholly endorse and support an active boycott of these elections, and stand in solidarity with our comrades in Red Guards- Austin, Red Guards- Philadelphia, RATPAC-ATX, Serve the People- Austin, and others who have already begun to lead the way in this. Given the absurd nature of this election cycle it is easy to dismiss the entire thing as a bad joke, but in reality the maneuverings of US Empire are a deadly serious affair. We recognize that the only course of action it is conscionable to advocate is halting the entire forward progress of the American capitalist war-machine—the elections sponsored by this machine will never allow for that outcome. For this reason we reject the logic of “lesser-evil” voting. We reject the idea that the American system is in any way a “democracy” for our working class communities and therefore reject the logic that we have a “voice” in this system with our votes.

The totality of the American state—the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the entire judiciary, the Presidency, and the state and regional variations of the same—is nothing but an enormous bureaucracy for managing the affairs of bourgeois society. The politicians who occupy space in this bureaucracy are the friends and relatives, business associates and golf-partners of the exact same corporate, capitalist interests that stand directly opposed to the interests of our working class communities. The system of US government has had this class character since its foundation following the American counter-revolution of 1776, where a collusion of wealthy landowners, slave-holders, politicians and businessmen fought to wrestle control of their settler-colonial affairs from the hands of one grouping of rich white men and put it into the hands of another. There was no concern for “liberty” or “democracy” for the nearly two-million enslaved black people whose labor was stolen to establish the economic prestige of the newly founded “United States of America”. There was no pretense of “democracy” for the millions of our indigenous brothers and sisters who were slaughtered so that this settler government would have the land to exist upon.

And though the years have passed and the struggles of our black, brown, and white working-class communities have led, in some ways, to loosening the grip of this bourgeois, settler-colonial society over our lives, it’s fundamental character and reason for existence remains the same. Nothing of import has ever been won for our class through elections, but only through struggle. The chains of slavery were not voted away. The gains of the labor movement were not made through bourgeois elections but on the threat of rebellion and revolution. All of these hard-fought gains were paid for with the blood of our comrades, martyrs in the struggle for liberation, and we will not allow liberals who yammer on about the bills and laws and policies “passed” by elected “progressives” to take credit for the victories that were earned by our comrades in this struggle and only reluctantly signed into law by the likes of them when their house of cards was at risk of collapsing. The masses make and move history, not liberal lawmakers, and this is a universal law of history these liberals and revisionists would do well to understand.

There is no “lesser-evil” in the management of the affairs of US Empire, there are only two evils with different faces. The sword and the shield of US Empire—two manifestations of the same ruling-class power. Our people have been led blindly down the path of “lesser-evilism” for decades and to what effect? Our mothers and fathers are being deported in record numbers, our black brothers and sisters are being murdered by the pigs daily and elected officials offer us no solutions other than that we should “restore trust” between them and our community. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are stalked and bombed with drones, shot dead in the middle of the night with impunity, all with missiles and bullets that we are forced to pay for, to the benefit capitalist weapons manufacturers, defense contractors, and the stooge politicians who keep the gears moving in this War on Terror. At home they are profiled and harassed by the police and white reactionary groups with hatred fueled by the rhetoric of politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Where is the lesser-evil in this scenario? From what detached, privileged, and coddled position could you possibly make the claim that one hand or the other on this beast of US Empire represents a “lesser-evil”? Even when we are sold not on a “lesser-evil” but on a “great savior” of this system like Barack Obama in 2008, we are rewarded with nothing but an intensification of the United States’ systems of death. We cannot continue to entertain the “pragmatic” notion that we must plug our noses and vote for a lesser evil until one day, somehow, spontaneously, a movement will emerge to deliver us from US Empire. No such thing will happen if we do not make it happen, and making it happen entails that we first offer a firm denunciation of this system, including a refusal to participate in its spectacles and circuses.

We cannot support any forays into electoral politics under the current conditions of US ruling-class hegemony, and we likewise reject the efforts of organizations like Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) to run candidates for office under the guise of bringing “visibility” to our struggle. Running candidates in bourgeois elections in the complete absence of any semblance of dual-power in our communities is a fool’s game and serves more to lend legitimacy to the institution of bourgeois elections than it does to bring visibility to our struggle for revolution. Revolution is not possible at the ballot box, fueling the notion that it is by running candidates is a dangerous mistake. Revolution will only come when we have made a clean break with bourgeois ideology, and any attempt to bring people into electoral politics is a reproduction and reinforcement of that bourgeois ideology. We prefer to build revolution outside the circus of bourgeois politics and will encourage the masses to do the same.

This election season, we say that the nearly 50% of Americans from predominately working class, black and brown communities, who already chose not to vote have the correct idea. They already understand better the nature of US electoral politics than the petit-bourgeois activists and liberals who would shame them for their decision not to vote. To these communities we offer the affirmation of their correct ideas, and we offer the alternative of rebellion and revolution. To this end we must take up the hard task of building a network of working-class institutions that will offer a meaningful challenge to the ruling capitalist-imperialist system. We must get organized, and we must prepare ourselves to fight.

There is no pragmatic choice to be made this November outside of organizing ourselves for this fight. There is no lesser-evil to manage US Empire. There is only ourselves, our working-class and oppressed nation communities, and our limitless capacity to rebel. We encourage anyone and everyone who sees through the sham of US electoral politics to join us in this struggle. Let us show that we are voting for boycott and pressing for revolution , and let us do the groundwork of building revolutionary, militant, working-class institutions that will give teeth to that threat and lead to the downfall of the entire capitalist-imperialist system. Let us dare to struggle and let us dare to win!

Neither Hillary nor Trump!
Fuck the vote!
It is right to rebel!


C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.