Politics consist of two things. Every state mechanism is structured around two very simple everyday objects, that has many forms. Information and weapons. Granted, there’s a lot of jargon for it. Intelligence and ordinance. Dossiers and sidearms. Bibles and guns.
Each variant of consciousness sums up the state mechanism in its own succinct way. But this is what governance is. The state offers a promise and a threat, and if you feel comfortable in the living space which exist between these two things, then you are a model citizen.
You can be dissenting, you can disagree, you can renounce the entire system, you can carry signs and placards and shout down riot police, but as long as you do not cross this line between the threat and the promise, you are a model citizen.
Activism is therefore a wonderful invention. It permits people to trade emotional catharsis and personal validation for their democratic authority. You shout in a megaphone, you wear a stupid t-shirt, you throw money at some corporate NGO and you go back to work on Monday, it’s a wonderful theatric.
Parliaments are therefore a wonderful invention. You watch the reality TV show, where the bad guy is in charge. He might be a stupid idealistic college elitist who doesn’t understand how the real world works.
Or he might be an uneducated and bigoted demagogic brute who despises culture and higher learning, it doesn’t matter, you watch the bad guy, you get mad, but don’t worry, in the next election cycle you get to fight the bad guy by throwing a slip of paper into a box.
Does anyone actually count these votes? Is there any meaningful or empirical evidence to suggest that your input matters? Not really. It’s entirely faith based. Even though the system was just managed by the worst person in all of television, it still remains perfectly intact and is a hundred percent trustworthy.
Because that’s how TV shows work, at the end of each episode, life returns to normal. So obviously the executive branch of a state mechanism couldn’t possibly do much to affect that state. No, questioning the state itself is what mad conspiracy theorists do.
The state rather, as long as the parliament exists, is in a systemic sense, infallible. Its branches of government, its mode of organisation, its structure and purpose are beyond question, they exist at the very end of history. Time, society, invention, technology and culture will move forward and shift radically, but the institution of policymaking that you so happened to be born into is perfect.
Perhaps I am presumptuous in saying you believe this, but it is likely a doctrine many have tried to teach you.
In fact, some are so indoctrinated that to question the purpose of these elections, and the efficacy of voting, is to question the very idea of democracy itself.
Sad truth of the matter is that representative democracy was invented by aristocrats. Filthy land-enclosing, slave-owning, Indian-killing, settler-colonial, peasant-whipping, witch-burning, skull-measuring, tax-dodging, war-mongering, anti-semitic, child-molesting aristocrats.
Bearing the most hyphenated of names, the crookedest of teeth, the widest of holdings and the cowardest of military ranks. The useless parasites who trespass upon our magazine covers and press statements. Who promise work and freedom, but give us austerity and security measures. The devil’s entourage who made their fortune through the delegation of mercenary enterprise.
Who burned, raped, pillaged, manacled, eviscerated, indentured, enslaved and lied their way to the top. Whose profoundness of wealth is mirrored by a profoundness of poverty.
These villains and blaggards and cut throats and pirates, these rogues and landsknechts and scalp hunters and carpetbaggers, these pork barrel politicians, these hucksters, these Babylonian bald heads, these usurers, these bonapartists, these dynasties.
These wastrels, these hedonists, these fops, these snobs, these demagogues, these fork tongues, these shylocks, these bluebloods, these charlatans, these pharisees, these locusts, these white collars, these snakes. These speculators, these loan sharks, these horse traders, these scoundrels, these warlords, these robber barons.
Their wretchedness is known to every dialect, as they have conquered the world.
This idea came about in its modern form in England, during which Oliver Cromwell reconciled the conflict between aristocracy and nobility by reconciling the powers between the house of lords and the house of commons. This new era of democracy was baptised in purges, torture, mutilation and massacres of any political inclination who did not serve the interests of the monarchy. Especially those who represented peasants, the poor, or women.
Democracy was fine as long as only one class of people lived to tell about it. This was Cromwell’s democracy.
Take for example the levelers, who wanted to abolish serfdom. Cromwell’s response in defense of serfdom was the following:
“What is the purport of the levelling principle but to make the tenant as liberal a fortune as the landlord. I was by birth a gentleman. You must cut these people in pieces or they will cut you in pieces.”
And there are several accounts to prove this was no idle rhetoric, I quote again the article I linked:
On 19th April, 1650, a group of local landowners, including John Platt, Thomas Sutton, William Starr and William Davy, with several hired men, destroyed the Digger community in Cobham: “They set fire to six houses, and burned them down, and burned likewise some of the household stuff… not pitying the cries of many little children, and their frightened mothers…. they kicked a poor man’s wife, so that she miscarried her child.”
Parliamentarianism is not democratic, it is in fact a brutal dictatorship. We just happen to live in an age of Pax Parliamentarium, wherein all the enemies of the rich are long dead and buried. Where all opposition to the state as we know it have been rounded up, burned, tortured, executed or purged. It is obscured and hidden in history, but it is true nonetheless.
And now sadly it’s too late, we can no longer organise opposition to the parliament through elections, because the already established parties have centuries long head starts.
They have already bought up all the newspapers, secured all the funding, written all the history books and school curriculums. They get a 12 year monopoly on every generation’s attention span during their most critical formative years wherein they get to present an unquestioned narrative of events about the parliament and what democracy is.
They will have had centuries to write in every possible law and balancing act to assure their dominant position. They have had every possible measure at their disposal, and even then, if somehow, you still manage to accrue influence, they have police horses and billyclubs to beat you into silence.
This is not democracy, and it never was.
But we can look at others, what about republicanism you ask? What about it indeed. Say hello to Robespierre, the Cromwell of France:
The first French republic did in fact enjoy many wonderful democratic rights. Including women’s suffrage, abolition of the slave trade, labour rights, common representation in parliament… for about 12 years give or take.
During that 12 year span, it became evident as to why a coalition government between working class people and aristocrats may have been a little bit unbalanced. The aristocrats, represented by Robespierre, quickly beheaded everyone who opposed them.
They banned women and poor people from politics, and by the time Napoleon came back to invent Bonapartism, Robespierre had done the work for him. The surviving minority put on a pathetic resistance to Napoleon, and following this, the second French republic was founded.
And then you have the United States. For this I only have seven words:
The life and death of Thomas Paine.
Thomas Paine was a wonderful republican, and remains one of the most influential philosophers regarding democratic thought. He was one of the few people who represented the interest of working class people and the poor during the enlightenment, and that’s why so many have barely heard of him.
He advocated for equal rights for Indians in the US, he advocated for the abolition of monarchism in England, he advocated for the abolition of slavery and the equal rights of all religious faiths. He was profoundly religious, and yet militantly secular. Thomas Paine was a wonderful writer, and was the man who inspired the original patriots in Boston, who fired the shot that rang across the world.
Too bad that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington then promptly had his books censored and then had him exiled from the US after taking lots and lots of bribes from the slave trade lobbyists.
Oh well. Womp womp as they say.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a republican. Mind you, not in the US sense of the word. US republicans is what us actual republicans would describe as a sneaky idiot. No I mean the proper kind, who reads Marx and doesn’t hate poor people.
Not that democrats are any better, and I’m not even talking about just the US now. European democrats are horrible as well. They all believe in ghettos, slums, welfare, austerity, war, military industry and all manner of godlessness. In fact it is kind of ridiculous to be an electoral party that advertises itself as the democratic vote.
That is basically a promise to do absolutely nothing. We’ve had universal suffrage since the industrial revolution, and constantly voting for democracy does seem a little bit self-defeating. Whole point of democracy is that you get to expand on these possibilities. Frankly, anyone who appreciates their rights do not understand the point of them. It’s a ladder to climb, not a sofa to die in.
I don’t even own a sofa. I believe it is the furniture of weak people. First comes the sofa, then comes the TV, after that the cheese-based snack foods, and then following this the sweatpants.
After this process is complete, you are no longer a member of my species I’m afraid. You’re too far gone, it’s like a metamorphosis. Your tragic circumstance has stripped you of all possible human dignities, and nothing short of military conscription could restore you to a fitting condition.
It’s sad, but it’s true. People should have a vice that lends them some respect and meaning. Perhaps an opium pipe, or ill-reputed salaciousness, or underground pugilism. But a sofa? Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t disgrace yourself like that. Don’t live for adverts like some kind of tragic Californian person. Instead you should be a real person who has more to express about life than wearing a T-shirt that says some nonsensical postmodern slogan like “ZAPP” or “Dusty Road Pacific 1871”
In fact consider trying something with buttons, they might look daunting, but they’re actually not that complicated once you get the hang of it.
So yes, sofas and t-shirts should probably be illegal all things considered. They’re backward-oriented technologies. Like thumbscrews, or foam-based foods.
I am getting a little bit tangential if I am being perfectly honest with myself, but I think I have covered the topic well enough by now. Democracy is not representative, and voting for dictators is still dictatorship. Until we develop a system of delegation that permits people to actually forward mandates as well as people, then we are only one class who is subservient to another.