Image De gerenommeerde linkse geschiedkundige Howard Zinn heeft in een artikel in het tijdschrift The Progressive mooi commentaar geleverd op het verkiezingscircus in de VS. Hij adviseert iedereen om "zich te bevrijden van de verkiezingswaanzin die de hele maatschappij bevangen houdt, inclusief links". (So we need to free ourselves from the election madness engulfing the entire society, including the left). Je kunt het hele stuk hier vinden

Howard Zinn stelt niet dat verkiezingen geheel geen belang hebben:

No, I'm not taking some ultra-left position that elections are totally insignificant, and that we should refuse to vote to preserve our moral purity. Yes, there are candidates who are somewhat better than others, and at certain times of national crisis (the Thirties, for instance, or right now) where even a slight difference between the two parties may be a matter of life and death.

Maar er zijn belangrijkere dingen te melden door de media en te bespreken door de burgers dan elke scheet die elke mogelijke kandidaat laat:

I'm talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes-the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.

But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.

En hij waarschuwt voor de gevaarlijke illusies die vaak rond dergelijke spektakels gekoesterd worden: We should not expect that a victory at the ballot box in November will even begin to budge the nation from its twin fundamental illnesses: capitalist greed and militarism.

Waar zou je je aandacht dan beter op kunnen richten?

For instance, the mortgage foreclosures that are driving millions from their homes-they should remind us of a similar situation after the Revolutionary War, when small farmers, many of them war veterans (like so many of our homeless today), could not afford to pay their taxes and were threatened with the loss of the land, their homes. They gathered by the thousands around courthouses and refused to allow the auctions to take place.

The evictions today of people who cannot pay their rents should remind us of what people did in the Thirties when they organized and put the belongings of the evicted families back in their apartments, in defiance of the authorities.

Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.

(lees het hele stuk hier )