Members of Movement for a Democratic Society –Bay Area(MDS—Bay Area) will join members of the Burn The Ballot Caucus of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), disgruntled voters and other activists in burning presidential ballots at noon on Monday, November 5th, the day before the United States presidential election.
They will gather at 14th Street and Broadway, at the corner of Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland. There will be ballot flames from Oakland, California to Staten Island, New York to draw attention to the fact that there is no democracy in the United States and that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are two corporate puppet candidates representing the two corporate puppet parties that are the two faces of the United States Empire.
Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” U.S. elections are a mockery and insult to true democracy. We are seeing the results of numerous convergences of the pillars of fascism. The Supreme Court has told us that corporations are people. It is only the corporations who can afford to run candidates for office. It is only the corporate candidates who are allowed into the presidential debates. Election after election, third party candidates and those without money have been kept out of presidential primary debates and general election debates. The corporate media does not give them equal coverage.
There has been much energy put into the intentional disenfranchisement of significant parts of the African-American community in key electoral cities with voter registration prevention and fraud. The Republicans stole the presidential election in Florida in 2000 and again in Ohio in 2004. It is too easily done.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would repeal the New Deal and oppress all but the wealthiest citizens. Barack Obama is a proven war criminal, assassin, perpetrator of torture and rendition, violator of human rights and civil liberties and prosecutor of whistleblowers. Either party will give us more endless war and poverty. This election is once again a choice between two evils. There is no lesser evil. They are just different evils.
We acknowledge the historic struggles for suffrage of all people. We acknowledge that people have died for the right to vote and that many have come to hold it as “sacred.” However, the presidential election is anything but sacred. It is, in fact, profane. Sometimes it makes sense to go to the polls to vote on ballot propositions and candidates for local offices. Even then, we invite people to burn replica “presidential ballots.”
Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which codified martial law, and shredded the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments. There is no more right to counsel, due process, or trial. Anyone can now be kidnapped, disappeared, and detained indefinitely on the whim of a presidential accusation, with no evidence, of support for terrorism. The point of this nationwide presidential ballot burning is to drive home the reality that it is over. Democracy in the United States is pretend. We can no longer participate in the presidential election charade. Americans once burned draft cards to demonstrate their refusal to participate in illegal and immoral war. Now we burn presidential ballots to symbolize our refusal to participate in a phony democracy that will give us one of two evil men committed to squandering American blood and treasure to murder people in distant lands. The president who signed the NDAA and the senators and congresspersons who voted for it, have nullified their right to hold office. They are traitors. They have committed treason. They have violated their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. They have become the domestic enemies of the people and the Constitution. Though we do not believe in the prison system, by law, they should all be arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for treason.
Forty-eight years ago, Mario Savio said,“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
We find those words applicable today. We will not consent to empire or fascism under Obama or Romney. Join us in burning presidential ballots. We do not expect Congress to fix the system. We are pledged to no business as usual for the empire. We are pledged to working for real participatory democracy. Our only hope for change will come from all of us talking with our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers about making nonviolent revolution. President Kennedy, as quoted above, warned us what will happen if that is prevented.