Posted February 10, 2016 by Cooper Point Journal in Letters & Opinion

It’s Whatever

In Defense of My So Called Political Apathy

By Felix Chrome

Every election cycle the prospect of a new president reminds hoards of generally apolitical facebook friends and loud-talking liberals on the bus about their deep belief in the importance of electoral politics. My dad’s friends share meme’s complaining about ‘apathetic youth’ and the CPJ inevitably gets pitched an article about how people really ought to vote despite what ‘the anarchists’ in this town say.

Besides wanting to vomit every time I hear the phrase ‘civic duty’ I don’t really care if you want to vote, it won’t do anything to like, “change the world” but neither will my abstention. It’s whatever. However, the idea that voting, especially voting in national presidential elections,  is somehow the end-all-and-be-all of political engagement is hugely detrimental.

Those who like to talk about how everyone really must vote often argue that if everyone who thought their vote won’t change anything voted it could, conceivably, alter the outcome of elections. Statistically, I suppose this may technically true, but it fundamentally misunderstands what I mean when I say my vote doesn’t matter.

I do not mean my vote wouldn’t count: that even if I voted, whoever I voted for would not get elected. I mean that even if [insert any candidate] were to get elected, it would not change the things I care to change.

Whoever you think is the savior who is ‘really going to change Washington’ would continue perpetrating racist imperialist policies, using drones to kill children abroad, and uphold white supremacy in America, locking up people of color in droves. Whoever is elected (yes, even “socialist” Bernie) will only ever reform capitalism enough to ensure its continuation. They will always reinforce a structure that means people have to sleep on the streets if they cannot pay rent and that there are families who cannot feed themselves; not to mention that none can even imagine past a world where most of us have to work soul crushing jobs we hate until we die, depressed and alienated. I could go on, but I will spare you my further tirades to just say, the differences between candidates’ pale in comparison to their similarities.

When I say my vote doesn’t matter, I mean that I am fundamentally opposed to structures this nation is built upon (and the nation state, for that matter) and I know that no revolution can ever be won at the ballot box.

This is often where people expect I, or those with similar beliefs, will present them with an alternative—claiming we must have the blueprint for what political actions we need to take to create the world we want to see. I have no such alternative. While I have a couple ideas of things I’d like to do, most of which are better not discussed in this newspaper, I do not know exactly what to do to dismantle hellworld.

This is not a failing, but the only way forward in a world where the spectacle can absorb every possibly alternative. As some anonymous writers for the journal Baedan put it, “Faced with the system’s seamless integration of all positive projects into itself, we can’t afford to affirm or posit any more alternatives for it to consume. Rather we must realize that our task is infinite, not because we have so much to build but because we have an entire world to destroy. Our daily life is so saturated and structured by capital that it is impossible to imagine a life worth living, except one of revolt.”

This position is in no way one of apathy. The ardent rejection of those structures that confine us, including electoral politics and everything they represent, are born out of a ferocious care, an intense desire for something better, despite being unable to plan what that may be.

I would like to make it clear that while I am the editor in chief at the Cooper Point Journal, this article reflects only my personal beliefs, and should be in no way interpreted as the official viewpoint of the newspaper or our staff.