“Not Nothing, Not Everything”

Stephen Squibb puts voting in perspective:

Someone once wrote that you shouldn’t confuse the process of writing somebody’s name on a piece of paper once every four years and dropping it in a box with emancipation. Voting has a part to play in political life, but a limited one, small compared to the importance of fostering communities based on mutual aid, deploying direct action, and practicing solidarity.

In this respect, those who loudly insist on not voting or proclaim its meaninglessness are committing the old misty-eyed mistake in reverse: not voting will no more free you than voting will. And the energy spent asserting that the two parties are identical is only well-spent if it leads directly into building some further form of institutional counterpower. Voting is not an overly difficult or time-consuming process—neofascist suppression tactics notwithstanding—at least when compared to planning a march, a boycott, or any other kind of organizing. It’s really closer to making an excellent banner or attending a meeting, activities that probably have a similar return on investment, as individual expenditures, as a trip to the polls does.