Voting Will not Be #Enough

30.03.2018 - New York City - David Andersson

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Voting Will not Be #Enough
March for Our Lives in Washington, DC on Saturday, March 24 2018 (Image by David Andersson)

By David Andersson

After the March for Our Lives rallies ​that ​mobilized million​s​ of people ​the main focus​ for gun control activists is gain​ing​ political power. This a great direction​, seeking to engage people in ​the democratic process​,​ and was really the missing piece of the Occupy Movement​ a few years ago.

​We see ​progressive organizations ​​asking people to register to vote and listen​ to students ​threatening elected official​s​ that they could loose their seats if they don’t ​pass legislation​ banning semi-automatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy guns​,​ and establishing more comprehensive background checks.Stopping there​, however,​ will not be enough​. Our formal democracy give​s​ more power to ​the ​elected officials than to the people ​who vote for them and this strategy dilute​s​ the movement by waiting on pressured politician​s​ to do the right thing. When people are elected the game change​s for them​ – it’s no​ longer about ​wining people over but rather keeping one’s seat, making sure the opposition party doesn’t gain any space and you are ​properly enough aligned ​with ​your own party to win the primary.

Nothing ​h​as change​d since​ ​Columbine and nothing will change after Marjory Stoneman Douglas if we don’t do something at the level of ​the Civil Right​s​ ​Movement. We can’t naively believe that ​a ​few marches will produce any change. To make these type of changes we need to disrupt the economical and political power ​at its core.

We have to make a new proposition that go​es​ beyond voting and address​es​ the founding problem of our society​, which is VIOLENCE. The ​number of guns​ in our country is crazy but the level of poverty and homelessness, the disparity between the poor and the rich, the level of military spending, the economical and technological concentration​ of resources​, ​the concentration and manipulation of media, the paralysis in front of climate change​, ​the discrimination against ​racial, religious and sexual ​minorities​, ​and the total decline of ​human ​rights​ is even crazier ​as well amoral and despicable.

We need a new generation of sincere and courageous youth to run for elections, to create a ​nonviolent political front to gain social and direct political power against the established political machine. This has already been done in Chile​: ​after ​the 2006 ​student protests called the Penguin Revolution, the movement transformed into many small political formations created and run by the students themselves. ​Many of these organizations ​recently ​launched a common political front call Frente Amplio. After ​only ​one year ​in existence the front ​received 20% of the general vote at ​the ​last election​ in the fall and ​are represented by ​one senator and twenty deputies (including ​Camila Rojas, 26, the youngest ​deputy ever elected in Chile​)​.

This is an opportunity for all of us to ​imagine a new political landscape ​based on fundamental ​human ​values. Our democracy need​s​ fresh air​; as we saw during the marches​,​ millions ​of ​people are ready to help and ​get mobilized.

Categories: Nonviolence, North America, Opinions, Politics
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