PARAF-JAVAL

THE ABSURDITY OF POLITICS

brackets indicate updates for the 'modern' era.

Anti-Parliamentary Bureau, 1919

The Monthly News Sheet, April 1924


I

Universal suffrage is not and cannot be universal

By "universal suffrage" is meant suffrage for everyone.  In reality it is suffrage for no one.

Indeed, it must be pointed out first off that:

- Women have no right to vote [in some countries];

- Men under the age of 21 [or 18] don't have the right to vote;

- Soldiers don't have the right to vote [in some countries];

- Those who the law deprives of political rights [or whose votes are "challenged" away] have no vote. Furthermore:

- Those who, for one reason or another (illness, work schedule, etc.) can't make it to the polling booths on election day don't vote;

- Those who find no candidate that suits them vote null or have to make do with inexact suffrage;

- Voluntary or indifferent abstainers don't vote.

And what we have left are the voters. But a large portion of suffrage doesn't count, since:

- Those who've given their votes to candidates that don't win end up having voted for nothing;

- Those whose representatives are in a minority in the house and senate may be considered to have voted for nothing;

[- Those who vote against their electoral college representatives may be considered to have voted for nothing;]

[- Those whose votes are falsified by computers or challenged out of existence by "chad-checkers" can be considered to have voted for nothing;]

And so what's left are the electors whose representatives win and thus get to vote on the laws.

These electors, we mention in passing, would have trouble coming to an agreement and having a uniform opinion if their elected officials actually were to consult with them every time they had to cast a vote in their name. [Likewise, they often vote on the basis of promises made during the campaign and end up deceived, or vote only because they fear the opposing candidate's victory.]

But there's more. The majority of a parliamentary assembly can't come to an agreement on any text without making "compromises."  For that compromise, both sides have to abandon their ideas a bit.  No one can hope to have their ideas accepted completely.

So what good is it to vote, since from that expression of 'suffrage' can arise neither:

- the voters' true desires;

- nor any truth that is intransigent and incompatible with a rough and ready settlement?

So what does this so-called "universal" suffrage really end up doing?

It merely allows the majority to oppress the minority, with no guarantee that the majority is right in itself, and even (We'll show this further on) with the certainty that that majority may not be right.

In sum, so called "universal" suffrage is not really suffrage for all.  It is a trick that can be used by certain people (plotters of intrigues) to oppress other people.  And that's not all.

II

So called universal suffrage is a powerful means of sedating human activity

Starting from the age of 18, every four years (that is, once every 1460 or 1461 days), the voter votes (that is, tries to suppress those who think differently from him).  Authority however functions every day, at every moment.

So universal suffrage means: 1 day of a right to take part in all the intrigue: 1459 or 1460 days of abdication.

Universal suffrage is no more than a powerful means of sedating human activity.  It has nothing in common with popular sovereignty, or with the right to be as sovereign as the next person.  It has nothing in common with equality.

III

The political system is absurd

In a country with a parliamentary regime, people determine what acts are ordered, permitted, and forbidden, that is, the LAW, in the following manner:

1° Delegates are nominated (senators, representatives, council-members, etc.) That nomination is the equivalent of a total abdication of individual activity to the hands of politicians.

2° Politicians come together in assemblies to issue their opinions, and establish texts for their vote on such opinions,

3° The outcome of these votes is imposed by force.

This system is absurd.

If there are truly certain rules that people should order, permit, and forbid, it would be interesting to see which of those rules are really just the natural result of simple logic.  If they aren't, then politicians are no more qualified than other people to determine them.

How is truth established?  How is science established?

Are delegates named to do so? - No. He who comes out with the truth is no one's delegate.  Most often he has no diplomas or any special dignity.  -Do we vote on scientific matters? - No.  Votes prove nothing.  Galileo was alone in saying that the earth spun on an axis.  Though he was in the minority, he was nonetheless right, and the majority wrong.  -Is science imposed by force?  -No.  It merely says: "Here it is; these are the proofs.  You may impose them upon yourselves if you acknowledge that they are just."

From the scientific point of view, people's reason is perfect.  No one rises up in revolt against science, not even ignorant people, because the latter know that it's been verified by those who know what they're doing, and that if they figured it out for themselves, that they would be able to verify it for themselves.

From the legal perspective, the people represent perfect unreason.  And the absurdly determined law is often inept and vexatious.  It is nonetheless the LAW, however, from the moment it has been voted in and promulgated according to the usual absurd rules.

Such is the political system. Totally foreign to reason, it cannot give reasonable results. Politics, an illogical method, cannot serve for the establishment of logical rules of conduct.

Only a madman would want to determine and impose such rules, if any indeed exist, on sensible people other than by a rational method.

IV

The law is the right of the strong over the weak.

All individuals, once they're capable of reasoning, find themselves in the presence of an innumerable quantity of laws.  If they say, "these laws were made without my consent, and against me; I don't like them," the response is "Obey them first, and then when you are given the opportunity to do so, use your rights as a citizen to change the social order to your liking."  If the individual remarks, "I don't want to wait," the response is, "don't be in a rush.  The people who make the laws are charged, by you or by your adversaries, to act in your place and in your stead.  Go get involved in politics if you don't like it."

The purpose of politics, of course, is the confection of laws, and the law is nothing but the acceptance by certain people (the majority) of the opinions that other people (the minority) answer them with.

To impose opinion by force is to rule tyrannically.  The law is the supreme oppression, legal oppression, the right of the strongest.

A person's rights can't depend on the more or less disinterested opinion of other people.  Such rights either exist or they do not.  If they do, they will be determined by logic and exercised according to need, even in spite of the law.

V

All voters are conservative

Because the purpose of politics is the manufacture of laws, it is important to point out that Law is futile.

Indeed, in reality there is no law, and there cannot be any law; the law doesn't count -- or rather, there is only one real law, implicit in all the law books: "don't get busted."

In effect, society doesn't punish those who break the law, it punishes those who get themselves busted while breaking it [or have enough money to be above it,] which isn't the same. Those who break the law but don't get caught can't be punished.

So we are in our right to say that the law is the swindler's reward, saying to people: "It's useless to be loyal; be treacherous.  Everything to the crafty, nothing to the weak or to the simple, who have neither the intelligence or the meanness to use the law for their profit."

And there are certain people (lawyers and judges) whose official position is to attempt either to get around or to apply the law, according to the case at hand.

In effect, every time people are called to cast votes, it can be considered as a demand for their signature on the renewal of the so-called social contract.  The voter is a person who comes when rung for, like a servant; who comes when whistled for, like a dog trained for obedience, who comes only that day, and not the others; a person who comes when called by authority, which tells him, "The moment has now come for you to once again approve of and keep in good function a system set up by others and for others, not you.  The moment has arrived for you to choose those who will become part of this system, with or without any intention of modifying it, for you to choose those who will be paid --in cash, influence, privilege, and honors, for their contribution to the functioning of this great machine, this meat-grinder of the weak.  The moment has come for you to once again throw out any ideas you may have had about revolting against this organization that exploits you, and to obey authority.  The moment has come for you to vote, that is, to take an action whose real meaning is: "I RECOGNIZE THE LAWS."

And so, the primary meaning of electoral abstention is the following:

«I DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE LAWS. I don't want anything to do with the regime that has been imposed on me and is to continue to be imposed on me."

It follows that every voter (whether he's a [democrat, republican,] or otherwise) is a conservative, since the result of his vote is a contribution to the continued functioning of the ruling system.

VI

All conscious abstainers are revolutionaries

We've shown that politics is a powerful weapon to benumb and sedate the activity of the non-privileged.  People are told, "put your brain away in your pocket; you can take it out sometime in the future so as to cast a vote, that is, to consolidate authority.  As long as you abdicate, authority will go on functioning without stop."

And some people are surprised a revolution doesn't happen through the vote!   What would be surprising would be to see a revolution made with such a system as this, with such an anti-revolutionary system, with such a conservative system.

Revolution will come about when people cease abdicating their activity.

Revolution will come about when people cease to delegate their powers away, when they cease naming masters, when they cease permitting people no better than them to say, "you've given me the right to act for you, in your name."

Authority will fall the day people cease imposing it upon themselves, the day they cease creating categories like privileged, governor, oppressor.  

The revolution will begin at the precise moment when people abandon politics.

All revolutions have been moments when people have abandoned politics, when they have taken control of their own fate.

All people who abandon politics commence making revolution, because they recommence the activity that they have abdicated up to then.

VII

What will be the consequences of a voters' strike?

The following will be the consequences:

A declaration of war on the established system, and the beginning of hostilities, with the certainty that the regime will be toppled.

Refusing to vote in the conditions described above is not an act of inertia, but an act of revolt.  The governors know that a conscious abstainer is not an indifferent person, but a rebel, and that that rebel can't not act.

Generalized abstention will make the exercise of government more difficult.

What authority would an individual elected by a tiny portion of the electorate have?  What authority would assemblies of individuals delegated by minorities have?  What authority would the executive, elected by those assemblies, have?

Whenever authority, in order to function, feels the need to justify itself by votes, it can be concluded that there must then be a certain minimum number of votes beneath which AUTHORITY IS DISQUALIFIED.

And when authority is disqualified, the masses become conscious of their strength.

Let's go back to the start.  Present society continues to exist because the non-privileged -- the proletarians -- are resigned, and so it's important that they stop being resigned, that they revolt; it matters that each of them that want to overturn society revolt on their own behalf, and since proletarians are more numerous by far, a generalized revolt would render that overturning CERTAIN.

The foregoing shows, I believe, the importance of the voter's strike, which could be the prelude to a revolution, the modern form of which appears to be the general strike.

The general strike, or, if you please, the generalized strike, appears to be such a powerful weapon that if some of our partial strikes would extend in that manner (like for instance a taxpayers' and renters' strike) it would be enough to bring on a total social upheaval.

A movement of this nature would be not only foreign to politics, but indeed directed against politics, that is, against the system whose result is the authoritarian organization of society currently annulling our freedom.

Let us add that this social upheaval can only be the movement preceding the establishment of a reasonable society.  It is easy to show that such a society could be established, once enough people understand that it depends only on the replacement of competition by camaraderie.

VIII

Objection : If revolutionaries don't vote, they're giving up power to non-revolutionaries.

Let us remark that this objection couldn't be made by a conscious revolutionary, since an individual in a position of power, even temporarily, cannot truly be a revolutionary.

In fact, the goal of the conscious revolutionary is not the conquest but the destruction of Power.

Could we hope to destroy all power by continuing to make it function, by keeping it in working order?

The voter is a repair man, because he fabricates a gear in the machinery of authority, the essential cog without which there would be no authority.

The elected official is that cog, and is necessarily conservative, since he is a moving part within authority, constitutes authority.

But even supposing there were such a thing as voters and elected officials desirous of destroying Power, the fact that there are elections contributes not to the destruction, but to the justification of Power.

Anyway, to want to have authority impose freedom is in itself bizarre. Freedom and authority are incompatible to the point that the one increases proportionately as the other decreases.

Up to now, all societies have been set up on the principle of authority.  Even what is called "socialism" is a form of that principle.  To delegate power to a few people in charge of distributing everything for the best interests of the collective (collectivism) is the equivalent of abandoning the rights of individuals.  The "comrades" charged with distribution will then be the privileged ones, the governors, the oppressors; and the others the governed, the exploited, the oppressed.

No one who sees that he is oppressed can authorize himself to oppress others.  Logical individuals necessarily arrive at the conception of libertarian communism, which could also be called integral camaraderie.

The vote conduces only to authority; thus we must struggle against the vote, and not participate in it.

SUMMARY

- Universal suffrage is wrongly called universal.  It is not and cannot be universal.  It cannot satisfy anyone.

- So called "universal" suffrage is a powerful weapon for sedating human activity.  "The people," the so called "sovereign," is a slave, consoled by soothing words.  The electorate is made up of people who abdicate their power and give themselves masters.

- The political system is absurd. It goes against all the rules of logic, and can only give unreasonable results.

- This system can only give rise:

To the oppression of a certain number of people by other people rather than to the greatest freedom for all;

And to the organization of deceitful guile.


- All voters are conservative, because their vote fabricates authority.

- All conscious abstainers are revolutionaries, since if no one voted, there would be no authority.

- One cannot hope to put revolutionaries in power by voting, since power can only be counter-revolutionary.  Power must be destroyed, not conquered.

- Thus everyone who recognizes that society is wrongly established and desire to change it should:

1° Free themselves from the prejudices that, like political prejudice, make people into conservatives in spite of themselves;

2° Study with those who think they know them the principles of a reasonable society in order to become ever more conscious revolutionaries;

3° Not be content to be conscious revolutionaries in a theoretical sense, but to take action every chance they get in accordance with their ideas. 

 


Paraf-Javal