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The Disenfranchisement of the Enfranchised

by Bobby o Monday, Jan. 22, 2001 at 10:22 PM

A report on the speeches at the Counter Inaugural in Los Angeles, with commentary on the newly disenfranchised democrats.

Los Angeles, Jan 20th

Yesterday during a speech at the Los Angeles Counter Inauguration Senator Tom Hayden welcomed the “sore losers”. Ironically he was speaking of the new and “illegitimate” Republican Bush administration in Washington. Hayden remarked that the event of the Bush presidency inaugurated a period of the “disenfranchisement of the enfranchised”. A period where “the effects of this (Bush Presidency) will be felt in your life”. For the everyday middle of the road Democrats he promised “ more sewage spills, worse air, more corporate mergers and acquisitions, and a retreat from the federal role in monitoring of the LAPD”.

Alluding again to this loss of electoral power of the enfranchised, Hayden remarked that the people would wake up and say “what happened?” This theme of the liberal agenda being blind sided by a pro-corporate coup was echoed by other speakers. One remarked “ We got tripped. (We) never thought voters rights could be undermined. (We got ) to comfortable in our democracy. (We felt) to safe.”

During the meeting of the WTO in December of 1999, Hayden was heard weaving a dark story of the erosion of civil democracy at the hands of trans-national corporations and banks. He stated that the trade organizations were making rules and regulations that would tie the hands of locally elected governments, subjecting citizen based democracy to the capitalist whims of free traders. Yesterday at the inaugural Hayden predicted a “season of storms”. This would begin when we “enter a season of deregulations of the WTO”, supported by the Bush presidency.

At some point during the post election bruahaha I received an e-mail from Counter Coup. com. It was a cry for the “Seattle Coalition” to come to the aid of the Democratic Party. After laughing at the idea of the mythic shock troops of the “Battle in Seattle” coming to the aid of Al Gore, I had a vision. It was of the “disenfranchised enfranchised” crying out as their faith in their system which supports and encourages their political disengagement was shattered. Screaming for help as government and law failed them, they became radicalized to seek out new solutions.

At the Counter Inauguration yesterday many speakers invoked the legitimacy of peoples power and inaugurated their own “Peoples Platform”. Hayden called for “an alternative of our own” where now there is “no excuse to take it and demand an alternative.”

On the first day of his presidency, people in LA were already chanting “Hey Hey Ho Ho George Bush Has Got To Go.” Unlike many of the recent mass direct action protests coming off the heals of the WTO, the solution to the Bush presidency that speakers and the march offered was abstract. Haydens’ invocation of the people being the “ turning of the tides” was a re-commitment to the very same system of electoral politics that had brought many of the newly disenfranchised out today. His abstract metaphors ascribed to “the people” great powers but offered no way besides their moral authority, and the very same failing civil democracy, to exercise it.

With out a doubt Los Angeles' march brought together folks ready to contest the legitimacy of the George Bush regime. Whether or not the “disenfranchisement of the enfranchised” leads to anything other than politics as usual remains to be seen.
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