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by Steven Argue
Monday, Nov. 08, 2004 at 10:53 AM
Whither Democracy In The United States?
Bush Regime Maintains Power Through Electoral Fraud
Whither Democracy In The United States?
By STEVEN ARGUE
Electric voting machines in a precinct in Columbus Ohio gave George W. Bush 3,893 votes while giving John Kerry 260. Yet only 638 ballots were cast. This is according to Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections.
An indication of how widespread this problem may have been may be found in the exit polls in Ohio. All of this data taken by different networks showed Kerry the winner of the election in this key state.
Yet the corporate media giant of CNN went so far as to change these polling results in the early morning hours between 1:05 AM and 6:41 AM. The network had the data broken down by gender showing Kerry the winner at 1:05 AM. At that time Kerry was shown to have a lead of 53 percent among women to 47 percent for Bush, and similarly 51 percent of men voted for Kerry with only 49 percent voting for Bush. Suddenly at 6:41 AM CNN turned these polling results on their head with a 50 – 50 split between Kerry and Bush among women and 52 percent of men voting for Bush and only 47 percent voting for Kerry.
Exit polls also showed Kerry well ahead of Bush in Florida with Kerry getting about 51 percent of the vote to Bush’s 48 percent. Yet the final vote tabulating by the machines blew Kerry out of the water with 52 percent voting for Bush and only 47 percent voting for Kerry. A large number of reports to election monitoring organizations are accounts of voting machines that lit up for “Bush” after the voter pressed “Kerry”. In some cases it was reported that this would happen five to ten times before it would finally light up for Kerry. In other cases voters would later be asked to confirm their Bush vote after having voted for Kerry.
The Verified Voting Foundation (VVF) tracked 30,159 voting incidents. 1,498 of these were e-voting errors. On November 4th an AP entitled, “Reports of electronic voting trouble top 1,000” reported the VVF’s information going on to state that in Florida, “In many cases, voters said they intended to select John Kerry but when the computer asked them to verify the choice it showed them instead opting for President Bush, the group said.”
The vast majority of touch screen voting systems in the United States do not provide a paper trail to make it possible to verify if the U.S. government is holding free and fair elections according to any international standard. Had President Chavez of Venezuela been elected in a similar election the U.S. government would be calling for the ouster of Chavez and the restoration of democracy. But Venezuela does provide a paper trail accounting for every e-vote cast.
According to Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) "A number of people who thought they were voting for Kerry, when the screen came up it showed they were voting for Bush. We've seen it across several voting systems, not just one machine."
Common Cause had over 1,000 election monitors and polling places and had 200,000 calls reporting voting problems to its election hot-line stated, “This much is clear: Voting in 2004 was more problematic than in 2000.” Citing thousands of people waiting in lines as long as eight hours to vote, many more thousands turned away at the polls due to registration issues, and still thousands more who requested absentee ballots never received them.
Reports in Florida also once again have included roadblocks preventing people from voting in two predominantly black precincts. This is one of the methods that was used to steal the election for Bush in 2000, yet when the Black Congressional Caucus tried to raise the issue as a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act they were shut down by Al Gore’s gavel and the lack of a single co-sponsor in the U.S. Senate.
In addition to roadblocks, most of the 94,000 voters wrongly thrown off voter rolls in 2000 had not had their right to vote returned by November 2nd 2004. Most of these disenfranchised voters are Black. On top of this, an additional 47,000 voters were thrown off the rolls for this election. Most of these people are Black as well. The state of Florida was forced to make the list public and thousands of “errors” were found, including hundreds of voters who were listed as being convicted of felonies sometime in the future.
This type of abuse is on a much smaller scale in states like California that do not deny people convicted of felonies the right to vote unless they are locked up in a state or federal prison or only out on parole. In these places, however, the right to vote is often also denied to these people by being misinformed of their voting rights.
The criminal injustice system should not be allowed to deny Black and Latino youth their right to vote through frame-ups and drug war convictions, but that is what the system often gets away with. The state of Florida makes this problem even worse by denying Blacks and Latinos the right to vote on the pretext of felony convictions that have never even occurred.
In predominantly working class areas and Black areas of Ohio problems reported also included a polling place completely shut down, complaints of the lines on machines not lining up properly with candidates or with no holes corresponding to certain candidates, long lines with people waiting for hours and leaving as well as people having no handicapped access to vote.
Across the nation the Election Protection Coalition received 4,459 reports of ballot problems, 2,867 polling place irregularities, and 7,152 complaints on voter registration problems, and 1,074 people who phoned to let the group know of voter intimidation they witnessed. In terms of actual voting irregularities these numbers, and those recorded by other groups are of course just the tip of the iceberg because most people do not know where to report problems, and there is rarely a way to know if ones vote has been miscounted (unless of course a precinct reports thousands more votes than were cast as they did in a precinct in Ohio).
Irregularities were widespread across the nation.
We are told that Bush won by a large margin in Louisiana, but the numbers in that state are also unreliable. Problems included precincts in New Orleans that the government never bothered to open. Other precincts in Louisiana turned people away from voting because of a lack of ballots. Complaints also made by Louisiana voters were that their ballots were received pre-marked.
In New Hampshire Ralph Nader’s newly formed Populist Party monitored the elections. As a result Ralph Nader has requested a recount in the state stating, “We have received reports of irregularities in the vote reported on the AccuVote Diebold Machines in comparison to exit polls and trends in voting in New Hampshire. These irregularities favor President George W. Bush by 5% to 15% over what was expected. Problems in these electronic voting machines and optical scanners are being reported in machines in a variety of states. We are requesting that the state undertake this recount or a statistically significant sample audit of these vote counts. We would like to make sure every vote counts and is counted accurately”
Even with all of the evidence that this was not a free and fair election, it is still likely that Kerry won the election in Ohio anyway, yet all of the votes will now never be counted. We’ve been told that Bush won in Ohio by 136,483 votes. Yet Kerry conceded the election with 247,672 regular votes not counted, with 155,000 provisional votes not counted, as well as 92,672 “spoilage” votes not counted. “Spoilage” votes are discarded votes. Based on past experiences, including the “spoilage” vote counts in Florida four years ago, it is likely that these votes would have added up to a Kerry victory in Ohio, thus a change in the presidency.
Due to electoral fraud the Democrat Party has become the second political party in the United States. Yet, despite being robbed of the presidency and numerous other offices, that party is playing the role of a loyal house broken opposition, rather than organizing the fight back to uphold the democratic will of the people. The reason for this can be seen in the fact that both parties are ruling capitalist parties with very similar pro-war and anti-worker programs.
For the Democrat Party to declare electoral fraud and to declare both Gore and Kerry to have been the rightful winners of their elections would potentially destabilize the whole capitalist system by mobilizing working class opposition. Those running the Democrat Party see that they have far more in common with the Republican Party than a mass mobilization of workers and youth in the streets protesting and striking against the anti-democratic Republican regime. The Democrats prefer stability under an undemocratic regime where they can maintain a privileged position as the house broken opposition.
The rigging of U.S. elections can be traced all the way back to the time of the American Revolution. While there were those that argued for simply making George Washington the new king, a bourgeois democracy was established instead. That democracy was clearly kept mainly in the hands of the wealthy with only white male landowners given the right to vote. Struggles by the poor who did not trust the new government won the Bill of Rights, and over a long period of time, and long struggles, nearly universal suffrage was achieved.
The last big struggle for the right to vote was against the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, a paramilitary outfit that terrorized black people and unionists working hand in hand with the Democrat Party and police to maintain the semi-fascistic control of the segregated south. Today the power of the Klan has been diminished due to the massive struggles of the 1960s led in a large part by Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, and the Black Panther Party. Despite these three leaderships being murdered by the U.S. government, their accomplishments continue to live on.
Yet much of this democracy won through hard struggle is now being lost due to the mass incarceration and slavery of millions of the poor, the denial of the right to vote for people convicted of a felonies or wrongly accused of being convicted of felonies, and the use of electronic voting machines with no paper trail set up so that the pro-Republican companies that run these machines can rig the elections. All of these are denials of universal suffrage, yet the Democrat Party refuses to put up any real fight. They never will put up that fight either.
Just as the fight for democracy and democratic rights has always been a struggle by the American people against the capitalist class and their ruling capitalist parties, the struggle for democracy and sovereignty is a struggle against that same U.S. government for the people of the world. This continues in 2004 with U.S. marines having carried out a coup d’etat against President Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti. That coup has been coupled with the U.S. arming of death squad forces in that country that are murdering the opponents of the U.S. coup.
Around the world the imperial U.S. government has carried out many similar bloody coups against democratically elected governments that have threatened U.S. corporate interests in some way, from the profits of the United Fruit Company to oil profits. A couple examples of U.S. sponsored coups include the 1973 overthrow of Allende in Chile installing the Pinochet dictatorship, the 1954 overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala bringing on decades of genocide, and the 1953 coup against Mohammad Mossadeq installing the bloody dictatorship of the Shah of Iran.
Today in the world the U.S. government is the biggest threat to democracy and national sovereignty. Liberation News fights for a perspective of socialist democracy in opposition to capitalism as well as in opposition to Stalinist models of socialism. We stand in agreement with Rosa Luxemburg’s assessment of the young Soviet Union:
"Clearly, not uncritical apologetics but penetrating and thoughtful criticism is alone capable of bringing out treasures of experiences and teachings. Dealing as we are with the very first experiment in proletarian dictatorship in world history (and one taking place at that under the hardest conceivable conditions, in the midst of the world-wide conflagration and chaos of the imperialist mass slaughter, caught in the coils of the most reactionary military power in Europe, and accompanied by the most complete failure on the part of the international working class), it would be a crazy idea to think that every last thing done or left undone in an experiment with the dictatorship of the proletariat under such abnormal conditions represented the very pinnacle of perfection. On the contrary, elementary conceptions of socialist politics and an insight into their historically necessary prerequisites force us to understand that under such fatal conditions even the most gigantic idealism and the most storm-tested revolutionary energy are incapable of realizing democracy and socialism but only distorted attempts at either." Rosa Luxemburg "The Russian Revolution"
Rosa Luxemburg was a leading German and world socialist who opposed the betrayals of the Social Democratic Parties who at that time supported their own bourgeoisies as they entered the First World War across Europe. Rosa Luxemburg instead advocated revolutionary socialism. Like Eugene Debs in the United States she was sent to prison for her leadership in opposing the war. In addition, while being supportive of the Russian revolution, she was at the same time opposed to the dictatorial methods of Lenin and Trotsky in the Soviet Union. Rosa Luxemburg instead advocated democratic communism, as does Liberation News.
In league with this understanding we see that a club being used by the capitalist class against the gains of the last 100 years of progressive struggles in this country is a populist cultural backlash filled with anti-intellectualism. It is an anti-modernist civil war which cloaks its rightwing agenda under a veil of supposed “values” on issues such as abortion, capital punishment, gay marriage, evolution versus creationism, prayers and religious symbols in schools, and hysteria regarding a fear of terrorism and anti-Arab hatred. The rapidly growing hysteria and fear is not unlike those emotions that fueled fascism in the 30s. We are at the cross-roads and if we don't work to stop this right wing march now, we will see the world change in the very worst way imaginable.
Behind this march into backward thinking, repression, stolen elections, and wars such as the one in Iraq that has claimed 100,000 civilian lives is a falling rate in capitalist profits. The capitalists are attempting to regain those lost profits out of the hides of working class people at home and around the world, as well as from heightened exploitation of the environment.
The Democrat Party is not trying to stop this backward march, with the likes of Kerry voting for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the so-called Patriot Act taking away many basic democratic rights, opposing Gay marriage, opposing single payer healthcare, and refusing to stick up for universal suffrage when he has won the election. Over and over again the Democrat Party proves itself not only incapable of leading this struggle against reaction, but instead actually being part of the problem.
It is with these thoughts in mind that Liberation News is working to launch a new party, the Worker’s Democracy Party.
Sections of the Worker’s Democracy Party Platform:
Eliminate computer voting where there is no paper trail.
Eliminate the Electoral College and replace it with the popular vote.
Eliminate the winner takes all voting system for Congress and state assemblies, replacing it with proportional representation as was set up in Nicaragua after the Sandinista Revolution.
Eliminate the ability of some states to take away the right to vote based on proper or improper felony convictions.
Limit spending on election campaigns to give working class parties a chance against corporate parties.
Nationalize the big corporate media sources and guarantee by law equal access and equal time for all political parties running.
Make ballot status more accessible for small parties in states where ballot access is extremely difficult.
End FCC repression against micro-radio stations.
Subsidize the printing of non-corporate papers as is done in Sweden.
Eliminate the financial incentive to go to war and destroy the environment through the nationalization of the weapons and oil industries, thus eliminating the corruption these industries bring to the democratic process.
For a planned nationalized economy under the democratic control of the working class that guarantees the right to medical care, jobs, housing, and food as basic human rights for all.
Subscribe to Liberation News at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Liberation_News/
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