In a by gone age, Karl Marx, observed that, "religion is the opium of the people." This quote, taken out of the whole quotation in which Karl Marx expressed it, gives misleading impression of what he wanted to express. The whole quotation reads:
"Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions."Taken in full, what Karl Marx was saying is this. Religion's purpose was/is to create illusionary fantasies for the poor. Since economic realities prevent them from finding happiness in the present life, religion told them not to worry because they will after all find happiness in the afterlife. In other words, the world had become heartless and the masses were/are in distress, religion provided/provides solace as people may get relieve from physical pain from opiate based drugs.
Today, the divine rulers have concocted new opium for the masses. It is the VOTERS CARD. Anytime you read comments on this blog or any mainstream media all over the world, there is always the protest view that, "these leaders of ours need to be wiped out like the plague in this coming elections." (See comments in response to "Those behind the Uhuru Park bombing" by Chris.) In other words, in a heartless world, the voting card has become the solace. To the masses, the voting card, allows them the luxury to bear with untold corruption, inefficiency, oppression and the destruction of private wealth of any government as they wait for another ritual to vote another "new and better government" that they fervently believe will work for them. What a delusion! In simple words, the voting card is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world. It is now the opium of the masses.
In another age, calling on Americans to fight for liberty, in a speech entitled: "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," Patrick Henry told Americans this. "... it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it." In another age, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 43 BCE) expressed the view that, "Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum." Translated: "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child." Let us now review the history of voting so that we do not remain children.
In a recent election in the UK, the masses in their wisdom or lack of it put Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in power to "right the wrongs of Labour Party." Immediately and unnoticed to even some of the best analysts around the world, the new Chancellor George Osborne announced the creation of an "independent" Office for Budget Responsibility. Its job will be to forecast which will create a "rod for my back down the line and for future chancellors. That's the whole point." See the announcement here: . Simply, as they outsourced monetary policies (Labour) to unelected and unaccountable mandarins in the central banks which are answerable to the gods of money and which create booms and busts to harvest wealth of the poor, they have now outsourced budget/fiscal responsibility (Lib con Dems). Now, both the monetary and fiscal matters, the most critical matters of a nation are now in the hands of "experts" no matter what the voting masses may think in the future. If the fiscal and monetary policies will be under "experts" what will the masses be voting for? More so, is this what the voters really wanted? Watch this pace because this office will also be introduced in Kenya soon. We leave that matter for you to ponder and watch.
Sometimes in India, the Left led by the Congress party, won the elections, leading to a coalition government with the Congress party and the Communist party. This caused the stock market to crash because investors feared a change in economic policy that would hurt their profits. Sonia Ghandi, who was originally going to be the next Prime Minister, chose not to take the position and the new government was forced to adopt policies virtually identical to the previous government. Their rhetoric was/is different, but policy was/is basically the same. So, what is the point of elections then? Check also with Swedish elections of the early 1990's and the bond market reaction.
In the USA, since 1971, they have voted Nixon (Rep), Carter (Dem), Reagan (Rep), Bush I (Rep), Clinton (Dem), Bush II (Rep) and now Obama (Dem). All this time, the REAL WAGES of the real workers have stagnated such that, by 2010 real wages are the same as were in 1971. At the same time, the national debt has now reached the USA GDP, $ 13 trillion under Obama. If these are the facts, why has the fate of the American workers gotten worse with all these elections? As for Bill Clinton, he won the election on a mildly liberal reformist platform. Once in office he was forced to abandon his campaign promises because if he continued them the bond market wouldn’t react well and the economy would go down the tubes. Clinton’s famous statement to his advisers upon realizing this was, "You mean to tell me that the success of my program and my re-election hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?" He was thus forced to abandon his program before it even started, instead implementing one virtually identical to Republican proposals.
The politicians the masses keep on electing have no powers. For instance, when New Zealand intelligence began secretly participating in Echelon, an international electronic spying system, the New Zealand’s Prime Minister didn’t even know about it. In America, most of the CIA’s covert actions (including coups) were done without Congressional approval and some, like the CIA's participation in Ghana’s 1966 coup, didn’t even have Presidential approval. Entire wars have been fought in secret, including Russia 1918-1920, Laos 1965-1973 and Cambodia 1970-1975. When Congress cut off funding for the Contras (US-backed terrorists in Nicaragua) in the mid-80s the CIA (and other parts of the state bureaucracy) just kept doing it in secret, disregarding Congress’s wishes.
Bush II said he wouldn’t engage in “nation-building” (taking other countries over) during the 2000 election campaign but he did it several times. He also claimed to support a balanced budget, but obviously abandoned that. Clinton advocated universal health care during the 1992 election campaign but there were more people without health insurance when he left office than when he took office. Bush I said, “read my lips - no new taxes!” while running for office but raised taxes anyway. Reagan promised to shrink government but he drastically expanded the military-industrial complex and ran up huge deficits. Rather than shrinking government, he reoriented it to make it more favourable to the rich.
Carter promised to make human rights the “soul of our foreign policy” but funded genocide in East Timor and backed brutal dictators in Argentina, South Korea, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia and elsewhere. During the 1964 elections leftists were encouraged by Democrats to vote for Johnson because Goldwater, his Republican opponent, was a fanatical warmonger who would escalate US involvement in Vietnam. Johnson won, and immediately proceeded to escalate US involvement in Vietnam. FDR promised to maintain a balanced budget and restrain government spending but did the exact opposite. Wilson won re-election in 1916 on the slogan “he kept us out of war” but then lied Americans into World War One. Hoover pledged to abolish poverty in 1928 but instead saw it skyrocket. Obama pledged to end Bush II's wars. Instead, he escalated the war in Afghanistan.
In the 1974 Canadian elections the Liberals criticized Tory plans to introduce wage and price controls but, shortly after winning office, implemented wage and price controls. In 1993 the Liberals promised to abolish the Goods and Service Tax but reneged on that after getting power. The British Liberal party promised to cut military spending during the 1906 elections but, after winning, went back on that promise in order to wage an arms race with Germany. In 1945 the British Labour party promised to set up a ministry of housing but abandoned it after winning the election.
According to the official version when leftists get elected to office we should always (or almost always) get leftist policies and vice versa when rightists get elected to office but this is not the case. The German Green party was originally pacifist and was founded on an anti-nuclear power position. They gained power in a coalition government in the late 1990s but abandoned their program, effectively delaying the end of nuclear power in Germany until the nuclear industry wanted to end it and supported military intervention during the Kosovo war. Lula, the current president of Brazil, originally ran on an anti-corporate and anti-IMF platform but is now cooperating with the IMF (although his rhetoric, but not his policies, are sometimes critical of it) and he’s just as favourable towards corporate power as his predecessor.
The socialist/social democratic/labour parties in Europe were originally revolutionary Marxist parties aiming to establish a communist society. As they won elections and gained power they increasingly abandoned this goal and became ordinary monopoly capitalist parties. At first they continued to mouth Marxist rhetoric while pushing reformist policies, but eventually even Marxist rhetoric was abandoned. Prior to world war one they declared their opposition to any kind of inter-imperialist world war on the grounds that workers should not kill each other in order to benefit their capitalist masters. When world war one broke out all but two parties (the Bolsheviks and US Socialist party – neither of whom had gained much power through elections) abandoned this stance and supported their own government in a wave of patriotic fervour.
Today they’re pushing through Reagan/Clinton-style deregulation and “free market reforms,” dismantling the very welfare states they formerly advocated. Just watch Papandreou of Greece and Socrates of Portugal, as well as Zapatero of Spain, who call themselves socialists, acting as abject puppets of the financiers. In Spain, the parliament just approved a draconian austerity program by a single vote, offering the lunatic spectacle of a country already mired deeply in economic depression, with an official unemployment rate of 20%, embracing its own self-cannibalization with a deflationary austerity program in the vain effort to regain the confidence of international financial markets and investors. What markets when they are dealing with oligopolies and cartels? They are dealing with ruthless speculators, and not with investors. Do voters have a say in all this? No.
In the US & UK Ronald Reagan & Margaret Thatcher implemented far right policies that attacked the social safety net and benefited big business in the name of the “free market.” During the same time period in Australia and West Europe the supposedly left-wing parties (labour/social democrats/socialists) held power and implemented the same “free market” policies. Clinton & Blair from the supposedly left-wing parties (Democrat & Labour) later defeated Reagan & Thatcher’s successors but once in office continued the same “free market” policies as their predecessors. Obama was elected promising to behave differently from Bush II. However, in the first single year of his office, he has killed more civilians with drones than Bush II did in 8 years. Why?
So, if this is the experience why do we hear the nonsense by the intellectuals that, "your vote makes a difference" if the politicians we elect are only supposed to implement the same policies the elite want even if it conflicts with their campaign promises? Simply, electing people to power is not the effective way to change policy. Politicians break their promises because of the way the system is set up. To hide this truth, the masses are encouraged to vote to give an illusion of ordinary citizen’s control of the state by voting for candidates in elections. The President and other politicians are supposedly servants of “the people” and the government an instrument of the general populace. What a myth!
It matters not who is elected because the system is set up such that, all elected leaders must do what big business and the state bureaucracy want and not what the masses want. Because politicians are just figureheads, they may change their rhetoric, but, all have to implement same policies. Seen this way, elections are nothing but a scam to create an illusion of ordinary people's control of the government and not the tiny elite. This helps to neutralise any resistance movements. As such, all voting only strengthens the state and the divine rulers and therefore, not an effective means to change government policy.
The two great vested interests and the real rulers are the bureaucracy and big business. However, behind these two bureaucracies lies the tiny, but, extremely powerful aristocracy. For the bureaucracy, the most powerful are the intelligence and the military. Elected leaders depend on these bureaucracies for information and may mislead leaders. For instance, in the late ‘50s the CIA secured approval to launch an uprising in Indonesia by feeding a series of increasingly alarmist reports to their superiors in the National Security Council, who otherwise might have shot the proposed uprising down.
This shows how government agencies (especially secretive ones) can pressure politicians and influence policy in preferred directions. This is enhanced by the fact that individual politicians come and go but the bureaucrats are permanent, which makes it easier for bureaucrats to manipulate information and ensures that politicians have less experience with such manipulation. Because the state bureaucracy is permanent while politicians are transitory state bureaucracies tend to accrue more power than elected representatives. State bureaucracies can also manipulate the political process by leaking damaging information about politicians they don’t like or by harassing parties or movements they don’t like (in the USA, we have seen COINTELPRO or the recent harassment of anti-war activists by the FBI). This gives an advantage to politicians favourable to the interests of the state bureaucracy.
As concerns the big business, if a party wins and starts to implement policies that are against the vested interests of the big business, the unearned profits go down and these investors withdraw their investments. Such capital flight is dreaded because it leads to economic crush as we saw in Asia in 1997. If the ruling party does not change its policies to suit the vested interests, then, it will surely loose the next elections because of bad economy. Thus, the elected leaders are forced to change policies to appease corporate elite/financial elite to avoid losing power. Where the elected leaders are faithful to the masses, such leaders are overthrown as we have seen in Chile, Iran, Guatemala, Brazil, Greece, Congo etc.
So, if this is the record, why do we hear that our votes count when they don't? Simple. Were the masses to see the truth and thereby, see that voting is pacifying opium, they would demand change to policies that subjugate them even without sham elections. To avoid such knowledge and subsequent demands while creating an illusion of change, the masses must be fed with the new opium, the voting card. This opium helps to release tension every 4/5 years so as to allow subjugation to go on as usual. In other words, a voting card is a means of establishing the structure of permanent delay to required structural, but, never discussed reforms i.e. one more election and things will be fine. No, they shall not.