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Column Written 8/1/2000
Mumia Abu-Jamal, M.A.
All Rights Reserved

The fact that millions of people take part in a delusion doesn't make it sane.
-- Erich Fromm [(1900-1980) Psychoanalyst]

Although American political convention fever has begun, and with it an infestation of media frenzy, people are increasingly sensing a sickening sameness of both the Republican and Democratic parties. The made-for-TV convention spectacles are the productions of multi-billion dollar corporations, presented by politicians on behalf of big business.

The poor truly need not apply. They are invited to vote, or not to vote, as they wish, for even if a minority of Americans even participate in the elections (as was the case in the 1996 U.S. Presidential race), it matters little. A simple majority of the voting minority suffices. The notion that there is really no significant difference between the two parties is not a new one.

A half century ago, radical scholar-activist W.E.B.Dubois wrote about the "two evils" posed by the two major parties:

In 1956, I shall not go to the polls...I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no "two evils" exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say....

[H]ow does Stevenson differ from Eisenhower? He uses better English than Dulles, thank God! He has a sly humor, where Eisenhower has none.... I have no advice for others in this election. Are you voting Democratic? Well and good; all I ask is why? Are you voting for Eisenhower and his smooth team of bright ghost writers? Again, why? Will your helpless vote either way support or restore democracy to America? [The Nation, 20 Oct. 1956]

The renowned historians, Will and Ariel Durant noted, in The Lessons of History (1968), that "... [T]he men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all" (p. 54).

The politicians are people who manage those who manage things; the corporations manage politicians. It was the forces of wealth that controlled those ridiculous stage-managed conventions. Do you have any question about the power of wealth?

Well, consider this. There are two citizens. One paid $50,000 to the candidate, or the party. The other didn't give any money, but, after serious study, voted for the candidate. Now, which "citizen" will be able to rap with, spend time with, and really gain the ear of the candidate?

What does that really tell you about your role in the process, or the relative "importance" of voter participation or big contributors?

The two-party monopoly on power is to protect the interests of the rich, not average, everyday working people.

Over a century ago, the Whig party dissolved, and the Republicans came into being from its detritus.

It's time to truly develop an alternative; a third party to speak for and represent the interests of the poor, the worker, and those on the outside of the party for the wealthy. That time is long overdue.

© MAJ 2000