Stand Firm on Election Day

It’s “election day." And there’s fear and loathing everywhere. My wife Trini sent out a call to activists to be present, but calm, tapping into the abundance in nature and our own natures, and not let the contrived system of control rule our lives.
At the same time, we need to be engaged at all levels in that world. We can’t abandon any arena or platform, even the ballot box. With our interests and aspirations intact, we must fight to be heard, seen, and felt. Just do it from a centered perspective, with the clearest base of knowledge possible, and a sense of wholeness and healing endemic to real revolutionary change.
Our radical participation in non-radical forms helps radicalize the whole process.
And still we must go beyond the ballot box—keep organizing, teaching, and creating. Don’t give up on any of it, but don’t rely on only one or two of these forms. Our struggle is multiflorous and wondrous. The truly liberating transformation of our world must become increasingly viable every step of the way.
Fear, hate, anxiety, or even detachment, are what capitalist society instills in us in all facets of our lives. It’s worsened now during these elections. We don’t need their “solutions” to help us through problems this society has created. We need to draw on some ancestral sources, deeper than capitalism, as well as a powerful vision for a new world, beyond capitalism.
The past and the future need to meet, within our hands, from our hearts, in the present.
I say vote. I know that’s a game—as is mortgages, wages, borders, and so much we are willing to live and die for. All illusions. But remember—to let go of illusions about any situation is to let go of any situation in need of illusions.
Vote, sing, write, teach, and organize so your interests as working class, as the poor, as someone struggling for the best for our families, our health, our environment, remains paramount. Stay strong.
Yes, we are in the midst of the worst Pandemic in 100 years and the worst economy since the Great Depression. But these are the times we’ve prepared for and should be ready to overcome.
Vote today. Keep fighting tomorrow.
As many of you know, I was a journalist in the early 1980s. Among the many stories I covered were uprisings of indigenous peoples and campesinos in Mexico. I also covered the Contra War in Nicaragua and Honduras. In the early 1990s to the present, I covered the rise of L.A. street gangs in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as well as drug wars and imprisonment in those countries and northern Mexico.
One thing I won’t forget was the Mexican elections of the early 1980s. I was in Juchitan, Oaxaca, where indigenous Zapoteco people fought for their own party and interests on an election day when people were being killed, goon squads attacked voters, and ballot boxes were dumped in rivers. The ruling Mexican political party then—the PRI—had bused in hundreds of people with false credentials who had been provided free sandals. I took photos and notes wherever I went, putting my life at risk as well.
The most amazing thing, however, were the disciplined lines of Zapoteco women and men waiting to vote, dressed in their best, some with native blouses called Huipiles and hair done in the old ways. With all the madness surrounding them, they stood quiet, determined, undeterred. Despite massive voter fraud—they didn’t win that time—the Zapoteco people continued their struggle and in the long run began to run their own institutions.
I also can’t forget the hard battles for the vote in the southern United States, and throughout the country, for Blacks, Native Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, women, and more. How many lives lost so we can do this simple but important gesture—vote for whom we want, when we want.
There’s much fear and confusion about this year’s election due to the lies and misinformation from Trump and his enablers in the Republican Party. But stand firm.
Despite massive efforts to suppress the vote and other improprieties, we must draw on some venerable and stable sources while standing true to our best qualities, best visions, best hopes. “Win” or “lose” we win in the long run, predicated on the premise that at all times, in any crisis, we stand without apology for the shared wellbeing of everyone and our planet.


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