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Post Election Rage:
Building A Movement Beyond Voting

by Dan Bacher
November 10, 2004

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If anybody had any illusions that John Kerry has an ounce of courage or political conviction in his multi-millionaire body, his early concession of the “re-selection” of George W. Bush will forever dispel them.

In spite of the theft of nearly one million votes from Kerry even before election day, due to systematic removal of voters from the rolls and the “spoiling” of absentee ballots, as extensively documented by journalist Greg Palast, Kerry quickly conceded.

In spite of the wide disparity between election exit polls in Ohio and other states that indicated that Kerry was the clear winner and the so-called election “results” delivered to the media via the Diebold machines, Kerry refused to question the legitimacy of the “election.”

In spite of the fact that the counting of the votes in Ohio and Florida had not been completed, even after the Kerry campaign had pledged to “count every vote,” Kerry urged unity behind a war criminal and the worst president in U.S. history.

“We are required now to work together for the good of our country,” said Kerry in his concession speech. “We must join in common effort, without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor.”

Kerry asking people opposed to the Bush regime to “unite” behind a war criminal like Bush is like having a German political leader in 1933 asking the Jews to unite behind Chancellor Hitler!

Bush stole Tuesday's “election” just like he did the 2000 election. I had a bad feeling about this “election” -­ and my worst fears came true when John Kerry conceded the “election” to Bush. Not only did the right wing fundamentalist corporate theocrats again steal the presidency, but also they seized and solidified complete control of the House and Senate.

In retrospect, the energy that many progressives put behind Kerry would have been much better put solidifying and expanding national movements against the Bush regime’s war against you, me, our environment and the world. We must not join in a “common effort” with the Bush regime, as Kerry asks us to do. We must instead fan the flames of rage and anger against the theocracy.

The stolen election must be seen in the context of the rise of the right wing assault on the U.S. working class and the people of the world to maximum corporate profits and market share. Both the Democratic and Republican leadership have moved increasingly to the right over the past three decades.

“Right-wing, two-party politics in the U.S. has been the rule since the end of the Vietnam War,” said Seth Sandronsky, a co-editor of Because People Matter. “There are many features of this trend. Yet all of them reflect the demise of the post-WW II boom in which big U.S. corps earned high profits by ruling the world market for autos, steel, etc. U.S. labor unions, having purged radicals from their ranks to get junior partner status with big corps and the Democratic Party, were unprepared for the upper-class attack that began in the 1970s as commercial competition from European and Japanese rivals emerged.”

He continued, “Such social relations drove and are driving the assault on U.S. unions and the working class (major benefits such as health care and pensions, and wages) to expand corporate profits and market share in a time of slow/no growth, nationally and globally. How people produce and distribute goods and services, or economics (base) drive electoral politics (superstructure). An old German made that point 150 years ago. It still holds true now in my view.”

To express our anger, rage and sadness about the “election” and the increasing right wing attacks on people in the U.S. and throughout the world, a group of around 100 activists demonstrated in front of the federal building in Sacramento on Wednesday November 2, as part of the nationwide “Beyond War” actions.

The call to action under which we demonstrated, issued the week before, said, “This year the world is counting on us to expand the election year debate beyond democrats versus republicans to the larger issue of whether the U.S. will be a democracy or an empire. No matter who wins, we demand social justice at home and abroad and an end to the occupation of Iraq. If we want to live in a real democracy voting at the ballot box is not enough. Vote with our hands, feet and imaginations every day of every year! “

We held signs, yelled, beat drums, marched up and down the street and commiserated over the mess that this country is in. The rain kept coming down as a quartet of bicycle cops nervously watched over us. Three TV stations covered the event and interviewed participants, including Nik Janos, local peace and anti-globalization activist.

Darien De Lu, longtime peace and social justice activist, organized a “mass screaming” under the eave of the federal building to express our rage and grief after we left the sidewalk at 6 p.m. “Ah, Shit!,” we shouted as loudly, angrily and obscenely as we could as we held hands, under the urging of Darien. Everybody greatly appreciated Darien for suggesting such a wonderful idea.

After we screamed three times in unison, we one by one spoke about our feelings regarding the election and the abysmal state of American “democracy.” When my turn came, I screamed as loudly and angrily as I could, “Down with the Bush Dictatorship!!!” It felt very therapeutic and empowering for us to express our anger against the regime.

Where do we go from here? “Beyond Voting” should become a permanent theme of a massive movement against globalization, war, racism and suppression of our civil liberties and rights under the Bush junta. There is a definite place for voting in our movement, particularly in regard to getting progressives elected to city councils and school boards.

But it’s time now to focus our community organizing “Beyond Voting.” In contrast with Kerry’s call to stand behind the “president,” we must do the very opposite: vigorously fan the flames of dissent in our society and do absolutely everything we can to stop Bush’s war at home and abroad.

The resistance can take a variety of forms, ranging from mass national and regional mobilizations to local vigils and direct actions. Creative, nonviolent cultural activist events that allow us to have fun while organizing against this corrupt, decadent system are my favorite forms of action, since I’m a satirical songwriter and guitarist.

We must become relentless media activists, not only writing in the alternative media but finding creative ways to get our message into the mass media. For example, Pat Driscoll, local green Congressional candidate, got a lot of recent press coverage by the Sacramento Bee, News & Review and other media during his campaign against Robert Matsui.

We should completely support those nonviolent activists, such as those in SOA Watch, who practice civil disobedience and risk federal prison terms to stop the war machine and the corporate agenda of globalization that it serves. I agree entirely with Father Roy Bourgeois, Founder of SOA Watch, that the U.S. military and its surrogates serve as the brutal enforcer of the agenda of corporate globalization.

At the same time, we should respect those that believe in more militant tactics, such as land takeovers and revolutionary armed self-defense against one of the most violent and ruthless regimes in world history. Self defense against state terrorism and violence is a HUMAN RIGHT, as enunciated clearly in our Declaration of Independence and the U.N. Charter.

We must move beyond voting. We must use November’s stolen election as a rude wake-up call to building our local, regional, state, national and international movements. We must meet, talk and demonstrate together in the coming year to oppose the Bush regime’s domestic and foreign policies.

On Air America Radio, one host pointed out that it took over 30 years for the Christian right to fully achieve their current takeover of political power in the U.S. This may be true, but we really can't wait 30 years to take our country back from the neo-cons, corporate criminals and religious extremists that rule it now.

If we don’t stop the Bush regime from destroying the global environment and engulfing the world in the flames of endless war, we may not have a future! There is an urgency to our resistance that no other movement in history has ever encountered, especially when we have the largest nuclear arsenal in the world in the hands of irrational, unstable theocrats and fascists. We must flush the Bush corporate dictatorship down the toilet of history!

(Read the National Beyond Voting Campaign's Call to Action.

Daniel Bacher is an outdoor writer/alternative journalist/satirical songwriter from Sacramento California. He is also a long-time peace, social justice and environmental activist. Email:

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