A Call to American Friends on the day of the US Presidential Election

Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 00.36.54.pngBy Thomas Seibert and Yanis Varoufakis, members of DiEM25’s Coordinating Collective

As in the case of Brexit, we refuse to respond in a binary manner (remain or leave, Clinton or Trump) to the question facing voters.For us, Clinton and Trump are the two sides of the same effaced coin, redolent of the fading illusions of global capitalism’s neoliberal turn. The virulent clash between them, just like the clash between David Cameron and Boris Johnson in the Brexit campaign, is masking the fact that the establishment’s pro-globalisation camp (Clinton and Cameron) and the populist anti-establishment camp (Trump and Johnson) are, in truth, accomplices – that they feed off each other and, together, keep off the agenda all the things that matter in the lives of the vast majority.

This, however, does not mean that we must remain neutral. While we shall not be endorsing any of the two candidates, at the same time we will not sit on the proverbial fence. Our message to our American friends and comrades is to do their part in preventing a Trump presidency without endorsing Hillary. What does this mean in practice? It means that, in states that seem already decided, the principles of DiEM25 suggest a vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. But, in states that are in the balance, as Noam Chomsky, our DiEM25 fellow Coordinating Collective member, has recommended, “we close our nose tightly and vote for Clinton”.

We are issuing this appeal for two reasons: First, because Trump is intentionally reviving the language of hatred and bigotry in order to harness the rightful anger of the citizens who feel discarded, and so as to press them into the service of organised misanthropy. Yes, Clinton is geopolitically dangerous, slavish to Wall Street, deeply contemptuous of democratic process (as evidenced from the manner in which she conspired with her ‘mates’ in the Democratic Party to deprive Bernie Sanders of basic opportunities that ought to be afforded to all candidates in the primaries). But, Trump’s deployment of (to quote Hegel) the “fury of destruction” presents a spectre of doom for democratic politics. We say that it is better to face an enemy hiding behind a rhetoric of betrayal then to face an enemy showing his real face in his rhetoric of resentment.

The second reason is a strategic one. No government, not even the best possible one, will ever deliver democracy to the demos. Governments can help, but with the best intentions they hinder democracy, because democracy means rule by the demos – not by some elected elite. For this reason DiEM25 will never back a government unconditionally. With this thought in mind, we would vote for Clinton in a swing state only because a Clinton presidency will create more room for the continuation and further cultivation of the ‘political revolution’ started by the Sanders Campaign.

Our aim tomorrow, as democrats, should be this: Vote for Jill Stein to register our opposition to both Clinton and Trump, except in swing states where we vote for Hillary to create the space for fighting against Trump’s nativist fascism and its accomplice, a Hillary White House intent on dangerous geopolitics, reproduction of privilege and servility to Wall Street.

2 Comments

  • First of all Yani, I am greatly disappointed. People should be left alone to vote according to their conscience, not according to yours or anyone else’s “advise” or “strategy”. These are elections, not RISK. Its people who behave that they are a game, that have dis-reputed them and scraped off their meaning.

    Secondly, I’m shocked to see you write:

    “With this thought in mind, we would vote for Clinton in a swing state only because a Clinton presidency will create more room for the continuation and further cultivation of the ‘political revolution’ started by the Sanders Campaign.”

    Vote for Clinton? Really? A DiEM “line”?
    It should be unthinkable, in any circumstance! Matters of principle shouldn’t be “swinging”, especially when it comes to the corrupt, murderous hypocrite that Hilary is.
    With the best of intentions, I advise you to spend more time with every day people than politicians and bureaucrats….maybe it will help you remember.

  • Let me give you some pointers on how the American system works:

    1. In today’s election the Americans are faced with 2 unispiring choices but they are well protected by the outcome (whatever it might be) because the founding fathers of the American Revolution have designed a weak presidency into the sytem since they never trusted real power. So whether Clinton or Trump get elected, they will soon discover their severe limitations in charting a couse or delivering on their promises.

    2. Americans love winners because this nation depends on the best person being filtered through the system in order to move forward. Therefore voting for a candidate who is not electable is hardly the American thing to do. Jill Stein is not a serious choice and therefore is considered a waste of vote.

    3. As a resident of California, I know for certain that my vote does not count in electing a president. California poll results come in way too late to influence outcome which is already decided by smaller states and the East Coast. We Californians therefore vote for local and state results having given up on the dream of ever influencing a national election (except in very rare cases and this election is not one of them).

    4. Americans are o.k. with having smaller states between the 2 coasts decide the presidential outcome because the nature of such voters is down to earth and their judgement is trusted. California and New York are flamboyant in nature, their orientation open to commerce overseas and as such their approval easy to get and their tolerance exceptional. We, Americans, therefore by tradition allow the less flamboyant of our states decide the presidency so that the voters are more vested in the outcome.

    5. It’s not easy to get the confidence of the “in between” the two coasts states therefore trying to influence their vote might be an excercise in futility. We are o.k. with this and we allow their judgement to prevail and makes us feel more bonded as Americans rather than divided as “haves” and “have nots”.