Beating Electoral Politics at its Own Fraudalent Game

Beating Electoral Politics at its Own Fraudalent Game [Unedited first draft]
by Richard Martin Oxman

Note: Before reading this article, I recommend scrolling down to the bottom here (below my “Blessings in solidarity”) where I have PAUL STREET in boldfaced caps. That will give you some Howard Zinn comments on the electoral arena which are absolutely essential for understanding this piece.

As the fake-progressive, not-so “liberal” Obama’s latest shining yet strangely mediocre speechifying blared across the nation’s Telescreens last night, I was led to reflect on the wisdom of Howard Zinn’s elementary but powerful observation that a “better” politician in the White House “will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore.” So true! No honest and informed progressive can deny the wisdom of that remark as we move into the second year of the Obama administration - an epitome of Zinn’s dark judgment on the “limited vision” of U.S. political culture past and present. It’s up to us to write and act out the other great theme in A People’s History - popular resistance on a large scale, informed by the wisdom of Shelley, who Zinn quoted at the end of the Afterword to the 2003 edition of A People’s History:

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquished number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few!

“Angela Davis continues to write, to agitate, to educate and to speak out in solidarity with global movements against racism, sexism, and political repression. As forms of oppression dating back to slavery still manifest today, so too do networks of resistance. She urges us to join them. She urges us—with Douglass as a metaphor—to continue the work of the oppressed women and men whose struggles precede us. She urges us to increase our own levels of political literacy and critical engagement as defiant steps toward demanding—and winning—that ‘the promise of freedom be extended to the masses of people.’”

Environmental crises alone — our communal deadlines — are enough to warrant organizing rapidly to change our horrid momentum. The painful words and promise embedded in the quotes from Paul Street and Greg Ruggiero above are further motivation.

I want to — with you — “write and act out” the scenario recommended by HOWARD ZINN, blending the “networks of resistance” (and others) into a focused, organized frenzy of activity… moving in solidarity with a single goal in mind. One that can be realized in a very short time. [As seeds are planted.]

HOWARD ZINN gave his imprimatur for TOSCA (Taking Over the State of California). See for a list of TOSCA’s imprimaturs, and see and for an introduction to TOSCA. The fact that Howard gave us his green light should make it very clear that — in spite of surface appearances — TOSCA IS NOT ABOUT INVESTING FAITH IN THE ELECTORAL ARENA AS IT STANDS. And although it is a legal and nonviolent project… as per the latter link above… it certainly does not preclude civil disobedience… crossing the legal parameters set by the powers that be.

What TOSCA is… is what Howard wanted me to do. And so, I ask you to tweak the whole shebang to suit your purposes… and come on board (with others?) to move at something other than the arthritic snail’s pace that’s currently being embraced by the vast majority of enlightened, concerned citizens.

We have deadlines. Not everything has to wait until after our lifetimes are over. Not everything can.

Blessings in solidarity,


I did not spend last night listening to the vapid, power-serving, and centrist oratory of corprate war president Barack Obama’s “State of the Union Address.” I reflected instead on the radical lessons and vision of Zinn, who noted the following as (what he called) “the election madness” that captivated so many progressives during the last great “quadrennial electoral extravaganza” (Chomsky’s excellent phrase):

“The election frenzy seizes the country every four years because we have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us.”

“…Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes-the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.”

“But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools…..”

“Let’s remember that even when there is a ‘better’ candidate…that difference will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore…..Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for all.”

“They offer no radical change from the status quo. They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or foreclosure. They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for social programs to transform the way we live.”

“None of this should surprise us. The Democratic Party has broken with its historic conservatism, its pandering to the rich, its predilection for war, only when it has encountered rebellion from below, as in the Thirties and the Sixties” (Howard Zinn, “Election Madness,” The Progressive, March 2008).

Emma Goldman: “No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law.” You can begin legally with TOSCA. Let’s tweak Emma: No great idea can stay within the law for long.”