Since 2008 is an election year, many in the nation are more aware of voting than in non-election years. But voting is vital not only in the strict confines of a democracy, but as part of a larger political movement such as that embodied in the Green Party. There are many issues related to voting that are vital, such as how votes are counted and verified. But in order to recognize voting as a component of a movement, one must see voting as more than just a confirmation or rejection of particular candidates while the government structure continues unabated. Instead of looking at the symptom of the modern nation-state, political representation, one must use voting as a tactic that fulfills a larger strategy for progressive change. In that respect an alternative such as the Green Party can reevaluate what political organization can mean.
One can begin with the postulate that effective voting must be the exact opposite of a Nash Equilibrium. As demonstrated in a scene from the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, John Nash came across his theory that eventually won him the Bank Of Sweden Award For Economics In Honor Of Alfred Nobel when he observed friends trying to approach a woman in a bar. He found that the immense competition between suitors would prevent anyone from succeeding, and discourage the woman’s female friends from being viable second choices. If the men approached their second choices first, then the competition would be less and they would be more successful in their goal. Translated to the economic field, an equilibrium is achieved when competitors take into account second choices that have a higher likelihood of being accomplished. However, translated to the political field the Nash Equilibrium would advocate that voters select a candidate that has a higher chance of winning rather than their first choice that better reflects their individual concerns and values. The Nash Equilibrium therefore supports people voting against their interests and ending up with representatives and political leaders that serve a general average political ideology that is shared by both of the two major parties. This political ideology, because of its generic nature, will only serve the status quo and the perpetuation of the current power structure.
If the Nash Equilibrium is based on competition for scarce resources, then voting must be seen as the cooperation among various members of a nation for a plenitude of resources. The resources in question would be ideas that can be communicated and transferred without leaving the ownership of the one who transmits the idea. Within the arena of voting, these ideas are exemplified by issues that are supported by candidates. The formation of a community or political grouping based on this cooperation in voting for the same candidate emerges from the social background in the act of voting, and can also be the active component of a larger political movement. What is vital to remember is that the group that comes together in voting is united by a common antagonism against a supposed political repression or injustice. The members come from a wide variety of positions and contexts within the social field, and the one thing they have in common is their oppositional political stance. This is important, for as Jose Ortega y Gasset proposed, the formation of a mass identity creates a generic sensibility that imposes this unified identity upon multiple people. In his depiction, the masses are not the poor, working class, or marginalized and therefore he is not proposing an elitist stance. Rather, the masses are a homogeneous formation that denies the unique characteristics of each human. Voting for what one wants brings people together in a specific way, through a common opposition, so that their unique sense of being remains intact. They therefore are not subsumed under a structure of power that dictates a generic identity that demands both existential uniformity and political conformity.
In contrast, the mass political identity relies on the breaking up of the social field. The authentic interests and desires of individuals are redirected toward commodities and small partial objects of desire. These isolated humans are then brought together under an artificial identity based on self interest with competition as the transcendent category. In regards to voting, these people are presented with choices that require strategic approaches in order to fulfill their narrow self interest. They are made to feel that they have to look out for themselves alone, and to do so means not voting for candidates that can actually personify the issues they want for their country and especially to not cooperate with other voters as part of a larger political movement. In other words, voters are set against each other when they could possibly enact real substantial political change and are convinced that they must change their political perspective in order to be part of a mass collective that demands the erasure of singularity. This denial of a unique nature, that instead everyone is exactly the same, is made possible by an inherent need for security and coherence that can prevent effective aggregates of real political opposition.
Political opposition as a movement manifests itself in various periods of time as a political party. But in elections the cooperation of voters coming together always results in votes for a candidate more than a party. The particular candidate can form their platfrom from the ideas of a political party and movement, but voters see the candidate as a manifestation rather than the wider political movement. A party builds on that initial coming together in order to articulate the opposition into concrete policy that can be the foundation for the political movement to survive after the particular election. Party building is the act of making political movements exist outside of the constant change that is history or particular individuals as candidates and therefore touches on issues that are eternal or constant in all societies and periods of time. In a way, democratic elections can be seen as a miniature or limited event. It can possibly disrupt a part of the established order and structure of power, meaning, and production without clearing away the entire edifice. In fact, the predictability of a democratic election process is in direct relationship to the possible unpredictability of election results that can break apart the status quo to some degree. In the wake of elections as limited events, those who become united in political oppositions can take the next step and become unique individuals in a political movement that makes an attempt at an immanent political truth. This truth in immanent form can only emerge after the event that brings together a community of opposition. The striving for truth is not necessarilly a movement toward a universal and absolute truth, but rather a reclaiming of knowledge after previously assumed truths are dismantled by the event that disrupts structures. After the disruption, humans must take the initiative to discover and understand reality for themselves. This has an importance in the political field since power is not only supported by systems of meaning, but meaning is enforced by acts of power.
A political movement based on the cooperation of voters voting for the same choice should not be obscured by the inherent flaw of representative government, which is the object toward which voters are directed at the time. There is a strong aspect ofabstraction that is within any type of representation, including political representation. This abstraction is the gap between a transcendent system of meaning and a more immanent model of reality. In other words, abstraction assists the process of transcendence and formation of absolute truth that is characteristic of structures giving shape to reality. In representation, a particular perspective is used as a general depiction of the whole. The particular part stands in for the whole of reality and makes the representation of things within a system of meaning possible. But abstraction increases with the size of the system and the representative, whether an object or symbol or human, moves away from depicting the reality of the constituents yet still claims to be a stand-in for them. Abstraction has a power over those who create it when applied as a representation of a collective group. The abstraction is a human creation for the sake of knowledge and for social purposes. It is created within social relationships and is a foundation for social relationships, since it is the way for humans to understand the collective through particular representatives. The power of abstraction is made possible by the gap between an individual perspective and a collective perspective. Representation is therefore needed to a certain degree, but the process of abstraction that is political representation is hidden with the result that the choices of the representative is universalized and appears as the choice of the entire collective. This ignores the split between majority and minority on every issue among the constituents. A political movement that is both cooperation and the retention of unique characteristics makes any abstraction more apparent.
The democratic process used by any political movement must avoid and be aware of the subsumption of democracy by the state. Democracy as a principle must present the dissolution of the state as a goal of the state, in which hierarchy and inequality of power is eventually done away with. Democracy can be seen as the general form of the state, its primary method or process, but there would be the appearance of only one type of democracy through abstraction and political representation. On the other hand, under the ideology of the modern nation-state, the perfection of the state is the goal of the state. Here, democracy is a particular form of the state and is one concrete type out of many. This subsumption is based on the different definitions of the political inside or outside of the state form. The political as internal to the state is the stability of democracy as a constant method of control. Democratic change is directed toward small partial objects of desire, and predetermined to only be expressed in limited ways. The political as external to the state is the instability of democracy as a temporary method of resistance. In comparison, democratic change is directed toward overall structures and the creation of novelty that can not be predicted beforehand. Beyond being a method for political solutions, democracy can be a process of knowledge. It is a process that also exists within and outside of the state, as well as a transition between a general political will and a particular government law. Democracy allows a manifestation of the will into law, and like all knowledge is an attempt to understand reality.
The liberating aspect of democracy is always undermined by the hegemony of the state. The form of the modern nation-state seeks to consolidate power and perpetuate its structure. Hegemony in this respect is the transition between sovereignty and governmentality which is a perfection of the expression of power. It is the externalization of the sovereign right to kill into an overall structure that exists beyond an individual sovereign. It is also an internalization of the government right to control life into the everyday existence of the people where utility and docility are both maximized. The right to kill is defined as a protection of the identity of the people, but the identity of the people is itself an abstraction by the state. If democracy is not implemented to exist outside of the state form as a total perspective of resistance, then it would only be used as an instrument of the state to maintain hegemony.
Voters are political subjects but not political participants when they vote as a periodic routine that does not address the overall system. Because voters believe that they are in competition with each other in the current electoral process, then the best choice appears to be to support the most electable candidate rather than their actual interests. When they realize that voters cooperate to support the best reflection of their interests then they can make the decision to be a part of a broader political movement. This decision is a definite break with the preexisting system as it exists and as it regulates political subjects, based on this self-awareness. It is through this political movement, exemplified by the efforts of the Green Party, that one can move from a particular sense that something is not working to a general understanding of the structure of power. New political methods can be created that can transform everything and will not be subsumed under the status quo. The Green Party is the mode of this new immanent political form, but it requires the fidelity to this new form made by voters when they realize that there is more than the strict confines of the two-party system.