4. Government and franchise

With increasing boldness, the politicians of every hue are trying to further emphasize the belief in the blessing of general franchise-a belief which they have fostered and impressed upon the minds of people. The right to vote, say they, implies that the citizenry is “master” of its destiny.

The anarchist, on the other hand, contends that the right to vote is, in reality, a delusion and a snare through which the present system-based on the shameful exploitation of other people’s toil-is protected and perpetuated.

Which of the two claims is correct?

Let us review a few political events of our own times and see what conclusion they will warrant.

Theodore Roosevelt was considered, in his time, a “trust buster” in the interests of the people. Yet, the facts reveal that under his administration the trusts that he was supposed to put out of business fleeced the people as much as ever before.

Woodrow Wilson, likewise, was considered another president fighting in the interests of the people. No other president knew better and more intrinsically the manner in which the industrialists of our land had established, built and managed to maintain their reign of plunder. In fact, he even wrote an exposé of this plunder in his book “The New Freedom Yet, as president of the United States, he did not even make an attempt to put the plundering industrialists out of business. On the contrary, when the richest band of plunderers-the House of Morgan-gave him the signal, Mr. Wilson dragged this country into the last world war. Supposedly, we were to “make the world safe for democracy.” In reality, as Mr. Wilson admitted afterwards, we fought to safeguard the interests of the House of Morgan.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt ascended to the presidency, he solemnly promised to “drive the money changers from the temples” and promote a “new deal for the forgotten man.”

Today, with Roosevelt’s second term near completion, we find that the money changers are managing to hoard more wealth than ever before. The new deal for the forgotten man still remains a promise while about 13 million men and women are hunting and begging for a chance to sell their labor to the money changers who control the industries of the land.

These, then, have been the results of three governmental administrations which professed to serve the interests of the people. These results damn the franchise of voting as an absolute fraud.

As each national election approaches, new candidates are put forward who repeat the promises made by the ones who “served” the people by not keeping their promises.

The truth of the matter is that no political candidate dares to speak about the causes of all the resulting evils which the people suffer from-capital and government. Capitalism could not exist without the forceful protection of government, and-the latter has been founded and is nurtured for the purpose of protecting and perpetuating the reign of the former.

No government official who takes the oath of office can do so without committing himself to the “sacred right of private property”.

Who possesses any property worth upholding or protecting at the point of a gun or a bayonet? Certainly not the great multitudes who are exploited and robbed of what they produce. The only class that needs such protection is the small class of plunderers representing capitalism.

Those who have open minds and are willing to reason can then realize that the very idea of government with its franchise is, in reality, one of the most sinister swindles ever conceived by the first band of pirates in man’s history. For any one who realizes this truth, to participate in the electioneering swindle is tantamount to willingly continue aiding and abetting in one’s own subjugation to the present capitalist system of plunder and injustice.

The anarchist holds that the misled masses can best serve their interests by not only refusing to continue participating in the governmental swindle, but even more effectively by refusing to pay homage to it through submission to taxation and obedience to fraudulent laws.

Against the institution of capitalism and its government, the anarchist advocates voluntary cooperation among men for the economic and social freedom of all. No law can substitute for this conception.

EDWARD CUNNINGHAM