A Better Choice: Challenging the Two Party System

By Jake Carman

While the US voting public chose between a few bad corporation-nominated candidates, members of the Northeast Anarchist Network (NEAN), Unconventional Denver, and other groups across the country spent "Super Tuesday" protesting representative democracy and promoting direct democracy and practical democratic alternatives.

NEAN organizers in Boston put out a call for a day of action against the elections, and Massachusetts anarchists and their allies responded with a campaign of hanging and wheat-pasting fliers and posters on buses, trains, campuses, and city streets, carrying out at least four banner drops and other creative actions.

Commuters driving into Boston during heavy morning rush-hour traffic found something to occupy their minds: A banner hanging over the Market St. Bridge in Brighton read, "Love Democracy, But Hate Politicians?" On the next bridge, the Everett St. Bridge, a second banner read, "Try Anarchy. It's Democracy Without Politicians," with NEAN's web address at the bottom. In March, the NEAN-affiliated Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (BAAM) is hosting a presentation on challenging representative democracy and promoting direct democracy, followed by a workshop and meeting.

Anarchists with Unconventional Denver, an anti-Democratic National Convention organizing group, called for a day of action against the primaries and were able to get a banner over Interstate 25 reading, "Two Parties, No Voice." The action was covered by Fox News.

According to a report back from Unconventional Denver, actions also took place in Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, and California. "Just hours before the caucuses began in Grand Junction, "Unconventional Denver wrote, "a banner was unfurled stating 'WE VOTE NO' on the new parking garage in downtown Grand Junction. Emblazoned with a red anarchy sign, the banner faced the Wayne Aspinall Federal Building."

Milwaukee participated with three banner drops of their own, which read, "Victory Against Politics," "Shut Down the RNC," and "9-1-08," referring to the beginning day of the Republican National Convention. Outside Milwaukee, two banners were hung on billboards along US Highway 41 in Oshkosh, reading, "Demicrans and Republicrats Both Fuck Working Class," and "8.24.08 Recreate68.org/9.1.08 NORNC.org."

Various groups in California, including anti-war activists, picketed debates and polling stations on and before "Super Tuesday." On January 21, hundreds rallied against the war in front of the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, the site of the Democratic Party Debates. Protesters shouted, "Clinton, Obama, you will see, the Iraqi people will be free," as anti-war groups, including the Maoist front-group ANSWER, tried to pressure the candidates to take firm anti-war stances.

On primary day in the Bay Area, California, the group Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW) held protests at 5 p.m. at both Clinton's campaign offices in San Francisco, and Obama's in Oakland. In an article for the Bay Area Independent Media, DASW member Kate Raphael said, "Hillary Clinton still refuses to acknowledge that her vote to authorize war with Iraq in 2002 was wrong." Raphael also said Clinton supports "the surge" of troops in Iraq, believes it is working, and "voted for a resolution threatening military action against Iran."

The anti-war protesters also had something to say about Obama, who is considered the anti-war candidate by many US liberals. "Barack Obama wants to end the war in Iraq only to escalate it in Afghanistan and attack Pakistan," said activist Vern Nuanez. "He recently wrote a letter justifying Israel's refusal to allow fuel, food, and medicine into Gaza, where people are literally starving and freezing to death."

The overwhelming participation in this day of action is an encouraging sign of things to come as momentum builds and time gets shorter in the countdown to Convention Summer 2008. The seeds of doubt are taking root in the minds of the public. Rebels, our time has come: out of the woodwork to build popular democracy!

-Boston Call for Super Tuesday Day of Action

-Unconventional Denver Call "We Vote No"

-Unconventional Denver "Round-up of Super Tuesday Protests"

-Milwaukee banner drops

-Oshkosh banners

-Los Angeles Protests Democratic Debates

-Bay Area: Protests at Major Democratic Candidates; Bay Area Offices on Primary Day