“What If the Empire Held an Election and Nobody Came?”

“An intense focus on policies over personas could really turn public sentiment against the actual combat of war, and divert public attention away from its obsession with the theatrical combat of political Wrestlemania.”

The Empire Doesn’t Care Who You Vote For – Here’s What Actually Matters

by Zen Gardner

A brilliant interview with Dan Sanchez with tremendous insights into the power structure’s tactics and the importance of the awakening of public perception of what’s really going on and why they must divide and distract us. – Zen


SHOW NOTES AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=18524

Elections are meaningless power rituals that only pit personas against each other in an establishment-endorsed Two Minutes Hate. So if these political wrestlemania matches don’t change society, what does? Join us today for a fascinating conversation with Dan Sanchez about his recent article, “What If the Empire Held an Election and Nobody Came?”

Source: The Empire Doesn’t Care Who You Vote For – Here’s What Actually Matters – Zen Gardner


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10 thoughts on ““What If the Empire Held an Election and Nobody Came?”

  1. I listened to the interview a second time. Only the second time around, my brain kind of seized up on me at the point where Friedrich Hayek’s “wisdom” was invoked to “explain” why casting a vote at election time is a fruitless and futile waste of time, i.e., because “central planning” is unequal to the task of managing social complexity.

    And yet, and yet, in the very same breath, Sanchez — oblivious to the contradiction inherent to what he is saying — invokes as proof of the impossibility of “central planning,” the necessity of “local knowledge” in being able to pull off “the mass production of shoes,” as if anything that was “mass produced” did not involve “centralized planning” over the entire range of the production and distribution process, end to end, that is, of securing inputs (raw materials and “free, unattached and willing labour,” the latter being a condition of economic coercion or destitution necessary to the business of mass production) and monopolizing guaranteed channels of market distribution.

    The more I listen to James, the more obvious it becomes to me that, although he has a grasp on the rigged nature of our economy and political system (which is by “definition” the very thing to be subsumed under the rubric of “capitalism,” and not as James and Co. imagine as being better characterized as “socialism” masquerading as “capitalism” and, therefore, rather in need of being reformed to what in their minds would be a “de-centralized” and “much improved” capitalism) his economic and political analysis is weak and confused.

    So no, I disagree with Corbett and Sanchez: the essential problem with elections is not that “central planning” is impossible, but rather that the kind of “central planning” we have serves the ends of an oligarchy, i.e., of wealth accumulation (or “capitalism,” tout court).

    Furthermore, that voting under this system does not result in translating the public’s “political will” into legislative reality is precisely a testament to the effectiveness of “central planning.” It is, so to speak, the “proof” of “central planning” as both a concept and practical technology. As a mechanism, it most definitely works. Only under the current structure of the “central planning” mechanism, “voting” is constrained to happen in such a way that it guarantees that control over the “central planning” machinery remains the exclusive preserve of the oligarchs.

    Of course, what needs to happen is for the current means of “central planning” to be wrested away from the hands of the oligarchs, to be destroyed, and finally replaced by new means of “central planning” responsive to the will of the popular masses. Clearly voting, such as it happens, won’t and can’t pull that off.

    So yeah, the public must completely disengage from the current electoral circus, but it must substitute for that disengagement the creation of its own means of “central planning,” that is, it’s own political organizations (not to be confused with traditional “political parties”), organizations dedicated in part to the business of toppling and displacing those organizations currently under the sway of the rich.

    Group action, then, will most certainly be necessary and such action is just simply impossible without effectively “planning” and coordinating a multiplicity of individual and specialized actions. And that’s what “central planning” is, isn’t it? The coordination of assigned tasks to bring about a desired end or ends?

    So the problem is not the bugbear of “central planning” as such, but how to ensure that the “plan” conforms to the political will of the collective and not some privileged minority lording it over the collective.

    Corbett and Sanchez, if taken uncritically, are actually more of a hindrance to the likelihood of a successful collective rebellion than a help.

    Their fear of integrated collective action, of “group discipline,” to the degree that it is generalized throughout the population, is pretty much a guarantee, every bit as much as voting is now, that the currently “organized” system of control will continue to function unmolested.

    “Divide and conquer” isn’t merely a literary trope; it is a tried and true method of rule.

    If the working class is to escape the clutch of its tormentors, it will have to come together as one, both organized and tightly disciplined. Some means of “central planning” will have to be resorted to.

    Anarchism as a political program is not a plan but a recipe for inaction, indeed, it is a vote for the status quo.

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  2. Truthfully, this is something that really troubles me, when I think about what could replace the system we have now.

    My interpretation of anarchism is not that there is no “centralized government/planning” of some kind, but as you point out, that this system not hinder the individual in the collective.

    There must be some kind of “central planning,” on this I agree. Maybe I just glossed over this point as I listened, don’t know?

    My desire would be to see millions of self-sustaining/self-governing communities worldwide, where the individual is not only truly free but must take his/her responsibility as a member of that community: real involvement, as if his/her life depended on it, which is not what we have now, as you point out. Note I said my desire. I have real doubts that this could ever happen, and for reasons that are too many to go over here.

    But I agree with you, “central planning,” as long as it is truly of, by and for the people concerned, is at the center of that planning, its lifeblood.

    You wrote: “Divide and conquer” isn’t merely a literary trope; it is a tried and true method of rule.

    And yet, to many, it’s just another religious saying, in reality, to most today, it means nothing.

    This is yet another reason why I am pessimistic about my desire for self governing communities.

    Thanks, Norm, for your thoughts here!


    How was the hunting trip? And how is your health?

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  3. The hunting was okay though I’ve yet to use my tags. I hunt alone on about 200 acres of mixed forest interspersed with beautiful glades. I’m limited as to where I can go since everything is private property. Since I’m in the bush without access to open farmland, my luck very much depends on the spring dispersal of the winter flocks. But it’s still very much a ‘late spring,’ here, weather wise, and so that “dispersal” is only now beginning to happen. So although I saw a few birds, the toms were not yet chasing the hens, and that makes them extremely difficult to locate and hunt. Unless they’re gobbling, you are pretty much out just for a stroll, which is all well and fine as far as I’m concerned. But there is still 3 weeks of hunting ahead of me, with the best of the gobbling ritual still ahead. I think my luck will yet pan out. It usually does.

    Health-wise, I feel good albeit a bit short on breath. The breathing will be an issue for a while yet, probably into the fall. I’m also feeling bloated, something about which I really ought to see my physician. Circulation may be the issue. I’m thinking the worse (pulmonary hypertension), but at this point that is sheer speculation on my part, and that’s why I should really see the doctor, merely to settle the question.

    The other thing that’s bugging me is my seeming inability to concentrate very well. Whether it’s thinking, reading, or writing, it’s all harder than it should be. And my memory is spottier than usual. I mean, it bugs me and it doesn’t. That’s how things are; I wish it were different; but there is nothing I can do about it. So I try just to roll with it.

    And you, Dave, how have you been?

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  4. Well, I’m glad you still have three weeks left. I’m in Ohio, and the Spring has come late here as well.

    Some of the health issues you describe here, are mine as well. Since I had pneumonia in March, I have struggled to get the asthma back under control. I feel congested and short of breath as I write. And thus, I don’t get enough rest at night, since asthma is a curse more so at night than during the day. And of course, this messes with my memory and my ability to concentrate.

    I have several articles I want to write on and post, but I just feel completely drained of energy.

    I did take yesterday off, and for a while, I am going to be doing less reading and posting than I have been recently.

    You wrote:

    “That’s how things are; I wish it were different; but there is nothing I can do about it. So I try just to roll with it.”

    This sums it up for me as well, Norm.

    I have a close friend, of forty two years, who is struggling with illness, and he is just one of many who I am concerned about. I guess it’s just that time in life.

    Take care!


  5. Yes, it’s that time in life, I think. And we understand each other’s situation perfectly. To all intents and purposes, it is the same.

    So yes, take it slow when you absolutely have to, and do enjoy what you can when you can.

    Looking forward to reading your articles. What, in a few broad brush strokes, do you have in mind? Of course, please don’t feel like you have to answer that question, but if you are up to it and don’t mind me asking . . .

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  6. Yes, Norm, I agree, we understand each other’s situation!

    There are two articles that deal with agendas 21/2030 and depopulation that I want to get to.

    And then I want to post all three movies from the HUMAN series. I posted the first a few months back, and I have just finished watching parts two and three.

    Are you familiar with these?

    If not, here is part 1:

    I am deeply moved by these three films and the cinematography is simply amazing.

    And then there are a few other articles I have bookmarked as well.

    But I am going to take your advice, and not be in a rush to get all of these posted.


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  7. I saw part 1 of HUMAN. Very beautiful to watch and to my mind showed me that we are all, despite our many superficial differences, fundamentally the same being. Haven’t viewed parts 2 & 3, however, so I guess I know what I’ll be doing over the next few evenings. I think I’ll watch part 1 again, merely to refresh the impress of what I recall was a thoroughly satisfying experience.

    The depopulation issue is not one with which I am well acquainted, so I’ll wait for your piece.



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  8. Norm, the following quote is from an article I am planning to post in the next week or so, and I couldn’t help but think about your comment on the James Corbett video this morning. I just happened to be reading through the article again, and this came up:

    “Erik Olin Wright, for example (“How to Think About (And Win) Socialism,” Jacobin, April 2016), sees “socialism” as a system in which democratically organized social forces — as opposed to either states or corporations — are the dominant means of organizing activity. Societies throughout history have been a mixture of such institutional forms — but under capitalism the for-profit business firm became the hegemonic institution, or kernel of the entire society, with other institutions defined by their relations to capital. As capitalism evolves into socialism, new democratic social institutions will become the hegemonic form, and the state and business will be reduced to niches in a system characterized by the dominance of the new democratic institutions.

    Things like local currencies, land trusts, cooperatives and commons-based peer production exist under capitalism today. But as capitalism reaches the limits of growth and confronts its terminal crises, these new socialist institutions will expand and knit together into a coherent whole that will form the basis of the successor system, and the remains of corporate and state institutions will be integrated into a system defined by its post-capitalist core.” (Center for a Stateless Society)

    This kind of speaks to my desires for how collectives of individuals should come together and function. But remember, I am still somewhat of a novice to all of this. Unlike your self, I am just beginning to have enough info to have some kind of informed opinion.

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  9. That is a beautiful summation of what I (perhaps mistakenly) take to be Marx’s vision of how socialism will emerge out of capitalism if it ever does.

    At it least it resonates with this quote from Marx, to which I also append a short explanatory note from Andy Blunden:

    Quote begins:

    One of the most important ideas of Marx in this regard is that it is in a sense capitalism itself which shows the way forward and actually gives birth to all the material pre-requisites for the founding of a free society and the abolition of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. In Marx’s words:

    ‘humanity thus sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the process of formation.’

    quote ends.

    We cannot create our future out of nothing. Willy nilly, it will contain many of the features of the world in which we currently live. The hope is that we will go forward from here with the most progressive features already in existence, having sloughed off some of the worst that yet remain ascendant

    Yes, a view also very much in consonance with my hopes . . .

    “How to Think About (and Win) Socialism” is on the reading list for this evening.

    Many thanks, Dave.

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  10. Marx:

    ‘humanity thus sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the process of formation.’

    This resonates with me, since it only makes sense that for this to ever come to fruition, large systems of governments (states) and monetary/economic systems must be abandoned, and smaller forms created, according to the individuals in each collective/community. And in these smaller forms, the individual can live and thrive, because he/she is no longer buried in the herd, roaming hear and there, doing the bidding of the few who rule.

    I doubt I will live to see even the beginnings of this, if it can ever be accomplished. But my hope is that our children and their children might see an end to this age old tyranny, and live in a world that, I believe, was always meant to be.

    “…Call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!”

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