NOTE: This discussion was originally classified as "hosted" but has now been moved to the "member initiated" category.  In the view of the OC Stewards, what is taking place here is a debate rather than dialogue.  In a "hosted" discussion here at, we request that balanced participation be encouraged and that regular summaries occur recognizing all the views being presented.  

While we have no objections to people using the OC forum to engage in debates, as long as they don't cross the line into personal attacks, such discussion is not what we are seeking in the "hosted" category.  

Ben Roberts

We are delighted to have Occupy Cafe member Mark E. Smith offer this hosted discussion on the provocative idea of an "election boycott."  

As "host," Mark will strive to keep the conversation orderly, offer regular summaries of the perspectives being presented and encourage balanced participation among all those who are engaged.  Here's Mark's initial summary:

An election boycott is the only known way to nonviolently delegitimize a government. It doesn't overthrow the government, it simply denies it the consent of the governed so that the government can no longer claim to have the people's consent. Among the many forms of noncompliance, such as removing money from big banks, boycotting corporate brands, withdrawing from the system and creating alternative systems, learning to live on less so as not to have to pay taxes, etc., refusing to vote can be one of the most crucial and effective tactics.

Thank you, Mark, for volunteering your services as "host!"

Views: 4527

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

If you are unable to show cases of fraud which support your position, the why did you claim that "The general public has seen and is fully aware of much greater cases of fraud" ?


I did show cases of fraud which support my position.

I referred you to the Occupy Wall Street List of Grievances. These list many instances of major frauds on the part of government. But you don't care about frauds that don't involve minor infractions adjudicated in a court of law, because that's the only context in which your selfish, self-centered protocol is relevant.

Since you are not familiar with Occupy Wall Street or the List of Grievances, and are incapable of doing a google search, you think I didn't show cases of fraud to support my position. I did, and I'm not going to do your googling for you. Learn to google or hire somebody to do it for you. You are not here to discuss the topic, you're here to just disrupt, and you are here under false, fraudulent purposes, pretending that your protocol can delegitimize government when you don't even know what the word delegitimize means, any more than you know what most English words mean, nor do you care, since as a foreign national you just give them the meanings you wish, and you do not wish to delegitimize the government because you need it to help you with your minor infraction.

If you were an adult, capable of starting your own topic, you might find people you could make demands on, the way you make your childish demands on the courts.

I apologize to anyone still reading this topic for feeding the troll. It posts here because nobody else anywhere on the internet will talk to it and it is lonely. It hasn't noticed that nobody else in this topic responded to it, and that I did so only because as host, even without the ability to remove trolls and spammers, I'm supposed to try to keep the discussion on topic, so I kept pointing out that it was off-topic and asking it to go away. That doesn't work with trolls. In the future I will respond to its posts by just saying, "Don't feed the troll," and maybe it will go away. If not, it can talk to itself.

One of the environmental mailing lists I'm on was discussing voting. I excerpted a portion of someone's comment and replied to it:

"Another choice would be to boycott the election, "Nobody for President" or some such slogan. It's good theater (sometimes) but on election day you'll be counted as someone who didn't care."

My reply:

Whereas if you vote, no matter who you vote for, even if you vote for a third party or independent candidate, vote for Nobody, Mickey Mouse, or None of the Above, cast a blank protest ballot, or even deliberately invalidate your ballot, your name will be posted on the voter rolls as one who cared, who did their civic duty to the state, who granted their individual consent of the governed, and who thereby supported capitalism, imperialism, and the  continuing destruction of the earth by the 1%.

All your other constructive suggestions, like environmental activism, protests, strikes, etc., will be protests against the system that you personally legitimized by voting.

Isn't that just a tad schizophrenic?


I didn't expect a response, and when I noticed he'd posted one a few minutes later, I opened it cautiously, expecting that he'd just repeat some of the other myths about not voting. His simple one-word reply to my question took me by surprise and cracked me up. All he said was:


Mark is lying. He claimed that the Occupy Wall Street List of Grievances list many instances of frauds, but fraud is not mentioned among them. Also, the context was of fraud committed by the judicial system, and the list of grievances refers to government in general.

I have documented a protocol which has resulted in a court admitting fraud at a procedural level. This means that there exists an alternative non-violent technique for delegitimizing government. Mark has used a variety of techniques to draw attention away from this fact.

NDT: Please refrain from personal attacks, such as calling someone a "liar."  You can disagree with a statement without questioning someone's motives or integrity.  Failure to abide by this distinction will result in your being suspended from Occupy Cafe.


Ben Roberts

Occupy Cafe Steward

Hi Ben,

Will you censure Mark for his personal attacks?

Yes, I see that Mark has indeed crossed the line into personal attacks as well, in my view. You are NOT a troll who is here simply to disrupt. And saying you are "not an adult" and are incapable of doing a Google search, etc. are also over the line.

I am moving this thread out of the "hosted" category as these statements indicate to me that the type of hosting we seek is not taking place here. In addition, Mark, it is only fair that I give you the same warning as I did to NDT regarding suspension for personal attacks.

Ben Roberts

Thanks, Ben.

I'm happy to continue to argue that, contrary to Mark's position, there exists an alternative way to  nonviolently delegitimize a government. I invite anyone to find fault with my position though fair and reasonable means.

Mark's statement is not true.  "an election boycott is the only known way.......etc" - if I put forward other ways - we may get into argument -  suffice it to say there are many ways to non violently approach democratic (or so called)  governments -  I think Joan Baez offered one idea in the 70's - hold back taxes - and others have been offered such as using alternative currencies, and development of new parties, - or movements - the OWS is one such process IMHO

I am not attached to any one of the ways - we ought to recognize that more than one way exists - and I for one fail to see how not voting in an election serves any purpose other than a waste of a voting opportunity.  

Other forms of noncompliance, such as not paying taxes and developing new political parties, do not revoke the power and authority of government. To "delegitimize" is to "revoke the power and authority of." Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, which they demonstrate by holding elections. If people vote, the government can claim the legitimacy of having the consent of the governed. The only way to remove that consent and to delegitimize, that is, to revoke the power and authority of government, is to withhold that consent by boycotting the elections and refusing to vote.

If you read the first few pages of this discussion, poforpeace, you'll see some instances of where election boycotts have delegitimized governments. That does not mean ousting or overthrowing a government, it just means withdrawing the consent of the governed so that the government can no longer claim legitimacy.

Can you name any other known instance of any other nonviolent means of noncompliance having delegitimized a government? Protests usually involve a great deal of violence, if not on the part of the protesters, at least on the part of the government being protested, which retains the power and authority to suppress civil dissent as long as it can claim the legitimacy of the consent of the governed.

Hi poforpeace,

Taxes were originally a tribute paid for protection. If the government isn't protecting the people from threats properly, then the people are entirely justified in refusing to pay tax. It could even be argued that paying tax makes the people culpable when those monies are used for an unlawful purpose. Of course, the "threats" that governments are supposed to address have grown over time, and it is fair to say that anyone who obtains a benefit from government has an obligation to pay tax to some degree. Alternative movements may also delegitimise governments if they induce people to take action consistent with the removal of implied or express consent.


Weekly Cafe Calls

Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

"Vital Conversations" 

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT 

Tuesdays (except 10/16)
"Connect 2012"

1-3p PDT | 4-6p EDT | 8-10p GMT

"Occupy Heart" 

3-5p PDT | 6-8p EDT | 10p-12a GMT

Latest Activity

Clay Forsberg posted a blog post

"Happy Birthday Occupy Wall Street ... thoughts on Year One"

Fifteen years ago, I ran across a book, "100 Most Influential People in History," during one of my dalliances to my local Marin County bookstore. "Influential People" was one man's assessment on exactly that. But how he determined his rankings was the interesting part. They weren't always the reasons you would think. But after thinking about it, they made complete sense. For example:George Washington was ranked in the top 40 of all time. Understandable. But the reason why ... not so much. You…See More
Sep 20, 2012
Clay Forsberg is now a member of Occupy Cafe
Sep 20, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a group

Leadership Ecology

When a Leadership Ecology occurs, a web of relationships emerges revealing each person’s authentic leadership qualities through the transfer of their power to others. When done in a conscious way – a shared collaborative awakening happens.See More
Feb 6, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a blog post
Feb 3, 2012


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2024   Created by Occupy Cafe Stewards.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service