“Why we’re voting no and you should too”: A statement by the MARS Collective

The way we, the MARS Collective, have chosen to help create the world we want to see is outside electoral politics; we value self-determination, mutual aid, direct action, and autonomous community control.  Voting for the specific ways in which our dignity will be taken away—whether by referenda or by politicians whose lives are utterly different than our own—is not a political system we see as legitimate.

Nonetheless, we view the proposed constitutional amendment of Voter ID/Voter Restriction here in MN as crucial to our struggles.  Voter suppression, of which photo ID is just the latest tool, is a strategy devised by right-wing groups, especially the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), to strip away the dignity of marginalized communities (particularly people of color, immigrants, the poor, students, and the elderly) and to demoralize us and prevent us from organizing.  It’s not that we see the electoral system as working and that this shift would break it, but rather we see this system as already a mechanism of exclusion and domination—such as with the disenfranchisement of undocumented immigrants and of felons in most states—and this amendment would be an expansion of such forms of oppression.

Voter suppression robs communities of their dignity.  Whether or not we believe in the power of the vote, this amendment would take away even the choice of whether or not to participate on election day for hundreds of thousands of people in Minnesota.  If passed, it would help the worst of the worst politicians get elected—making us spend more time fighting defensively for our basic needs like food stamps, reproductive health care, and affordable housing, rather than fighting for the radical, systemic change we really want.

Please take the time to VOTE NO (on both amendments) on November 6th.  Talk to your friends & neighbors and ask them to do the same.

For more info, see:

Voices For Voting Rightshttp://voicesforvotingrights.org/ – video testimonies of people from different communities, talking about how this amendment would negatively affect them.

Volunteer to Door Knock to Defeat the Voter Restriction Amendment – with Neighborhoods Organizing for Changehttp://www.mnnoc.org/volunteer_calendar

Three articles from our neighbor, artist/activist Ricardo Levins Morales:

“The Marriage Amendment as decoy and how to fight the real danger”http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/blog/ricardo-m-levins-morales/marriage-amendment-decoy-and-how-fight-real-danger

“Solidarity from below: the last weeks of the amendment campaigns”http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/blog/ricardo-m-levins-morales/solidarity-below-last-weeks-amendment-campaigns

“Defeating voter restriction: a pocket guide” (includes many volunteer opportunities) – http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/blog/ricardo-m-levins-morales/defeating-voter-restriction-pocket-guide