Utah Phillips--"My Body is My Ballot"

UTAH PHILLIPS: Well, now, you’ve got me boxed in. Amy, you know, you make—you ever made of vow? You know, like Catholics make vows, don’t they? You make a vow of celibacy or a vow of poverty. I made a vow to Ammon Hennacy shortly before his death, that, you know, he would never—he was an anarchist, a great anarchist. And he would never speak when I was running for the Senate. He would never talk, you know, for me. Another you learn things the hard way, don’t you? He made me promise that I wouldn’t engage in systemic politics ever again, that there was another way I had to do this.

Ammon never went to the polls, but you couldn’t tell him you hadn’t voted. He did vote. Ammon’s body was his ballot. And he cast it in behalf of the poor around him every day of his life. And he paid a terrible price for that. You couldn’t tell him he hadn’t voted. He said, “Yes, I did vote. I just didn’t assign responsibility to other people to do things. I accept responsibility and saw to it that something got done.” It’s a different way of looking at voting, isn’t it? And you can do that all the time. You could have your life. And that’s the way I live my life. My body is my ballot. It’s a lesson I learned from Ammon. That’s my way. That’s the vow I took, and I’m not going to break it. Right?

Given that, I can’t, of course, ask people to do something that I wouldn’t do, you know, but it does appear to me that these fascists that have taken over have got to get—we’ve got to get rid of them. They’re not Republicans, and they’re not Democrats up there. You know, they’re something else. They’re corporate fascists. And they got to be out of there. And the only organized force on the planet—in the country that I know of that can do that is the Democratic Party. God help us all. You know, it’s like buying a seat on the Titanic, the Democratic Party, but they’re the only force, organized force, that has the ability to do it. So it’s imperative that the entire progressive movement come together, like they did in the Great Depression at the time of the CIO.

Every progressive force in the country came together, gave them the window of opportunity, Roosevelt’s second term, and put their differences on the shelves, stopped hammering on each other. In the Great Depression. And we came out of that with Social Security and workmen’s compensation and a minimum wage, you understand? The whole progressive movement, from animal rights to the feminist movement to anti-nuclear—I don’t care what permutation—have got to saying, “This is my issue, this is my issue,” and join forces and once again create the united front, total united front, and take over the Democratic Party, and that’s the only way we’re going to be able to do this, to pull this off. We can’t do that—then, when we’ve done it, go back and hammer on each other, OK, but for right now, all the difference has got to be pushed aside. I am absolutely appalled at these Democratic candidates hammering on each other, you know, not recognizing the direness of our situation.

Source: Democracy Now

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