By Mumia Abu-Jamal, M.A.
#494 Column Written 2/5/2001
All Rights Reserved

"Party-spirit...which at best is but the madness of
many for the gain of a few."
--Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

It is utterly impossible to view, listen to, or read
any segment of the corporate news machine without
hearing every newscaster, and every possible pundit,
giving up some rap about, yes, "bipartisanship."
Every major political figure in the U.S. is also
carefully schooled on how to include the word in every
possible 10-second sound bite.

It resounds like a bronze gong in a Buddhist temple,
vibrating and burrowing into consciousness,
overwhelming all other sounds, until we, the people,
find it laced neatly into our conversations with
friends, comrades, and loved ones.

The ubiquitous American media echo chamber effect has
millions thinking that "bipartisanship" is as natural
as, say, sunshine in an African summer, or rain in
spring.  In essence, it is an idea that is rarely
questioned.  Why not?

The very idea of bipartisanship stems from the
position that two parties must find a way to work
together.  You hear no one discussing tripartisanship,
or quadpartisanship, do you?  Isn't that odd?  Aren't
there more than two political parties in the U.S.?
Bipartisanship is, then, a political strategy designed
to channel all political activity through both

This strategy is, therefore, a strategy of exclusion,
for by limiting the range of acceptable debate to
those advanced by the two quite similar political
parties (which are both mere instrumentalities of
corporate power and wealth), the full chorus of
political opinion, from the left and right, are left
out of the realm.  Nor is this a negligible slice of
political life.

Consider the recent elections, where barely 50% of
eligible voters participated in the presidential poll.
As the race was razor thin, and the so-called "victor"
claimed between 200-to-950 votes to win, then that
"victor" can only truly claim to directly represent
the will of about 25% of the electorate!

Let's look at it from the opposite perspective: the
"victor" was either rejected or ignored (by not
voting) by about 75% of the American electorate!

This is a democracy of the absurd.

One need look no further than the Ashcroft
confirmation for the lofty post of U.S. Attorney-
General.  Despite unprecedented opposition from
literally millions of constituents, senators voted
their party interest first and foremost.  Indeed,
senators from both parties voted for the nominee, with
some saying they did so "in the spirit of

Both parties are parties, not of the people, but of
the rulers.  It's time to organize to break this
political monopoly.

At the very core of this idea of bipartisanship is a
raging contradiction, for isn't politics really all
about divisions?  Don't people really have starkly
different political visions and objectives?  Don't
wealthy folks see the world differently from the poor?
Don't urbanites have different concerns than rural
folks?  Don't blacks have distinctly different
historical experiences than Whites?  Don't Latinos
have particular social and political interests (for
example, immigration, etc.) that differ from many

We can act as if no such differences exist, but they
do, and history has taught us that they only need the
barest opportunity to express such divergences.

Bipartisanship is only the latest illusion to prop up
the status quo, for the two big parties stay in power,
and the majority of Americans lose.

It is an illusion that no longer need delude us.
(c)MAJ 2001

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only with the inclusion of the following copyright

Text (c) copyright 2001 by Mumia Abu-Jamal. All rights
reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of three books: 'Live
from Death Row', 'Death Blossoms', and 'All Things
Censored'. A new biography, 'On A Move: The Story of
Mumia Abu-Jamal', is available at