The Political Art
of Mark Taylor

Documenting and holding to ridicule the hypocrisy on both the right and left of our MOCKery of “Democracy”.

Why DeMOCKracy...

“This is what DeMOCKracy looks like!”

Cartoon by Mark Taylor, The Albuquerque Tribune 1983. 
Free to use with link to

Mark Taylor

Whether from the right or left, Republican or Democrat and across the media and punditocracy, we hear constant lofty references to “American Democracy”. But the truth is – be it gerrymandering or the strangling grip of corporations and the wealthy on the legislative process and the courts – the United States has long been a mockery of democracy.

We can have a Donald Trump campaign on promises of health care for all only to leave office with even more struggling without health coverage and ongoing decline in life expectancy and historic tax cuts for the wealthy. Or a Joe Biden campaign on promises to stem climate collapse by not granting more public land oil leases who then – in a single month – hands over a vast chunk of remaining Alaska wilderness and an area of the Gulf of Mexico the size of Italy to the oil giants.

In poll after poll, large majorities of Americans support Medicare for All, $15 or more minimum wage, school free lunch programs, reduced war spending, improved infrastructure and higher taxes on the wealthy to fund it all. Yet – somehow – those things never happen, while taxes on billionaires are continually cut and giveaways to corporations spiral ever upward.

Some of the artwork provided in was originally published in the 80s and 90s and – tragically – is as timely today as then because, essentially, nothing has really changed and as now sixty percent of workers struggle paycheck to paycheck, things have actually worsened.

Just don’t call it democracy

While the two political parties squabble and smear, the truth is, at the end of the day, they don’t really differ much because corporate bribes to the two roughly even out. As leaders, most politicians are dull little corporate employees.

And when it comes to war – a growth opportunity for the arms manufacturers – both parties snap to, promptly fall into line and salute more spending for flawed weapons systems, while the lower class is expected to offer up their kids to yet another useless, stupid war.

The American Republocrat

Cartoon by Mark Taylor, 2017
open source and free to use with link 

There are lots of names for our form of corporate rule. You can call it a duopoly or oligarchy or kleptocracy or, my favorite, a kakistocracy – rule of the most stupid, venal and unscrupulous. Political theorist Sheldon S. Wolin coined the term “inverted totalitarianism”. All apply but the one that unifies them all is what we’ve got: corporate state fascism.

But what about voting?

Yeah, what about voting? In election after election, we are betrayed as the flowery campaign promises of both parties quickly dry out and morph into whatever the corporations and wealthy demand once the politicians are comfortably in office.

Should you still vote? Sure, go ahead, but beyond local and the occasional state race, abandon any illusion that any fundamental needed change will come of it. On average, 40% of eligible voters head to the polls. Twenty-five percent vote occasionally or on single issues and 35% have given up voting altogether. Well over half of eligible voters see the fraud.

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

– Emma Goldman

Do I still vote? Yeah. Reluctantly. Glumly.

I don’t believe I have ever missed an election. I was once even a county Democratic Party co-chair. Obama’s cynical transformation from “Hope & Change” to “Bait & Switch” was a tipping point for me. I’m an independent now and trudge off to the polls with little enthusiasm or expectation of any real change resulting. I often leave ballot slots empty or write in a name from history (Eugene Debbs is a favorite).

I support people choosing not to vote because an ever-dwindling number of voters undermines the faux legitimacy of the kabuki theater that is American politics. In other words, a non-vote is a vote, and in a way – given our corrupted system – the most eloquent.

If not voting, what then?

We are in a very similar position to what was faced during the Great Depression. Back then a broad movement of labor unions and far left parties like the Socialists, Wobblies and, yes, even Communists, rose up and led massive strikes and factory occupations. There was a broad, diverse movement to provide mutual aid and support: people helping people. Many of Franklin Roosevelt’s popular reforms that rescued suffering millions were lifted whole or in part from ideas pushed by movement radicals. Because he was helping people, FDR was reelected four times despite being massively outspent.

“When everybody does better, everybody does better.”

– Jim Hightower

We need such movement politics again. We need more of what we are beginning to see: workers standing up to corporate oligarchs and corrupt union leadership. We need sit-down strikes and factory occupations. We need general strikes across industries. We need targeted boycotts. We need masses on the streets. As we have seen with massive protests in Europe, the exploitative system needs to be brought to a halt. Billionaires can’t slurp up unearned fortunes if workers refuse to run the machinery, drive the trucks, write the software, make the deliveries, install the plumbing, staff the stores, offices and coffee shops or buy their products.

Most of all we need to step beyond our tight little inward-focused identity groups to forge broad unity on the many things we agree on. I support Medicare for All and will happily join hands with someone else advocating for M4A, even if we don’t agree on other issues. That is the abandoned art of politics and exactly what most terrifies those in power and why they work so hard to divide us from and turn us against our neighbors.

So, instead of our current ‘demockracy’, let us come together to enact a genuine ‘small-d’ democratic citizens movement of survival.

It’s that, or die.

I make all original cartoons, illustrations and photography posted on free for progressive groups to use. Check out the “Lines of Resistance” page for details.

“We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.”

– Sydney Schanberg, Former New York Times reporter

Illustration by Mark Taylor, Public Citizen, 1983
open source and free to use with link

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