There’re better ways to dissent than #Undirosak

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“Whatever question arose, a swarm of these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme, flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the voices of those who were disputing honestly.”

― Leo Tolstoy, ‘War and Peace’

COMMENT | If you want to get your message across that the opposition should change, there are better ways to go about it without spoiling your vote or choosing not to vote.

I understand the dissatisfaction young people have with the political mainstream. Most emails I receive are from young Malaysians who are extremely dissatisfied with the current system. When we have young opposition leaders writing op-ed pieces of how their older, more experienced “leaders” tell them why it is important for the former prime minister to lead the charge and like compliant kids, they pass this message on to other young people, I cringe.

There is a difference between advocating for committing to the game the opposition has chosen to play and indoctrinating young people with the poisoned dreams of old men. I realise sometimes that the two are not mutually exclusive, and I did say, I was part of the problem. However, there are more productive ways to demonstrate dissatisfaction for the political mainstream than advocating that voters spoil their votes or not vote at all.

You could help opposition parties like PSM who are going against the mainstream political establishment. Instead of spoiling your vote or not voting because you think mainstream politics sucks – and it does – you could volunteer to be part of PSM’s election machinery and spread the word to drain the swamp in Putrajaya.

It really does not matter if PSM does not have candidates in your area. They have various criteria for their candidates where they contest, but young people who may not believe in socialism could show their dissatisfaction with the political mainstream by helping parties like PSM win in the areas they are contesting in. This way even if you vote for an opposition candidate in your area, you would be encouraging dissent within the opposition by helping political parties like PSM win.

The mainstream political establishment vilifies grassroots political parties like PSM. PSM needs all the help they can get and if the youth vote is with them or if intelligent urban people canvass for them and inspire young people to vote for political parties like PSM, these so-called mosquito parties could become more effective in the political mainstream.

This is a better way to register dissatisfaction with Pakatan Harapan because it enables grassroots-level activism and its concerns, which affect the majority of Malaysians, an avenue of expression in mainstream oppositional politics.

And if people snarkily tell you not to rock the opposition boat, you could give them the finger too because you are encouraging people to vote and voting in PSM would definitely enable the kind of change that the mainstream oppositional politics claims it wants but always has to bow down at the altar of political expediency.

Even if PSM drains votes and the opposition loses the seat, young people who voted for the party are secure in the knowledge that they voted for change even if they failed. I have always maintained that the opposition should embrace PSM into its ranks and what the opposition needs to counter the mainstream politics of Bersatu - and in many ways, the DAP - is a political party like PSM...

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