cj#353> Byers re[2]:trapdoors & voting


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995
Sender: "R. Byers" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#351>Byers re: trapdoors & voting

On Wed, 20 Dec 1995, Richard K. Moore wrote:

> Yes I remember clearly the media stories around the elections.  The first
> thing they got wrong was the bit about it being the first genuine elections
> faced by the Sandanistas -- in fact the previous election had been
> monitored approvingly by a very credible international commission.

        Yes, and the second elections were heavily monitored as well,
which is why theories of fraud have to be built around something
"invisible", such as tampering with the vote-counting software.

> The
> second thing they got wrong was to simply assume, as an axiom of human
> behavior, that people would vote for their oppressors when living under
> siege conditions.  I don't recall that as being the attitude of the British
> in the blitz.  Nicaragua had been through hard times in the past, and had
> shown courage and determination.  Hatred of the Contras was strong, I got
> the impression stronger than fear.  _Perhaps_ the Nicaraguans had a
> different psychology than the Brits did, or perhaps they had more reason to
> feel hopeless -- but media repetition of such a conclusion by no means
> establishes it.

        Am I right in understanding that your own axiom is that people
*won't* vote for their oppressors when living under siege conditions?
The outcome of the last elections in Nicaragua struck me as pretty
complex.  For one thing, a significant portion of the population (42% is
the number that sticks in memory) voted for the Sandinistas.  Of those
who voted for the opposition (was it 50%?), I would guess that up to half
would have opposed the Sandinistas under any conditions.  (The
Sandinistas got something like 80% of the vote in the first elections,
leaving 20% of the population as hardcore anti-Sandinistas.)  For the
rest, you don't have to appeal to psychological theories to explain their
vote, nor do you even have to call it voting for the oppressor.  The
siege, the collapse of the Soviet Union (thus closing down the avenue
Cuba had taken in resisting U.S. imperialism), the gradual withdrawal of
the Sandinista leadership from its grassroots base, and the fact that
Chamorro was the wife of a high profile martyr in the anti-Somoza
cause--all are practical reasons for voting for the opposition.
        Bless the stiff upper lips of the Brits, but they weren't a dirt
poor nation facing the most powerful nation on the planet.
        It's not that I think the software-tampering idea is impossible.
However, I *do* think that an analysis of the "siege" explanation
provides more valuable insights into how U.S. imperialism works than the
one you're suggesting by bringing up this issue of trapdoors.  For one
thing, it illustrates how every nation is full of cracks and fissures and
conflicting forces that can be exploited.  It's just as true of the U.S.
as it was (and is) of Nicaragua, and those of us who'd like to change the
nature of the beast can learn lessons from this.  Unless you're
suggesting that we find ways of putting our own trapdoors into the U.S.'s
electoral software?  :-)

        Randy Byers


Dear Randy,

Thanks for following up.  We seem to end on considerable agreement.  As you
say, it's the overt pressures imposed by the U.S. that are most
significant, we don't need to emphasize covert activities.  But we agree
the scenario is possible.



 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 •••@••.•••  | Cyberlib=http://www.internet-eireann.ie/cyberlib