I have changed my mind and decided to vote. I'm not happy about it, I think the elections are a sham, but since I stated publicly on Al Jazeera that I wasn't going to vote, I feel I have to put my thoughts down for the record.
There are three main reasons:
1. The elections have been designed as a weapon against us.
They have been designed to give SCAF supporters and the MB as big a slice of parliament as possible. For a long time I wasn't convinced that the MB and SCAF were co-ordinating. But having seen them build the wall to contain the revolution last Thursday I finally accepted it.
The hierarchical, patriarchal, nationalist-but-self-interested nature of the two organisations makes them perfect partners. It was the Military's dependence on American aid and America's supposed trepidation about Islamist parties that gave cause for doubt. Friends of SCAF Generals would anecdotally report that they had received direct instructions from Washington not to allow the MB to take more than 30% of parliament.
We'll see how things turn out, but it certainly seems now that the power triangle of the Military, the MB and SCAF may have found a balance that satisfies all of them.
And so, if by voting, I have a 0.0001% chance of disrupting their goals for parliament, and by not voting I clearly have a 0% chance, then I will take the 0.0001% and vote.
2. Voting is not a vote on SCAF's legitimacy
I think that what we saw on Tuesday and Friday, on those two millioneyas, was a public declaration of SCAF's illegitimacy. There was no hesitation about the chants - everyone was unified in calling for an end to military rule and for the removal of the Field Marshall. Now that same declaration is being made through voting, that same resistance to the designs of those who have been preparing for these days is being shown.
3. Voting and Tahrir are not mutually exclusive
This is the most important point of the three, and I think those of us in Tahrir need to make sure that people who aren't in the Square every day do not feel alienated from Tahrir, or less revolutionary for having voted.
No one is expecting voting to achieve the aims of the revolution. I don't think anyone even wants to vote. The elections are a sham. But they are one of the battles that are being forced on us so I think we should engage.
The revolution will rise or fall on how widespread it is. Tahrir was most effective when it was the physical representation of a national will; when the country was shut down because of it and the wave of union actions behind it. It can be that again, but we have to make sure it keeps feeling like everyone's home.