Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The value of Stella and the descent into semi-fascism - Freddie Kissoon

Here's Freddie's Column today welcoming me as a columist to the Kaieteur News:
Stella Ramsaroop has joined us as a columnist at the Kaieteur News. I am going to avoid the banalities of welcoming her.

Everybody in Guyana wants to hear an independent voice and read a mind that is not fed by PPP or PNC propaganda. So let's not waste time with inconsequentialities about welcoming Stella. My point to Stella is that her perspective on Guyana 's social structure cannot be complete until she delves into the arena of lives in Guyana . Then the nearness will show her dimensions of life that one will never see from a distance.

One of the needs of this country is the public use of an independent mind. This country cries out for Guyanese who think differently. Stella Ramsaroop as an independent columnist will make a crucial difference in Guyana at a time when we are at the crossroads in the life of Guyana . If Ms. Ramsaroop should visit her homeland often (I am assuming that she doesn't; if I am wrong I apologise), she would discover the longing, the desire of her fellow Guyanese to read a refreshing mind that does not pamper to the robotic repetitions with which the two major parties have poisoned this rich country.

My only response to Stella Ramsaroop as a Kaieteur News columnist is that her value will mean a lot to the people of the country and she must be prepared for the long haul. One hopes that with Stella we will have another enduring mind that can expose fifty years of PPP and PNC bankruptcy. People like Stella Ramsaroop are needed in a country like this where politics has an evil base. I mean evil in the real sense of the word. The practice of politics of the PNC as a ruling party and as an opposition party has been evil.

Yesterday that was my topic, so I need not lament any further; the same pertains with the PPP. The practice of politics is evil. That the PPP will fall in 2006 for me is a definite possibility — more than a possibility, it will become a fact. If by some weird psychic contortion, the PPP wins back the government with a majority, there will be a velvet revolution in Guyana . I am convinced of this. We are in a period of uneasy calm. I believe a combination of factors like Christmas, extreme poverty, the preoccupation with eking out a living, and a cautiously patient waiting game by the private sector will see Guyana through till the next election

However I am convinced that, if the PPP wins an outright victory, the velvet revolution will come. After fourteen years in power, the PPP has simply exhausted the capacity for psychic stability. The PPP is incapable of generosity and humanism in the use of power. A fairly large number of persons during the past three weeks, since August 30, have asked me what has so driven me about the government's interference in UG to cause me to pen so many articles on one topic in the past two weeks.

I have not explained the frenzy of articles on the UG crisis in my columns as yet but here it is now. My deeply emotional abhorrence at what the Government did on August 29 at UG has absolutely (and I repeat, absolutely) nothing to do with Dr. Mark Kirton. He is a long-time, friendly acquaintance but Mark and I have never been buddy pals. He has his buddy chums, I have mine. It has absolutely nothing to do with Dr. James Rose. I confess I prefer we advertise for the post of Vice Chancellor but I am not personally driven to deny Dr. Rose the job. It has absolutely nothing to do with governmental interference in the function of UG. Yes, all democratically inclined citizens should be concerned about Government's crude tampering with autonomous institution, but I didn't run ten articles on the UG crisis because of that particular act

Here is the answer. More than anything that this government has done since it got back into power, in 1992, nothing comes closer to semi-fascism than the repeat of a nasty piece of totalitarian politics as in the order of the Government once more to force the UG Council to put Dr. Rose back as the Vice Chancellor. I know you will disagree and cite extra-judicial adventurism as being more of an act of semi-fascism than just the bullying of UG for the second time. You are confusing substance and form. Unfortunately, I cannot argue this out here in a short newspaper column. In an upcoming academic conference I will argue that out in a paper entitled, “Can an elected Government become semi-fascist?”

One has to understand that, with extra-judicial violence, the Government was facing the loss of power. The police force was psychologically immobilised. The GDF was not performing to expectations. The private sector was in a tailspin. Society then was facing collapse. Had extra-judicial mechanisms not been resorted to, the state of Guyana would have disintegrated, society would have been in ruins. The resort to extra-judicial cabals was deus ex machine, but in terms of realpolitik it had practical and pragmatic results.

The morality of it can be questioned. The politics of it is another matter all together. It has worked politically even in the traditional, democratic countries in the West

With the extra-judicial agenda, the intention is survival of state power. There isn't any subterfuge or machination to expand the state's power base for the sake of political aggrandisement. Political motives then are more commonsensical and purposeful with the large picture of state preservation always in mind when extra-judicial action is put into effect. None of these considerations went into the 2000 and 2005 assaults on the University of Guyana .

The semi-fascist replica of the 2005 act has to be analysed against the original motive in 2000. Then the intention was the desecration of the legitimate social order for the maximisation of power. The expansion of power for the purpose of domination of society was what drove the first episode of aggression against UG in 2000. To repeat that conspiracy again shows how desperate, shameless and power-driven is the state. An interpretation of semi-fascism is applicable here.

Anyway, the point of this whole essay is to let Stella know what Guyana is like and how needed are her independent analyses. I know I wrote above that welcoming her is a banality. But what the hell, welcome to the club, Stella!

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