Is all the Western media coverage that portrays him as a dictator by chance related to his politics? Here in Venezuela, the truth is very clear to see.
If much of the Western media is to believed, I write this column from a country brutalized by an absurd tinpot caudillo, Hugo Chavez, who routinely jails any journalist or politician with the temerity to speak out against his tyranny.
According to Toby Young, Venezuela is ruled by a “Marxist tyrant” and a “Communist dictator”. Chavez’s defeated opponent in Sunday’s presidential elections, Henrique Capriles, was portrayed by contrast as an inspiring, dynamic democrat determined to end Venezuela’s failed socialist experiment and open the country to much-needed foreign investment.The reality of Venezuela could not be more distant from the coverage, but the damage is done: even many on the left regard Chavez as beyond the pale. Those who challenge the narrative are dismissed as “useful idiots”, following in the footsteps of the likes of Beatrice and Sidney Webb who, in the 1930s, lauded Stalin’s Russia, oblivious to the real horrors.Venezuela is a funny sort of “dictatorship”. The private media enjoys a 90 per cent audience share and routinely pump out vitriolic anti-Chavez propaganda, pro-opposition areas are plastered with billboards featuring Capriles’ smiling face, and jubilant anti-Chavez rallies are a regular event across the country.Venezuelans went to the polls on Sunday for the 15th time since Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1999: all of those previous elections were judged as free by international observers, including ex-US President Jimmy Carter, who described the country’s election process as “the best in the world”. When Chavez lost a constitutional referendum in 2007, he accepted the result. Before his massive registration drives, many poor people could not vote. In stark contrast to most Western democracies, over 80 per cent of Venezuelans turned out to vote in Sunday’s presidential elections.Even opponents of Chavez told me that he is the first Venezuelan president to care about the poor. Since his landslide victory in 1998, extreme poverty has dropped from nearly a quarter to 8.6 per cent last year; unemployment has halved; and GDP per capita has more than doubled. Rather than ruining the economy – as his critics allege – oil exports have surged from $14.4bn to $60bn in 2011, providing revenue to spend on Chavez’s ambitious social programmes, the so-called “missions”.
We will be electing a raft of representatives in six categories at both the national and county levels.
Needless to say, the Presidency still holds sway.
But there is still a wide disconnect between the democratic aspirations of our constitution and the lust for political power and economic dominance among and across the factions and fractions of our neo-colonial comprador bourgeoisie who are determined to maintain control of what is increasingly taking on the character of a bastardized Narco-State in its reconfigured form both at the centre and the county levels.
The leading presidential candidates in their boisterous and often raucous rallies and public pronunciamentoes are blithely trashing Kenya’s political pluralism as they declare either that the race to State is a “two horse race” or underscore of cobbling together a putrid tribal alliance for the express parochial purpose to block individual politicians from ascending to certain high offices.
That document mulls over four possible scenarios:
Scenario One, the Harmony scenario is where preparations for a free and fair election offers Kenyans an opportunity to elect a credible government led by a President who does not carry the baggage of our regrettable past. Such a great leader will unify and secure the nation, transform the economy and create jobs and opportunities while facilitating social justice for the majority. In one sentence, lead Kenyans to build a great, prosperous and proud nation. This scenario is unlikely because the ingredients for this result are nowhere in place today. This election is going to be a rerun of the incomplete 2007 election under different circumstances and may be with different faces on the ballot.
Scenario Two, the Limping Scenario, is where Kenyans use the next election to settle for what Dr. Archbishop David Gitari calls the lesser of the evil on offer in the election given our political culture and realities. This means that Kenyans shall go for a government steered by a president who shall Not actually break the back of impunity, corruption and tribalism but a government that shall be benign
in its greed and criminal tendencies and that will possibly allow institutions to perform and deliver justice.
Scenario Three, the Impunity Scenario is where those who fear that accountability will end their privilege and see them punished for their crimes against the people Kenya will gang together, mobilize numbers and get a corrupt and vicious government elected to secure their status of enjoying the fruits of impunity.
Scenario Four, the Military scenario is where the legion of impunity does not trust that they can insulate themselves from accountability by rigging themselves into power alone because under the new constitution the personalization of power is deterred. Their agenda is how to suspend the constitution by having a military takeover. In this scenario, the impunity plotters who control the intelligence,financial and security sectors as well as the information channels (including CCK?) in Kenya in toto will sponsor the escalation of violence and general insecurity across the nation blaming it on Al Shabab and other disgraced actors.
By the beginning of 2013 the country will be under a huge cloud of violence and terrorist-spawned insecurity that will be used as a pretext for the declaration of the state of emergency. MRC, Al Shabab and Mungiki will be blamed for this ugly scenario. In the end the military will “arrest” Kibaki from State House and detain him at the Langata Barracks for being responsible for the instability and insecurity and general despondence in the country. The constitution will be suspended and the military will assure investors and Kenyans that security shall be restored and elections to return the country to civilian rule shall be after one year. The beneficiaries of this scenario are The Hague Four, the hundreds of middle and lower level PEV perpetrators who do not want to see the day when they are finally brought to justice and President Kibaki himself. The current National Assembly will be co-opted into this machination because nearly 2/3 of the members of the National Assembly stand for impunity and will cherish the continued patronage of the merchants of impunity. Those who are for the Limping and Harmony scenarios in parliament are in the minority.
When you look at the stakes involved in this election, the first under the new constitution, you realize that the stakes cannot be higher. People in the impunity legion have everything to lose if the elections were conducted freely and fairly and in time. The ICC trials are no longer a farfetched narrative it was in 2010 now looking at the fate that Charles Taylor and Lubanga have met under the mechanisms of international justice. Those 50 years Taylor received brought the reality of criminal accountability home to the Kenyan nation. It is anticipated that the Ocampo 4 will not be at The Hague in September to take the plea. This means that warrants of arrest will be issued. That will demand that the impunity plotters will apply all resources towards having one of their own elected to ensure that the Warrants of Arrest are not executed. It is very unlikely that they are going to support one of the others from the so called anti-reform platoon because that is no assurance whatsoever that they will be insulated from prosecution and accountability given the state system established under the new constitution. It is do or die. In fact when you see that the people who stand to lose most if a free and fair election were to be held currently control the security apparatus, the financial, intelligence and information power, then it becomes clear why they are not going to relinquish power and lose all that advantage. In other words because Kenyans cannot guarantee them “safe exit”, they will then secure their safety and freedom by retaining these four instruments of power and use them to silence resistance and throw out the current constitutional order which is a great inconvenience to them. Given the situation in Sudan, Somalia and the DRC generally, I am not sure that the international community cannot trade off the freedom and democracy of our nation to buy “Security and stability” from the securocrats if they were to take over power through a bloodless and stage
managed coup. And for me the role of China in Kenya may prove decisive when matters get to this stage. Unfortunately, and paradoxically in the current state of things it the PNU wing which seems to be in love with China where as the ODM side which has people formerly associated with the left seems to lean towards the West more now. When I see how China has played the decisive role of propping the decadent ZANU-PF regime in Zimbabwe including supplying weapons, tractors, oil and other essential amenities through Angola, I get convinced that China is going to play a decisive role in Kenya’s democratic evolution.
With our civil society not willing to steward the nation or with most civil society organizations infiltrated and rendered weak through self censorship or limited by its donor project character; the religious leadership delegitimized, the democracy movement dispersed to atoms and Kenyans hopelessly tied to their little ethnic and tribal tethers, the impunity scenario looks like the luckiest we are going to get.
However if you were to look at the stakes involved in this elections, the military scenario is what the architects of darkness would want for the nation. They would have every motivation and determination to push this policy to the end.
Was the victory of fascism inevitable in Germany? No, the German working class could have prevented it.
But in order to do so, it should have achieved a united anti-fascist proletarian front, and forced the Social-Democratic leaders to discontinue their campaign against the Communists and to accept the repeated proposals of the Communist Party for united action against fascism.
When fascism was on the offensive and the bourgeois-democratic liberties were being progressively abolished by the bourgeoisie, it should not have contented itself with the verbal resolutions of the Social-Democrats, but should have replied by a genuine mass struggle, which would have made the fulfilment of the fascist plans of the German bourgeoisie more difficult.
It should not have allowed the prohibition of the League of Red Front Fighters by the government of Braun and Severing 6), and should have established fighting contact between the League and the Reichsbanner 7), with its nearly one million members, and should have compelled Braun and Severing to arm both these organizations in order to resist and smash the fascist bands.
It should have compelled the Social-Democratic leaders who headed the Prussian government to adopt measures of defence against fascism, arrest the fascist leaders, close down their press, confiscate their material resources and the resources of the capitalists who were financing the fascist movement, dissolve the fascist organizations, deprive them of their weapons, and so forth.
Furthermore, it should have secured the re-establishment and extension of all forms of social assistance and the introduction of a moratorium and crisis benefits for the peasants -- who were being ruined under the impact of crisis -- by taxing the banks and the trusts, in this way winning the support of the working peasants. It was the fault of the Social-Democrats of Germany that this was not done, and that is why fascism was able to triumph.
Was it inevitable that the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy should have triumphed in Spain, a country where the forces of proletarian revolt are so advantageously combined with a peasant war?
The Spanish Socialists were in the government from the first days of the revolution. Did they establish fighting contact between the working class organizations of every political opinion, including the Communists and the Anarchists, and did they weld the working class into a united trade union organization? Did they demand the confiscation of all lands of the landlords, the church and the monasteries in favor of the peasants in order to win over the latter to the side of the revolution? Did they attempt to fight for national self-determination for the Catalonians and the Basques, and for the liberation of Morocco? Did they purge the army of monarchist and fascist elements and prepare it for passing over to the side of the workers and peasants? Did they dissolve the Civil Guard, so detested by the people, the executioner of every movement of the people? Did they strike at the fascist party of Gil Robles and at the might of the Catholic church? No, they did none of these things. They rejected the frequent proposals of the Communists for united action against the offensive of the bourgeois-landlord reaction and fascism; they passed election laws which enabled the reactionaries to gain a majority in the Cortes (parliament), laws which penalized the popular movement, laws under which the heroic miners of Asturias are now being tried. They had peasants who were fighting for land shot by the Civil Guard, and so on.
This is the way in which the Social-Democrats, by disorganizing and splitting the ranks of the working class, cleared the path to power for fascism in Germany, Austria and Spain.
Comrades, fascism also attained power for the reason that the proletariat found itself isolated from its natural allies. Fascism attained power because it was able to win over large masses of the peasantry, owing to the fact that the Social-Democrats in the name of the working class pursued what was in fact an anti-peasant policy. The peasant saw in power a number of Social-Democratic governments, which in his eyes were an embodiment of the power of the working class; but not one of them put an end to peasant want, none of them gave land to the peasantry. In Germany, the Social-Democrats did not touch the landlords; they combated the strikes of the farm laborers, with the result that long before Hitler came to power the farm laborers of Germany were deserting the reformist trade unions and in the majority of cases were going over to the Stahlhelm and to the National Socialists.
Fascism also attained power for the reason that it was able to penetrate into the ranks of the youth, whereas the Social-Democrats diverted the working class youth from the class struggle, while the revolutionary proletariat did not develop the necessary educational work among the youth and did not pay enough attention to the struggle for its specific interests and demands. Fascism grasped the very acute need of the youth for militant activity, and enticed a considerable section of the youth into its fighting detachments. The new generation of young men and women has not experienced the horrors of war. They have felt the full weight of the economic crisis, unemployment and the disintegration of bourgeois democracy. But, seeing no prospects for the future, large sections of the youth proved to be particularly receptive to fascist demagogy, which depicted for them an alluring future should fascism succeed.
In this connection, we cannot avoid referring also to a number of mistakes made by the Communist Parties, mistakes that hampered our struggle against fascism.
In our ranks there was an impermissible underestimation of the fascist danger, a tendency which to this day has not everywhere been overcome. A case in point is the opinion formerly to be met with in our Parties that "Germany is not Italy," meaning that fascism may have succeeded in Italy, but that its success in Germany was out of the question, because the latter is an industrially and culturally highly developed country, with forty years of traditions of the working-class movement, in which fascism was impossible. Or the kind of opinion which is to be met with nowadays, to the effect that in countries of "classical" bourgeois democracy the soil for fascism does not exist. Such opinions have served and may serve to relax vigilance towards the fascist danger, and to render the mobilization of the proletariat in the struggle against fascism more difficult.
One might also cite quite a few instances where Communists were taken unawares by the fascist coup. Remember Bulgaria, where the leadership of our Party, took up a "neutral," but in fact opportunist, position with regard to the coup d'état of June 9, 1923; Poland, where in May 1926 the leadership of the Communist Party, making a wrong estimate of the motive forces of the Polish revolution, did not realize the fascist nature of Pilsudski's coup, and trailed in the rear of events; Finland, where our Party based itself on a false conception of slow and gradual fascization and overlooked the fascist coup which was being prepared by the leading group of the bourgeoisie and which took the Party and the working class unawares.
When National Socialism had already become a menacing mass movement in Germany, there were comrades who regarded the Bruening government as already a government of fascist dictatorship, and who boastfully declared: "If Hitler's Third Reich ever comes about, it will be six feet underground, and above it will be the victorious power of the workers."
Our comrades in Germany for a long time failed to fully reckon with the wounded national sentiments and the indignation of the masses against the Versailles Treaty; they treated as of little account the waverings of the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie; they were late in drawing up their program of social and national emancipation, and when they did put it forward they were unable to adapt it to the concrete demands and to the level of the masses. They were even unable to popularize it widely among the masses.
In a number of countries, the necessary development of a mass fight against fascism was replaced by barren debates on the nature of fascism "in general" and by a narrow sectarian attitude in formulating and solving the immediate political tasks of the Party.
Comrades, it is not simply because we want to dig up the past that we speak of the causes of the victory of fascism, that we point to the historical responsibility of the Social Democrats for the defeat of the working class, and that we also point out our own mistakes in the fight against fascism. We are not historians divorced from living reality; we, active fighters of the working class, are obliged to answer the question that is tormenting millions of workers: Can the victory of fascism be prevented, and how? And we reply to these millions of workers: Yes, comrades, the road to fascism can be blocked. It is quite possible. It depends on ourselves-on the workers, the peasants and all working people.
Whether the victory of fascism can be prevented depends first and foremost on the militant activity of the working class itself, on whether its forces are welded into a single militant army combating the offensive of capitalism and fascism. By establishing its fighting unity, the proletariat would paralyze the influence of fascism over the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, the youth and the intelligentsia, and would be able to neutralize one section of them and win over the other section.
Second, it depends on the existence of a strong revolutionary party, correctly leading the struggle of the working people against fascism. A party which systematically calls on the workers to retreat in the face of fascism and permits the fascist bourgeoisie to strengthen its positions is doomed to lead the workers to defeat.
Third, it depends on a correct policy of the working class towards the peasantry and the petty-bourgeois masses of the towns. These masses must be taken as they are, and not as we should like to have them. It is in the process of the struggle that they will overcome their doubts and waverings. It is only by a patient attitude towards their inevitable waverings, it is only by the political help of the proletariat, that they will be able to rise to a higher level of revolutionary consciousness and activity.
Fourth, it depends on the vigilance and timely action of the revolutionary proletariat. The latter must not allow fascism to take it unawares, it must not surrender the initiative to fascism, but must inflict decisive blows on it before it can gather its forces, it must not allow fascism to consolidate its position, it must repel fascism wherever and whenever it rears its head, it must not allow fascism to gain new positions. This is what the French proletariat is so successfully trying to do.
Maintain eternal vigilance and redouble our efforts in steadfastly implementing our new constitutional order.
I was so painfully shy that it took me FOUR years (13 to 17) to tell my upstairs neighbour Angelina Chepchumba in Tononoka that I had an undying crush on her upon which she humiliated me further by laughing derisively in my face informing me, by the way, that that she saw me as a YOUNGER brother (she was one year my junior as a matter of fact) and in any case she went out with MEN rather than schoolboys.
I noticed that I was not alone. All the goody two shoe guys like David (as I was then known) did NOT get the girl. Instead that hot chick went for the nastiest, skankiest toilet mouth in the mtaa. He was often that mean looking matatu conductor; the boy from down the street who sold marijuana to your live in job seeking uncle who monopolized the bed you were hoping to inherit once you hit 15; he was what the African-Americans call the “bad boy” and Jamaicans refer to as the "rude boy”.
No kaboom boom.
Some of the functionaries at the Office of the Prime Minister have corruption scandals swirling around them like a bunch of house flies on a rural urchin’s smelly buttocks after a trip to the pit latrine.
A handful of the operatives in lobby groups like FORA are well-meaning technocrats WITHOUT A CLUE how to carry out POLITICAL MOBILIZATION among the ordinary wananchi.
Talk of “farasi” and “punda” is to put it bluntly, UNCONSTITUTIONAL because the Chapter Two, Section 2 of the Constitution states that:
“The Republic of Kenya shall be a multi-party democratic State founded on the national values and principles of governance referred to in Article 10.”
- ODM should convene a Special 2 Day Retreat by November 15, 2012 bringing together progressive political parties big and small, to chart together a Common Reform Agenda for the 2013 Elections. Among the parties I have in mind are ODM, SDP, NARC-Kenya, NARC, PPK, CCM, New Democrats, Saba Saba Asili and many others. The other objective of this retreat is to create a Broad Alliance for Reforms.
- Once this alliance is formed, it should then seek ways of working with the progressive sections of civil society including a broad range of NGOs, CBOs, trade unions, women, faith groups, professional bodies and the like.
- I have 15 additional points but why should I allow my brain to be picked for free in a digital essay when I can negotiate a decent fee to craft a comprehensive position paper paid for by ODM and all these parties I am talking about?