THE ROVING MEERKAT
ON THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF ELECTIONS-OPIUM OF THE MASSES
By Goodman Moeti (25 January 2014 – 13:00)
SEKHUKHUNELAND-Nations across the world that embrace democracy as their system of governance hold elections once every five years to allow citizens to elect their preferred leaders who in the mind of the citizens will take the country as well as its people forward. This is a phenomenon which has gained a vast traction since America’s independence which was led by great democratic thinkers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others. The writing of Declaration of Independence and subsequent spread of democracy across the world through France, Haiti and others that followed was a nail in the coffin for kleptocracy, oligarchy, theocracy, monarchies and other forms of governance.
Let me trace the notion of governance and the state back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, in his book ‘The Politics’ he outlines the many forms of governance and forms of leadership and in conclusion, he says democracy is the ‘least bad’ system of governance, not the best. He further talks about the relation of leaders to a state as well as its people. Then fast-forward to the enlightenment and meet some of the most influential philosophers of Europe such as Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu and others who were themselves influenced by the Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s book ‘The Social Contract’ served as a blue print of how the Americans would later shape their state and society (body politic).
The book was itself based on a wrong notion that human beings are brutal to each other thus need to form a social compact and subsequently a body politic that would represent them as a group of individuals for their preservation. The most worrying thing about Rousseau’s theories is they are wrong themselves, they are based on a fallacy that the rate at which people kill each other would decrease when they have a sovereign overseeing their relations thus ensuring the so-called social contract is respected. Instead demographic statistics show that the rate at which people kill each other today under the sovereign is far higher than in primitive days. The theory of social contract is but a small part of the topic which precipitates the issue of a state which we defer for another day.
They then influenced the leaders in the American War of Independence who then influenced the French revolutionaries who led the 1789 revolution that deposed King Louis. The first black nation in the third world followed in a string of revolutions when Haiti started its quest for liberty, equality and justice in 1791 as leaders such as Toussaint L’Ouverture led the Haitian Revolution against the French, Spaniards and English. As democracy spread across the world balance of power shifted and changed significantly to suit new rulers, to the acute chagrin of the former regimes.
Every democrat or republican knows the most important cardinal pillars of democracy are the constitution and elections. A working democracy should have both completely functional and most importantly in the best interest of the majority of the people. The broadness of the subject matter under interrogation is as wide as the Atlantic, which necessitate me to carve it to focus much on elections in the third world, particularly in Africa where elections since their inception meant something other than what Thomas Jefferson and company had in mind.
One Thomas Ferguson, a prominent American political theorist and economist once said elections are occasions when investors coalesce to buy the state, which to me is a bloodless coup. This is as true as saying the morning is the beginning of a day. Furthermore, one James Madison and Adam Smith talk about the so-called ‘The Wealth of a Nation’, which comprises of owners of stocks in conglomerates or transnational corporations that are as powerful as the state, these ‘wealth of the nation’, they term ‘the architects of policy’.
As South Africans are heading to the national polls in the second quarter of this year, let us trace elections across the world putting a strong emphasis on the African continent where democracy has translated into an inexplicable chimera. South Africans voted in their first democratic elections in April 1994 when the majority of the people chose the African National Congress under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, a moment that was seen as the advent of multiparty democracy in building a non-racial, non-sexist and egalitarian society.
Critics of elections and parliamentary politics have always said that presidents are chosen before elections by ’the wealth of the nation’ who then for formality allow the rank and file citizens to validate their choice. This holds water in that parliamentary politics are dominated and controlled by the so-called ‘big-business’ which in the language of Adam Smith and James Madison are ‘the wealth of nation’. This crop of people possess vast wealth to an extend that they form ‘coalitions of the willing’ to safeguard their business interest and to avoid ‘business-hurting’ transformations or leadership changes that will force them to form new networks with incoming leaders.
Each business group in a nation has interests that should be safeguarded at all cost to avoid loss in their wealth; they do this protection at all cost to themselves, the state or the people. General democracy has lost legitimacy long before it was crafted by Thomas Jefferson due to its abolition of direct democracy. It has since been impregnated with irregularities, inefficiencies and rots. I will subsequently try to shew why I say elections are the opium of the masses. Opium is something that when one has taken they stop thinking and believe they are in a utopia that they have been seeking, which happens to be illusionary.
Coalition of Investors formed to create politico-economic environment friendly to them
Every country has some economic importance in the eyes of global capitalism and this is mostly seen when even countries considered less important in the international arena go to elections. Investors in this case refer to owners of conglomerates or multinational corporations, the drivers of global capitalism who stop at nothing in their quest for global economic and political dominance.
Investors always cry over what they call ‘non-investor friendly environment’ and they do whatever it takes to ensure wherever they want to invest, such an environment is created by themselves to suit themselves. These investors form coalitions and raise billions of Rands or Dollars for their project of ‘creating an investor-friendly environment’ so that they can come into a country and maximise their profits. But this class of people owns no military, no voting powers in parliamentary processes and so forth, which necessitate them to resort to proxies within a country of interest.
They monitor polity of the ‘ground zero’ nation and create networks with their leadership through donations and sponsorships of leaders’ lavish life-styles, which is more prevalent in Africa. After this caste has gained footing, they then hand-pick one Tom, Dick or Jerry among the citizens of a country under consideration according to their specifications. People normally wonder why people considered more stupid or unfit for leadership become leaders, well the reason is incoming.
Those who know the political and economic ropes normally say what happens on the stage is completely contrary to what happens backstage. The deeds on the stage are designed for cameras and stupid eyes of the ‘believers without questioning’ who happen to be the masses and what happens backstage is only for the cream of the nation, the wealth of the nation. Investors do not mostly favour military interventions and coups since they possess no military hardware, but they do resort to getting what they want by force should they face a stiff opposition on conventional means.
Each investor in a coalition has his or her needs to be safeguarded in a country under question and each separately crafts them into official demands to be met once their candidate is in power. This according to them is an investment worthy of return in multiples of million or billions in returns. One investor may want the country under question’s mineral resources privatised knowing they will be the first on the cake; others may want control over banks, others to supply medical drugs at exorbitant prices to a poor country and so forth. Others may be the very same country’s largest polluters wanting to do away with pollution legislations like carbon caps or taxes.
Subsequent to handpicking Dick they start working on him with the election year in mind, they change his standard of living, his looks, his public appearance, his image and all he has been in a bid to make him friendly to the people. Alternatively these investors choose people they trust, whom they worked with in international institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation and many United Nations bodies.
The investors then help Dick rise through the ranks of his political party by funding his rise through buying out opponents and buying him all he needs, luxury cars, pay his overseas trips, build him or her houses, lobbying for him within his party and so forth. With the elections in mind, they start penetrating the very mass media they control to rally behind Dick as a potential candidate for the upcoming elections which they know already he or she will contest.
Billions go into the project way before everyone start spending for election campaigns, which is why once in ten times leaders like Dick are beaten in elections. During party congresses of a political party Dick belongs to, the caste stimulate ‘brown envelope diplomacy’ and ensure Dick wins as the leader of such a party. This happens in both opposition parties and parties at the helm of power in a nation under consideration, it seldom happens even through a formation of a new party for that matter. We know how US ‘Non-governmental Organisations’ work across the world such as USAID in Egypt, Haiti, Bolivia to name but a few incidents Dicks coming to power.
In a few months before elections Dick is now a favourite among many citizens of this country I would like to call Opiumstan. In a case where the candidate of the investors is a sitting president, the caste influences international bodies such as IMF and World Bank, as well as some global research institute to release reports hailing a staggering progress in Opiumstan which in most cases is not what the Opiumstanese are feeling on the ground. The citizens of Opiumstan are then made to believe everything is in order and that Dick is doing a sterling job worthy of a vote for him. They shower the nation with report after report pregnant with praises and glorifications using the very institutions that everyone thought were formed to serve the opiumised masses.
Then Dick head to the polls with a smart image, election campaign that reach all corners of the nation or as far as abroad, internationally shinny image, many allies both local and international and these are buoyed by a purse full of Euros, Yens, Remnibis, Dollars or Pounds flown into Opiumstan from capitalist capitals to install a leader favourable to global capitalism which is an anathema to what the opiumised masses need. The mass media at the same time does its manslaughter by proclaiming Dick as having done a great job or going to be doing a great job, while downplaying and demonising the opposition to Dick.
Dick then comfortably wins the Opiumstan elections with a landslide, with standard promises to the people of Opiumstan who voted under the influence that they did not know or see. Dick then assumes office, this is a man who was too stupid to be a president years earlier and now he is buoyed and catapulted into the top seat, as the first citizen of the republic. If Opiumstan was under economic sanctions they are removed quickly and Opiumstan can resume its sitting in the international organisations. Dick then heads to New York for United Nations General Assembly where he is given a chance to address the world and tutor them on democracy and democratic processes which he ‘observed and upheld’ throughout his rise to presidency of Opiumstan.
Since we are talking Opiumstan which is a nation in the third world, the international institutions (IMF & World Bank) then release a new batch of reports talking about the state of the Opiumese economy which needs immediate monetary intervention. They then summon Dick to the IFM and World Bank for loan negotiations which Dick signs outright. As always, the money borrowed by Dick for Opiumstan is from largest contributors to these institutions such as US, Japan, England, France, Germany, Spain and others who still share the spoils of World War II. Opiumstan is then given conditions of the loan which are ‘structural reforms’, this means in most cases that Opiumstan will reform their economy in the interest of the capitalist capitals and global capitals and the benefactors at last are the very investors who made Dick a hero in the eyes of the people of Opiumstan who thought they voted for the leader of their choice not knowing their efforts were secondary to what ‘the wealth of the nation’ have started earlier.
This is seldom called ‘opening up of the economy’, to whom if not the western conglomerates and multinationals. Structural reforms or austerity measures are mostly cuts on social and public spending, removal of subsidies for products and services produced in Opiumstan and others while ‘opening up the economy’ means privatisation of state entities, taxes cuts for multinationals, cheapening of electricity for conglomerates and making it expensive for domestic use, total removal of protectionist measures. This definitely leads to Opiumstan being a dumping zone and a free market of western multinationals.
The said promises that Dick made to the people of Opiumstan prior to the elections such as infrastructure rollout (dams, roads, water, energy & etc.), social welfare, better universal health services, better and free education and etc. are vanishing into the thin air as those who made Dick a ‘hero’ share their spoils. These ‘investors’ go as far as privatising the education systems or removing every drop of subsidy on education and social services, this is in a bid to ensure private sector dominates everything as energy, water, health, education, and private ownership of minerals which are mined and shipped raw to wherever end-users want them.
What does this in toto mean? It means the people of Opiumstan will continue to suffer despite voting every five years and made fools by the media, international institutions and United Nations. The economy of Opiumstan grows on speculative capital which does not ‘touch down’, the country’s economy grows at double digits but over half still live under less than one Dollar a day and they are still made to believe they can change the situation on the ground through elections, they wait for the next elections and Dick or his predecessor chosen by the investors wins and continue on the same trajectory. This is a translation of why African states never reduced poverty, not because they failed but because they never tried. The continent still labours under coloniality (economic dominance on former colonies by former colonial masters) while report after reports tell people of a continent formed by many states like Opiumstan to continue voting for change while underhand dealings undermine what they say on stage.
We have seen this phenomenon of election before elections in many countries even in the so-called first world. Politics of the US are chronically submerged in this and the opiumised citizens of US are made to believe of the arrival of Hope & Change every five years they roll themselves into voting stations thinking they are the choosers of leaders, had they known they are secondary and their votes are not actually out of their crude and organic thinking but an influence of opium. In the Haitian elections of 1994, in Chile in 1973, every five years in the US, in the 2011 Myanmar elections, in Africa you do not even need to single out one country because almost all countries are Opiumstans.
Interference from foreign governments
Interference in elections of sovereign nations by other foreign nations has been happening for centuries and is today endemic in Third World countries than those termed developed. This mostly is as a result of former colonial masters still having a lust for the wealth and power they used to wield in their heydays as colonial masters. They however continue to project their powers beyond their boarders into territories of sovereign states that are supposed to be dealing with their elections on their own.
Even in the case where one country choses a president for the citizens of other country, the citizens of the latter country still believe they have power through the ballot. Regimes are installed, coups are orchestrated, public policy designed outside the boarders of a sovereign nation under the noses of the people of countries I call Opiumstans. This started happening in Africa when a transition from colonialism to coloniality was underway, that is when the colonial masters were handing over governments to the native people.
In this case colonial masters like France, United States, Spain, England, Portugal, Netherlands, Italy and other greedy nations of the west ensured that when they left, their interests were left intact and the structure of the economy they built was left untouched. Remember colonial masters built African economies so they could be sources of raw materials to fuel development in the metropolis such as Paris and London. The western countries created Joint-Stock Companies which were later converted to public companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Boeing, Albertis, Elf (TOTAL), Anglo-American, and many others that assumed mineral rights in Third World countries without any due process.
On leaving the colonies, the colonial masters needed to ensure influence and control over the countries they always used as their resource base. With the national wealth owned in Europe, the Africans were opiumised with suffrage and their brains kept in abeyance as their leaders were enjoying the left bones. On exiting the colony the colonial masters ensured an organisation of elections for the people of the former colony to choose a leader of ’their choice’. The colonial masters always have preferences and recommendations with the colony’s resources in mind and their preferences and recommendations always come true.
The colonial masters chose a person whom they were sure will safeguard their interest, who will serve as a governor of the overseas province. In this case they did not go for Dick, but Jeff since they preferred educated leaders who are under the influence of laizzes faire principles. They then targeted the political group that looked threatening to their interest for Jeff to get a free passage to the top seat. In this case they preferred political parties than individuals; they funded and supported a certain liberal political party to ensure it won elections.
The colonial masters used their international influence to denounce any political party that talks nationalisation of state wealth in the interest of the citizens of a former colony. They openly threatened the citizens of grave consequences if such a political party could be voted in power. This endemic interference by foreign powers renders elections a futile exercise as it does not serve the people of a respective Third World nation in their endeavour for better standards of living.
Elections should be occasions when citizens of a sovereign nation choose a leader using their own minds without outside interference, without threats, without pressure of intimidation and blackmail by superpowers. But unfortunately this does not happen as year by year elections are rigged with complicity from foreign nations that have imperial interest in a respective country. A superpower like France or the US as well as those mentioned above, would then choose a political party led by Jeff within Opiumstan and ensure by all means that such a political party wins the election and maintain the socio-political and socio-economic status quo.
They go as far as helping such a political party to rig elections in its favour as to avoid the so-called ‘disruptive transition’. Many political parties in Africa and the Third World receive large amounts of money during elections from western governments that want to remain overlords on such nations to continue plundering their resources in the interest of the metropolis. This is done as a result of African leaders being indebted through the money they received during elections to help them beat their opponents. It goes without saying that whoever feeds you controls you; this is a phenomenon that arises during elections.
Western countries have a propensity of nullifying election results even before they see them when they know a leader who is against their interests is poised to win. This happened in many countries across the world including Russia, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and other pro-people regimes that are rogue in the eyes of the west. It is evident that election results in developing countries are not designed for development and democracy within a state they take place in, but as a tool to legitimise plundering of a nation’s resources by those in the west.
To trace a string of interference in elections of sovereign developing nations by the developed western countries allow me to outline the incidents in the following countries, Gabon, Congo, Haiti, Chile, Venezuela, Cameroon, Guienie, and most recently Egypt. The central African state of Gabon gained its independence from colonial France in 1960 as a result of Fifth Republic Legislation in France. Gabon was at the heart of French oil company Elf (today’s TOTAL) after the Algerians nationalised oil and expelled Elf leaving France without immediate oil to fuel the economy.
This necessitated the metropolis to seek oil reserves to control elsewhere and the state of Gabon’s discovery of oil looked promising. The French then ensured Gabon would play a central role in energy policy to make up for the nationalised Algerian wealth. During the said elections France supported financially, logistically and militarily Leon Mba to win the Gabonese elections for their oil ambition to come to fruition. Mba won the elections and subsequent to that he handed all the mineral resources including oil, gas, zinc, tin and others to French government and companies while his people were swimming in a sea of chronic poverty.
The people of Gabon felt honoured that finally they could choose a leader and sang praises for Mba as they were fooled by the metropolis media such as La Monde. A few conscious and unopiumised sections of the Gabonese masses led by Aubame later revolted against the rigged elections, only to be crushed by the French military deployed from the metropolis. A leader chosen by France and validated by Gabonese was paraded as the choice of the people of Gabon, while on the backstage it was the opposite.
When Mba fell ill in the summer of 1967, the French repeated the very same strategy of choosing a leader for the Gabonese who would succeed Mba and secure their interests. The French told Mba, as their subject, to amend the constitution so that the elections could be averted in choosing who succeeds him to avoid a ‘disruptive transition’. The constitution was amended to allow the sitting president to choose his deputy who would succeed him without elections when he leaves office. Albert Omar Bongo was to be chosen by the French as the successor of Mba and the very same year Mba swiped his card and Bongo became president. The people of Gabon still believed it was normal and under the influence of propaganda never even raised their eyebrows.
Albert Omar Bongo was to rule Gabon till his death in 2009 and the people of Gabon were left without a leader after the death of the dictator who ensured France uses Gabon not only to plunder its resources, but to project power to destabilise regimes across the continent. They used Gabon to fuel conflicts in Nigeria, DRC, Congo, Benin, Guienie, Central African Republic and many others through the infamous Foccart networks. In 2009, after the funeral of Omar Bongo the French delegation publicly said they wish the Gabonese people could choose a leader of their choice and ‘as usual’ will not interfere in the elections of a sovereign nation. The delegation led by Nikolas Sarkozy affirmed that choosing a president of Gabon rested in the hands and minds of the Gabonese.
Shortly after the funeral election fever gripped the Gabonese masses and the people flocked to the polls to choose a leader ‘of their choice’. France right away endorsed Omar Bongo’s son, Ali Bongo and supported him financially, logistically and militarily to occupy the top seat which he did eventually. This time the long-time opponent of French interests Aubame won the elections by a 47 % while Ali Bongo obtained 37 % to the chagrin of France. France and La Monde announced to the ‘international community’ that Ali Bongo won the Gabonese elections, the election that was rigged by the French to install Ali Bongo so they could continue with their project of plundering the Gabonese resources and use Gabon as the launching pad for other colonial projects in Africa. Election rigging happens everywhere, it just differ on the degree of rigging. Even in the very so-called ‘model of democracy’ United States, they get rigged every five years and it does not make one wonder why they get rigged elsewhere as it is asymmetry.
This clearly means the people of Gabon never elected a leader of their choice since Stone Age, but in their minds they have voted three times choosing a leader of their choice. Only those operating backstage know there is nothing as free and fair elections, it’s a charade hiding the rot and injustices happening under the noses of the opiumised masses who believe they have powers to change leaders through ballots.
Turning my attention to Gabon’s northern neighbour Cameroon, the same phenomenon happened. The Cameroonian election of 1960 was hotly contested between Marxist Union of the People of Cameroon (UPC) and Ahmadou Ahidjo on the other side. In the said elections UPC was formed by Cameroonian nationals embracing Marxist economics wanting to nationalise the wealth of Cameroon for the benefit of Cameroonian poor, obviously at the chagrin of the colonial France. UPC was led by Felix Moumie, a doctor by profession and has been banned since colonial era by the French colonial administration.
Before the elections France ordered its ambassador to Gabon to make sure Ahmadou Ahidjo wins to safeguard colonial France’s interest in Cameroon which was at the time one of the largest oil producers in Africa. Colonial France through Gabon supported Ahidjo financially, logistically and materially to ensure he wins the elections as well and always by feeding the masses opium. The Cameroonians went to the polls fed with propaganda and threats from the ancien regime thinking they are going to vote a leader who would turn the country around and move it forward.
Immediately before the elections Felix Moumie travelled to Geneva, allegedly to buy weapons for his guards at the Soviet Union and met a man who claimed to be a journalist in Geneva. A few minutes after that short meeting in a restaurant Felix Moumie lied in a body bag, poisoned and killed by a SDECE agent disguised as a journalist sent with complicit orders from Paris and Yaoundé. SDECE was a French secret agency and Ahmadou Ahidjo and French Gabonese ambassador connived to kill the leader of UPC to deal a blow at their election campaign which was aimed at liberating Cameroon from French imperial yoke. Now the question is, did the people of Cameroon choose a leader of their choice or were controlled by gimmicks to validate what colonial France wanted?
It is clear Felix Moumie’s UPC was the favourite among many Cameroonians who were poor in need of inclusive economic development and social services, something that Ahidjo never delivered as he assumed the top seat to please those who put him in power. It is always saddening to see people celebrating the death of their democracy and statehood. The streets of Yaoundé were filled with praising and glorifying songs as Ahidjo became president and colonial France glorified him as the ‘servant’ of the people of Cameroon, knowing exactly that the Cameroonian people were stupid to celebrate the so-called liberation. It is well known that those who cannot think will be made to think by what those who think say or do.
In 1958 the West African state of Guienie proclaimed its independence from France, two years before many other French colonies in Africa. This was received with grief and anger in metropolis Paris as the French were still enjoying riding the donkey called Africa. The Guinean leader Sekou Toure drew a dream of a country free in all respects including economically. Guienie is one of the African countries that supplied colonial France with cocoa and other minerals obviously at very low prices. Sekou Toure’s declaration of independence was very thorny to the red-heads in Paris and they wanted a reversal of balance of power within the country.
France assigned all its African colonies a currency called CFA Franc, which was to be pegged to the French and Swiss Franc to allow currency subversion by France, which is still happening to this day. This currency allows French people to carry CFA Francs by flights to France to convert, by-passing African financial institutions thus avoiding tax and other rents. Guienie introduced a Guinean Franc which would be impossible for the colonial masters to carry it in bags to metropolis Paris, which angered the French authorities.
In a run-up to the country’s first elections France destabilised the country in a bid to dent Sekou Toure’s image and to pit his people against him. They resorted to counterfeiting Guinean Franc to destabilise the country’s currency. With their eyes on the elections, the French went further to train the opposition to Sekou Toure in a bid to have their candidate win through arms if he fails on the ballot. Still, had Sekou Toure lost and the opposition win, the masses would have thought they have used a ballot to elect a leader of their choice, which would not be the case as the choice of colonial France would be the one honoured.
This is the cruelty of elections as the opium of the masses in the developing world; it creates an illusion that the people chose leaders, when actually they do not.
In Congo-Brazzaville the very same thing happened in 1992 when the French installed yet another leader through the ballot. Since the 1970s the Republic of Congo was ruled by a ‘Marxist’ leader Denis Sassou Nguesso who was himself despite the ‘ideology’ France’s man. He ensured France controls the oil resources of Congo, despite the chronic poverty that gripped the country since colonial times. The wave of conferences that swept the African continent in a bid to bring multi-party democracy eventually hit Congo in the late 1980s.
The population of Congo demanded elections and Denis Sassou Nguesso confident that he would win the elections agreed to multi-party democracy. The French however had something in mind, the mineral wealth under their belts. They also knew Nguesso who was from an ethnic minority in the north would not win the elections, so they looked elsewhere. They had to look for a candidate who would win the elections and guarantee a status quo of mineral wealth plundering and poverty.
The French looked to Pascal Lissouba, their man who was working for Elf (TOTAL). They knew he was controllable and they had a plan for him. Coming from the Southern majority Pascal Lissouba was poised to win with abundant support and resources. France’s plan was to have Lissouba elected so they could bring back the government of Sassou Nguesso who since served the French imperial interests. Pascal Lissouba agreed to their proposal and contested the elections.
Through the media and food parcels, the poor masses of Congolese were made to vote Lissouba using their presumed ‘ballot power’. In the 1992 elections Pascal Lissouba won the elections by 61.2 % catapulting him to the top office. This was the choice of Elf and France, disguised as the choice of the Congolese. In the elections campaign the French bought Lissouba, among others, about 30 Land Rovers and gave him all he needed. They paid for his overseas trips and many others. They ordered the media to project his image as the saviour of the people who were desperate for development. Lissouba comfortably won the elections in that impoverished country where a million dollars make you king.
The problem arose when Lissouba wanted to run the legislative elections on his pat Malone, defying the agreement he had with the French. This would mean the French would no longer be able to return the members of Nguessos’s regime to power again. This angered the French and they resorted to creating a civil war in Congo so the election results could be nullified and their man, Sassou Nguesso could assume the presidency again.
They helped Dos Santos in Angola fight the UNITA rebels and restore order. They helped him militarily in exchange for him helping Sassou Nguesso depose a democratically elected leader of the Congo Pascal Lissouba.
This clearly shows elections are only good when the imperial powers are satisfied with who won them, whether it was through rigging or transparent means. With military support from France and its African colonies such as Gabon and Angola, Denis Sassou Nguesso was returned to power and oil pumps resumed pumping oil to metropolis France. The Congolese celebrated, as to what they were celebrating it is beyond questioning. They were celebrating what they thought was their creation; it is not surprising as they were under some influence of opium (elections).
In 1990 Haiti held elections to elect a leader as it is a norm in many countries. Another imperial power, the United States of America wanted to continue controlling Haiti as they did with their proxies of dictators across Latin and Central America and the Caribbean. The contestants in the said elections that were hotly contested were Jean-Bertrand Aristide and former World Bank employee Marc Bazin who was the candidate of the United States. The US did groundwork, they prepared and supported Marc Bazin and it looked like shoo-in.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide had popular support in the countryside and enjoyed extensive support from a grassroots movement called the lavalas (floods in Spanish). Since they do not care about what happens in the countryside, the US and their proxies in Port-au-Prince did not know and strongly believed Marc Bazin would win elections and bring Haiti under the influence of US multinationals again. To their surprise and chagrin, Marc Bazin got 14% of the vote while Aristide got 67%.
Something had to be done according to the hawks in Washington and they started arming the opposition, less than eight months after Jean-Bertrand Aristide assumed office in September 1991 a coup was announced that Aristide was removed from power by the opposition. To this day Haiti, the most (if not the only) impoverished nation in the western hemisphere still labours under instability and famine despite holding fair, credible, peaceful and free elections. This shows exactly that elections do not bring a utopia; in many cases they bring a curse.
Navigating to the southern tip of South America, Chile held elections in 1973 that would end that country’s dictatorship and usher in multiparty democracy. The empire (US) again interfered with the elections of a sovereign state. Salvador Allende won the elections and started organising the Chilean economy in a way that it could benefit the people of Chile. He nationalised Chile’s copper and other minerals. Chile was then the largest copper producer in the world competing with Zambia. A few months after the elections the US organised a coup and Salvador Allende was killed and a military junta took over under one of the generals Augusto Pinochet.
Among others the US recruited 100 best university students in Chile to study economics (neoliberalism) in the University Of Chicago. The aim was to infiltrate the Chilean mind and control the economy from within. These 100 students were later to be called the Chicago Boys and within 10 years they occupied all the top decision-making positions in the government privatising the Chilean copper, among many others. Chile to this day remains neoliberal and was rewarded with OECD membership.
Navigating north in the central Atlantic state of Venezuela, a country that was led by a string of dictators until Commander Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999. The coming to power of Hugo Chavez was problematic with Venezuela being among the top five oil producing countries in the world and the largest oil producer in the western hemisphere. The US needed Venezuelan oil to keep out of the Greater Middle East and Hugo Chavez nationalised the mineral resources of Venezuela including the oil and oil companies.
Before the said elections Venezuela experienced harsh socio-economic conditions caused by the conditions imposed on the Venezuelan economy by IMF and World Bank through the infamous structural adjustment programmes which Africans know well. Under the rule of Carlos Peres the western countries led by US were led to prey on Venezuelan wealth through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and ensured free markets for US goods as part of the agreements. In 1989 a popular revolt known as the Caracaso where many people were killed, Hugo Chavez became popular and was arrested in 1992 for an attempted coup only to be released two years later.
After his release he stood for the 1998 elections which he won against the interests of the western capitalists, particularly US and Spain which since colonial times has owned the subcontinent. Four years after Chavez’s popular win the empire (US) orchestrated a coup d’état in Caracas to install a military junta pliable so they could stop Chavez’s sterling work. The conscious masses of Venezuela which I term the most conscious nation on earth revolted against the junta and Chavez was reinstated. The Venezuelan people are most conscious, which is why they know an imperial proxy when they see one.
The subsequent elections in 2006 was to be hotly contested with US reverting back to unseating Chavez through the ballot, they then turned to the ballot again. They appointed one of the capitalists in Venezuela, Manuel Rosales who led the Venezuelan Business Forum. The very same man who signed the Pomona Deal that dissolved the democratically elected parliament during the 2002 coup engineered in Washington.
To show the ignorance and foolishness of the upper class of Venezuela, the man was becoming popular as the liberator and the guarantor of natural rights. It must be noted, the ignorance and foolishness that engulfed the Venezuelan upper and middle class was due to their exposure to imperialist media such as CNN, BCC, and many others that sought to brainwash the minds of those that can be used to prop up one pro-US president in Caracas.
This too failed as Hugo Chavez got over 68% of the votes in a free, fair, credible and peaceful poll that the capitalist media right after the results started spreading discontent and lies about credibility of the election results.
With their tails between their legs, Washington and some neoliberals in Venezuela looked to the subsequent elections to be held in 2011. Seeing Manuel Rosales’ failure and tarnished image by the dismal loss they looked for another candidate that could get them to the El Dorado. El Comandante Chavez was gaining vast popularity and they needed someone with monkey tricks to deliver them to the Caracas greener pastures. They went for Henrique Capriles Radonski, a lawyer by profession from Miranda state who was also from the same class of people as Rosales.
Unfortunately, Chavez’s health was starting to fail and the opposition gained a lot of courage and support from Washington. The great leader of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela passed away on his deathbed in Cuba and the vacuum was left for one to advance the Bolivarian Revolution. One thing should be bared in mind, the people of Venezuela are the most conscious in the whole Western Hemisphere and they demonstrate that in every election. An election date was announced by the deputy president Nickolas Maduro who stood for election against a well-supported opposition which he won despite his less popularity. This is out of the consciousness of the people of Venezuela who are not under the stupid influence as many others in other countries mentioned above are.
The so-called colour revolution in Ukraine in 2004 was also a matter of imperial powers meddling in a democratic process of a sovereign nation. In 2004 the Eastern European and former Soviet Union state of Ukraine held one of their elections in a bid to choose a leader that will chant a way forward for Europe’s second-largest country. Ukraine has been very strategic for both the West and Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union because of its close proximity with Russia and its large population.
The Americans and other NATO states still interested in playing a Cold War card have since been interested in taking Kiev away from Moscow in a bid to weaken Moscow militarily and to be able to project power in times of war from its door step. They sought to control the ministries in Kiev which Moscow was already enjoying vast influence both economically and politically. They also looked at Ukraine as the steel umbilical cord between Russian economy and that of major states of West Europe (EU) as Ukraine serves as the transient territory for Russian oil and gas on its way to the western markets. They thus knew cutting Russia off the Western Europeans would weaken it as they did with the former Soviet Union by causing it to overspend and finally crush.
They however knew that controlling Kiev through military means was impossible as Moscow would be rattled and none wants to taste the Topols armed with nuclear warheads. They then did as they are used to, which is propagandising and misleading of the opposition. Washington and Berlin led the rag tag and bobtail of NATO in interfering in the Ukrainian elections where they sent billions of Dollars to weaken the government of Viktor Yanikovich which was then supported by Moscow. This fortunately enough was countered by the Putinites in Kiev who stood firm and ensured that NATO’s wet dreams never come true.
That was the temporary collapse of the infamous Orange Revolution which was aimed at swaying the election results in Kiev in the evil quarter of the West’s favour.
It was killed but the head was not crushed as it surfaced again in 2013 only to come firing with all cylinders. The evil quarter recruited a rag tag and bobtail including the neo-Nazis and neo-fascists who later survived their quest of controlling Kiev. Unfortunately ordinary men and women in the streets of Kiev think that the transition from Yanikovich to Yatsenyuk was democratic and necessary. That is the danger of the intoxication of the public policy with western opium of bankers and dirty industrialists who have power at heart.
The role of public policy in elections
People seldom think what the political parties sell in their manifestos is truly what will be in the offing when they come to power or continue to rule. Only less than 20% of political parties across the world deliver on their manifestos and over 80% on the 20% are in the developed world. In a working democracy people are able to hold the ruling party accountable and vote it out of power if it failed to deliver what it promised in their manifesto.
In countries with high illiteracy this is not the case and most of voters in the Third World vote for some reasons other than building a working state. Since developing countries are former colonies of the imperial west, the liberation movements in these countries enjoy overwhelming support even when they do not deliver on their promises.
It must be acknowledged that elections are a brutal war of ideologies and minds between parties vying for control of a certain constituency, but oftentimes the masses and state institutions are targeted as voting cows.
This is seen when most of the liberation movements in power in the developing world resort to threatening the unconscious masses (that form a larger part of the population in developing world) of return to autocracy or colonialism if they are not voted in power. The role of public policy in this case is then relegated to second or third-hand. In the so-called working democracy people vote based on what the contending political parties are selling in their election manifestos.
Thomas Ferguson in his ‘Investment Theory of Politics’ speaks about the masters of mankind whom he says design public policy on behalf of the ruling elite, this happens both in developing and developed world. Big business has vast interest in elections as they are interested in stock markets and central banking. The decisions they make are highly affected by the election results, so to be on the safe side they control the outcome of election results to suit their interests, not those of the voters. They always fight for control of the most populous political party, then realise if they control such political parties through funding them they can dictate public policy. We have to acknowledge that election times are today like a batting season for big business.
Keeping the masses stupid and ignorant
In the past rulers of all kinds used to maintain order by brutal techniques, which in today’s world are impossible to use with the universal human rights declared. Machiavelli once said ‘create enemies and slay them to control your subjects’, this notion is what those ancient rulers practiced on physical terms. Today the rulers use more subtle ways of coercing the subjects (masses) into obeying set rules and way of life. It is quite apparent that the current civilian leadership that claims to be influenced by Rousseau have forgotten the role of a state in its originality. Obviously the elected government must serve as the custodian of the state and service the masses, not the enemies of the masses which are the capitalist exploiters.
The ancient states of Western Europe, cognisant of the people’s religious seriousness, have sought by all means to ally with the Roman Catholic Church which would then help them project power and control the people through the church. Since the French Revolution, the peoples of Western Europe have come to realise the church has no role in governance and should thus be kicked out of government for democracy to be attained. The church always ensured the landed aristocracy exploited the peasants by working the land for a pittance. In the feudal world, dogma is the most used tool to control the subjects. The church always ordered the people to obey the rules of government, if they are to enter the kingdom of God.
Governments across the world still practise this kind of coercion. Countries such as Saudi Arabia which are least democratic in the world enjoy an overwhelming support of the religious populace. It is well known that Saudi Arabia is among the most corrupt and religious countries in the world. Women in Saudi Arabia are subjected to harsh religious laws that stretch even to elections, they are disallowed from voting. This means females altogether have no say in who leads them.
The government in Riyadh has no business in trying to democratise as they have the most pliable and ignorant people in the world. The work of states in our era has shifted to developing the thinking of the masses in the rulers’ interest. In the place of birth of Mohammed, the poor enjoy the opium while those in power enjoy the wealth of the nation. This is also used in countries in Africa which keep citizens at ransom for what the ruling parties did for the people in the past. In neighbouring Iran as well, a system known as
Theocracy is used which means only religious clerics are allowed to lead the nation because of their religious background which has nothing to do with ability to lead. During every election in Tehran, the supreme leader endorses a religious cleric to run the elections which shuts other non-religious sect of the population out of democratic systems.
This is a non-brutal way of controlling one’s subjects without condemnation from Human Rights Watch which I never heard of a word from them denouncing Riyadh. In some African countries the leaders wait for four years to use the money that was supposed to have spent on bettering the lives of the masses throughout the term to buy votes by buying them food parcels. This kind of technique is also used in the Gulf States such as United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and mother Saudi Arabia which leads that bloc in undemocratic posture and principles.
My political knowledge tells me that parties that mostly win the elections are those who have popular support, which goes without saying. But as to how parties get popular support is another question which we must inquire into. Parties get popular support by truth or propaganda, but truth means that party should be delivering desired services to the people to be able to tell them it does. In the world my statistics tell me that over 99% of political parties are controlled by big business and thus design and implement policies that resonate well within the business quarters.
It goes without saying that public policy that serves big business does big disservice to the masses as we see across the world. It then leads us to that the majority of parties get popular support by propaganda and manufacturing of consent in the hearts and minds of the masses who are milked for votes while using the power allotted to the ruling elite to shape how the masses think. So in conclusion I believe parties that win elections are mostly those that are good in controlling the public mind by manufacturing consent, which shapes the outcome of elections. It is so bad how people like Madison shaped elections and their techniques continue to be used even to this day.
The most stable countries are those that their citizens are the most opiumised and have no business what is happening in the country either with governance or policy, which is why many political parties would focus their propaganda machine on the poor who are the major voting bloc in many Third World countries including South Africa. If you look across the world at the most liberal of the countries, which also have high poverty and socio-economic crises you find it is those countries that are politically stable as a result of the ruling elite’s propaganda machine. The likes of Gabon, Congo, Malawi, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, China, India, South Africa, Columbia, Ethiopia, Chile, Indonesia and a few others.
A non-Chinese fighting kung fu with a Chinese, expecting to win?
We first must accede to the fact that elections are a brutal war between the contestants being contesting political parties. But let’s check, are these warring parties throwing volleys at each other or at the masses? The truth is, whichever attack is mounted against a certain political party it is always via the masses. In Zimbabwe when the MDC wants to punish the ZANU-PF it asks Brussels and Washington to impose economic sanctions in a bid to disgruntle and impoverish as many voters as possible to turn them away from the ruling party, which happens everywhere in the world to show the brutality of elections on the masses. It is a sad reality which the man himself at the helm of MDC admitted to have done even as the Wikileaks cables corroborated.
These economic sanctions do nothing to change the minds of the ruling elite as it happened in Tehran, it is instead the ordinary voter on the street who feels the pinch of such economic devilish action. Elections that were supposed to offer the masses an opportunity to exercise their universal rights are instead turned against them, it is also shocking to realise other ordinary men and women still do not spot actions like these as directed against them.
We all know elections are a very huge and expensive gamble, which is why those who fund the gamblers find it difficult to admit the defeat and resort to other means of full spectrum dominance doctrine by using underhand dealings and acts. I have many times asked voters what is the purpose of voting, but I was never answered clearly or directly. But I personally think it is to either change or sustain the status quo. Now, how possible and easy is changing the status quo?
It is possible but highly difficult as political parties have different funders who have different budgets. In South Africa we have recently heard of a non-Chinese wanting to bet his bottom Rand to outplay a Chinese on kung fu. The Chinese also ensured the non-Chinese must pay him via the so ‘independent’ institutions before competing in kung fu, the money which would later be allotted among all contenders which the Chinese gets a lion’s share to fill his big tummy before the war. The non-Chinese complained through the so ‘independent courts’ but lost the battle, which was either politically judged or not.
But the non-Chinese did know he was likely to be defeated as the Chinese is well established and has all the resources and techniques to excel at kung fu which he always win games at. Ruling parties have all the state ministries under their control, they have the military, the police, the legislature, they control both the lower and upper houses in parliament so forget about Rousseau and Jefferson’s Separation of Powers’ as it is a wet dream that is relegated to academic discussions.
The ruling parties approach elections as Goliaths and we all know David defeated Goliath only once, unless there was the second edition of the Holy Book I am not aware of. People normally say it also happened in Santiago in 1973, then I say who is Pinochet and what did he do to David after three months. They also say it happened in Egypt when Morsi dethroned Mubarak and I ask what happened to Morsi a year later. The ruling party is also in control of the workers or volunteers of the ‘independent’ institutions and institutes that run and conduct elections. I do not know what they do but I know what Maurice Delaunay and Al Gore said, they said elections are rigged everywhere, it just depends on the extend of the rigging.
We know how heart-broken Al Gore was in California when that phenomenon happened when Bush the father came to power in the US. Money is a vital tool in elections; lack of this scarce resource is suicidal and gives power automatically to those with it in abundance which in most cases happen to be the ruling parties. Being used to the processes and systems the ruling parties have the capabilities of rigging and reversing of the election result when it does not favour them. We know what Uncle Bob did next-door.
Since elections should be observed, observers are not recruited in Mars to observe and validate elections on earth; instead they live among us or next to us as neighbours. Quid pro quo’s happen where ruling parties have a chance to buy the observers off and have the elections declared free and fair when in fact they were far from that. We need not be reminded of the western observers in Russia and Zimbabwe as well as AU observers in Zimbabwe and other African nations. Ruling parties also control international relations and states are human beings who seldom protect or defame each other according to the said country’s give and take settings.
When you catch me stealing sugar, I ask you not to report me in return for me allowing you to jab one spoon when you need to. You scratch my bag, I scratch yours. Then we live the masses believing as they are good in believing all is fine. Elections are among ways rulers use to manufacture consent because they know how controllable the masses are under a ‘democratically’ elected regime. One other brutality is that all parties are allowed to vote but big business gives big money to one party to beat the others. It is like a Chinese who enters the ring with deep knowledge of kung fu and a knife in his pocket in case the non-Chinese surprise him in the ring. But my believe is, soon the non-Chinese would realise their naive thinking and rally to have a universal game played instead of kung fu which gives these Chinese an upper hand, as to what will be that game…ask the Darwinites!