Sunday, March 19, 2006
The Elections in Belarus'
About the elections in Belarus', I have nothing original to add to what in general is already being said in the blogosphere, so here's a round up of sites covering the elections to check out: Neeka's Backlog, Taking Aim, Belarus Elections 2006, and then Publius Pundit (go to the bottom of this post to read my qualification for including a link to this particular site).
As for what I do have to say, well, I want to take on yet another fellow Leftist that I think can not distinguish a horse from a donkey. So first have a look at this short comment from this blog, which in general is full of various posts praising not just Lukashenka, but Milosevic and other supposedly *genuine* heroes of the Left as well. (Anyone remeber Dianna Johnstone's defense of Milosevic during the Kosovo crisis? Sure, the NATO bombing of Serbia was ridiculous, but so was defending Milosevic.)
So the writer of the blog, Neil Clark, supposes that because the West supports the opposition and the opposition has more or less repudiated the language of left-wing politics and uses pro-Western rhetoric, the Belarusyn opposition, like the Ukrainian-Georgian-Yugoslav oppositions that came before it, must be nothing more than a neocon tool made up of Western stooges that are trying to pull off yet another colored coup.
Also, since Lukashenka opposes the WTO, the World Bank and IMF, and NATO too, he is laubable as a sincere, anti-New World Order warrior who is supposedly a respectably-independent, anti-free trade, pro-soveriegnty and anti-globalization figure.
Never mind that in Belarus', just as in Ukraine, most sincerely-knowledgeable and pro-democracy groups and individuals, the counterculture, and even lots of everyday folks with lots of socialistic ideas of how the country should develop post-revolution, support the opposition. Also never mind that Lukashenka's anti-free trade stance is a regressive and not a progressice one (not at all progressive in such manner as are Chavez's or Morales' opposition to free trade). That is, never mind that his anti-globalization stance is merely a tool of his opposition to democratization, whereas opposition to these institutions of the New World Order in other parts of the globe are part and parcel of a strategy of breaking free of the neoliberal stranglehold on democracy. (That is, both Lukashenka and the WTO intend to limit democratic participation in the decision-making proceses that they control; Lukashenka wants control of all the decision-making within his country, while the WTO presently functions as an institution that limits democratic participation in decisions about the global economy.)
In short, never mind the fact that it is false to assume that just because one opposes the WTO, World Bank and IMF, one also supports democracy and/or the people. Never mind that Eastern Europe is not Latin America, and that Western power is not monolithic; or, to put it another way, never mind that Western power does not function the same everywhere. Which is to say, never mind that power games are different in different regions of the world.
One really must think in micro as much as macropolitical terms (to borrow Foucaldian or Deleuzoguattarian, or "poststructuralist," terms), and this guy's writing really demonstrates the truth of the Emersonian principle that, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. . ."
Also never mind that Lukashenka is deeply dependent on support from Russia. That is, never mind that he is a stooge of the ideology of a united Great Russian people and that his conflicts with Putin's Russia do not reveal any real independence from Moscow, but only a conflict based on the fact that Lukashenka envisions himself and not Putin as the Batko of that reunited East Slav-cum-Great Russian people (where Batko is a term that means"father," in the sense of a leader that is like a dad leading the social family body, and therefore which is perhaps even translatable as fuehrer). Never mind that he is anti-democratic to the chore and runs his country in many ways unchanged from Soviet times.
Also never mind that that quality of life in any society can not be measured in a simple, positivistic and economistic manner. That is, just because Belarusyns enjoy one of the most equitable distributions of wealth does not necessarily spell out that the majority of them are content and/or happy. That is, Mr. Clark made noise that Lukashenka should be defended because of the equitable distribution of wealth in Belarus, suggesting that if he were to fall to a popular rebellion, it would have to be because the masses were duped by Western machinations--not due to his authoritarian means or any other possible complaints about his rule.
In favor of Stalin, too, anyone? Stalin did a good job of equalizing things through authoritarian means.
This argument for Lukashenka is similar to the pro-Yanukovych one that argued that Ukraine's economy grew under him (which was a false argument, anyway; see this here). It is also similar to the argument which holds that the Soviet Union collapsed despite its achievement of universal this and that and a highly equitable distribution of wealth because the Soviet multitude had become unwitting stooges of the consumerist West. Forget the authoritarianism, murder, slaughter, etc. of either Yanukovych's style or of that of the USSR. I suppose Cuban dissidents are also tools of the West, and that Castro, the anti-gay and anti-dissent ruler is also great just because of the universal this and that Cuba has achieved. And on and on to more foolish consistencies (that are consistent only from a certain point of view). . .
In this point of view, people like Ukraine's Natalia Vitrenko also become praiseworthy and become truly populist, anti-neoliberals with love of the people in their hearts. Vitrenko, in reply to a question about her policy for economic improvement in the most impoverished regions of Western Ukraine put to her before the 2nd round of the 2004 elections, once replied, "Conscription, Army, Chechnya."
A progressive supporting Lukashenka is no different from an American progressive supporting Pat Buchanan because of the stances he takes against US imperialism.
Here are two links, one to a piece I wrote in and sent from day one of the OR in Ukraine, and one to a piece I wrote about Day 1 months later.
PS--about Publius Pundit: I rarely link to this site, as they mostly are stooges of the necon notion that democracy is spread through US weapons and bombs, and thus are fans of American unilateralism, militarism, and seem to agree with the theory of American exceptionalism. They also hold the ridiculous notion that Chavez and Morales are dictators and are the equal of Castro and Putin. Thus, though it is a site that swallows the Bush administration's propaganda (that it is engaged in a supposedly altruistic, pro-democracy crusade) hook, line and sinker, they do occassionally post pieces worth reading. . .