Tuesday, November 3, 2009

© Eso Antons Benjamins

51 A Floating Dead Fish (III)

On the 31st of October, the newly founded "novads" of Aloja, now a constituency of several former "pagasts", came together for a "Citizens Forum" and listed what in their opinion were some of the most important issues for the new jurisdiction. The photos are of the Citizens Forums event in Vilzehni. About fourteen people were in attendance. Those attending split into small work groups. After listing the issues they believed to be important, the participants viewed what issues had been listed by other work groups.  Foto's by Agnese Sietinsone.

(Continued from blog 50)

It would be a mistake to see populism as some kind of a political party. It is not a political party, because it is much more. Unfortunately, in Europe, where parliamentary rather than direct democracy is the norm, dismissal of populism as a notion of cranks is common. However, there are times when populism becomes the enemy of all political parties, and parties become irrelevant to the steps people are struggling to make to break loose from the embrace of status quo, such as is currently holding the reigns of power in Latvia. http://tiny.cc/2zeWw 

Populism is a genetically charged creature within a social body forever struggling for economic equality. This is because populism is rooted in human nature, while society other than the family is always an artificial construct and therefore virtual. Populism is of course also struggling for other things, too, but economic equality is the one desire all humans share in from the moment they seek their mother’s breast.

This is why food riots usually are the first signs of populism stirring. Van Gogh’s painting “The Potatoe Eaters” comes to mind. The second most common populist stirrings used to come from oppressed landless peasants. If in the first instance the cause of a peasant revolt was oppression by their local barons, the second most common cause is the distant city. The city dwellers directly or through the policies of government become “more-equal-than-others” over today’s farmers. With the unemployment rate of such cities as New York reaching 10% (with unofficial guesstimates reaching as high as 17%), one can see why food prices in cities matter a great deal. On the other hand, for how long will government keep to policies that encourage people to leave the countryside for the city? In an age where home computer may establish links with just about anyplace in the world, is not the city—as manifest by New York—outdated and kept afloat by government policies robbing the world of resources, the farmers of a living, and our civilization of a future?

A legitimate government is tied to its ability to persuade the people that such economic inequalities as have been accepted to make life more comfortable for larger-than-life communities are not for anyone’s personal benefit. The people are always interested to know if potentially parasitic elements are successfully checked before they become parasitic. However, when a parasitic element takes over the government—as it has in Latvia—the people lose their trust in government and feel that their sovereign being—which they have attached to their larger-than-life-community, Latvia—is threatened. It is then that the ground beneath the soles of everyone’s shoes goes soft and becomes slippery.

Given today’s political and economic situation in Latvia, the country has an opportunity to return to the most natural constituency—the smallest social unit—that nature provides humankind with, i.e., mother and child. Or is it the abandoned child? Can there be any other cause for Latvia’s precipitous fall (anyway you turn it) than an absence of moral intelligence in government? Moreover, what is the cause of this corruption? Is it partidocratic permissiveness (visatļautība) become a tradition? Is the partidocratic democracy of Latvia, controlled by business, taking advantage of being “more equal-than-others” by means of “holes” in the laws that allow the government to dumb down the country more than it already has?

By accepting an economic imbalance among members of the community (the nation if you will), with such differences as may arise (whether the result of administration expenses, programs that educate people up rather than down, and others), the community assures itself a future worthy of study and remembrance even after millennia. It is in the interests of a community that originates in the people to encourage and provide the people with an education that teaches how to sustain the community’s gains by exercising not-violent means. Not least, only a not-violent community can justify the trust intelligence has put in human behavior.

Today, many factors that govern the life of a more-than casually created community have broken down in Latvia. It is not uncommon for mothers in Latvia to abandon their children, sometimes fortunately only temporarily, while they seek a job in some other country. This is especially happens when children are born to a single mother when she is or was in her teens. A year or two after the birth of her children, the young woman finds the horizon receding from her dreamscape (usually made-by-advertising), and she becomes aware of a larger social landscape. It is then that the young woman may realize that in an urban society fortune can still be sought by means of sexual attraction. In one such case known to this writer, a young woman with three children has married a man in England, who is there from a Muslim nation. Of the three children that she left behind in Latvia, one is with his father, another child (father said to be unknown) has been adopted, while the third (father also unknown) is growing up at a state run orphanage. If by some lucky circumstance such families sometimes reconstitute themselves, the damage done to the children is incalculable. Indeed, such children become natural enemies of the state, at best indifferent to it. Were populism to recover its voice and influence, all these children could be joining those wishing to unseat the monopoly government serving the “more-equal-than-others” partidocratic democracy in power in Latvia.

The political situation in Latvia is in the danger zone. If there is little danger of violence [one does not see a social body of sufficient mass (remember that Latvia is in a demographic death spiral)], danger comes, nevertheless, to social instability, safety, and what increasingly looks like an irreversible collapse of the credibility of the post-Soviet “reconstituted” government of Latvia. The top five levels in the illustration that I provided by the top, re ttp://tiny.cc/2zeWw   are in the process of collapsing. If the reader will take a closer look at the picture, the “we eat for you” layer (5th down) layer is the first to go, thus taking all of those above it with it. The dead fish that W.C. Fields mentioned, re blog 49, still floats down river. Where are the fish that will swim upriver?

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you have read—you are encouraged to consider reading my blogs before and blogs hereafter. The following links reflect how I see matters a little more subjectively. http://tiny.cc/TEqkH ; http://tiny.cc/eanvb ; http://tiny.cc/CJMtG

If you copy this blog for your own files, or to be forwarded, or its content is otherwise mentioned, please credit the author and http://esoschronicles.blogspot.com/

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