Tuesday, February 9, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

80 Climbing Mt. Citheron (XIII)

Tomislav Sunic, a Croatian political scientist, in a paper called “Liberalism and Democracy?  Carl Schmitt and Apolitical Democracy” writes that “…if one assumes that a new type of homogeneity can develop, e.g., homogeneity caused by technological progress, then one cannot dispute the functionality of a liberal democracy in which the homogenized citizen remains thoroughly apolitical: hypothetically speaking, political issues in the decades to come may no longer be ethnicity, religions, nation-states, economics, or even technology, but other issues that could ‘homogenize’ citizens. Whether democracy in the twenty-first century will be based on apolitical consensus, remains to be seen. Schmitt sincerely feared that the apoliticism of ‘global liberal democracy’ under the aegis of the United States could become a dangerous predicament for all, leading not to global peace but to global servitude.”

The above illustrates the thunder clouds approaching. Far in the background one may also hear thunder. Below is a scene of the way it is happening in Latvia with a sketch of the political background of it.

This past week several Latvian “political” parties made yet another step toward apolitical politics when the Citizens Party (PS) declared its readiness to form a coalition with the New Times Party (JL) and Party for Different Politics (SCP). Said coalition is to be called “Unity Party” http://www.uic.edu/orgs/unity/UnityMonthJPEG.jpg , and according to Girts Kristovskis, chairperson of the Citizens Party, it will oppose parties of the oligarchs and pro-Russian parties. The talk among the Unity Party members is to concentrate on “doma” (to think thoughts) of economics. (Source: DELFI.lv, 6.2.10.)
What is Unity Party? Let us start with the definition of “unity”, which at this link is best expressed as (6): “one of the principles by which a uniform tenor of story and propriety of representation are preserved; conformity in a composition to these; in oratory, discourse, etc., the due subordination and reference of every part to the development of the leading idea or the establishment of the main proposition.” In other words, the Unity Party (when officially announced) may present to the public a definite program.

We already know from the news that Unity will be anti pro-Russian and oligarchs. In other words, the political “enemy” is established; however, the economic program is yet at its muz muz stage. The lack of an economic program at this stage indicates that it will likely remain at the muz muz stage even after the founding, which means the Unity Party will remain as apolitical as the activity of muz-muzing usually is. To be any other way, Unity has to choose an authority figure that the rest may join as advisors, but who in all cases will respect the authority figure.
The Karlis Ulmanis regime (1934-1940) of Latvia was a regime that started its life (by way of a coup) on May 15, 1934, but soon became a “soft” dictatorship. K. Ulmanis  main support came from the Farmers Party (Zemnieku partija), the military circles, and, not least, from the inability of the radical and the “we-agree-to-disagree-in-almost-every-case” parties to be unified enough to move along the country’s economic development. In a sense, K. Ulmanis came to power as a result of an ad hoc Unity Party that soon became known as “Ulmanis regime”.

Ulmanis was the authority who spoke to Latvians and spoke on behalf of them. He was the guide in all future projects and, like it or not, he enabled many Latvians to become market savvy. The “market” in its modern guise was a concept that was new to Latvians, especially the bookkeeping part and the discipline to run a business successfully. He used his college education (agronomy and farming) at the University of Nebraska, to raise the level of education for Latvians, most of who were still of peasant stock. Ulmanis returned to Latvia from the U.S. (1913) with a broadened perspective, ready to help develop Latvia with—of course—other Latvians as his helpmates.
However, a year after his return from the U.S., WW1 broke out. The war devastated Europe economically. The new nation of Latvia, which Ulmanis helped found (1918), would need to act with an especial foresight to rebuilt its economy and educate its people. Ulmanis was ready for the task, but its execution, due to many political fractures, was to lag behind. On May 15, 1934, Karlis Ulmanis staged a coup and seized the reigns of the Latvian state.
My grandfather and father, the first the founder and both editors-in-chief of the newspaper "Jaunākās Ziņas"  (since 1911) at the time, saw the political picture with a neutral eye. They appeased social disagreement, such as existed, by printing jokes about the clumsiness of “vadonis” (leader), but never disapproved of him. Apparently, the judgment of the political and economic situation by the editorial staff and publisher, authoritarianism was acceptable for the benefits it brought to the majority of Latvians, and, not least, kept the newspaper from getting shut down as the authorities reminded the staff of such a possibility often enough. A certain antagonism that existed among the newspaper’s publisher, its editorial board, and the Ulmanis regime came from both competing for the populist vote. Ulmanis needed the populists because he needed majority support to stay in power (without going to military rule), while “Jaunākās Ziņas” desired to increase the number of its subscribers and had to keep peace—a tight balancing act sometimes—among newspaper’s editorial staff and a publisher of differing minds.
So, Karlis Ulmanis became an authoritarian leader. He took advantage of the anti-nazi mood in the country by supporting the out-migration of Baltic Germans (many believed to be nazi sympathizers) and appeasing those among the public that were unhappy by making them happy through an increased sense of public pride in being a Latvian. The latter were to be thought of in terms of ethnicity. If one was a citizen of Latvia, one was of Latvia’s first (or second, etc.) generation and thus one of its sovereign owners. Under K. Ulmanis, Latvia was a majority democracy with the majority facilitating its rule through an authoritarian president.

Unfortunately, on Latvia’s eastern border was communist Soviet Union with a definition of cosmopolitanism that identified cosmopolitanism with liberal consumerism. Having encouraged the departure of the Baltic Germans, Ulmanis set up the conditions that would enable the Baltic Germans to be replaced by the Baltic Slavs who arrived into the country with the Soviet times. Are the parties who today represent the Slavs to be the enemies of the Unity Party of Latvia? Does the Unity Party plan to encourage Latvia to continue to be an ethno zionationalist state?
Lest it be the same rhetorical bluff that has guided the ship of the Latvian state since 1991, who in the “Unity Party-to-be” is going to be “the authority”? Who and what is to be the sacrifice?

The climb up Mt. Cytheron has not yet begun, certainly not in the context of our times. As Oedipus of ancient times found out, his story stands for the way of all too human endeavors, and one has to take issue with such “naked” dirty politics that the Unity Party leads one to anticipate. An anti Baltic Slav campaign will lead to the plague that puts the future of all Latvia-born children in hawk.
Asterisk & Notes of Interest:
 On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” see George Orwell's "Animal Farm" .
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984")  
Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and http://esoschroniclnes.blogspot.com/  

No comments:

Post a Comment