Looking at the Asian model

Post Reply
Pitit Ginen

Looking at the Asian model

Post by Pitit Ginen » Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:46 pm

I am back after a long pause that circumstances of life has imposed upon me. I am back with a few comments on one of Ezili' s exposés that was addressed to me.

Our sister wrote : "I, in fact, see some gray areas between your two extremes that "a government is (either) working with and in the interest of its people or it is sold to foreign interest in defending its own dirty interest." For, politics is about many interests vying for attention. There is, in fact, two ways, four ways, five or a thousand ways about it".

The political game may look like so to you sister Ezili but in reality it is not that way. This line of argument may distract us from what Marx has clearly identified as the forces of History. From Lumumba to Kwame, from Allende to Lavalas 1991, from Castro to Chavez, not to mention a few other examples in the Third World, and even in the Western World that inspired Marx's theory, there is
always a class (it might be different groups but with the same economic interests) that always stands in the way oh those populist leaders; a class that never feels bothered to suck up the blood of the rest of the society in order to accumulate wealth and keep a much higher standard of living. In the West, that class after dispossessing the Third World of its wealth by using unimaginable violence had accepted to make concession to the rest that was living in hell. I said "concession" because even the poor white had to fight for a better life. So, that many ways about the political struggle is nothing but a snare.
Let us consider some examples in our beloved Haiti that show the true dilemma of the struggle : if you want to achieve some serious land reform to prop up agriculture, the church (catholic and protestant alike) along with some landlords will stand up to challenge you; if you want to set up a universal school system that threatens the few private schools, some school owners won't hesitate to el
iminate you by any means necessary. In short, any change that goes in the sense of the people will be met with serious hostility by those whose interests are challenged. Our tragedy in Haiti has been that even though many groups have been fighting for power, they have ultimately defended the interests of the same class (the importers, the landlords and the <<intellectuals>>, the latter profoundly opportunistic and brainwashed) with no consideration for the mass at all.

Ezili paraphrased : "Politics, to put it bluntly, is about LIES. That is why it's called "politics." According to my dictionary, "Politics" is defined as "a competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government)" Merriam-Webster dictionary says further that "political activities" are characterized by "artful and often dishonest practices." That "politics" is "the total complex of relations between people living in society."

Well, politics is such a comp
lex game... It is true we always have different groups vying for power and leadership, but looking beyond that cloud, things look much simpler and more obvious : Because the Western World has deprived and looted the Third World, it can generate enough wealth to keep its people happy. In almost all the Western countries, the political struggle is restrained between a very few political parties. And the reality is that all those parties tend towards the same goal : they are working in the interest of big business and their people as a whole. In the Third World, on the other hand, the game is a little bit tougher but it is not that confusing. Because the elites there has been brainwashed and tend to consume stupidly more rather than produce and create wealth in the interest of the majority, we end up with a fragmented elite (the explosion of Lavalas into Convergence, OPL etc. is a case in point) vying to death for power which the elites consider as a position of prestige and a source of big revenues. Th
e West has simply to exploit that mindset to control the Third World and keeps it into hell and BS. And that is why I keep making a difference between Southern Asia and the rest of the Third World where it seems that the elites are simply comparable to house slaves ("house slaves" is not the term I had in my mind but I did not want to be too extremist in my writing).

Ezili asserted : "Grass-roots politicians fight tooth and nail for "their people." Then, when and if they get elected, the power structures constraints them, corrupts and then co-ops them. It's an observable cycle".

This is happening so often in the Third World that we come to some natural conclusion that politics is a simply a matter of politicians being used or corrupted. But, where national pride, and even a personal sense of pride, of accomplishment, and respect to be found in all that. If I understand it : only the politicians in the Eastern Asia region would understand the inestimable price of those values. If t
his is so, we must say that we are in the mud for a long haul.

Ezili believes : "there is no way an elected politician can legitimately represent ALL his/her constituency- the center, the ultra right or the ultra left cannot be represented all at the same time by the same politician. So lies or, to put it pragmatically, inflated claims, are the stuff of politics".

The real issue is not a matter of trying to reconcile two extremes "ultra right and ultra left". The fact of the matter is that our politicians have to create a system where the nationals can leave with dignity and have full priority in their country. The nationals should have full control of the resources in their country with the government making sure that the wealth generated is more or less distributed among the majority of the people. This is what I am seeing happening in some parts of the world (the Western world and the Southern Asia). This is what the true militants, black or latino, are fighting for. In the case of Haiti
, we need to have a profound understanding as to why for two long hundred years nothing significant has been accomplished. More importantly, we need to know if there is any hope that a new generation will achieve something. Finally, we need to evaluate the contribution of the actual generation to the making of that new generation.

Ezili wrote : "I assume you're talking about Southeast Asia (Taiwan, South Korea, Japan) and the economic development of the former Japanese colonies and you're not referring to Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines?"

You are quite right. That is the region I am referring to including the countries you have excluded. Actually, you have given me a whole course about geography, and by the same token you have forced me to consider the importance of that subject. I thank you for that. There are quite some subtle differences you underlined in you exposé about that region that I did not have any knowled
ge about.

Ezili further wrote : "I assume you're only talking about the former Japanese colonies, for they are the ones commonly referred to as the "Asian miracles." But I wouldn't ever wish their people's plight on the Haitian poor. I mean these are pretty authoritarian countries. I wouldn't wish their entire "model" on us."

I would be very ignorant to wish that the entire asian model could be applied to our country. That can never be expected and this is not realistic. What I have been stressing all along is the sense of responsibility and the independent mind of the leaders in that region. Mindset I would like to see evolved among the black leaders who, in general, behave like slaves in their approach with the Western world. Our difference on this matter is probably that : where you see authoritarian leaders, I see respectable and independent-minded leaders who don't swallow all craps that are coming out of the Western world; where you see authoritarian leaders, I see nationalist leade
rs who give priority to their people and the development of their countries. Even better, a model of development not copied on any so-called Western democracy.
In the May/June 2002 issue of the magazine Foreign Policy appeared an interview given by the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, to the editor of that magazine. Answering to a question that I resume as such : "Standards of economic globalization have been very good for Singapore but Singapore has not embraced the standards of political globalization like democracy, freedom of the press, and individual civil liberties". To that question, Lee responded : "That is mostly liberal rhetoric. If you read the New York Times or if you listen to Amnesty International or the American Civil Liberties Union, they will say that these political and economic standards have to go together for a particular nation to be in good standing. According to them, to prosper you have to follow certain standards, of which they are the arbiters. And even if y
ou don't prosper, that is the right way to do it". My impression is that I am listening to a leader who is not brainwashed, one who can stand on his feet. Every time a black leader holds such line of talking, we know it is nothing but stupid demagogy. It is unfortunate that many more generations will be long dead before, if ever, black leaders can stand like men.

Let me simply add that black people can go nowhere if they can't develop or think their own model of development, which includes their own school system, their own economy and so on. By the way, black people are the only race on earth that have no priority in their country. The only people...

There are other points in your exposé I want to comment on in another post.

Pitit Ginen.

Ezili Danto
Posts: 197
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 11:57 pm

In remembrance of Korean farmer, Kyung-Hae Mr. Lee

Post by Ezili Danto » Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:46 pm

Hello Pitit Ginen;

Thank you for your post.

I don't condone the forked tongue. I don't. So we agree on that. I wish Haitian politicians would get some character, be pro-Ayisyen and anti-etranje. I agree there is a class out there, a big business class, adding new members and co-opting the righteous, on a regular basis, whose interests are diametrically opposed to the interests of the common good. This big business, transnational class, is jeopardizing the very survival of humanity itself. This big business, transnational class, is jeopardizing the very survival of humanity itself. These corporate transnational entities have existed since before 1791. Since the time of Columbus's East Indian company. Only the forms have changed, not their greed, subterfuges, nor their profit-over-people motives.

Witness the current WTO meetings in Cancun and the havoc wrecked on poor indigenou
s farmers around the world because of the dumping of subsidized agricultural products and genetically altered seeds in poor developing countries. Witness the poor Korean farmer, Mr. Lee, who just committed suicide in protest of the WTO policies in how it destroyed his and his family's livelihood. I know you admire the Asian model, but South Korean farmers are being just as displaced, if not more so than Haitian farmers. Mr. Lee Kyung-Hae, had to plunged a knife into his heart to get his story out. To gain the world's attention. He had a thriving farm. Worked the harsh mountainous landscape to carve out a living for his family. Then, when Korea was flooded with foreign imports he was ruined. His family bankrupted. Where was the Korean authorities who where supposedly protecting Korea's domestic economy?

Much the same may happen, and have happened with Haitian farmers, with this Free Trade Zone in Haiti now. I agree with you this is more than deplorable. Aristide making such an agreement, on behalf of th
e Haitian, people, with no public debate, is criminally offensive. To not even allow the participation of those farmers directly displaced is reprehensible beyond words. Yet, politicians, like Aristide, talk of the common good while acting on the good of rich. That's what happens when grass roots politicians get elected and then are co-opted, willingly or unwillingly, into the Establishment themselves. The most vociferous and initially pro-people candidates, many become worst than the born-into-the-Establishment classes. Either way, their babbling won't stop. I don't believe we disagree on this. But, can politicians always represent all the people at the same time or, even the common good all the time? There are pragmatically reasons why that's literally impossible. Interests compete and needs are balanced with input from very competing interests. Hard decisions must be made. Adjustment incorporated. That was the point I made. Even a well-intentioned politician or person, may take an action which end up, in
the final analysis, destroying good intentions.

Aristide is not a good manager. He doesn't hire good managers. His very existence rattles the status quo because of what he stands for to them. Yet, in reality, what he says he stands for and what he does just don't overlap. Crony capitalism is gaining precedence daily in his administration. The US government probably knows this, but wants no opposition to him. So they maintain this charade of opposition to keep the good intention peoples, who don't want to be US pawns, from actually focussing on the dismal failures of the Aristide government. His failures always has a cause – US obstruction. I do understand this. Even though I still believe it's the Haitian people's right to decide when they have had enough of Aristide, not any one else. Certainly not the international community, or the US.

But frankly, as I've said numerous times I don't criticize the Aristide government because I was there when he returned hamstrung and enclosed in US-bull
et-proof Plexiglas. That had a profound affect on my imagination. Black men, powerless communicating with their families, behind prison walls. I used to give Aristide, the benefit of the doubt because of that imagery. Today, with the FTZ zone, I find that harder and harder to do. Though, I am yet undefeated in my confidence that Haiti's majority must stand for something I don't see. When the time comes, and I see things as clearly and without these shades of gray, with reference to Airside's "governance" (which is a non-governance in essence), I will say so directly.

But, in essence, over the years, I've become tired of the game and the subterfuges and counter-subterfuges. It's boring. That's why I concentrate in pushing forward Haitian culture and writing to inspire. That's my contribution to this mess. I believe in using what's mind to effectuate change. I don't intend to lose heart. I don't intend to transmit hopelessness. I do intend to empower and therefore liberate the Haitian mind. I believe
that's a worthwhile endeavor

There's not much I want to respond to, from your post, Pitit Ginen because I believe we want the same things even though we see it differently. I feel, right now, though, like talking not about politicians who betray their constituencies, but something more historic. Something I am interested in. I want to talk about something, which affects Haitian politicians as well as African politicians, in general. Yet, they don't seem to understand this or its long term consequences. I will explore this, in my next post, entitled "Kanga Mundele" later on.

But, right now this post is written not only to respond to you, but to lhonor someone deserving. More than deserving. Words are so inadequate to describe the courage of Mr. Kyung-Hae Lee. But, I only have these words and this desire today - I want Kyung Hae Lee's family to know – You are Haitian Mr. Lee! We Haitian peasants and struggling Haitian peoples shall not give in. Your sacrifice shall not be in vain.

******


With over 6000 campesinos - small farmers- from around the world, protesting the WTO's agricultural subsidies policies for EU and US corporate farmers, and, holding a separate shadow conference to the WTO's "negotiations" in Cancun, unexpectedly and in solidarity with the small farmers' cause, a group of WTO Ministers, from 22 developing countries, "the G-22 group", led by Brazil, China and India walked out of the Cancun meetings, ending the talks and taking a strong united stand against the WTO, EU and US corporate pillage.

See article at: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0917-08.htm
And at:

As noted in this last article: "On the first day of the conference the campesinos organized a march from downtown to the conference center, which was strategically situated 8 km away from the city on a road, which was barricaded with a twenty-foot fence.

"Included was a group of 200 South Korean farmers led by Mr. Kyung Hae Lee, President of th
e Korean Farmers Organization. Mr. Lee had dedicated his life to analyzing the effects of free trade and organizing farmers. Upon arriving at the barricade Mr. Lee climbed the wall and took his life as an act of solidarity with millions of small farmers who have been harmed by trade liberalization.

"Don't worry about me, just struggle your hardest," Mr. Lee shouted as he stabbed himself in the heart, taking his own life before the WTO could do it for him! (See also,
"The WTO kills farmers," Mr. Lee said just before he took his own life to underscored the desperate importance of what was at stake.

This single sacrifice let others to eventually close down the WTO talks inside the conference.

According to reports "Lee had been a farmer who received a rural-leadership award from the UN in 1988, a few years before South Korea opened its borders to the cheap Australian beef that bankrupted him and made him a more radical rural
leader and anti-globalization activist.
Earlier, Lee had said that as globalization opened his country's borders:

".... We Korean farmers realized that our destinies are no longer in our own hands. We cannot seem to do anything to stop the waves that have destroyed our communities where we have been settled for hundreds of years. To make myself brave, I have tried to find the real reason and the force behind those waves. And I reached the conclusion, here in front of the gates of the WTO. I am crying out my words to you, that have for so long boiled in my body.... My warning goes out to all citizens that human beings are in an endangered situation. That uncontrolled multinational corporations and a small number of big WTO Members are leading an undesirable globalization that is inhumane, environmentally degrading, farmer-killing, and undemocratic. It should be stopped immediately. Otherwise the false logic of neoliberalism will wipe out the diversity of global agriculture and be disastrous to all
human beings."

"The Cancun activists made Mr. Lee the presiding spirit of their demonstrations, chanting:
Todos somos Lee! We are all Lee!

"Lee, hermano, te has hecho Mexicano! Lee, our brother, you have made yourself Mexican.

This was deeply moving for me. So, I've decided, on behalf of the small farmers and Madam Saras in Haiti, especially those at displaced because of this new FTZ near the Dominican Border in Haiti, it's important for we Haitian people to say, emphatically: "Brother Lee, our brother, you have made yourself Haitian!" We join with small farmers worldwide in demanding "the globalization of hope rather than death." Our spirit joins in lifting your spirit, until WTO, EU and US corporate pillage stands down and let us live.

It's essential for we-Haitian peoples to join the hundreds of women, landless peasant women, Mexican women, Caribbean women, American, Korean, European, African women, who went forward, with bolt cutters, on the Saturday of the Cancun meeting
, to tear down the metal barriers and wire walls, dismantling bit by bit, the walls, separating, distancing the privileged few from those whose sweat, blood and death pay for their privileges.

Nothing is more important than for Haitians to join, in solidarity, will these woman, the Korean delegation and peoples of all nations, and races. We thank Brazil's Landless Peasant Movement for its leadership. We join hands to pull down these US, EU and WTO walls-of-death called "free trade" killing the Haitian farmer, the Korean farmer and campesinos and poor peoples worldwide.

As pointed out in this Commondreams "Victory at Cancun" article (http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0917-08.htm)

"At Cancun the weak nations stood up to the most powerful negotiators on earth and were not broken. The lesson they will bring home is that if this is possible, almost anything is. Suddenly the proposals for global justice that relied on solidarity for their implementation can spring to life. While
the WTO might have been buried, these nations may, if they use their collective power intelligently, still find a way of negotiating together. They might even disinter it as the democratic body it was always supposed to have been."

"The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had better watch their backs now. The UN Security Council will find its anomalous powers ever harder to sustain. Poor nations, if they stick together, can begin to exercise a collective threat to the rich. For this, they need leverage and, in the form of their debts, they possess it. Together they owe so much that, in effect, they own the world's financial systems. By threatening, collectively, to default, they can begin to wield the sort of power that only the rich have so far exercised, demanding concessions in return for withholding force."

Yes, the WTO/IMF/World Bank and USAID, all, may no longer take their rule for granted. Though both our Haitian, Korean and US governments have failed us. We have not failed
ourselves. The spirit of Kyung Hae Lee shall not die. We-Haitians thank the Korean farmers, especially Mr. Kyung Hae Lee, for their leadership . Like the Mexicans, we-Haitians peasants stand, in solidarity, with all the world's small farmers. We know that the US/Euro chattel slavery system Haitian warriors annihilated, in 1804, was transformed into the agricultural farm subsidies started after our forced-free labor, as African captives became no longer feasible for these corporate farmers and plantation owners.

Black peoples, across the world, understand well, even when the white peace activists refuse to name this horse by its true color, that the farm subsidies, as well as sharecropping, imprisonment, apartheid, segregation and now "free trade," all, herald from the same arrogance and mangled white morals of the EU and US corporate pillagers of old. Yesterday's struggles are the same as today for us.

The East Indian Company and it's ilk, has been transformed into the WTO, NAFTA, IMF, World
Bank, USAID with their secret trade accords. Our struggles with them are the same as in the days of old with the Monroe Doctrine, Dollar Diplomacy, the New York/Wall Street banks and those retarded, child-molesting French and Belgian pervert-priests dumped in Haiti and Africa, for centuries.

The Mexicans said at Cancun, You are Mexican Mr. Lee.

We Haitians say: You are Haitian Mr. Kyung Hae Lee. We-Haitians-peasants and peoples shall always remember you. Your sacrifice will not be in vain.

May our universal poor-peoples-solidarity tear down all their walls bit by bit. Rest in peace.


Ezili Danto

Post Reply