OPINION: EYEWITNESS – Playing politics…

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…with blinders on

As we can see, the field appears to be getting rather crowded in the political sweepstakes! “Appears”!! By the time nomination day rolls around, 80% of the newbies will fall by the wayside on account of their inability to garner even the minimum number of signatures (150) in six of our 10 regions to endorse them!!

But what’s troubling is that, while promising alternatives to the two big boys on the block, the newbies just insist that whatever the latter do, they can do better! Fight corruption better; create jobs better; be more gender-and-youth-sensitive, and so on, and so forth. But, from where your Eyewitness is standing, they’re missing the point. Did they ever think they may need to present a completely new paradigm from that wherein the PPP and PNC have been operating??

When Jagan appeared on the scene in the 1940s, there were all sorts of politicians already entrenched. But he looked around and realised that the new circumstance of universal franchise would shake up the old premises of politics, and he offered a new vision to incorporate the folks who’d been ignored up to then: the poor and the powerless, who now had something of value – their votes. What is the new vision of these new political wannabees to deal with the new political reality??

And what is that reality, you ask, dear reader?? Well, duh!! Just look at the news from across the world on your TV screens. See all those protests? They may have different local proximate causes, but they all boil down to the fact that the neo-liberal paradigm which had swept the globe from the 1980s has collapsed, and confusion and disorder now rein. As Gramsci noted apropos an earlier world crisis, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

The “new” will be born only when a new vision is articulated to deal with the specific challenges roiling so many countries. Look at the protests in Chile, where the neoliberal prescriptions of “liberalisation, privatisation and stabilisation” were first unleashed. They first produced the dictator Pinochet, who killed thousands before the Holy Grail of “growth” at any cost was achieved. But, as in the other countries where the medicine was tried, there WAS growth – but at a price – severe inequalities!

So while the middle class has increased, 1% of the population in Chile owns 25 percent of the wealth generated in the country!! And imagine, it’s even worse in the US!!

With oil coming, where’s the new vision to prevent that happening here?

…or hardball?

The PNC don’t mind taking candy from a baby, nor do they mind kicking folks who’re already on the ground. As your Eyewitness showed yesterday, they practise the hardball politics of Machiavelli! Imagine, with the full panoply of AFC execs — including two sitting ministers of the Government and one former minister — declaring that the negotiations between their party and the PNC had stalled over the PM candidate, the chief negotiator for the PNC — Volda Lawrence — flatly told them she didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.

Using Machiavelli’s advice to find plausible excuses for lying, Volda “only-PNC-friends” Lawrence explained that, constitutionally, Granger’s the President, and HE gets to choose his PM. Never mind the agreements. She reiterated Granger’s earlier statement: that he was “open to suggestions from all partners”!! So now a new list of six names will be suggested, and we know who Granger will choose, don’t we? The PNC person he always had in mind!!

Lawrence assured the AFC that, “We’ll come out stronger than ever”. “We”, of course, is the PNC!!

…with sugar

GuySuCo’s falling so far behind its projected target that there’s got to be more in the mortar than the pestle can pound. Unmet targets mean no Annual Production Incentive (API) payouts for sugar workers, and that means they’ll have a very bleak Christmas. Take that, PPP supporters!!