Defining modern dictatorship and its overthrow
@2 years ago
#blog post #dictatorship #neoliberalism #egypt #mubarak #revolution #politics
In the December of 2001, the severe macroeconomic financial crisis in Argentina eventually forced President Fernando de la Rúa, who was implementing severe IMF-directed cuts to public spending and taxes rises onto the majority Argentines, out of office. The civil unrest surrounding the presidential palace was so severe, it required the president to unceremoniously leave his post via helicopter, in frightened exile of the nation’s wrath, disgust and revolt. The cause of the crisis itself essentially lay in the ethically dubious priorities of Argentina’s prior governments. Prior President Carlos Menem granted large tax cuts to corporations who lobbied in his favour, creating a massive budget shortfall and inflation. Like the current IMF-demanded technocracies implementing austerity’s social devastation and stratification in Southern Europe, the de la Rúa administration acted on the unelected auspecies of IMF dictact to implement the neoliberal preservation of corporate monopoly. Argentines themselves rejected this directly, with intellectual resentment.
The Egyptian revolution of 2011 is mostly covered and discussed in the media with a one-dimensional lack of context. The basic perception is that Egyptians found the bravery to take to the streets against the Mubarak dictatorship, and it was eventually overthrown with the support of western powers. But the conditions involved are much more awkwardly condemning and nuanced than this. As Noam Chomsky documents: "Mubarak’s neoliberal programs since the early 80s have created wast wealth in small sectors and have engendered a huge corruption, severely harming a large majority of population. As inequality soared, all of this was, not surprisingly, accompanied by increasingly brutal repression of workers and others who sought elementary rights. But, virtually up to the moment of outburst of Arab spring, the World bank and IMF were issuing glowing reports on the remarkable achievement of such a system and Egypt’s economic and political managers.”
We can judge that the majority of those involved in the anti-government protest movements in Egypt were generally unideological in their motives. They were mainly reacting in sociological rage and desperation to the injustice and despair imposed upon them for decades by Hosni Mubarak’s neoliberalism, and its privatizations, social stratification and suppression of the rights of workers. It received approval and support from many western corporations, governments and arms companies for these reasons, support of which was only withdrawn when the position of the Mubarak regime became entirely untenable on an accountably political, but not moral level.
@3 years ago with 30 notes
#naomi wolf #politics #revolution #dictatorship
We are so used to seeing depictions of the most sensational aspects of totalitarian societies—the gulag, the death camps—that we don’t pay much attention to the fact that there is often an incremental process that led those societies to become places where such things could happen. The view that fascism looks from the start like a nationwide prison camp rather than a fairly normal society can be comforting when facing an argument like mine. It’s natural to wish that the two realities were so categorically different that, of course, “It couldn’t happen here.”
But as would-be dictators consolidate power, if they are training their sights on a democracy, things proceed fairly routinely in many areas in the earliest years. In the beginning, the horror, as W. H. Auden put it, is usually elsewhere, taking place while other people are going about their normal daily round. Peasants in Italy celebrated their harvest festivals in 1919 in Naples when Mussolini’s arditi were beating bloody the local communists in Milan. Journalist Joseph Roth, the star columnist for the Frankfurter Zeitung, filed glitzy reports on urban style and nightlife, on architecture and the avant-garde; he and his colleagues dwelt on the latest fashions and described the trendiest watering holes. As Roth rebutted rising anti-Semitism in print, Hitler was consolidating power around himself. Victor Klemperer, a Jewish professor of French literature who kept a diary throughout the rise and fall of the Third Reich, cared for his garden, did repairs on his car, chatted with his Nazi neighbors, went to the movies with his wife, even as he became increasingly aware of persecution, arrests, theft of property, and new discriminatory laws; even as he was certain of an inevitable catastrophe. That’s what people do.