Thursday, 30 November 2017

Something to remember

Something to remember when so much is at stake. If we want responses to this (economic) crisis that leave us with a world that is healthier, that is more just, that is more peaceful, we're gonna have to go out there and make them do it.
- Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Solution

Bertolt Brecht in an open missive to the Central Committee (East Germany) when the workers and students were crushed by Soviet tanks when celebrating Stalin's death and demanding democratic rights for all -

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers' Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the Government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the Government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
(Tariq Ali - Streetfighting Years)

(Picture: Brecht and Weigel on the roof of the Berliner Ensemble during the International Workers' Day demonstrations in 1954). (Wikipedia)


Friday, 31 August 2012

The Fall of Black States.

In his book, The Soccer War,
the Polish foreign correspondent, Ryszard Kapuscinski,
writes about "the same drama that every Third World
politician lives through if he is honest, if he is a patriot."
- the essence of the drama lies in the terrible material resistance that
each one encounters, on taking his first, second and third steps up to
the summit of power. Each one wants to do something good and
begins to do it and then sees after a month, after a year, after three years,
that it just isn't happening, that it is slipping away, that it is bogged down
in the sand. Everything is in the way: the centuries of backwardness,
the primitive economy, the illiteracy, the religious fanaticism, the
tribal blindness, the chronic hunger, the colonial past with its practice
of debasing and dulling the conquered, the blackmail by the imperialists,
the greed of the corrupt, the unemployment, the red ink.
Progress comes with great difficulty along such a road.
The politician begins to push too hard.
He looks for a way out through dictatorship.
The dictatorship then fathers an opposition.
The opposition organises a coup.
And the cycle begins anew.
But maybe this is too charitable. Maybe the main thing about power is that it's addictive.
(quoted by Alex Shoumatoff in his article The Fall of the Black States, Vanity Fair Nov. 1991.)