Wednesday, January 16, 2008



Also, the shell - the façade - of a people power movement can be used by a national elite to seize power for international capital. Rather than use the term populist/people power to refer to ODM, it is appropriate to borrow a term from the International Republican Institute. The term the IRI uses is "consolidating democracy," referring to a technique it used in the Ukrainian Orange Revolution and in Haiti against Aristide. Consolidating democracy translates into bringing together civil organizations (religious, universities, local NGO's, women's organizations etc), and uniting various opposition factions into one large electoral force. The sole purpose of consolidating democracy is to remove the sitting government. There is no coherent underlying ideology in this goal - no interest in empowering the people, or returning economic and political institutions to them. Rather than develop real roots with the people so that when in power ODM becomes an extension of them, ODM has taken the easy route of consolidating democracy following the IRI model.

"Not all opposition parties are anti-imperialist or opposed to the move by global capital to consolidate the world."

We urgently need to distinguish between people power movements (such as those we have seen in Latin America), populist movements, and neo-liberal opposition movements that consolidate democratic institutions for global capitalism. People power movements are a fifth force usually in opposition to legislative, executive, judiciary and military influences. When they seize power through democratic means, they immediately attempt to transform the other four forces into revolutionary instruments. Laws nationalizing resources or redistributing land and resources are passed. The army is transformed from an instrument of intimidation into one that helps in times of disasters - in short a people power government places the people at the center of the state. When a movement that has been consolidating democracy gets into power it does the opposite, and the democratic structures become instruments of global capital and US Foreign policy. (Liberia, for example, after working with IRI is one of the few countries to open its national door to the US African Command Center). If missionaries paved the way for colonialism, evangelists of western democracy like IRI pave the way for US foreign policy.

No comments: