Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Law and Order

Back to Hosni Mubarak’s election/censure-kinds?  Are Egyptian military ever to leave the political scene?

The story is that Egypt’s newest English-language weekly newspaper  “Egypt Independent”, published in the final two paragraphs of an opinion piece about Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who became de facto president after the demise of Hosni Mubarak in February, suggested the leader of the governing Military Council could go to prison…

The offending article was headlined:  “Is Tantawi reading the public pulse correctly?” and written by the American historian Dr Robert Springborg.  The article suggested that many in the military believed their reputation was being abused. It read: “The military institution could remove (Tantawi) to save itself… a group of discontented officers might decide that a “coup within the coup” was the best way to deal with Tantawi”. The piece went as far as mentioned a possible contender for the Field Marshal’s post. Naming “The present rumblings of discontent among junior officers demonstrate that Chief of Staff General Sami Anan’s greater popularity than the Field Marshal in the military and among Egyptians as a whole, and intensified pressure from the US could all result in the Field Marshal sharing President Mubarak’s fate… ”

Question: If you were de-facto President, and an American publish an article sending the strong signal that the US prefers General Sami Anan’s as a successor powerful leader in the military…What could be your reactions?  Would you 1) censure just the offending paragraphs in the article, 2) ordered to shelve an entire print run of 20,000 copies, or 3) let the article takes its way to distribution? 

For example, if you know that 60% of the Egyptians are illiterate, that those who can read English most probably will not read the article and might focus on the sport or news sections…, that most of the Egyptians in the countryside barely read any Arabic print, that most non-educated Egyptians prefer the oral transfer of stories (probably biased by the disseminaters…), would you care one way or another if a lousy 20,000 copies were distributed and no more than 2,000 will be sold? 

Whether General Tantawi censures offending paragraph or order to kill the daily issue, do you think the article will not be posted on social platforms, and that the curious and engaged citizen will be ticked to know more about what the article said?

Maybe the problem is not in the dissemination of the US message for replacing Tantawi with Anan, since the message can be sent in many ways to reaching the targeted audience, but it is essentially a stand by the current General Tantawi in power that says: “No to US interference in Egypt political complex problems…Egypt wants to be left alone to deciding what is best after sustained mass demonstrations…The Egyptian are far more aware and more concerned about their political and social problems than what any stupid US Administration could ever know or comprehend…”  That sort of implicit counter-signals.

Actually, General Anan is the US Man in Egypt: He was following a special program in the US when the revolution broke out. Anan was dispatched to Egypt, hurriedly by the US, when things deteriorated against its interest in order to take control of the next phase.

The Editorial staff had cleared the article for printing last Wednesday. As the presses were rolling, the paper received a phone call from Magdi el-Galad, editor of “Al-Masry Al-Youm” (Egypt Today), the Arabic-language sister publication of the Egypt Independent.  Magdi has overall editorial control of both publications, and he ordered the staff to desist from distributing the paper.

“Nobody’s happy about this,” said one source with detailed knowledge of what transpired. “They feel that to be censored politically is not acceptable.”

Employees at the Egypt Independent were told the latest edition could not be distributed.  It is another blow for those who have raised concerns about the direction of Egypt’s revolution, with critics alleging that the country’s top brass appear intent on undermining the popular uprising to preserve their decades-old networks of power.

One source close to Mr el-Galad said he had developed close ties to the military and security services over the years. The “Egypt Independent” approached El-Galad for a response, but he declined to comment. “Nobody’s happy about this,” said one source with detailed knowledge of what transpired. “The (employees) feel that to be censored politically is not acceptable.”

The intervention by Mr el-Galad, which left the publication in crisis after only its second week of circulation, is especially significant as he was recently offered the post of Information Minister in Egypt’s new cabinet. Mr el-Galad refused, citing work commitments, but his attempt to muzzle mention of army discord raises questions. The censorship row came as official results from the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections showed that Islamist parties had captured nearly two-third of the votes with “The Muslim Brotherhood” taking the lead and the Wahhabi (Saudi Arabia brand) ultra-conservative salafist Muslim party capturing nearly 25%.

The Muslim Brotherhood took 36.6 per cent of the 9.7 million votes cast, but it was the success of the ultra-conservative Al-Nour Party that startled many Egyptians. Candidates for the party, which draws support from hardline Salafi Muslims and advocates strict curbs on art and personal freedoms, polled nearly 25 per cent.

The election process is very complicated.  Do you think a complicated election process favors the common Egyptians, with 60% of illiteracy rate?  Whom do you think a complicated election law ultimately is biased to?  Maybe those political parties receiving financial and organizational support from foreign powers, and the military that captures one-third of the Egyptian economy and cash in over $One billion  a year from the US?

Is ordering a paper to stop distributing its issue the main blow for those who have raised concerns about the direction of Egypt’s revolution, with critics alleging that the country’s top brass appear intent on undermining the popular uprising to preserve their decades-old networks of power?

Or is it the complicated election law that prohibited the common Egyptian from expressing his real wishes and hopes?

Do you think it was General Tantawi who ordered not to distribute the issue of the paper, or it was General Anan working behind the scene to dislodge his superior, by disseminating the image of an impotent Tantawi to taking control of “Law and Order”?

Woodstock turned out to be the free musical event of the century and gathered a million of youth and young parents with their kids for three days:  It was organized in a nation of plenty and economic growth.  The US was training astronauts to land on the moon and the war in Vietnam was harvesting 200 US soldiers every day.  The youth in France, and particularly in Paris, took to the streets and occupied schools, universities, manufactures for a whole week.  France was in a State of plenty; and “Law and Order” was firmly established.  It is that transparency of the power system in both countries was lacking.

Youth and the newer generations were worried of carrying on their life as their parents did:  It seemed pretty boring and pointless to working for just acquiring consumers goods.  Youth needed an alternative for their future and a way out of what to do of these internal conditions of plenty and security.  In both events, youth motto was: “Love is everything.  We need to be free to love and be loved.  Yes for peace and no for war”  In a sense, to youth, morality and law and order were no longer necessary.  They want to be liberated of  the shackles of the moral “value set” that society was chaining them in; that’s how they perceived the political and social situation then, and their feeling was on target:  Change and reforms were not being felt as technology was.

Men, lawyers and investors, organized Woodstock; but it was the women who ran the show and kept the peace; marijuana and a few other drugs helped. It was not supposed to rain in that summer event but it poured; people enjoyed sliding in the muddy inclines.  Many soldiers returning from the front in bad mental and physical conditions joined the party:  They were in states of shock and diminished as individuals. The mood at war was different from the mood of fraternity, compassion, respect for the other during the musical event:  They experienced extremes in mood swings.

People who purchased tickets, before the event turned free, could gather in front of the large stage.  Most attending visitors parked on the hills surrounding the show:  They saw little ants singing and bouncing on the stage but they had their own music in the caravans and vans and tents. They had their own supply of drugs and favorite music.  They could feel at peace alone even among million.  Masses were no longer of any threat; they could deal with their own internal demons in a gathering of like-minded association.

I lack statistics on the casualties during Woodstock such as injuries, sicknesses…but it is amazing that the event went on for three days in relative peace and very few official policing.  Most of the youth had no plans of action for their future; they had not the slightest idea where the next location will be or how their life will unfold.  Many converged to San Francisco, particularly to Ashbury Heights.  The young women had a better grasp of how their individual social stand could transform and empower family and community.  Transparency of the democratic system and reforms were very much in the mind of the newer generation but the detailed programs and future activities were not planned.  It was the real step forward in mankind history instead of the so-called “giant step” of Armstrong on the moon.

In the revolt of May 68, women were the most vocal and most active in the organization and demonstrations:  They were revolting for serious freedom to womanhood in the customs and traditions of society.  Laws were to be more specific on gender equality in duties, rights, and responsibilities and opportunities in the work place and be effectively applied.

At that age of seemingly confused plan of actions, many claimed that joining for music sake and this impulse of being there in the gathering of crowds was a show of unity of youth spirit around the world.  Youth refuses to missing a togetherness event.  It is this power of gathering that worried the power-to-be:  The various interpretations of the meaning of these demonstrations were beside the point.

It was a big party with deep lucidity:  banners read “Run, comrade, run.  The old world is chasing after you.”  Youth was taking a reprieve by running joyously, a week of total freedom, running as fast as he could, knowing that the old world will invariably catch up with him.   Karl Marx said:  “When history repeats its cycles, the next time around is a farce.”  Spring of 68 was a sympathetic and spontaneous farce; it was an innovating and creative revolt with no arms.

It was a spring of movable fair, an all free-invited party.  It was a movable feast for sharing ideas and desires for justice, peace, liberty, and pleasure. There were plenty of generosity and compassion:  Youth was feeling bored of the old world system of unjust order, capitalism, petrified ideologies and dogmas.  It was a humongous fair where affluent lifestyle in the western States of plenty hide the miseries of the lowest classes living in shantytowns; it was in a period for the third world struggling to emerge from the slavery stage of colonialism.  Spring fairs in the western world spread to most nations where the partying lasted and lasted.

The virus of the movable feast reached countries with old systems destroyed by the colonial powers:  The newer power systems were unstable and mostly haphazard to come chasing after mass movable fairs.  Spring of 68 crossed to Lebanon and lasted 5 years and emerged on a civil war that lasted 13 years and produced 300 thousand casualties (10% of the population!)

You don’ t need to have a unified purpose to getting together; just youth assembling.  Large assembling of wolves is good enough a show of force to giving the best impulse to political parties for figuring out the major problems in the political structure ideology.   The awareness of the problems, after the show of “peaceful force”, can make a difference even if the demonstration was not united behind a clear banner of intent for specific reforms.  Invariably, a few reforms are imposed.  Getting on the streets beats sitting in isolation, eating our hearts out in bitterness and confusion.

The next phase of modernity began after this successful big party.  Moral values were reviewed and adapted to new realities because ancient fears changed qualitatively:  Laws of pure obedience were submitted to a new reflecting generation.  Ethics of giving more weight to values than laws was supposed to be the normal extension to morality. The foundations were erected for the remaining of this most violent century.

Can Capitalism be reformed? Part 1 of 4

Capitalism is based on four  foundations:

1. Private property of means of production;

2. free exchange (products, services…);

3. open free market for commerce;

4. and availability of a vast pool of people willing to work for salary.

The main driving force is that the owner of the means of production (the bank, the partners, the shareholder, or the family)  should earn as much as the total salary that all workers receive.

Consequently, an employee is hired when the owner can generate profit, at least as equal to the total salary of the hired worker. Actually, members of the Board of Directors, owners of majority of share, and the highest in the hierarchy get first cut on 20% of the total revenue, and not on the gross profit basis as employees, workers…have to negotiate on.

The foundations of capitalism have proven not to function except within strong State institutions, which are almost totally controlled by the capitalist classes.

The judicial system obeys laws decreed by parliaments that are dominated by the richest classes, and the executive is intrinsically dominated by the aristocratic class.

This whole political system is called “capitalist democracy“, where people have the illusion of electing their representatives for a duration.  After election, people are to behave as spectators:  Any serious disturbances are crushed in the name of Law and Order.

Communism tried to abolish the first foundation by claiming that all means of production belong to the State (community property of means of production was a smoke screen and never taken seriously).  Communism also abolished the notion of internal market free exchange by the communes and State institutions:  the central plan or economic program for five years must be met at any cost to pain, suffering, and famine of the population.

Communism went even a step further by eliminating the right of citizens to quit the factory assigned to, move, and relocate to other places in the nation.  Basically, communism drastic economic ideology ended up destroying the foundations of capitalism until it was too late to changing people’s inclination to relying completely on State planning and resource distribution.

In this century, Western European States learned to reform capitalism by involving the government in instituting equitable wealth disparity (tax increase on the rich), encouraging barons of industries to negotiating seriously with syndicates, regulating the liberty of patrons in firing employees, and supporting unemployed until they find a substitute job.  These European economic capitalist systems are labelled “socio-democratic capitalism“.

China has reformed its communist economy one step at a time.  First, it allotted lands to family peasants to exchange the produce with the community; it worked and frequent famine occurrences receded.  Then, communist China allowing private ownership of means of production (and the subsequent financial facility supports) and then encouraging limited internal free exchange and commerce.  Workers are still not free to choosing where to work and to moving to other cities:  Movement of people are regulated.

Rural China is paying the heavy tax in hunger and suffering from the diversion of water and electrical power to the cities and industries and the building of giant projects that pollute and contaminate water resources.

The one foundation that all developed economic systems share is free global trade, which means the liberty to exploiting the developing countries in natural resources and cheap labor.  The developed States are allowed to subsidize their agriculture but the developing nations are not to do it and they cannot even if they witness the need to do it .  The developed States are to flood the markets of developing countries with affordable products with no “legal rights” for the developing nations to increasing import taxes in order to safeguarding their own means of productions.

The developed States can find financial resources at low-interest rates but not the developing nations.  In return for blatant exploitation, the developed States agree “voluntarily” to setting aside a small fraction of their GNP to developing the infrastructures in the poorer States; mainly, self-serving their interests to improving and facilitating exploitation efficiently.

Worst, all “international” institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Commerce Trades are dominated by the US and a few European States; thus, transparency and access to timely information and intelligence data are denied the developing nations, or leaked slowly after persistent demand from conscious States.

Fact is, financial institutions (banks, insurance companies…) are the real owner of means of production in capitalist systems.  They own 30% of the total wealth of a nation and represent only 1% of the population.

This is NOT acceptable.  Fact is, financial institutions generate three times more money than the combined tax collected by the government.

This is NOT acceptable.  Any reforms should first target the level of profit that financial institutions are permitted to generate.  “Effective” interest rates should be lowered accordingly and tougher regulations imposed of these behemoths.  Community banks with excellent transparency in decision process and lending policies should be the norm.  The current status of financial institutions is generating abnormal profit with no risks whatsoever.

If capitalism needs salaried people it must secure the fundamental right to work, a wide range of jobs that satisfy varied opportunity, access to affordable education, safe workplace, universal health coverage, caring for the elderly, and justice for people who worked most of their life for a comfortable retreat.  Has capitalism satisfied the basic needs of its workforce?

States should start taxing according to the number of employees hired and to net revenue:  These two criteria are the most objective representatives of net profit and are easy to investigate and account for.

This gimmick of taxing on “net profit” is an accounting fraud that is not objective or fair.  Companies relocating for cheaper workers must be taxed according to the original “national wages” of the workers.  Companies substituting workers for robots should be taxed according to the number of workers substituted.  States will then be able to subsidize unemployed people until they find jobs and be imaginative enough to opening up newer job opportunities.

There is a trend for owners with strong ethics and moral to including employees as shareholders and participating in management decisions:  These companies are doing very well and not suffering from financial crashes.  Institutions and companies for profit are amoral and do not deal in ethical conducts.

Ethics and morality are individual characteristics:  the more such individuals gather in groups to reclaiming fairness and justice in actions the more institutions will be reminded of what is best for society.

The crux for any serious changes in capitalist system is revamping the election laws and processes that will extend much better odds for middle and lower classes to being elected into representative chambers.  (To be continued)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2020
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