Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘neo-liberalism

“Egyptians held back by neo-liberalism, not religion”: Isn’t what I said?

President Morsi claims the opposition is an anti-Islamist elite. 

President Morsi is in fact trying to protect the interests of an entrenched elite at the expense of everyone else.

And Morsi is losing support because of his economic policies

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters have tried to frame the current crisis in religious terms, casting opposition to their speedily drafted constitution as the petulance of an anti-Islamist, liberal elite. Media analysis has often replicated this theme:

1. In one corner stands Brotherhood-propelled President Mohamed Morsi who has the supposed blessings of a religious population.

2. And in the other corner, the “secular” opposition, banging on about small details of a constitution that isn’t that bad. (It is very bad, bad, bad…https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/amnesty-international-egypts-constitution-limits-fundamental-freedoms-and-ignores-the-rights-of-women/)

Such wrongheaded analysis prompted Egypt expert Dr HA Hellyer from the Brookings Institution to politely request that western media “knock it off“.

 published in The Guardian, on Dec. 21, 2012 under: “Egyptians are being held back by neoliberalism, not religion…”

“The result of Egypt’s first referendum on the constitution (a second referendum takes place this Saturday, in districts that have yet to vote) has exposed some of the real sticking points.

The referendum had to be split into two stages because so few Egyptian judges agreed to supervise it. And for all its legendary mobilizing powers of the votes cast, the Brotherhood wasn’t able to get more than 57% for its constitution.

Not long ago, the Brotherhood could rely on voter support reaching over 70%. And less than a third of the electorate turned out – though that might be because of the long queues and the difficulty in voting. In an atmosphere of mistrust and mismanagement, allegations of vote-rigging are rife.

Mohamed Morsi

Photograph: Mohammed Hossam/AFP/Getty Images

But if Egyptians are, as results indicate, losing faith in the Brotherhood, it isn’t because the organisation is Islamist, but because it has so far been rubbish at ruling. Many believe the Brotherhood has kept its promises to power, but not to the people.

Crucially, President Morsi’s economic policy has deepened the neo-liberalism that brought so much misery during the Mubarak era and was a key component of the uprising against him.

This economic stamp is all over Morsi’s policies, both before and as a part of the proposed constitution – which was completed in a one-day marathon, by an Islamist-dominated assembly: The Christian, liberal and female members walked out from the assembly.

In early December Morsi announced an end to fuel subsidies – so household bills for gas cylinders and electricity, for example, are set to spike.

Meanwhile, an IMF loan of $4.8bn currently being negotiated is conditioned on what has been described as the biggest wave of austerity cuts since 1977 – when subsidies on staple foods were removed in one crippling hit, prompting the “bread riots“.

Today the plan is to reduce public spending, cut subsidies, increase tax on basic goods, and devalue the Egyptian pound. This package was delayed because of the current turmoil. But why should Egyptians swallow such a Shock Doctrine-style deal, when one of the key tenets of the revolution was a call for social justice?

Meanwhile, the proposed constitution reveals more of the Brotherhood’s conservative economics.

It has a clause that pegs wages to productivity. (In the public sectors?)

It stipulates that only “peaceful” strikes are allowed. (Whatever that means)

It keeps military interests intact and invisible to public scrutiny – in a country where the army is thought to own anything from 10% to 45% of the national economy (nobody knows for sure because it’s all so secret).

It is all more evident that Morsi is not, as he claims, trying to “protect the revolution”, but wants to protect the interests of an entrenched elite at the expense of everyone else.

Indeed, this year a Bloomberg report referred to the wealthy, controlling echelons of this Islamist group as the “Brothers of the 1%“.

Small wonder that the factory-dense city of Mahalla declared itself an independent state, in protest at Morsi’s anti-union laws. Since Morsi came to power there has been a wave of strikes; not just factory stoppages but also health worker strikes and consumer protests at eroding public services.

And Egypt’s rapidly growing independent unions have been mobilising nationally against the constitution, using its trampling of social justices as the hook.

All these concerns have come on top of the constitution-driven attempts to erode personal freedoms, especially for women and minorities, and give religious clerics the final say over legal rulings – all through a process that disdains plurality and vital consensus-building.

These economic blunders, rather than any knee-jerk hostility to Islamists in power, is what prompted such large and widespread protest across Egypt. But while his economic policy makes Morsi unpopular on the streets, it is precisely what makes him acceptable to the west: power-serving economics coupled with a foreign policy that doesn’t rock any regional boats, crucially with Israel.

Using standard paternalistic filters, the US is banking on the idea that the Brotherhood’s religious credibility will underwrite its reactionary politics, thereby maintaining the status quo. In this sense, the American administration doesn’t really care if it’s a Mubarak or a Morsi in power, as long as these interests are preserved.

It is true, of course, that the Brotherhood still won majority support in the first referendum – although that might be as much about public desire to put an end to this constitutional crisis.

But the drop in support for the Islamist group shows that Egyptians won’t be fobbed off any more – and therein lies the power of the revolution. Post-uprising polls reveal that Egyptians are more concerned with work, housing, health, security and public services than with the pantomime identity politics of Muslim Brotherhood versus the liberals.

The results of the referendum show that the opposition, as it grows more focused and more organised, might be able turn popular concern for these issues into real political mobilisation, which could gain momentum in the parliamentary elections slated for early next year.

Then the Brotherhood might find out that with such disregard for the Egyptian people, its credibility, garnered during those hard, repressive years in opposition, can easily be squandered.” end of article

Latest news:

1. The vice president resigned on the eve of the second phase of the referendum, on the ground that his culture as a judge does not match the needed “political skills”

2. The opposition is keeping a black list on judges who resume monitoring the referendum

Note:  Arab renaissance is not linked to interpretation of any religious book…https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/no-connection-with-interpeting-holy-booksarab-renaissance-demands-frequent-mass-meetings-in-tahrir-squares/

“Development programs in Africa are planned poverty”; (Jan. 21, 2010)

This article introduces five young African authors and activists: Aminata Dramante Traore, George Ayittey, Celestin Monga, Marc Ona Essangui, and Rasna Warah.

            “Africa is not poor; Africa is being impoverished” wrote Aminata Dramante Traore.  Born in 1947, Aminata was minister of culture of the Republic of Mali (1997-2000); she is a pan African militant, author, and entrepreneur; she owns the restaurant-gallery Le San-Toro and the hotel Le Djenne in the Capital Bamako.  In 2008, Aminata published “Humiliated Africa” denouncing France policies that support dictatorial regimes to maintain its multinational exploitation of the continent: colonial powers still sustain the same contemptuous and contemptible discourse of the same colonial mentality.

In 1999, Aminata published “The vice (L’etau)”; she details the intellectual swindle and institutional mechanism of the Western powers (such as the neo-liberalism that structures the International Monetary Fund) that produce disastrous effects.  Under the cover of “liberty”, neo-liberalism is annihilating Africa competitiveness to the benefit of developed State funded subsidies of agricultural industries. Aminata is militating for the cancellation of fraudulent international debts and for Africa to set up selective protectionist programs that the developed nations applied for centuries.

In “The rape of the imaginary” Aminata denounces cultural oppression of the North to the South: Africa has just got to dig into its intellectual and social vision in order to draw and design proper sustainable economic development. Practically, Aminata works with local associations, peasants, and artisans.

            “Africa is poor: Africa is not free” stated the Ghana born professor of economics George Ayittey: He teaches at Washington University.  Ayittey published in 2005 “Africa in chains: project for development” that promote the ideas of improving infrastructures and the renegotiation of external debts.  George is more concerned with contradictory political actions performed by international aids since development cannot be “imposed from the outside”.

George focuses on absence of ethical conducts and lack of sense for general interests among the African politicians: many State governments are vampires.  In Africa, the richest individuals are politicians or ex-politicians.  The politicians are like “hippopotamuses (lazy, slow, and wicked) that ruined post colonial Africa”.

(As usual, authors keep hopes on newer generations “the cheetah” but this hope we have heard it many times in every generation). Ayittey created the “Foundation for free Africa” with headquarters in Washington and uses his connections among universities and the international institutions to defend his propositions.

            “Africa suffers of 4 fundamental deficits: confidence, knowledge, leadership, and communication” stated Celestin Monga.  Born in 1960 in Cameroon, he was imprisoned for 6 months by President Paul Biya for sending an open letter in 1991; Monga was released due to mass demonstrations and mobilizations.  Monga settled in the USA in 1992 and works at the World Bank in order “to design concrete projects” such as establishing a private university in Cameroon. 

Celestin said: “Educational systems in Africa are prolonging the colonial system of producing functionaries who are semi-literate.”  Monga published “Anthropology of Anger (1995)”; “Money of others (1997)”; “Getting out of monetary trap (1999)”, and “Nihilism and negritude (2009)”.

In “Arts of living in Africa” Celestin Monga interrogates the philosophy that the “multiparty administrations in Africa are incapable of generation new ideas since oppositions joined the governments; African civilization lost terrain in the last century; only infusion of renewed energy cam make a difference and Africans have got to revolt against skeptical thoughts; idealistic critics among the oppositions have to give way to pragmatic transformations.”

            “There are no lack of potentials and resources in Africa. The real evil in Gabon is bad governance, bad distribution of budgets generated from forest, mines, and oil exploitations” said Marc Ona Essangui.  Born in 1962, Essangui graduated in “genetic psychology” in 1991 because he had no access to university of law for disabled students since he is paraplegic from polio at the age of 6.

Essangui presides the association Brainforest and contributed in the creation “Publish” in 2002. Publish denounces secret contracts done by governments and multinationals (for example, the mine in Belinga and the controvertial victory of President Ali Bongo in 2009; Publish was suspended, its members imprisoned, and facilities ransacked. Essangui managed to get an exit visa to receive the Goldman Prize in San Francisco for his ecological engagements.

            “Development programs in Africa are planned poverty” claims Rasna Warah.  Born in 1962 in Kenya, Rasna is an Indian descendents from the early waves in the last century. There are currently over 70,000 of India origins who are gathered in communities after suffering reprisals after the Independence of Kenya; the arrival of Chinese entrepreneurs is exacerbating the social tensions.  Warah is a photographer and contributes to the Kenyan Daily Nation and the BBC; she said “It is exhausting to be Asiatic in Kenya”

Rasna published “Triple Heritage: A journey to self discovery (1998)”.  She denounced government inactions during the food crisis in 2008.  Warah participated in the UN-Habitat report “Status of cities in the world (2006-07)”.  Working at the UN encouraged Rasna conviction to interrogate the foundations of development in Africa.  Rasna gathered 15 authors in East Africa who witnessed the cases of “Missionaries, mercenaries, and misfits: An Anthology (2008)”; this book pleads for re-enforcing local institutions and the dangerous trends of “depoliticizing poverty


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

November 2020
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Blog Stats

  • 1,441,623 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 784 other followers

%d bloggers like this: