Archive for the ‘PUTIN ASSESSED’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST DISPARAGES PUTIN’S POTEMKIN-VILLAGE POLITICS APPARENTLY UNAWARE OF HOW LITTLE DIFFERENT THINGS ARE HERE – BASIC FACTS ON THE EMERGING OF DEMOCRACY ANYWHERE – GOVERNMENT WITHIN GOVERNMENT   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY DOUG SAUNDERS IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

“Mr. Putin’s Potemkin-village politics…”

Sorry, there’s almost no thought or analysis in this column.

Just how, in any way, do Putin’s photo-ops differ from what we experience?

Virtually every headline in our major news sources is synthetic.

And our leaders turn virtually one-hundred-and-eighty degrees once they’re in office after an election, often doing precisely what they condemned.

The truth is that Putin is exceptionally intelligent and energetic, and that alone marks him out from many of our leaders.

He has flaws, but are you telling me that our PM, who was held in contempt of Parliament and has lied to us countless times about large or small things and is known for a furious private temper, does not?

And if you want photo-ops even more faked up than Putin’s look to Harper in a parka up north.

He puts on periodic shows to earn nationalist credentials even while he’s busy negotiating away a great deal of Canada’s sovereignty to Americans, the only people who are a serious threat to both northern sovereignty and the Great Lakes.

And the stuff about revolutions is utter nonsense.

Genuine revolutions, like the French or the Russian, virtually never succeed over time. The French had the monarchy back in no time, as did the Russians under a different name.

Revolutions like that in America are often successful, but then they aren’t correctly called revolutions at all. The so-called American Revolution was only a revolt of the locals against foreign lordship and indeed a very conservative event, leaving such godawful institutions as slavery a thriving concern. It basically saw a small group of petty American aristocrats – Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, slaveholders all – replace a group of foreign aristocrats.

And it is a fact that America wasn’t anything like a democracy after its “revolution.” The Senate was appointed until 1913. The President was not elected by the popular vote, but by the propertied aristocrats admitted to the Electoral College. The Supreme made no effort at all to enforce the Bill of Rights – for a very long time, it was only a high-sounding and empty statement of principles, what you might call green-wash.

Blacks, of course, could not vote (effectively not until the 1960s). Women could not vote (not until 1921). Most white males could not vote because they did not own enough property to qualify.

America took about two centuries to become something vaguely resembling a democracy, and even now it has a government within the government – the military, intelligence, security establishment serving giant corporate interests.

Look at America’s recent experience to understand the role of the government within a government.

Bush was likely the most ill-informed and bad-intentioned person ever to be president, and he wasn’t even cleanly elected. Then the people elected a man who sometimes wore sandals, didn’t immediately wear an American-flag pin on his lapel, and taught Constitutional law. After less than three years, you would not know in almost any important detail that Bush was not still president.
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All genuine democracies develop slowly – that is a salient fact of European and North American history.

Always, we first have aristocrats or lords or family compacts – always.

Then through the gradual growth of the middle class under steady economic growth, a large class with substantial resources emerges who do not see their interests being represented by the aristocrats or family compact members.

Then we see a gradual change in political institutions to accommodate the new sizable and growing middle class. The process takes different forms in different countries, owing to cultural and historical circumstances, but it always takes this general pattern.

The same is underway in Russia. At least Putin represents a rather enlightened aristocrat to guide the nation through some of its most tender years. Yeltsin, who blubbered about democracy, was a helpless buffoon and a constant drunk.