Thursday, May 27, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum – The-Not-Voter. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and  or to this bloggers main site at

Pictures: The Great Latvian rhubarb.

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of my argument.

Have Another Singing Revolution!

For twenty years Latvians have been voting themselves a death sentence. At the beginning (1991) to be positivist was excusable, because the nation was just breaking away from the grasp of what was the former Soviet Union and had no hindsight on itself. It was not yet obvious then that voting into office a Saeima with the same old Constitution to fence the government, the result will be the institutionalization of elite with leadership qualities limited to exceptions, but the norm mostly will be advancement of one’s private estate. This is the reality that Latvians have not yet come to grips with. It is time they did.

To refuse to tangle with the present government and continuing to cast votes for a list of parties and candidates that offer no choice is for cowards. Only a NOT-VOTER by NOT-VOTING can resolve the issue and return Latvia to life as a nation. Latvians need to create a Constitutional crisis for themselves in order to provide themselves with an opportunity to find a second life.

A NOT-VOTE, that is to say, a nigh universal abstention from elections by Latvians, may leave the government insisting that it has de jure powers all the same. However, a government the voter does not requite with respect will have problems convincing anyone that it has authority. To put it another way, the government may be in position possess the State, but it will have lost the Nation. Under such conditions (lest government wishes to declare itself a dictator) the only thing a government can do is resign and call a “Constitutional Assembly to Rewrite the Constitution”.
While the State points out to its foreign guests the calm of Latvian citizens given the nation’s stressful financial and economic situation and the dire—indeed intolerable—consequences of it, a significant element of the nation agrees with the government by leaving Latvia for other nations and try to join the community there. While the Latvian media mention 100,000 to 150,000 Latvians leaving for parts foreign, the actual figure is probably closer to 200,000 (out of 2.3 million total population). Add this to a government that for twenty years invested little in rebuilding the nation’s community and material capital to survive the trauma of the Soviet experience, and the result is that we have a nation with almost no proletariat. What remains consists of the elderly and those who for one reason or other do not have the qualifications or wherewithal to leave.

To return to economic conditions, such as made for a homogenous centre about the city, a time which the Latvians remember as “the 1930s”, today seems impossible. The 1930s was too a time when the heterogenous proletariat felt that it had something, a flower—a job—and hope of upward mobility. The crushing of the hope that stands as a signifier for the nation’s psyche in the 1930s is entirely due to the Pope of the East, the Pope of the West, and the forced change brought by a hyped consumer mentality. Unfortunately, the encouraged spirit of those times, strong enough to survive a half a century of Sovietization and still demand an independent Latvia has been betrayed. In the beginning there was something in the air that brought me to Latvia after fifty-one years abroad. It brought many others as well. The challenges to one’s survival after fifteen years in Latvia, helped along by the collapse of trust in Western finance, engross a pensioner.

Because I was not interested in taking an active part in Latvian politics (I first had to become reacquainted with the country), I spent much of my time in the countryside and came in contact with the Latvian proletarians-populistinians (for lack of a better word) in the countryside round about the regions of Valmiera and Limbazhi.

I have been reeducated, surprised, horrified, and angered by what I found and still see.

Nearly twenty years after emerging from an era under the rule of an impoverished East and making a headlong dive into the era of the “advanced” West, a homogenous (partidocratic) State sits on the neck of a prostrate national community. This community can survive into the future only if it rethinks and remakes itself.

The business of the Latvian Saeima has not been the business of community building except in the narrowest interpretation of the term. To escape drawing attention to its betrayal of the community, the establishment still runs from the East to the West, when the West has already turned East. The role that a nation like Latvia can play in bringing the East and West together and gain for itself economic advantage by doing so is never mentioned.

So, welcome NATO! You are from VIP-land. Our ex-surgeon President welcomes you to our Pils (Castle) and will show you the world’s most expensive bridge, not to mention the very expensive glass house known as the “Castle of Light” on the left bank of the Daugava River. We will fight in your ranks in Afghanistan. We are proud you are having this conference in Latvia, even if we are surprised over the Patriot missiles in Poland. We understand your coming is your way of assuring the East Europeans (proletariat and all) that as bad as poverty is and will yet get, you are here with your expensive missiles and other war machinery to protect us and bring us hope.
However, consider this: while the radicalized proletariat is expressing its radicalization by leaving Latvia, and the remaining heterogenes are hanging on by their fingernails (nails breaking turning into the screams of suicides), what little remains of homogeneity (largely an alliance of partidocracies) is no less a heterogenous minority than the others—except that it has the sadistic means to insist that it is the crown of the Latvian nation.* The other homogenes (the ones who were once part of the homogenous community) feel themselves sucked downward among the populistinians and may well become radicalized, too. The 90 students that graduate from the Latvian University’s Chemistry Department annually have no job offers in Latvia, though they and the pharmaceutical companies on location could help develop and market Johns Grass medications to an increasingly tense world. A long dead Jesus and his untrue story determine that the nation may not explore the feasibility of the idea.

The enemies of NOT-VOTING are many, of course. The dysfunctional system of government is held sacred by many no-brainers. Witness the Chairwoman of the Latvian Trade and Manufacturers Association repeating for the benefit of Latvian voters the well-worn neo-liberalist-positivist phrase: “Everyone is responsible for h/her own life. It is not the banks, or the administrators of credit collection agencies, or anyone else who is at fault, but everyone is responsible for his- and her own life.” In short, vote for the status quo that got Latvians into the present trouble, and be dumb enough to vote for the partidocracy once again. [For the article providing the quote (in Latvian) click here.]

To those who ask: What good will a NOT-VOTE accomplish? here is the answer: NOT MUCH if the system of government is responsible, functions well, and erstwhile candidates stand at election time. But if there is little or no choice among candidates, because all support the same corrupt and dysfunctional system? What does one do when the candidates for election are Ini, Mini, Mani, and Mo? Does one call such elections “democracy”, “democracy”?

Though there is no Ini, Mini, Mani, or Mo standing for the October 2010 elections in Latvia, none of the candidates or the parties standing behind them has a track record that inspires trust. All the candidates wear their left shoes on the right foot; in effect, the candidates speak, walk, stand and give their citizen witnesses the jitters, the “disbelieving belief” syndrome. If one of the candidates unbeknownst to the voters were to be in earnest about returning the nation to hegemony, then h/she could achieve this only by effecting short-term (hopefully) authoritarianism. Else the other parties will soon find ways to render h/her a babbling fool.

Do the Latvians have an alternative to the NOT-VOTE? I do not think so. This is too good a time to miss taking part in another “Singing Revolution”. Meet at the polls to sing, not to NOT-VOTE.

Asterisks & Other Readings
* I am using the term in the sense used by Georges Bataille in his 1933 essay “The Psychological Structure of Fascism".
Compulsory voting in the EU Parliamentary elections
The abstentionist elephant
Electronic polls
On the Meaning of Voting
British Government Attempts to Bracket the Constitution
Ground Zero for Thought
Why Forced Positive Thinking Is A Lot Of Crock?

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline  + Forum Home + Open Forum – The-Not-Voter. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and  or  

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