Saturday, June 5, 2010

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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.

15 Populists Ought to Consider...

There appear to be three main opponents that a great many Latvians like to dwell on in the media: 1. Populism; 2. (R)other; and 3. their own past.

The groups that dislike “populism” are three: a) people related to the Latvian government; b) the Latvian media; c) the populists themselves. The reason that government dislikes populists (whether of Latvian or (R)other origin) to the point where they have replaced the Jews as the internal enemy of Latvia is well summed up in an article by Professor Sergei Kruks called “The Paradigm of Culture and Civilization" . According to the article

“In the political discourse, culture gained the function of ideological homogenization—the nation defined itself and existed as a cultural nation.” This of course is the German Bildung model or way of raising a child (audzināšana). According to Kruks, the Latvian poet Imants Ziedonis advocates “’a small group of experts’ making an inventory of Latvian culture, defining a benchmark, and creating a static Latvianness. Of course, this was done in the 1920s, and to an even greater extent by the ‘soft’ authoritarian President Karlis Ulmanis in the 1930s. However, to try this in the 21st century, with 43% of the population being of Russian or Slavic origin and preferring to speak Russian at home makes for a question mark. And the answer is “mission impossible”—unless the government can find an enemy to which the label will stick. Since anti-Semitism is passé, and modernism demands that the whole world (Russians including) be on one’s friendly list, the enemy has become “Populism”.
To quote Ernesto Laclau from his well known book “On Populist Reason”, (Ch 1, Sent. 1) “Populism, as a category of political analysis, confronts us with rather idiosyncratic problems”. Among the idiosyncratic problems are the “ambiguities and paradoxes” of populism. Professor Laclau then devotes his book on how to make sense of the “apparently intractable question of populism”. Among his conclusions there is this interesting sentence: “While the task of political philosophy traditionally has been to reduce politics to police, truly political thought and practice would consist in liberating the political moment from its enthrallment to policed societal frameworks”. Is this not about the same what Sergei Kruks above calls creating “[a clarified] static Latvianess”? That is, Is this not policed politics and a corpse in a static culture? We can, thus, start to look for Populism among those who in the 21st century are in opposition to Christian imposed German Romanticism from the 19th century. If Professor Kruks is right that the policies of the elites of Latvia are attempting to impose a “ready-made identity” on all Latvians, few will not know in their mind’s eye who the populists are likely to be.
Next to the Latvian government, it is the Latvian media that knows least about Populists. The media is mesmerized by the mud balls slung by government officials at Populists and has been pitching in to help for some time. In fact, the media itself is a good example of what a ready-made universal identity, the so-called Latvianism, does to people and their institutions. There is a vision of anarchists running about the fields of Latvia-Anarchia, and Populists are applauding them.
We pretty much know that the 200,000 Latvians, most of who were once known as the proletariat class—mostly composed of countryside people finding the countryside destroyed by a catastrophic loss of jobs and many, far too many of the educated class looking for jobs abroad as well. [According to former Saeima member Ilga Kreituse, few if any of the 90 students graduating with a degree in Chemistry from the LU are staying in Latvia.] If one assumes that the emigrants left home because there was no other choice other than stay and become demoralized, then most of the emigrants are quality candidates for Populists.

Add to the Populists already mentioned yet others behind those trees there and we get some idea of who in the post-anti-Semitic age is the replacement of. IPopulism is not by any means only a problem for the Latvian elites who from the President on down define themselves as anti-Populists. The government of the EU is also infected by the pox of prejudice. The European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso in a keynote address to the Jean Monnet Conference warned of the danger of "populism". He said: "there are sometimes occasions when we see populism, xenophobia, chauvinism in Europe". This tells who the President of the EC sees as the spectre and spectres are in the wake of which follows chaos.
Thus, Populism is a danger even if Populists are not only anonymous Latvian emigrants, but university graduates without jobs, former government employees dismissed by economizing measures due to overspending. The policing of culture during the time of social duress continues as the police interrogation of Professor Kruks shows. No doubt, there is still some Populist sympathy or, rather, indifference to such repressive acts. Even so, Populists who are to be found among the economically worst off, once vociferous in their “fundamentalism” (over whatever), are shutting down and reemerging under the umbra of Populism in the Shadows.

This is a time when foundations are being shaken. As another blogger said about the Bilderberg Group conference “No, they are not having ‘fun’ at all. They are scared to death.” For all the present government of Latvia knows, the Populists in Latvia may decide to not-vote come October 2 elections.
Why NOT-VOTE? There is no other choice. Though raised as a Latvian with the meme of “[clarified] static Latvianess” printed on the brain, troubled times is not passing anyone, not even the Bilderbergers as we just read. NOT(-to)-VOTE means to not cast a ballot because only a Populist NOT-VOTE will prove to the elite manning the status-quo barricades that the troubles are not going away and must be dealt with right away.

A NOT-VOTE means that so few will vote that the elected will not call the police to protect them. Both elitiste and populiste will be on equal footing and, wishing no violence, the most populist solution will be the one most earnest and useful.

Asterisks & Other Readings
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?  

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