Saturday, July 3, 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

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.

21 Where To?

A survey by Factum, published at the Latvian portal “Delfi” (July 2nd), tells that if elections were to occur in the month of June, the political parties would get their deputies or seats in about the following order:

29 seat to the “Center of Tooning” (Saskaņas centrs).
24 seats to “Unity” (Vienotība);
18 seats to the “Greens” and “Farmers” coalition;
15 seats to “LNNK” and “Visu Latvijai” coalition;
9 seats to “TP” and “LPP” coalition; and
5 seats to “Human Rights in United Latvia” (Par cilvēku tiesībām…).

A crude and perhaps oversimplified interpretation of the East or West political divide and tilt of the above mentioned is 29 East; 24, 18, 15, 9 West; 5 East (=100).
If we speculate and create yet other coalitions among the coalesced, then

29 Tooning +5 Human Rights = 34
24 Unity, +18 Greens & Farmers, +15 LNNK & VL, +9 TP & LPP = 66

In other words, 34 seats tilt toward the East and 66 seats tilt toward the West. If we presume that this split of seats remains in force after the elections, Latvia is in effect divided in two geopolitical regions, re Riga-Daugavpils vs the rest of Latvia. Riga is of course Latvia’s engine of wealth under the current political and economical setup.

While the number of seats favoring one or the other side of the geopolitical divide changes over time, the two states within one system continues in effect. The system is in existence from about the time of the reestablishment of Latvia (1991) as a sovereign nation.
The political and economic instability that has arisen from the two-state setup is increased by the fact that the Latvian government’s tilt-West has its de jure seat in Riga, even as Riga is controlled (de facto) by the tilt-East. This tells itself best when we see that the government of Latvia [its governors (deputies, ministers, etc.)] is composed of mostly Latvians, all tilting West (yet have their seats in Riga), while the mayor of Riga and his executive body are all tilting East.

Because the economic interests of the elites of the East and West are concentrated in Riga, whatever the political differences between the two, these are smoothed over by their business interests. Generally speaking the business attitude of these business interests is neocapitalistic, a mix of American, German, and Russian characteristics at their worst. This smoothing of the differences with regard to commercial interests (however rough) occurs at the expense of Latvians who live impoverished in the countryside. This has resulted in an exodus of about 200,000 Latvians (mostly laborers and their children) to the far abroad of England, Ireland. Reports from the Latvian countryside speak of vast stretches of near empty, sparsely settled land, especially in the regions of Latgale and Vidzeme. The ruins of farmsteads of a more populous Latvia lie in ruins, in abandoned apple orchards, inns, and mute trees about a house that once was.
One may argue that Latvia has not only one, but two apartheid systems. One is the already mentioned political East-West divide; the other is the economic divide between the well to do of both East and West vs the poor of the East and West.

Though the above is an oversimplification of the political and economic pie, it correctly points to why political misalignments serve to impoverish (also: dumb down) Latvians. The condition encourages the political arm of the business elite to encourage divisionism among the people of Latvia, which keeps the various ethnicities of Latvia permanently on edge with regard to each other. Thus, for example, no ethnic group is able to work toward a new cultural syncretism in Latvia, but practices political reactionism. This short-changes creativity and harms economic development.

There are some geopolitical solutions to the political-economic knot, which--though amenable to solution--do not lend themselves to a solution under Latvia’s “natural” democratic divisions. They are solvable only by means of an authoritarian system the purpose of which is to revised the "ņatural" democratic system into an “open” democratic system.
My pet dog "Not-Vote" (the real one is called Pekse), tells me to go NOT-VOTE (abstain from voting) during the October elections. If the NOT-VOTE is successful, it will force the Latvian Saeima to resign or become a de facto dictorship under an authoritarian President of its choice. That could lead to a circus. However, the Saeima may also resign, hold new elections (which are unlikely to change much), or call for a four to six year moratorium on “natural” democracy. After an interiam authoritarian democratic leadership that works to create an "open" democratic society with fully "open" elections, Latvia should emerge (with some oversight by the European Union) a new culture or one at least with such a potential.

One of the aims of Latvia’s authoritarian government ought to be the redirection of Latvia’s economic development, away from a vaguely defined system of “exports” by whatever businesses that finds a home in Latvia, and move toward a more precisely defined area of economic interest, less short-term, more future embracing. The future embracing ought to focus on
a) genetics-medicine, especially practical genetics such as cloning; this could be more easily done in Latvia, because the sense of unsettlement in Latvian society may enable individuals to accept radical changes in attitude more freely. This may enable a readjustment in the laws of Latvia in such a way that these favor issues such as cloning, for example. The controversy surrounding cloning is largely artificial, albeit seeming real;

b) cloned individuals will necessarily create new household structures; this in turn will create at the university a separate department on Future Households, one next to sociology and anthropology;

c) the right to die;

d) regeneration of Latvia’s population not necessarily through an increased birth rate, but by creating an image in which Latvia sees itself as a room in a household which is happy to see our neighbors come for a visit as our conditions permit, but we may be distinctly unhappy if other than accustomed room-mates were to come to stay; and

e) taking advantage of a declining population and redefining the character of the nation; for example, why not a decision to leave behind the glass and concrete cancer that is chewing away on its tail, the agricultural economy, and come to live in a virtual city in what may become a forest dwellers’ economy.
No, the forest dweller of our time is unlikely to go back to live in a hollow tree stump or under uprooted trees, or in caves. Rather, he-she will live in an environment that

1. knows all about genetics and related medicine,
2. rethinks life-death issues,
3. restructures its family system into a system of households,
4. assures community identity under conditions of falling population numbers,
5. reforests the land by letting itgo fallow, and
6. accumulating capital by being the first on the planet to institute laws that allow movement in radically different directions.

Thus, Latvia may exit from the political and economic fiasco into a new society.

* * *

Of course, the differentiation by the media of the Latvian community by its ethnicities and languages makes the above imagined NOT-VOTE not possible.
A peculiar Latvian meme or thought-block blocks the Latvian people to a predisposition to conservativism without tolerance for opposition. The latter results from the many historical traumas to which proto-Latvians and Latvians have been exposed to over the centuries. The thought-block is so stuborn that it resists overcoming itself even if a failure to resist leads to suicide.

This is why the entry of Guntis Ulmanis, the first Latvian president (1993-1999) of a reconstituted (and remade) Latvia, is a highly charged and, thus, radicalizing and reorienting situation. It could change not only the face (surface) of Latvia, but the way Latvians see themselves.
The situation at this moment is only a story. Nevertheless, the parallels between Mr. Guntis Ulmanis [whose grandfather was the brother of the “soft” authoritarian President Kārlis Ulmanis (1934-1940] and Shakespeare’s King Lear are striking and thought provoking. True, Ulmanis is not as hoary in his age as King Lear was.

By reentering the elections on behalf a two highly suspect (of corruption) businessmen [and rationalizing his entry by stating that the leaders of the two respective parties (TP & LPP) have become “better” men], Guntis Ulmanis puts the blunted edge of politics to the whetting stone and stakes both his forebear's and his own reputation on this potentially existential act. At stake is the honor of not only Guntis Ulmanis personally, but Latvia, too. The existential question whirls about the thoughts that come over what happens when the two parties that Guntis Ulmanis has agreed to front, thank Ulmanis for bringing them an election victory, then tell him as King Lear’s two daughters told their father: “Thanks, dad, for the kingdom; now be off to Old Pensioners Home”?

Does Mr. Ulmanis have a radical answer to the hypothetical—nevertheless real—likelihood that messieurs Shkehle and Shlesers give him the hi-ho? And even if they were to be so generous and not do so, what does Ulmanis offer to do on behalf of Latvia for his part? Will he be a neutered or an authoritarian democrat? Will he do what needs to be done to turn Latvia around and into tomorrow, or does he let the boat continue drifting Westward and on into the sunset?

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?
The Trap

If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and  or  or . You are invited to view them all to make heads and tails of it all.

No comments:

Post a Comment