Penh, May 5 2004
The elite wants to preserve the long-existing eliteworld and to transfer its
power and privileges to its offspring. In this way it has united the past, the
present and the future. The masses lack the time and the energy to fight for a
better future because they must work hard to make ends meet in the present.
This unequal situation exists already for aeons. Only when the eliteworld ceases
to exist, leaders will take decisions that favour all people instead of in the
first place the own privileged group.
Some former top-leaders who are not anymore pressurized to defend in the first
place the interests of the elite seem to propose decisions that favour
masspeople. Jimmy Carter wants a world-wide ban on land mines even when these
murder weapons were also refined when he was president. Ruud Lubbers defends the
interests of political refugees by advancing ideas that are very different from
the line he advocated when he was Dutch prime-minister.
Masspeople are not very independent. Labour leaders demand higher wages, leading activists
demand the closure of nuclear power plants. At the most these actions improve a
little the situation of the masses but when one problem is solved a comparable
problem comes up. Masses never fight for a society in which equal payment for
equal efforts or electricity without possible nuclear explosions is
Masspeople hardly take into account that all decisions are taken with the idea
that the present power relations may not be disturbed. Actions should also
include the possibility of a change in the power relations (and the
difference in income and possessions).
The world does not change when one problem is solved nor when a new group of
leaders arrives that also favours the elite. I took part in many actions against
the Vietnam War but with the Iraq War new leaders repeated what happened before.
Actions against the Vietnam War had a passing influence on the power relations
in the rich Western countries. Another world only emerges when leaders come
under lasting pressure so they cannot anymore live safely in their privileged
Most activists only want to improve small points though these faulty points only
exist because society is wrong. Most actions have restricted goals as better housing,
better wages, cleaner environment or better health care but any
improvement can later be cancelled by the powers that be. Actions never try to
change the minds of leaders in such a way that wrong decisions are not anymore
Only when the elite ceases to exist, decisions will be taken in the interest of
all people. Now any improvement in the life of masspeople is based on an
insecure foundation. And this situation will be continued when masspeople
do not introduce the concept of a completely different future world in their
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis
PS see also Letter 40, The
road to the future