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People's Power ?!
The 70th Letter of an Autonomous Thinker



Bangkok, April 20  2006

Dear reader, 

The Power of the People
should have chased away the former Philippine president, the corrupt and dictatorial Marcos.
The media (owned by the rich) applauded the actions but you may wonder why rich elitist tycoons should be shrilled by People's Power, why the elite should like it that one of their kind is overthrown by masspeople.
The answer is simple:  Marcos was not removed by masspeople!

Marcos was replaced by the somewhat less richer Aquino who was also a prominent member of the Philippine elite. She was succeeded by Estrada who was also overthrown by People's Power and succeeded by the equally rich and corrupt Arroyo.
All these leaders did not give a hoot about the poor. The masses were only used as a weapon in the battle between two groups of rich and corrupt elitists.

Massactions that are controlled by parts of the elite - that want to improve its own situation - have occurred in many Third World countries.
In Thailand for example prime minister Thaksin, who among other things used his power to direct a billion dollars to his clan, was forced to go away. Again after masspeople were mobilised by other rich people who wanted a bigger piece of the cake.

Masspeople did never promote their own interests. 

The Third World is more hierarchical than the First World and therefore leaders can organise actions that look like People's Power. Family, clan and tribe have less influence in the First World. Politicians cannot claim they "own" a constituency, that they "own" certain functions (and give these functions away to family members or cronies as in a dynasty).

It does not happen often in the rich countries that a top leader is the son of a former president (Bush) but in the Third World political functions are kept in the family (India, Sri Lanka, Bangla Desh etc.). Though the Waltons still directly lead Walmart, the influence of old and very rich families on most multinationals has become indirect. The influence of groups, families, clans, birthplaces etc to which one belongs by birth, has diminished in rich countries. And the possibility of autonomous actions of masspeople has increased because social bonds, the individual did not choose and cannot break or even influence, have become weaker. It will still take many years till developing countries advance to this point. But the First World has also a long way to go because for example in massactions organised by hierarchical Trade Unions masspeople are still used by leaders.   

But People's Power does not exist in Third World countries. The eclipse of people like Thaksin (Thailand), Fujimoro (Peru), Marcos (Philippines) or Mugabe (Zimbabwe) can hardly be seen as a positive political development.

I only write about developing countries because 'our' leaders are deeply involved in controlling the poorer parts of the world (especially in regard to natural resources).
Solutions I advance on my site have in the first place the intention to change the political structure (and people) in rich countries. Third World countries should be left alone to develop their own way to the future. They are still far away from a situation in which individual masspeople become active against individual elitepeople who place their own interests above the interest of all humans.

 Yours truly, Joost van Steenis

 

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