|Civil, economic libertarianism|
|Wednesday, 07 March 2012 21:04|
When you are an anti-imperialist and you are in the habit of attacking imperialism’s economic libertarianism it is quite easy to find allies among Western leftists and it could even be achievable to end up with centre-right allies of the likes of author AC Grayling.
and fewer allies from the West.
This writer has on numerous occasions been accused of confusing civil liberties with economic libertarianism, often being reminded to look at China, defined in the West as practising the later and intolerant of the former. Often this writer has been reminded that his own Zimbabwe lacks both economic libertarianism and civil liberties, and that he is “lucky” to be in Australia.
It is quite easy to be applauded when one points an accusing finger at the power of imperialist interests for harming innocent civilians in countries militarily ravaged by the West’s illegal capitalist wars like the one waged against the Iraqis in 2003, or the recent murderous war on Libya. Equally it is quite attractive for Western critics of capitalism to see a non-Westerner pointing an accusing finger at capitalism for the harm it does to individuals, to the environment, to developing nations, and for causing economic disasters like the 2008 credit collapse.
Slovenian born Slavoj Zizek lost a large chunk of his Western allies after his attacks on the West’s disguises, especially those wrapped in the doctrine of civil liberties. That was seen as a blanket “attack on the hard-won dispensation of civil liberties and rights that define Western societies,” to quote A C Grayling.
Enlightenment settlement. It is, however preposterous, to confuse capitalism’s abuse of the nobility of civil liberties with an attack on the liberties themselves.
The only thing protected by Libya’s invasion was the West’s oil interest, otherwise everything else was destroyed, the civilians and the country included.
Liberal democracies themselves may to a large extend be premised on liberal ideas that culminate in the human rights and civil liberties regimes, but that alone does not mean we must pay a blind eye to the fact that the same human rights and civil liberties are the most used of imperialism’s masks, apart from philanthropy.
Imperialism has successfully portrayed its opponents as authoritarian arrangements hostile variety, free speech, free Press, multiplicity, consent, and institutionalised protections of civil liberties. Often imperialism will seek to prop up rebellion and obnoxiousness so as to entice authorities in enemy states to crack down on the sponsored rebellion. Once this happens imperialism will stick the label of despotism and tyranny on its nemesis and from then on we are told civil liberties are under attack.
In the Western lexicon civil liberties can stretch to treason and armed rebellion, for as long as the context is some anti-imperialist enemy state standing in the way of Western expansionism. This is why Zimbabwe was once expected to watch and escort Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters doing a “Final Push” march to dislodge President Mugabe right from State House. It was then opined that we all needed to abide by “the rule of law,” allowing protesters to march into the State House unabated.
It was all part of free speech for Tsvangirai to declare that President Mugabe had “to go peacefully, or we will remove you violently.” Arresting him was to the imperialist powers a violation of Tsvangirai’s civil liberties.
anyone who criticised Tsvangirai and his MDC for fronting Western interests became a “Mugabe crony,” and this writer was vastly persecuted by both the Australian media and the state — smeared and slandered, and threatened with expulsion.
We are told Western societies denote pluralistic societies characterised by limitless freedoms, individual autonomy, free speech and the rest of the niceties of democracy. So good is Western democracy that its principles grant freedom of expression to its own underminers and opponents.
It is quite revealing that the safety in question meant for this writer a stinging campaign to halt his studies at an Australian University in 2007, and of late efforts to have the University rescind the qualification awarded.
Twice the detentions took several hours and included torturous interrogation and a rather obnoxious attitude to all responses.
January 2009, advising in red ink that the document was to be read “with the assistance of a lawyer” because there were “reasonable grounds” to send this writer to The Hague for trial.
The views of this writer perhaps attract imprisonment in both liberal and illiberal regimes, and the myth of “safety” in a Western democracy is as flattering as telling newlyweds that they will “live happily ever after.”
Yes, Western societies do not generally see themselves as entitled to stop those who criticise their political systems, but that does not mean the critics of Western imperialism pass their views in luxury. The absence of a sense of entitlement to silence dissent does not mean there are no efforts to silence such dissent.
Australia runs international affairs on a “me too” foreign policy where it imitates the US and Britain in almost everything related to capitalism. Its sanctions regime on Zimbabwe is an imitation of ZDERA sanctions, just like the partial relaxation of the same sanctions is. The undeniable fact is that imperialism is a monster with unquenchable appetite, and it has no concern whatsoever with the harm it causes its victims, especially the poor masses from the developing world.
We cannot blithely ignore this threatening reality simply because we cannot separate our obsession for freedoms and liberties from the tragedy of those abusing our plight in order to pursue self-interests.
It is not philanthropy that should be blamed for Soros’ misdemeanours. Attacking philanthropic imperialists does not amount to denouncing philanthropy itself, just like criticising civic imperialists does not equate to attacking civil liberties or human rights.
There is a strong belief in the West that one is entitled to vociferously complain against the harm and wrongs of imperialism, but criticising imperialism itself as a concept is seen as unpragmatic, archaic and even communist.
We cannot allow politicians and political activists to misapply the nobility of liberties and human rights for ends that interfere with the destiny of the nation – for treacherous endeavours inspired by the enticing temptation of donor power.
Equally we cannot condone pseudo-revolutionaries who dismiss every mentioning of human rights and civil liberties as insidious lexicon at the service of quisling opponent politicians pursuing regime change agendas.
Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!