If President Donald Ramotar wants to represent change in and modernisation of the Guyanese political fabric, one of his first priorities must be to put a rein on the type of propaganda with which the PPP has been historically associated.
The 2011 manifesto of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) promised “A Good Life for All Guyanese”: now that it is in a position to help to provide one, we shall see!
Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s “Evil Genius” and Reich Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, who is generally believed to be responsible for bringing that seventeenth century Vatican-created term “propaganda” into disrepute, stated that: “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result ….
In early 1990, Cheddi Jagan walked up the steps of the University of Guyana Social Science building, came to the dean’s office and requested that I agree to join the PPP/C slate for the elections that were due later that year.
“Hi Jeff: has APNU `disappear’ the PNC?” Colourfully put, but not an uncommon query.
A few weeks ago, I argued that when considering manifesto commitments one needs to be aware of, among other things, the disconnect that sometimes exists between
Recently, a parliamentary special select committee, minus the Opposition, reported on the issue of campaign financing.
“We need a space for the Diaspora to contribute to national, regional and international policy dialogue and action.” If anything epitomised the goodwill that greeted the 1992 PPP/C government, it must have been the enthusiasm shown by the thousands of Guyanese who indicated that they wanted to return home, invest here or help the country in some other way.
“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
“Studying history . . . helps [us] to develop a sense of ‘shared humanity’; to understand themselves and ‘otherness,’ by learning how they resemble and how they differ from other people, over time and space; to question stereotypes of others, and of themselves; to discern the difference between fact and conjecture; to grasp the complexity of historical cause; to distrust the simple answer and the dismissive explanation; to respect particularity and avoid false analogy; to recognize the abuse of historical ‘lessons,’ and to weigh the possible consequences of such abuse; to consider that ignorance of the past may make us prisoners of it; to realize that not all problems have solutions; to be prepared for the irrational, the accidental, in human affairs; and to grasp the power of ideas and character in history.” (The Bradley Commission on History in Schools established in 1987 given the expressed concerns about the quantity and quality of the history teaching in American schools.) History comes in various types: social, economical, political, diplomatic, intellectual, cultural, etc.
“You can’t win a political campaign without momentum. With momentum, campaigns roll to victory, without it, they linger into defeat.
Collective planning is impossible without an underlying general consensus on the nature of the problem and the proposed solutions.
The AFC is adamant in its refusal to join a pre-election coalition with old parties mired in old politics and its Acton Plan 2011 speaks of its seeking to establish “A liberal democratic culture for Guyana (based on) Western democratic political systems, such as Australia, the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Canada, India, Brazil and others.” These are however all essentially majoritarian systems with a commitment to political arrangements that are – in my view – fundamentally unsuited to an ethnically divided society such as ours.
On 27 December 2006, Dr Christopher Lamb made a request to the British cabinet office for copies of cabinet minutes and records relating to meetings at which the attorney general’s legal advice concerning military action in Iraq was discussed.
“I thank God, we have no free schools nor printing; and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world; and printing has divulged them and libels against the government.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has now been formally launched and has given us some idea of its core beliefs: immediate post election national unity government, constitutional change to implement shared governance, a strict separation of powers and equitable distribution of the national wealth.
“If any generalization about institutional design is sustainable, given the bloody outcomes of countless political systems that appeared to exclude major cleavage groups from power, it is that majoritarian systems are ill-advised for countries with deep ethnic, regional, religious and other emotional and polarizing divisions.” (Andrew Ellis, “Dilemmas in Representation and Political Identity,” International IDEA, 2006).
“Ethnic groups are constructed social forms as opposed to organic entities that developed naturally over time.
Stuart Kaufman, speaking of extreme cases of ethnic violence, suggests that politicians can only stir up ethnic discontent if there is some historical experience to support their positions.
Speaking about the Middle East to the British parliament a few weeks ago, President Obama echoed a long list of political observers when he contended that we must not expect those in power to relinquish it without some resistance.