In the now and here
Splendid Bahá’í dome signals unity

PNG people unlikely to reclaim birthright

Democracy will have to do better than this
Democracy will have to do better than this... Panicked Afghans storm an aircraft as they try to leave Kabul after its seizure by the Taliban


ADELAIDE - While I endorse Governor Gary Juffa's sentiments in ‘The world is ours, let’s act that way', I am afraid 'ordinary people' will not retake possession of their particular worlds any time soon.

In places like China, theocratic Iran and newly Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the world will belong to armed minorities who will impose their world view upon the great majority.

As Mao Zedong famously noted, 'political power comes from the barrel of a gun'.

In due course, these regimes will turn their gaze upon others whom they will decide need to enjoy the dubious benefits of their particular form of governance.

Meanwhile, in what now passes as the democratic world, the political and business elites will continue to dominate every aspect of life.

Like their authoritarian counterparts, the apostles of neo-liberalism are blind and deaf to the impending financial and environmental disaster their particular brand of capitalism will inflict upon the world.

Rampant consumerism and exploitation of the world's resources are the hallmarks of neo-liberalism.

Economic growth must continue regardless of the ultimate costs which, of course, will not be borne by the 'winners' in what is merely a gargantuan Ponzi scheme.

In this system, people who were once citizens are now assigned the role of consumers, only valued as servants of the economy.

The notion that the economy is, in fact, meant to serve the people is now regarded as risible or even dangerous.

This situation has arisen because, across the democratic world, political parties are now no longer representative of the broader population in any meaningful sense.

Rather, they reflect an amalgam of interest groups, constantly jockeying for power and influence within the party, always pushing their special interests to the fore, often without regard to the actual wishes or needs of the populace.

Dependent upon donations to survive, these parties are easy prey to large and powerful corporations and individuals.

There are many examples of the results of this degradation of democracy across the world, with the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA perhaps representing the most egregious example of just how easily the electoral process can be manipulated by powerful interest groups.

So, if the people of Papua New Guinea are to reclaim their birthright, something significant is going to have to change.

Basically, nothing short of revolutionary change is going to make a real difference.

You can be sure that those who benefit from the current situation will not readily relinquish their grip upon power and influence.

As I have written before, the options for creating required change boil down to two: either the democratic process can be harnessed to do the job or, if this fails, other means will have to be found.

In the end, history's lesson is that the people have the choice of being the effective slaves of unelected elites or deciding to seize back control themselves.

Just how this is done is their choice too.


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