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Re: <nettime> The Mendicants of the New Empire
Carl Guderian on Tue, 9 Dec 2003 16:57:24 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Mendicants of the New Empire

Martin Hardie wrote:
> December 6 / 7, 2003
> When NGOs Attack
> Implications of the Coup in Georgia

Is this really so bad? That NGOs whore for the IMF doesn't let the likes
of Shevardnadze, Lukashenko or Castro off the hook. Yeah, that
Milosevic--warmongering scum, but he sure did stick it to The Man.
Mugabe's just an asshole, even if he's against GM crops. Maybe I'm
reading too much into this article, but it smacks of '80's-style
dualism: Contras bad, Sandinista good, Peruvian dictators bad, Shining
Path good. The Sandinistas were indeed better than Somoza and the
Contras, but they still had a KGB-style network of police and
neighborhood snitches (but they did finally hold elections and left more
or less gracefully). The Shining Path are not in power but already have
death squads. The Zapatistas were the first real alternative. They are
truly indigenous. They force alien ideologies like Maoism on the locals
and murder dissidents or slackers as "collaborators."  

NGOs, even bent ones, pushing change are better than the old dualism. If
they're not backing the best alternative, at least the confusion and
transition gives more breathing space for real alternatives than the
previous regime did. Soros gives millions to the Democratic party
medical marijuana initiatives. Should we support Bush and the War on
Drugs for the sake of moral consistency? Not all NGOs are bad. Divide

As for the leader: A good performance must also include a timely exit
and a good, lasting memory. A strongmen who doesn't realize this is a
liability to his people. Shevardnadze's instincts were better than
Milosevic's and certainly better than Ceausescu's. But if they'd been as
good as, say, Havel's or Mandela's, Eduard would be remembered as the
father of a modern Georgia. Who will take over from Castro? If it's his
son, who's heard of him and why should the people support him any more
than the English did Richard Cromwell? By the looks of things, Castro's
flailing about in his old age but leaving behind a power vacuum, and the
Cubans who want to hold onto the Revolution (or keep their land, anyway)
will be easy pickings for the Miami exiles.

Tip #2: Not everyone's going to love the leader, and he should get over
it. Not all critics are enemies. If they are, so what? All the
CIA-funded dissent can't do Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro more harm than
they are doing themselves (maybe it can, but at least make the critics
*work* for those gringo dollars).

*That* is how to fight the "evil" NGOs--head them off by stealing their
thunder. Fix the more visible faults, like corruption, oppression of
gays and jailing of critics. Plan ahead. Work now to empower the people
so they can and will fight to carry on the leader's legacy. Make sure
the outside sees this as well. Support is stronger when it comes from
love instead of duty. That's the best vaccine against NGOs, at least the
sleazier ones (try to co-opt the better ones). 


> Nongovernmental organizations--the notionally independent, reputedly
> humanitarian groups known as NGOs--are now being openly integrated into
> Washington's overall strategy for consolidating global supremacy.

Games are very educational. Scrabble teaches us vocabulary, Monopoly 
teaches us cash-flow management, and D&D teaches us to loot the bodies. 
-- Steve Jackson

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