The end of Left and Right

The terms left and right in politics can now definitively be retired. The left has pretended to defend the rights of the working class for two centuries, concepts such as solidarity and social security are historically linked to the “left”. While the ‘right’ are associated with conservative free entrepreneurs who choose for their own wallet.

If it were only that simple. In my country, the left-wing democratic socialist party has demolished the welfare state in last few decades, while the even more left-wing Socialist Party prefers all refugee boats are pushed back into the Mediterranean. However, the largest (right-wing) government party is working on defending the rights of the ordinary people and has made the climate its most important spearhead.

Everywhere we see politicians who link their opinion to their electorate. This often happens with empty phrases, empty promises and sometimes even proven lies. But is Trump a right-wing politician? Or Erdogan with his people’s party? And can you really call Ortega from Nicaragua, Fidel and his brother, or even worse Kim Jong-Un, left wing politicians?

That is why I am in favor of a new categorization. Previously you had left, right and a colorless center. Now you only have the Socials and the Anti-Socials. That is a much accurate classification of the political spectrum and it runs through all political theory and practice.

The Socials are the politicians that operate according to the principle that all humans are equal and have the same rights. They choose to improve the situation for the one without harming others. The Anti-Socials are those politicians who appeal to the ego of man. Their own street, city, country first. In all their choices, for the environment, the refugees, pensions or whatever, they opt for the short term and vote what they think their anti-social cattle would want.

Since I made this distinction (Well, actually my wife did), life has become a lot easier. Brexit: made up by Anti-Socials who are now plunging their country into poverty. Trump: an Anti-Social self-enriching liar who is pushing the world towards the climate abyss (but America First!). And then Erdogan, Bolsonaro, Duterte, all anti-social dictators who are a threat to world history.

But are all voters of the Anti-Socials themselves also anti-social? I dare to dispute that. Fear plays the biggest role in the unprecedented uprising of the Anti-Socials; the fear of refugees and other strangers; the fear of having to pay for climate change; the fear of foreigners, socialists, economic crisis, war. The fear of a global world where we must live together with people we don’t know.

The Socials have a much more complicated message. Their time hasn’t come yet. The program items they introduce are a lot less concrete; we cannot continue with unbridled growth because it makes the difference between rich and poor even greater; we have to stop burning all our natural resources because the earth has reached its limits; that we are heading for wars because of dangerous idiots with their hand at the red button. At first it has to get a lot worse before we get enough support for their ideas.

In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy ourselves with the temporary burst of populism. They are there thanks to, in addition to a small percentage genuine Anti-Socials, protest voters and imbeciles. It will naturally stop in a few years when the supporters realize that power is corrupting and the Anti-Socials have no solutions for the real problems we are facing.

fonsburger@difwen.org

HELP AVAAZ FIGHT BACK MONSANTO

Ping, another payment through my paypal account to Avaaz.org. Not only to protest against one of the world’s most powerful companies, but also to protect the privacy of the activists fighting it. You all know the name Monsanto. Anyone with any sense of agriculture rejects their practices of genetically engineered agriculture. Hybrid seeds ensure that farmers in poor countries become dependent and even poorer. Their chemical agriculture destroys the biodiversity. Nevertheless, it is a rich and flourishing company that pays substantial dividends to its shareholders.

I had already contributed to Avaaz.org, an institute of activists campaigning against injustice via the internet. My first support was when Monsanto wanted to build a plant for genetically engineered seeds in Argentina. Later I contributed to the million dollars needed to start a lawsuit against their intention to file patents on seeds. Now Monsanto raises her arrows Avaaz itself and – worse – on all those hundreds of thousands of people who support the campaign against them. They sent a summons of 168 pages in which they “demand” that Avaaz hands over every private email, note, and file they have about Monsanto, including the names and email addresses of Avaazers who signed the Monsanto campaigns!

There are endless interesting alternatives for healthy agriculture. Monsanto knows that they have to realize their profits in the short term because there is no chance for a company like this to exist in the long run.

Anyway, they already know that I’m on that email list from Avaaz.org. They can send me a pardon for their practices. You can help stop this nonsense. Donations from 5 euros are welcome on this page http://bit.ly/2sCPkPw

 

Ping daar gaat weer een bedragje van mijn paypal-account naar Avaaz.org. Dit keer niet alleen om een van de machtigste bedrijven van de wereld te bestrijden maar ook om de privacy van haar actievoerders te beschermen. Wie kent Monsanto niet? Iedereen met enig verstand van landbouw keurt hun model voor genetisch gemanipuleerde landbouw af. Hybride zaden maakt boeren in arme landen afhankelijk en nog armer. Hun chemische landbouw vernietigt de biodiversiteit. Desondanks is het een rijk en florerend bedrijf dat flinke dividenden uitkeert aan haar aandeelhouders.

Ik had al eens bijgedragen aan Avaaz.org, een instituut op het gebied van actievoeren via internet en in real life. De eerste keer was toen Monsanto een fabriek voor genetisch gemanipuleerde zaden wilde bouwen in Argentinie. Later om een miljoen bij elkaar te halen om een rechtszaak te beginnen tegen vastleggen van patenten op zaden. Nu heeft Monsanto Avaaz zelf op de korrel en – erger nog – al die honderdduizenden mensen die haar ondersteunen. Ze stuurden een dagvaarding van 168 pagina’s waarin ze “eisen” dat Avaaz elke privémail, elke notitie en elk dossier dat ze over Monsanto hebben aan hen moeten overdragen, inclusief de namen en e-mailadressen van Avaazers die de Monsanto-campagnes ondertekenden!
Er zijn eindeloos interessante alternatieven om gezonde landbouw te plegen. Monsanto weet dat ze hun winst op de korte termijn moeten realiseren omdat er op de lange termijn geen kans is voor een bedrijf als dit.
Anyway, ze weten alvast dat ik op die emaillijst sta van Avaaz.org. Kunnen ze me een spijtbetuiging sturen voor hun praktijken. Help ook mee. Je kunt doneren vanaf 4 euro op deze pagina http://bit.ly/2oiWT8L

 

 

 

THIS FUNNY KINGDOM

The other day the event popped back in my mind. Summer of 1977. It was winter in Argentina and the beginning of the Dirty War. President Jorge Videla’s regime was more than a year old. I waited on the fourteenth floor of the Ministry of Marine and eventually I was ushered into the office of Admiral Massera, the political brain behind the coup. It wasn’t a real interview. I had to send my questions on paper and I received the answers in writing. I had held back my most critical questions so I could ask them once I was face to face with the man. It didn’t go well. Massera didn’t appreciate it that I asked questions about the disappearance of a professor the day before. Professor Bravo, member of the committee for Human Rights in Argentina was abducted in broad daylight. And he certainly wouldn’t say anything about the many other intellectuals and activists who disappeared. “That’s all communist propaganda. The fact that you know about this proves that we have freedom of the press in Argentina.”

That freedom of the press actually only applied to the Englishman Robert Cox whom I had spoken with the day before. At the time he was editor in chief of the Buenos Aires Herald, the only (English-language) newspaper that was still uncensored. All the critical Spanish-language newspapers had already been banned or—according to Cox—they censored themselves in fear of abduction.

Later, after the fall of the fascist regime, it was found that up to 5000 Agentineans were held, tortured and murdered at the Argentine Marine School of Engineering (ESMA), under Massera’s Marine Ministry. Only a few hundred survived. Admiral Massera was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Why did I suddenly remember this event?

A colleague of the former Argentine dictator Videla and his buddy, Admiral Massera, was in the Dutch news, for the umpteenth time: Jorge Zorreguieta, initially deputy minister of agriculture during the Argentinian dictatorship, but now father-in-law to our heir apparent to the throne. Queen Beatrix, aged 74 and therefore well past retirement age, does not want to give up the throne just yet. But it’s a matter of time.

Prime Minister Kok took a tough stance in 2002, when he banned Zorreguieta from the wedding of his daughter Máxima and our Crown Prince Willem-Alexander because of his Dirty War past. It’s unlikely that Kok’s successor Diederik Samsom will take the same tough stance. He has even stated that he would have no problem with Zorreguieta’s presence.

At the time I felt a little ambiguous about Zorreguieta’s forced absence at his daughter Máxima’s wedding. Is a wedding a government affair, and if so, why, for God’s sake? But Crown Prince Willem’s coronation definitely will be a government affair. By the way, it’s flabbergasting that a bragging Dutch-Argentinian pilot who claims to have conducted death flights has been in jail in Buenos Aires since 2009 without charge, while Zorreguieta was never even arrested. Even Videla (on the photo left, next to Zorreguieta) himself has said that Zorreguieta was present at the pre-coup meetings, as lobbyist for the meat and grain export tycoons, the wealthiest citizens of Argentina. Videla (who is serving two life sentences) now accuses these tycoons: “They claim innocence. First they told us to do what we had to do and now they lay all the blame on us.” However, attempts to charge them with the disappearance and murder of people in Zorreguieta’s department have so far had no results.

Máxima is definitely an asset to the Dutch royal family. She not only improves Prince Willem’s image—he can be a bit awkward—but she also provides a fresh approach to the monarchy, which was becoming more and more a useless antiquity. She is engaged in meaningful issues such as micro credit for developing countries. She swims laps around the canals to raise money for AIDS and on top of all that, she’s a beautiful woman. My wife Jacqui met her once. She’s down-to-earth, humble and very friendly. All qualities the Dutch value.

But what are we going to do about that old man who insists on sitting in the front row at the coronation? Now that we really can’t ignore the suspicion that he was partly responsible for the disappearance and murder of 30,000 people less than 35 years ago?

I already had little faith in Samsom’s wishy-washiness but this is really going too far. How hard is it to stand our ground? Would Prime Minister Rutte have walked out? I suppose it’s a waste of energy to get worked up about it in a country where an abductor, robber, blackmailer and possibly murderer is coddled daily in the media.

Massera after my interview, photographed by Wim Renes