Liberia: Social Revolution or Barbarism—A State on the Edge of an Explosion
No victory is worth winning without a bit of sacrifice or suffering. So we accept the evolving processes in the Homeland, as we prepare ourselves for the task of nation building. The vulgar minds suppose we are wishful thinkers, but beyond their noses and the abstraction of common sense they understand not complicated processes and see not the simmering contradictions, driven by molecular movement that lies beneath the surface. Such sterility preclude them from understanding that under certain conditions everything changes into its opposite.
Lost is the euphoria; gone is the spectacle in the street. The vivacious displayed of pomp and pageantry is no more. The masses are in tattered t-shirts, living in penury. Hope seems no more, as the government talks poor but acts rich. The change mantra is gradually becoming a chain. The hope for a better tomorrow is akin to a pipe-dream.
Businesses are grumbling about the disproportionate decrease in profit margin. The exchange rate is at an all-time high. Inflation is sucking the lifeblood of the Homeland. Multinational companies are reducing employees. Some companies have shut down. The Economy is in a permanent free fall. The current recast budget registers a colossal shortfall. Revenue is expected to plummet in the next fiscal year. No sign of real progress.
The regime is clueless. There seems no solution on the horizon. The President meanders. He dabbles in convoluted rhetoric. The regime seems indifferent. The nation is on the edge of a precipice. There bubble may burst unexpectedly.
In the midst of these catastrophes, the rush to build exotic places is high. The President leads the way with the simultaneous construction of three houses at separate localities in Monrovia and parts adjacent, followed by the his Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, who has bought a palace which overlooks a squalid community. The scramble for private property and material display is on the increase. The jostling is like the last rush, everyone wants to get a piece of the pile. The rapidity of such plunder is akin to the invasion of the Barbarians during the decline of the Roman Empire.
All standards have been violated. Anarchy is the new normal. The Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) is a dead wood. The General Auditing Commission (GAC) is an excrescence. The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (PPCC) is in total ferment, and looks like an anomaly. Asset declaration is like a heresy. The act of the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI) has been brutally violated. The Constitution has been dishonored. The influenza is ubiquitous.
Every symptom of a failure state is rearing its ugly head. The Rule of law is being replaced by the imperial presidency. The nation is like a cesspool. The social rot has forced elements to turning to crime out of sheer desperation. The crime rate in Monrovia is on a sudden increase. Even the US embassy near Monrovia has cautioned its citizens to take the necessary precaution.
The government is destitute of knowledge. It is impervious to logic. It is at best a ‘basket of deplorables.’ There is no agenda. The country is in a state of nature. Nobody seems to be in charge. The regime is now a national disgrace. A laughing stock and pathetic joke. Blunder galore!
The black hole in the current budget; the building of exotic mansions; the refusal to conduct the by-elections are not disconnected happenings. Obviously, only a mind with an insight of the dialectic will understand that these are massive contradictions that reveal the total breakdown of governance in the homeland, which must be understood based on the interconnections of the occurrences. In fact, they are symptoms of greater chaos hovering over the nation. Of course, as the process unfolds, driven by inner contradictions, there can be no plausible conclusions.
Besides, these contradictions are at best necessary so that the people who voted George M. Weah can realize in politics we don’t look at good intentions. Unconsciously, the Weah regime will set the stage for the resuscitation of left politics in the Homeland. By left politics we are intimidating the blunders from the Weah regime will provide the powder keg for the ascent of a working-class leader. In the last analysis, we stressed that with the failed experiment of the neoliberal Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, succeeded by the vain populist Weah, the politics of the Homeland ought to drift to the left.
By this we are not also saying left politics will dominate the political sphere of the Homeland without a bit of struggle or sacrifice. Neither are we equally saying that without a thorough work among the exploited layers of the people by a revolutionary organization, the left will be gifted the space to operate. It is pivotal to note that no ruling class in its most rotten stage ever willingly let go its privileges without a bit of ferocious struggle. The left will only succeed when it approaches the ideological struggle with utmost seriousness and correct tactic.
Until the working mass can form a viable revolutionary organization, it remains a class ‘in itself.’ Yes, they are in the majority, but a majority without a proper organization to direct the struggle is at best a minority. With the revolutionary organization to lead the march for socialist transformation, the potency of the exploited layers will change from a class ‘in itself’ to a class ‘for itself.’ Simply, the revolutionary organization becomes the qualitative leap, which carries with it the correct tactic to lead the struggle.
Whether you like it all not, the Sirleaf government was a qualitative leap from backwardness to a bit of progress. Her genius lies in the fact that she attracted foreign direct investment to the Republic in the tune of US$ 16 billion. She ensured that freedom of speech, amid little excesses, were guaranteed. She ensured that activities of the government became decentralized to the countryside. Under her reign, although the educational sector was challenged, a lot of children got enrolled in school. Universities put out thousands of students.
Notwithstanding, the regime had colossal excesses which angered the people against it. Corruption became widespread and unbridled. Nepotism was rampant and pernicious. While there was an accumulation of wealth through outrageous plunder on an industrial scale by her officials, on the other hand, equally, there was an accumulation of mystery and poverty by the people. Such Insoluble contradiction, with the resumption of activities in the mining, agriculture sectors, led to the upsurge in the consciousness of the people. Hence, without wanting to argue the election was rigged, her Vice President was rejected by the people.
In history, as in life, when a particular social system reaches the point of terminal decline, it is no longer progressive. This period gives rise to the emergence of woeful elements. The Weah ascent and all ascents of broken historical figures must be understood in this context. For instance, when the German society imploded, Adolf Hitler emerged. This holds true for Benito Mussolini of Italy; General Francisco Franco of Spain; Antonio de Oliveira Salazar of Portugal et. Al.
Thus, the Weah leadership is a historical necessity which has been expressed through an accident. However, it is important to underscore that others would argue that the negation of the negation indicates that from a lower stage a phenomenon is transformed into another but at a higher stage. Such assertion must be accepted but with a sharp proviso, or one misses the full conceptualization of the negation. It is indicated that under certain condition qualitative change changes into quantitative outcome. For instance, a bag of pure water at a certain temperature in the refrigerator turns into a solid (qualitative change). Conversely, under certain condition when it is at room temperature, it turns into liquid. (Quantitative change). In other words, history doesn’t operate on a linear trajectory. There are forward progressions as well as backward declinations.
Sometimes in history when the masses cry for a leader, it is only but proper they have that leader. It is necessary for a bankrupt regime to take power so that the people get increasingly frustrated with its blunder. Hence, they sever ties with it and join a more progressive organization. It is said in the Christian Bible when the children of Israel cried for a king, God gave them one. Afterwards, the same people pleaded with God to take the king away.
Fast forward, Weah winning the presidency of Liberia in the short run was wrong, but from a dialectical perspective the presidency is a poisoned chalice bequeathed to him. He carries in himself his own seed of destruction. As his massive failure will lead to the people who have this illusion of grandeur in him about transforming the country to have a second thought.
In spite of this, it is necessary to underscore that this will not happen by the enlightened elements in the Homeland folding their hands. While backlash from big events will spur the consciousness of the people, a revolutionary organization with a clear programme must commence massive propaganda, agitation and mobilization among the working mass and enlightened layers of the Republic. Marx through his profound study of theory calls it the class struggle. It is only through the class struggle under the banner of a revolutionary organization with a clear programme that the people can stampede into history.
In the coming days, if it is not already the case, the confidence of the most senior elements of the Liberian ruling class will dwindle significantly. It will then manifest itself into a split. This split will prove decisive for the advancement of the cause, as a social revolution is hasten when there is a split in the ruling class.
Meanwhile, a more revolutionary organization with a clear prograammes must commence active work among the working mass of the people and the enlightened students across various universities. By revolutionary organization this writer doesn’t mean any organization which dabbles in slogans and title-tattles
Hence, on this matter of revolutionary theory, we ask Vladimir Lenin to speak: “Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.”
Of course, in such a time various organizations will come with pretenses. However, it is important to note that some are either intoxicated with vendetta or others are purely antiestablishment. These petty bourgeois radicals, bar room socialists are needed in the struggle to put pressure on the regime. To make the mistake that they can lead any serious struggle for transformation will be a childish blunder. Spewing revolutionary slogans or talking big doesn’t mean they can ignite any change. History reminds us that the CDC took similar path, but here we are with their floundering performance.
A formal alliance of the working mass and the students led in the vanguard by a revolutionary organization ought to be struck. However, we are quite aware that leading elements of the organized student movement in the Homeland are in a marriage of convenience with the Liberian ruling class. To think that an infiltration of these organized organizations will keep the students docile then they have not understood history.
History reminds us that wherever reactionary regimes capture the organized student movement and youth organizations, new forces emerge because nature doesn’t permit a vacuum. It is in this context that radical students organized under the banner of the South African Student Organization (SASO) came forward to take the struggle to a logical conclusion when the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) became extremely reactionary and rotten to the core.
Under such a condition the hirelings and lackeys of the Weah regime could easily retort that there is no rise in the tide of revolutionary consciousness among the people. As such, Weah will serve two terms because former President Sirleaf did so. To them we argue that how come William V.S. Tubman spent 27 years in power, but William R. Tolbert didn’t go twelfth years. Furthermore, we ask them how come Mele Zenawi spent seventeen years as Prime Minister of Ethiopia, but Hailemariam Desalegn lasted for only six years. In short, an understanding of different epoch in the context of time and space will liberate them from such folly.
Poverty was not ordained by God. It was created by man and is the consequences of unequal distribution of the common wealth. To abolish such scourge, man must put his life on the line to struggle against it.
In the celebrated words of Rosa Luxembourg, Liberia faces two options: ‘Socialism or barbarism—there is no third way.’
Kiadii studies Political Science with emphasis in Public Administration at the University of Liberia. He is the Secretary General of the Movement for Social Democratic Alternative (MOSODA). You can reach him through Cell#: +233552176627, or [email protected].