Dissent usually signals polite reservation. It invokes the need for reflective analysis on important matters that seem to be neglected by the prevailing established discourse. Pronounced dissent is a peaceful, yet powerful supplication, to bring about caution to actions/activities that have lost or beginning to lose their ways. Its general ethos is to sternly warn the stagnated and overwhelmingly conventional status quo. It is a determined force of ideas challenging assumptions no longer valid. Even though dissent is essentially a disagreement, its decorum is to conduct frank discussion with a view to come up with a better understanding of things, with the hope of resolving them. At the end of the day, what rigid interlocutors seem to forget is; dissent is, by and large, a protracted argument based on seasoned reflections and pragmatically evolved considered opinions!
Why then is dissent so hated, especially by functionaries and politicos? Dissent is mostly reasonable and advocates for gradual change. Nonetheless, entrenched zombies of rigidly set up entities, like political parties, tend to have no respect for protracted and systemic criticism or dissent in short. For the most part, dissent doesn’t want to rock the boat abruptly and completely, so to speak. In fact, the motto of dissent is: ‘if it is not broken, don’ fix it’! Dramatic fissure or rupture on the account of dissent happens only after everything has failed. In such scenarios, it is always intransigent individuals who tend to play dominant roles in the unfolding altercations. Such approaches shut down rational discourse and opens up the blame game. Attacking the messenger and not the message is the way out for the usual simpletons. Simpletons, like idiotic party goons, assume, dissent will just go away if dissidents are eliminated from the scene. Herein lies one of the main problems of rigidly organized entities!
Rigidity is weakness. Rigidity is a fragile set up that will break down when confronted with the slightest challenging perturbation. As dissent within societal context continues to be ignored by the power that be, critical individuals/entities who have been advocating for gradual change will be forced to give up. Some dissidents will abandon all engagements, while others might gear up for resistance. At the same time, those who have no respect for dissent will continue to grind their axes. To such cretins, their targets are not the ideas behind dissent, but the dissidents themselves! They try to battle it out with the messengers rather than the message! Currently, concerned citizens of the world are trying their best to warn and enlighten the global status quo about its misguided ways. The various concoctions of the world system have become absolutely unsustainable and very polarizing for harmonious collective existence. See Smith’s articles next column. So far, the reaction from entrenched interests is to ignore dissent. Here is an interesting example of dissent and the studied reactions of entrenched interests.
The British Labor Party has come out with its new manifesto. The following is its conclusion. Britain has been under the strict regime of neoliberalism since the late 1970s. In fact, it was the vanguard neoliberal state in the west, along with the USA. Privatization, liberalization, deregulation, austerity, etc., became its obsession. In other words, all of the sheeple’s (human mass) interests were undermined consciously and systemically in favor of crony capitalism. After four decades of experimentation the jury is in with the verdict. As far as the British mass is concerned, the experience has been an unmitigated disaster. The privatized entities were stripped of their productive assets and were neglected to the detriment of public safety. The owners saddled the privatized enterprises with massive debts and promptly abandoned them. At the end of the day, the British state had to come back to the picture and inject a whole lot of capital to revive or at least maintain basic services that are needed by the public. The Labor party’s election platform is now, unashamedly; the nationalization of the rail system, energy, water, etc., etc. Those who have been dissenting for decades were ignored and are now classified as bogeymen trying to destroy Britain. While the parasitic elites who actually destroyed the public sector (of the economy) were let go, scot-free! Leading to this week’s general election, the parasites and their accomplices continue to demonize the Labor leader. What the narrow-minded elites don’t get is this; the British (majority) have already decided to go it alone, (against the interests of the oligarchy) as was indicated by their Brexit vote, which is essentially a vote against Brussels’ (EU) bureaucracy. See the articles on pages 38.
In Ethiopia, many critical observers (literally) begged the ruling party leadership to give some space to dissent and dissenters. Initially and as usual, the general dissent was very constructive and non-threatening. However, those whose understanding of societal complexity was shallow were determined to have it only their way. All reflections coming from outside were regarded as existential threat to the status quo. We admit, the vanguard party within the EPRDF coalition had to endure a major split that left it intellectually barren and morally bankrupt. These shortcomings became very pronounced after the death of its leader, Meles Zenawi. After his passing, it was mostly crooks and goons that took over the task of political governance across the country. Bringing back morality, probity, decency and intellectual vigor became an uphill battle within the ruling party. Result: a Mafiosi State. Party connected oligarchs stole and monopolized the crown jewels of the modern economy. The bureaucracy became an entity whose main purpose was to cater for the criminally inclined, at the expense of the interests of the large majority of the people. Civil society organizations were disallowed to operate according to their public prerogatives. The peasants, Ethiopia’s majority, were put in the shackles of destructive ethnicism. As dissent became a crime, dissidents were promptly classified as criminals. The rest; as they say, is history! Maybe the elders of EPRDF foolishly believed the teaching of the following vile: “How lucky it is for rulers that men cannot think.” Adolf Hitler. Good Day!