Socio-economic contradictions can come fast and furious. And just as they can bring about progress, in the same way, they can throw us back for many years. In other words, inherently, socio-economic contradictions should not be viewed in a totally negative or positive light.
Take for instance, after five years in government the PNC is back in opposition, conversely, after five years in opposition the PPP/C is back in Government. One event negated the other. Some call it the negation of the negation or dialectics.
The contradictory social, political and economic policies of the PNC while in government, created the conditions for its removal from office and the return of the opposition PPP/C to government.
Were these developments inevitable or did they come about as a result of a politically engineered or a personally motivated desire that coincided with the political aspirations of the then parliamentary opposition exemplified by the decisive yes vote by Charrandass Persaud?
Contradictory as it may seem, a more acceptable proposition would be to recognize the Charrandass vote as an act that was politically motivated on the one hand, and coincided with the political aspirations of the PPP/C, on the other.
Here we had a sitting MP on government benches voting in favour of an opposition-sponsored no confidence motion to bring down the government he supported.
Charrandass’ yes vote may have appeared contradictory, nevertheless it was politically advantageous to the parliamentary opposition. That contradictory situation gave birth to a new government. The lesson here is that inherent in every contradiction there is a possibility for change in one direction or another.
During the 1964-1985 period in Guyana, long before Fukuyama’s ‘End of History…’publication ( I will leave his ‘Last Man’ for another time), many Guyanese held the view that it was impossible to remove Burnham from office. So strong was that view that many Guyanese either voted with their feet or succumbed to the view that ‘if you can’t beat them join them.’
That view has returned once again. This time with the PPP/C in office. The popular view making the rounds is that with oil money at its disposal the PPP/C is here to stay. Is this the end of history framed in a Guyanese context? Experience has taught us otherwise.
This begs the question: Was the rule of the PNC during the 1964-1985 and the 2015 to 2020 periods aberrations of, or a departure from what was supposed to be ‘the normal course of things’ in our day to day lives? After all, had it not been for rigged elections and foreign interventions, the PPP would have remained in office to this day.
Some would argue that this is clearly contradictory when placed in the context of a parliamentary democracy.
Was this what Fukuyama meant as the ‘end of history’ in a Guyanese context?
And what about the contradictory situation where a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Myanmar was summoned before the International Court of Justice to face charges for complicity in the massacre of Rohingya people? The United States, one of the richest countries in the world is unable bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, How come? What about the South African experience in the post Mandela era where a former President and now the General Secretary of the ruling ANC faces corruption charges? And what about oil rich Nigeria yet applying for a loan to address the COVID-19 pandemic? And in Peru politicians facing charges of corruption have clashed with the institutions of democracy.
When was history supposed to begin and end in these countries?
And whither China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam, has history come to an end in those countries? Do these countries have further to go insofar as their model of socio-economic development is concerned? Are the developmental paths they have chosen contradictory to, aberrations of and departures from the prevailing global dispensation? Have they reached the end of history insofar as their chosen developmental paths are concerned?
Contradictions by their very nature throw up their own contradictions. Out of one contradiction can spring thousands of other contradictions.
Recent political developments in Guyana, the USA, Armenia and Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) are good examples that show how political events can go another way.
Democracy has a way of turning itself inside out or upside down. History has demonstrated occasions where people tend to follow those who tend to undermine democracy but in the end democracy emerges from contradictory circumstances and the will of the people prevails.
Clement J. Rohee