The upheavals in the Middle East and Cote d’Ivoire are exposing government for what it is: administration in the interests of those in power.  And that has little to do with ‘democracy’, which is an idealistic notion anyway. 

In Egypt, the people drove out the autocrat, but are now sitting back and waiting for others of that ilk, to create a “democratic” government.  They have lost the initiative that drove out the oppressor.  They are trying to create a government of the people by proxy; they have handed over power to the army and the remnants of Mubarak’s government and are waiting.  That is the way it goes.  Even in the French Revolution (1789-1799), the people handed over power and opted for so-called democratic government.  The most ‘democratic’ thing about that revolution was the slogan, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” that has echoed down the years. 

 We still shout it today but it is just slogan; it carries no power.  The fact is that we need government because we cannot all rule.  And government really means management.  Now management may incorporate some aspects of “democracy” such as broader consultation but, in general, management means laying down the rules and making sure that people obey them.  That is why we have a police force and an army. There is nothing “democratic” about that.  When we have honest governors (is that possible?), we do not notice the management because we can see it working for our benefit.

But with corrupt government, we see clearly that the governors have interests that have nothing to do with enhancing and developing a society.  In positions of power, they become opportunists and their actions are determined by pernicious self-interest.  Getting rid of the Mubaraks, Gaddafis, Gbagbos does not liberate; it simply brings in new opportunistic managers.  People’s protests and resistance do not lead to good management.  Protests and demonstrations highlight problems but you see how they are dealt with.  The managers’ police force and army are used to quell them.

The sad thing is that we all have a naive belief in and commitment to democracy.  We all play the election game, and talk about power but real power is not in our hands.  Our little vote is for the managers.  But who manages the managers?  Where does real power lie?  Who kept Mubarak, Gaddafi, Gbagbo in power and who is fighting Outarra’s battle while he hides in a hotel?  No, government does not represent the people, it represents big business.

When the people elected Barack Obama as President, they didn’t take this into consideration.  Obama does not seem to have the corporate world behind him. Now with the Libyan problem, this is becoming obvious and Obama appears to be a weak President.  Perhaps Libya is being used as the most potent means to unseat him.  The fight for honest government, is not just a David struggle against Goliath, it is the struggle of David against Godzilla. This is a legacy of nationalisation.