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Ethiopia - The Maoist hallmarks of Melesism

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04/25/08

  07:51:50 pm, by admin, 1620 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Wondemhunegn Ezezew

Ethiopia - The Maoist hallmarks of Melesism

Ethiopia - The Maoist hallmarks of Melesism

By Wondemhunegn Ezezew

“A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.” I chose to start with a quotation from one of the most influential 19th century philosophers and social reformers, John Stuart Mill, whose contributions have also been noticeable in political economy, logic and ethics. It remains in our commonsense that for a party to keep a track of reform and as a result to initiate pragmatically constructive ideas and actions towards the desired outcomes, it will have to be an upshot of thoroughly sieved perspectives and proposals from the various individuals that are directly or indirectly affiliated with the party. When different individuals collide head-on, depending on the ‘mass’ and ‘velocity’ of the colliding subjects, there will be some change in the direction and/or the rate at which they are in motion. Change of direction and speed provide the necessary flexibility and force in expediting the desirable social, economic and political reforms aimed at improving the life of citizens in a country. With a culture in which people are able to give and take, all will behave responsibly knowing that the quality and quantity of their work will determine the degree of their influence and acceptability both inside and outside the party. Accordingly, when people perceive that they have a fair stake that they deserve within their party, they assiduously intensify their efforts to maintain or raise the size of this stake that allows them to have the proper position in relation to their competence and qualification. Hence the entire motion will be driven by a fair competition in which accountability and hard work prevail as the rules of the game. All this would happen with the assumption that all party members are always in motion! What happens when one pulls the wagon and the rest are stationary relative to the wagon being drawn?

I do not claim to be an expert of the law of relativity. Nor do I want to pose some theoretical convolution to the average reader. Instead, I would like to dig up some of the mechanical aspects of Melessism—the political and economic philosophy of the incumbent regime in Ethiopia in which PM Meless is worshiped by many as a godlike hero! Melessism, a sanitized form of Maoism, is built upon a set of doctrines and principles whereby the PM is regarded as the ultimate spring from which all the relevant initiative, wisdom, power, decision and other ingredients of leadership have their roots, the course being multi-dimensional and one-directional.

In parties like, Meless’s TPLF and Mao’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP), one strong man drives the locomotive by adjusting the speed and regulating the fuel supply as a result of which the other vassals on board—unable to co-drive the carriage—risk losing their lives in case the strong man sets the speed inappropriately under a Dutch courage. The road being bumpy and the driver inflexible, the journey gets tremendously precarious for all people both on and off board! The recurrent chaos and division within TPLF (late 1960s, mid 1970s, early 2000s) justify some of the most suicidal accidents associated with this sole driver! Under such circumstances there are no rooms for reform or co-driving.

Maoism and Melessism, although both are leftist philosophical and political outlooks, they differ widely from the orthodox Marxism in the sense that both use Revolutionary Democracy as a tool to liberate the peasantry from feudal exploitations and oppression while Marxism, in contrast, targets factory workers or laborers in general whose blood is sucked to boost the profits and capitals of factory owners. Subsequently, Mao Zedong in the late 1940s and Meless Zenawi in the early 1990s expropriated feudals and nationalized all farm land in their countries in order to give this land to the tiller. This measure constitutes the first and the major Maoist feature of Melessism—the hijacking of the asset that belongs to 80 percent of the population of Ethiopia.

After controlling the land, Mao and Meless came up with new economic policies and strategies intent on harnessing the massive resources they have to the benefit of their most favoured segments of the population, the farmers. It was the Great Leap Forward (GLF) in China and Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI) in Ethiopia both targeting surplus agricultural labour and available arable land. Both leaders promised that they would ensure food self-sufficiency for their peoples within a few years and that agricultural productivity would serve as the springboard for massive industrialization. New technologies and processes, modern farm inputs, technical advisors and cadres were used at various levels in order to raise agricultural productivity. As was the case in China, the government owned media outlets in Ethiopia repeatedly reported news and presented various programmes that informed citizens and foreigners about an increase in agricultural output and the practical viability of ADLI.

In China, communist officials competed against each other to proclaim for the highest yields in a bid to please Mao Zedong that the programme of the Great Leap Forward was successful. The leadership believed the targets to be accurate and used them, rather than actual production figures. As a result of this data forgery and manipulation, not having enough to eat, more than 20 million Chinese lost their lives between 1958 and 1962 and when Mao died in 1976—29 years after his ascension to power-- China remained a starving population. In Ethiopia the local cadres and the Development Agents compete against each other to present the most exciting news to the PM. Each harvest season they report about the improvement of farmers’ productivity and an increase in production while, on average, one million people receive food aid each year. Surprisingly, Meless, like Mao, will step down without being able to live up to his promises. One of the striking features of Melessism, unlike Maoism, is that the former operates under the blanket of free market enterprise and does not exclude foreign handouts. As a result, Meless managed to cover up the failure of ADLI for a longer period of time (1995-2006) as compared to Mao (1958-19962).

Anti-intellectual sentiment is an other common element of Meless and Mao. Mao in the Hundred Flowers Campaign had invited the Chinese intelligentsia to forward their constructive criticisms of policies of the Mao Zedong government. When Mao found the criticisms to be blunt and tougher, he began imposing strict control on freedom of expression by torturing, killing or arresting many intellectuals.Meless, on his behalf, had called on Ethiopian scholars and especially representatives from Addis Ababa University to take part at the conference sponsored by the then OAU and the UNO
for the formation of a Transitional Government. When intellectuals like Pro.Assrat Woldeyes courageously questioned the legitimacy of such meeting to decide on the fate of Eritrea, their protest became the source of their suffering and finally their death. From that moment on Meless deepened his campaign against the educated that were/are critical of his government--firing Lecturers and Professors from their jobs, arresting, killing and illegally imprisoning university students (the mass arrest of over 300 Oromo youngsters at AAU is only a case in point), terrorizing civil servants to win their allegiance, vilifying renowned Ethiopian intellectuals residing abroad who expose the brutality of the regime to the West, persecuting journalists….

Worshiping Mao and Meless as an IDOL and attributing some qualities of irreplaceability to these leaders are the common practices of their associates, both at higher and lower levels of the pyramid. Mao established the Red Guards to assault his political rivals and to impose himself as the all-powerful figure in Chinese politics.People, terrorized, had no option but accept Mao as the infallible! Meless also brought AGAZI in order to whack those who tend to challenge his leadership and to impose himself as the uncontested! This worship reached its apex when these worshipers tell us that he should not step down in 2010 claiming that there is no one like him to replace him!

As Mao Zedong was revered like the Greek Zeus or the Roman Jupiter, his subordinates and his people were encouraged to recite Mao’s Little Red Book (the Quotation of Chairman) as the Psalms of David. Young Chinese were so highly influenced by Mao’s thoughts that they recklessly destroyed temples, arts, traditional relics and other legacies they considered “old”. None of them wanted to be convinced of the fact that the past would be of some use for the present and the future.Meless, like Mao, brought his own Cultural Revolution and has been making every effort to indoctrinate the young to “smash the four olds”: Ethiopianism, History, Unity and National Interest in line with Mao’s “four olds” of ideas, habit, culture and customs. Although Mao is criticized for his mistakes in the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, every Chinese praises him for his contributions in the resistance against Japan (in the 1930s before CCP defeated the Kuomintang) and for his vision to build an economically and militarily strong China. While Mao decided to defend China by allying with the central government, the worse “Ethiopian Mao” recognizes the illegal break-away of Eritrea and collaborates with BANDAS to make his country landlocked.

With ADLI plummeting into a disastrous botch, the anti-intellectual stance reaching its climax, pride in ETHIOPIANISM never flashing even once since the Dedebit Intrigue, Ethiopia’s national interests deliberately and iteratively compromised(from Assab to Humera-Matama-Benishangul Gumuz),Ethiopia’s Unity systematically debilitated through the divide and rule philosophy of ethnic federalism, what are the positive things to praise PM Meless Zenawi? It saddens me that Melessism works more cataclysmically in Ethiopia than did Maoism in China.

2 comments

Comment from: hr 2004 [Visitor]
hr 2004

i didn’t read it all.it was to long i am just commenting for the seak of commeting. it doesn’t matter any way it is always the same blaming the goverment for no reason.

04/27/08 @ 14:31
Comment from: Asmamaw [Visitor]
Asmamaw

He writes” Subsequently, Mao Zedong in the late 1940s and Meless Zenawi in the early 1990s expropriated feudals and nationalized all farm land in their countries in order to give this land to the tiller.”

I am not sure who nationalised land in Ethiopia: Derge or Melese?

Plz check your facts.

04/28/08 @ 12:56

rebtel

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