When the Dictators Go : What Next?

Roy Ratcliffe casts his thoughts wider as the turbulence  continues across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ben Ali and Mubarak have been ousted and Gaddafi, after unleashing more savage dogs of war against his own people, looks set to suffer the same fate. Yemen and Bahrain are just a little further down the queue of hitherto patient sufferers of western supported dictators. The coalition of popular forces, in the Arab world which mobilised themselves to oust these nepotistic despots, now seriously face the question of what they want next. To a large extent the issue they united upon – to be rid of their political elites – was agreement on what they didn’t want. Millions clearly didn’t want authoritarian regimes backed by sufficient western supplied and trained military and police forces to ensure their stranglehold on wealth and power was permanent. However, when these (and other) regimes have departed the question arises as to what socio-economic system is to be put in its place. A core of the aspirations which the youth initiators of the original rebellions and uprisings, were for well-paid jobs, decent housing, reasonable food costs, satisfactory welfare provision, universally available, and uncorrupted public services. These are aspirations which strike a chord with more than just the poorly paid and unemployed and resonates with many sectors of the population. To get rid of the dictators, a united and resilient uprising was necessary, but will huge street demonstrations be sufficient to deliver the core aspirations of all citizens? I doubt it. Under the present system, two huge problems are likely to stand full square in their way. First; the uncertainty which follows from a popular uprising or from a radical change to any political regime. Second; the present global economic and financial crisis of capitalism.

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Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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