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Eureka: An air-conditioner side chat on new politics
by Joseph Gatt
2018-07-09 06:59:58
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In 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy got elected French president. He immediately started bashing petty criminals from impoverished suburbs, often descendents of Muslim and African immigrants. The other side of the coin is cash from donors for his party, mostly Parisians fed up with immigrant crime, came pouring into his party, the UMP.

polit01_400When, in revenge fashion, the Social Party won the presidential and legislative elections in France in 2012, there were twelve full months of hooplah around a tiny bill on the legalization of gay marriage. What the story does not say is that LGBT groups, who had started organizing in the late 1980s during the AIDS scare, had hundreds of thousands of members and that funds, either in the forms of membership fees to the Socialist party or donations, came pouring in from LGBT groups to the Socialist party. On a side note, when I was a university student in France, the largest organization was a socialist student union, followed closely by Anarchist movements, and, then, wait for it, the LGBT union.

There are examples like these by the hundreds. When a political party visits a Mosque and praises Islam for being a beacon of light on the nation, Muslims flock to political parties either to become members, make small donations or volunteer during political campaigns. When there's a Black leader, Black organizations, workers, students, Churches and families flock to the Black leader's political party, and so does their money flow in the form of donations, membership fees, memorabilia, free space to conduct political meetings, and thousands of volunteers to help with the political campaign. In the case of Black leaders it tends to be not just the Black community that gets involved, but anyone with sympathies for Black movements or organizations.

France used to have large labor unions because the country's main employers were large French multinational factories and the government itself. France is famous for employing more teachers per capita than any other country in the world. France also has more public servants per capita than any country you can think of. When Sarkozy, and Chirac before him, decided to reduce public servants, teachers in the name of giving the army more funds, they were just stripping the socialist party of potential funds.

You don't want to hire people who will fund other parties. When Sarkozy invited over hundreds of foreign multinationals to do business, he knows that labor unions won't exist at Samsung or Hwawei, or at Johnson and Johnson's for that matter, and he is thus stripping the Socialist Party more funds. Socialist President François Hollande took his revenge by overhiring teachers and public servants to the point of saturation in public offices and schools.

Given the shortage of labor in some areas, some Socialist ministers thought about inviting foreign workers to the country, but foreign workers can't fund political parties or participate in political life, so what's the point? Hollande soon got caught up with the reality of wars and had to do away with the over-hiring of public servants, and his behavior, including allegedly calling poor people “people without teeth” led many to become apathetic to political life.

The French example is one of many examples. So what has become of political life? Of course any serious politician will legislate around the best ways to get people to donate and help directly gain more votes. That is not the case in all countries, but in most countries. So in this air-conditioner side chat I'll discuss new politics in North America, in Europe, in East Asia, in the Middle East, in Latin America and finally in South and Southeast Asia. Each system works a little differently, but the economic and social realities all have something to do with it.

North America

Up until recently, politics in North America was mostly rich landlords competing against labor workers. Then you had women join the equation in the 1950s, and every time women became more visible in politics women's organizations made general financial contributions to political parties. It took a lot of time before women's organizations were big enough and had sufficient funds to help political organizations, and they started small in the 1950s. In the 1970s Roe vs. Wade and the legalization of abortion was a token gesture of sorts toward women's organizations who had long asked for the right to have abortions. Then women's organizations grew larger and you had a woman candidate for vice-president in 1984 and again in 2008, before there Hilary Clinton was candidate in 2016. It's all, partly, about getting women to donate, participate in political campaigns and join the grassroots movement to help the campaign. Another point, and let me be a little politically incorrect, is that the media landscape has been increasingly dominated by women, often pretty ones, who have joined men in prime-time television slots, including news anchors, television shows, sit-coms and talk shows. The Dick Cavetts, Johnny Carsons, Jay Lenos and David Lettermans all have had their female talk show versions since the late 1980s in the forms of Oprahs, Tyra Banks, Wendy Williams, Ellens and many others.

Then college students came along in the political process and their student organizations started racking up funds and being attractice to political parties. Students tend to have more time, thus students have time to follow political events, and student organizations have cash and time to donate to political organizations. That's when you have the Ron Pauls and Bernie Sanders mainly, but not exclusively, catering to students. Anti-war rhetoric is attractive among peace loving students, and any candidate who claims he opposes wars and a big army will be popular among students. Students also count the loudest LGBT movements among them, and LGBT legislation is really only a way to get more students to donate funds. Anyone who repeals Roe vs. Wade is not getting money from feminist organizations, and anyone who repeals gay marriage is not getting money from student organizations.

It's not just money though. Big banks, large corporations and financial organizations all make up the largest donors in North American politics. But in politics you also need a team of volunteers to go door to door, give speeches, fundraise and help win votes. Social media is a big game changer, and it's true that younger populations are spending an increasing number of hours behind their screens, but there is still a number of people who interact, go to pubs, or stay home and wait for someone to come tallk to them. Finally, voting not being mandatory in North America, the main idea is to get people to convince other people to go vote.


Europe is an interesting case in point. Ever since the great recession, the trend has been to appoint politicians who like to wear jeans, avoid shaving, are enrolled in graduate school programs and fly low cast carriers in civilian flights to international conventions. This of course is to cater to an increasing number of people who rely on the welfare system and don't have time or opportunities to shave or wear suits. Emmanuel Macron's election in France was the symbol of a generation of French workers who constantly get rejected from jobs because they “lack experience” despite having degrees and qualifications. France's En Marche movement is that of a group of French people who are educated, yet struggle with stable employment, a break from political life where an educated elite spent their long careers in the political system.

Unlike North America big donors are not allowed in the political system and most political parties rely on party membership fees and small donations. This means European politicians have to cater to every changing political trends. First, there were moved to attract naturalized immigrants into the political system. There was then a move to attract business school graduates and LGBT members into politics. Then it was students with little or no experience in the political world. Whatever the demographics, those are the people political parties will be vying. The problem is while until the 2010s experience and intellect were very important in the political world in Europe and most visible politicians were a mixture of experienced and well-read politicians, a trend since about 2010 is I want to cover my eyes and face when I hear some of those politicians talk complete nonesense and be incapable of handling a television or radio interview.

East Asia

China, Japan, Korea, politicians as 5-star General-CEOs of Japan, China, Korea inc. Very briefly, East Asia has two features to its political system: it is militarized and business-oriented. That's right, Ban Ki Moon militarized the United Nations and made it a business-oriented organization. You can call that Confucian leadership if you want to, but that's like calling weed-loving hipsters “Buddhists.”

In China, Japan and Korea politicians are at the helm of very carefully and minutely structured organizations, very hierarchical, with levels or ranks in the political system just like in the army. That is you'll have the “general” (level 1) then the colonel (level 2) until the sergeant (level 8) and the officer (level 9). Politicians in East Asia take care of GDP growth and little else, the rest is placing their soldiers (public officials) on the battle field. Just like in the army, you have to wear your uniform (your suit) talking back is a capital offense (you will be publicly fired) and politics is a 9 to 5 job where being 5 minutes late is a serious offense, and where you can be prosecuted for desertion or unauthorized leave. As for funding, political parties don't need that, taxes fund the political system. Elections? They're just a joke, except in South Korea, where representation is more or less regional. 

The Middle East, Latin America and South Asia

In these areas, the General and the sub-titles, along with the oligarchy. In the Middle East politics are a bit of a joke. The President tends to be an army general chosen by a group of import oligarchs and high ranking army officials who work closely with import oligarchs. The president mainly presides over “sensitive issues” which tend to be financial scandals among the oligarchs and mafia involvement. When a political party does gain ground, it tends to be founded by para-military organizations who form a strong military, so strong that they can cause enough fear to be accepted as a political orgnaization. Some Latin American countries have Conservative and Liberal parties, but that are really both chosen by the import oligarchy, along with the raw material oligarchy.

Solving problems is not on the minds of many politicians, and as I said the main concern is solving financial problems that the oligarchy might have. Some go rogue, that is lose so much money that they decide to acquire nuclear weapons and the like.


Politics is very different depending on where you live. In Europe and North America, it tends to be political parties fighting for the money and help of party members who can help win elections. The system is not a bad system, except that politicians really focus about image and advertising, along with tokens, when they should really focus on economic growth and helping the country move forward econmically while preserving the security of the country. There's a lot more to it, but I'll save it for another day.

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