The politics of toothpaste – UkraineMarch 10, 2014
There are a few things that should ideally occur once a society has gone through a major political, societal and violent upheaval in pursuit of a genuine transition toward democracy. Transition is a time of hope, fear, weakness and strength for many. It is also a time of opportunity for some and diminishing returns for others.
In the case of Ukraine, despite a so called “national unity government” – there is nothing of the sort. It is a misnomer. It consists of only 2 of 5 political parties represented in the current parliament.
One of the golden rules of managing conflict in the shortest of terms is to create an atmosphere of political compromise. One in which the previous ruling group are not entirely unrepresented in power. Their supporters must feel they have some representation at the highest levels and by extension feel somewhat safer than if completely removed after serious upheaval. A situation that is undoubtedly lacking in Ukraine – and unnecessarily fueled by stupidity of the highest order on occasion.
A situation now being exploited by The Kremlin that was unnecessarily created.
After such major political and societal upheaval, a coalition containing the more extreme parties at the expense of those in the middle ground creates a kind of polarised pluralism that inevitably draws the centre much further to the right – or left – to accommodate others and hold any coalition together. Ultimately this is neither stable nor sustainable.
In short, there is a very real threat that society will be subjected to a centrifugal political force that will cause it to embrace or repel (with equal vigor) the more extreme positions of any such leadership – just as squeezing a tube of toothpaste in the middle – everything is forced to the left or right, leaving nothing in the centre.
That said, there is an absolute need to allow the extremes into the political discourse – on the proviso that it participates entirely within the parameters of the law, affiliated to no entities that operate outside.
Regular readers will know I have absolutely no fondness for either the extremes of fascism nor communism. Both cancerous ideals, ultimately retarding for political, economic and societal growth.
The announcement by “Right Sector” and their leader Dmytro Yarosh to run for the Ukrainian presidency must therefore be welcomed should it signal an absolute halt to the methods employed – perhaps necessarily – during the violent and bloody last days of the Yanukovych presidency.
According to Andriy Tarasenko, chairperson of Right Sector, “No power restart has occurred, there was only a change of names of government offices. Right Sector has decided to resort to politics because we have no intention to fight with those politicians who stood with us on Maidan.
People who are currently in power were standing next to us at the barricades, thus, it does not make sense to fight against them with revolutionary methods.” – Nothing there I disagree with whatsoever. The names have changed, the system has not – and it is systemic change that is absolutely necessary.
However, the Right Sector announcement is encouraging as it indicates quite clearly that the squeeze on the toothpaste tube will be coming from the end, forcing everything to and through the centre – Agendas and manifestos, winners and losers legitimised solely through the ballot box – Just the way it should be!