Friday, March 05, 2010

players' democracy

the objective of politics in turkey is to get a firm grip on the state as the seat of power and not relinquish it again. the latter is usually accomplished through deep rooted planting of confederates in the bureaucracy and in the longer run, by tilting the biases in the education system to favor you.

under the thoroughly anomalous "normal" system of politicking in turkey, supplication to the armed forces used to be one tested method of not falling too far from the avatars and pundits and hence, the perks of puissance. never was a government in the last 60 years that practically encouraged the rise or self nourishment of a capitalist (1) class structure upon which power could be perpetuated. during their rule, each party breast fed a group of cohorts, supporters and/or sympathizers to affluence, many of whom, like a match flare, burned out once their benefactors left government(2).

thus, an alternative social force to state power was never able to raise its head within an autonomous social sphere. the entire system, from economics to national interests, to cultural preferences and even to morals, was shaped according to state and government priorities.

social life was thus "officialized", hence also the individual and his way(s) of mind...

according to some, the latest surge by tayyib efendi, rosy & co. to effect the supposed ouster of the military from the circle of influence represents a "revolutionary" shift from the classical tradition of politics and a big step toward democratization (3).

i object - not only because the character-type epitomized by tayyib efendi, rosy & co. is incommensurate with emancipatory dissent (4) but also for the simple reason that there exist no such social forces to base a healthy democracy on. considering that such social forces need also to span a diverse cross section of the demos and be fairly audible and most importantly, audible while speaking through their own voice rather than hitching up to the governmet's orchestra as a chorus; the basic tenets of a pluralistic democracy especially one capable of dissension are totally missing. for whatever they count, foci of political oppsition and resistance are paramiltarily organized pockets of despotisms themselves.

history offers its parallels not in straight lines but in the as arrows through spatial geometry: in ottoman times, "intellectually bolstered" debates rationalizing power struggles among rivaling factions of pashas in the palace; biting each other's head off vying for the sultan's favors - heads literally rolled rather often, too. still the main element missing was the demos; which would elevate the populace from a mob into a force with its own structured and diversified demands relevant to fairly crystallized interests and the means, including force, to access the machinations of the political system.

tayyib efendi, rosy & co. seem only set to establish a system that consolidates power in and within the executive branch. the legislative, true to the nature of parlşiamentary democracies and particularly the bizarre nature of the turkish party system which empowers the leader with enough spunk befitting a dictator, is already totally dependent on the prime minister's whims; whomever he may be (5). now, the same legislative and the president who is the head of the executive, will be appointing two thirds of the country's highest judiciary bodies, if the constitutional changes envisaged by tayyib efendi, rosy & co. can take effect. if so, they will be able to play the judiciary around their fingers (6), and be just as powerful as the sultans whose word used to be the law and was unchallengeable (7).

tayyib efendi, rosy and co. seem intent to institute a "patrimonial (8) regime",where politics, as it used to be in absolutism, is a closed-circuit game only for those included in the decision making process: a players' democracy where once the ballot is in, anybody but the élite players can only sit back and watch. this kind of politics which nevertheless derives its legitimacy from some sort of public vote affords the players a near absoulte latitude (9).

according to the potents and pundits, parliamentary selection of high judges will reflect the "nation's will" onto the judiciary. actually, the justice system exists less - if at all - to represent the public in numbers but safeguard (10) its express wills through the supervision of the way the laws passed by parliaments are respected in practice, not only by the public but alos by their elected administrators.

but then again, it all comes down to the askew, skewered political system of turkey.
the gist of the matter is dissembling the absolute power of the state apparatus in a manner that it cannot concentrate again on any certain focus, be it the clergy, religious sects, bureaucrats, labor unions, business, etc., but is distributed through a state-of-law to the entire community and to each individual, favoring the demos.

upon which, more is to come later...

(1) thence, a labor
(2) of course, some mainstay businesses and businessmen/families were always upheld as conduits to the world-economy, because without them, the state-heavy system would be in jeopardy, too. however, this qualifies more as "wealth generation" than the existence of a true capitalist social - historical system
(3) i am not so naive to believe that the current effort to castrate the military's political virility can produce a decisive shift in the balance of power. not only the "will of the nation" behind tayyib efendi, rosy & co. is rather inconclusive in its attitude toward a non-custodian military, the akp’s social base is more slippery than it ever was. indeed, tayyib efendi, rosy & co. owe their preponderance less to their own prowess than the total disability of the current political opposition and the absence of an alternative. the prosecution of well respected generals with rather unsatisfactory cases in a kangaroo court manner raises the possibility of mass acquittals; which would not only countermand current their mass arrests but also would clear the military in the eyes of the public of any wrong doing. even in chile where the public is far better versed in democratic traditions, the stamp of augusto pinochet is still carried by his lingering specter.
(4) the akp represents the political movement of a social segment that has been denied state privileges since the 17th century and has thus been able to develop into a social demand organized around a conservative rhetoric with pronounced islamic intonations rather than a class, using the marxist lexicon, "of and/or for itself". therefore, their demands. although claiming to change society prioritizes enlarging their lebensraum by appropriating state instruments, rather than providing liberal space to society by curbing the might of the state.
(5)for fairness's sake i have to note that any supposedly "potential" pm, i.e., the leader of even the smallest political party is still afflicted with the same disease caused and abated by the current laws that are the ill legacy of the last military junta of 1980.
(6) the legislative and executive practically "appointing" judges is no less similar and more reasonable than allowing high court justices automatically being named parliament or cabinet members. except, that way parliament is not liekly to be an "assembly of judges" or a "cabinet of magistrates", whereas this way, the absolute power of a prime minister controlling all three estates will resemble the arbitrary might of a charlemagne...
(7) even then, the sultans, if so they wished, would feel bound by the laws they and their ancestors issued.
(8) from maxweber, a society where the chief exercizes his near total authority through an élite administrator class as opposed to patriarchalism where his athority is personal as paternal.
(9) order and cohesion in such societies are based on authority and hierarchies rather than a covenant and contract and wherever or whenever authority becomes lax, anomies is ever present. power hirearchies and their illegal - illegitimate projections or extensions are exempt from laws to varying degrees therefore the man on the street is often crushed under the weight of laws as well as lawlesness.
contemporary examples are limited to the third world, of course: russia, malaysia, iran; etc., where elections decide who the next tyrants will be and rule without really being bound by any norms except the basic and brutest rules of power.
(10) that is why the only logical and just way of picking justices for any and each level of courts of law is to devise a method whereby they are elected by other judges and jurists; i.e., organizations representing public and private attorneys at law.

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