We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.
– Louis Brandeis
Wealth begets power, which begets more wealth.
– Joseph Stiglitz
In the United States, thinking Americans are beginning to understand what happened in the 2016 presidential campaign and election. The Republican Party, which has stood for the interests of the wealthy class in modern American politics, was hijacked by a super-rich element with an extremist agenda. Donald Trump is the face and voice of that agenda, but there are controllers behind the scenes who are not interested in personal publicity and shun the limelight.
Those who financed and control Donald Trump consider themselves “libertarians.” They believe that the only real purpose of government is to protect the individual’s right to property. They believe the smaller the federal government is, the better. The ideal, as far as the libertarians are concerned, is for all the social welfare programs which originated in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society (Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s and Johnson in the 1960s were both Democratic Party presidents) for the protection and benefit of America’s poor and middle classes, should be dismantled. The libertarians believe in an imperial, aggressive America with a Darwinian mentality, which is to say, only the strong survive.
Theoretically and ideologically, such an agenda should be considered a hostile one by the white working and middle classes. But, it was and is not so considered, because the libertarians, in the person of Donald Trump, appealed to the white base’s racism and xenophobia.
The libertarians’ view of America’s role and destiny does not represent a completely new American consciousness. When Trump speaks of making America great again, what his controllers are remembering with nostalgia is how their European ancestors seized the continental United States from the Native Americans and the Mexican republic in the nineteenth century, and then built a militarized economy based on manufacturing, industry, and a focus on profits ahead of environmental concerns in the twentieth. The libertarians consider the civil rights and pro-women legislations of the 1960s to be acts of weakness on the part of the United States federal government.
Clearly, at least in the opinion of this newspaper, the libertarians’ views are at odds with the New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ, but libertarians are cynical and sophisticated politically, besides being financed by the absolutely wealthiest class of American multimillionaires and billionaires. These anti-Christ people are financial sponsors of all the evangelical Christian churches which have penetrated Latin America and the Caribbean, and which support forms of government in Third World countries which open the doors to American corporations, investors and tourists. The libertarians want governments in Central America which do not concern themselves with the plight of their countries’ poor masses. This type of government, as practiced by Ubico and the other Guatemalan military dictators, by the Somozas in Nicaragua, and the various military regimes in Honduras, waves the flag of anti-communism and preaches Christianity. This was the type of government in Porfirio Diaz’s Mexico before the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
Whatever their faults, once Philip Goldson became the Leader of the National Independence Party (NIP) in 1961, it meant that both the major political parties of Belize – the then ruling People’s United Party (PUP) and the NIP had social justice agendas, Mr. Goldson having been one of the founders of the PUP in 1950 and a former officer of the General Workers Union (GWU).
In retrospect, it may be said that Mr. Goldson’s NIP was hijacked by the neoliberal United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1973. And the PUP’s neoliberal turn in the middle 1980s was facilitated by the PUP’s, dismantling of the more militant labor unions, unions which had, ironically, saved the PUP’s skin in 1979. Under pressure from Ronald Reagan’s Washington, Rt. Hon. George Price had to break the power of the more militant union leaders in order for the American government to support Belize’s independence in 1981.
Tiny Belize fought long and hard, from 1950 to 1981, to achieve self-rule, but now our sovereignty is imperiled by near bankruptcy (not to mention the Guatemalan claim). Successive PUP and UDP governments since 1998 have borrowed and spent billions on investor-facilitating infrastructure and imported consumer goods. Almost nothing has been spent on indigenous human development here over the past two decades, so what we have seen take shape is a new Belize. The new Belize is comprised of a foreign immigrant business and investor class and a foreign immigrant labor force.
For us at this newspaper, grounded as we have been in roots sports over the last four and a half decades, the classic scenario where the old Belize prostrated itself in front of the new Belize occurred when the pathetic old Belize, as represented by the caretakers of the MCC Garden, sold some of the MCC’s vital space to the new Belize, as represented by the Princess Casino. The casino built a paved new parking lot inside the Garden: next to the parking lot, the playing surface of the once immaculate Garden is filled with holes, bumps, and dust spots, the result of more than a decade of abuse and violation by both the national and municipal governments of the ruling UDP.
The most bitter symbolism of the new Belize ruined this nation’s Easter weekend in 2016. Two Guatemalan brothers rode in side by side, uncontested, to claim the prizes in Belize’s greatest sporting event – the Holy Saturday Crosscountry.
Our situation is far gone. They say hope springs eternal, but we fear we are asking too much of Belize’s teachers if we expect them to lead us out of this bondage on their own. Belize has been sold out by politicians who felt it had to be this way – the way of prostitution. Our politicians had to feel this way because we, the Belizean people, demanded cash payment from them in order to give them our vote. We made a whore of our own democracy. This is the new Belize.