Liberia: a note to a government minister
Alfred P. B. Kiadii
Author’s note: this piece was written by me to a government minister in my country who sent a note to me with the usual suspicions, misrepresentations, and distortions about our struggle. For matter of confidentiality, I will not indicate the name of the person to whom I wrote this piece. Notwithstanding, the content is relevant for all progressive social forces and the masses of the people as we agitate for social transformation in the homeland and to change every contested and enemy zone to a liberated zone, where the masses of the people will nip in the bud the menace of imperialism along with its local allies of the comprador stooges.
Dear Mr. Minister,
Hope this message resonates with you, as I initially took the liberty to not respond to you for some obvious reasons which I will state later in the main body of this prose. However, I walked back on my word, as I thought it is befitting to address myself to the issues raised in the correspondence you sent me, as it is not a dishonour for a mind which is constantly in combat to correct certain flaws and get rid of the cloud of uncertainty about his sacrifices, sufferings and agitations in the service of the Liberian people and his unshakable passion for the African revolution which will deal a mortal blow to the scandalous forces of imperialism and its neo-colonial quislings in the different countries of our Continent.
Frankly, coming from a revolutionary tradition of progressive social forces, scholar-activists and revolutionary radicals— all of whom divested themselves of the egoist and self-aggrandizing posturing of the petit-bourgeois type, I don’t take kindly to your effusive praise bestowed on me, which is outlandishly exaggerated—meant to swell my head, flatter, and placate me into your rhetorical seduction. I never define my struggle through the prism of mis-identities imposed upon me by the enemies of Africa and its neo-colonial lackeys. I have always said the modest role I play in this glorious endeavour of struggling for the total liberation of the Continent and my homeland is neither a search for the spotlight, visibility nor celebrity status. I take to this task hoping that the modest role I play will be appreciated by the people and others who come forward to take the torch from where we stopped to run the race to a logical conclusion.
People who are lust after power, privilege and money are elements that seek praises, awards and commendations from others as a form of endorsement or validation to cover their contradictions, moral weakness, ideological bankruptcy and corrupt character, thinking that getting appraisals and accolades would compensate for their character deficiency and low self-esteem. These persons are inadequate and chronically infested with the individualistic streak because for them your worth is defined by how many praises, accolades and dishonourable honours you get through dubious manoeuvres.
Thus, I would categorically say to you that men who genuinely put their lives in the struggle don’t set out to struggle because they want to attain celebrity status or win awards. They leave that for the rancid petit-bourgeois dilettantes and reactionary weaklings who hold the slanted thought that one can mask and embellish his/her reactionary proclivities and sordid character by grabbing awards upon awards that are deceitful and not worth the papers they are printed on. Progressive social forces struggle because history has imposed certain obligations on them and as such they must carry on their historical mission against forces—both home and abroad—who are conniving and contriving and are against all attempts by the African people and the Liberian masses to master their own destiny and assert their right to self-reliance, self-determination and social emancipation.
It is a tragedy that somebody like me who has got a little education and eloquence will always have a space to excel in a backward society such as ours when I vent my modest opinion in the discourse of the polity and capitulate to the nasty camp of sycophancy, opportunism and crude individualism. Liberia, like all backward societies, where the political class is a running dog of neo-colonial capitalism, elements who are politically savvy and verbally boisterous always excel and obtain jobs to take care of themselves and their families, dashing the cause of the poverty-stricken masses and endorsing that their lot is poverty, stagnation and mystery.
Gentrification, material opulence and opportunity to excel in such constricted and enclave economy don’t move me a single bit, as those who decide to fight for noble causes have always emancipated themselves from the obsession with private property accumulation and wealth by means that are genocidal or illegal. Such persons in the noble cause of the struggle toe the revolutionary line, because they have a sense of history, knowing full well that a society which cares for a handful of social parasites and thus leaves the mass majority on the margins is a society which is on the brink of implosion, a symptom of a dying civilization, and a space which has not found direction.
Struggling for material splendour for the Liberian masses is our historical responsibility. Popular demand for the social transformation of the homeland and the total liberation of the African masses from the clutches of imperialist domination and its false bourgeoisie of the comprador stratum that is the parasitic appendix of the former, is our leitmotif. Political transformation zonked in popular participation and genuine democracy where democracy will not be the sobriquet of conducting regular elections but economic power to the people—not through some sort of improvisation but a wholesale and deliberate process to deal with the rentier speculators, slothfulness, and the contradictions in production.
On the matter of your enumeration of things you think are polarizing the society—hatred and resentment are rather the by-products generated as a result of the contradiction in the way wealth is organized and distributed as well as the rotten values of the society. However, your submission thus blurs the question and tend to make it appear as though the listed menaces were created in vacuum. Secondly, you would go and rave, not grappling with the fact that the organization and distribution of wealth with inordinate portion given to the imperialist oppressors while the others which are collected through tax and non-tax revenues are looted, embezzled, stolen and transferred to the many foreign bank accounts of the cabal of parasites working in government, leaving the impoverished people in the thralldom of drudgery, are the main reasons for our backwardness.
The problem in the Liberian society is the problem about the homeland being co-opted into the asymmetrically unequal relations of neo-colonial capitalism, which emphasizes on the control and domination of the economic levers of country in the third world, the extraction of surplus profit from these imperialist-controlled zones and exported to the global north, keeping third world countries as raw material producing vassal states. In return, these multinationals that we mortgaged off our natural resources to give the governments of the third world countries pittance in rent, royalty and taxes that are infinitesimally decimal to make a colossal investment in social programs such as education, health, infrastructure, improvement in income levels of the people at the tail of the economic ladder, employment opportunities for the population, and distribution of vital nutritional foods and protein supplements to the population.
Hence, that unequal economic relationship between counties of the capitalist centre and the periphery, of which Liberia represents the latter variety, is the basis of our backwardness. Suffice it to say that in the social system of feudalism power determines wealth, but in the current world and the decayed capitalist system wealth determines power. To not understand this is to delude ourselves and think that we are making any progress. Although it is stable for now, this harsh economic albatross will generate social explosion which will be so powerful that it will sweep away all the enemies of the people and consign them to the ash heap of history.
It is on this question of me being used by certain forces to get at individuals in government made me to know your colonial mind-set and such disquiet which fuelled you to write that line to me. Seriously, your point about somebody being the master controlling the puppet is a loaded platitude bereft of any substance. It is rather a characterization which is nothing but a childish absurdity which borders on the ridiculous and vulgar. Unfortunately, your message was subliminally littered with such dogmatic thought, which I find very fascinating and has given me an impression of you in addition to what I already know and investigated.
This annoying proclivity of trying to understand the behaviour of certain young people who have thought to distinguish themselves from the mob by attributing their politicization to an imaginary person influencing them is as bizarre as it is absurd. Such is the staple of the oppressor who thinks that a conscious action by a young man is not based on his conviction but due to pressure from external force (s). But again, misunderstanding and distorting the role of radical activists is always the weapon of anti-people elements who toy with this misrepresentation that young people are gullible stooges and are unable to genuinely embark on a popular struggle unless and until they are being controlled by older folks.
Additionally, such mind-set is one of people who dominate and subjugate others. It is, however, relevant to state that it is also downright dishonest, inaccurate and unscientific. To put it more bluntly, this line promotes this myth of the “great man theory” of history. Far from such fiction, let it be known that it is the objective condition or the social environment of man that determines his consciousness. The accumulation of contradictions have a way of forcing people to interrogate their environment and draw them close to their reality.
I would state for the record that I am neither a poster boy nor a poodle of anyone, let alone a puppet of an imaginary individual who sits in one dark corner to control my thought and choreographed my responses to issues bordering on the national politics. I don’t compromise matters of principle for money, prestige and power, or material thing of any value. My politics is grounded in the study of the polity of the homeland, driven by my desire to ensure that I leave a more progressive country than what I inherited. I see this as a duty which is so sacred. I bring deep passion and forcefulness to the realm of discourse when I write on matters of graft and societal malaise.
In life, as in politics, it is not sufficient to have brilliant ideas and the best blueprint for the transformation of society without having men and women who are genuinely committed to such cause of liberation, willing to implement the agenda to the letter, and if need be, committed to pay the price of death, believing out of the struggle which led to their martyrdom, others would be inspired to come forward to take the process to a finishing line. Suffice it to mean that society doesn’t change because people blab about contradictions and injustices without enduring the servitude, sacrifice and struggle to usher in that transformation.
Duty requires that progressive social forces, radical revolutionaries, scholar-activists and other advanced layers of the people fuse together to crush the imperialist oppressors and their local minions. Prudence demands that we organize under the banner of a new, left-wing consciousness to struggle against scourges that are stagnating the historical development of the homeland. Commitment to noble causes obliges us to struggle against tyranny—whether in its most callous form, or its neo-colonial variety which keeps intact the structural imbalance of domination for countries of the global North and subordination for countries in the periphery of imperialism.
Anybody who truly loves his country like a mother who loves her kid, even if the kid is on the cusp of being wayward, the mother would ensure that her child is not a member of the gang of underclass gangsters and lumpen brigands. For if you don’t know this: Patriots feel insulted and express hate when their fatherland is being exploited, defiled and despoiled by gangsters, conmen and rascals. They expose the theft, heist, and plunder of reactionaries who are determined to keep the people in stagnation and setback. If the sight of children in dingy t-shirts, mothers perishing under the hostile hand of death when they go to complete the cycle of gestation, if the prospect of children having no future, not even the glamor of childhood because they live in reserves and Bantustans, competing with rodents and wild insects for space, if the news of hospitals shutting down, the dysfunctionality of our healthcare sector, the grinding poverty and accompanying human mystery which has become synonymous with the country, and other vices too plenty to enumerate don’t summon your outrage, awe and disgust; they do for me. And I have every reason to be angry against those who govern to the exclusion of the masses and thus loot, plunder and swindle the republic to fatten their private bank accounts. I have every reason to be hateful to those whose moral weakness, material greed, and political contradictions are generating such dastard social crises.
In the class struggle, we show not a modicum of magnanimity to our class enemies. We are virulent against them in words and if need be against them physically if they do provoke or force us to adopt such method of struggle in order to end this status quo of exploitation, barbarity, and domination of our people and their natural wealth. We write to break the backs of the class enemies and expose their deception, lies, and hypocrisy to the people in order to provide enlightenment so they don’t misjudge those brutal reactionary exploiters as emancipators and allies that must be supported and tolerated. Besides, the hatred and venom that we express with our pen against a political pickpocket like your type and others of various backward and reactionary stripes pale in comparison to the hatred and utter contempt you show for the people by governing the country like your fiefdom and exclusive preserve. The hatred we demonstrate against people like you is genuine and righteous because it represents the revolutionary hatred of the common people against the Uncle Tom regimes and imperialist exploiters. It is even mild against those human pests that keep them down compared to what you and your likes demonstrate when you loot the public treasury and build ducal palaces for yourself while the exploited masses know only misfortune and don’t rest until they see the grave.
We neither tremble nor get impress with how many awards you have bagged, or even whether they have increased tenfold or fivefold—quadruple or quintuple. Mentioning of such is patent virtue-signalling that you want to compensate for moral weakness and paralysis of character. How come you even think that such flamboyant rhetoric of obtaining awards is a factor in determining your uprightness in a society where even the church is found wanting in terms of the distribution of honours and awards to dishonourable and dishonest bandits and serial criminals? In fact, it is a child’s play that those who plunder the national treasury would dish out crumbs to get awards in order to clean up their loot so it appears that they amassed it genuinely. I do know that most honours in the homeland or elsewhere are bought. Our society doesn’t reward honesty, integrity and uprightness, but dishonesty, greed, and avarice. There is absolutely no standard for awarding people nowadays except one and one standard only: Buy the award and you will have it!
Blackmail is not my forte. I have read the audit report of the GAC and other anti-graft institutions on such matter. I don’t need to contact you as everything I need to know about the matter is in the reports. They are so very elaborate. The findings of the auditor general and her penetrating inquiries in the report point to your culpability and guilt. Her interrogation and professional questioning exposed you. I am really surprised because what manner of brazen hypocrisy would trigger you to play clean on this matter even though the dirt is so obvious.
Most of you in public service and your masters and patrons have perfected the despicable act of primitive accumulation and accumulation of private property. Your wealth is not based on honest labour and virtuous struggle, but as a result of swindle, avarice and plunder. You don’t use the entrepreneurial spirit and hard work to amass fortunes. Many of you who are in public service acquire wealth in the most awful, unethical manner, even on the corpses of thousands of your compatriots, insofar as it has to do with you. You will go ahead and do so without conscience, believing that you can keep robbing the people. This explains why the Liberian government is a cesspit of venality and economic gangsterism.
Luckily, the time is coming when all of you bankrupt, corrupt and reactionary characters will have to explain to the people where you got your sudden wealth from.
Now that I have addressed myself to your claims. I must say I see you showcase your child on social media as a proud father, narrating about her academic saga. She goes to a top-notch school and is in a very great environment, where she is comforted with luxury. And I make it clear that I have no hate in my heart for her because it would take a lot from me to hate a child who is so innocent. But I brought her in this discourse to ask you: Does it bother you that other children in the countryside and in the ghettos of the urban communities are not being exposed to those opportunities simply because wealth is concentrated among a handful of exploiters? Have you asked yourself what future for the children of the people, as you prepare your child for an environment which could be infested with hoodlums, gangsters and pickpockets simply because some of you who had the privilege of serving in national leadership to change the status quo of exclusion only delivered more backwardness, more suffering and more deprivation?
Liberia is gifted with great little talents even far above your daughter or son. Such children languish in the mausoleum of deprivation and exclusion, but when they are exposed to the same learning condition and opportunity as your little daughter, they would do wonders. They would never reach their full potentials as opportunities to excel are constricted to the children of the reactionary elites and their comprador conspirators. Some of them suffer stunted growth because they don’t have enough vitamin and protein to grow properly. Most fall short of eating 3, 000-calorie diet every day. They suffer from malnutrition and lack of protein. They will die without achieving their ambitions. Those should be your doctors, engineers, nurses, etc. who should build the new society, but they have been consigned to the nadir of society as the wretched of the earth and ridiculous underclass. Others would even take to the imprudence of crime and pose havoc to your children whom you are educating.
The sentiment we echo is one about genuine democracy, collective inclusion and massive transformation. Our viewpoint is beyond the short-sighted prism of just being critical for critical sake, or just wanting power for power sake. It is beyond that parochial and reactionary nationalism which lashes at the comprador elites in the homeland and vindicates their imperialist puppet masters. It is also one which is not just against imperialist domination, but in sympathy with its neo-colonial flunkeys. Our struggle is against both the imperialist aggressors and their office boy of comprador elites that hold down the people and distribute poverty, disease and mystery to them in the arena of bourgeois democracy.
Ours is a politics of freeing the people from this prehistoric era of brutal exploitation, material poverty and imbalance to usher them in an epoch of social emancipation where the resources bequeathed to society by nature can be exploited to benefit the deprived masses in contradistinction to the cliquish locus who despoil the struggle of the heroic people. That is why we say that unless the question of the reorganization of the productive forces and the total transformation of the relations of production to have the people at the thrust and centre of national life. Such society will never find direction and will be lost in the fog of underdevelopment and backwardness.
The whole structure of governance in the republic is sclerotic and cannot deliver the transformation that can mobilize the people behind an inclusive agenda of advancing civilization and contribution to other aspects of national life. Like the ancient regime in France in 1789 that suffered the mortal blow of the Paris masses, like the czarist regime in Russia which was chronically backward and would not engender the transformation that the Petrograd masses were seeking, your governance structure can deliver nothing except to run an inefficient bureaucracy and collect taxes, rent and royalty from multinationals to pay the salaries and emoluments of rancid bureaucrats. So that some of the funds can be used to buy the latest SUVS, luxury cologne, pay for trip abroad and logging at expensive resorts, while the people edge closer to extinction.
Mr. Minister, we know it is a novelty that people like us can brave the storm to stand up to someone like you who is a czar in deception and the lack of scruples. You would rather wish this moment never come where the sons and daughters of the people would gain a new consciousness to challenge myth, expose fiction and put on trial those who can only thrive and blossom by keeping the mass majority of the people in rot, servitude and drudgery. We are equally aware you would expect us to be overwhelmed by inferiority complex and must play the so-called loyal child. It is a strange rudeness that we would dare to take you to task on your stewardship in public service not because we want to extort money from you, but to tell others that if you go in public service and bastardize such sacred calling by looting the public treasury, men of conscience and reason will engage you in the public and tell others that if you come to public service and loot you will be confronted with a rude awakening from people like us. It is too hard a reality you will expect, but it is a task we must embark on in order to build a new society of integrity, inclusion and dignity out of the ruins of this rotten and decayed society.
We are under no illusion that the task ahead is easy. We are quite aware that it is fraught with difficulties like all noble causes geared at the total dismantlement of the old order for the building of the new one premised on a new consciousness and prescription. It is our optimism that our people will understand our struggle and join us to usher in a society which prioritizes need, not profit, corruption, and social exclusion. We are not worried about how the class enemies and anti-progressive social forces slander, misrepresent and distort our role and struggle once they are appreciated by the people we have done our duty to our homeland, to the African Continent, to proletariat internationalism, and to our conscience. We will never allow ourselves to be remembered as people who came and sold out to the imperialist behemoth and their local lackeys of the bourgeois hue. We will do our duty!
Kiadii studied Political Science with emphasis in Public Administration at the University of Liberia, earning an undergraduate degree. He is the Secretary General of the Movement for Social Democratic Alternative (MOSODA). You can reach him through [email protected]