Why Join a Political Party?

Joining a political party is not about loss of democracy, but precisely to further democracy. Some persons with impaired judgment think that by submitting to discipline on a personal level, all democracy is lost. This shows their fanatical free-ranging individualism for they are unable to think about the good of the country or the community anymore. 

By batsman

The example I wish to put forward is of a group of fighters who operate on their own and without discipline. They are no match for a well organized and well led army. Thus by voluntarily submitting the self to discipline, the fighter instead of fighting for self becomes a soldier fighting for his community or country or even ideals and achieves greater goals by acting in concert with persons of like mind. 

However do not think that by having a standing army, there is no longer any need for a militia or a guerilla force. Only silly people think thus. The condition here is that the militia or guerilla force must be well coordinated with the army – otherwise they may end up shooting each other and suffer friendly fire casualties. 

By denying the rakyat the right to form and join strong political parties we end up in a situation that UMNO is well pleased with – a dictatorship of conniving cheats and criminals who are well organised to systematically rob, cheat and rip off the people and the country without any credible institutional checks and balances whatsoever. 

Democracy is best served by a rotating system of political parties in government. This implies that no political trend is perfect, lasts forever or fits all situations of stress, challenge and change. This means that new political parties must be encouraged (in the sense of new ideas) every now and then, but not every few months as some people might wish and that rotation is not monopolized by some old decrepit political parties which are not able to change with the times anymore. 

The impaired judgment of some people makes them believe that democracy means giving free rein to individual voices. This is partly the fault of the west for they use these tactics in their fight to control poor countries which are not as well organized or structured, the focused attacks of concentrated capital being capable of disrupting and disuniting poorly organized communities with weak institutions and greedy leaders. 

By championing the free speech rights of individuals, the west starts its attacks with individuals already bought over by the rationale of profits, commercialism and winner takes all. Tragically most poor countries can only respond by supporting a strong leader blindly and hence encouraging dictatorship. We thus end up with efficient and talented individuals backed up by the concentrated capital of the west contesting power with dictators backed up by ignorant peasants or tribesmen. 

This is a lose-lose situation. If the dictator wins, the country continues to suffer the blight of poverty and ignorance (plus a lot of murder and mayhem). If western backed individuals win, they put their cronies in all the influential places and allows the west to rob and exploit the country blind. Of course, some modicum of prosperity is gained because the cronies (who after all are talented but have no real competition) need to be rewarded and money flows more quickly, giving the overall impression of prosperity (plus increased rich-poor gap, increased sin, increased chronic hunger, increased alienation, increased crime, increased prostitution and chronic diseases that don’t kill quickly but come with new social conditions). Whether this is preferable or not is up to you, but it is not what I want. 

So I must continue to push for new paradigms and continue to argue that the prosperity that the west brings is not permanent, for once their concentrated capital finds expression, they are just as quickly ignoring and neglectful of human rights abuses. There are many examples of allies of the west (such as Singapore or Eqypt) who practice the most horrific and brutal human rights abuses, yet the west does nothing and even actively covers such horrors up – giving the excuse that they do not want to interfere in the internal affairs of a country while all the time focusing on the slightest human rights abuses that poor authoritative / dictatorial countries practice (such as Iran). 

In Iraq, for example, the violence and instability brought about by the attacks of concentrated capital and power of the west does not encourage long term investment. The westerners take their profits and run. Anything that is not nailed down is taken away including archaeological treasures. Loans that are given for re-construction are squandered with piles of money bundled into round balls and kicked around like footballs by their mercenaries gone mad at the sight of such great wealth for the taking. This is the depth of the robbery that Iraq suffers – all the time knowing that these loans need to be repaid by a people who have lost everything including reliable electricity and clean water. All that the west is satisfied with is a recalcitrant dictator hanged, the Ba’ath Party destroyed, the Iraqis saddled with huge debts and oil prices depressed with Iraqi wells pumping again and Iraqi oil sold freely without sanctions or bandit-like things such as oil-for-food programmes. 

What has all this to do with joining a political party? It shows that we need good judgment whether we are in a political party or not. We cannot afford impaired judgment by idealizing and copying the west because it is rich and powerful. We need to realize that although the time for individual action as reflected by the tsunami of 2008 is over and that the time for organization and discipline is upon us to push the momentum of individual cries for justice and individual demands for political, institutional and social improvements forward. 

No political party is perfect, but cars are not perfect either, yet we all drive or hope to drive one. The political party is supposed to represent us. It is therefore our servant, but for members, it is also a coordinator first and then a leader, for the actions of many members must be coordinated and new situations and new challenges need leaders to respond to them in a timely and appropriate way. 

This double headed nature of the political party – as our servant and also as our leader can only be resolved by the efforts of human beings struggling to handle the challenges that life throws up. Yet some people reject such difficulties because they cannot imagine themselves submitting to the discipline of a bad boss, not realizing that by rejecting such dangers as unfit for themselves, they also reject the benefits. I submit that such people give up at the fear of bad imagery and potential danger and no longer have the strength and courage to take risks and no longer see the greater danger of being defeated by a better organized and more disciplined opponent. Yet such people promote themselves as talented risk takers just as UMNO promotes the management of MAS as talented risk takers. 

Such people are not suited for party work anyway, so they must choose to continue their free-ranging ways using the best conscience they can muster as an alternative. This does not mean that the time for organization and discipline is over and that we are back to the days of individual action for others. This does not mean that free-ranging individuals can choose to be as destructive as they wish in voicing their views either. If they choose to do so, they have to contend with sarcasm and criticism from others. The problem with some especially those with big egos is that they whine, complain and sulk like children when faced with such. 

I am also asked what political parties do. This depends on the party and even on geographical location. Different parties have to contend with different constituents with different ideas about life as they should. These may even differ from location to location – e.g. PAS in Kelantan is not exactly the same as PAS in Selangor and each must tailor their activities according to the challenges their location offers. So people who ask questions about what political parties do are somewhat naïve and childlike. The problem is those with big egos tend to wax lyrical about politics and how to win elections. 

In general, political parties must win friends and isolate enemies around their programme. All activities are tailored according to this and to specific challenges in each branch. Some branches tailor their activities to support their elected assemblymen, but in general, party members strengthen their relationships among themselves so they can rely on each other in times of stress. They try to win converts such that their friends and supporters start to think that their party will be the best to represent them in the next elections and maybe even the next government. All activities, organisation and learning are tailored according to these general principles. 

All this does not preclude the possibility that some questions are traps set by people who think too much of themselves. But I welcome all – only don’t expect me to play by your rules and the funny discipline you follow. Heeheehee.