10.12.2007 • Where is the Armenian LEFT, the true alternative?

Where is the LEFT in Armenia?
Where is the LEFT in Armenia and in the reality of the Armenian people? Does this question surprise some people? Is it mocked? Or does it sound meaningless? That is exactly where our true pain lays: in our political and civic ignorance. Our people suffer from political and civic ignorance and is being reduced to a MOB, a grouping of people with consuming mercenary desires, inclined to serf-mindedness and serf-becoming hegemony. A MOB, managed and “led” by opportunist and self-interested materialist bureaucrats/rulers and mediocre official intellectuals and artists. A MOB, managed and stupefied and not guided, governed, or educated.
Yes, once upon a time we were a powerful nation, and from time to time we emerge in our former glory. Nowadays we ARE NOT. We should accept this fact, however it may hurt us. We should understand it and face the bitter reality with a sound critical mind and consciousness. We should try to understand the causes of it and analyze it from the standpoint of the veracious, just, humane, and developing Armenian people guided by spiritual and reawakening culture; and as a SUBJECT, a People who consciously directs and creates its present and future. We should not live as a servile MOB, worshipping money and material riches. We must resist the mob mentality, denouncing liberated and full-fledged individuality and which living and spreading ourselves in a new social system, where CULTURE is not ennobling and liberating, but serial and standardized production. Bureaucrats/rulers are capable of easily directing and reproducing those who are driven by instinct, suppressing them with a materialist anti-culture and the unjust social system, by using venal artists and intellectuals staging their mob-pleasing mediocrity and stupefying the people (and in particular, the children). In this anti-culture and social system the individual becomes a tool, subjugated both in his/her own country and to the anti-values and rules of a globally legitimized new social system, which is capitalism growing with neo-liberalist worldviews. This social system is unequal, unjust, atomizing, competitive, and shortsighted degenerating the regulatory role of the state, privatizing the public services and making them uncontrollable, weakening the state and the society, impoverishing the majority and serving only the material prosperity of the ruling minority, degenerating the critical mind and education, and preparing a purely technocratic elite. It has been 25-30 years that this social system has further been ingrained in “developed” countries, led by the United States of America (USA) and followed by Europe. It has been spreading virally with a growing and lacerating pace in developing countries, including our country, Armenia, since its independence, for the past 16 years.
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Armenian people, I lament your deep wound
There is a saying that, “The wise person learns from the mistakes of others,” and “The fool repeats the mistakes of others.” For the past 16 years, we as a nation have been adopting the status and behavior of the latter. And this has happened when, after centuries, we have finally been granted the historic and critical opportunity to independently build our own sovereign state, and be the creator of our independent development and welfare, human and national, individual and collective.
Now, at this critical juncture, we ignorantly repeat and reproduce the mistakes of others as well as those of our own past. If it has been more than 200 years since Europe commenced the progress of modern humanist mind and culture, capitalism, industry, and democratization, and now, in the 21st century, its avant-garde intellectuals believe that they are in a period of regression and that in the neo-liberal capitalist social system there is a tendency to go back to the beginning of the 19th century and to the “king-prince-president,” “neo-feudalism,” and “neo-semi-fascism.” Then what can we say about ourselves: where are we? What period do we live in or revisit as Armenian people and the Armenian statehood?
Isn’t it true that, as a free nation and sovereign state, we did not pass through the stages of origination and development of capitalism, nation-state, and the renaissance of modern humanist culture, and that we have a giant gap in our national, cultural, and statehood history, for centuries being cut off as a nation, people, and state from the renaissance, progress, and the developments of modern humanist culture?
Presently, France, Germany, Russia, and other countries perhaps can afford to reproduce the dark and bright aspects of their history since the 19th century, because they have had continuous sovereign and independent statehood for centuries. They have a population of 60 million and a more rich and creative political, civic, economic, social culture, as well as a rich legacy and capital of social movements. Owing to all these, today they are trying to reflect, raise questions, explore, and cultivate alternatives to neo-liberal capitalism. They offer resistance to mass impoverishment, the distortion of culture, loss of employment, unprecedented inflation, and loss of purchasing power at the same time by means of social mobilization and movements for the protection of their human and national rights, for the protection of their individual, social, and state wealth, capital, and achievements.
In November we witnessed immense social movements and strikes in two powerful European countries, France and Germany. In Germany, the movement was headed by railway motormen, who demanded a 31% salary raise. In Europe, the inflation reached its record percentage, 3% yearly (something that has not happened since 2001). Another record was registered in Italy, where over the past five years the purchasing power has decreased by 1900 Euros and the decline in salaries caused the emergence of new poverty. In Spain and Belgium, an out-of-hand inflation of prices of basic staples has been recorded, and the enormous decrease in purchasing power makes food less affordable for the impoverished majority. In Spain, in one year the price of eggs has increased by 11%, the price of potatoes by 7%, and bread and milk prices by 18%. In Belgium, the price of potatoes has increased by 76% and that of medical services, by 24%.
In Europe, the self-criticizing and analytical thinking, the dialogue, and creative activities of Right liberal and Leftist intellectuals are added to the capital and potential of social movements. They raise questions about this system, the financial, global, and neo-liberalized market capitalism, and do that from multilateral political, economic, social, and cultural perspectives. Europe’s Right liberals, who are discussing the ideas, analyses, and creations of Karl Marx and his followers, however strange it may seem, consider them an inevitable necessity to understand the flaws and damages of the current social system and are attempting to develop alternatives. Yes, as odd as it may seem, today we find the most fervent defenders of Marx on the Right liberal front of Europe.
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And what about US? Are we really learning from all this? Or are we blindly imitating and repeating the flaws and the mistakes, the simple and the devastating? No! We can not allow ourselves and do not have the right to foolishly think and act by repeating and reproducing the mistakes of others, who themselves are currently questioning their own acts and are thinking of and developing alternative solutions.
Our sovereign state is only 16 years old. Our population is 3 million (8 million, including the Diaspora). Our demographic indicators are alarming, because we are not even capable of biologically reproducing ourselves and guaranteeing the continuity of generations in our country. We are poor economically, socially, but mostly in political and civic culture, while our legacy of social movements is very defective, and currently almost inexistent. The true path of our salvation and our development is not the repetition and reproduction of our mistakes and those of others, something which may be both critical and fatal for our whole nation. Cleverly and fearlessly, with self-critical and inquisitive mind, action, and struggle we should LEARN from the mistakes of others, in particular from the experience of the USA and Europe, who have passed that path, and that of India, China, and other countries that are on that path, and from the mistakes of our own history. We should skillfully analyze and construct the just, the truthful, and the humane by assessing and evaluating our own potential of ALL ARMENIANS (Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh, and Diaspora), the mind, the intellect, the culture, and the human capital. This is the only true path of the genuine empowerment, independence, and development of our people, nation, and state, the path of achieving independent creative realization, freedom, justice, equality, and welfare.
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The fad of pragmatism and its hazards
They say that we are not the only ones, neither the first nor last, who face this danger and the challenges of the modern neo-liberal capitalistic system. This is the world and the reality and we should adapt by means of our pragmatism, that there is no more Utopia and ideals. They are illusions, and we should adapt and survive. They say this and believe what they say, and try to prophesy uniformity, homogeneity, feebleness, and weakness, thus trying to undermine the individual’s will to struggle, the spiritual power to build his/her own destiny. It works on the subconscious, by praising pragmatism synonymous to opportunism, and by declaring it the sole secret and guarantee for success (material) in the competitive jungle world.
This is wrong and destructive reasoning, propaganda, and policy. Suppression, oppression, serfdom, subjugation, and compliance are self-justifying, self-consoling and clever political tools. It is the weapon of neo-liberals to weaken the people’s, societies’, nations’ and spirits without fighting and resistance in order to take possession of their properties, freedom, belongings, and territories, and all this, without shedding a single drop of blood.
With pragmatism, the end justifies any means (and the end is money and power). Opportunism, competitiveness, immorality, technocracy and instrumentality are proudly praised as absolute truth and the only way to the individual’s “happiness” and success
The potential of humanity and of nations has always been found in LOVE, the STRUGGLE for FAIRNESS, SOLIDARITY, the protection of the weak, and THE COMMON GOOD. There is a small number of people and organizations who struggle for all of these qualities and make them their lives’ work. They are the ones who have attained spiritual as well as material happiness and success.
Equality, justice, solidarity, and the common good: these are the four unbreakable and inseparable harmonious fundamental values of the LEFT, which cannot be sequenced, categorized, and conceded for anything, and especially not for pragmatism and opportunism. The Ideal, in which people from various nations and periods have believed, and in the name of which they have created, struggled and continue to struggle. They have bequeathed us what we possess today as the most precious, the humanist and national spirit, and culture in its all-inclusive, economic, social, and political sense. Without it, the human being becomes the most dangerous and destructive tool in the animal world. Those who consider money and power the goal are the most dangerous instruments for the prosperous and harmonious development of the human being, the nation, and nature.
The desires and deeds of the human being to control and rule over himself/herself, others, nature, and the world are self-destructive. It is self-destructive to consider money and power as a target, an end in itself, and the ultimate goal of life. Money and power are the means and tool for the realization of nobler goals, for the peaceful and harmonious development of the human being, nature, and the universe, for the common good and prosperity, to live and create as a full-fledged personality, respecting oneself, others, nature, and the universe, attempting to find the terms of harmonious coexistence, not hegemony and domination.
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In Armenia, Politics has been Reduced to Peddling. An absence of Political Culture and Activity
“We cannot speak of neo-liberalism in Armenia, because we are not yet in this economic system,” said a young Armenian economist three years ago at one of the meetings dedicated to the Poverty Overcoming Strategy Paper (POSP). Unfortunately, the young economist, who proudly expressed his ignorance, was trying to “bring home” or rather propagandize something he had no idea of , because probably he subconsciously knew he was backed by the interests of the dominating ideology and class. Neo-liberalism is a philosophical worldview, whereas capitalism is an economic system. This man who lacks fundamental knowledge of the Humanities and proudly shows off his ignorance indicative of thousands, that show the low quality and degeneration of the Armenian political and civic life. We are constantly confronted by them, and are saturated with their absurdity and propaganda.
It has been 16 years since the theory of neo-liberalism has penetrated Armenia and it prevails in the whole country and society. Moreover, whenever the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) (the two basic institutions and sources of influence of capitalistic and neo-liberal dominance) enter any “developing” country , “neo-liberal capitalism” and its destructive activity should be considered official in the given country. And the economists, experts, ministers, rulers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and others which serve the WB, IMF, and institutions influenced by them consciously or unconsciously become the instruments of this system, propagandizing the ideology and carrying out the destructive function of the system.
In Armenia, people “discuss,” the vital problems of the society and the country, but they do so without any substantial analysis, dialogue, and negotiation, or essential reflection. They also do not authenticate neo-liberalist ideology and policies or analyze the failures and damages suffered by others who already experienced the results of this ideology and its policies. And for this, they are well paid as experts, professionals, activists, NGOs, advisors, consultants, rulers, etc. The resulting definitions, projects, and “reforms” are not the outcome of free critical and profound intellectual work and experience. They are incessantly used for saying nothing and doing nothing for the common good and interest. This is an example of a technocratic “elite” social system, a low quality one, at that. In reality, the policy of formal projects and “reforms” that say nothing essential and profound, do not serve the majority of the people. The lives of the actual beneficiaries of these projects and policies are not enriched, in fact reform policies only reinforce that same emulating, writing, repeating, discussing, and voting minority. There is another circle of NGOs and activists, who comprehend, and perhaps even sympathize with the just and alternative views and activity but they retreat, subjecting themselves to self-censorship and compliance because of fear and servility. They do not want to lose their commissions, grants, contracts, or prospects thereof. While it may be more advantageous to adjust to the dominating ideology and its incentives in order to promote their personal or group interests and status, it is unethical.
In our country, issues and problems are not critically and substantially discussed or acted upon but are evaded and concealed, where most intellectuals ,experts, rulers, artists, and public figures do not intend to be educated politically and civically, (they consider it is dangerous and not related to them). Countries sharing our condition can attest that under these circumstances alternative thinking, politics, and culture are not cultivated. Classes are not shaped and mobilized. Problems are not solved through social movements and negotiations. The wound gets deeper and people escape, emigrate or… adjust themselves.
Politics in Armenia is devoid of meaning and disfigured. It has become technocratic and based on mafia trading. There is no meaningful micro or macro POLITICS worthy of its name, there is no politicized society and people, there is so political culture, all of which are so necessary and liberating. In our country politics are mistaken for immorality and small-trade, considered a domain of impunity, a low-grade display of selfish and immature manipulations and maneuvers and, perhaps, all of the above.
The attempts to defame the POLITICAL and POLITICS are the result of the same worldview and propaganda. It is considered “progressive” and “objective” to claim that one is apolitical and colorless and something that adds to the credit of an “expert.” They claim that there are no conflicting ideas, no distinction between “The Right” and “The Left,” and that it doesn’t make sense anymore to talk about and adhere to the left. According to them the left has been driven into obscurity, and those “well-wishing” neo-liberal rulers have included “the social” and “social justice” into their policies. By incessantly using “social” and “social justice” here and there, their strategy is to conquer and own the conceptions of the left (voided of its value system) rhetorically. They will take these values, empty their substance, and apply them in a distorted manner, trying to appear “humanitarian.”
These are cunning tactics that trick the immature and all those who call themselves leftist and are voluntarily deceived. By renouncing their left ideas, they join the dominating front, satisfy their selfish and ambitious desires with their posts, status, and power, and betray the values and ideas of the left and their comrades.
These are sly plans, indeed. Without any great effort, the neo-liberals are able to renounce the ideas of the left by taking owning and distorting them. On the other hand, by claiming to be “open and democratic,” they succeed in splitting the Left and tempt them. They bribe some of them morally and with material dividends. Members of the left join the ranks neo-liberals of their own accord and occupy positions, ally with the government, and justify their behavior by the excuses that the Left is weak and that in this way, by joining the “opponent,” they fight for the ideas of the left from inside. They are deceiving themselves, or they really are naïve and consider the leftist to be naïve, too, because they do not have and can never have any strategic and essential influence in the dominating worldviews and the apparatus. They have been skillfully invited and involved by the very same people to be compromised and to act as bait in the undermining of the leftist ideology and the left powers. This is the reasoning of the neo-liberal worldview: the rule and domination of uniformity and homogeneity through money, stupefaction, and bribery.
As for Armenia and the Armenian people, the domination of neo-liberalists is easier, because the LEFT ideology and powers have not yet established themselves. In Armenia (as well as in Nagorno Karabagh) the huge social polarization and mass impoverishment are deepening. At the same time, there is a genuine social demand for the left humanist values and policy (but not yet formed and organized in the political and civic sense), which poses a danger to the stability of dominating unequal, unjust, as well as illegitimate social system and structure. Therefore, the Armenian neo-liberal ruling class and bureaucrats, following the advice of the World Bank and its former and present experts and OTHERS, are attempting to exclude the opponent from the very beginning and prevent it from being politically shaped as a basic value system and efficient left politics, and be realized as a power to propose and realize genuine social and political reforms.
This also can explain why in our failing, disgraced, and so called “political” class and framework the bureaucrat/rulers have been repeating the words “social” and “social justice,” especially during the past three years.
No! We shall not be deceived. Our state and our social system are anything but “social” … It means that the first paragraph of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, which is not subject to amendment and proclaims the Republic of Armenia to be a “sovereign and social” state, is ESSENTIALLY violated every single day. It is the agreement of our nation and people, the first vital right and social contract of our collective aspirations and it is constantly breached.
Accordingly, our annual state budgets, including that of the year 2008 (which has recently been voted on), ARE ALSO NOT “SOCIAL.” Labeling them “social” does not mean that essentially social policy and budget have been elaborated and adopted. Otherwise, how can it be explained that a one third of a population, or 29.8%, living in poverty in a social country that adopted genuine national projects and budgets? The official poverty line is 20,289 drams. According to alternative research, however, if the poverty line were at 30,000 drams, the poverty indicator will reach 65% , or two thirds of the population. The absurdity of all this is even more obvious when we consider the annual inflation rate in Armenia, and the plummeting purchasing power. This is a distressing and painful reality, and so is mass impoverishment, immigration, democratic and economic breakdown, increasing illiteracy, and the outflow of qualified human resources, the real Armenian capital.
No! Unfortunately, the above is not evidence of Armenia being a “social” state marching on with a social national agenda and budget for 16 years. Evidence shows that we do not even aspire to be so. We have taken the opposite path. We are a non-social, unjust, excellently polarizing, impoverishing, and emptying state.
When presenting and defending the budget for the year 2008 at the National Assembly the government, as in 2007, once again dared to declare that it had social orientation. It mentioned with irony that if people were able to live with 20000 drams monthly, then the minimum monthly wage raised to 25,000 for 2008 is enough to live in Armenia. This perhaps means that the worker in Armenia should thank God, but perhaps before God s/he should thank the “king-prince-bureaucrat/ruler” for such generosity and for such a favor as to increase that absurd 20,000 drams to an even more absurd 25,000 monthly from the “royal” treasure.
This is another immoral and unethical reflection of the neo-liberal worldview. Daring to mock the whole an impoverished population from the platform of National Assembly, similar announcements with a parallel style are constantly being made and no one is reacting. What a great reflection of our “civilization,” “solidarity,” and “consensus!” We have an absence of substantial reaction and opposition, and an abundance mob “approval.”
First, “state budget” is not a “personal” or “royal” treasure, but the treasure of the nation, state, and republic, to which small and medium taxpayers have contributed.
Bureaucrat/rulers should also understand that they are not in office to give favors, they are not called to make great princely gifts, but they are the servants of the people. Let each of them live on 25,000 drams monthly. Only then morality allows them to ASK for sacrifices, and not enforce them on the people. If the treasure of the nation and the state is modest (which is questionable, taking into consideration the two-digit economic growth registered for years) then the leader should himself/herself make sacrifices, by cutting his/her wage and incomes, then by collecting from the most rich, and only then demanding such sacrifice from the people, and in particular, from the weakest and impoverished majority of the people. Such is the behavior of an ethical and moral leader. However, in our country the opposite dominates: the weakest is taken and cut, making the rich and the powerful richer. This is the real materialistic ideology and policy of “social injustice” in the Republic of Armenia: to suppress, frighten, humiliate, and exploit the poor and the weak, and to back the 1-10% of money-loving, greedy, and avaricious dominators full of privileged immorality and the official mediocre intellectuals, artists, experts, and other activists in their surroundings…
Not even a sign of protest… In our country, people choose emigration, reservation, denial, and suicide. Everything is permissible, acceptable, and invisible, because the alternative Left is weak and not realized.
There is a chain of colorless and apolitical activists, experts, artists, and intellectuals, who sell their souls for their pockets and posts, and who further distort and contaminate the surroundings. These people mock politics and consider themselves exempt from them, and in the months preceding the elections demagogically and publicly endorse the ruling party, much like serfs. They do not comprehend that it is progressive to construct politics and political culture, because without politics the human being, the society, the state, and the humanity do not evolve and develop. Politics is the fundamental and irreplaceable means for the relations of the individual-society and the state. It stems from the individual’s worldview, and every person who is capable of thinking and acting carries his/her own thoughts about the world and acts accordingly. That is different from adhering to political parties (partisanship). You may voluntarily put in your energy for the realization of your ideas by being member of a political party and fighting THROUGH your party.
Sadly, our so-called official intellectuals, artists, social and political activists suffer from this immaturity and ignorance when they deny their mission and refuse to take civic position. However, in the pre-election period they take party positions and propagandize, pretentiously denying their social and civic role, saying that it is not their role “to demand,” “to shape social demand,” and that it sounds rude. They believe that one should not demand from the authorities, at most they should gently ask. This behavior reminds us of serfdom, when the serf makes an offering like a rooster to his/her prince and receives protection in return.
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Finally, let us talk about the Armenian political class and today’s three main forces
- Armenian Revolutionary Federation, ARF: An Armenian left-wing and socialist political power with its roots and background. Its founders, chief leaders, and adherents cooperated with leftist European intellectuals in the 19th century and were respected by them. THE ARF was educating and self-organizing the Armenian people and applied substantial campaigns against two major empires for the protection and development of the Armenian people and nation. They tried to precisely define their humanist and national left-wing ideas in state service during difficult period, First Republic of Armenia, by tying to establish a genuine social policy and agenda. The leaders served modestly and were an example by staying true to the ideas they believed in.
Today, however, this 117 years old political party with leftist roots is degenerating in the grips of pragmatism by supporting the Armenian President and his political agenda since 1999 and by participating in the government from 2003-2007,. For almost nine years they have been party, ally or auxiliary to the neo-liberal capitalist authorities in the Third Republic of Armenia. This deviation from their leftist roots to serving neo-liberal capitalist ideas was, and still is, critical not only for the development of the party, but also for our people, nation and state because of the void created by the absence of a truly left-wing alternative political power.
They deny, avoid, and deviate from the socialist roots that are so indispensable for the survival and development of our people, nation and state for the sake of pragmatism, “real-politik,” the result of which is degeneration. They also reinforce neo-liberalism in Armenia (see the part on pragmatism above). If they revive themselves and boldly return to their left-wing roots, the ARF will have the opportunity to be the irretrievable, progressive, and efficient alternative political power of the present and future years in Armenia. Alas, it is not on that path currently.
-Armenian National Movement, ANM: The founder of neo-liberal capitalism in Armenia. From 1991-1998, as the ruling party of the state, it laid the foundations of a destructive, unjust, and savage social system and structure of neo-liberal capitalism in Armenia.
-Republican Party of Armenia, RPA: Participated in the ANM activities that lay the foundations of neo-liberal capitalism, and the ones who are pinning them in the hearts of the Armenian people and the state. It has been officially in power since 1999. They are the ones strengthening and dominating the neo-liberal capitalist social system and structure in its even more forceful and vulgar style. They are the successors of the ANM, which, perhaps, was the carrier of a more clever and skilful style. But that does not change anything in the situation.
These three main political forces as well as others discussed in the political field are mainly united by their similarity in applying the ideas, values, politics, agendas, and “reforms” of neo-liberal capitalism. In this way their true antisocial, denationalized, illegal, and unjust essence and conduct is expressed with certain differences in nuances and styles, which have more of a cosmetic significance.
It is not enough to deliver beautiful speeches about the people, the nation, social justice, and building a rule-of-law society and state, deceiving themselves and others that in reality they truly aspire to that on all levels. The wise and conscious People and nation, and not the mob, judges them, their institutions and their leaders by their everyday behavior and actions, because that truly reflects their essence, morality, truthfulness, and that of the institutions they direct. The speech, the agenda, the platform, the declaration are not so vital in revealing the true essence and to guide the people, especially when they are shaped by formal and mechanical processes. But the everyday truthful mind, action, conduct, and manners are what reveal true colors.
It is the neo-liberal capitalist values, ideas, agendas, and “reforms” that mainly dominate the Armenian people, nation and political arena. There is an abundance of disgraced and polluted immorality and absolute immaturity. There is a great deficit of the truly left, alternative political powers, politics and reforms, and this endangers the existence of our people and state, as well as the development of humanist and national rule-of-law state.
Fortunately there are, indeed, left-wing individuals and institutions among the Armenian people and society. They can be found in Armenia, Nagorno Karabagh, and the Diaspora, and although they are few, they exist. They are disciplined and persevering as they boldly and cleverly craft,, create and educate. They work as individuals and in institutions in the fields of art, journalism, NGOs, science and education, and safety. Their work is done in the capital, the regions, the villages, and outside the country.
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Whom to Elect in February 2008 as the President of the Republic of Armenia?
A topical question deserving an answer.
This is an easy question for a simple-minded serf who wants only the repair of a water pipe, a new rooftop, and just wants to keep his/her job or post. S/he will elect the one who gives him/her these material gifts. For the next 5-10 years and for the following decades these people living without vision will be saturated with shiny new water pipes and cosmetic solutions to such domestic problems. They will be happy and distracted, but will be deprived of the opportunity to live a noble life, as will their grandchildren in the following generations. This is the routine of those who lack political and civic culture and who are not aware of the true value of exercising their rights, power, and obligations. It is a fatal mistake and a chain reaction, starting at the bottom with those who are willing to be slaves to obedience, infecting the whole society.
For the past 10-12 years this has been the scenario. People have been trained and tutored, but they have not been educated. If there were proper political and civic education and culture, God forbid, a conscious and mighty society could emerge and threaten those comfortably in office by exercising their political and civic rights.
Unfortunately, it will probably be the serf-minded who decide the outcome of the elections in February 2008, because we still lack a politically and civically educated, conscious, and mature society and people. As much as we’d like it, this will never appear with the wave of a magic wand, especially when decay and deficit are prevalent.
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Are there actually any real choices in this election for a critical thinker, a conscious person, or for a left-wing Armenian? Is there even a glimmer of choice?
Are we even talking about a true choice, if there are no established alternative options, yet? There is not even a lesser of two devils, and that is the problem.
To those who comprehend all of this: well done. Let us continue to be clever, perseverant, witty, and daring. Let us brainstorm, develop, shape the alternatives, and self-organize. Let us educate and mobilize and prepare for a daunting ideological and civic struggle.
As for those who do not comprehend, and prefer to live in virtual serfdom, may you have unlimited water pipes, repaired rooftops, and cushy jobs if it pleases you. Since you are carried away with foolishness, perhaps the cry of Pokr Mher (in the Armenian legend of David of Sassoun he is held captive and longs to be free to take away the sins of his people) would awaken your extinguished souls.
As for the bureaucrats/rulers, the official mediocre intellectuals and the “activists” who validate them, may they have tons of money, 8-10 wheels and huge winged cars, special licenses proving their male power and certificates ranking them as “humanists” so that they can be happy (fools). Because these people are busy with frivolous and dangerous tomfoolery, polluting and destroying not only themselves, (and actually if they succeeded in destroying themselves it would be liberating and healing for the society and people) but also endangering the survival and development of the Armenian individual, nation, and state. Therefore, the warning of David of Sassoon is relevant and essential for their deafened souls (and since they are predisposed to simplicity, we print David’s words especially for them on the cover of this issue of the “Tesaket (Opinion)-IDHR.” We cannot advise them with more serious or sophisticated literature because of their shallow attention spans; they are pleased by empty an empty, dull, self-praising and mob-pleasing ballyhoo of official journalists, architects, writers, academicians, intellectuals, and singers suffering from “star” disease. All this from the modest treasure and wealth of the People and nation and against them.
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The current IMPERATIVE of our nation and of our citizens is: The development of a civic culture and the persistent pursuit of debate and rebellion, achieved through political and civic education and the enhancement of an objecting awareness and culture.
We believe in this strategic goal and tirelessly work the realization, development, and adoption of Leftist values, ideas, and politics as a vital alternative in the Armenian reality and towards the rebirth of Armenian state and for its true empowerment. We believe this in the name of the major human and national goal of equality, justice, civic solidarity, and the common good. Full-fledged individuality (of human beings and as a nation) must be respected for the development and reinforcement of the regulatory role of the state, as the guarantor of just redistribution and quality public services, for the harmonious coexistence of the human beings with the universe, for an all-encompassing human and Armenian culture. Dynamic brainstorming and action are necessary to educate, organize and mobilize the Armenian society and people around these values and ideas, always in tune with the developments of the universal mind and soul. These ideas will be realized through a growing and powerful struggle.
Without alternative, a true alternative, the human being, the society, the people, the nation, the state, and humanity are doomed to contamination, decay, degeneration, and destruction. Currently the TRUE PATH for our people and state is the development and fulfillment of left, humanist, and national alternative: that is our oxygen, our guarantee, our deliverance.
Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, 
IDHR Yerevan, 10 December 2007


Research and analysis on current issues of university autonomy

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