People can “wear many hats” and so we find that Immortal Technique is not only a rapper but has evolved into a political activist and social commentator. In this interview with RussiaToday he appears as an articulate activist instead of an angry rapper whose uncompromising passion can easily be interpreted as intimidating aggression. His musical anthology thus far is dominated by the theme of social revolution and protest against what he would describe as the corrupt dictatorial power structure(s) that keep the majority of the worlds’ population poor and oppressed (it is possibly encapsulated by this song The “Third World”).
The interview covers many topics that we have touched on here before such as; the power of capitalism, the importance of maintaining an interest and participating in politics, safeguarding democracy from dictators like Chavez, how his music’s lyrics should be interpreted, Marxism and even the misappropriation of religion. The interview ends with him talking about his charity work in Afghanistan; where he has used proceeds from his last album to build a school and an orphanage.
We welcome your opinions on his music and views as well as some of our previous posts in the comments section(s). There’s a music video of his to a song called The Poverty of Philosophy over the jump.
I am the first to admit that conventional democratic political processes are often corrupt, slow and ineffective due to bureaucracy and vested elitist interests that are contrary to the greater well being of societies. I hold cynical views about corrupt politicians and social injustice and believe that it is fine to be disappointed and even disgusted by politics. BUT I ABSOLUTELY HATE it when people say that politics is not important or does not affect them or their daily lives. According to the work of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) there is a worrying trend of of increasing global voter apathy going as far back as 1945 so that “voter turnout has decreased globally over the past 10 years by almost 10 percent, both in established democracies as well as newly-democratized developing countries.
Politics cannot be easily defined but this wikipedia entry provides these key points by describing it as: as process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behaviour within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. However, there is not an academic consensus on the precise definition of “politics” and what is considered as political and what is not. Max Weber defined politics as the struggle for power. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics)
One of the fundamental principles of a democracy is the right to protest. In a modern liberal democratic society we have all sorts of rights and freedoms that are backed up by the rule of law, fundamental rights such as the freedoms of speech and movement. We, the people, can voice our displeasure at any particular government policy or perceived injustice as long as we do so in a peaceful manner, within the framework of the law. Although we should recognise that the ability to protest is a luxury in a democracy and can be vastly different under other forms of governance.
I suppose by definition and the law of opposites one person’s hero is another person’s dictator (anti-hero) and Hugo Chavez is certainly no different, a man who inspires both adulation and loathing at home and abroad. So is Hugo Chavez a hero or a dictator?
One thing is certain and that is that supporters view him as a socialist liberator, hailing him for promoting Latin American integration, for being an enemy of imperialism and neoliberalism, empowering Venezuela’s poor and indigenous communities, and reducing poverty and unemployment. Meanwhile critics of Chávez in Venezuela and the United States, claim that the Chávez government is leading Venezuela in an authoritarian direction, with Chavez himself becoming a dictator, abandoning democratic tradition, extending state control over the economy, eliminating dissent, and carrying out “social programs that will set Venezuela back”.
It’s all down to interpretation. They say; one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. A logical conclusion that can be drawn from all this is that most of the dictators of today were heroes to some people yesterday. It’s sad that over long periods of time; power, greed and dissent corrupts the best intentions of leaders, just as it did the pigs of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
From this, one can predict that today’s heroes could potentially become tomorrow’s dictators. The developing world (where poverty is rife and most of the time democracy is in its infancy) is most vulnerable to this culture of personalities, which lends itself so well to the creation of political heroes and dictators. Enough of the theoretical – in terms of dictators that used to be heroes, the prime example that comes to my mind is Zimbabwe’s own – Robert Mugabe
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