Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pashinian: One Million Citizens, 24 Hours.

In this essay, among other things, like outlining a clear plan, Pashinian makes a crucial distinction between the presence of a majority in society and the public acknowledgement of that majority's existence. That split is the focus of the game.

Pashinian: One Million Citizens, 24 Hours.

The national movement led by the first President of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrossian, truly has such a large number of committed adherents that in political science it is acceptable to characterize them as a "critical mass." What can be said of this? It is probably not the best phrase, especially with regard to its application to our movement, but unfortunately a better one has not yet been found.

With this in mind, I will use the formulation "decisive majority" to include in the concept the majority character of the people, who are in a position in the country to take over the government or, more correctly, to decide the government's fate. Accordingly, the movement led by Levon Ter-Petrossian was already a decisive majority even before the Presidential elections, but after the events following February 19th and especially after the criminal acts realized by the government on March 1st, the number of committed adherents to the national movement grew by at least 2.5 times. Being a decisive majority is an indespensible--but not sufficient--precondition for the realization of a change in government; it is important, too, that that majority be able to "manifest" itself, to show itself and manifest its will and determination, because the crimial government, having no majority whatsoever, compensates for that lack by using the police and military. The institutions of violence [military, etc.] are used with the intention of preventing the decisive majority from making its presence known; moving against this, the decisive majority's pursuit shatters the military's and police force's will to serve the government because, you will agree, it is not possible to endlessly arrest, judge, and God forbid, massacre [the people]. These kinds of things happen under tyrannous governments, because in the case of Democratic countries, the decisive civilian majority is able to make its presence palpable through simple government elections. The government falsified the results of the 2008 elections. The national movement led by Levon Ter-Petrossian was confident that it had the decisive civilian majority in Armenia. But that majority was not allowed to come onto the scene and loudly voice its presence through voting--it had to find another way of making its presence known.

That way was found: Peaceful, round-the-clock sit-ins at Freedom Plaza. It must be noted that the sit-ins necessarily could not have lasted one or two days, because it is not possible to gather the decisive majority together in one place in one day, and even if it were possible, a one day gathering can be seen as a sudden flare-up, and its coming to a close, as the end. Thus began the mobilization of the decisive civilian majority of the R.A. [Republic of Armenia] on February 21st, 2008. This was a big risk for Ter-Petrossian's team because, just as the government had done everything that it could to prevent a decisive majority from forming around the First President, so it was doing everything it could to prevent this majority from coming out and making its presence known at Freedom Plaza. Moreover, Sargsyan tried to prove that the decisive civilian majority of the R.A. was on his side. It was for this reason that, on February 26th, Serge Sargsyan organized a gathering at Republic Square, a gathering which, as is well known, became a humiliating defeat for the acting government. Through the use of different levers, the people who had been brought to Republic Square [by the Kocharian/Sargsyan camp to "support" Sargsyan] moved to Freedom Square and began chanting "Levon!" and "Serzhik, out of here!" Four-hundred-and-fifty-thousand to 500,000 people participated in the gathering on that day. This constituted a powerful blow to the criminalocracy, but the Kocharian-Sargsyan pair was not preparing to yield. Serzh Sargsyan began working on forming a coalition, winning Arthur Baghdassarian and Vahan Hovhannisian over to his side and trying to create an immitation decisive majority for himself in this way. The grass-roots movement was ready for the progression of events in such a direction, and it was announced from Freedom square that the number of Armenian citizens that would be participating in the gathering on the coming Sunday, March the 2nd, would be one million. This gathering was to decisively settle the question of the decisive majority's "showing itself," and the criminalocracy had but one solution: the violent solution. I am not going to mention the illegality of the the actions of the government on that day, first, because much has been said about that, and because it is outside our topic. I find it fitting to mention, instead, the issue that Hrand Ter-Abrahamian has discussed in one of his articles. The latter justly notes that, had the people resorted to a counter attack and had a revolt broken out, the issue of the government would have very quickly been settled: that is to say, the criminalocratic pair would have been removed from power. This, of course, is an unambiguous truth, and the question may well arise, Why, then, did it not take place? Mainly because of the fundamental reason that, in that case, we would have had not tens, but hundreds, if not thousands, of losses. Such a thing could not possibly have been allowed. And, generally speaking, the question that day was not victory (whom were we going to defeat, if the people standing before us were Armenian citizens like ourselves?) but the avoidance of defeat, and for that reason, on that day, there could have been talk of only self-defense. Returning to the main narrative, let me emphasize that the main purpose of all of the government's actions was but one: to deny the decisive civilian majority formed around Levon Ter-Petrossian the ability to make its presence known and to announce itself, to degenerate its total unity. Not only the events of March 1st, but those preceding it, were in pursuit of this goal: a State of Emergency, the effective shutting-down of newspapers, mass arrests, terror, changes in the law, and the dissemination of misinformation. The unprecedented lengths of these actions eloquently demonstrated that a similarly unprecedented civilian majority has gathered around Levon Ter-Petrossian. And the purpose of the government was to get the civilian members of that majority to either withdraw their membership, to refrain from coming out publicly as members, or to deny them the ability to [do so].

Naturally, the issues concerning the national movement directly contradict the issues that the government has put before it. In the general scheme of things, the tasks that Ter-Petrossian's team has before it have not changed after March 1st: to show that the decisive civilian majority gathered around the first President continues to be, that it can show itself, and that it remains as resolute and diligent as before. The events following March 1st, whose culmination was the procession of April 24th, demonstrated that this is a wholly realizable matter and that the repressive measures taken by the government have yielded no positive results for them. There is no doubt that all that would be required for hundreds of thousands of people to show-up at Freedom square--tomorrow, even--would be a call put forth by Levon Ter-Petrossian, Stepan Demirdjian, Aram Zaveni Sargsian, and other political leaders. But there is [also] no doubt that an equal number of R.A. citizens who are ready to answer that call, under conditions of an information blockade, will not even hear it. Perhaps many people who consider themselves supporters of the national movement might not be able to make the decision to show-up at Freedom Plaza due to caution and uncertainty. There are many people who are under the spell of "Haylur" [television news] and are in need of real news and information.

In short, it is necessary to make it possible for these people to fully participate in the grass-roots movement, a job that up until March 1st was carried-out by Levon Ter-Petrossian's campaign teams, which up until March 1st and especially after March 1st were the target of fierce attacks. Regardless, as time went on, the campaign teams were [destined] to loose the principle governing their activities. Accordingly, under the present circumastances, the national movement has new organizational issues that it needs to deal with, issues that I have addressed in one of the previous essays that dealt with assembly groups, the network of oral information dispersal, the propagation and dispersal of DVDs, and other such questions.

And in spite of the fact that I believe that the youth is going to have a decisive role in these activities, the 2nd National Congress needs to stimulate the future development of this process that is moving along quite well. There are important things to do in Yerevan and, especially, in the provinces.

That which is related to the process of the national movement making its presence public as the decisive majority needs to be wed to the March 2nd--that is to say, the one-million strong--assembly. Of course, different assemblies and types of actions can take place before then. But the change in government, the destruction of the rule of criminals and thieves, and the final and decisive victory must take place in that very assembly, which will take place as "One Million People, 24 Hours." That is to say that one million people need to gather at Freedom Plaza and declare as the decisive civil majority of the R.A. that they are giving the government 24 hours--to leave. But in order to be able to organize such an assembly, it is necessary to have a clear mobilization network, a network whose progress and final form need to be the focus of our daily attention. Struggle, struggle, until the end.


Wallace Reid said...

I hope you don't mind a little unsolicitated advice ( you may not want to publish this );

Armenia might well take a lesson from American history. Although George Washington was the first President of the American Republic, Abraham Lincoln was the first to preside over the American Empire.

Lincoln had been a dark horse in his election, winning a narrow ( and questionable ) victory over the men he would soon appoint to his cabinet. William Henry Seward ( Secretary of the State ), Salmon Chase ( Secretary of Treasury ), and Edward Bates ( Atttorney General ) were all strong adversaries, and genius in their own right, as well as being crooks of the highest caliber. By binding them close, Lincoln was able to dominate, and bend there talents to his will.

Your first President is still a formidable adversary, and needs to be reigned in, and rode like a horse. Lincoln told a story;

"A man on the highway witnessed a man on horse-back trying valiantly to remain in the saddle as the horse bucked and heaved under him. Somehow, one of the horse's rear hoves had gotten stuck in a stirrup, and the horse was trying free his hoof. The witness heard the rider exclaim, "Ok, if you want to ride, just give me a chance to dismount..."

In other words, your new President should offer the former President an appropriate role in Government, and exploit his natural talents for the good of your nation. One asset of American Government that most don't recognize is the role of former Presidents. They are a wealth of knowledge, and wisdom. You had an election, accept it and do better next time. And then, hopefully, you will have two former Presidents.

Empires ( and nations ) that don't maintain former leaders are doomed to collapse...and watch Putin.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

Those are thoughtful ideas, and very publishable. I don't think the analogy quite works in the case of Armenia, however, because as corrupt as Seward, Chase, and Bates might have been, I doubt that they were looking out for the interests of a foreign country first, the way Kocharian, Sargsyan, and company are looking out for the interests of Russia, at the expense of Armenia.

The President of one country serving the interests of another country is an unacceptable situation. A country in such a situation cannot be said to be independent. That's the Opposition's position.