Opinion

Charade in masquerade: the follies of the shyster Arthur Johnson

By Alfred P. B. Kiadii

The Liberian plot is in a dilemma, opening revolutionary possibilities. The homeland is in revolutionary ferment. The republic is in a revolutionary gestation. The state has been thrown into topsy-turvy. There are strains and there are crises. Strains and crises smack of disharmony and disequilibrium. It was Lenin with his sublime mastery of the dialectics who made the following observation after studying society, nature and human thought: “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” By his dictum, one can approvingly postulate that revolutionary periods are usually short—a time when the producing masses burst onto the scene of history and thus become ultra-energetic and active in political life. It follows that an evolutionary period always precedes revolutionary upheavals. Still on Lenin’s assertion, “the decades where nothing happens” is the evolutionary period on the eve of authentic social change, while the “weeks where decades happen” are considered its revolutionary period.

Events in the last fifteen months or thereabouts in the republic have confirmed the truism that conflict and the class struggle are inevitable phenomena in the historical process of humanity insofar as man’s greed continues to force him to annex what belongs to the general for the self and thus sequestering such wealth for private benefits, while the discarded people suffer the fate of drudgery, backwardness, and material indignity. It is under this cloud of total neglect, national exclusion, and historical injustice that varying class antagonism fester and hit a nodal point and hence the contradictions spill over on the surface.

Historical events which pit conflict between a dying order and a new one fighting to wrestle itself out of the bowel of the old order doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is the product of complex social processes, which have as its centerpiece such contradictions as the one between the master and slaves, oppressed and oppressors, and notably and foremost, the contradiction between labor and capital in the capitalist relations of production, exchange, and distribution. In such battle, social forces emerge to either defend the privilege, power and money of the ruling circle, or come at the forefront to fight with and for the forgotten, marginalized, and impoverished masses.

Currently, a period of massive distillation of revolutionary energies has hit the Liberian landscape. Different formations, interest groups, and the students at the frontline trenches of political organizing have thrown themselves into revolutionary activities against not only social inequality but also a grotesquely bankrupt national leadership which wallows in glistened wealth, while children are emaciated and showing distended stomachs. Under this revolutionary current of mass ferment, the Council of Patriots has emerged, preparing for a nationwide protest on June 7, while the students of the University of Liberia, led in the vanguard by its most authentic voice of defiance in the Student Unification Party (SUP), has launched an unprecedented ‘’ Weah Step down Campaign.”

If class struggle is the finishing school of class antagonism, then social revolution marks the period of the entry of the people into history. However, revolutionary period is not based on subjective yearnings. Neither is it an abstraction. In such a period, the colossus or monstrosity which bestrides the society dubbed the state is caught in the cobweb of internal contradictions and irredeemable turmoil. Antagonistic contradictions that didn’t occupy places of significance start to fester and morph into open battles. In that, seismic shifts and eruptions never before seen are brought to the fore. The economics, development, national, and the social productive relations questions are given increased prominence in national discourses. So-called institutions of governance such as the legislature, the executive, and judiciary become punching bags for public anger and lose the legitimacy of the people. Banks and other financial institutions lose the trust of the people, thus upending society. It is not in the ivory tower one looks to corral reasons why the state is in such hot crisis. To understand the movement of history, nature and society is to analyze the conflicting tendencies in a society or phenomenon. It is internal contradiction through the shock of auto-dynamism which explains crisis between social classes, conflict, revolution and resistance.

All throughout history, it has been consistently proven that when the exploited masses whose fortune is misfortune and know nothing except exploitation, backwardness and drudgery, suppressed by a fingerful minority decide to confront the power structures to demand a new beginning, negative social forces whose interests align with the status quo will unmask their pretension and join ranks with their class folks to sabotage the struggle for social emancipation. Methods may vary, as tactics may differ depending on concrete circumstances. However, under such circumstances, we are happy to report that the masses of the people have always garnered the strength and the courage of conviction to nip in the bud historical traitors and political opportunists who use quirky skullduggery and subterranean jiggery-pokery to maintain the status quo of backwardness and inequality when the people are determined to rectify historical aberrations.

It is on this basis the reactionary hot air dressed as savvy legal opinion, the shameful showboating, the media blitz, and morose butchery of the inalienable rights of the Liberian masses, which is guaranteed under the aegis of the constitution, by the spineless spiv Arthur Johnson, must be analyzed. It is through such kaleidoscope one must dissect his unholy coitus with the discredited Weah regime and discard his bankrupt formulations bordering on the absurd.

Rolling into one the legendary Frantz Fanon’s concept of consciousness and Thomas Sankara’s aphorism about political consciousness, I would make the following assertion to the quack lawyer– A lawyer must enrich his legal knowledge with ideological, social, and national consciousness.

To do the above is to use your legal education for emancipatory purposes and fight against social injustice, domination and exploitation. A lawyer who has no ideological, social, and national consciousness is a potential thief, who is motivated by money and seduced by other inducements. Here, such legal persona dangles his education before potential clients, typical of a prostitute who is ready to sleep with any man who is ready to give her nickel or dime. For such lawyer, what counts is not representing people to seek justice, but to use the legal terrain as a conduit to amass wealth and other material splendors. Such person sees the legal field as a bazaar where jockeying and jostling for the highest bidder no matter whether the person is in clear violation of the law becomes an article of faith.

Arthur’s only ground for opposing the protest is that he fears this will disrupt the normal flow of society and thus prevents his daughter from attending her classes. Although such argument is not only selfish and a total disregard for the pinch and pain the broad masses are feeling, but also a short-sighted argument which is pockmarked with the aureole of political opportunism and can easily be defenestrated, his reasoning is also very spurious and only a pretext to conceal his role as an uncritical spokesperson for the regime. He is not disturbed by the spate of scandals involving the plundering of the LRD$ 16 billion, the wholesale looting of the US$ 25 million, the unbridled theft of donors’ funds, and the shocking degeneration of the constitutional order under the Weah administration.

This Mr. Lawyer and Pontificator deliberately ignores the racket Weah and his gate-crashers are running on the ruins of the economy. We tell him that the normal flow of the society has been disrupted by the malicious, criminal and corrupt conduct of Weah and his robber officials. Furthermore, here is a lawyer who should be concerned about the laws being recklessly violated by George Weah and his incessant determination to plunge the country into chaos, is more interested in his (Arthur Johnson) daughter acquiring a corrupt education in a corrupt society as opposed to fighting against injustice against which he sows to fight and struggle, thus allowing his daughter and the generality of Liberian children to acquire education void of corruption.

All along we have not taken the chap seriously as he comes across more as a showman and flamboyant character who uses landmark cases to promote and market himself. We must say using money and illegal methods to bribe justices or judges, for the most part, are what propel most lawyers to national stardom in our judicial system, especially in a country like Liberia where the chief justice is the notorious chief injustice of the land. Sadly, the Liberian judiciary which should be the marketplace for dispensing justice with impartiality has transformed into a sordid hub for distributing injustice. Such anomaly has eroded the confidence of the public in the court and embolden the masses to use extra-legal means to deal with legal matters. In short, the Liberian judiciary is a corrupt lot where masonic membership, signs, and symbols are the surest ticket to win cases rather than legal shrewdness—a typical case of using the route of justice to achieve unjust verdict in favor of injustice.

The CDC government has always toyed with the fallacy that the consciousness of the people is immutable and that they (the CDC folks) represent the last version of the existence of the Liberian people. But few things have happened that debunked the flawed thinking—the rousing welcome of Henry Costa into the country by the toiling masses, the activeness of the people in political life, their defiance against avarice and greed by human locusts who suck the lifeblood of the country, their outright but rightful contempt for Weah, his circle, all the rottenness they embody, and their loud condemnation of the legislature and judiciary have sent the regime in panic mode and thus increased its nervousness.

The nervousness of the regime and its hawkish posture against elements of the protest movement must be understood within the context of popular actions of the masses of the third world against alienated, criminal and corrupt national regimes and imperialist forces. The ferment in the Liberian society must be seen through actions of certain third world masses and the attendant change in the balance of force. The revolutionary uprising of the Sudanese masses, led in the vanguard by their most authentic representative in the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which toppled the 30-year brutal dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, their determination to wrestle power out of the hands of the military establishment, and learning from the counter-revolutionary reactions after the popular processes of 1964 and 1985 that receded their gains—the masses are calling for social transformation.

The majestic and decisive explosion of the masses of the Algerian people against the 20-year backward rule of Abdul-Aziz Bouteflika, its overthrow, and their audacious determination to usher progressive transformation is indicative of what the determined masses do in history when alienated and deprived of basic necessities by social parasites who hold themselves as leaders. In Haiti, the explosive rising of the Haitian masses against the puppet regime of Jovenel Moise and the compradore bourgeoisie that is aligned body and soul with imperialism, suing the regime and its backers in the USA, Britain, and France for the economic woes in the country are authentic expressions of ordinary masses taking extraordinary steps to extricate themselves from bondage. The struggle of the Chavista masses in barrios of Caracas and other suburbs in Venezuela against US imperialism, its domestic proxies, the military-civilian union, and their bold determination to confront imperialist arrogance in order to continue on the authentic path of social development and demonstrate the superior qualities of socialist transformation as opposed to neoliberal globalization, the anarchy of the market, and the myth of the balancing act of the efficient market hypothesis are a classic example to cherish.

The fight back of the Brazilian masses against the hated fascist regime of Jair Bolsanaro unravels something special and creates revolutionary possibilities. Clearly, all over the masses are fighting back against roguish political formations and reactionary governments through grassroots organizing. The fight back of the Yellow Vest Movement across France against the hated Macron regime is still fresh an example. In the United States of America, a Gallup Poll has established that among the young people, there is a rise in support for socialism as the alternative to predatory capitalism. There is also the Me Too Movement—and before them—the Black Lives Matters Formation. Even teachers are now leading strikes in the USA, from Kentucky to West Virginia, to Arizona, Colorado, even Georgia and Virginia.

Fearing the popular action of the people, it is in this context that George Weah and his handlers have hired the slavish lackey in Arthur Johnson to do their bidding. This move is the last-ditch civil effort to proscribe the protest. To all intents and purposes, when it doesn’t succeed and being hard pressed, the regime will degenerate into black fascism and hit man politics, as it demonstrated in District 13, Montserrado County, the crude slaughtering of Matthew Innis, the dubious circumstances under which Representative Adolf Lawrence and militant Gwendolyn Myers met their untimely demise. If you doubt any further, know that there has been reshuffling of elements in the justice and police outfits of the state. The nomination of the CDC flunkey in Sayma Syrenius Cephus as solicitor general and the promotion of another belligerent operative in Marvin Sarkor, Deputy Inspector General for Operations at the Liberia National Police, are indications that the regime is prepared to violently repress the revolutionary upsurge of the people.

True, those actions of the Weah kakistrocracy are grand designs to crush popular resistance against it. Its actions are subtly violent and ultra-reactionary, but the determined and courageous masses of the people, in the face of these orchestrations, wouldn’t be browbeaten into cowardice but would be inspired to resist. The exploited masses intend to majestically move forward with a new itinerary for social development and suffer no trepidation. They intend to march forward reminiscent of the Parisian masses armed only with courage, defiance, and resistance to settle score with the latter day Louis XVI, or elsewhere like the Partisans of Italy who crushed the fascist dictator in Benito Mussolini. Also the lessons of events of the popular peoples of Nicaragua, Cuba, Vietnam against imperialism and its Uncle Tom regimes, indicate that the peoples of those geographies firstly defeated counter-revolution and reaction in their hearts before they were defeated at the barricades or on the battlefields. Similarly, the Liberian masses have defeated George Weah in their hearts and they will do so at the barricades.

Lately, there has been this trendy nonsense on social media parroted by CDC poison pens and echo-chambers-for hire that there are plans to assassinate George Weah. We reject such lousy platitude from CDC spongers and say to them that assassination is an act of individual terrorism, ultra-left adventurism, and would do nothing to solve the socio-economic imbalances in the homeland. The assassination of George Weah so he is replaced by Jewel Howard Taylor is akin to putting old wine in new bottle. Suffice it to mean that if George Weah is corrupt and cannot perform any better, Jewel Howard-Taylor is equally backward and reactionary and cannot do any better. We reject the strategy of lesser evilism. Between George Weah and Jewel Howard-Taylor, we see no lesser or greater evil, we see two evils of the Macbethian proclivity equal in intensity, vice, and rottenness.

In fact, changing one handler of the neo-colony with another without smashing the state and keeping the capitalist neo-colonial mode of production, distribution and exchange is nothing but a mundane carousel. At least we want social transformation and at best we want social revolution. The two can only be done with the conscious masses of the people, and not through assassination. It is only social revolution which will dignify and humanize the people and make them historical subjects. As for Weah, we would want him to be dragged to court to account for his stewardship. It will gladden our hearts to see him, along with his many concubines, in orange jumpsuit for gang raping our republic.

June 7 will either be a dress rehearsal or a turning point. The people are surging and ‘’ the bell toll for thee’’. The trumpet is blowing. The masses have changed the musical rendition in support of George Weah to a rhythm or beat of defiance against him. All over the people want revolution; the masses want liberation; the students want a progressive future; the youths are clamoring for employment; and the marketers are agitating for the prices of commodities to be reduced. The sentiments, ideas and expressions of social emancipation have hit crescendo. On June 7 in Liberia, history will be on the move. The people will win, the masses will march into history!

To the Liberian National Police and Armed Forces of Liberia, turn your guns, tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and electric batons on your oppressors, but stand in alliance with the masses of the people!

Down with the Weah regime!

Forward to the African revolution through the Liberian frontier!

Struggle forever!

About the Author:

Kiadii writes from Accra, Ghana, and can be contacted via bokiadii@gmail.com  

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Opinion Section

Public opinion alone can keep society pure and healthy - Mahatma Gandhi. At Globe Afrique, we cherish the opinion and perspectives of all irrespective of race, gender, social status, and religious affiliation. As Gandhi perfectly puts it, we believe through this process, we can help in making societies pure and healthy. Want your opinion to be published, write to globeafriquellc@gmail.com. *************************************************************** Editor’s note: The views expressed herein in no way represent the views of Globe Afrique Media or its editorial board and staff, but that of the author.

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