Vanguardism and CUD's principle of democracy
One of the most impressive features of CUD's electoral pledge was its outright rejection of the politics which puts a political party at the center of a mass movement. Kinijit's diets were flavored with anti-Bolshevik vanguardism. For kinijit, democracy is created when people are empowered to action and participation through independent civic organizations and public reasoning; to exercise their rights. Further, a successful democracy, for kinijit, needs a strong political community with common and shared values as well as institutions. "Vanguardism," Birhanu Nega argued in one of the famous debates," silences dissent and debate. It substitutes one oppressive state with another. Democracy can't be dictated by political groupings." Building democracy with the participation of the society and not with party dictat was Kinijit's central theme during the elections. The principle of democracy was upheld from the Poldar model social democratic wing of kinijit to its libertarians.
This unflinching commitment was part of the reason for the party's rejection of a transitional government and it was one of the focal points of difference between Kinijit and the other opponents of TPLF. The OLF in contrast advances vanguardism. It calls itself the leader of the Oromo people. Vanguardism is an anti-thesis to democracy. Its theoretical underpinning (and OLF's core ideology) is the dictatorship of a group which controls power and lead the masses. The internal contradiction of vanguardism is very visible. It justifies in the name of freedom.
The democratic ideals of CUD and OLF are incompatible. There have been suggestions that the AFD's goal of establishing an all inclusive conference which will lead to a transitional government leans towards the OLF's ideal than to the CUD's. The AFD endorses the notion that a "negotiated settlement" among political parties brings about democracy and, therefore, contradicts Kinijit's principle of democracy. CUD is agreeing to form an obsequious transitional government which has little difference from the one OLF formed with TPLF fifteen years ago. Or so the arguments go.
These issues aren't unfamiliar. When the CUD proposed national unity government late August, there were people who smelt a betrayal of its core principles. The party then made it clear that its proposed national unity government was "a government for the creation of democratic institutions." Its tasks were lucid and limited. In the absence of the goal of the all inclusive conference, I believe, there is a room where Kinijit may maneuver to make the goal the establishment of a government for the creation of democratic institutions. Thus its core principles and objectives will remain unchanged.
In relation to the democratic ideals of Kinijit, the other argument against AFD is the contradiction of rejecting vanguardism and allying with vanguard groups. Whether Kinijit has abandoned its principles in doing so depends on the nature and substance of the alliance. From my reading of the statutes and the memorandum of understanding, there is not a single discernable indication that the alliance is of that nature; and outside the context of the alliance, CUD cannot determine the core democratic principles of OLF.
The Alliance and Eritrea
The alliance's relationship with Eritrea evokes emotions and concern among the supporters of Kinijit. In its national security policy, Kinijit has made clear that all issues with Eritrea are to be resolved through dialogue where Ethiopia will not shy away from using the balance of power in the horn to advance its national interest and guard its sovereignty. The policy would be turned on its head if the alliance was supported and bankrolled by the Eritrean dictator as Dagmawi claimed.
But I have yet to see evidences which support this claim; and as it stands it is wild and unsubstantiated. Presenting the fact that the "LF" groups operate from Eritrea as an evidence of Eritrea's involvement in AFD is quite circumstantial. There is nothing in the documents which manifest an Eritrean agenda and it is up to CUD to guard against if one is to be smuggled in the future.
I believe AFD as a project is long overdue. It has a symbolic and practical significance. Yet caution is advised.
-It should be guarded against Eritrean agenda.
-It shouldn't be furthered at the expense of Kinjit as an organization. Alliances are sometimes advanced at the cost of individual parts.
- Its stated strategy of non-violent resistance shouldn't be compromised.
-It operation should be more transparent than the way it was established. There is a need for more involvement from the public and interest groups
Ps: I found Shaleka Yosef yazew's interview with ethiopianpolitics very disappointing. The alliance needs a better defense than... "Some people, who claim to represent the views of Kinijit and OLF, should desist from helping TPLF's sinister endeavors to break up AFD."
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