Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Egypt, Libya, Yemen,Shared Governance Is Catalyst For Middle East Revolt

Sharing Government Key To Enlightenment

by Winsip Custer CPW News Service

To recruiters it's the rage. To caregivers in hospitals, teachers in colleges, workers in a variety of helping professions and even some progressive manufacturing companies, marketing firms and financial service organizations it promises greater employee participation in decision making and a free-flow of creative ideas. It's called "shared governance", but for some it's another name for dumbing-down, group-think, even Communism.

One CEO, who upon hearing of a fanatical religious group that committed mass suicide at their leader's command. said "now that's the kind of loyalty and commitment I was talking about!" That same executive, on his better days, wanted to give the impression of openness and inclusion, but not actually give it.  This ambivalence breeds unions formed for collective bargaining power and battle lines are drawn between "them" and "us". Upper management demands higher and higher salaries and workers historically used their collective power to give their senior members, not unlike the leaders on the top of the management pyramid, a greater share of the war spoils. Soon jobs which can be shipped overseas to satisfy owner and stockholder demands for greater profits are relocated while those that can't be exported become the new battle ground for another round of false impressions, political jockeying, labor and management demands for concessions and a continuing spiral of manipulation and greed accompanied by accusations and denials.  The players forget they are on the same ship and that the ship can sink.

A desire for shared governance fueled Plato's Republic, the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment and in turn stoked an explosion in scientific inquiry. Science required a healthy disrespect for authority and the pyramidal organizations that supported the authority that science disrespected. Meanwhile, emerging leaders in science applied their healthy anti-authoritarianism to other fields.

New paradigms that depended on past rebellions become entrenched and die a slow death to the newer rebellion. "My cancer riddled prostate died a slow death to the surgeon's knife and then I discovered Proton Therapy and that I didn't need to choose between incontinence or sexual dysfunction," said the loser in the ever changing battle between the status quo and the change that accelerates itself through shared governance.

The English word "govern" comes from the Greek verb κυβερνάω (kubernáo) which means "to steer". Plato was the first to use this word to describe governance. Not ironically, the use of "steerage" to describe where the poorest of the poor were located on a ship is not unrelated. "Steerage passengers" were quartered near the rudder's steering mechanism. For all of the captain's nautical skills his hand on the ship's wheel could easily be redirected by tampering with the steering gears or pulleys as happened on the Matar Espiritu in 1622.

On the Matar Espiritu were slaves bound for Cuba.  They agonized over the captain's decision to deliver them to the slave block in the approaching port. The slaves decided to jam the gears with wooden bowls thus sending the ship aground far south of Cuba and providing for their escape to Yucatan where they took up raising hemp and mangoes. One of their leaders, Kulambaja Nubinaba, discovered the use of hemp as rope and began selling it to passing ships for mooring line.  They also used it as an analgesic which when smoked in small terra cotta pipes eased an assortment of aches and pains. Kulambaja sold the hemp in small pouches which he called "baggies" along with one terra cotta pipe with each bag of hemp. In the slow seasons he sold the pipe and baggies to passing sailors by offering one pipe and baggie free for each one bought, thus inventing the "buy-one-get-one-free" marketing tool that we know today at leading retail stores.

In time, with the invention of synthetic rope, hemp rope went out of style. The pipe and baggies never did, but Kulambaja's business was transformed as governments put in place protective restrictions and tariffs called "drug laws" designed to keep Kulambaja's small, but thriving business from making a profit.  Over time, heavily invested in oil from which synthetic rope was made for a fraction of the cost of the harvested hemp crop, the competition had killed one of Kulambaja's income streams. 

Kumambaja's off-spring would mix and inter-marry with the indigenous population of the Yucatan and spread throughout Mexico, Central and South America where they created large networks and associations to combat the restrictions of the distant power elites that he felt were not unlike his people's king back in Africa.
Kulambaja's family had been in the bowl-making business in Africa, when Portugese traders dealt them a tremendous blow by purchasing his enslaved family from the king of their tribe, Zulilli Mumbaba. Mumbaba, impressed by the Kulambaja family ingenuity for making wooden bowls, earthen pots and pipes, decided to copy their methods, then compartmentalize the production methods and gave jobs to members of king's own family. Only a handful of the king's family were allowed to understand the whole process that emerged within the stolen  production methods....a process which the Kumambaja family had acquired during years of trial and error. 

 Kulambaja's family joined the resistance to Mumbaba and started making wooden bowls from distant African hardwoods in their own little family owned production line to differentiate their bowls from those of Mumbaba. This made King Mumbaba even more angry and oppressive so he rounded up Kulambaja's family, caged them and sold as slaves to the Portugese. Elimination of competition is the hallmark of every tyrant.

I asked a leading authority on "shared governance" Dr. Francois Placebois of the Paris Institute of Shared Governance and Dr. Martin Moshermueller of the Berlin Institute of Shared Values to help shed light on the place of shared governance in our current culture.

"Martin Luther was convinced that humanity was being enslaved by a monolitic religious empire that crushed the individual's spirit as surely as the intimidating Philistine, Goliath, would try to command the servitude of the Israelites," said Moshermueller.  "In the West, with this impressive history that leans in favor of shared power and governance, it is counterproductive to oppose shared governance in the fashion of a Saddam Hussein, a  Mubarak or a Qadaffi who have used open oppression and violence.  Those who promote the values of shared governance, especially since the proliferation of the powerful corporations in the mid 1800's, are ostracized, sometimes severely, but much more subtly than in nations like Egypt, Tunisia or Libya.  'You want to share in leadership?  Great.  Here, do this. Now this.  Now that.  Double the participation in this. Quadruple the effectiveness of that.  We'll bury you in work and blow your hair back and take the wind out of your sails.'  That's how the promotion of shared governance is squelched in the West.  This is an adolescent means of forestalling the tempest that will blow back not just someone's hair, but the entire stalled and spiritless system as we are witnessing in the Middle East and as we have even seen in China during the Tienanmen Square demonstrations or with those willing to die scaling the Berlin Wall," said Moshermueller. 

"The question arises among promoters of shared governance....'I know it sounds good, but does it work? If it works, where does it work, particularly now that jobs seem so scarce and opportunities so few and the culture so dark and foreboding?'  Where does it work when upper management, Wall Street financiers and politicians seem to give only lip service to it or where jobs are exported to oppressive Communist countries or the Third World where ruthless dictators provide a safe haven for ruthless oppression? Where does it work when we support resistance to tyrants like Hussein, Mubarak and Gadaffi, but do nothing for the people of Bahrain or Yemen or in the past, Idi Amin or Charles Taylor or the Chinese student who stared down a tank or students in Iran who asked for a more open and progresssive society and die at the hand of their dictator?" asked Placebois.

"Is the Middle East on the verge of its Reformation, Renaissance, Enlightenment and Great Awakening?" I asked Placebois. "Are they as capable as Christians and Jews of embracing the value of the individual and of pulling from their scriptures the theological and philosophical supports to steer their ship in a positive direction toward a free and bright future?" I asked.

He said "I think they are. They are now connected to the rest of the world and they have seen what they missed sitting at the foot of the Pharaoh's pyramid," said Placebois. "Noam Chomsky has spoken of America's ignorance of conditions that average citizens in Arab states have had to endure as a result of our backing tyrranical dictators.  This information has been repressed in America at least since Eisenhower's adminstration.  But those at the top will be divided increasingly between those who believe that shared governance is ordained by our creator and those who prefer to imprison others. Evil is ubiquitous, but it has within it the seeds of its own destruction," Placebois cointinued. "You know from your own experiences that the 2000 U.S. Presidential election should have been totally recast so that the power of shared governance remained with the people and not with any other authority, regardless of the winner," said Placebois defiantly. "You are seeing this desire played out in the Middle East among people who are much more like your founders than you are," he concluded.

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