Hope you've recovered from the Brumbies choking during the big one.
I think one of the really interesting things about reportage on Fiji  has
been the lack of class in the pundits analysis. The way I read it is the
post independence constitution perpetuated and strengthened the racial fix
in Fijian politics. This fix pretty much guaranteed the ethnic Fijian
elite's hold on power. The labour party, always multiracial but with strong
Indian support, broke this fix when a substantial number of the urban
working class/poor ethnic Fijians began voting for it on essentially class
lines. This is obviously intolerable to the ethnic Fijian elite who have
been trying to recreate, with little success , the racial straight jacket
that under pins their power. I think their efforts are doomed long term as
modernisation will depopulate and educate the rural areas on which their
power is founded while at the same time creating a growing pool of
proletarianised urban ethnic Fijians who will vote increasingly on class
lines. If I where them I'd do a deal now as medium long term they could lose
big time due to anything  from the above to the Indians simple out numbering
them greatly and winning a show down to outside intervention from say India
(no more Uganda's) in a crisis in say ten years.
I know this isn't fashionable but I'd give 2 and 1/2 cheers for capitalist
pseudo democracy over traditional society any day.
> From: Rob Schaap <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 04:00:22 +1000
> Subject: M-TH: Fiji
> Anyone got a detailed take on the removal at gunpoint of one of the few
> serious left-reformist political leaders left in the world?  I can't find a
> single interview with a Fijian without a gun or a uniform!  Rabuka started
> all this 13 years ago, and Oz was happy enough to go along then.  Now Fiji
> is reaping what we helped sow (East Timor ain't the only East Timor, alas).
> I read Speight (as a boojie on the verge of doing time for fraud) as the the
> pointy end of an indignant Fijian bourgeoisie (whether he consciously plays
> this part, I don't know, but quite a few of the better-to-do Indians seem
> remarkably quiet as he hurls the country to the brink) and Kamisese Mara as
> the pointy end of the old wholly-indigenous aristocracy.  The fight is
> between them - a class struggle Britain had sorted by 1830.  And 90% of the
> population are, absolutely invisibly and eerily silently, the meat in this
> malignant sandwich.
> Anyway, now the army has claimed executive power (and they're no monolith on
> this either - but, anyway, Mara is formally suddenly himself bereft of power
> now) and Speight has responded by threatening to shoot Mara's daughter if
> the army goes for him.  It's civil war then, of course.  But I sense the
> military is closer to Speight than to anyone else on the balance of
> sentiment.
> And as Oz Foreign Minister Alexander Downer waxes indignant about the
> violent overthrow of an old-fashioned (ie pre-3rd way) social democrat (who
> enjoyed 62% of the vote at last count), he's off to talk turkey with his
> fellow democrats over in Rangoon ...
> Yours biliously,
> Rob.
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