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The Tailor of Ulm: Western democracy may be a stumbling block to progress


South Africans will have to reimagine a new approach of governing — the existing Western democratic machine does no longer – Work for us. But what must that choice long term or that choice machine be?

A couple of weeks in the past I attended a serve as in Pretoria the place I met 2 males, 1 from China and the opposite from Singapore. They have been well mannered conversationalists within the socio-economic demanding situations confronted by way of us South Africans. What struck me about our dialog is that the man from China stated one thing actually profound and to my utter marvel the Singaporean agreed wholeheartedly.

Your drawback right here in South Africa, he stated, is that you are going to by no means be ready to resolve the triple demanding situations of your – People for so long as you proceed to subscribe to a Western democratic machine. The drawback with the ANC, he persevered, is that they are going to eternally communicate left however stroll proper as a result of that’s what Western democracy dictates.

I realised that the man from Singapore would certainly naturally agree as a result of this is precisely what they’d to do to get to the place they’re now. They had to droop the fundamental rights of their – People to ensure that their executive to without delay intrude within the financial trajectory of the rustic.

I all the time listen – People lamenting about how superb the Singapore adventure has been, however seldom do they communicate concerning the gross infringements suffered on the similar time.

As for China, everyone knows the tale. The Chinese man jogged my memory that about 20 years in the past, South Africa used to be by way of way more complicated than China. Its infrastructure, human assets capability and its connectedness with the arena used to be a ways awesome to that of China. Today, he says, the narrative is other. He contends that it’s because China followed its personal genre of governance and requested this simple query: What is in the most productive hobby of the Chinese – People?

Were we too fast in 1994 to include Western-style democracy? I’m wondering.

As I used to be conversing with the 2 gents, I may just no longer however marvel about The Tailor of Ulm.

The tale is set younger tailor who lived in Ulm in Italy, who imagined that human beings may just fly. He devoted his existence to this pursuit, learning owls and birds so as to higher perceive the interior workings of flight. He after all constructed a contraption that would handiest be described as akin to a modern-day glider and persuaded the king and his princes to watch whilst he tried to fly off a within sight hill. Needless to say, he plunged tragically to his death. Oh, however what an creativeness.

Many years later, Berthold Brecht wrote a poem in 1934 in honour of the tailor of Ulm.

Ulm 1592

Said the Tailor to the Bishop:
Believe me, I will be able to fly.
Watch me whilst I check out.
And he stood with issues
That gave the impression of wings
On the good church roof-
That is slightly absurd
A depraved, silly lie,
For man won’t ever fly,
A man isn’t a chicken,
Said the Bishop to the Tailor.

Said the People to the Bishop:
The Tailor is slightly useless,
He used to be a silly head.
His wings are rumpled
And he lies all crumpled
On the arduous church sq..

The bells ring out in reward
That man isn’t a chicken
It used to be a depraved, silly lie,
Mankind won’t ever fly,
Said the Bishop to the People.

Berthold Brecht, The New Reasoner, 1957

I believed of the tailor and his flying antics as a result of right here you’ve got a man who imagined the inconceivable and died in pursuit of that imagined long term.

I suppose the purpose is obvious. In order to pursue a brighter and higher long term, first you will have to be ready to believe it, 2d you’ve got to – Work very arduous in opposition to attaining it and 3rd, you will have to pursue it in opposition to all odds now and then.

So after we ask the query, is Western democracy a stumbling block in opposition to our imagined long term of a higher existence for all, then we will have to do the important, even within the face of the – People announcing “the tailor is quite dead, he was a stupid head”.

The level is that we will have to reimagine a new approach of governing. The present machine of Western democracy does no longer – Work for us. But what then can be that choice long term or that choice machine?

Can it be a Marxist choice or most likely our very personal “Socialism with South African characteristics”? In his 2011 e book The Tailor of Ulm, alternatively, Lucio Magri gifts a miserable conspectus of the existing state of Marxism. While in Brecht’s parable the Bishop used to be proved improper and the tailor proper, the allegorical studying in relation to communism produces some irritating questions:

Can we be certain that if the tailor of Ulm have been crippled somewhat than killed by way of his disastrous fall, he would in an instant have were given to his toes to check out once more; or that his pals should not have attempted to save you him doing so?

And 2d, what exact contribution did he make to the following historical past of aeronautics?

In relation to communism, such questions are particularly pointed and tough — above all as a result of, at its theoretical formation, it had claimed to be no longer an inspiring ultimate, however phase of a historic procedure already underneath approach, and of a actual motion that used to be converting the prevailing state of issues. Communism subsequently all the time entailed a factual take a look at, a medical research of the existing and a practical diagnosis of the long run, to save you it dissolving into fantasy.

In different phrases, between Lucio Magri (a outstanding Italian communist) and Slavoj Zizek (a Slovenian thinker) what are we to make of our imagined long term?

Marxists all the time use the analogy of the egg to reveal their level about revolution and why it’s inevitable. They say the shell of the egg remains static and intact. This, they are saying, represents the social construction of our society, in our case capitalism or non-public assets members of the family, whilst the embryo within represents the opposite social forces in society, particularly the running – People.

The latter isn’t static and is ever-growing inside the confines of the outer shell or social construction, and certainly, a absolute best unity can exist between the 2 social strata for a while. But Marx warns us that during time, friction and/or rigidity emerges and that provides upward thrust to revolution.

We practice in South Africa and in different places on the earth of the rising impatience at the phase of the – People.

The wealth hole, inequality hole, poverty hole and unemployment hole is ever-increasing and they’ll have none of it to any extent further. Like the tailor of Ulm, they believe a higher long term.

And so we see the – Increase in provider supply protests in Mzansi, the determined vote of the conservative parts in Britain for Brexit and the upward push of fascism in maximum of Western Europe, america and of past due, Brazil.

Capitalism is in disaster internationally, – People, and if we predict 2008/nine used to be a global meltdown, wait and notice the following capitulation.

Can we be just like the tailor of Ulm and reimagine a other long term? Or have we resigned ourselves to the capitalist epoch and all its fault strains? DM

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