Titanic Struggle of Ideology and Wit at UBHH 2.0

an important note: Come one, come all, and vote for the Uganda Best of Blogs 2006! If you've enjoyed the thoughtful commentary and irreverance coming from everyone's favorite land locked East African nation, take a few minutes to review the nominees in categories like Uganda Blog of the Year, Best Design and and Best Writing. I'm honored to be nominated in the Best Photography category for my picture of the adorable Tashfanish of Kabalagala fame. Also, kudos to my good friend Jackfruity, who with formidable organizational force, put together both the latest Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour (see below) and the Best of Blogs Awards. Now to the post...

Who knew the titanic ideological struggle between capitalism and communism that dominated the second half of the 20th century would again rear its ugly head last week at a bar in downtown Kampala. Two wily bloggers with sharp writing skills, opposed in both disposition of wit and ideology, emerged at the second Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour as the new court jesters of Uganda blogging.

I'm speaking of none other than Dennis Matanda and the 27th Comrade. Dennis is a provocateur in a suit. He is the charming and witty marketeer turned banking consultant who introduced himself by reciting a limerick at the first Ugandan Blogger's Happy Hour. Neither Dennis or I remembered this when I saw him at our first happy hour, but we had met two years ago when he worked for Uganda's premier marketing outfit. While he works with Kampala's well-educated elite, his writings are akin to a fire-bell in the night, surely to wake the well fed members of Uganda's political class.

In the other corner is the 27th Comrade. Known more for his withdrawn and dry humor, 27th is probably the only communist in Uganda. He's a web designer and artist whose preferred medium seems to be Microsoft Paint (see left). I get the sense that 27th is a loner in the tradition of Nietzsche: brilliance muddled by madness. I'm not sure if anyone in this day and age can seriously espouse communism as a political ethos, and just to put it out there as a theory, maybe 27th is not a real communist but a guy who wants to both express the perils of conformity in a country where conformity is valued and the failure of the Washington Consensus to do more to lift his country out of poverty. Maybe one day we'll do an interview and get to the bottom of this mysterious character.

I love these guys. 27th and Dennis both had post-UBHH 2.0 comments taking gentle pot shots at each other. But we can all be comforted that despite their vast differences, they can find common ground in announcing their attraction to Jackfruity.

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  • why else would I do UBHH?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:11 AM  

  • Eh, Joshua! Where were the Martinis? I looked everywhere! And, aye, Jackfruity is so friggin' cute. But why does she keep all quiet, when her posts sound like a kung-fu movie? Maybe we should ply her with more ... Martinis? Damn cute, that one.

    Now, I am Red through and through. Communist from top to bottom.
    You are right, my leanings are heavily influenced by the obvious unfairness that the Capitalist West has done to us, is doing to us, and will keep doing to us. Until the Bright Revolution, of course.
    Wouldn't it be better to have a Lenin-Mao amalgam for a Dear Leader (and, despite my sympathies, I know that is not heaven's look) than to have 1.5 million people, just as a singly-extracted example, dying of the Disease That Can Be Cured By Less Than One Dollar (aka. Malaria)? And how much do these same people (or their peasant parents, since mainly babies die of Malaria) lose to America, in the shape of unfair trade? Do you realise that if America was just a little bit less Capitalist, there would be 1.5 million babies saved, every year, by the simple abolition of the evil subsidies? That's better than spending a billion everyday, tracking down a devil you created (somewhere in Pakistan), and creating other devils in the process.
    If only the saving of these 1.5 million - fuckin' million! - babies every year was the only positive thing that came out of a world-wide revolution (Trotsky! Trotsky!), I'd want to die on the frontline.

    And I haven't yet started on AIDS. And illiteracy (which means even cholera will kill the innocent African victims of Capitalism, because they can't read it on my blog when I tell them `Wash your friggin' hands!'). And war, because they have to fight to eat. Not to stand in line and wait for their rations, then wake up tomorrow and work for the revolution.

    Am I incoherent? I get easily tied up in my own thoughts ... and I lose coherence, and I have to stop every fine minutes (the interval narrows as the propaganda increases, as the love of the Big Brother leads me to a sure extacy) to salute my Mao Zedong poster, fist-to-right-ear, and hurl darts (both verbal and steel) at the Monument of Sin, hanging on my door (it's just a framed 500-shilling coin). And it gets more incoherent. And I have to stop.

    One last thing. Why aren't you a Communist? Don't you see that what you want to see happening (in Uganda, Africa, the World) is easily-achievable if you all stand up now, raise your right fist to your ear, ... no, no, Joshua, stand straight! Revolutionaries don't slouch! And take the vow: I pledge my full allegiance to the Bright Revolution. Amen. (Yeah, we added `Amen' to get the fanatics off our backs.)

    Initiation complete.

    By Blogger The 27th Comrade, at 6:15 AM  

  • Totally incoherent post by 27th comrade, I can only assume a teenager - he does raise one valid point about foreign subsidies ruining African farmers - his hypocrisy is evident however when considering socialist/communists are the very people who advocate state intervention such as tarifs (see COSATU and clothing tariffs in S Africa).

    In effect (and this is your average Liberatarians point) it is because America is too Socialist (corporate welfare) and not 'free market' enough that tariffs are in place.

    According to 27th Communism / socialism has apparently been a great success story in Africa. And that what Africa needs is more bureacracy not less of it.

    Geez - mountains of red tape, 120 days to register a business, corruption, tribal loyalties, borrowing money to fund vanity projects, ecological nightmares - can you not see that government cannot solve the problem rather it is the problem.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22 AM  

  • > I can only assume a teenager ...
    Not by any stretch, anonymous. Not by the longest stretch.

    >he does raise one valid point about
    >foreign subsidies ruining African farmers
    > - his hypocrisy is evident however when
    >considering socialist/communists are the
    >very people who advocate state
    >intervention such as tarifs (see COSATU
    >and clothing tariffs in S Africa).
    I know the socialists are freaks for state-intervention. But state intervention is often a Good Thing. You want the Americans to be able to plunder your country, and you stand aside and look, just because you are trying to create a `good business climate'? Of course, state intervention is extremely important, to check capitalist greed! That's not the issue, though.
    I want to tell you I am very pro-business, for a communist. I think, in fact, that good communism is pro-business. I don't fit any stereotypes, so you may want to read that again, knowing this fact: I am more against my kind that the other way round. I am no Marxist apologist.

    The things that look Socialist in America (even the lack of the Jim Crow laws and the death of Black-White segregation, which are very, very socialist things) were brought out in the '60s (just recently!), not because America suddenly became `too Socialist', as you put it, but because there was the threat of Communism: a whole chunk of the world that believed in fairness, a Communist Cuba over there, that had Blacks as the president's closest men ... then the social justice and the stuff you call `too Socialist' began. America is evil because it is not socialist.

    Like I said, I am not Lenin's apologist. Bureaucracy does not exist in my Communism. And, yes, the red tape and all are bad. The vanity projects, whatever ... I live with them, and I know they are bad. That is not what I want. I wonder where, from what I wrote, that came. I want simple economic justice. That does not in any way glorify bureaucracy, does it? Mine is a simple plea for more comradely/Communist/Socialist economic behaviour from the nations and people who have the power to save the situation - like the millions of unfair deaths.

    Use a name, next time. It's better. But answer the question I posed in the first rant: is it worse for millions of people to die every year because of capitalist greed from the West (only one disease, here), than for a bunch of dissidents to be shot every now and then? Did you read my post? And this should be coherent enough.

    By Blogger The 27th Comrade, at 7:50 AM  

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