TO SHRUG OFF THE YOKE OF NEO-COLONIALISM

Jamaica this year is 58. The journey to this milestone was a hard one but, in the end, independence was achieved. On August 6, 1962, Jamaica waved goodbye to the centuries of formal bondage which entailed that this island in the Caribbean was a resource colony for an even larger imperialist island in Europe. The outward trappings of colonialism were taken down, never to be seen again (unless the monarch visits) and were replaced with more suitable indigenous ones.

Sadly, however, Jamaica remains a neo-colony, tied to a single source of revenue (tourism) and seen as an area of relative resource extraction and labour. In the near 60 years of independence, the Jamaican State and people now find ourselves back in the position of the colony, unable to feed, finance, clothe or even medicate our people without the aid and input from the new colonial master America and its viceroy in the form of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It is at this point that we must ask ourselves how did we get here and how is it that we can get out of this neo-colonial trap?…

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WE LIVE AND ARE IMPACTED BY HISTORY

Many people do not like history.. They find it boring, irrelevant, and therefore form negative opinions of it. Some are so anti-history that they refuse to even address the topic when it is staring them in the face. When faced with history they say it does not apply or that much time has elapsed, and the old problems are problems no more. Such thinking has hampered us as a nation as we continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. It has led to many a commission and committee which tell us the same things and has only resulted in them being tossed aside as they invariably mention historical structural problems and deficiencies.

How do we get across to these people that history, it’s events and actions matter in the modern-day? How do we show them that the issues faced today are historical and that their solutions can only be found through looking at and analysing the past?

One way is to show them that these historical events which seem so distant are actually in living memory or that their metaphorical bodies are still warm to the touch. The best way to do this is by first putting numbers to terms. What is a generation for example? A generation can be defined as twenty to thirty years of a person’s life, not a short time when we realize that the average life span even in the 1800s was 60 years (about a decade more today). With that out of the way, let us look at some examples of how what some call ‘ancient history ‘still haunts us today…

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Is China Colonialist?

Chinas influence in the world has long sparked suspicion and envy, it is to be expected as such a giant country going from zero to one hundred in what seems no time naturally raises these things. Over the recent years, however, we have seen not just an increase in suspicion, but also a campaign (aimed at the third world) to define the Chinese as colonialists who seek to do to us what the Europeans and Americans did in the past and that with this knowledge we should remain with the euro American alliance which has atoned for its sins of colonialism.

This idea finds fertile ground, and this again is to be expected, the third world is a region which was made poor and dependent because of colonialism and as a result we in these parts of the world tend to listen to anti-imperialist arguments and look upon with suspicion those who we have been told wish to see us as colonies again. But is there any truth to the statements, is china a neo-colonial behemoth who wishes to devour the third world in the same way as the Europeans and Americans? Could it be that they truly do wish us ill, and if that is the case should we, as is often implied and openly stated, remain wedded to our former colonial masters?

In order to answer this pressing question, I feel we need to first define what colonialism and neo-colonialism are and see if what China practices matches up to the definition. Colonialism can be defined as the policy of acquiring full or partial control over another country, occupying it with settlers and exploiting it economically. Neo-colonialism can be defined as the use of economic, political, cultural, or other pressures to control or influence other countries, especially former dependencies.

With these definitions in mind, let us look at Chinas actions around the world. do we see Chinese gunboats bombarding the coast of third world countries, forcing themselves in and occupying land? Do we see at the point of a gun demand that third world countries hand over parcels of land? Do we see Chinese citizens coming to these occupied parcels of land kicking out the locals? We do not, but it could be argued (and correctly) that those days are gone, and we have entered the neo-colonial age. Remembering the definition, let us look at Chinas actions across the world.

Has china stated that if third world countries trade with America or Europe that they would pull out? Has china been using its diplomats to isolate nations so they can come in and pick up goods and resources on the cheap? Has china released hundreds of movies praising their lifestyles and demonising the lifestyles in the third world in order to subtly project dominance? Has china threatened to block countries from international trade if they don’t act in the exact way that china wishes? Again, we do not, so using the definitions of both colonialism and neo-colonialism and looking at Chinas actions, we can safely state that they are not on the way to becoming the new America or Britain.

So, what is China, and should we be worried about them? China is a socialist country run by a communist party, but when it comes to international trade, they approach it from a simple capitalist (read business) point of view, aiming to get the best deal possible. In doing this they write up deals which are advantageous to them, for example, they may provide a road grant and build the road in exchange for a port for X period of time. These deals can be exploitative, and can even result in the nation losing the assets to the Chinese investors, something which should be a real fear for any nationalist (and most persons in the third world want a thriving domestic industry).

But this gripe, real as it is (the loss of assets to the Chinese) is not colonialist or even neo-colonialist, this is simple capitalism and, in some cases, bad deal-making on the part of the recipient state. The Chinese in the form of good businessmen are more than open to renegotiating deals as was seen with Greece, South Africa and Venezuela in recent years, and during this COVID crisis we see where the Chinese have been taking the lead (albeit a slow one) on debt re-negotiations while the Europeans and Americans fall by the wayside (waiting they say to see what the Chinese offer). The very real issues faced in Sri Lanka and Zambia can be explained by two things, a capitalist deal and a local government which did not have the interest of the people at heart and thus went along with it. As mean as it is, it is hardly imperialism and warrants serious introspection on the part of the local government.

China even goes and invests where western neo-colonial nations fear to venture. We see this in Zimbabwe (a nation sanctioned by its former colonial master and thus finding it hard to do business on the global scene) where this energy deficient country is welcoming Chinas grant to build a power plant run on coal. This action is hardly imperialist and mimics many Chinese deals globally where the Chinese company has a 51% stake and the locals the remaining 49, this is something which we never saw during the heyday of neo-colonialism. Now it is true, the deal is not without its flaws the biggest being that it is run on filthy coal which will affect the health of the locals. But this again is not imperialism, just capitalism and as such the system states build the cheapest (coal) and get the most profit.

With these questions answered as it relates to China, we may ask, what of the former colonial masters? It is clear based on their actions of restricting trade with nations if they trade with anyone they don’t like and isolating governments they disagree with so they collapse and they may benefit from the resources we see where the old masters have not learned a new tune and continue to oppress and if given half a chance will increase it.

The thing we have an issue with is capitalism, for even in its most polite form as seen with china, it demands that one party be a loser and a system built on winners and losers is bound to collapse and meet upon resentment no matter how polite and nice it may be. What is needed on both a local and regional level is a movement beyond capitalism, one which does not have the winner-loser mentality, and which does not have the whiff of oppression. This means more inward-looking and more regionalism. It means building up local industries and trading within the global south on rules beneficial to all so all may be able to advance without feeling like we are selling our metaphorical souls.

We need to combat capitalism and come up with a better economic structure or we will find ourselves in the same situation one hundred years from now. It may be Trinidad, it may be a unified Korea or it may be Ghana who treats the global south in the fashion which China treats it now and they would still be met with the same suspicion and vitriol. A movement in the global south towards regionalism, integration and socialism is one alternative to the current quagmire, it would enable the growth which we in these regions have been longing for while also ensuring that it (growth) is equitable and just in its distribution, not exploitative even if it is polite.

DON’T BE FOOLED, PACIFIST MOVEMENTS ARE USELESS

Pacifism, is a word and action which for some is the pinnacle of humanity. The action of non-violence in the face of oppression, it is said, is something for which all persons in movements should strive.

Violent revolutions never work out well, and it is only through the peaceful and non-violent way that change can be made. This idea is not new, it has always been around etched in the Christian Bible with the verse of turn the other cheek.

It is a ‘fact’ so deeply engrained that we even have saints of this quasi religion, people in the mould of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, the Dalai Lama and even Mandela (when the urge suits them).

We are taught about the peaceful salt marches which the Indians took in order to gain independence; the hunger strikes of the Irish republicans brought about the Good Friday Agreement; the self-immolation in South Vietnam coupled with the peaceful protests in the American streets ended the Vietnam war; and that Martin Luther King Jr and company, being attacked by dogs and not retaliating, won American Blacks civil rights and liberties denied for 100 years since emancipation.

Who can argue against such luminaries, bar the Dalai Lama and Gandhi? Who can argue with such successes, especially when we are reliably informed, and the records do back up this claim, that most violent revolutions end in bloody counter-revolution? Why would anyone push for a revolution when the facts show us that it is violent and bloody and only ends when one class is in total and complete control over another?

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MEN, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, SOCIETAL BREAKDOWN

Jamaica holds many records, a lot of them are enviable and some are avoided by other nations. Some of these negatives include corruption and our murder rate. But what rarely gets spoken about — that is until an incident takes place then it lasts for 9 days — is our record in the area of femicide and abuse of women and girls in general, be it sexual, physical, mental, financial or even emotional.

We are a land where it is common to wake up to reports of men murdering their lovers, wives, children and in-laws and the rate at which it happens necessitates us addressing it daily until it ends.

So, what is it that drives a man to murder his spouse, children and then commit suicide? Of course, many of these men may suffer from mental issues.  Things such as schizophrenia and other manic disorders are, after all, common in the country — according to at least one reputable psychologist — and many people remain undiagnosed and therefore out of the treatment net.

But that alone can’t be the answer to the question and worse still it cannot be tested. Many people suffering from these illnesses don’t act in these ways, even when off medication, and it can’t be accurately tested as many — damn near all — the people (read men) involved in these crimes kill themselves shortly after.

So, what is it that drives a man to these actions? The issues are many, but a few things are societal breakdown (emotional maturity), the loss of face and the otherwise loss of power which the Jamaican male feels is taking place.

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Democracy or Despotism

The shrinking Jamaican middle class lead by our bloated and terrified upper class are clamouring for a police state. They yearn for some despot to come forth and ‘usher in peace’ and they weep tears of anguish while hurling abuse whenever they hear of instances where local despotism is pushed back. These are strong words, am I seriously saying that those ‘better educated’ and well off are more than willing to welcome some form of government which would bring order to the nation?

Yes, I am saying that, and any honest person who has lived in this country or spoken to people in these classes will agree. These classes of people who are tired and frightened of the ever increasing violence and corruption which our politicians have been unable to stem have for years and in poll after poll, both formal and informal, clamour for some benevolent leader who will make their 50 year nightmare come to an end.

These people are cowards, cowards of the highest order and if that weren’t enough, they are hypocrites who wish to see others suffer while they and their kind frolic and get fat at the expense of the others. Why do these people demand that we have our paper rights taken away from us? True the nation is bleeding at the hands of gunmen, and true, our public sector is like a sieve where money is never quite accounted for, but in case we forget, it is not poor people who make up the ranks of the government, nor do they make up the ranks of the civil service or governance bodies for state companies.

Neither do these poor people finance drug boats and the hordes of guns which enter our country. No, it is the upper class and middle class who fill the ranks of overseer and who act as seed money and continual financier of the gunmen who haunt us.

The delight and joy with which Jamaicans of those classes welcome the dictatorship was borne out in the response to the arresting of the gentleman who scandalised the PM and the placing on watch lists the over 4000 people who entered the country between March 18-24 and have not declared themselves to the health authorities. While this gentleman surely broke curfew rules and while his comments against the PM and police force were impolite, his treatment and immediate response by the outraged state and the classes which prop them up differ markedly from the amount of time, patience and rope given to the people who flew in and have not reported.

Yes the man broke the law, but did he pose more of an immediate threat than say, the 4000 undeclared people? in case we forget, while poor people do fly and study abroad (many vendors and students are stuck in China after our government refused to repatriate them), it is not to the same extent as the rich and middle classes, and with poor students abroad still publicising their struggles, one can bet with some confidence that the people who flew in were the rich and middle classes trying to get in at the last minute as Europe and America went visible to pots in a short space of time.

This section of society has joined our PM in using the opportunity for renewing the call for NIDS, a form of identification which has been thrown out as unconstitutional and which mimics the failed attempt made by the fast-discredited Indian PM Modi. They are demanding that this crisis be used as the reason behind more stringent social policies and furloughing workers while at the same time demanding that the state either protect their industries, their specific jobs and their lifestyles. This yearning for a tighter grip on society can be seen in the 8pm-6am curfew which in the end has little to no bearing on those in the more well off classes but which could spell doom for those who aspire to middle class lifestyles and those struggling at the bottom. This was spelled out in a sad fashion as the police took taxis off the road while nurses and call centre workers had to navigate home on foot.

We have never had rule by majority what with both parties funded by the uber rich and their ranks swelled by members of the middle or upper classes. We have seen where laws are passed to the benefit of those classes while also passing laws which belittle, dehumanise or criminalise the actions taken by the poorer members of our society. we know this, but at least we have the illusion that through voting (or even not voting) we are somehow letting our voices be heard. Truth be told, if one listens to the richer classes, even this near useless paper tiger would they have wrenched from the poorer classes as they wish to cement their ultimate and sole rule.

We see where the poor voters are mocked for taking the crates of Guinness, Heineken and Red Stripe. They are chided and lampooned for accepting the few thousands of dollars for votes (or not voting). We during the election cycle are bombarded with comments of how the lumpen choose our leaders and how the more well-off wish that would change. funnily enough, these same people making these comments are often non-voters (thus ceding the political ground to the ‘lumpen’) and the ones who finance the campaigns which buy off the poorer members of society who still cling on to this dying ritual.

This want of society to be ruled by its betters is not new, it is as old as the nation and was even suggested by NW Manley in the form of a literacy test to be eligible to vote. This is an itch and urge every third world countries upper and middle-class has and it is something which needs to be guarded against. The pace at which military men are being given civil positions, the disregard for due process and the legal system when it comes to crimes of the poor (note that we are demanding the jailing of Mr Reid but we want the hangman for the murderer) lays bare the fact that those who have are hell bent on ensuring that a system already set up to their advantage is wholly in their hands.

This wish to be totalitarian and authoritarian on the part of the elites is nothing but hypocrisy, it shows itself in the way they jump through loops in order to excuse the worst actors among them. Never do they mention that the corruption, graft and theft which their ilk partake in actually cost lives. Monies taken out of PATH funds, monies redirected from hospitals, schools and even police stations all cost lives. The undervaluing and selling off of public lands costs lives as those monies which should (and would in a world where the masses have power) be invested in critical areas which the country is lacking, it costs lives and pushes people to a life of crime. But to mention those crimes and to hold them to the same standard that the man from Arnett gardens is held would mean being on the same level and sharing power with the poor, and then invariably losing it as the poor are the majority.

This is not to say that all in those classes are of that ilk. There are many noble persons who call those classes home, they are the class traitors who see the woods for the trees and who for altruistic reasons or reasons of self-preservation are more than willing to peel back this dictatorship of the minority and welcome the downtrodden to the halls of power. They are not many, and they are not vocal (understandable when life as you know it may be at stake), but they exist. It is up to these people to break with their peers fully, decry the creeping dictatorship and help the masses throw the door open to a real form of self-rule and democracy. If they fail to stand against their class and their short-term interest then anarchy, despotism and chaos will be the natural conclusion.

WELCOME BACK, GREG CHRISTIE

Congratulations to Greg Christie, who has been appointed chairman of the Integrity Commission. This move by a Government which has been plagued by allegations of corruption must be put down to people power as he is a person who the public have long been clamouring for.

He brings not only experience but an attitude which we (and by we, I mean all 3 million of us) have been lacking. He not only does his job (which in the past as OCG head meant highlighting possible breaches), but he does it with no questions asked and no favour sought, pissing off everyone in positions of power and, possibly most important, he publicly laments the fact that our laws are so weak while doing the job.

As we celebrate the appointment of Mr Christie, let us remember the last point, as that is what has, for years, hindered us, and possibly drove Mr Christie out of local public office after his term in the OCG ended and may very well hamper him this time around if it is not dealt with swiftly (something only the public can really push for and demand).

What exactly do I mean when I say keep an eye on his second highlight? In case we have forgotten, the OCG, as it was constituted, could not charge anyone, recommend and rebuke yes, but charge and bring before the courts, no. That was left to either the DPP or the Commissioner of Police. This was a major gripe for all who occupied the chair of Contractor General, something Mr Christie continually highlighted publicly. Likewise, the Integrity Commission can investigate, recommend and rebuke, but charges must be laid by either the DPP or the Commissioner of Police, again something Mr Christie has highlighted as a major flaw.

I may not be the brightest person, but it seems to me that we are back in the same position, albeit with a group which now is bigger, ‘better funded’ and with more bark. And that is what scares and confuses me about this appointment and the acceptance…

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SHOW ME YOUR REVOLUTION

A revolution is not a dinner party. Words to that effect were spoken by one of the 20th century’s greatest revolutionaries, Mao, and they are as relevant today as they were when they were uttered.

A revolution is bloody, ruthless, pits one class against another and as such necessitates violence to either be successful or to be crushed. Revolutions leave countries deeply split and are never truly complete or bear fruit until the first generation of revolutionaries departs from the main stage. These things must be remembered when we look at revolutionary movements and governments.

Ever since 1917, members of the left, more specifically members of the left in the first world, have never lost a moment to criticise revolutions and revolutionary movements as varied as Russia, China, Grenada, Cuba, and Nicaragua. In these modern days these left wingers have found it fit to criticise the DPRK, China, Vietnam, and Cuba, stating bluntly that these governments have somehow deviated from official Marxist doctrine and as such should be shunned and publicly lampooned at any and every moment.

We are told that China has long ago left the traditional Maoist line, that it has sold its soul and is now a capitalistic hegemon in the same fashion as the USA. We are advised that the DPRK is nothing but a hereditary dictatorship, run by a clique who use the veneer of Marxism to hide their megalomania. Vietnam is seen in the same vein as China, long ago deviating from the path laid by Ho Chi-Minh. Cuba and Venezuela receive abuse as well, Cuba because it has a chequered past on LGBT rights (also because of the hotel industry), while Venezuela is constantly referred to as a failed socialist experiment (when Hugo Chavez died) and is simply a failed state run by a Caudillo.

These critics are keyboard warriors, more than able and willing to criticise a movement but almost never ever involved in a notable movement of any sort. When these cosplay revolutionaries dare to criticise movements and governments in the third world the should be asked: ‘Show me your revolution which has successfully given the workers not only a seat at the table but the whole damn dining room set.’ These people must put up or shut up as their constant prattling only hinders movements in the third world…

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Sports, labour and life questions

Sports, I do love them in all their forms. Be it football of any code, swimming, athletics etc I just can’t get enough. It used to be, when I was younger, simply due to partisan loyalties why I would keep up to date on all the stats in all the sports I could find, but as I got older I found that the thing I enjoyed the most about sports is how it mimics real life, how real world questions are viewed both within and without the sport and how the real world questions are answered.

These questions range in scope from political to racial to religious to labour to sexual to gender and everything else under the sun. how they are addressed may and often times do differ drastically from how they are addressed in the everyday society, but they are addressed and in doing so, with the actions taken, I think we get a glimpse into how broader society will be treated and more importantly, what actions (however modified) we can imitate to make our lives better.

Let us look at gender pay disparity, for example, an issue which in the ‘real world’ has long been contentious and which after decades of struggle still hasn’t been even remotely addressed. The old trope, which still finds life today, is that women either don’t put in enough effort as men (their jobs differ) or that the jobs they do have which are similar to men bring in less money to the company and as such they (the women) get less pay. This is an issue which naturally has afflicted sports, where the prize money in Tennis, Football and even Athletics remains a fraction of what the men get.

The response by the women over the years has been earth-shattering, we were gifted with the battle of the sexes in tennis, an act which put to rest the myth that women are inferior to men on the field of play. Then we were witness to the Williams sisters (and Sharapova) demanding an increase or not playing, and an increase in prize money they did see as the governing body quickly realised (at least back then early 2000’s) that women’s tennis was the only competitive game in town and losing them would mean haemorrhaging sponsorship money.

However, the greatest salvo shot by women athletes must be those shot by the women footballers in both Norway and the US. Both teams represent countries where the men’s team has, and remains, been held in higher esteem than their female counterparts. This is understandable given the world we live in, as a natural result the teams have been drastically underpaid when compared to their male counterparts. It gets interesting when one realises that the Norway women’s team continually outperforms the men’s, while the USWNT is a behemoth which looms over women’s football (record world cup wins) while their male counterparts barely make up numbers in international competitions anymore (see recent gold cup and world cup debacles).

These women have said in no uncertain terms that they will not play nice until they get their monies worth, refusing to play a world cup qualifier (Norway had to field their kids) and the USWNT while they do play continue to publicly lampoon the governing body and up to the outbreak of COVID-19, they were in talks to have a massive wage increase.

Racism is an issue which in the real world has never gone away and which sports like to kid itself that is immune from. it is not, and the past few years have shown that the sporting bodies have a real issue in handling the racist acts which come from the stands and on the field. We have seen this most starkly in football (association,) where in Europe racist acts have hit heights not seen since the bad old days of the ’70-’80s. Local governing bodies and the international governing body have dealt with the issue half-heartedly, stating that while they are against it they can’t control society, impose meagre fines and implore fans and players to show respect (mirroring society/real world in its response).

The response of the abused players has been epic. We have witnessed walk offs, players directly confronting their abusers, teams collectively refusing to play and the sufferer of the abuse scoring and cheering (mocking) their abusers. What we have also seen is some players saying that until issues are addressed in country X then they will not go there, either with their club or their country. Players have even threatened to forfeit matches where these actions take place, accepting any point deduction, fine or competition expulsion which may come along. These acts, while not ending the racist actions taking place, have forced the owners of clubs and governing bodies to come to terms with their lack of action and sees them now (however half-heartedly) making moves to ensure that actions in the stadium are monitored, the abusers punished and that incidents of these type don’t happen in the ground at all.

The labour issue is one which has never left sports, even if it has in modern times shrunk to the background. As professional athletes have gotten stupendously wealthy, abandoning us in the real world, we tend to forget that they too are workers (labourers) but every now and then a dispute crops up which not only reminds us that yes they are workers, but that their issues mirror our issues, only masked by a gilded cage.

Two examples highlight the labour issues currently facing sports stars and athletes in general. The first is the fact that the clubs are going broke as no football is being played, as such, clubs and leagues as disparate as Barcelona, Juventus, Tottenham and the RSPL have all slashed wages for playing and non-playing staff by up to 70% (50% in the case of the Red Stripe Premier League, while Spurs have furloughed their non-playing staff). While many top-flight players can stomach this and view it as noble, others have been none too pleased and have refused to entertain the thought, asking why they need to take a pay cut when some of these clubs are not in the red but are merely seeing a shrinking of their uber profits. They are asking, why should they, the worker, take a pay cut when the owners of the club are the ones who are invariably getting bailed out by their states? Alex Song being one of those who refused the pay cut was fired by his club FC Sion, he is taking them to CAS on the grounds of unfair dismissal/termination of contract.

The second issue faced these sportsmen is when and how will they go back to work. This is not a trifling question, leagues such as the Premier League rake in billions in revenue, and the longer that a ball is not kicked is the longer that money is lost (and lest we forget all football clubs are businesses). Some leagues such as the EPL are seriously considering the recently floated idea of isolating all 20 clubs and have them play behind closed doors back to back. This would, in theory, take place at St Georges Park (English FA high-performance complex) where they have many pitches available. This idea is a nonstarter, the players will not accept it, the logistics would be insane (quarantining the thousands of playing and non-playing staff including media members to get the show on the road) and again in case I forgot to mention, the players will not accept being separated from their families for a period of 3 months as is being proposed (see the ruckus kicked up during world cups and international continental competitions). While the PFA have not yet made a statement, it should be noted that journalists close to many important players are already poopooing the idea.

These are just a few of the issues which sportsmen and women have to grapple with and were it not for the large sums of money or fame, we would always relate wholeheartedly with these stories. These issues they face today are the same issues people who work in the call centre or restaurant industry face, maybe not in an exact and paint by numbers fashion but we see them and at the risk of being a broken record, we can learn from their situations, learn from their actions and use them, however altered in the ‘real world’.

Women in the ‘real world’ can learn from the women in the sporting field, the Black race in the ‘real world’ can learn from the Black men and women in the sports world, the everyday worker can take a page from the worker struggles which the elite but still worker athlete have fought and won. In no other sphere has the individual worker, who intrinsically understands that it is their labour and being which creates the profit, wrested enough control from the owners to make them perpetually frightened and concede continually. We can’t and shouldn’t carbon copy the actions taken by the athletes but just as sports mimics society maybe we can mimic the actions taken by the players on the field.

LEADERS ARE NOT ABOVE US

There are many tales, myths even, which we tell ourselves as individuals and as groups of people. Many of these things are as a result of an ‘education’ system which drills into us from an early age the habit of not asking questions, playing devil’s advocate and absence of critical thinking. This is not something however, which is simply the issue of Jamaica or the Jamaican education system. It is an issue which we see worldwide and which is readily present in people supposedly listed as the ‘best and brightest’.

This lack of critical thinking continues to harm us and does us no good when, for example, we continue to believe that leaders sprout from nowhere and that the ideas they espouse originate in a vacuum .

This idea, this myth which was long ago exposed, has again cropped up and can be seen in the letters and articles lamenting the fact that we have no politician or civil society member who can impose order. This begging (no other word can describe it) of someone, anyone, to come forth with a grand workable plan for corruption and crime should by now be seen as a hopeless endeavour, but instead we put so much hope in the big man and leader as we still buy the line that our leaders are above us, and that the ideas (and solutions) they come up with are from a bag of tricks to which they alone have access.

Where do leaders come from, where do the ideas and dreams they speak about find their origins? Where did, for example, Bustamante get the idea to lead strikes and partake in the worker movement? Where did the idea of a political party agitating for independence come from? Was the idea really borne in the head solely of Mr Fairclough in a fit of inspiration like Saul on the way to Damascus after being denied rightful employment? Do we think Jesus just appeared from nowhere and just came up with these ideas and practices on the fly…

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