ETHICS AND THE STATE

I feel it is time for us to have a look at the role of ethics in our politics, whether our leaders follow any ethical code and most importantly who watches the watchmen.

As a citizen in a country, which is chronically afflicted by corruption and its symptoms, this piece has been long in coming and slowly simmering till it has reached this point.

First off let us define the term we are using. Ethics can and has been described as the moral principle that guides the actions and behaviours of individuals or groups. Understanding the definition is important if we are to understand what, if any, ethics our leaders have and will in some way help us answer who watches the watchmen. Note that in the description it says nothing of a person or group acting good or bad, it simply talks about principles guiding actions and behaviours.

Some people will say and have us believe that the actions of some politicians are unethical. I don’t think that is the case at all. If we are to use the textbook definition, the actions of some polticians are in line with the ethics of both political parties and most powerful individuals in this country…

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SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE AMAZON AND JAMAICA

The South American fire season is entering its last stages, and it has been one for the records.

 

The fire season (or dry season) has seen the Amazon, starting in Brazil, reaching an inferno stage while the world cries crocodile tears and does half actions. This has been so for many reasons, mainly because it is not the first time, but also because companies and, by extension, countries long for the cheap meat and agricultural products which will be produced on the recently burned land.

These nations and companies also yearn for the rare minerals and wood which would become readily accessible if ‘excess’ forest were burnt away.

I say crocodile tears because this is the logical outcome of the path and half action we have been on because surprisingly, France, Canada and a few other big countries came out to condemn Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the fires and seem to be pressuring him to ensure that the record-breaking fire outbreak doesn’t happen again, while not addressing the underlying causes.

While it is nice to see powerful nations demanding that something be done about this environmental and global destruction, I feel that we in the global south and particularly small states and small island states should be wary of what is going on in Brazil as that could be the template for us. We should become more vocal to ensure that it is not we who suffer the consequences of global warming while paying for the comfort of the global north and rich people in general.

How exactly does the Brazilian fire relate to Jamaica and how have we reached the topic of the south paying for the comfort of the north some may ask. My answer is that it is very obvious what the links are if one takes the time to compare the situations…

 

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Canada the quiet imperialist

With friends like Canada who needs to fear the USA. Canada has for many decades been viewed as the polite nation in the North American power duopoly, acting in a more reasonable and circumspect manner with the Caribbean and the broader world while the Americans act in ham-fisted ways. While the US blockades Cuba, Canada seeks to engage in trade and governmental interaction. While America seeks to use military force and the threat of financial destruction in order to curry favour, Canada seeks to talk and act as an arbitrator in order to see friends and enemies come to an amicable agreement. America seeks to build empire and secure its hegemonic status while Canada strives to maintain a liberal consensus.

That is the image portrayed by Canada and those who compare it to the US, it is seen as the nation welcoming of refugees while America turns them away and locks them in cages. But in reality that is not the case, those who have done a bit of research and those who have not drunk the Kool-Aid of boring polite Canada, know and fully well understand that Canada rather than being some friendly nation is in reality the tip of the spear when it comes to imperialism and American dominance in the region.

A glance at the recent events which Canada has found itself involved in would if one were to remove the nations name and ask random Political Science or International Relations student which nation acted this way most if not all would say that they bear a striking resemblance to the US.

Canada, for example, has been heavily involved in the recent Haitian uprisings and not on the right side of history. As I write this Canada is supporting the kleptocracy in Port au Prince, providing them with international support and financial assistance. They are also, if one can believe it, training the police force in Haiti which continues to brutalize the citizenry, both those who are protesting the corruption and those who are simply trying to go about their daily lives.

Canada also tries its hand in election rigging and pressuring individuals into not running or even returning. This was seen in the sham election which brought forth this current president, as well as their behind the scenes pressure on Aristide to ensure that the last democratically elected president (and still the most popular politician) remains a political pariah unable to come home and run for office. All this so that Canadian mineral companies and financial institutions can continue to treat Haiti in the manner that the French and American did, that is as a source of cheap mineral extraction and even cheaper labour (not to mention the military strategic points that Haiti offers).

We see Canada acting as the silent weapon of the US in the crisis surrounding Venezuela, the political and the economic. Unlike the US which had been vocal about their wish to see Chavez and then Maduro removed from office, Canada has always been silent and using the diplomatic angle to oust the PSUV. From the direct funding of opposition groups under the guise of democracy promotion to the creation of the Lima group of reactionary Latin American nations as a response to UNASUR we see where Canada has been up to its eyes in regime change by any and all means in Venezuela since at least 2002

Canada has used the Lima group to act as a fig leaf, providing diplomatic cover for the US as it seeks to choke Venezuela into economic submission. And don’t for one-minute think that they are doing this for some misguided but still altruistic reason. No, instead they strangle Venezuela and fund a government which impoverishes and slaughters its people so that they can gain access to mineral rights and cheap labour.

The Canadian government also is no stranger to proxy wars and wars of destabilisation and has no qualms in backing individuals and groups which 70 years ago would be in the dock held on war crimes charges. We see this everyday in Ukraine as the Canadian establishment goes where even the US refused to go, funding and arming known neo-Nazi parties and their militias which have been integrated into the formal army and signing off on race/language laws which remind one eerily of Nuremberg. True John McCain met with and shook the hands of these Nazis, but Canada provides them guns and the diplomatic cover which the US has been reluctant to do since instigating the Maidan.

The mask of a polite society underpinned by the rule of law both domestic and international is shown to be a sham and their lust for supremacy is revealed in the in how they have handled the situation of the Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. What is the justification for holding this non-Canadian citizen in pre-extradition detention, what crime has she committed? None, not one Canadian law has been broken by this woman, what she and her company have done however is go around the US (not UN) sanctions on Iran while becoming a global telecoms giant.

This Ms Meng is being held not for any crime, but only for the furtherance of empire and Canada plays the willing partner who can state that they are beholden to treaties and the system is non-political, when anyone who has dealt with an extradition process can tell you it is nothing but political (see Dudus, Al Fisal, Assange, the British liquid  bomber etc). All protestations from Ontario that the extradition was above politics and strictly in the legal area was proved to be false when Donald Trump stated that she could be released in exchange for China playing ball in the trade war as well as the surfacing of details showing the Canadian government worked in advance and with the US to hold the CFO before a warrant was issued in the US or a request made.

Under Conservative and Liberal governments Canada has routinely lectured us in the global south, raking us over the metaphorical coals due to our part in global warming. They continually, as seen with this current government, lay claim to wanting to be the greenest, excoriate us in the GS for trying to use the tried roadmap of dirty energy to get out of poverty while extracting and exporting record levels of the filthiest oil on earth to countries like China who they then curse for polluting the air. We see in their environmental program nothing but modern day exploitation as they aim to bring in carbon taxes and credits, moves which no one denies are needed but are disproportionately aimed at third world countries and their industries while ensuring that Canadian industry remains intact, unchanged and still using destructive fossil fuels.

Even their main claims to fame, that of international arbiter and a welcome home to refugees, is shown to be totally untrue when looked at. When it comes to migrants and refugees, while it is true that the current government made a show of saying that they are different from Trump by welcoming the odd token migrant/refugee from Latin America and the Caribbean, but news reports and testimonies from prospective migrants and refugees show us that droves have been turned back and are housed in squalid conditions as Canada battles (silently) the same racist demons plaguing its neighbour to the south.

On the matter of international arbitration, we see Canadian diplomats acting as the recon team for American adventures. We saw this in Sudan, Libya, China and every country in the English-speaking Caribbean. When an international dispute arises, Canada often is seen as the impartial nation to go to, but more often than not these negotiations end up lopsided and in the favour of the nation/entity which finds favour with the US/EU and not in favour of those who are being oppressed.

In the end, when the tallying is done, yes Canada is better than the USA but that is like saying syphilis is better than herpes. They continually pillage, rape and murder the first nations in that land, there is a silent racial issue highlighted by the booming number of Canadians subscribing to the great replacement theory and in spite of outward signs of a long and loving relationship with Cuba, everyone knows that the Canadian  High Commission in Havana is the primary port of call for US intelligence seeking information on Cuba in order to try and kill the revolution.

No, Canada is not a friend of the downtrodden, they will defend the rights of banks and mineral companies before they defend those who have been exploited by them, they will send you ‘aid’ only to infiltrate and subvert you. They are a front man, the good cop to Americas bad cop and it was a neat game up until now, but the jig is up as the world becomes more and more exposed to the fact that Canada, the land of the polite N. American is no better and just as voracious as their partner to the south.

INSTEAD OF KILLING THE MESSENGER…

Jamaican politics is a tribal thing. It always has been. This is in no small part due to our size and the domination of only two political parties since the people gained the right to both vote and self-governance.

Many are the tales of people from as far back as the 1940s, who can recall being labelled a Labourite or a Comrade due to their simple questioning of the party line. While this has always existed, while the tribal lines have always been drawn and maintained by tribalists, there has historically been a space for dissenting voices — whether they are taken on board by those in power is a different matter — and even a grudging dose of respect from those in power as they realise, eventually, that surrounding oneself with yes-men is a recipie for disaster.

Something, however, has changed and, if we are to be honest with ourselves, the change happened right around the time that the previous administration was dishing out the bitter fiscal medicine, much to the acclaim of those in positions of power. What has changed is that the room for dissent is rapidly shrinking and people — beginning with politicians and their cronies — are now painting dissenters as not only opposition supporters but in thinly veiled ways as enemies of the state, or rather, people who wish to see criminality prosper and who have no wish to see the nation and its people attain prosperity.

Such a move, not simply labelling dissenters as opposition supporters, but as people who wish to see the nation fall prey to criminal elements and see its people fail, smacks of nothing more than authoritarianism, and that is a road which this administration — and quite frankly the opposition based on prior behaviour —  seem more than happy to take us into…

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And what of international law?

Of what use is international law? Does it mean anything, or is it simply a nice phrase which keeps fools warm? It is 52 years since the most blatant land grab (The 67 War), some 40 since the US and Co. destroyed Afghanistan and demoralised the invited Red Army, 30 since the forced breakup of Yugoslavia (see German unilateral recognition of Croatia) and 20 years since the violent introduction of the UN mandate of the Responsibility to Protect (or R2P) which Serbia bore the initial brunt.

What have we learned over the decades? One thing seems to be, in spite of the Geneva conventions and the UN declarations, might makes right and that if you have power laws will be bent to your comfort. Proof of this can be seen with the Russian annexation of Crimea and the reactions to it. Why is it that when this annexation of a formerly (until the mid-50s) Russian state took place the whole world protested but the forceful creation of a Kurdistan (carved from both Iraq and Syria by NATO) was not meet with international rage and outcry?

Why is it that ­no­ sanctions have been laid against Israel for the violent occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and the de jure annexation of the Golan Heights but the Russian annexation is deserving of sanctions, even after a plebiscite which has the same numbers as the one during the breakup of the USSR (80% or above)?

The answer is obvious, the Russians then as now, are not the global hegemon while the US is, and her allies are protected under the wings of her awe-inspiring military and its might.

Is the concept of international law something which is good in theory but unworkable in reality? I don’t think so; I actually believe that if the nations which have been browbeaten into silence simply band together then there is no reason why international law can’t become a reality and not just a utopian concept. That means nations imposing sanctions on nations, individuals and accounts of those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It means actually charging, arresting and bringing to trial the accused, that is the only way to make international law viable again.

What are these crimes, and who are the actors that must be brought to account? The crimes are the overt and covert wars, the proxy wars, wars of aggression and sanctions, the theft of natural resources and finite rare minerals. Those who should face their accusers are the kings and queens, the Prime Ministers and Presidents, the Generals, the bankers, the heads of major corporations and intelligence chiefs. They must, if international law is to have any meaning, face the legal wrath of the Global South for the crimes which they have carried out against us.

How else, if not by that, will international law have any meaning? How can we in the Global South call for international law while not charging or arresting the head of the IMF or World Bank for financial crimes committed against us? Can we be serious if we have not arrested the heads of international banks who manage the wealth our criminals and launder and store our stolen riches (oftentimes with no questions asked, a lot of times knowingly)? Do we want this if we still clamour to be around people who have led and ordered the violent destruction of our regions, in the process making independence a far-off dream?

International law should be just that, international, and not simply the plaything of powerful nations, companies and their accomplices? Either it means something, is bigger than any single country and something we are all beholden to, or we live in a dark age.

It can’t be that Assad and Al – Bashir are wanted while Bush, Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel, Saunders and Golding walk and travel without fear of arrest. It is madness that China is raked over the coals for re-education camps while the US maintains Guantanamo prison complex on illegally occupied land, Australia the Manus Island refugee detention centre, Jamaica its murder squads (such as the recently disbanded Mobile Reserve in particular and the whole JCF in general). It should not, if international law means anything, that those who have paved the way for fascists, the religious right and destroyers of the environment remain free.

Those who bomb, financially rape, steal resources, force unnecessary migration flows and steal our best and brightest simply must be brought to account if this concept is to retain any sense of meaning and relevance.

If not, then it is might makes right, and then a call to arms is needed as there are more of us than there are of them. If it is might makes right, then look forward to more instability and conflict especially as the global south battles with the north for its very existence.

No one wants that, be they the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the US who state a hot war with say, Iran, would mean attrition, or the revolutionaries in the global south who strive for a new and just society by any means if necessary. No one wants conflict, least of all residents of the global south who know that win lose or draw they will bear the brunt of any conflict. But, if it is that we do live in this jungle, then fight we must, and we should prepare as such.

We in the global south don’t want or yearn for the conflict which will only destroy us in the short term. We at the same time long for a day when international law is a real thing and applied to all and will seek it and continue to harken to it for as long as it remains ‘in use’. The Chagos islanders with their successful suit against the UK government, the Afghan citizens who have forced the ICC to launch investigations into US atrocities, the Chilean citizens who hounded the EU until Pinochet was returned to face trial have shown that it is possible to hold those to account and that judges worldwide are more than willing to review their cases.

Piecemeal justice, however, is not enough and will not save us. We must make the move and band together in the global south and hold all those who have done us wrong to account, or they must feel our collective wrath as if no justice is found then is meaningless and the UN must go the way of the League of Nations. Either we hold these rogues and bandits to account, or we should all come to terms with the fact that we are living in some form of a new dark age and start looking for feudal lords and manors to protect us. Either we nut up and arrest and prosecute the culprits or say loudly that the concept of international law is a joke and we are all just colonies.

Its time we accept the fact that justice is never granted by the powerful, not an equitable one anyway, and the history of the global south is living testament to that. Any bit of justice which we got, we had to fight for it. We fought for the return of Pinochet, fought for the generals in Argentina to face the courts and fought so that South Africa would be free, they were not and would never have been given to us had we not fought. We must take heart and learn from the citizens of the Niger Delta who will soon have their cases heard against Shell in the Hauge and the Indians of the Amazon rainforest who have actually won their cases against the companies (and officials) who have destroyed their lives. We must name names, take them to court and make them fearful of the knock on the door or the hand on the shoulder at an airport, either we take this to the next level and demand in a unified voice and with united action justice or accept that international law is dead and that we are but the playthings of the powerful.

Racism in football

The recent racist actions in world football have left me wondering if anyone is really serious about this scourge and what it will take to get it out of the game. The first and most high-profile event was when the Juventus striker Moise Kane was racially abused by Cagliari fans after he scored, it was compounded by the fact that his ‘teammate’ said postgame that Kean shared 50percent of the blame. The second and less noticed event was in the English Saturday Vase final (Amateurs) when the players walked off after one of their teammates was racially abused (and a melee ensued after).

These actions have shown that racism is in every level of the game (duh, just look at society) and that the measures hitherto used have not worked as we see incidents rising again in the UK (both Catholic versus Protestant sectarianism as in Scotland & N. Ireland and racial/religious in England & Wales). Fines have clearly not worked as we see clubs such as D. Kiev as well as the Belgrade clubs repeatedly paying fines. They clearly have not worked as we see Italian football remains fraught with racist abuse and coddlers of racists remain in charge of both clubs as well as the football federation.

No, fines have not worked, and it is time we admit that they will never work, but what may work are both walk-offs as well as court actions.

Walk-offs are the most obvious way to get the point across that something must change in the grounds. With Black, mixed and Asian players making up the majority of the major leagues (from Europe all the way to South America), if they were to walk off en masse whenever abuse was hurled from the stands then I believe that in almost no time the abuse would stop. Why, because the owners of the clubs will not want a repeat of the incident, a match abandoned, possibly forfeited and 3 points automatically dropped or elimination if it is a knockout match. If players and their teammates did this enough times then I think that the owners would be compelled to ensure that the abuse from the stand’s ends.

However, I think that the courts would be the most harmful (to the owners) avenue to take and would thus ensure that the abuse ends. The football club in spite of what fans think is a business, oftentimes a private business, a company with employers, employees and a workplace. The players are the employees and the stadiums are the workplace, racial abuse hurled by 5000 fans out of 50000 on a fortnightly basis can almost certainly be construed as a hostile work environment. If even one player were to take an offending club to court things would change prior to a ruling, if they were successful in their suit repeat offenders could theoretically be forced out of the hands of owners who are deemed to be not changing (akin a financial institution changing hands as the owner fails the fit and proper examinations, as all FA’s do).

It is laudable to do as some say (and do) and stay on the pitch play harder and win and there is some (but nowhere near all) truth in that the abuse is hurled to throw one off one’s game (mind games). But that is not always the case, especially since we know who the abusers are. These are the Ultras, the Chelsea Head-hunters etc. These are the racists of society, the fringe extreme right, be it in Serbia (where the Red Star Ultras actively fought in the Yugoslav conflict along strictly ethnic lines), to the Roma fans who harken back to the founding of AS Roma (Mussolini waning Rome to have one central club, Lazio alone stood against the forced mergers because a fascist party highflyer was a board member).

It is true that racism stems from society and that sport and its accompaniments (fans and chanting included) is shaped by society and that no amount of banning in the stadiums will clean up society as a whole. I get that, but that, however, is a whole other discussion and not the purview of the club or the player. All the club can control and should control is who enters the grounds and policing what they say. If the club officials fail in that duty, that one task of protecting the employee (let’s be frank, the main breadwinner) then walking off and suing (for repeat offenders) seems to be the only options which will actually change anything.

A club like Roma can afford to pay even a $55 million dollar fine, that is nothing to clubs which rake in hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of dollars. UEFA will not ban a Chelsea or a PSG, that would mean killing the golden goose which is the Champions League, so expecting change or some form of concrete and draconian justice from them is like a man dying of thirst praying for rain in the Mojave desert, it’s not going to happen.

Take a stand, walk off and take repeat offending clubs to court, nobility gets nothing positive done. Take a stand to at least end this scourge within the stadium, a place which should be an area of release, joy and vicarious living, or allow it to become the primal arenas and colosseums of Rome and the people begin calling for blood. Society can’t be changed overnight but this can, we may have to get to the stadium wading through racial epithets hurled at us and we may have to go home much the same way, but the stadium which can be controlled should not be that way, it must be stopped. Those who can’t police their stadiums and end this should suffer, and the only way they will feel it must change and that it is too much is with an automatic loss caused by walk-offs and litigation, anything else is a band-aid and simply ignoring real solutions to real problem which can actually be addressed.

EITHER TACKLE THE ISSUES OF RACE AND CLASS, OR SHUT UP, MR POLITICIAN

Recently, during the heat of the Portland Eastern by-election campaign the People’s National Party (PNP) candidate, Mr Damion Crawford, raised the issues of both class and race, while also making an ass of himself as it relates to gender. True to form, seemingly the entire nation has taken either umbrage with the statements or run with them as a rallying cry.

The statements from the former junior minister and current candidate have, it seemed, caused so much ire that letters have been written and long speeches given about how we in this country don’t see race, don’t have a racial issue and that our class biases are exaggerated at best and that persons who highlight these things are simply practising old school tear down politics.

This topic irritates me no end. It comes up, it seems, every year, and every year we go through the same ritual with persons explaining that yes, we do have a race and class issue while others shout that we don’t and that we must stop sowing discord. The topic is then put away after a few weeks, only to re-emerge later and with more vitriol…

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The Caricel Affair

It is now official, after some five years and quite a few courtroom dramas, Caricel will be forced to cease all operations in Jamaica. Justice and surely proof that our laws and governance structure, though flawed, does indeed work as on the face of it by denying Caricel one has shown that the nation refuses to do deals with individuals who are shady and have convictions. But does the system work? Has Caricel been unfairly treated? If so, why have they been unfairly treated? And more importantly, was the decision to effectively kill them taken from a stance of national interest or were we cudgelled into it?

From my vantage point, it does look like Caricel has indeed got hold of the wrong end of the stick and pissed somebody off. What other reason can be given for the hasty and sustained pressure from both parties to rescind and question the licence (which they both signed off on)? No explanation other than pressure seems plausible as no new, concrete or credible information has been brought to light. We hear many allegations, many rumours and see outside pressure from the US -and lack of charges shows the information quite possibly came from illegal wiretaps- relating to the board member in the crosshairs. It looks like Caricel is simply a small ant which wandered into a zone where elephants fight, and it is paying the ultimate price.

If we are honest, this is Caricel being shafted, because which major industrial company has not committed some major crime? Which major industrialist can stand and honestly say ‘I have never committed a crime’? it is laughable on the face of it! Example, which construction company is not in bed with gangs to ensure that operations are not hindered? How many Ex/Im companies routinely and blatantly flout the laws? The argument that the government has acted in order to safeguard the people or stop criminal elements dies an early death when placed against what happens every day such as the police used car scandal, so why the unfair treatment?

The reasons for the unfair treatment are many and range from wishing to maintain a local status quo to a grand geopolitical chess game which we find ourselves in (both willingly and unwillingly).

The local status quo is obvious, none of the major companies wants another Claro situation where they find themselves undercut (price wise) and none of the companies can hope to offer the line of products and services which a fully operational Caricel could offer. Local industrialist’s in a captured market working to ensure that they alone remain unchallenged, that is not far fetched (as anyone with a memory going back to pre ’99 will recall such a scenario) and it should be lost on nobody that the main companies openly lobbying to kill the Caricel deal have the most to lose if it goes through.

In terms of geopolitics playing out locally, look no further than who was to provide Caricel with their network and technology, none other than the most recent US bugaboo Huawei. Huawei, which was supposed to provide routers, towers and fibre-optic cables, it was to be the backbone of the Caricel project and possibly (definitely, if you really think about it) act as the beachhead for Huawei as it aims to cement its status in the region as a mobile/internet powerhouse. It should also be no surprise that the US as it aims to maintain its hegemonic status in technology and its accoutrements (such as cyber espionage) has been putting pressure on both allies and trade partners to cease all trade with Huawei (something they have thus far failed to do as the prices and level of technology offered can’t be beaten at the moment).

We see the geopolitical game playing out here in other more open and visible fields such as investment (loans, grants, FDI etc..) and everyday infrastructure (such as roads, bridges etc…). These are being done by the Chinese state and the Americans, in a bid to stave off encroachment in their original economic sphere of influence, have been openly warning us that to continue along this line would mean less trade with them (our biggest trade partners) and could even mean making ourselves less secure (open to the debt trap and espionage).

Now, I am not here to advocate for criminals to be given special grants, I don’t think any sane and rational person would want a criminal to have access to such material as electronics and telephonic data etc, no one wants that. What people do want is equality or common sense to prevail and what has taken place looks rather unequal and lacking in all common sense. Unless that is, this is the new precedent and standard we will be aiming for, we (the government and private sector) will be hounding out all companies and ventures headed by shady people, funded by shady criminals or those even loosely associated with the like.

Will the construction company which pays off the gangs to ensure the project gets completed to schedule be terminated? Will the importer who then siphons off and sells (such as sugar, flour, rice, and even oil) be held up? Will the financial company which turns a blind eye to illicit funds going through their doors be closed down? Will the hotels which have been paying off alleged rape victims be moved on? I doubt it, I think most Jamaicans doubt it, and that in and of itself is a travesty.

The biggest travesty, however, is something which you both parties already know, no one else is there to fill the void, there is no American or European company to come in and do what Huawei and Caricel were going to do. We the people are left shafted, short-changed and possibly 5-10 years behind everyone (as opposed to the current 5-10 years ahead in relation to internet speed and access), and for what? Not for any higher purpose or the need for justice and security, we have been shafted in order to protect a few local companies bottom lines as well as to appease the US which has openly said it does not want allies (or anyone for that matter) to use Chinese technology even though American technology is more expensive and nowhere near as good.

This cant be allowed to pass by with no outcry or proper questioning. Are we independent, can we chart our own foreign policy and can our local business persons start operations with infrastructure from anywhere (so long as it is allowed under Jamaican law)? If we are, then this is a dangerous and reckless precedent. What will happen to the roads and other infrastructure being constructed now as a joint China-Jamaica (subcontracts) project (again which contractor isn’t just a bit shady)? If it is morals, then apply this new found moral fibre equally or keep it in check until you can. If it is succumbing to the heavy pressures of corporate and state entities then know that you have set us firmly back in the camp of the colonised, those who ask before they do and are signing a deal ensuring our future impoverishment. Businesses are always threatened, hegemons always see upstarts, they will be back with more demands and this is ensuring that they will be met as they will have a touchstone to look to and will know that we respond to even the slightest bit of pressure.

Democratic socialists in America must not act like their historical predecessors

​The dormant US left has awoken, starting in 2015 and continuing every year, the left in the US seems to be making impressive strides. First there was the presidential attempt by Sen. Sanders, then there was the increase in economic awareness and now we are even seeing a re-kindling of the knowledge of class, class conflict and yes even class warfare. These things, while nice to see, can hardly by themselves alone allow one to safely label themselves as socialist as they have yet to touch upon a key question, one which vexed many before them and led to their fall, and as each day passes it becomes more important that they address this question because if they don’t or if they make the wrong choice, then is could see international left forced to carry the can.

What is this question, a question which I boldly state has vexed many left movements before? The question is, what do you as a left-wing party do with the colonies when you take power or when you speak? What is, in the end, your take on nationalism? The British Labour party faced this very question when it came to office in ’45 and how it answered not only dealt them a serious blow, but also dealt a major blow to the international left community.

Their response to the question of the colonies was to keep them, maintain the exploitation, and use the monies earned from the colonies to subsidise the social democracy they were aiming to build (most notably at the time the NHS). Their response was one of extreme nationalism and disregard for the colonies and the colonial question. This took the form of the suppression of independence movements, the non-existent investment in the colonies regarding infrastructure and education as well as the theft of the best and brightest who could staff hospitals and do other skilled labour beneath the British but oh so important in re-building a nation. And they in the end paid the price at both the ballot box and internally as the party haemorrhaged and many of its left-wing intellectuals as well as its radical core members left to join parties further to the left of labour.

But the bleaker and telling scenario is the one about the German socialist party on the eve of WWI. Everyone, particularly the 2nd international, knew that a war was imminent, it was in fact so obvious that they came to an agreement that no worker should partake in the upcoming war and they should let the imperialists kill themselves. The German socialists, that is the most organised, militant, educated in the end voted for the war. That is not to say that other parties didn’t also vote for the war, but if the German socialists voted along with the lines of the war, then the strongest potential opposition and bulwark for the global left anti-war movement was gone. They too fell on the colonial question as it was believed that (much like the British in ’45) that they could usher in socialism on the backs of the colonies.

This is not socialism, this is social chauvinism, in my opinion just a politer variation of fascism and it is something which I fear the Americans are already falling into. We see this with Russia gate, and we see this in their policies towards the global south. Why are so called socialists partaking in this hunt on against Russia? Are they not astute enough to realise that this is really two oligarchies arguing about if one (Russia) will open itself up to the other (America) for further plundering? Why are alleged socialists demanding the removal of the Assad government in Syria? Again, can they not see and have they not read the many pieces documenting how this conflict was fomented from the outside in order to further (wait for it) American regional goals? Why are they silent or slyly calling for the ouster of Maduro and his party? Do they not realise that this is simply a centuries old ruse (in modern clothes), a simple attempt to retain one’s dominance in their ‘backyard’?

They may be well intentioned, but the road to hell is paved by persons who only had good intentions and what they are doing is leading us to a form of hell. It can’t be naivety and it cant be ignorance (so many of them have studied in fields which touch upon this) and maybe they do think that socialism in America can be ushered in on the backs of the global south and then they can benevolently bestow upon us the ‘true’ trappings of socialism. If that is the case (and it certainly is among quite a few in the American left) then it is a flawed view, shows their chauvinism and will surely usher their demise.

They cant afford to think that way, global socialism wont be achieved by a ‘socialist America bestowing it upon mankind’ just as global capitalism wasn’t achieved by the ‘British granting it to nations’. It will only be achieved by the dismantling of the capitalist heartland, at this moment the US as once that brick falls the whole house starts to crumble. If, for example, an actual socialist came into office and ended the mad war on terror, it has the double advantage of freeing up capital at home for social projects while at the same time enabling left-wing groups in the countries being bombed (often times themselves being the recipients of said bombs) could focus on socialist projects in their countries (as they are more often than not fighting against the exploiter class).

The German worker and the broader global left suffered as a result of the decision in the great war, the German worker was crushed during the Spartacus revolt because they were divided and had split on the war issue. All over post-war Europe revolutions raged, and in only one country was it successful. All the failed revolutions can be traced back to the fateful decision on the matter of the war (see the national colonial question) and the social chauvinism in no small part helped give birth to fascism (note that Mussolini was a ‘socialist’ displeased with the less militant aspects and of his group and its drift further to the left). A core plank of any fascist is the betterment of the country and countrymen built on the backs of the colonies (see Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain etc), it is not a hard leap for a social chauvinist to make to become a true-blue fascist or at the very least sow the seeds for fascism.

Whatever their thinking they must stop and instead think about dismantling their empire, how to fund it without the colonies and assist those left movements in the global south in their respective fights and causes. Anything less is them doing exactly what the 2nd international did and what the ’45 UK Labour party did. It is a betrayal of the worldwide revolution and the world working class and poor. If they continue in this track, if they continue to insist on being the policeman of the world and the global benefactor then they lose all right to the label socialist or internationalist, they are nothing more than enlightened liberals a social chauvinist who will only usher in darkness for any left-wing group which comes in contact with them.

The forever colony of Jamaica

Over the past few years, many Jamaicans have been sounding the alarm about the possibility of us unwittingly becoming re-colonised. These persons, whose cries have reached a crescendo, warn us that the trading partner in question is a brute, a behemoth and has a growing list of nations in which it has seized strategic assets. We are warned by these same people that this trading partner must be watched closely as it has nefarious ways of gathering information. All in all, people have been very wary and sceptical as it relates to doing business with and deepening ties with the PRC for fear of re-colonisation, but their fears are unwarranted as this country remains a colony in chains.

A colony? But we got independence (at least formally) in 1962 so a colony belonging to who? We are a colony of the US, make no bones about it, one only must look at how our governments act in order to see that we are a colony of the empire to the north.

At first read, it looks a bit out there and over the top, but when one digs just a bit beneath the surface one sees very clearly that Jamaica is nothing more than a glorified Puerto Rico (if that). For it is true we have a PM, an FM a MOF and an MICT but it is also true that none of them takes any actions in the realm of foreign policy without the strict approval of the US even if it to our detriment.

One doesn’t have to look far or long to stumble upon these facts. Does anyone, for example, remember the fact that the Chinese were poised to take over the port some decade ago? Does anyone recall why the deal was cancelled at the 11th hour? I do, it was terminated because the US Secretary of State called, read the riot act and made it known that the US did not like it and that US national security trumped Jamaica’s financial well being (that was around the time of the global financial meltdown). Like the colony we are we accepted orders, and two twos a deal was made with a French company for less money.

The same colonised mentality seeps through when it comes to the symbiote scandal and how we have dealt with it. Now it is entirely possible that the head of the company in question may be guilty of breaking the law both at home and abroad, but the question is when has this ever stopped any Jamaican business or business person? Hand on heart, how many of us know or have heard stories of high-profile businessmen who have gotten their start (and start-up capital) from breaking the law both at home and abroad? Are morals really in play here when we all have heard tales of young entrepreneurs selling goods that they never had (see fraud) who have made it big and good?

I don’t think so, I honestly think it has more to do with the fact that this company gets its technology from the PRC and not the US or her allies. We get glimmers of this when we hear individuals show worry about Chinese spy technology. It is true that the Chinese spy through technology, but so does literally every big country. I don’t see people saying don’t do deals with Germany or the UK or Canada or even the US (with its NSA) even though they do the same thing and I didn’t see the US or the locals bawling about colonisation  putting up such a fight in the early ’00s when a person from Europe came to set up telecommunications shop.

This colonised mentality is so deep-rooted, and the rot has set in such a way that we don’t even pretend to be polite to those who have helped us and been our age-old friends or stand for principles we have long held (all while living with the realities of neo-colonialism). The two most blatant and repugnant ones are our actions regarding Palestine-Israel and our actions regarding Venezuela.

How else can one explain us, Jamaica essentially okaying the settler-colonial process which Israel has been doing? That is what the abstention vote in the UN was.  It was us saying we wash our hands of the issue and walk away (interesting since we are majority Christian and that is the holy land, shades of Pontius Pilate). How can that be squared with our long-held position on the colonial question, one which saw us align ourselves with the ANC, ZANU and ZAPU (all of which were listed terror organisations)? How does one square the peg of us, Jamaica, doing deals with a nation (Israel) whose express policy is apartheid and who has no second thoughts when it comes to murdering unarmed protesters? It can’t unless one accepts the fact that we but an appendage of a much larger empire.

Same with the treatment of Venezuela, a nation which we (during British colonialism) aided in its fight for independence, have been doing cultural exchanges with for some 50 years. We have just decided that we will not recognize their government as legitimate, in spite of the many elections (even the most recent one) where observers said it was ok. We decided to spit in the face of the nation which for over a decade has been giving us (and our regional brethren) preferential treatment when it comes to the volatile oil market. We have seen it fit to co-sign a call for a coup against a government whose only crime is to want to see its people empowered and educated (a fate which we befell mind you). One can only explain this (as well as the seizure of Venezuelan assets in Petro jam) by reasoning that the colonial master, the empire up north demanded it and we the humble colony readily delivered.

I’m not sure why we are worried about supposed Chinese colonisation (something I which I don’t think will ever happen for a number of reasons).  We are firmly a US colony and have been since at least ’62 (with a brief interlude during 72-80) and the recent actions just highlight that to a gross and exaggerated extent. True, this government is acting with less shame than others, but all have been complicit (note it was the PNP MP who was at the head of the most recent anti-china political witch-hunt).What is this all about? I’m not a betting man, but I wager that when Petro jam is sold it goes to one of the colonial masters favoured companies and at a pittance (because there is no way in hell, they would allow China to bid for it).

We need to get out of this colonised mentality and realise things for what they are. The US, UK etc have no love for us and to make matters worse are not even interested in the slightest in leaving a positive lasting mark on this nation.  This is something I think we should have picked up on ever since the British gave us to the US during WW2 then buggered off quickly in 1962.

In the brief time we have done business with the PRC and with Venezuela post-Bolivarian Revolution we have seen actual real tangible results. We have roads, schools, medical centres, cheap oil and a massive uptick in regard to cultural exchanges. A base and crass question must then be asked, what have we received from the former? Guns, drugs, the propping up of inept leaders, the dismantling of a government and poverty brought on by crippling debt. I say again the persons who are worried about re-colonisation are barking up the wrong tree. Either that or what they actually mean (but might be afraid to say) is that it is better to be a colony and know where your food is than be independent and ask if it is bills or food.

I do not think like that and I don’t think the majority of us in Jamaica or the world for that matter think like that. What we need though is courage, courage to stand up and be counted, to stand up and say “I will take the high road even if it means taking a hit for it”.  Standing up for the downtrodden and nations whose independence is at risk, is in my opinion worth being in the empires bad books, will we finally act in an independent manner and accept that we will have to take the hits which come with it or will we continue in our status of a forever colony?