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BUILDING A CAPITALIST CULTURE by Sylvestre McLaren

posted 26 Sep 2012, 18:49 by Gerry Kangalee
It is amazing how intoxicating the culture of capitalism can be. We see it every day but we do not realize the extent to which it has affected the mentality of our youths. In addition to wearing their pants almost below their knees our young men are sucked into the culture of crime, while our young women believe that the only way that they can look beautiful is when they wear false hair, false eye lashes and finger nails that do not belong to them. 

But they are not the only ones who are infected. Some radio talk show personalities are also carriers of the disease. When there is a break in the show in order to run an advertisement, you will hear them say; we will be back in a little bit. Even TSTT/ B mobile is now playing an advertisement with an American slang “We got this”. What we are experiencing in our country today on our fiftieth birthday are the bitter fruits of our labour in the political vineyard building a capitalist culture. 

The crime and the corruption, the absence of moral and ethical standards, the greed and selfishness are all evidence of the fact that those persons who attempted in the past to cultivate our own cultural values failed to achieve their goals because the lure of the capitalist culture was too strong. 

Many people laboured under the mistaken belief that the baton that was passed to Dr. Eric Williams on the 31, August 1962 was the baton of independence. The truth is that the responsibility passed on to us to manage our affairs was based on the condition that we continue the task of building a capitalist culture and economy. What we have today is a fully grown capitalist culture but the economy is not yet at the stage where it can be described as a fully grown capitalist economy. That is why the PP government is intent on following the neo- liberal economic philosophy in order to take us there. 
 
The capitalist culture contaminates every institution in this country. That is why we should not act surprised because it has contaminated the members of Parliament. Capitalism is the author of corruption. And that is so whether or not we choose to believe it. 

The current scandal is but a manifestation of the capitalist culture, which is being played out in the “highest court in the land”. The concerns that are being articulated by the Leader of the Opposition have more to do with form and less to do with content. That is to say, he is concerned that the crude actions of the PP government, in handling the matter of Section 34 (3) of the Indictable Offences Act, could give capitalism a bad name. 
 
As a consequence, he hastened to write several countries to complain about the unsophisticated manner in which this government is going about the business of creating an escape route in the law to facilitate the filthy rich when they break the law.  
 
We are witnessing the most shameless behaviour of capitalist politicians on both side of the political divide; if in fact such a divide exists. Many of the people who took part in the protest action led by the PNM genuinely believe that the cause that the leader of the opposition appears to be championing is their cause. 

The fact of the matter is that the politicians, for the past fifty years, have been championing the cause of the foreign capitalists and the local ruling class. At present there is no evidence to suggest that they are going to change now. 

While from the standpoint of the capitalist politician Dr. Rowley's decision to stage a protest march was a good idea, the underlying intention was to signal that the PNM, a party with more than thirty years experience in building a capitalist culture is the only party with the expertise to complete the task of building a capitalist economy. He is also sending the message that he is ready to take up the responsibility to lead the charge in defence of capitalism. 
 
Make no mistake, there is a political crisis facing the country at this time. Although there is a government in office, there is a political vacuum. There is an absence of leadership at all levels of the society and the PNM believes that it can fill that vacuum. 
 
Trade union leaders, who should know better, have chosen to jump on the PNM band-wagon in order to serve their own personal interests. Now is not the time to prop up political parties that are on their way out. No! Now is the time to begin the task of building a real party of the working class while at the same time work to strengthen and unify the trade union movement in preparation for the many battles that we will have to fight in the future. 
 
Worldwide: capitalism is in crisis. It is a crisis which is marked by the absence of leadership. The country has arrived at a place where it has lost confidence in the current crop of leaders whose only interest is in self and in endorsement from the capitalist class. That is why a lot of organisations who really represent the interest of the bourgeoisie are coming out of the wood work pretending to speak in defence of the interests of ordinary people on this matter of Section 34 (3) and the decision of the government to have it proclaimed by the President. 
 
An issue of grave concern is the absence of independence in our decisions as a sovereign nation. We seem to always want approval from some foreign power in order to act in our own best interest. We do not believe that we have the ability through our institutions to dispense justice without fear or favour. The absence of that kind of confidence in ourselves clearly indicates that we have not purged ourselves completely of that colonial mentality. That is why it is so easy to inject the capitalist culture into our system. 
 
That is why we are yet to understand that the two political parties are competing not just for our votes and approval, but really for the attention, approval and favours of the big local capitalists and the foreign multinational corporations. These are the entities whose best interests will be served, by our country having a two party system of governance. 

So that when you hear persons calling for real “proper governance”, what they are saying, is that if we fix the problem of governance the capitalist system that is being constructed will work well in the best interest of all the people. Many of those who are expressing those views know only too well that it is not true. 

It is not in the best interest of the working class to rise up in defence of the capitalist system. Therefore, trade union leaders have no business supporting one capitalist party against another; let them sort out their own stories. Working people have suffered too much under all of these parties. If the system is to collapse let it collapse. Something good will emerge from the ashes if we work to make it so.
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