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RACISM: DIVERSION AND DIVISION by Sylvestre McLaren

posted 30 Nov 2011 20:39 by Gerry Kangalee

 

The only period in the history of the development of society, when racism was not a factor influencing the equitable distribution ofthe material resources tothe members of societywas during the existence of primitive communal society.

 

All civilizations thereafter, practiced some form of racism. In many of those cases, it followed as night followed day in the wake of conquests of wars, after the victorious forces over ran the weaker enemy, confiscated land and other resources, executed the men, raped the women and burned the towns and villages.

 

A sober analysis of the foundation on which racism is established will reveal that racism is the product of banditry which is sometimes wrapped in religious clothing, with no moral and ethical basis for its existence.

 

The colonial powers of Europe, used racism in order to justify the occupation of lands in Africa, the kidnapping of Africans in order to sell them into slavery, and the slaughter of theIndians” they met throughout north, central and south America and the Caribbean.

 

We must never forget that they came with the sword and the bible to convert our fore-fathers whom they regarded as primitive people. From that time onwards, racism was and is used as an instrument of division and diversion with which to keep ethnic groups in society, who largely comprise the working class, divided by diverting their attention towards issues which have nothing to do with the advancement of the working class as a class.

 

Reference the roles which Sat Maharaj and Selwyn Cudjoe play in the politics of Trinidad and Tobago. Some Radio talk show hosts have also jumped into the fray poisoning the airwaves with their racist utterances.

 

What we describe as racism in this country, is really the culture of political patronage practiced by all the political parties when they are in power. As a result, political patronage is coloured by the perception of racism because the major political parties are comprised largely of the two largest ethnic groups in the country.

 

These set of circumstances, however, provide the ideal conditions for the agents of the ruling class and the transnational corporations to spread their racist poison among members of the working class, thereby focusing their attention on issues of race while the Treasury is robbed by dishonest politicians and the profits from our rich mineral resources are carted away by the multinational corporations.

 

We must not lose sight of the fact that our African and East Indian brothers and sisters have made a tremendous contribution to the development of this country. Against that back ground therefore, they are morally and legally entitled to enjoy equitably, the benefits derived from the economic resources of this country.

 

Another important issue is the question of the culture of the various ethnic groups and how they practice their culture. In this regard, one will recognize that a fusing of the different cultures istaking place and acting as a breaker against the spread of the racist poison.
 

This trend must be encouraged by a greater facilitation of the forces responsible for promoting its development. Culture has always been an important institution in the creation of harmony in a diverse society because it helps provide a deeper understanding of the way of life of the different ethnic groups.

 

If we go further into the analysis of the material basis on which racism is founded, we will discover that in the case of the Americas and the Caribbean, none of the members of these countries have any moral claim on the lands and other mineral resources of the countries in this region.

 

It is only the first peoples who have such a claim. Therefore, those who came here with their slaves and got lands were participants in the enterprise of banditry. Not even the descendants of the former slaves and indentured immigrants can lay any moral claim to the lands and other mineral resources of this country. The same is true for the Americas and the rest of the Caribbean.

 

It follows quite logically that all the lands and mineral resources should be the property of the State acting as the custodian of these assets on behalf of the people. No individual should own lands. Individuals should only have access to the use of lands by way of a deed of lease for a stipulated period which can be negotiated.

 

In order to deal effectively with racism the material basis for its existence must be removed. However, this will not happen in a capitalist society such as ours, unless a united, strong and progressive working class aligned with farmers, youths and other community organisations, working in unity with progressive forces can win significant reforms, thereby deepening and broadening the democracy in this country.

 

An alliance of forces of that type can then shift the political and economic emphasis from economic growth towards developmental growth where  health care, education, the right to employment, and housing are recognized as priority issues, and the state will determine  the developmental thrust as an active economic partner, while at the same time, facilitating private sector development in strategically identified areas.

 

If we are to rid our country of racism, structural changes must be made to the political and economic foundation of our society. We cannot continue with the current capitalist model, an economic system that has clearly demonstrated its inability to meet its obligations to the rest of society.

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