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THE BEST AMONG US by Ken Howell

posted 26 Feb 2014, 11:25 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 26 Feb 2014, 11:46 ]
I am happy to see that my article on the PNM and the politics of deception has managed to cause some gentlemen to ask critical questions and also to express very important views on what I would consider is the way forward. I suspect the two gentlemen, from the inquiry made and the commentary in the two articles, would like me to be more specific about the criteria to be used to determine who will qualify in that category. 

History has shown that those who will fit the phrase “the best among us” always emerge in the heat of struggle. But their emergence in such circumstances should not be taken to mean that such persons did not come through the fire of working class education both in theory and working class practice. I am speaking here about comrades who are committed, tried and tested. 

When the United States, the Chinese, Cubans or any of these countries create their special forces such as the Navy Seals, in most instances they would ensure that these troops are committed, because they were tried and tested. The task of producing such leaders can only be achieved through working class education and “training” in the school of class struggle. 

Notwithstanding the current state of the working class movement in this country, I still have faith in the collective wisdom of the working people. Because the movement has taught me to be patient and to have confidence in its ability to rebound and to throw up new leaders at a time of need. What is important is for us who are tracking the ebb and flow of the class struggle to be prepared, when the workers are ready, to give correct leadership to the mass movement. 

Many of the trade union leaders today grew up in trade unions whose leaders were students of the CIA trade union schools such as American Institute for Free Labour Development (AIFLD).Such leaders honestly believe that labour's role is only to deal with the normal trade union issues and, from time to time, to demonstrate the power of its members to a particular employer in order to win benefits form that employer. 

It is well known that such is the style of certain trade unions in America with Mafia ties. Too many of them want to hunt with the hounds and run with the hares. They have not been emphasising sufficiently that solidarity is the life blood of the working class. That is why the powers that be have been succeeding in dividing the movement. 

Mr. Ramkissoon is correct: the movement has failed in the past to keep the history of the working class movement here at home and abroad alive and that is because, either wittingly or unwittingly, some of these leaders by their action or inaction have taken the working class over to the side of their class enemy. Some people believe that such action is deliberate. 

For the time being I would say no comment. But this view resides in certain quarters among workers. Because it is felt that the reason why certain leaders in some of the leading unions are reluctant to promote worker education of the working class type is because they are afraid of their members. 

Over the past twenty four years, many of our working people have come to believe that they now form part of the middle class; the same false propaganda that is being peddled for the consumption of workers in America and as such they believe they are not of the working class. One of the reasons for such is the fact that they who harbour such belief, think that middle class means owning a car for you and your wife and owning a house which is not really yours because you are paying a mortgage on it.

Like the middle class in America, these people who are really workers are under the spell of capitalist propaganda just like the youths here, who believe, that wearing their pants below their bottoms, make them look cool. They do not know, or care to know, that it originated in the prisons, because prisoners are not allowed to wear belts in their pants and laces in their shoes. 
 
Such is the power of the capitalist propaganda machine that we must come up against it in creative ways in order to win these prodigal sons and daughters of the working class back into our ranks. The truth is we cannot say or pinpoint how, when, or under what set of circumstances leaders who will fit the description mentioned earlier, will emerge; perhaps they are already here with us. Therefore it is only by their practice we shall know them. Perhaps they may even emerge from among the ranks of those who now see themselves as belonging to the middle class. 

The time is not far off when persons holding bachelor’s degrees in engineering, marketing, and in the sciences will suddenly realize that they really belong to the working class in the category of highly skilled workers. Such is the direction in which technology has taken the global labour market, thus confirming Karl Marx's conclusion that the capitalist system through the medium of education, will create its own grave diggers. 

Objectively, this is something which it cannot avoid doing. And, this is where the education of the working class becomes necessary, in order for them to have a clear understanding of their role in the production process, and also their relationship with the means of production distribution and exchange. 

The working people must be educated to understand, for example, that in the current scheme of things, the salaries earned by persons who are categorised as blue or white collar employees, really earn income which they hand over to the banks to pay their mortgages and to the commercial establishments for food and much needed items. The fact is that the whole society is living on credit. 

In addition, they must be educated to know that the so-called democracy and the capitalist system, - which Dr. Morgan Job believes will be with us forever, since in his view, it is the best thing for us - will have its crises and will also go out of existence, like all the other forms of society which existed before it. 

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” Karl Marx wrote those words which remain true even up to this day. In my view the task before us at this time, is to educate the working class to understand that history has placed the burden and the responsibility and also the duty on it not only to produce the wealth of society (Trinidad and Tobago) but to change it for the batter. That is why it will take only the best among us; those with a clear vision, the courage and determination, to stay the course like Nelson Mandela, like C.L.R. James and Uriah Butler.
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