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TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL ALS by Dr. Godfrey Vincent

posted 9 Dec 2013, 05:33 by Gerry Kangalee
I was in deep shock when Gerry Kangalee informed me that Michael Als had died. It came hours after the death of Nelson Mandela. Michael Als made a contribution to Trinidad and Tobago in several ways.

As a young man, in 1969, Michael formed the Young Power Movement and organized an unemployment march from Point Fortin to Port of Spain. Moreover, he documented an important history of the Trade Union Movement in the midst of the struggle against the Industrial Stabilization Act of 1965.

The small, yet important book is entitled: IS Slavery Again: Some Factors Leading up to the introduction of the Industrial Stabilization Act (I.S.A.) 1965, in Trinidad and Tobago. Moreover, he was a founding member of the Council of Progressive Trade Unions and served as General-Secretary and President.

Furthermore, Als was very much active in politics during the Black Power Revolution. Additionally, he was a founding member of the ULF, and the People’s Progressive Movement. More importantly, Michael was a founder of the Bank Workers’ Union (now BIGWU).

Michael was also a literary figure and a poet in his own right. As a Community organizer, Michael played a very important role in the Toco community where he worked with the young people. In writing the history of the modern working class of Trinidad and Tobago, historians must include Michael’s contribution to the development of the working-class in Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the Caribbean.