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posted 4 Mar 2012, 17:05 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 4 Mar 2012, 17:06 ]
I made the point in my last article that “Since our union leaders will not open these avenues for theory and practice, but instead bastardise the COSSABOS, victory cannot be secured.” I will touch on what I mean by victory for and from my working class perspective. Mind you, my singular views are not cast in stone and are meant to stimulate other ideas, discussion, debate, and decisions.
To start with, I am acutely aware that the operative word – victory – is in this context, so vague, that it could be misleading to some and contentious to others. In a nutshell: victory means becoming masters of our destiny. We must be able to chart our future and by extension all of humanity. So let me go for the ideological jugular.

The electoral arena cannot deliver the change so desperately needed by the poor, dispossessed and labouring masses. It simply cannot! It has never done so and no proponent of the “vote for me I will set you free of the chains that bind you” has ever succeeded in creating profound change - from the hugely popular Lula in Brasil to Obama in America, even including female leaders such as Aquino in the Philippines to Portia Simpson-Miller in Jamaica. Why is this so? It is so because the economic system governs all other processes, all other levers to change.

The capitalist system cannot deliver peace, parity and progress to the vast majority. The lynch-pin of this system is based on greed and greed leads to the quest for obscene profit; to the exploitation of others; to the accumulation of wealth in private hands.

Furthermore, no amount of legislation, no strident calls based on moral persuasion for fairness or heavenly bliss by church leaders and civic society are making dents on the widening gap between the poor and the wealthy.

Therefore, even as we go about our business of getting a wage increase; of pursuing a commission of enquiry into corporate failure; of trying to subdue crime; of tinkering with the transport system or producing more food, the basic problem remains.

Those who keep their vice-like grip on the economy of the country do not and will not let go unless forced to do so. Within recent times port workers and oil workers were able to temporarily release the pressure by their strike actions but that is the most unions are doing on the industrial front.

The studied analysis for working people is that joining a party which is subservient to the system, a party, any party that for all intents and purposes is the political arm of the capitalists, means you are committing suicide.

To be on a victorious path, in my humble view, people who sell their labour power, and who at the same time must look after the needs of their elderly, children and other extended family, must form groups in whatever practical way they can; either as environmentalists, or sports enthusiasts, or social activists or a combination of whatever, to monitor their workplace, city, constituency, community, any area they feel they can manage to effect progressive change.

I will hereby ask some rhetorical questions to underscore the point that working people have to organize themselves for their common good. Do you think a city council meeting in seclusion on a monthly basis can really reduce crime, improve public health, wipe out the drug dens, minimize traffic jams, etc., etc?

Let’s take San Fernando as an example. A city with only one public toilet, a chaotic city centre (Library corner) where pedestrians and vehicles dare each other for the right to move on, where vagrants abound and while the Council operates in isolated splendour, life after dark in the city and environs reflects the decadence of any other city where the accumulation of material wealth is the major nexus between life and death.

Other questions beg to be answered. Why is Carnival as a national festival dying? Why is life (opportunity, information, mobility, etc.) between town and country growing further apart? Why is our public health system so poor as compared to another Caribbean country: Cuba? How come we cannot manage the crime situation?

There are more questions than the powers that be can answer. I dare say to solve these problems calls for protracted effort, time, energy and the will to succeed but the norm in our society is that people who seek political leadership do so to enrich themselves and family. Therein lies the contradiction

So let me conclude by repeating the salient points. Working people need to understand that generations will come and go and life as they know it will become more difficult to achieve peace, parity and progress until or unless they form themselves into active, determined groups armed with information of the successes and failures of previous regimes and political systems.

When they understand how the system affects their daily lives then the next step is not to collaborate with those who have you subjugated simply to fatten their pockets, but to consciously wage battles on all fronts. Failure to do so now will mean subsequent generations will have to start from a more perilous position.

To be on the path of victory; to be masters of our future it calls for all levers of our working class working together. As it stands now most of our trade unions, under their present leadership, are not helping to build solidarity throughout the ranks.

As an example strike camps should automatically be centres of learning, of discourse, of plans as to what to do next after the strike. Without these early adult education classes our tasks are difficult but not insurmountable. Let us, through this medium, start or else as a generation we will be assigned to the dung-heap of history.

March 1st 2012