EYEWITNESS: Changes…

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…in class perspective

The PPP was first “abashedly” a Marxist party. But after playing ducks and drakes on the subject with US President John F. Kennedy and getting a quick ouster from office, Jagan came out of the closet in 1969 to declare HIS party was Communist. Among his impressionable protégés were the rustic Moses Nagamootoo from Berbice and the urban (and urbane) Ralph Ramkarran from Bel Air, Georgetown.

Mechanistically following the 19th century European procrustean categories of Marxist sociology, they aped Jagan to insist that race/ethnicity was a mere “epiphenomenon” and class was “fundamental”. Well, now that both have parted ways with the PPP, they’ve evidently done a U-turn on their views.

Nagamootoo was only too happy to insist on 40% of the Cabinet if he and the AFC delivered “Indian” votes. But even though Nagamootoo had denied his ethnicity, he had to have come to a modus vivendi with the question of race/ethnicity to make THAT bargain.

 Rather belatedly, it would appear that Ralph Ramkarran has also now decided to trade in his hammer and sickle. He’d been more passionate about the working class than the rough-around-the-edges Nagamootoo; probably overcompensating for his middle class origin! In his blog this week, he’s quoted as declaring: “But the reality is that the main ethnic groups in Guyana live compartmentalised lives, whether in mixed communities or not, separated by our differences, and hardly ever interacting socially, culturally or politically. We are different nations, living separate lives, subsisting in the same homeland and competing for scarce resources.”

Whew!! Ramkarran sounds more extreme than those Indianists and Africanists who flood the letters columns with what he used to deride as “atavistic” outpourings. But doesn’t he owe the Guyanese public a reason for his abrupt volte face? Before the last elections, he’d praised his erstwhile competitor for the title of “Best Marxist in the PPP” as doing the right thing for denying his ethnicity for the sake of “national unity”. Which, your Eyewitness concluded, had to mean Nagamootoo and his new allies in APNU would be ushering in a “unity” based on class.

Has Ramkarran become so embittered by the virulent racism exhibited by the coalition government against Indians over the distribution of “scarce resources” during the last two years that he’s become resigned to accepting race politics? Is Ramkarran about to champion the “cause” of Indians in light of his sudden epiphany? But what’s the end game for a country with “different nations, living separate lives”? Surely he doesn’t envisage the “different nations” fighting unto eternity?

Or is he going to propose we go the way of Yugoslavia, which fissioned into five “homelands” for its five nations”?

New converts are always the most extreme!

…on diaspora policies?

What’s with this Government and the diaspora? It’s like one of those “hold me, loose me” soap operas. In both the 2011 and 2015 elections, the diaspora played a major role in helping the coalition (AFC and APNU were a “coalition” in all but name by 2011) first checkmate the PPP, and then seize their kingdom. They, not unreasonably, had great expectations of getting a piece of the action in the new dispensation, not least because the APNU/AFC combine had MADE promises such as giving them a seat in Parliament. But it all came to naught in the midst of diasporic weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But, once again, the administration’s girding up its loins to engage the diaspora. They started out on safe turf — with ex-GDF types in the States. But they really need to explain what’s gonna be different this time.

“Fool us once, shame on the admin; fool us twice, shame on the diaspora”!

…on PM status?

In dishonouring the promises of the Cummingsburg Accord to increase the powers of the Prime Minister, APNU claimed it was unconstitutional to have PM chair Cabinet.

But Article 106 (3) says, “Cabinet Meetings shall be presided over by (b) in the absence of the President, the Prime Minister.”

All Prezzie’s gotta do is not show up!!

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