Following is Part Two of an article by political scientist George Brathwaite examining some of the reactions of members of the ruling Democratic Labour Party to the objection of some sections of the community to changes being implemented with regard to higher education here.
Edward Herman argues that “clearly, the manufacture of consent by a ‘specialised class’ that can override the short-sighted perspectives of the masses must entail media control by that class”. The mules’ professionalism ought not to become discoloured regarding any “anti-government sermons” since the things that are “preached on the hill” by political rejects are not “under the guise of lectures and tutorials” as Thompson is telling Barbadians. Rather, governments’ successes and failures are used as examples in terms of examining political culture, political socialisation, good governance, authoritarianism, among other topics in the field of political science.
Therefore, did Mara Thompson’s vivid but rash, irresponsible, and cunning, inclusive of her provocative claim that there was a group in “constant pleading with the Barbadian public to reduce themselves to anarchy and protest”, slant the course of national debate in a way that softens the burdensome measures introduced by Chris Sinckler in his 2013 budgetary statement?
Taken together, did Jones, Thompson, and other DLP spokespersons bring an elitist domination to control the minds of the masses and those too vulnerable to resist and may fear political victimisation given the recent and last victory for the DLP at the polls? Chomsky suggests that “the mechanisms of elite propaganda are more difficult to discern than totalitarian propaganda, as they actually fashion attitudes of subservience as opposed to coercing the population into submission”.
To this end, the DLP’s constant harping without the co-requisite of economic growth that “Barbados is more than an economy, it is a society” may likely hide more than it actually reveals. It has been argued that David Thompson although accusing the BLP of having “cloaked their political appointments in the euphemistic and misleading term of consultants”, was well aware and capable of the espionage moles are known to engage while doubling as mules.
`For the purpose of indoctrination to the DLP’s regime, has there been a direct and strong sense of unfair, scathing criticisms levelled against a BLP keen to rub shoulders with affected Barbadians from all classes and walks of society? Hasn’t the BLP displayed empathy regarding the numerous thousands of Barbadians already experiencing dread, hopelessness, uncertainty, unemployment, and the wrenching of their spirits so soon after the general elections of February 21, 2013?
It is a reasonable contention, therefore, that mule-like attacks by well-positioned moles in the various systems, combined with the political rhetoric emerging from Minister Jones, Mara Thompson, and the DLP Cabinet of 2013, when pooled with the budgetary measures that are opposite to any form of people-oriented development, manage then to present a number of artful exercises in both propaganda and indoctrination.
Barbadians must begin to question whether the DLP’s political rhetoric will ever be an appropriate shield for protecting the majority, or will the innuendo and propaganda continue to dim the potential of people power? Will Barbadians choose credibility over excuses and, consensus over division, in order to bring about change sooner rather than later for the sake of rescuing this country?
My island home, is being beaten down by moles hiding on the hill, and there are mules executing poisonous arrows in classrooms. Is the hidden agenda one to gain support for the backward policies that emerged from a Cabinet which has seemingly been defeated by its alacrity to rely on blame, excuses, and subterfuge?
Maybe to find the factual answer will be another lesson in politics and state craft. Mara Thompson’s words may yet be instructive, her, having said that “change is constant”. The MP reflects that “there is nothing that I can hold on to with certainty, including our fragile existence” and she may well have been thinking of the most recent two Ministers of Finance in Barbados.
Perhaps less dubious, but still unclear, is Thompson’s appeal calling for the “need to design and fashion a long-term perspective of education that reflects the needs and aspirations of Barbadians now and in the future”. Of course, this is without any technocrat or future administration, squandering or dismantling in a parallel manner to the DLP, those things and evidence of Barbados’ progress that were achieved by the builders of Barbados.
Unfortunately, the misguided though very fortunate Mara Thompson, wrongly suggested at the DLP’s 58th annual conference that “the social and economic realities are upon our people not because of our [DLP] decisions”, but for other reasons for which her hands are squeaky clean. Thompson spuriously claims, fully aware of the gains Barbados made between 1966 and 2008, that the island has reached the dredges “because of the failure of those in the past to think about the future”.
It is precisely this type of political trash and diminution of the other (not being part of the DLP’s membership) that a poison is brewed for the students across Barbados and the entire region.
Clearly, the DLP Cabinet under Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has prevaricated on fiscal strategies, failed to return growth to the Barbados economy, and collectively the DLP Cabinet ministers have contributed to negating the growth potential of tertiary education and improved health care in Barbados. Stuart’s communication skills or lack thereof, when added to the DLP’s propaganda and indoctrination strategies have worked much better than the BLP’s sometimes lethargic spurts.
Nonetheless, and according to Kane and Patapan, Barbadians can be sure that “democratic rhetoric, though it is inevitably artful, too often will appear, if disclosed, as a vice that democracy finds scarcely tolerable — hypocrisy”.