If you were our ancestors, living as peons, or slaves or indentures, would you be able to spot Massa? The entire system, setup, Plantation?
The ones who perpetuated the legal mass extermination, incarceration, bondage by conquest, slavery and indentureship? The ones who repressed affirmation and resistance with manacle, soldier, police and court? The ones who demonized you, poisoning the minds of your fellow slaves, indentures and freedmen against you?
The ones who squeezed your labour like juice from cane? The advertisers and gospellers at the auction blocks? The ones who monetized, capitalized, amortized (theft) your lands, peoples and communities? Ready to hang you with their ropes and rhetoric? The legitimizing elites, approving atrocities by their silence?
The following are the components of our current neo-Plantation structure; a first-hand, eye-witness, eyeball to eyeball account.
THE TECHNOCRATS. One foot in the business corporation, one foot in government, they ordered the Master Gas Plan. To monetize the social, economic and ecological resources of the communities, lands, peoples. To denude two-thirds of the resources from which the people fished, farmed, plied their labour and trade; the foundations on which they built their spiritual and cultural heritage; their economic commons. And enlisted academic consultants, oligarch pardners, the engineering hood, metropolitan investors and industrialists to do so.
THE BUREAUCRATS. They came down with SUV’s and fine words: “a done deal, an iron clad design, monetizing the gas, a master plan, acceptable standards, spin off effects; you will get to run the cafeteria, lights on the playground!” They organized consultations with party functionaries, impact assessment hacks, eat-a-food scientists, stormtroopers, coming in on buses, and Chubby, cheesepaste sandwiches, puffs! They brought out Powerpoint, colored maps. They know Google better than they know the ground. Like Spanish, French and British conquistadors, stealing land with lines on maps. “Is the law, the government. You can’t stop the government!”
THE PARLIAMENT. What a thumping of desks, jeering, hail and hearty fellowship, as they rubbed the salt of arrogance into the wounds of the intelligentsia, the activists, the revolutionaries on the ground. “Bags of allou. Lizard on the pavement. I saw him in the back of a car eating doubles. Ducking. What a fraud! Ha ha ha.” Mocking the suffering of the people. Organizing a caravan to ride the country to do so. Poisoning the minds of loyalists, partisans, their trolls and race-baiters against you. “You finish hunger strike and now you come to eat roti?! Progress, the bigger picture, we opening up!” But opening up to what? Economic rape? Revolving doors of amnesty for crime, parliament to parliament.
THE CONTRACTOCRACY. “We are just doing our jobs. It’s not us, it’s the government. Move out, we will call the police for you.” The security arrives with dogs, romping up and gnarling in the face of the children. Police arrive with soldiers, handcuffs, lock-up vans, weapons. “Why you misbehaving, causing trouble? You giving the police a bad name. Move on boss, the contract sign already. Long before the elections.” Sign? You mean the deal? The cut? The payback? Development by cuts!
THE CONGLOMERACY. “Forex for sale! Forex for sale! But how you reach in? You get a ticket? How you reach in this fete? Throw that man out! He don’t have a forex ticket.” And, “we will resolve that project. They can’t win in court. We have that covered. The Bossman friend. We will give him the contract to build warehouse and gravel over the food basket; bring in the whole hog and ham from Miami.” And, the CIA-hooded conglomerate media: “that slave, that peon, that indenture, don’t mind him. Too radical. He is ISIS.”
THE CHURCH, MEDIA, JUDICIARY, NGO’S and ARTISTES, UNIVERSITY, TRADE UNIONS. Down the middle these, each one, is split. One side for the people, one side for the Plantation. Progressive versus reactionaries. A reactionary is one who howls for change, smites his breast for progress, but when these come, reacts viciously against them. But does not the church prepare the path, smoothen the contradictions, gospel the edicts, work hand and glove with the Plantation owner? Like Medieval Pope and King? And did the media say no to ads for selling slaves on the auction block? And who is hacking the bench? And did the university rise from the ‘morgue’ (Lloyd Best)? And were the NGO’s and artistes paid on time? And which party is our trade union membership backing?
Really, it is only the intelligentsia on the ground, in the village and street; rare leaders and individuals in the trade unions, church, media, judiciary, NGO’s, university; a sprinkling of citizens of conscience, attorneys, artistes, scientists, economists, business entrepreneurs, who have the back of the people. Thank God for them!
This is Massa, live and direct. You are seeing him, live and close up, in full flow. Its nucleus is Parliament. Its members were chosen to serve the land and the people, but they serve Planter. Its Prime Ministers are always swivelling in their block-and-chain chair, slapped around by Massa. So, “I cannot meet with you. I have to go to China, the US, the UK, Barbados, Venezuela, Miami, awaiting the dudes with jacket and tie from Japan etc.”
It is our new Crown Colony establishment. It must go. And stop the amortization, the monetization, the flagellation of our lands, peoples, communities, our economies and therefore our bodies.
(Dr Wayne Kublalsingh is an accomplished Trinidadian who has worn many hats includinguniversity professor, writer and activist promoting authentic economic development)