Okay, so I went to the Progressive Minds social networking event. On a whole, it went very well. However, just at the very end, when there were like only two guests left, these two guys come in, one of whom had been at the event earlier in the evening. The new guy starts passing out these one page fliers that he has, entitled ‘Revolutionary Peoples Front.’ It consisted of a black and white print out with a big picture of Dr. Brown, and then another picture underneath, which I can’t remember (even though I had three copies I passed them around to be looked at and they never came back to me), but I think it was Buck Burrows. The text of the document opened with a diatribe about foreigners as vulture-vampires sucking the life blood out of Bermuda and Bermudians, how the foreigners were ‘raping Bermuda like a virgin in a bar without underpants’ and how the PLP, and Dr. Brown in particular were all house Niggers pandering to the big white ‘Massa’ up at Government House. The only other bits that stand out in my mind from the document were that the Queens face should be taken off the dollar bills and replaced with Buck Burrows’; that all Bermudians needed to unite to kick off the foreign invader parasites; and that if you didn’t support the ideas of the print-out then YOU were a sell-out and traitor to the people. All very interesting.
So, I’m talking to the guy. It emerges that he is remodelling his ‘movement’ on the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone that he saw in the movie Blood Diamond, and seemed to advocate the use of child soldiers. He also went on about how humanity emerged in Nigeria and that whites were created by Nigerian shamans for the purpose of being slaves or pets (or something like that), and then showed me his beads of initiation which reminded me of the beads one sees the Santeria devotees in Cuba’s black population wearing. All very interesting indeed.
So, its pretty obvious to me that this guy and his friend were the ones putting those flyers on cars a couple months ago, and that he was the same guy I met after a busy meeting last October handing out a print-out concerning a Nigerian myth/fable condemning homosexuality as an abomination that needs to be smitten – although the lesbians need to be raped to bring them back to heterosexuality if I recall the particulars of that document.
Now, it would be easy to portray this fellow and his thoughts as a rambling incoherent thug, and to a degree that would be true. I could point out that why, if he is so much of a Bermudian nationalist is he speaking in a faux Nigerian accent, or advocating all things Nigerian (non-Nigerian Africans were inferior apparently); I could also criticise his argument that Bermudians working overseas is okay, but foreigners here is not okay; I could also point out the slip he made about being angry against the government for not giving him a business grant (for what I do not know) which caused him to decide to discredit/destabilise the government by spouting of such xenophobic/racist/mystic rhetoric. Nonetheless, what this guy is arguing does need to be confronted.
Yes, there are thugs out there. No, I don’t think they are as large a group or as dangerous a group as some people think (I’ld be suprised if there were more than five). But I do think they can be violent, more out of desparate bravado than anything else. What particularly concerns me is the xenophobic ideology he presents. I tried to point out that the vast majority of the guest workers here are brought over almost as modern day slaves in some cases, more or less for the purpose of a) filling in the gaps in our own labour shortages; b) divide the workers; c) help depress wage levels (guest workers will often work for less, as this less is a lot more than wages in their home countries). I tried to argue that it would be better to ensure that the guest workers are not exploited, that racist xenophobia only compounds the problems encountered by the guest workers, that his rhetoric only serves the purpose of the Bosses (up to a point – once it scares off profits then its bye-bye nationalist thugs). Unsuprisingly the guy wasn’t interested, and resorted to an almost sheep-like chanting of ‘revolutionary army; kick out the damn foreigners.’ Almost as an afterthought, after saying that the PLP should be a Party for workers only, he noticed that I was White, and asked me why I was in a Black-mans Party, and resorted to his chanting when I pointed out I was a worker. Anyway…