“Bermuda Revolutionary Peoples Front”

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…

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3 thoughts on ““Bermuda Revolutionary Peoples Front”

  1. That’s all very scary. One of the dangers in writing about this, is giving such idiots more exposure than they deserve, but if you ignore them, they could eventually carry out their weird notions and then it is too late to do anything about them. Presumably, the PLP/BIU do not condone the handing out of these pamphlets, especially in a BIU building.

  2. Jonathan, I agree with what you said, however I’m curious as to your position on the stance that Government has taken, in particular the civil service consisting of the Immigration Department AND the PLP MP, concerning the Macleoud issue that appeared in the paper last week.

    Back to the issue at hand, good work on confronting them, I would have to do the same. I challenge everyone to do as well. People like this breed contempt and unfortunantely our little society has enough of that to spare!

  3. A Meringue – I did indeed debate with myself as to whether I should give these two guys ‘blogtime’ but I decided it was better to do so for the following reasons: 1) They had a big stack of print-outs and I assumed they would be leafleting the City, and I kind of had a duty to forewarn and forearm people; 2) They represent a current within the working class, based on very serious concerns (the impact of guest workers both economically and culturally), but their conclusions are reactionary and need to be countered; 3) I do not think blame the PLP or its spokesmen for creating them but for bringing it into the light of day, and to a degree by combating the fully formed reactionary ideology of these two, one also helps counter any similar creeping tendencies within the progressive labour movement as a whole. Also, should people continue to ignore them I feel they will seek out ever more sensationalist forms of attention grabbing. They may go ahead and do this anyway as they lose the ideological debate, but at least they will be seen as what they are and not become any sort of ‘martyrs.’

    As to whether the BIU/PLP condoned the handing out of these pamphlets, especially in the BIIU building I will say that no one appeared to take an official position on this. It seemed to be the consensus that they have the right to freedom of expression, and we had the right to vehemently argue against them, which we all did, from PLP officials, Progressive Mind members, and even an NLPer (yes, they do still exist!). I don’t think anyone was too impressed with their loud talking and would have preferred a more calm disagreement, but as long as they weren’t getting violent, we were willing to engage them in argument.

    Full Fullish – I took the oppurtunity to ask MP George Scott for some clarification while I was at the Union building (he was busy with a meeting downstairs, but spared some time to talk), and am hoping to write a piece shortly, time willing. In short, I think if the labour case against MacLeod was genuine, and I did briefly thumb through the file concerning complaints about him, then the decision was genuine. I do think that was the main case, and the ‘disrespect’ was blown out of proportion. The way it has been handled, or appears to be handled via the media, does make it look like it was a farce. I would like to speak with a few more people (Minister Burgess, MacLeod) before writing anything further though.

    I do disagree with the treatment meted out to Dr. Wakeley from what I understand of the case so far, and I don’t yet understand the whole issue of the Clinics closing – I will be trying to get the opinions of as many people involved in this as I can and then draw my own conclusions based on those.

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