“A Boxful of Crayons”

Perhaps predictably pro-UBPers have seized on the section of Dr. Brown’s speech to the Party Banquet where he used the metaphor of ‘mixing up a box of colour crayons’ as the PLP exploiting race for political gain. I disagree. In fact, from where I sit I believe the very opposite is the case, and that the comment by Dr. Brown was one of calling a spade a spade – it is the UBP that is exploiting race for cynical and oppurtunistic political gain.

I wrote briefly on this in ‘point (f)’ of my critique of the Banquet speech. I’m going to expand on it here because I think it is a very important and frequently misunderstood issue.

The UBP claims that it as a Party is racially representative of Bermuda’s racial demographics and does so by pointing at the racial make-up of its parliamentary candidates. It is true that the racial composition of these candidates does indeed more truly represent Bermuda’s racial make-up, especially when placed against the PLPs candidates, of which out of 36 there are only two that would generally be regarded as White.

However, the UBPs claims end there; like beauty its only skin deep, and is essentially a rather simple superficial claim.

While neither Party (to my knowledge) keeps racial statistics of its members (I can speak factually for the PLP, and recall a quote from the UBP in the RG in the last two years at least to this effect), one can make some generalisations through an analysis of a few different observations.

In general you can say that the PLP is roughly 90% Black in its members composition; the UBP roughly 85% White in its members composition.

Evidence comes from:

a) Polls indicating support for the two Parties broken down along racial lines indicates that almost 98% of Whites that vote vote UBP. Almost 75% of Blacks that vote vote PLP. I’m not sure of the exact statistics by the way, I’m going from memory, but I’ll look it up and post any corrections here. Having said that I don’t think many will disagree with this statement. It is also important to acknowledge that ‘support’ and ‘Party member’ are two different things, but there is a definite correlation between them.

b) Photographic evidence of both Parties events, be they town-hall meetings, Central Committee meetings (believe it or not the UBP has one, and there does exist video footage of its members arriving, for example during the ousting of Mr. Furbert earlier this year), or rallies (the Main Event, etc.). These tend to confirm the general trends of the poll breakdowns.

c) Personal experience in discussions with members of different races have tended to correlate and confirm the trend suggested by the above two observations.

This of course is not scientific, but it is certainly indicative.

So, the situation we have here is a White dominated Party (at the very least numerically) with a parliamentary candidate line-up that is the reverse of its actual membership composition. This indicates that the UBP have made a political decision to consciously misrepresent their actual reality – by having a severe discrepancy between membership and candidates on a racial basis – for the purpose of political gain.

This of course calls into question the UBPs denunciation of the PLPs proposed Workforce Equity Legislation (which the UBP has deliberately misrepresented to the public anyway) where they say that Blacks will question whether they have earned their position by merit or by virtue of melanin. Cannot the same be said of the UBPs parliamentary candidates? I am sure that the vast majority of the UBP candidates are indeed of great merit, but one has to wonder how a majority White Party somehow has a majority Black parliamentary candidate line-up. The two just don’t really add up unless you factor in the possibility of cynical exploitation of race for political gain.

One is also reminded of the current UBP Deputy Leader who earlier this year (I beleive in reference to PLP fundraising initiatives) stated that ‘he who pays the piper also calls the tune.’ I don’t have access to the UBPs financial records, who paid what and what race they were, but a general review of Bermuda’s economic class breakdown in correlation to race indicates that the Upper Class here is overwhelmingly White. One can assume that the main financial backers of the UBP are also White, that the UBP is not only a numerically White majority Party but also a finicially White Party. If the UBP Deputy Leader truly believes her statements on Party funding, how does this square with the UBPs?

The UBP as a Party is not racially representative of Bermuda. Its parliamentary candidates may well be, but that is merely superficial. This fact alone indicates that the UBP is both ‘playing the race card’ for political gain, and also quite hypocritical in its statements on race as a whole.

Calling the UBP on this is not ‘playing the race card’ as some argue; it is merely calling a spade a spade and arguing against hypocrisy. Thats all.

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17 thoughts on ““A Boxful of Crayons”

  1. Good Day,

    I am just wondering, rather than stating the obvious in that most of the UBP followers are white and PLP are black, if you wonder why, other than inherent racism. Many PLP members have at one time or another, either directly or indirectly, stated they are not interested, or do not need the white vote. There is no effort within the PLP to bring whites to the party, other than the 2 candidates that are receiving multi-million dollar construction contracts form the PLP government, so in essence are being paid to represent the PLP. If there was a genuine attempt to talk the Big Conversation, why does the Premier not have a white advisor on race to compliment Mr. Comissiong, and really get a white point of view.

    When I look at the UBP list of candidates, it appears very representative of the local populace. I find it hard to believe that so many blacks could be duped or coerced into running for the ‘white’ party to their detriment, one or two maybe, but more than 60% of the team?

    Would I vote for a PLP that had a more diverse membership? I don’t know, it all would depend on their platform at that point, and less about race. But at this point the leader of the PLP and many of its members boil everything down to race. I could be persuaded to believe the statements if every time someone disagreed with them or was openly against them, if they were white it was racist, if black, they have an ‘axe to grind’. It is easy to understand why they would call a white objector ‘racist’, it is the line of least resistance and I am not saying it is not true sometimes, but it certainly is a conversation stopper either way, and distracts form the issue raised.

    “I disagree with you sir!”…”well that is because you are a racist.”…”I…what?…well…I am not.”…”Yes you are, you just don’t know it. So your opinion does not matter.”…”What were we talking about?”…”I can’t remember…race?”

    If it was not dealt with in that way every time, I could see the Big Conversation being a success, I’d like to and I hope there will be a time and a leader that can facilitate that. If I knew how I would step up to the plate. But I don’t think my skin is thick enough to get into politics.

    What I do find interesting as well is when once fellow PLP members speak out against the party or leader, they have ‘an axe to grind’, and are dismissed. What would give them that axe? What would make once allies turn against them, I’d like to know if that axe is warranted or not. I think that goes for either party.

    I am not here to claim the UBP is perfect or even a better solution for leadership of the island, what other choice do I have? Perhaps if the PLP cared and made an attempt to include the non-black Bermudians, things would be less heated and divisive.

    So in answer to your observation of race make up within the parties, do whites really have a valid choice?

  2. Hi Letariatpro,

    I am not saying that the Black candidates of the UBP are being ‘duped’ or otherwise ‘coerced’ to run for the UBP. What I am stating is that for a Party that has a predominantly White membership it seems somewhat odd that the majority of its Parliamentary candidates are Black. The only explanation is that the UBP wishes to ‘appear’ as racially representative of the nation when in reality it most certainly is not. I find this dishonest and indeed hypocritical.

    There is no need for the PLP to deliberately target Whites to run as candidates. The PLP is officially a Labour Party, as much as its current ‘Third Wayism’ may be contrary to such an origin, and in Bermuda the majority of the working class is Black. It’s parliamentary candidates are representative of both its membership and its support base, which in turn is representative of the class-race situation in Bermuda. There are some White working class and these may or may not support the PLP, but politically speaking they are largely non-existent. Most Whites that join the Party do so for ideological reasons, like myself. There are of course some that join for oppurtunistic reasons, but I’ll leave that up to the individual to determine based on the behaviour of the individuals involved.

    Having said that the PLP has gone out of its way several times in its history, including the present moment, to select White candidates for elections. It does not need to do this in order to win the election, this is true. It does it to show that it is a Party that does not discriminate, that it welcomes Whites into the Party, and counteracts the image peddled by some that the PLP is a rabid Black supremacist organisation, which it most certainly is not.

    Mr. Commissiong does not take an active role in the Big Conversation despite the image portrayed by certain sectors. The reason that most Whites have ceased attending the sessions was not on account of Mr. Commissiong. Historically and even today the problem of racism in Bermuda has been one that makes Blacks the primary victims, it is appropriate that the Black viewpoint is prominent. The White viewpoint is not at all dismissed or ignored. That was one reason the Big Conversation sought to be all-inclusive.

    A lot of issues in Bermuda do indeed boil down to race. We cannot ignore this; we must not be afraid to work them out.

    Do Whites really have a valid choice. Of course they do. There is no sign at Alaska Hall saying ‘no Whites allowed.’ But this is a slightly different issue than the topic at hand. I will seek to address it more fully in an upcoming post.

  3. “Mr. Commissiong does not take an active role in the Big Conversation despite the image portrayed by certain sectors. ”

    Excuse me? Mr. Commissiong organises the Big Conversation. He picks the people who are running based on what he knows they are likely to say/do to ensure that it plays into his agenda. It is entirely his creation.

    That’s like me saying that Bill Gates did not take an active role in Microsoft Windows.

    Johnny, I think someone called you ‘staggeringly naive’ recently. That is so true.

  4. “Do Whites really have a valid choice. Of course they do. There is no sign at Alaska Hall saying ‘no Whites allowed.’ But this is a slightly different issue than the topic at hand. I will seek to address it more fully in an upcoming post.”

    I’d like to hear more about your view on this, but more than one PLP representative on more than one occasion have expressed they have no interest in what someone who ‘looks like me’ has to say. Sure people say dumb things every now and then, but to me that has no place coming from a governing body.

    “There is no need for the PLP to deliberately target Whites to run as candidates.”

    I totally agree that is a fact of life here, but does it give them license to ignore, insult and alienate them as well?

    “including the present moment, to select White candidates for elections”

    I would not use two white folk who are making millions off government contracts good examples. In my eyes they are being paid and paid well to be there.

    “What I am stating is that for a Party that has a predominantly White membership it seems somewhat odd that the majority of its Parliamentary candidates are Black. The only explanation is that the UBP wishes to ‘appear’ as racially representative of the nation when in reality it most certainly is not. I find this dishonest and indeed hypocritical.”

    The UBP only has a predominately white membership due to the fact the PLP does not need to target or even wish to target white bermudians, where else can they go? I agree they are trying to build a party that is representative of the island’s population, how is that dishonest? That seems more desirable to me, that there are a mix of races and classes working together to address as many issues as they can on the island. These are people who are about to face an uphill battle and take a serious raking over the hot coals up to the election and probably onwards after whether as the government or the opposition. I respect them for attempting something I don’t have the inclination or thick skin to step up and do. I just don’t see anything dishonest about it, but that may be my POV, if you could give me some insite as to HOW that is dishonest, I don’t think I can agree with you. Personally, I think the two tokens in the PLP are about as blatant as you can get, if they were not the top government ‘choices’ for contractors perhaps I would think differently.

    As for Mr. Commissiong, I am interested in what exactly his role encompasses(what the heck does he do then if he has nothing to do with the Boig Convo) and his qualifications for that role.

    Thanks for your response.

  5. Jonny,

    So, the UBP tries to ensure that it’s candidates (whom it has control over) are representative of the demographics of the island regardless of the demographics of it’s supporters (whom it has no control over) and you call that hypocrisy? The PLP has proposed legislation to ensure that this happens in the work place but they have made no effort to make sure it happens in their own party AND THEN when the UBP does it its called mixing up their boxful of crayons? I smell hypocrisy all right.

  6. Dear ‘The Truth,’

    It is true that Mr. Commissiong does take care of the logistics of the Big Conversation (organising food and locations, as well as sending out invitations). It is also true that he is responsible for the two facilitators, Ms. Bernestine Singly and Professor Robert Jenson (I think I’ve got those names right).

    The actual running and content of the Big Conversation however is done by the two facilitators along with feedback from participants.

    I am not sure how he chose the two facilitators. I reckon he came across Prof. Jenson via his book ‘The Heart of Whiteness.’

    It is unfair to portray the BC as ‘entirely his creation’ as many including yourself attempt to do. Have you attended any of the sessions or are you prejudging it based on Mr. Commissiong?

    By the way, from what little I know of Bill Gates and Microsoft Windows yes, it is just like that. I don’t think Bill Gates had an active role in the content of Windows, only in the marketing. Perhaps more techie savvy people could evaluate whether you should have chosen a better mataphor.

    ‘Staggeringly naive.’ Interesting.

  7. Hi Letariatpro,

    a) Certain members of the Party certainly have their own biases, others simply use language that can be easily miscontrued. There is a certain jargon inherent within every group of people, and sometimes this jargon can come across as something different outside of the intended group. Take for example the concepts of materialism and idealism in popular culture and philosophy.

    There are rather complex reasons why I think the PLP traditionally has had little to no White support. I do think the fact that the Party opposed the hegemony of the then overtly racist White oligarhcy did mean that any White joining the PLP was percieved as a ‘traitor’ to the race. I do think that Whites that joined or voiced sympathies for the PLP did recieve sanctions, either in social ostracism or outright discrimination (blacklisting) or threats (both physical or economic).

    Also, due to the race-class breakdown apart from the handful of the poor Whites that might support a labour Party (although they may have been divided on race allegiance trumping class allegiance at times), the vast majority of Whites that have joined the Party have come to the PLP have been from the middle-class intelligentsia. They either joined the Party due to ideological committments to socialism (of any variety, social democracy to democratic socialism to Leninism) or a belief that in order to help with racial reconciliation within the nation it was necessary to join the Party.

    b) No, there is no excuse for ignoring, insulting or alienating the Whites.

    Again, sometimes language can have unintended consequences and miscommunication is rampant in our nation to be frank. More empathy and consideration is required. However, some things do need to be said, and sometimes it is best to be frank about these things. A lot of Whites are genuinely scared that any affirmative action, or even the mere discussion of race in Bermuda, is divisive and ‘payback.’ A lot of these fears are reactions and not reflections, many are unfounded, and can be explained away and resolved with a good deal of patience.

    c) I do not know either Mr. DeSilva or Ms. Corriea personally so I cannot really comment on their candidacies. I did write a topic entitled ‘Whites in the PLP and Transformism’ which you will find in the Local Politics section. This dealt with at least the perceptions that their candidacies can form. I cannot deny that their inclusion in the election is progressive from a race point of view, but problematic from a progressive labour ideological point of view, and there are eyebrows that can be raised about the reasons for their inclusion (as you mentioned). As I’ve said though, I don’t know either of them enough to really make a good judgement.

    d) I don’t think it is necessary for the PLP to deliberately target Whites. The door is always open to them at Alaska Hall. Quite frankly I don’t think the Party goes around targetting anyone for membership; its all really word of mouth.

    I am calling the UBP dishonest and hypocritical when they say that they, the UBP, is a Party that represents Bermuda racially. This is not true. They are and remain a majority White Party. It is true that their candidates for election are predominantly Black. With all things being equal one would expect that its candidates would reflect the racial make-up of the Party as a whole. As there is a discrepancy one concludes that this is due to a POLITICAL decision by the Party to falsely portray itself. They are exploiting race for political benefit; this makes them hypocrites when they accuse the PLP of exploiting race for political gain. It also makes them hypocrites when the Party and its supporters have historically supported the mantra that merit should trump race (best person for the job, not the skin). As I’ve said above, all things being equal, one would assume merit would be equally distributed amongst the racial composition of the Party, and this would be reflected in a team of candidates reflecting the racial composition of the Party. As this is evidently not the case one concludes that the UBP has chosen the superficiality of skin colour over the merit of its members. [Just to ensure clarity, I am not saying that the Black UBP candidates are without merit, only that on would have expected a different racial composition if candidacy was based on merit alone.]

    I’m not sure how else I can phrase it to make it any more clear. Let me know what you think, and I can try to clarify again.

    By the way, the little furore over the UBP’s use of that photo of all Black school children with Mr. Dunkley sort of fits in with this argument. A lot of people, who seem to be pro-UBP, don’t see what the big deal is all about, other than that the UBP should have asked permission first. The problem is one wonders why of all possible photos the UBP used that one.

    My own theory is that the UBP were in a rush to get the document out, and hastily chose this one. However, even sub-consciously (and I reckon that in this day of sophisticated politrickal strategising it was a conscious decision), one is inclined to believe the UBP chose the picture because it was mostly or all Black children with the intention of it having at least a subliminal impact: ‘The UBP is racially diverse’

    The UBP seems desparate to make itself appear as something it is not. I can understand this from a politrickal point of view. But so can a lot of people and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

  8. Hi Jonny,

    Thanks for trying to expand on your views, actually reading your “About” with your political views and philosophies helped clarify your angle further. While I admire your passion to plough forth with your political ideals, I have to wonder if you are imposing them on the PLP in your mind. Let me clarify, I believe if you just read the PLP constitution and literature, they may be a closer fit to your ideals than the UBP, but you also have to look at the personality and the current track record to see that they have strayed a bit from their labour roots and many are more elitist than members of the UBP at this point.

    I wish I knew more about the various socialist movements to speak intelligently to you about them, but alas I am not as well read on the subject as I probably should be, so please pardon my ignorance and let me know if I am way off base. But from a layman’s perspective, I have not seen any type of socialist government ‘work’ anywhere in the world as of yet. Which leads me to believe that people are inherently evil, or the human race is just not evolved enough to be trusted. I suppose that is a redundant statement, but from the little I know of the different socialist thoughts, there are many I agree with, but when I apply that thought and add people to the equation, I always see corruption and exploitation of the masses, no different than a capitalistic society. Please let me know if there are any successful socialist governments where everyone is really equal and doing well, I’d like to look into it further.

    The next problem would be the transition from a purely democratic capitalist government to a socialist one, without a forced move, I do not see this happening without alot of trouble. And in Bermuda specifically, where tourism may re-stabalise after such a coup but international business would almost certainly suffer, bringing down hard times on the island as a whole. I dare say that IB holds more sway over the government than the people of this island, and I doubt they would be too eager to loose the creature comforts they have grown accustomed to.

    Ok, back to the post at hand(we could take this to one of the discussion forums to debate/discuss further if you like).

    “I am calling the UBP dishonest and hypocritical when they say that they, the UBP, is a Party that represents Bermuda racially. This is not true. They are and remain a majority White Party. It is true that their candidates for election are predominantly Black. With all things being equal one would expect that its candidates would reflect the racial make-up of the Party as a whole. As there is a discrepancy one concludes that this is due to a POLITICAL decision by the Party to falsely portray itself. They are exploiting race for political benefit; this makes them hypocrites when they accuse the PLP of exploiting race for political gain. It also makes them hypocrites when the Party and its supporters have historically supported the mantra that merit should trump race (best person for the job, not the skin). As I’ve said above, all things being equal, one would assume merit would be equally distributed amongst the racial composition of the Party, and this would be reflected in a team of candidates reflecting the racial composition of the Party. As this is evidently not the case one concludes that the UBP has chosen the superficiality of skin colour over the merit of its members. [Just to ensure clarity, I am not saying that the Black UBP candidates are without merit, only that on would have expected a different racial composition if candidacy was based on merit alone.”

    I believe again alot of this is purely speculation and conjecture on your part based on your political views and not actually looking at or getting to know the people involved. Yes I agree(I doubt anyone would argue) that the UBP membership and voter base is predominantly white. Now, to win the election they have to do one of two things:

    1) state their platform and hope everybody listens

    No matter how clear this is presented and how genuine they may be, this is a fools errand as it is a harsh reality that a party full of white faces is doomed to fail and in my opinion rightly so.

    2) attempt to find candidates from their membership of all races, colours and backgrounds to form a group that is representative of the make up of the island. Then present your platform in ernest and try to relate to the people, get out on the doorstep and give the people a chance to know who you are, then your become real as a person and less of this “big white monster’.

    I do not see this as hypocrisy, but that is my personal view, it just makes sense, to do otherwise would be hypocrisy, since they are calling for better representation of the island’s make up, which the PLP certainly does not have(or need…we will see), they should be practicing what they preach and starting with their candidates. Now you and I can only speculate here either way, as neither of us know the true motives of each of these candidates, or even if there were any other qualified white members even willing to subject themselves to the crap they would be jumping into by doing so. I don’t think I could handle being called a racist on a daily basis or a devil or whatever other allegations the other party wants to throw at me, and I have a clean background, I just don’t have thick enough skin. But I guess my point being, that you can say it is hypocrisy, but you need to quantify that by also saying you have no idea what lead to that selection or the thoughts of those who were actually selected(unless you were a part of the process or know the candidates personally, which I don’t so I do not know). The reader can then choose to side with you or not. Personally, no matter what the motive, I think it is the only way they can remain valid in this election, and perhaps this will encourage more black bermudians to join and have a say in the direction of the party, then it would not seem hippocratic at all…but perhaps a first step? I just find it really hard to believe that 60% of the candidates could be duped into being patsies for the ‘white man’.

    Perhaps you could give them a call and see how they really feel?

    If you know of any direct proof that this was done for nefarious reasons, I am willing to hear it, but I think it is just a matter of an ousted party trying to reform itself and shed the old stigma of the past. Referring to them as the UBP of old, is not only close-minded, but most-likely very wrong.

    Whatever the case may be, you seem to be making these observations based on your political ideals, and that is just as bad as making a decision based solely on race. You really need to look at every aspect of the party to make an informed choice, the party constitution and manifesto, their agendas and platforms, their past accomplishments, their past failures, their diversity, and the people involved. Until you do I don’t think anyone could make the choice, and claim they are in the right. Not that I think anyone will look at all of that, that is about as idealistic as any socialist reform you would like to see happen. Even I admit, I only skimmed the UBP agenda, I have not seen much other than party directed speeches from Dr. Brown, a PLP candidate has never stopped by here in the last 2 elections(that I know of), UBP has every time. So I can’t claim that I know absolutely the right path to take, I can only make a best guess, just like you and everyone else. But if I believed the way you did and fostered the same political ideals, there is no way I could vote for either of these parties, I would either abstain or spoil my ballot.

    I hope at least some of that made sense(hard to proof in this little text box:P )! Cheers!

  9. Hi Letariatpro,

    You and I seem to like big posts, eh?

    Well, you raise a number of points, so I’ll try to answer them one by one. I’m going to reply through two posts, this one concerning the questions on socialism, the second one will address the questions of the UBP and race.

    Firstly, I have no illusions about the capacity for the Progressive Labour Party to be a radical democratic socialist party. They are many times reomved from anyhting even remotely approaching that. Although its true I joined the Party in the days after the 1998 election (I had been flown down to vote) due to my socialist ideals and saw the political dichotomy here as a Labour Party versus a Capitalist Party, I rapidly lost such illusions, even before I returned to uni. I have a hrad time keeping a straight face when I here some extreme UBPers describe the PLP as a dyed in the wool Communist Party!

    Having said this, the support base of the Party remains the working class and it has organically grown out of this class, as did the Labour Party in the UK. There are elements of the Black bourgeosie within it, has been almost since its inception – the Black bourgeosie were depressed under the segregation era but alone they could not dismantle the racial injustices of the time, and I feel used the working class almost as a battering ram to smash away that which stood as an obstacle to their own expansion. But the bourgeosie would never let the working class go to far, never far enough to challenge the whole system, which would have been contrary to their (the bourgeosie) interests; the development of a more radical movement was retarded as a result.

    The Party continues to have a ‘conservative’ wing based in the Black upper class and those who have become a labour aristocracy and depend on maintaining the status quo with only a few minor reforms. However it continues to have a more radical, grassroots militant labour wing also.

    I’m not expecting any radical change from the PLP. But within the Party at the moment one can articulate the radical alternative better than one could from without. Situations, of course, change. Also, I do think that the racial question is still holding back the transcendence to class politics, and the PLP as government serves as a catalyst for this.

    I attempt a policy of dialogue and opposition to capital modes of thinking without compromising my own principles.

    Concerning your next query, about the possibility of socialism, thats a bit more difficult to answer, and perhaps deserves its own thread shortly. I’ll give it a brief answer though.

    This is quite a common question, and I always answer it by alluding to the scientific method: one observes (in this case existing society, capitalism), then puts forward a hypothesis (socialism), develop a method and then critique the results. Usually if you don’t get the expected predicted results you go back and review the hypothesis and the method, adapt it and try again. Development of air travel is a good analogy. People observed birds and bats flying, attempted to replicate the method, and failed abysmally. Reviewing the results and method, along with developments in physics, and slowly over time new methods were developed until flight was achieved. The mechanics were refined over time and today we have, well, modern aeroplanes and spaceflight.

    Many, in fact I think the vast majority of humanity, support the ideals of socialism. Many reject it either due to Cold War propaganda were they support the ideas until someone calls it ‘socialist’ or because of the legitimate rejection of ‘actually existing socialism’ in the form of States that officially called themselves socialist or communist. [Names by the way are only superficial, after all Iraq under Saddam was officially a democratic republic.]

    I consider the CCCP, the PRC, North Korea and other such states as socialist in name only. There were instances of genuine socialism, often in the states mentioned (the Russian Revo was genuinely socialist, but the resulting Bolshevik State was not for example), and there have been other potential revos that had they succeeded may very well have served as a catalyst for reawakening the political and social revos in the ‘official’ socialist states. In particular I see the Spanish Republic in the 1930s, the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, the 1968 revos in France and Czechoslovakia, and the initial stages of the Portuguese Carnation Revo as educational.

    The ‘model’ for socialism in the 20th Century failed and created a rather nightmarish totalitarianism that I see as more fascist than socialist despite ‘official ideology.’ The model for socialism in the 21st Century most study the mistakes of the past and not repeat them. It must be committed to bottom-up revo and grassroots democracy, not top-down decrees from a ‘Party.’

    In order to get to the other points you raised though, I’m going to move on for now. I hope the above was of some use. Wikipedia actually has a pretty good bit on Luxemburgism and Liberterian Socialism in general. I’m particularly influenced by the writings of Maurice Brinton as well as Anton Pannekoek, but of course, I don’t believe in dogma and review their writings critically.

    As to transforming Bermuda to a democratic socialist state, that goal itself is impractical without democratic socialist revo elsewhere. Capital flight and embargos as well as imperialist military intervention would put a quick end to that prospect, as the examples of Grenada and Hungary show. but that does not mean one ceases to advocate radical change and work to create progressive change and building the necessary foundation for future democratic socialism. And to me a coup is led by a small group of people, and these people would simply become new ‘leaders.’ Only mass socialist consciousness and participation are key, as socialism requires the constant, conscious and permanent participation of the great majority. All attempts to date to ‘delegate’ power ‘on the behalf’ of the working class in the name of socialism have only resulted in the formation of bureaucracies and the expropriation of economic and political power from the people.

  10. Okay, part two, on the UBP and race:

    The stripped down argument that I put forward is:

    a) The UBP is a predominantly White Party.

    b) The UBP’s parliamentary candidates are predominantly non-White.

    The only possible explanation for this discrepancy is that the UBP is consciously selecting candidates based on race political gain.

    You refute this argument of mine by calling it ‘purely speculation and conjecture on your part based on your political views and not actually looking at or getting to know the people involved.’ That is if I understand you properly.

    However, you then go ahead and repeat my own argument as your own:

    “Yes I agree(I doubt anyone would argue) that the UBP membership and voter base is predominantly white…to win the election they have to…attempt to find candidates from their membership of all races, colours and backgrounds to form a group that is representative of the make up of the island.”

    [I have of course paraphrased you, but I think I have done so fairly.]

    You do not see this as hypocrytic, rather you see it as a necessity to win the election.

    The UBP is on record, and the vast majority of its pundits and ideolouges – at least publicly – state that elections should be about ideology, about ideas, about the issues, not about race. They also echo the argument that ones position should depend on ones individual merit and hard work, not through ‘handouts’ (essentially) based on, say, ones skin complexion. This indeed is the thrust of their argument against the proposed Workforce Equality legislation.

    It is on this basis that I call them hypocritic. I don’t really know how to put it more clearly. They are literally saying one thing and doing another. They are on the one hand saying stick to the issues, its not about race, but on the other hand exploiting race for political gain. They are on the one hand saying position by merit, not by melanin, and on the other hand artificially selecting by melanin and not merit. I repeat once more, I am not questioning the individual merit of indivdual Black UBP candidates, but from a predominantly White Party one would expect merit to be equally distributed amongst racial composition, and this to be reflected in their candidates. Either the Whites in the UBP are inferior to the minority Black membership, or Blacks are deliberately being chosen over Whites for political expediency.

    I am not calling the Black UBP candidates ‘patsies’ for the White man. I am sure they are genuine in their desire to run and serve their country and do subsrcibe to the ideals of the UBP. I am just saying that if the candidate selection was based on merit and not on exploiting race for political gain, the candidates would represent the racial make-up of the UBP and not Bermuda.

    If they were to practice what they preach and really base themselves on issues, that would be okay. They may even go some way to developing a Party membership that is legitimately representative of our racial demographics. But until they do they will continue to alienate whole swathes of the population that see through the charade presented.

    As a White member of the PLP I do not ‘on a daily basis’ a racist or a devil or anything to that effect. I certainly don’t always make friends, but that is on the basis of ideological arguments with Party members and not because of my skin. In fact I’ve only had two occassions where my race was even a factor. The first time someone thought I was a journalist; I wasn’t harrassed or anything, the member just assumed I was a journalist and asked me which paper I worked for and my thoughts on Chomsky’s propaganda model of media bias of all things. We had a good laugh about that, and a good discussion on media bias to boot. The second incident was at a delegates conference where one member (who I had never seen before or since) was definitely prejudiced against Whites and had a big chip on her shoulder. Her position was attacked by the rest of the delegates as contrary to the ideals of the Party.

    As to the current two White PLP candidates, I’ld rather not comment further. I would have liked to run myself, so yes, there are other White members who are ‘willing to subject themselves’ to the pressures of being a White PLP candidate.

    I did not refer to the UBP as the ‘UBP of old.’ As Heraclitus said, you can’t step in the same river twice. But its still a river, and the UBP are still the UBP. I don’t need any more proof of their exploitation of race for political gain than what has already been said and admitted by yourself. Having a statistical breakdown of UBP membership by race to compare with the racial breakdown of their candidates would only refine the argument but not fundamentally change it.

    Concerning voting I am of the belief that if you don’t like either of the candidates available in your constituency then you shoudl spoil your ballot. Abstaining from voting only sends the message that you don’t care. Spoiling the ballot says you care but you don’t like your choices. Alternatively, there is always the maxim that if you want something done properly then do it yourself; run as an indpendent.

    Sorry about the text box size. I don’t think theres anything I can do about that. You could copy and paste from a word document I guess if thats easier; I do that sometimes.

    Cheers!

  11. Jonny,

    “a) The UBP is a predominantly White Party.

    b) The UBP’s parliamentary candidates are predominantly non-White.

    The only possible explanation for this discrepancy is that the UBP is consciously selecting candidates based on race political gain.”

    No its not. It could also be that they believe that it is important that the leadership of the country reflect the cultural make-up of the country. The public demands leadership that can identify with their own cultural experience and has some idea of their own culture-specific needs and concerns. The public believes that this is important and they are delivering. Sure they will gain politically by doing what the electorate demands but that does not neccessarily mean that it is their only motivation.

    “The UBP is on record, and the vast majority of its pundits and ideolouges – at least publicly – state that elections should be about ideology, about ideas, about the issues, not about race.”

    And they are right, but that can not stand in the way of them doing the right thing. I acknowledge that if you want to strictly and literally iterpret that then maybe yes it is a bit hypocritical but I think most people understand that they are talking about the extreme racialisation of issues that the PLP engages in. There is clearly a huge difference between what the PLP does and what the UBP does and most people have no dicfficulty understanding that.

    “They also echo the argument that ones position should depend on ones individual merit and hard work, not through ‘handouts’ (essentially) based on, say, ones skin complexion. This indeed is the thrust of their argument against the proposed Workforce Equality legislation.”

    I’m not sure that’s exactly what their position is but if you can prove this statement with supportive quotes from said “pundits and idealogues” I would agree with your accusation of hypocrisy. In the mean time it might be helpful if I explain what MY personal position is on the matter of Affirmative Action and hopefully that will demonstrate how this is not neccessarily such an all or nothing issue and how the UBP are not neccessarily hypocritical in their actions.

    I am completely and totally against legislated Affirmative Action and furthermore, am against any legislation which would require people to identify or treat each other differently based on race. I have very serious problems with the negative effects that that kind of legislation is likely to have on the psyche of our society for years to come. I believe that these negative effects will prevent equality and unity rather than facilitate it. I also believe that legislation like this cannot be fairly enforced and therefore will either be:
    a)unenforced and therefore pointless
    OR
    b)unfairly enforced and therefore, well, unfair.

    So, I am against legislated Affirmative Action and that means that I need to treat everyone the same otherwise I am a hypocrite right? Actually, no I don’t think so. I practice forms of what people may describe as “Affirmative Action” in my own life by my own choice. I feel that to really treat people equally I need to bear in mind my own unconscious prejudice, my own white priveledge and the value my social life and my workplace will gain through diversity. I feel that it is wrong to FORCE people to do it for various reasons but I feel that it is important for people or businesses to do what they feel is right on an individual level even if that means practicing forms of so called “Affirmative Action”.

    Maybe that isn’t what the UBP is up to at all, but their actions and statements certainly seem to me to identify with my own beliefs and ideals which I don’t believe are hypocrtical at all. If you can show me how what they do and say disagrees with my ideals whith regard to Affirmative Action, then like I said before, I will admit that they are being hypocritical in this regard.

  12. “It could also be that they believe that it is important that the leadership of the country reflect the cultural make-up of the country.”

    This is what I am feeling as well.

  13. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”

    Could you start a new thread about your socialist beliefs I would like to learn more on your beliefs.

    I’m a capaitalist, but I am willing to listen to logic.

  14. Yes, I will do that.

    It will be interesting no doubt, a liberterian capitalist and a liberterian Marxist debating! I’ll have to get some popcorn first.

  15. Pingback: More Thoughts on the UBP - Facing Reality « “Catch a fire”

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