This follows directly on from the previous post, although I think it can be understood without the previous, which just provides some additional foundation to this writing. As noted previously, these are rough notes I made on the OBA’s Constitutional preamble a few days after their launch in May, 2011.
The Underlying Ideology of the OBA
So, what is the underlying ideology of the OBA, as expressed in its preamble and objectives? And from this, is it possible to determine which class its ideology is the expression of or for? [This, too, may be determined by an analysis of its demographic base or support, if such is available.] As such, let us look now closely at the Preamble itself.
‘One Bermuda Alliance represents all Bermudians and will make decisions and take actions that will uphold the standards of fairness that Bermudians are known for. We do not believe that Bermudians want to be divided on the basis of race and class and we reject that approach.
One Bermuda Alliance is founded on the principles of Opportunity, Responsibility, Integrity, Transparency, Fairness, Inclusiveness and Service.‘
In its opening paragraph the OBA attempts to claim a totalitarian position; it tries to argue that its ideology is the true expression of ‘all Bermudians’; only the OBA can represent all and make decisions on behalf of all.
In this, and this continues throughout the text, it attempts to portray its ideology as the organic expression of ‘all Bermudians’. Its ideology is natural, commonsense, as it were. [To reject it is to ‘deny reality’, a favourite phrase it seems of certain pro-OBA partisans.]
It also seeks to portray Bermuda as monolithic, totalitarian; OBA ideology is that of Bermuda; there is only ‘one Bermuda’ and it is expressed only by the OBA. What arrogance! Seldom has a political organisation so brazenly tried to claim such ‘natural’ hegemony!
It continues by arguing that Bermudians (in it’s, the OBA’s, belief) do not want to be divided on the basis of race or class. Furthermore, the OBA ‘rejects that approach’. In this the OBA does two things.
1) It departs from reality. Bermudians are divided by race and class, whether the OBA likes it or not. This aspect of the OBA ideology proves to be the essence of the their ideology, and much else flows from it. It disregards institutional factors and adopts a wholly superficial, legalistic, perspective. As long as the law says there is ‘equality of all before the law’ (actually stated in their constitution!) then, as far as the OBA thinks – or is concerned – there is equality in reality. Adopting such a position equates into an acceptance (in as much as it refuses to acknowledge them) of existing socio-economic inequalities – that exist in reality – and thus only benefits those who currently benefit from these inequalities. By this I mean their own socio-economic (and in some cases psycho-social) interests may be threatened by any move to address these inequalities.
2) Furthermore, by ‘rejecting’ the notions of ‘race and class,’ and the division of society as such, they attempt to delegitimise such arguments, which, by expressing racial and socioeconomic reality, are the most potent weapons of counter-hegemony to the hegemony expressed by the OBA. They attempt in this way to, in advance, attack any contrary hegemony to their own, by delegitimising it as a legitimate critique. But this is little more than a hope of theirs, a recognition of their vulnerability to the critique of actually existing conditions.
The Essential OBA Ideology
The essence of the OBA’s ideology are thus expressed – albeit obscured by attempts to portray their ideology as totalitarian. In short, the ideology is that the status quo of unequal power dynamics is legitimate and attempts to address such inequality is ‘unnatural’.
It is essentially the ideology of the dominant (socio-economically, not necessarily, especially under PLP rule, politically) social and economic classes who see their dominance threatened (which attempts to realise social justice would do, by definition).
The OBA then is founded on maintaining inequality, and masks this with rhetoric which attempts to legitimise this position. Its rhetoric achieves this largely by confusing the ideal of social equality (currently only juridicial) with the reality of existing inequality, and by invoking superficial appearances (mere mirages of equality) as evidence of actual equality.