“Race & Class in Bermuda”

NB – This is a continuation of a 2002 manifesto drafted with the intention of organising a ‘Democratic Socialist Party of Bermuda’ (DS).

Bermuda has a racial demography of approximately 65% of African (Blacks) ethnicity, 30% of Anglo/Germanic (Whites) ehtnicity, 5% of Latin (mostly Portuguese, and in Bermuda constituting an ethnic/racial sub-group for historical reasons) and very small numbers of other diverse ethnic groups (increasingly divided between Filipino and Indian/Pakistani groupings).

The traditional ‘formula’ was that Blacks (plus some of the Latins and some ‘small’ Whites) formed the blue-collar workers (lower-class); Whites with some Blacks and Portuguese formed the white-collar workers (middle-class) with the bosses (upper-class) composed of Whites alone.

This formula – always a generalised model – was altered primarily by the 1980s boom, though this boom didn’t so much initiate change as opposed to accelerating pre-existing trends. Today (2002) the upper-class remains dominated by Whites, but now with an increasing Black/Portuguese minority; the middle-class is more or less equally divided between Blacks and Whites (along with a proportion of Portuguese); the lower-class however remains dominated by Blacks, with small minorities of Whites, Portuguese and, now, the newer racial groups.

While the DS advocates, and the experience of the current PLP Government (the ‘Black’ Party) has demonstrated, perhaps more than anything else hitherto, that class is more important than ethnicity – in that the workers, regardless of ethnicity, share common interests due to their being as workers (and likewise for bosses) – it recognises that this by no means renders ehtnicity irrelevant.

Ethnicity has been used throughout history, and in different socio-economic systems, to ‘divide and conquer’ in the interests of the ruling classes. In Bermuda this has been used historically to divide the working class (blue and white collar) between Black and White. Today the working class remains so divided, perhaps even more so with the addition of new groups (including the ‘White’ Ex-pats).

The DS must study and seek to understand the historical and economic causes for this ethnic fragmentation, and must both critique and oppose the division of the workers, explaining that for the interests and advancements of democratic socialism, the working class must see beyond its ethnic divisions and work towards their common interests as workers. Furthermore, the ethnic composition of the workers would actually advance international socialism through the ‘export’ if democratic socialist ideas back to the respective homelands of Bermuda’s various ethnic groups (directly in terms of recent arrivals/immigrants, indirectly in terms of ancestral homelands).


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