NB – This continues the ongoing transcription of a 2002 ‘Manifesto for a Democratic Socialist Bermuda’, which I wrote for the purpose of initiating discussion about organising a democratic socialist (DS) Party in Bermuda. I am reproducing it here for it’s historical interest, it’s role in the genesis of this blog itself, and for the purpose of stimulating discussion in the future.
That the DS wish to declare Bermuda a military free-zone should not be misunderstood as the demobilisation of the Bermuda Regiment or Police in the complete sense. Rather than their demobilisation, the DS calls for their negation – that is, their ‘transformation’ – into a new form, the Bermuda Defence Forces (BDF), which should be understood not as a standing army but as an armed people. In other words, the current institutions of the Regiment and the Police are to be ‘dissolved’ into society.
The BDF would include within its ranks the entire able members of society (able in this sense referring to all over the age of 18, though in emergency situations younger children may be deployed – in the form of ‘hands-on’ training during natural disasters). This does not mean that at any one time the entire population is mobilised, only that the entire population may be mobilised should the necessity arise. The actual mobilised force, under normal conditions, would be a proportion of the population at any one moment of time, and would rotate over time so that all members partake in the BDF over a certain period of time. The only component of the BDF that would not rotate in such a manner would be those members of society undergoing full active training.
Technically, training would begin earlier, within school, and would form an integral part of the education system in the form of physical education, especially in martial arts. However, the full active training period within which the members are actively mobilised, would follow the completion of secondary school, at the age of 18, and last at least until the age of 21 (as discussed below, this three-year training period is not solely physical in the martial sense, but also aims to bring the individual at least to a mid-tertiary level of education).
The main roles of the BDF would be defense of society against foreign aggression and natural disasters (such as hurricanes). The number of forces required above the normal mobilised force at any one time would be determined by the scope of the situation in question – though the entire force should be able to mobilise within 24hrs.
During the transitional phase between the present socio-economic system (global capitalism) to global democratic socialism, the BDF will also necessarily serve as a police force. As the later section on Drugs and Crime outlines, as democratic socialism becomes increasingly realised the necessity for a police force will become increasingly diminished.
The BDF is to form defense councils in the same manner at that outlined concerning bottom-up democracy, and will form a component of the national labour council (or a separate council altogether). As with all other councils described previously, the right of free-election and the right-to-recall (except during emergency situations) are to be guaranteed for the defense councils.