Socialism in Bermuda?
I imagine that many readers will have read my recent posts on a ‘socialist’ turn for this blog and asked what the relevance is for the Bermudian context.
Socialist theory is one thing, application is something completely different. And its application in an isolated island with limited natural resources is something else altogether.
A Bermuda Revo?
I’ve written elsewhere, starting from my first attempt to develop a socialist perspective for Bermuda in 2002, that the prospects for socialism in Bermuda, without the development of socialism in primarily North America, but potentially also Europe (with Latin America and Africa secondary ‘supports’) is not practical.
There is the lesson of the Grenadian Revo of 1979-1983 to indicate the challenges of socialism in a small island, and in Bermuda which has even less resources than Grenada (as well as greater strategic importance relative the North America) the potential to either develop socialism in Bermuda, or to maintain it, would be extremely difficult.
This does not mean that socialists in Bermuda abdicate any work towards building a socialist consciousness in Bermuda. It just means that one has to be aware of the limitations of a socialist project in Bermuda in isolation of a simultaneous movement in, primarily, North America.
An ‘uprising’ of sorts is more than possible in Bermuda, especially with the challenges facing the Government in terms of the economic malaise, and with the OBA likely to have worse labour relations (compounded by the ongoing issue of race) than the PLP, the potential for industrial action and other demonstrations is quite possible.
But even if such an ‘uprising’ went beyond strikes and demonstrations and into riots and insurrection, even if it led to a successful overthrow of the State, without similar developments elsewhere Bermuda will be isolated and economically devastated, let alone extremely vulnerable to ‘intervention’ by the UK and/or the USA.
And, quite frankly, despite capitalism being in a prolonged crisis, one has to assume that capitalism will continue to structure the environment in which we function, both in Bermuda and globally.
Limited options, yes, but options all the same…
For socialism in Bermuda, the objective should be to develop a socialist consciousness, a critique of capitalism, and advocacy for social, economic and political reforms that will lay the foundation for a more just society.
Some socialists will seek to work within the existing party system, most notably the Progressive Labour Party, advocating for socialist/ic positions within the only nominally social-democratic organisation in Bermuda.
Others will seek to work within civil society or organised labour, advocating and defending socialist/ic positions and perspectives.
Others will seek to develop a socialist/ic consciousness/identity outside of the PLP, be it through radical art or spectacular events intended to capture and expand the popular imagination, or through more theoretical contributions and critiques (of which this site feels situated).
There are many avenues and tactics for a socialist consciousness in the Bermudian context.
The overall strategy, within the confines of the Bermudian context, is limited to expanding a more socially just alternative to dominant positions (in terms of political, social and economic reforms) and establishing a space, in terms of discourse and consciousness, for socialist resistance and perspectives.
“Forward ever; Backward never!”
Such was one of the main slogans of the Grenada Revo.
Despite the limitations placed on socialist strategy within the Bermudian context, the development of a socialist consciousness, through its various avenues and tactics, provides the wider society with the potential to resist the lie that ‘there is no alternative’.
A better world is possible, a more just society can be realised, even within the limits of Bermuda’s unique circumstances.
Capitalism is in crisis, and it must be challenged everywhere.
Not just in Europe and Latin America, but in Bermuda too.
Not just in the realms of economics and industrial disputes either. Capitalism influences all aspects of life, from education, nature, politics, families art and more.
The logic of capitalism in all spheres must be contested by the logic of humanity.
It will be difficult, and the means will determine the end. And in Bermuda socialist strategy is necessarily limited.
But it is not impossible, and we must take that chance.