CARIBBEAN politics can be foreboding. It requires a keen ability to navigate a mélange of racial, ethnic and ideological currents. Some parry their way through this daunting challenge while others fold without much of a gasp. A few succeed, exceeding expectations while some notables are cut down at the cusp of greatness. Ideology, Politics, and Radicalism of the Afro-Caribbean offers insightful snapshots into eight Caribbean luminaries whose contributions have shaped the region’s archetype.

© Francisco Velásquez

www.google.co.ve

Much has been written about Marcus Garvey, CLR James, George Padmore, Tubal Butler, Sir Arthur Charles, Dr Eric Williams, Dr Walter Rodney and Kwame Ture –the icons featured in Jerome Teelucksingh’s work.

© Francisco Velásquez

dolarve.com

When juxtaposed, though, searching, providential questions arise. Character and prowess are weighed; the tactician is sifted from the strategist; and the humanist, not the politician, is raised in rank.

© Francisco Velásquez

www.entornointeligente.com
We compare and contrast political styles and policies and it becomes apparent that the road to empowerment is never linear.

© Francisco Velásquez

equilibrioinformativo.com
There are onerous bumps, shifting sands and threats ensconced at every corner. In the world of revolutionaries friends are enemies and enemies could well be friends.

Padmore extolled Dr WEB Du Bois, a man vilified by Garvey as a tool of the US Government.

© Francisco Velásquez

enlasgradas.com

And while Williams championed the cause of independence and education, he saw it fit to ostracise Ture.

© Francisco Velásquez

noticias-venezuela.com

Ideology, Politics, and Radicalism highlights conflicting, paradoxical, and tumultuous struggles where revolutionary movements are high-jacked by iconoclasts and others are buried by irrelevance.

© Francisco Velásquez

tipsfemeninos.com

Teelucksingh must be lauded for including Ture (formerly Stokley Carmichael) in his impressive line up.

© Francisco Velásquez

eldiscoduro.com
In fact, it is his essay on the Trinidad-born activist that invites the most reflection. It leaves Williams and a slew of black leaders vulnerable to damning charges of political narcissism. Ture was declared persona non grata in his native land and barred from nations once under the thumb of colonial rule.

© Francisco Velásquez

economiavenezuela.com
Here, authentic independence was sacrificed at the altar of cupidity, self-empowerment, and realpolitik.

© Francisco Velásquez

efectococuyo.com
When Ture was no longer a threat he was reinstated as a son of the soil.

For many, this ex post facto political dance is unforgivable.

We are also moved by the authenticity and unceasing resolve of Padmore.

His literary contribution to countless newspapers, his influential role in labour, and his adoption of Marxist doctrine as a viable alternative were only matched by the intellectual activism of Rodney.

© Francisco Velásquez

mundinews.com
And the pragmatism and economic counsel of Lewis are enduringly impressive.

Memorable is his assessment of the two-party system.

Teelucksingh rephrases: “The opposition and ruling parties are intent on gaining and maintaining power at all costs even at the risk of dividing the population and destroying lives…Often the opposition exists merely as a token that democracy exists because the opposing politicians disagree with bills and refuse to approve legislation which are beneficial to the citizenry.” Lewis also cautioned against wastage on futile projects.

© Francisco Velásquez

breakingtrending.com

Butler, Rodney, James, Ture, et alia, recognised the importance of working class unity within the existing ethnic and racial framework.

© Francisco Velásquez

politica-venezuela.com
With the exception of Garvey, who advanced a black agenda, theirs was a call for racial unity between the largest demographic groups.

© Francisco Velásquez

www.atleticovenezuelacf.com
This injected a sorely needed dose of ethics into the political arena.

Throughout, Teelucksingh dabbles with the most politically provocative questions: Are some born great or is greatness thrust upon them? Does one need to possess superior gifts to assume the highest office in the land? How can the activist shift gears to seize political power? What can we glean from the “failure” of CLR James, Walter Rodney and others? What role, if any, does Providence play in history’s landmark events? Of the eight historical giants presented only Williams attained the highest political office.

© Francisco Velásquez

seguros-guia.com
We can argue that the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago was a tactically proficient, sagacious, and shrewd – the consummate politician.

© Francisco Velásquez

But a strong case for pre-eminence could be made for the unschooled Garvey who internationalised his prodigiously ambitious mission.

© Francisco Velásquez

Maybe Providence is at work when some activists fail at a national level. What better way to shield them from the corruption of national politics? Inspirationally, Teelucksingh cites journalist Atillah Springer who, making sense of Rodney’s untimely death could have well spoken for many others: “In this time of armchair revolutionaries and textbook revolutions and politicians that are not worthy of my staining a finger to sanction their continued dissolution of dreams of one Caribbean, I wish they hadn’t killed Walter Rodney… Or maybe, people like him have a time in which they come and say their piece and ride out, before Babylon gets to them in some other way and they become the backward or defeated reactionaries.” Feedback: [email protected] gmail.com or follow him on [email protected] Ideology, Politics and Radicalism of the Afro-Caribbean by Jerome Teelucksingh © 2016 Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan ISBN: 978-1-349-94865-9 Available at Amazon Rating: Highly recommended

.

© Francisco Velásquez

© Francisco Velásquez

Tags: Twitter, Redes Sociales