27 December 2009

500 years, 500 lashes…

John Maxwell

Some of what passes for commentary today would not have been considered odd by people who ran Jamaica half a millennium ago – people like Sir Henry Morgan and his bosom buddy and criminal accomplice, Sir Thomas Modyford.
Those two felonious financiers flourished shortly after Jamaica was first captured by the English. According to M&M the English had a divine right to whatever assets, fixed or floating, happened to be within their reach. If these assets happened to claimed by the Taino or Inca or the Spaniards or anyone else, judgment was simple – it all depended on firepower. Morgan and Modyford probably had an aphorism to match ours: "T'ief from t'ief, God laugh!"
The Spanish should be able to accept the sacking of their cities like Panama, Porto Bello and Cartagena, the capture of their gold-laden galleons, the murder of their burghers and the rape of their wives and daughters. Globalisation is the new name for an old system – what George Soros, one of the world's richest men calls "Gangster Capitalism".
Just about 700 columns ago, in this newspaper, in March 1997 I noted the departure of several commercial enterprises from Jamaica to happier hunting grounds, where labour costs are infinitesimal and unions non-existent.
"Jamaican development is under serious threat from The Free Market and the ethics of the slave trade." I said then.
"The UWI, itself now apparently in the grip of the free market hysteria, a mutated form of the Pyramid fever virus, is to invite Professor Jeffrey Sachs to tell us how best we can divest ourselves of our intellectual and cultural goods to follow Thatcher, Reagan and their fellow Titans into the empyrean realms of monetarist Paradise. As the newest, most fashionable cults tell us, all we have to do is to submit.
""Salvation is simple. It consists of devaluation and deregulation. If you can't compete, devalue. If laws, cultures, trade unions and ethics get in the way, deregulate and beef up your police forces."

Rule of the Cognitive Elite
In 1997 the buzz was about a book called The Bell Curve, an earnest farrago of racist theory published three years earlier but then being hailed as a prototype of a new world order. This capitalist manifesto for the 21st century would build on the ruins of socialism, altruism and humane solidarity.

As I wrote then, The Bell Curve purported to prove that there was a divinity that shaped our ends and that this divinity was Race. Inner city Blacks, the authors Murray and Herrnstein said, were not as clever as whites (at least in the US) and were destined to become a permanent underclass, producing crime and the other primary products of which they were capable.

In their vision of the Custodial State, the cognitive elite (white) "with its commanding position, will implement an expanded welfare state for the underclass that also keeps it out from underfoot".
"In short, by custodial state, we have in mind a high-tech and more lavish version of the Indian reservation for some substantial minority of the nation's population, while the rest of America tries to go about its business. … Extrapolating from current trends, we project that the policies of custodialism will not only be tolerated but actively supported by a consensus of the cognitive elite. To some extent, we are not even really projecting, but reporting. The main difference between the position of the cognitive elite that we portray here and the one that exists today is to some extent nothing more than the distinction between tacit and explicit."
"…The central law of the market place may briefly be summarised as follows: Free and competitive markets bring supply and demand into equilibrium and thereby assure the best allocation of resources. To bring these conditions about, Jeffrey Sachs and his co-religionists prescribe reforms imposed by stealth, speed and compulsion, an economic blitzkrieg in which sudden, overwhelming reform simply sweeps aside the defenders of deficient systems, their central banks and the other impedimenta of superstition.
In Sachs' view it is at best a waste of time to seek a broad consensus for reform because most people don't understand why reform is necessary and will block it if possible. Deliverance brooks no argument. All we need to do is send in the economic equivalent of the Waffen SS and that will be that."

The Capitalist Threat

At the time this was written I was immensely cheered to discover that the billionaire George Soros seemed to share my thinking. In the February 1997 issue of The Atlantic Monthly Soros considered that ""the untrammelled intensification of laissez fair capitalism and the spread of market values into all areas of life is endangering our open and democratic society. The main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat."

For Soros, capitalism, like Nazism and Communism seeks to justify its claim to ultimate truth by an appeal to science. The ultimate truth is, as Soros says, beyond the reach of mankind, because we are part of the reality we seek to comprehend. In social and political affairs the participants' perceptions help to determine reality - as postulated in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. [The fact of observation itself affects the thing observed] In such situations the facts do not necessarily constitute reliable criteria for judging the truth of statements.
"… in economics, unlike the natural sciences, the material facts can influence the result of any reaction. Atoms of oxygen and carbon can only combine with each other in certain proportions. The decision of an industrialist may depend on objective facts, but may depend more on how his wife treated him last night or, on a hunch.
I will conclude my visit with Soros by another quote, even more relevant now than in 1997.
" "In many parts of the world control of the state is so closely associated with the creation of private wealth that one might speak of robber capitalism or the 'gangster state'."
"In the social sphere what is effective is not necessarily identical with what is right, because of the reflexive connection between thinking and reality. …our sense of right and wrong is endangered by our preoccupation with success, as measured by money. Anything goes, as long as you can get away with it."
This axiom is no better expressed than in the recent treatment of the people of Honduras, Haiti and Palestine. It is nowhere more succinctly expressed by President Obama's chief economic heavyweight, Lawrence Summers, who, 18 years ago was vice-president of the World Bank.
In a memo to staff of the bank Summers wrote:
"'Dirty' Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons:
"…the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that
…under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City
… The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate [sic] cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostate cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is 200 per thousand."

Inequality and Human Rights

This is the thinking of one of the world's most influential thinkers and leaders, an adviser to two Presidents of the US, and the moral and intellectual helmsman of globalisation and modern capitalism. You may now be able to understand the Copenhagen debacle.
Summers is the paradigm of those so-called investors, casino gamblers and felonious financiers whose recklessness and greed have driven the price of food out of the reach of the poor, whose speculation in sub-prime mortgages and other 'instruments' have pauperised the American working class and destroyed the savings and pensions of millions round the world.
Ten years ago, in 2000, Mr Bill Gates' wealth was estimated at over 100 billion dollars, just slightly less that the wealth of 600 million people in the least developed countries
The World Bank's Human Development Report for that year said global inequalities had increased in the 20th century to the point where they count as violations of human rights. The inequalities have increased "by orders of magnitude out of proportion to anything experienced before". The gap between the incomes of the richest and poorest countries was about 3 to 1 in 1820, 35 to 1 in 1950, 44 to 1 in 1973, and 72 to 1 in 1992. Today it is more like 150 to one.
It is in the interest of the rich that Jamaicans pay an interest rate 40 times as much as Americans, Britons or Japanese. We have paid back several times as much as we borrowed to build schools, to repair hurricane damage and to buy Pajeros or whatever for ginnigogs.
We are told that we must make sacrifices, must reduce the taxes paid by the rich to attract 'Development' while we watch our jobs outsourced to the Dominican Republic, China, El Salvador and other happier hunting grounds, where labour costs are infinitesimal and labour unions non-existent.
We have never defaulted on our debt although the British, Americans, Mexicans, Russians, Argentineans, Germans and French and many others have done so. It is our duty to pay the usurious interest of the investors who double their money in three years.
It sounds like a good reason to hand the Usain Bolt stadium over to UTECH. We need to produce more cannon fodder for globalisation. Our culture and our talents are of no account.
We have never defaulted because we understand and accept the Summers/Herrnstein Bell Curve principle that we must be satisfied with our subservient status, generating crime and such other primary productions as we are capable.
It is not our business to dream, to make music or to be the best in the world at anything. Our jobs are to be foot-soldiers in the great march of the grey masses, the fertiliser for real wealth.
(Historical note: Under the Government Savings Bank Law, Repealed by the PNP in 1958, it was illegal for the savings of Jamaicans in the bank to be invested in Jamaica. The GSB invested in the South Africa of Malan, Verwoerd and Vorster.)
Copyright ©2009 John Maxwell jankunnu@yahoo.com

23 December 2009

what can’t be refused

the turning circle of the years

is so set up that we must fail

must fall into the grinding gears


give up and go with one last wail

lift up our eyes and see our friends

heads bent with tears and then set sail


there's no great purpose that commends

itself to us no message sent

in the pale wintry light that bends


upon our heads and won't relent

lying on the floor in solemn bars

where the sole word is discontent


at night the clouds will hide bright stars

20 December 2009

melted type

the message failed it was not sent

our golden gospel dies unheard

another paradise deferred


on other missions we are bent

for stranger purposes conferred

the message failed it was not sent


to where we wanted where we meant

the sign to go each silver word

fell into silence was deterred

the message failed it was not sent

A Tax on Bullas

John Maxwell

We never listen to good advice. Somebody, possibly a few dozen, including me, must have warned Audley Shaw to be careful what he wished for – because he might get it. He really wanted to be Minister of Finance.
I was a few thousand miles away from Gordon House on Thursday, yet I could have sworn that despite the sound deadening effect of snow, I could hear, far away in the gathering darkness, the unmistakable sounds of the heart of another Jamaican Minister of Finance, breaking.
As we contemplate the acrobatic expertise of Jamaican politicians doing the fiscal limbo dance (How low can he go?) it seems that Mr Shaw has outdone even Mr Patterson. PJ imposed a tax on knowledge, on books and periodicals. Mr Shaw has imposed a tax on bullas!
It now appears that higglers, the unsung engines of Jamaican development will now be forced to collect taxes on behalf of Mr Shaw. How Mr Shaw, in his turn, will collect tax from the higglers will need to await the next issue of the comic book anthology of the Mighty Atom and Dan, the Dynamite – mythological heroes of the mid-twentieth century.
I can just see Mr Danville Walker's emissaries at the Old Harbour Bay Fishing Beach – once represented I believe, by Mr Golding's father – attempting to calculate the tax on last night's catch. They will soon be wearing bullet proof vests and armed with M-16s
Nothing better expresses the vapidity of Reaganite-Thatcherite-Seagaism than Shaw's announcement taxing bullas and crackers but sparing used cars
It is at moments like these that I really miss my late great cousin Richard Thelwell. I can hear him now:
"I mean, is this cat for REAL?"
As Groucho Marx might say, "That is a good question.… a very good question!"
We have watched the worldwide mindless progression into dog-eat-dog globalisation, into the nirvana of neocon nihilism and the recent European Union preference for Central American slave-produced bananas over free enterprise bananas from the Caribbean. None of that has surprised us.
But a tax on bullas! A tax on coconut drops? A tax on the famously malleable sweeties called Bustamante Backbone?
"You cannot be serious!" as John McEnroe is reported to have said.
They'll soon be installing parking meters on Skyline Drive and on the road to Port Royal!

Drive-by Development
There's always a slip between intention and execution when it comes to writing my columns. I will go round for days, carefully composing deathless prose in my head when some human projectile, some fiscal mortar-shell like Mr Shaw explodes and rudely exposes me to the real world.

I had really intended to write about an inspired and impassioned defence of the environment by a learned friend of mine, Dr Byron Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology & Head, Jamaican Iguana Recovery Group, and normally an inoffensive scientist more concerned with keeping things calm than in raising hell. His ire has been raised by Jamaica's Prospector in Chief, Mr Edmund Bartlett, who has replaced Mr Vin Lawrence in looking for unspoiled places most needing to be clothed in concrete.
I am told by an unreliable source that Bartlett, Lawrence and Patterson, along with Tony Hylton of the Port Authority and John Ashcroft, former Attorney General of the US, are members of an arcane religious group called the Society for Elimination of Elemental Nakedness – SEEN. This group has been uniquely commissioned by God to seek out instances of natural and unnatural nakedness and unruly behaviour among human beings, trees and coral reefs and to suppress or disguise these manifestations of life in flagrante either by pruning, felling or mutilation or by dredging or alternately, where such measures may not be feasible, to cover these indecent manifestations by clothing, by grass lawns, by mega-ships or by concrete.
Mr Bartlett, probably under the guidance of the UDC, has fixed his beady eye on Manatee Bay, no doubt having been warned off Halfmoon Bay, Hellshire, pre-owned as it were, by fishermen.
Manatee Bay, further along the Hellshire Coast, is a prime candidate for the attentions of SEEN. Somebody has been exposing Mr Bartlett to Hellshire, and the minister for Tourism , properly excited, has declared his intention to turn Port Henderson's notorious 'Back Road" into the equivalent of Montego Bay's comically misnamed "Hip Strip".
The headline in the Observer was

'Back Road' to get hip strip status as Portmore looks to tourism

It may have escaped the attention of the magnates of the Back Road that as far as I can see, there isn't a single Jamaican-owned enterprise on MoBay's Hip Strip.
Mr Bartlett, according to the news item has plans:
"… tourism minister Edmund Bartlett is already examining the possibilities of developing the Manatee Bay area into an exclusive tourism product.
Manatee Bay is a prime waterfront property which extends beyond Hellshire (sic)
The minister said he has since taken potential investors there to scout out the area.
"Manatee Bay has tremendous potential for tourism development and one which could be developed into a new frontier," Bartlett said.
According to Bartlett, Portmore has great potential … as the community with its already great dormitory areas would be a good catchment for tourist workers. (As I said a long time ago, people will be trying to find a good reason for Portmore until it disappears under the sea)
Mr Bartlett's entire vocabulary is that of the real estate huckster. There is not even the hint of an environmental, cultural or esthetic consideration; it's all about cash. A country that brazenly and incessantly claims to be motivated by spiritual ideals , led by a government which invokes God at the drop of an expletive, finds it impossible to remember that life is not all about cash, that land is not all about property rights and commissions and fees.
Thirty years ago I had an acrimonious argument with the UDC who came close to accusing me of insanity because I contended that a UWI expedition had produced evidence suggesting that iguanas might still exist in Hellshire, contrary to the conventional wisdom which held they had been extinct for 40 years.
Thirty years ago I fought for the university's vision of a Hellshire that was managed to protect its natural wilderness, its biodiversity and to safeguard its scientific integrity. The UDC was for "Development" covering the wilderness with concrete, pumping sewage into a 500 million year old underground reservoir of pure water in a landscape devoid of springs and other sources of potable water.
The UDC's ideas for Hellshire have never been too short of nuttiness, of an arrogant disregard for facts as against public relations jargon and boosterish BS.
Since then, however, other things have changed and people have organised to protect Jamaica's valuable patrimony. What we have is not just our patrimony, but the heritage and patrimony of the entire human race and we need to recognise that we have serious responsibilities to protect the interests of humanity.
Dr Wilson has written to the editors of our newspapers, laying out the case against Mr Bartlett's fantasies. I haven't yet been able to ask his permission but I will quote him nonetheless because what he has to say is too important to the public interest to be kept from the public.
•" … the Manatee Bay area has, at least until now, managed to escape the major assault that has been launched on the island's other coastal areas.  Indeed, every white sand beach is a potential target for destruction by development interests.  From an environmental perspective, the Manatee Bay area contains the least disturbed and most valuable coastal habitat remaining on the island.  The area's most famous resident, the Jamaican iguana, is one of the world's rarest [animals], and its population is restricted to the dry limestone forest that borders Manatee Bay. 
•    "… in contrast to the "tremendous potential for tourism development" cited by Mr. Bartlett, the Manatee Bay area is in fact a horrible location for tourism development.      This was the conclusion reached by a joint UWI-Institute of Jamaica study commissioned in 1970; more recent research has served to underscore this assessment. 
• " For starters, the water in Manatee Bay is extremely turbid; it's usually not possible to see one's feet while standing in only a foot of water.  That is not the sort of clear blue Caribbean sea that tourists want to swim in.          
• "Second, Manatee Bay and the adjacent coastal waters are a major spawning ground for the Southern Stingray.  The combination of turbid water and plentiful but "invisible" stingrays renders the area decidedly unfriendly when it comes to water sports.
    • Manatee Bay is prime crocodile habitat.  We started monitoring the population a year ago, and have already marked and released 100 crocodiles…and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Where will the hundreds of displaced crocodiles go?
    Dr Wilson then explains why the area is scientifically important and why, although it is largely unnoticed in Jamaica, the area is recognised by the international community for its biological importance. The international community have incidentally, invested more than a million US for protection of the manatee. Dr Wilson continues:
    " Make no mistake about it:  the international conservation community knows all about Hellshire, and all about its precarious persistence.  They have also invested heavily in saving both Hellshire and the iguana, and they will not be happy to learn that their efforts may have been in vain.  Hellshire is no Pear Tree Bottom, because tragic as the destruction of that area was, it did not harbour any so-called site endemics.  Developing Hellshire would lead directly to the extinction of the iguana, because it occurs nowhere else.  The battle over mining the Cockpit Country for bauxite would seem like a friendly exchange among colleagues compared to any battle over destroying Manatee Bay and driving the iguana to extinction.  So please Minister, shelve these plans.  And after all, the Manatee Bay area sits squarely in the middle of the Portland Bight Protected Area, and is part of the Portland Bight Wetlands and Cays – which has been designated as a wetland of international importance through the Ramsar Convention.  Moreover, the government has already committed to protecting the iguana and the other unique natural resources of this biodiversity "hotspot within a hotspot." 
I (JM) quoted Edward Seaga last week speaking about the social dichotomy represented in what he called the Afro-European divide. It isn't so much an Afro/European divide as it is a divide between the humane and the exploitative, between those who care for the soil and those who see land purely as a portfolio asset. This is what is at the heart of the conflict between the so-called "Developers" and the rest of us in this country. For the developers there are no 'sacred places' in this country. They are as willing to dig down Barbecue Bottom and the rest of the `Cockpit Country as they are ready to destroy anything that can be looted.
That is why, despite solemn promises, the government of Jamaica daily shames itself by its non-ratification of the SPAW protocol which would settle most developer-conservationist disputes before they started. An ecosystem like Little Bloody Bay at Negril may not be of transcendental importance, but taken with the destruction and planned destruction of similar precious or valuable sites, its conversion to concrete would be a disgusting piece of vandalism negating our claim to be civilised .
Professor `Elizabeth Thomas Hope has been preaching for years about the need to care for our patrimony and specifically about the problem of solid waste. Yet, successive governments claiming to be civilised, refuse, for example, to put a deposit on plastic bottles or to tax capital gains or to reintroduce a progressive income tax, all prerequisites of a civilised society. Why?
Because people who give large sums of money to the PNP and the JLP won't like it.
So – they put a tax on bullas, on yam and on fresh fish.
Life is about to get extremely interesting.

Copyright © 2009 John Maxwell jankunnu@yahoo.com

18 December 2009

the fury and the mire

believe the voices falling down the rift

of fading memory all lost to time

recall the faces touched with soot and grime

in days so clear and calm they seemed to drift

through subtle air and now all is too swift

hardly a moment between every chime

the downslope now but we were on the climb

and had not valued the taste of the gift

so here the choice is made and in the cold

dark of the rainy afternoon each deep

cutting word is truly cruel in its burn

the message is expected we turn old

and each day must bring reasons more to weep

even this day at eve of sunreturn

17 December 2009

Student Bloomers Fall 2009

The issue I have is the same one we are facing now, in the year 2734 how are we going to make sure that rules and regulations are being enforced in the court system.

In doing this the court condemned blacks to endure to mare that a half century of more social inequality.

Congressional oversight is practiced by Congress.

Money makes the world go round and keeps us striving as an economy.

So what about the people who are naturally born citizens. Those who have not yet seen themselves flourish into the individuals they all inspired to be.

The main place for racial and gender inequalities would have to be the workplace.

Is Congress doing a good job these days? Well, America certainly does not thinks so. The tragic shootings in Alabama and in Germany likely will increase calls for stricter gun control. Do Americans want that?

It is said to be believed that the Generation Ys are the offspring's of the Baby Boomers.

Slavery is a thing of the past but there are still many African Americans who could break the cycle of poverty and crime.

Developmental theories frequently change.

Colonialism was loosing its grip in both Europe and the United States. The world was no longer a vast expansive territory.

With new problems in development, global worming, sound technologies, pollution, etc., first world countries cannot continue to pay the cost of their development.

Anthropologists, Catholics, Protestants, all have various views of human development.

On the other hand, a democracy is the representation of the people therefore political order determines the people because they have elections to decide who they want in office.

I will also make the point that if only philosophers ruled this would most definitely bridge the gap wider and longer between average individuals and these philosophers.

Plato's assertions steam from his upbringing in a prominent upper-class family.

On that President Lincoln argued that the Civil War was a struggle for the Union but as freedom for all citizens that would bring true equality that would create a unified nation where rights would no longer be dominated.

For instant the speech was given during the Peloponnesian war as a public funeral for the falling soldiers.

Both President Lincoln and Pericles have at additional motives along with an explanation to their Counties.

Education is very important in governing the states because one has to be taught the knowledge of becoming a philosopher.

Philosophers are trained experts who sometimes now what they are doing and try to do what's best for the state.

Plato was high in social status and his Ideology was elusive, his subjects ranged from political events to intellectual movements.

Life is unfair and not everyone can have a high sense of intelligence.

His greatest impact was Aristotle, but he influenced Western political thought in many ways.

He believes that on philosophers are suited for running the government because people don't understand matter.

I Don't understand how Plato can talk about a harmonious state when women and men are not allowed to be married.

My views and beliefs are more with Mencius than that of Plato because there are good and bad in people.

In retrospect, If Mencius was living during the civil rights movement he would have agreed with Dr. King, Shirley Chisholm, Robert Nesta Marley, Assata Shakur, Marcus Garvey, Simone de Beauvoir, and Malcolm X, all of which fought against the government to end racial equality between blacks, whites, women, and men.

One of the reasons why other most Muslim countries are so anti America is because of Bush not because American citizens.

We can count this as fact not an option.

If the two of them could actually suit down and discuss his actions as a "ruler" then what would Plato say to Bush.

The writings of Plato and Mozi have a couple main differences that Plato would consider a major problem and dilemma for the formation of society.

With no set of consequence the citizens were causing disgruntlement in each other.

The Meddieveal era was an era in history when music and art took center stage as the focal point of society.

A women was never the ruler of a nation, a women was not allowed to work outside of the home and were often subject to household duties.

The elite women were what are refered to today as socialites, ie Paris Hilton.

There are still feminists, because women are still viewed as inferiors to men it just not as highly publicised as it was back in those days.

Women should be equally as inferior as men.

Machiavelli also knows that conquer and fear may be used and that is why he states, "Thus it comes about that all armed prophets have conquered and unarmed ones fail."

Women in the world of theory are not regarded with the same intellectual prowl as their male counterparts.

Pizan questions whether or not women should be taught education just like their counterparts and why men think women should not be educated.

Pisan learned her intellectual powers from her father.

If women had continued to listen to the men, we would not be where we are now: educated and dependent on men.

The two philosophers are easily proven to show a suitable political category to be placed under by studying their differing views.

Han Feizi and Machiavelli both had philosophies of their own, in some ways they were similar as well as different from the beliefs of one another.

Han Feizi was born at the time when Hans state was the most weakest, while Machiavelli was born at the time when Italy was in a major political destruct.

Physical strength is the only thing that was inferior to man.

Though Cicero may not be seen as an extraordinary thinker to some people today, because of his works and how they were thought to be clichéd, during his time he was considered to be one of the greatest thinkers of the ancient era, also known as the 19th century.

Christine de Pisan was a born in and around the palace, under the king of France in the late 1300's.

Plato view of women differs from Christine De Pisan view of women simply because he gave women a role to play in society, whereas Pisan believed that women were just as equal to men and was not to be constricted only to maternal duties.

Women roles in society have been misunderstood, due to different cultures, backgrounds, and other rituals.

The creation of the United States as a nation was culminated on the shoulders of frontiersmen and those looking for a way out of religious persecution.

Colonists had to literally create the world they lived in, and by the time the Constitution was created there were citizens of America who had ancestors that came from Europe well over a century before they were even born. This thus gave birth to an inherent American culture, where some residents had never even set foot in the nation that held such a "tyrannical rule" over them.

The Royal African Company and Liberalism are far from one in the same.

You have no life and liberty if you are somebody's property.

Locke refereed to slavery as a state of war continued between a lawful, keyword lawful, conqueror and captive.

On the other hand Hobbes believed that peace is war in disguise.

Hobbes is all about getting back to a state of nature, and how we must give up unlimited natural right.

With the ongoing competition that exists in the state of war, eventually man develops a need for rest.

Thomas Hobbes viewed human nature as individual self-preservation and as a place of constant war.

Although they all believe in the social contract theory, they all conceive the social contract theory the same in objection, but there are many differences in the way they are conceived all together. Even though they lived during different times and places, their ideals still are justifiably similar.

Like Hobbes, Locke (1632-1704) believes to get out of the state inconvenience of the state of nature we form a social contract theory.

When human give up their individual rights they are essentially relinquishing rights that they were born with and should be taken away. A human being withought individual right cannot be described as an individual.

Nationalism is great, it is fgood to be proud of one's nation, and revel in their prosperity but Machiavelli went about proming nationalism in the wrong way.

Hobbes was an English philosopher knows best for his political thought; he viewed the world as a prominently unusual and immobile significant to modern-day politics.

Hobbes' myth of social contrast, he believed that everyone that will exercises sovereignty should give all their powers up, and they should only protect themselves only in defense.

Human judgment tends to be imprecise by their self-interest and by the pleasure, pains of the moment.

Rousseau argues that the development of the sciences and arts has caused the dishonesty of virtue and morality.

He was a royalist, meaning he was a supporter of King Charles I, whom ruled a monarchy. His views are consequently, pessimistic regarding human nature.

Man in the state of nature is a society, but people who are not governed and have no set rules to abide by will only look out in their interest. Men are not equal on all levels either.

In much of today's 21st century, one is continuously reminded of the societal impacts of the Ancient Greek philosophers.

Of Chinese dissent, Confucius is responsible for the school of Confucianism.

Mozi said that war was crime and was more serious than any other crime. He also said that funerals and other rituals should not be carried out with little excitement.

Augustine believed that because God created man, God should run the city because men are sinful and will not live forever.

I do agree that the political thinkers of the past have nothing to say to us today because the various political thought that they were developed in the past are widely practised, studied and emulated in politics today.

In this paper the works of Plato, Mencius and The United States government will be analyzed and serve as evidence as to why the political thinkers of the past have nothing to say to us today because History have proven these thinkers have had an immense influence in politics of the past, the present and also in the future.

The laws are the curse from God.

John Calvin was a strong believer of predestination. He believed that our faiths were already decided from birth.

Edward Long has been associated with Jamaican roots for heritages.

In this book Long argues that American Negros had the characteristics of animals in which they inhabited in Africa and have no use of quality.

He was also an advocate of political theory, but yet involved with slavery.

It was because of him the concept of some type of equality is present.

These political thinkers can provide insight to those that are currently in the twentieth century since even though the physical nature has changed human nature has not progressed has equally as fast.

In the United States, President is held to a similar degree.

Han Feizi lived in China from 280-233 BC. He helped find the legalist school.

John Locke was an Oxford scholar, medical researcher and physician, political activist, economist, idealist, and stagiest for a revolutionary movement, as well as being one of the great philosophers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

All people by nature want to accumulate power. We are naturally inquisitive and we want more then we can possibly have in a lifetime.

If men are naturally inquisitive then they are going to want everything that everyone has.

If a person commits a crime they are punished for that crime and if a candidate wins votes they are rewarded for it.

John Locke believed that in the beginning of the world there was America.

Most of China ideas and thoughts come for that of Confucius.

These laws established by legislative powers must be arbitrary, but must be written into law and be publically known.

Our society lacks structure and obedience as though many teachings were engraved in.

A ruler is not bad and a bad one should not be tolerated.

No we should not reject liberalism on the basis that these men were involved with slavery and the avocation of political liberty.

Plato's theory the "Allegory of the Cave" tells can describe some of us who are a currently a cave with no knowledge of the world around us.

Aristotle feels that democracy cannot be fair and just to the people because it is ruled by the majority in the interest of a few.

Hobbes was born on April 5, 1958 and he died on December 4, 1679.

Niccolo Machiavelli had a somewhat dissimilar thought as to the explanation and cause of "power and authority".

But a leader who reigns humanitarianly and takes concern of the citizens is to be obeyed severely, for the generosity of his authority shows that he has been mandated by heaven.

Locke believed that when men crate property they leave nature.

Its roots can be found in the ancient teachings of Confusion when he speaks of "chinesness."

The past political thinkers laid the foundation to which we have continued to chip away at and build on.

13 December 2009

Jamaica – the Blasted Isle

John Maxwell

I have decided not to retire. If retirement does to me what it has done to Mr Edward Seaga the risk is too great, I fear.
Last weekend Mr Seaga was reported as saying that partisan politics has slowed Jamaica's growth.
"Meanwhile, Seaga said that one of the issues that many of the country's leaders have not been able to fully address is "the cultural underbelly" of the society.
"The two-Jamaica syndrome. That is what sets the tone for the social conditions and eventually what sets the tone for economic progress or no economic progress," Seaga said.
He argued that many persons in diagnosing problems facing Jamaica fail to realise the cultural dichotomy.
"The two worlds that we live in - one Afrocentric, one Eurocentric - have different standards and different value systems," Seaga said.
Seaga said that it was at the level of representational politics that it is assumed that the people who come from the folk society will understand what their people are like, and work towards helping their conditions.

I remember writing a column entitled "Sieg Heil! Heil Seaga!" in Public Opinion in October 1965 addressing that very problem. In that column I denounced Seaga for plagiarising the words of (National Hero) Paul Bogle and using them to threaten (National Hero) Norman Manley with "Blood for Blood and Fire for Fire" simply because PNP supporters had booed Mr Seaga at a public occasion in honour of (National Hero) Marcus Garvey.

That speech of Mr Seaga's epitomises for me more than any other single thing, the damage Jamaica inflicted on itself when it elected the first government of independent Jamaica.

According to Thursday's Gleaner "Seaga said that having served under the leadership of former prime minister Sir Alexander Bustamante, he is convinced that the government [Bustamante] formed in 1962 had the best mix of leaders. He also said that there were marked similarities between Bustamante and People's National Party president, Portia Simpson Miller."

It is a sad fact that of that 'mix of leaders' four died prematurely – Ken Jones, Clem Tavares, Donald Sangster and Victor Grant; four had career-ending differences with Mr Seaga – Hugh Shearer, Wilton Hill, Robert Lightbourne and Ronald Irvine, while L.G .Newland, Edwin Allen and Tacius Golding were simply dumped by Seaga. Of their successors the major casualties of Seaga were E.K. Powell, Frank Phipps, Ian Ramsay and later Bruce Golding, Brascoe Lee, Tony Abrahams and above all, Pearnell Charles, beaten for his pains, who comes closest to Seaga's Bustamante paradigm, one of the few politicians with what Seaga calls a big heart.
And this was the toll among his friends and allies. If you happened to be among his enemies, as I was, exile became an irresistible option.
If you happened to be P.J. Patterson you were alternately racially abused as a 'black scandal bag' and set up for lynching by being attacked as a homosexual – a 'chi chi man'. Since most Jamaicans are pretty sensible, Seaga's tenure as JLP leader almost guaranteed Patterson lifetime tenure in any position Seaga coveted. As for me, I am secure, paired forever with Norman Manley, as Seaga's original and best hated
bêtes noires.

Engines of Development

If one takes corporate-speak seriously one would be totally unaware that the smart and discriminating shoppers, customers and consumers, are exactly the same dumb, freeness loving, whining taxpayer aka John Public or, in conservative USA, Joe Six-pack.
The consumer and the taxpayer are the same. If you are a businessman, however, you are allowed to take liberties with your clientele that might be accounted as indecent in relations between rapacious bureaucrats and taxpayers.

Now hear this:

On August 31, 2009, First Global Bank disclosed that it had "uncovered irregularities with respect to its trading operations. Further investigations confirmed that the bond trading losses of approximately US$19.93 million were the result of breaches of procedure and the irregular conduct and reporting of transactions done in US treasuries with overseas counter-parties that were initiated by a senior employee of the bank, who has since been dismissed. At this time there is no indication of a misappropriation of funds."

If this had been a government entity the uproar, I am sure, would be audible in Madagascar. Loud would be the calls for inquiries, transparency, perhaps even capital punishment. Instead, all is genteel and discreet. The money involved, nearly 2 billion J$ is a fairly significant sum, even for me, and I would have thought that most shareholders – had they remembered that they were also taxpayers – would have raised a stink. The money was made good by Grace, no doubt wiping a few hundred thousand off the Directors' bonuses.

Of course, trading losses like these will no doubt be paid for eventually by the taxpayer, not the shareholders, but consumers in another incarnation.
Capitalism, they tell me, is a term of art.

To Arms! To Arms!

In recent days the Daily Gleaner has printed a series of rousing editorials – well, at least they roused me – appealing to the private sector and civil society to launch a revolution in Jamaica, fire civil servants, throw out politicians and generally make Jamaica more like Singapore.
That would really be revolution – as in "Comrades! to the Bastille!"
The most stirring calls to arms these days are written by mild men pretending to be dangerous journalists. That, of course, guarantees that at any given moment they will be talking through someone else's hat.
To compare Jamaica to Singapore in the sixties blows their own arguments out of the water. The bloom of the sixties came from the seeding, manuring, weeding and watering of the Fifties. Within three years of Norman Manley's defeat in 1962, Jamaica began to slide and apart from the notorious seventies, we've been sliding ever since. Singapore prospered on the Vietnam war and the US and British navies. Lee Kuan Yew thought he was imitating Norman Manley.
Please, before you start throwing rocks, go read the basic statistics on production and so on. Mr Seaga who did so much to create a civilised atmosphere (see above) keeps talking about migration as an index of public satisfaction. Fewer Jamaicans migrated in the 70s than in the 60s or the 80s.

And when the Gleaner 'bats' for the wholesale uprooting of civil servants, the newspaper owes it to its readers to explain the factual bases for this argument. Having had to deal and work with civil servants at all levels and relationships it is my view that government employees pound for pound, are better trained, better managed and more productive than their private sector counterparts.
And the Gleaner gives the whole game away when it argus for the cutting of workers rights in minimum wages and severance pay to deliver more profit to a parasitic class of margin gatherers who always keep asking for more more cuts in the personal tax rates, abolition of estate duties, capital gains taxes, you name it; they think its bad.

As they argue for the progressive maiming of the Jamaican state they will find hordes of middle-class boobies who will repeat the mantras Bob Lightbourne and people like me introduced to Jamaica in the 50s through the IDC. They seemed to make sense then. They don't make sense now. Ask Puerto Rico.
As always, the blame is on the poor and their representatives. People who get paid to go to lunch downtown want to slash popular representation to make parliament cheaper and even less effective.
The Gleaner is unequivocal:

"Political parties and their leaders must no longer be allowed to manipulate poor, uneducated Jamaicans, whose votes they perennially milk for the advantage of the political class. A rejuvenated and newly assertive private sector and civil society must be vigilant and willing to speak out."

We need more representatives of the people, not fewer. To get from Orange Grove to Orange Field, both in West Rural St Andrew you need to go through Castleton, in St Mary. The private sector doesn't know this. It probably doesn't know what or where Castleton is either.
In my view if we want a working parliament capable of representing the people we need about 120 MPs to enable a working cabinet, two capable front benches and enough people for working committees. I believe we need a parliament at least half of whom are women, at least half of whom are under 40 and all elected by proportional representation. That would solve the garrison problem and mean that MPs would really have to represent people.
Then we could begin to contemplate democracy, the Arhus convention and real public decision-making.
Chopping down the public sector will mean reduced service for poor people, even more restricted access to their basic democratic rights but higher infant and maternal mortality rates.
It will mean that quasi non-governmental organisations (Quangos or state corporations,) like the UDC will be free to take even more indecent liberties with our rights, freedoms and beaches. When the private sector and their spokes-media talk about transparency they don't mean examining the process by which Robert Cartade is colonising Wareika Hill or Little Bloody Bay. In this country, a European pastry cook has superior rights to most Jamaicans. He can propose to destroy important national patrimony and no one can question him.

The real failure

For me, the real failure of democracy in Jamaica is in the failure of public dialogue.
When parliament had no more power than the average sixth form debating society our newspapers used to publish reams of parliamentary debate
Now that parliament seems to be preparing to repeal sections of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we are not going to see the arguments. And having devalued parliament by denying it attention, the media now are preparing to relegate it even more drastically to insignificance.
That's how JBCTV reduced the attention paid to cricket and helped legitimise those who turned cricket grounds into housing developments.
There are always more ways than one to skin a cat.
The removal of real journalists from the ranks of the commentators guarantees that commentary will be untrustworthy. I have never met a journalist without a p[political point of view – usually their owner's. But, even biased, journalists know enough to base their opinions on fact. This is at least, gives the reader a baseline from which to judge the probable reliability of a columnist. These days the so called journalist is a hired gun, a gunslinger for Murdoch or some other billionaire booby who believes himself entitled to rule the world.
I am a Socialist and I have been since before I became a journalist at 17. People know who I am because I don't sail under false flags. I believe people trust me not to lie to them. They may disagree with my opinions, but at least they know they are my opinions, not borrowed from somebody with money or power. That is not true of many people who claim to be journalists.
The media product, the Press as I prefer to define it, advertises itself as a public trust, a purveyor of factual information on which we may all depend. Unfortunately our experience has shown that we cannot always depend on the press.
I cannot forget, nearly 20 years ago, Bryant Gumbel blurting out on Good Morning America that the Oklahoma City bombing, then 'just in'– must have been the work of MIddle Eastern terrorists. Or, last week, when Tiger Woods was reportedly 'seriously injured' after gate-crashing a fire hydrant and a tree. The US press has printed more about that story in a week than it has about Honduras since July or about Haiti in five years.
The Press does not understand that real democracy depends on Information and that without guaranteed sources of real information no democracy is possible. Without the truth Jones Town and Denham Town disappear without a trace. Ask Mr Seaga.
The people need to be guaranteed information as pure and wholesome as the water they drink.
Copyright©2009John Maxwell jankunnu@gmail.com

06 December 2009

no other victory

the fraction of the truth that now remains

within the bounds of what we are to speak

is current language words sodden and weak

lacking in power nothing now explains

the meaning of the anguish and the pains

that each had taken before these grey bleak

crowds of oppression forbade us to seek

the honest answers upon hills or plains

a light at noon would show no honest folk

in any corner of a world grown wild

with deepest passion of forgotten art

needing desire and raging for the yoke

to be laid on each grown person a child

once more but coals of hope burn in each heart

a small salvation

the peadove in the cage with healing wing

is fed and watered given proper care

but other birds have better cause to sing


in open freedom far beyond the ring

of human fences when we who now spare

the peadove in the cage with healing wing


have made the choice to take away the sting

of what was cruel in this whole affair

but other birds have better cause to sing


about the matters that our causes bring

and so their voices carry on the air

while peadove in the cage with healing wing


must be imprisoned though fed like a king

lacking all liberty and full of fear

but other birds have better cause to sing


upon the day we choose this bird to spring

out of its lodge and back into the the air

the peadove in the cage with healing wing

but other birds have better cause to sing

Capturing the State

John Maxwell

When I read that Trevor Munroe and his cohorts are warning about the dangers of baddies capturing the state I remember 1963 when Trevor was a student at UWI and his daddy, Huntley, was quite properly threatening to have me arrested for criminal libel.

In those days people like Trevor and I were exercised about the prospect of the Jamaican state being captured by local elites. In discussions at my house with Trevor and some other members of the Young Socialist League, I mentioned my theory that Jamaica was controlled by about 21 families and that they could be tracked quite easily. Whenever a member of one of these families died, whole swathes of trade and industry were closed down on the day of the funeral and the names of these enterprises were published in the Gleaner to impress the hoi polloi.

One of Trevor's associates took up my idea in a pamphlet which really did not do justice to the theory. It is an idea that is still relevant, particularly when the society is delving into the decision-making behind FINSAC and other manifestations of private sector hegemony. The media and others are asking Omar Davies for answers to question which they already know; rather like a cuckolded husband asking his wife for the name of her lover.
Quite simply, the Jamaican elite threatened to use their money to bet against the Jamaican currency and create political chaos. The high interest rate regime was a socially sanctioned bribe to encourage the rich to behave themselves. Remember how they derided Butch Stewart's campaign to stabilise the exchange rate?
It is my opinion that blaming Omar Davies for the economic debacle that is Jamaica is like blaming the undertaker for the murder.
That is why in 1997 I described the Patterson economic regime as the greatest machine for the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the end of slavery.
When the IMF/World Bank Washington Consensus was consolidating its takeover of Western hemisphere politics most of us were unaware of the connections between the pot-banging housewives of Chile and the formation of new private sector coalitions all over the Americas to repel and defeat bloodthirsty socialists intent on such revolutionary anti-democratic schemes as National Minimum Wages, Equal Rights for Women and human rights for Haitians.
One of the first casualties, of course, was Salvador Allende and Chilean democracy. Jamaica soon followed.


Liberté, Égalité, and most of all, Fraternité

The latest casualty is Honduran democracy where, with the help of Jesse Helms' flesh eating political bacteria – Otto Reich & Co – the American right-wing fanatics have finessed the Obama administration into a shameful and humiliating defeat. They are celebrating an election in which no one knows how many voted – held under the auspices of an illegal putschist regime.
This defeat follows the total rout of democratic forces in Haiti, where Obama's Secretary of State and her husband have sold out to the forces of the local elites and their multinational sweatshop patrons.
Haiti will need to wait for its human rights until some new Dessalines is ready to take those rights back from the gangsters and 'businessmen' whose capture of Haitian state power was initiated, aided and abetted by elites in the US, Canada and France.
When Transparency International speaks of corruption they signify, to me, devils quoting scripture; the words are right but the motives are suspect.
Transparency International is the product of World Bank elites and in my view, is intended as a force to delegitimise third world politics. TI does not speak of the massive corruption crises in the World Bank itself, or of the corruption crises involving the former heads of state of Germany(Kohl) and France (Chirac) or the incredible, mind-boggling corruption involving the Iraq war, former US vice president Dick Cheney and Halliburton/Brown&Root, the former UN facilitator in Iraq, Richard Galbraith and a whole slew of elites who have used their positions to grossly feather their nests.
And we do not speak of those I describe as the Komodo dragons of capitalism, whose bite transmits toxic bacteria, flesh eating financial omnivores whose wheeling and dealing has devastated the US car-making industry, laid waste entire communities like Detroit and Flint, in Michigan, or Crewe, Luton and other places in England and elsewhere; whose irresponsible and criminal misrepresentations have destroyed the US working class, extorted billions from the pensions and savings of middle-class Americans and has almost extinguished the concept of a black American middle class.
These Komodo dragons captured modern capitalist states, distorting all concepts of justice and justifying their wicked extortions by preaching about the evils of distributionist policies. We should not pander to the poor, was the message. We needed to comfort the rich in the cause of "Development"..
In Britain and the US at this moment there are incandescent arguments raging about the rewards due to those who have eviscerated their societies. Should they be allowed to further reward themselves with billions looted from the corpses of pension funds, health insurance and social welfare funds?
It's a difficult decision isn't it?
The bonuses Goldman Sachs will be paying to its designated gamblers could feed clothe and govern Haiti or Honduras for a year or two.
It really is a hard call.

Closer to home

    A few years ago I was spooked by the prospect of people destroying the tranquility and amenity of the peri-urban hillside on which I live. When I went to live there, 35 years ago, my friends told me I lived in the bush, too far to visit, too dangerous because of the surrounding remnants of forest. Then, a few years ago there were signs of people wanting to build the new Jamaican paradigm – townhouses in a forest. . Three years ago, almost to the day I wrote:
"Where I live in Stony Hill, the water has been turned off at night for the last 26 years, because there isn't enough St Catherine water to supply the thirsts and toilets of Havendale and upper St Andrew. Although there isn't enough water for Stony Hill, within a mile of the Hermitage Dam, confident developers are even now preparing to put in dozens of upscale mini-mansions with lots of bathrooms. (The Next Bad Thing – 10 December 2006) And about half a year later on the same subject:
"There is only one problem: I don't know where it is in this vicinity that the NWC has discovered a new river or lake, and the hillside road is the width of a domestic driveway.(Chainsaw lullaby – Sunday, June 24, 2007)
I thought perhaps I'd made the boobocrats reconsider their schemes. Apparently not.
They must have discovered a new lake or river somewhere in Stony Hill but are keeping it a secret.
Some developers have apparently got NEPA and KSAC approval to double the population of Gibson Road by building six 3-bedroom townhouses and twelve 2-bedroom apartments on 11,319 square meters of land.
According to some people the development was approved after covenants were varied on three lots of land. As far as I know and speaking as a layman, covenants on property can only be removed by petitions to the courts and all persons whose property is affected by a covenant are entitled to object to the varying or removal of a covenant.
The new development is intended, as I said, to double the population of Gibson Road. Gibson Road is a narrow road cut out of a hillside about a hundred years ago. My home is probably the oldest house on the road, having its last significant reconstruction in 1939. The newest house on the road is about 20 years old and is next to the proposed development. On my side of the road there are four houses; on the other eight or nine.
To my knowledge at least two of my neighbours have been refused permission to subdivide their land on the ground that the water supply is inadequate for the proposed habitations. These people were proposing to build accommodation (in total) for fewer than ten additional souls. The newly approved scheme envisions nearly one hundred (100) new people, with perhaps fifty new cars and 10,000 gallons of sewage daily.
Jamaica has an enviable record in the provision of self-contained sewage systems. Out of more than two dozen in metropolitan Kingston just two are known to work as advertised. Just below Stony Hill, at the bottom of Long Lane, a small development discharges its effluent into the same gully proposed to be blessed by the excrement from Gibson Road. All round Kingston there are these malfunctioning systems, saving money for developers and endangering the health of ther neighbours.
Since that same gully passes through my property (above the probable point of discharge), I have every intention to object. The soil up here is rocky but very permeable .
Where I live the air is clean, perfumed by wildflowers and plants, populated by at least 20 species of indigenous birds. I have photographs to prove that assertion and I intend to protect my own tranquility as well as one of the few places in Jamaica where one can see our country's native glory.

Copyright ©2009 John Maxwell jankunnu@gmail.com