On behalf of OVP, I salute those who painted the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the road in front of the monument honouring the great 1763 Revolution. It is a creative and profoundly symbolic way for Guyanese to join in the call of the already historic BLM Movement in a meaningful way, especially in the lead up to this Emancipation Day.
More than two months after the murder of George Floyd, the BLM Movement continues to gain momentum. United across ethnicity, class and gender, under the clear and simple message couched in the hash tag “BlackLivesMatter”, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in every corner of the globe. The power of this proclamation lies in the direct challenge it poses to the global system of White Supremacy and its offshoots – imperialism, capitalism, neo-colonialism and racism. This global revolt is part and parcel of the inevitable decline of the racist US/Euro Empire and the disintegration of its bogus liberal democratic arrangement. As Trump orders the army onto the streets of US cities, with teargas, rubber bullets and brutal force, the naked fascism of the Empire is there for all to see. The COVID 19 pandemic has exposed capitalism’s inherent flaws and fault lines as never before. We must remember that White Supremacy came into the world as capitalism. As Malcolm X stated: “You can’t have capitalism without racism.” White Supremacy, Capitalism and Neo-Colonialism constitute a web of oppressions – each feeding off the other. To challenge one is to challenge all.
The good news is that people everywhere have had enough and are resisting. We in Guyana must hold down our corner. If we want to be on the right side of history, we must understand these issues as they confront us and the ways in which they have prevented our progress. Obsolete and oppressive systems do not crumble of their own accord. Throughout history, it is the conscious and decisive action of the people that finally deals the death blow.
Other Caribbean nations have expressed their support for the BLM Movement. On June 23, 2020, the Barbados House of Assembly passed a resolution expressing support for the principle that “Black Lives Matter” and endorsed the notion that “it will not be possible to unequivocally assert that ‘all lives matter’, unless and until Black lives are, in theory and practice, treated with the respect and regard that is their due”.
To the Guyanese detractors who are crying “all lives matter” on social media, we recognize this response for what it is; a convenient cover for the anti-Black racism that engulfs Guyana and has torn this country apart. Whenever we, Black people, speak for ourselves, assert ourselves and articulate our demands, we are almost always met with castigation and accused of excluding others. Interestingly, this does not occur when other ethnic groups organize around their concerns. The Black man and woman, as the first inhabitants of the earth, are the parents of all humanity. It is this inherent parental love that makes Black people the most inclusive of all peoples. Those who truly understand the origin, condition and suffering of Black people, know that when Black Lives Matter, then all lives will matter in Guyana and across the world. In the words of the great Caribbean writer, George Lamming, “The Black man and woman in their own self-emancipation will emancipate all of oppressed humanity in the process.”
As Black people, we must develop revolutionary consciousness and unity amongst ourselves before attempting to unite with others. However, authentic Black consciousness and the revolutionary African personality referred to by Kwame Nkrumah are not by definition anti any other race or ethnicity. On the contrary, an African-centered worldview does not permit discrimination against any other human person based on their ethnicity or colour.
In 2020, Black Lives Must Matter in Guyana. The time has come when we can settle for nothing less.
Gerald A. Perreira
Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP)