FROM today, I resume my newspaper column that I started since 1988; first with the Stabroek News. In these offerings, I will continue with what I have being doing since I started penning academic analyses after my graduation from UG in 1978, that is, to look at social phenomena using class analysis.
I had my introduction to class analysis when I was 16 years old after I worked in the Michael Forde Bookshop of the PPP at the bottom flat of Freedom House. There, I would read an immense amount of Marxist literature. The emphasis on class structure in the analysis of social life has no substitute.
The world should be grateful to Karl Marx for his contribution to the employment of class analysis in understanding social life although he was not the first. In ancient Greek society, many philosophers had expounded on class structure in understanding how society works.
While a student at UG, I was introduced to a school of professors who were influential in the study of society through class analysis, two of which stand out, Perry Mars (deceased) and Clive Thomas. It is with extreme sadness that I write about Professor Thomas’ abandonment of class analysis.
Today, in Guyana and especially since the five months of election rigging in 2020, there is a complete lack of class analysis in understanding Guyana and its critics. No one uses class analysis today and it is damaging to the accumulation of knowledge in this country.
The crystallization of class demands and class antagonism from the mulatto/Creole middle class (MCC) in Guyana since 2020 parallels British Guiana in the 1940s. I read an opinion by a well-known letter-writer in the newspapers last week in which he titled his missive, “There are strange forces trying to stop Guyana’s oil development.”
There is nothing strange about life. According to the official philosopher of the Holy Roman Empire, Saint Aquinas, everything in life has an explanation. He is right. There are no strange forces in Guyana trying to remove the oil industry. There are class forces trying to remove both the government and the oil income.
What follows below are brief notes on this class force. An elaboration will be carried in the column tomorrow. The MCC under European colonial rule in the entire group of West Indian islands was favoured by the colonial administration because of skin complexion, religion and adaptation of western culture.
In Guyana, this class encountered a problem what no other stratum had to cope with in the West Indies, not even in Trinidad – the Indian indentured people. The Indians were shown incredible contempt and viewed as below civilisation. Even Critchlow argued against them being given the franchise.
A gargantuan resistance was put up by the MCC when Cheddi Jagan and others began to organise the Indians politically. The MCC was not so much concerned with the birth of the East Indian Association and the sugar industry union but it was Jagan and Indian political awakening that invoked paranoid thoughts among the MCC.
The MCC formed its own party under John Carter, a big shot lawyer, named the National Democratic Party (NDP). The League of Coloured People was the fulcrum on which the NDP rested. The MCC was not enarmoured with the birth of the PNC under Burnham because that party had more dark-skinned Africans and organised among working class Africans.
The MCC saw in the PNC a natural ally for three reasons – the PNC had the numbers that the NDP lacked, the PNC membership was African after all so there was a natural tendency to dialogue with them, and thirdly, the MCC felt it could use the PNC in its quest to guillotine the PPP’s expansion thus preventing the growth of Indian political consciousness.
It should be noted that there was a congenital defect in the alliance between the MCC and Forbes Burnham. Burnham knew that MCC personalities were culturally contemptuous of dark-skinned Africans and also would manoeuvre the NDP into positions in the hierarchy of the PNC.
Burnham knew this because he saw how the MCC conspired to put its class members in the hierarchy of the PPP through the presence of Martin Carter, his brother Keith and Rory Westmas – all of mulatto extraction with natural embodiment of western culture.
A point never made in the historiography of Guyana is that although Burnham assigned Martin Carter a ministry in his post 1968 government, Burnham did not trust Carter, seeing him a stooge for western cultural traditions. Carter who professed to be a Stalinist in fact was the favourite politician of the colonial plutocracy and the colonial administration. To be continued tomorrow where I will take the analysis of the MCC right into 2023.