1960s >> 1963 >> no-707-july-1963

Letter From Jamaica

One year after the achievement of Independence, it is worthwhile spending a few moments looking at the situation in Jamaica and Trinidad. Local politicians have been telling us for many years that the Colonial riders were the stumbling block on the road to progress. Now, a year after this stumbling block has been removed, how much nearer are we to the Promised Land?

In Jamaica it is certainly still far beyond the horizon. The army of 80,000 unemployed is larger than in the days of colonial rule and is increasing day by day. Instead of creating new jobs, several firms have closed down. During the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, a march was organised by the unemployed demanding food and jobs—stressing that “charity begins at home.” At the last moment the march was banned by the Government and, when it took place in spite of the ban, was followed by armed police patrols—demonstrating that, whether Colonial or Independent, Governments represent the interests of the capitalist class and will ruthlessly use their power to suppress any working-class protest

Very slowly, and too late, workers are beginning to realise that Independence; for them, has brought about no change for the better, but rather the reverse. They have learnt that their rulers—like those in all other countries which fought for and won their independence—tell them that, now that their country “belongs to them,” they must work harder, produce more, refrain from going on strike, etc. It could, of course, be added that although the workers must work harder and be satisfied with less, this does not seem to apply to our political leaders who do little to justify their place in society but get themselves photographed at as many cocktail parties as possible (for a politician to be photographed constantly with a glass in his hand, is no disadvantage here!)

Jamaica is now going through the same phase as other newly independent nations, who never anticipated the consequences of their independence. One would think that the position is clear enough for the workers to see. There is no future worth having for mankind under Capitalism. It cannot be reformed, it cannot be toned down or made to work in the interests of the working class. The only cure for Capitalism is its abolition. Socialism is the only logical next phase in human society; and by Socialism we do not mean the systems masquerading under that title in Cuba, Russia and elsewhere, but the joining of hands of all the workers of the world in co-operation, to produce and partake of the wealth of the world.

The farce of Independence is becoming clear to more and more workers in Jamaica. However, when the next election comes, will they realise the root cause of their troubles? I doubt it. However, we few Socialists in Jamaica hope to be strong enough in numbers by then to put before the working class of Jamaica the only road for them, and the workers of the rest of the world, to follow.

Yours for Socialism,

George Dolphy.