Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Class Struggle and Black Power in TnT
Posted: June 15, 2001
By Dr Kwame Nantambu

In his magnum opus titled Class Struggle in Africa (1970), the deceased internationalist Pan- Afrikan Nationalist Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah observed that:

"For the Afrikan bourgeoisie, the class which thrived under (Euro)- colonialism is the same class which is benefiting under the post- independence, neocolonial (Trini-White) period. Its basic interest lies in preserving ( Euro- America) capitalist social and economic structures (businesses and values throughout TnT). It is therefore, in (collusive) alliance with international monopoly finance capital. Their survival depends on foreign support."(pp.10-12).

Nkrumah further contends that in terms of the "class concept"; "class struggle is a fundamental theme of recorded history. In every non- socialist society there are two main categories of class, the ruling class or classes, and the subject class or classes."(p.17).

This class phenomenon is all too clear in TnT whereby a dominant Trini white class coexists with the power of Euro- American capitalism watching its back along with its cultural value system. And this class concept is further compounded with the introduction of the ethnic variable into the mix.

In this class mix, there exists an asinine socio-economic cultural environment wherein the "slave elite" house-servants perceive themselves to be "better off," albeit superior than, the field hands, masses or have-not proletariat.

This dichotomization only serves to create a solid sense of antagonism and distrust between the "fortunate" house servants who apparently have everything to loose and the poor "unfortunate" have-nots who have nothing to loose but their chains as February 1970 and July 1990 events bear witness to this absurd political reality and insanity.

The fact of the matter is that we are one oppressed people – a people oppressed by our common European colonizer. And whether we deal with or celebrate "Emancipation Day" or "Arrival Day," these Days only represent our respective nationality and NOT our frikan or Indian ORIGINALITY. This is the glue that should bond us Trinis together as ONE.

As slain Dr. Martin Luther King once warned: "We either live together as brothers or die separately as fools."

And to quote Bomber, TnT is replete and overflowing with "foolish people" and what makes this scenario even more ridiculous is that these "foolish people" are educated, rich and apparently sophisticated at least on paper.

Or maybe, Dr. Marimba Ani is correct when she suggests that such Trini people are suffering from this Euro-inflicted "Yurugu" virus that is called edjumacation or Eurocentric mis-education. They are functioning in TnT as Afropeans. And this is the sad commentary on the class concept in TnT today.

The fact of the matter is that Trini the class concept of the Westmoring and Westwod Park ONLY exits in TnT and no where else. Outside of TnT, such people are BLACK --- whether Afrikan or Indian. They are people of color under the current European global system of European supremacy. This is the global class reality.

Trinis, wake up and smell the global coffee – its' color is BLACK!

Indeed, the observation of our own deceased Kwame Ture should wake us up when he stated (1969) that:
"If you see an African in Europe, you do not say that he is an African. If you see him in America you do not call him an African. He may be (African-American); he may be West Indian; he may be everything else but African (or Indian). That is because Europe took its time to divide us (colonized) carefully. And they gave us different names (and ethnic identities) so that we would never, always never refer to ourselves by the same name; which helped to insure that there would always be differences. If you say you are West Indian, it is fairly obvious that you are something different to be set apart from an African (or Indian). An (Afrikan-American) and an African also obviously are not the same; (just as an Afrikan-Trini and an Indian-Trini also obviously are not the same oppressed person)."

In the case of TnT, the colonized class has created an elitist class among the colonized through its educational, political and economic organization. In these instances, the privileged few "Trini Whites", not only see themselves as different from "those people" but also perceive themselves as being different, separate and apart from their fellow, colonized Trini so-called brethren. This is the sad, invisible and/or intangible phenomenon of this Trini divide and rule class ploy today. This is insanity.

True Pan Trini national unity will never become a genuine reality until and unless the fences of class, color and ethnic differences are destroyed. Half measures will NOT avail. We must be our brothers' keeper. We are all brothers and sisters of the same Trini family with our parents coming from beloved Mother Afrika and beloved Mother India. We are PROUD of our parents. Trinis: Let us not separate and divide our family for personal economic gains and political power control intent. Let us be mindful that a united family structure is the bedrock of a solid, united nation.

As the Afrikan proverb says: "It takes a village to raise a child." Let us all participate in this communal village to deliver, raise and develop this Trini unity child after centuries of European deliberate, vicious and unbearable labor-child pain.

Fellow Trinis, let us not hemorrhage our fervent quest for national ethnic unity and class togetherness as ONE oppressed, enslaved and Euro-colonized people.

As a corollary, the issue of Black Power should not be cast aside in any analysis of the class factor in TnT.

At the outset, it should be stated quite categorically that this concept has no validity or life in TnT and by extension, the Caribbean.

The problem in TnT is NOT about power but the DISTRIBUTION of economic and political POWER. Economic and political power is not trickling down to the have-nots but is simmering and percolating at the top of the kettle for the haves. The have-nots have been marginalized, by design and not by accident. They are powerless economic and political vagrants without even knowing it.

The fact of the matter is that TnT is populated by Black people or "people of color" PERIOD; whether certain Trinis like it or NOT—WE ARE ALL BLACK!

The question is NOT Black Power but rather the equal distribution of economic and political power in this nation.

The fact of the matter is that there is NO room in the inn for race-based economics or politics in TnT. Public policy should also be free from race-based consideration. Merit, qualification and proven ability should be the criteria for advancement. Race or ethnicity MUST be irrelevant.

In this competitive scenario, Afrikan-Trinis need to heed the admonition of Sugar Aloes, Cro Cro, Stalin, Karen Eccles and Gypsy and "control something again," however, as social calypso commentator Eccles cautions her Afrikan brother to "raise," her Afrikan brothers MUST look inward to their Afrikan ORIGINALITY as the world's original, powerful master thinkers in the B.C. era and NOT as powerless slaves in the A.D. era.

The concept of Black Power is alien to a majority non-European population in TnT. It is a vital concept in the United States where the Afrikans are a minority but it is a sine qua non in TnT and the Caribbean where the non-European population is the MAJORITY.

As such, Trinis should "boo" any suggestion or program toward race-based Black Power identity. Race-based public policy politics is anathema to true, functioning democracy in TnT, by any miniscule stretch of the imagination. Race-based politics is a misnomer in TnT and it must remain that way – in the garbage can.

African-Trini and Indo-Trini, we are ONE, indivisible CLASS of Euro-oppressed people. Race-based politics is a potent, dangerous dysfunctional element in TnT life today. It MUST be rejected, discarded and eliminated.

Race-based politics must be flushed down the TnT political comode, by any and all means necessary.

Competency-based, pragmatic politics must replace race-based, ethnic, Divide and Rule Black Power politics. Public policy must maximize the basic human needs of all the people and not be skewed or biased toward a particular racially, ethnically few; no class should benefit at the total expense and/or exclusion of another.

What TnT needs is the Afrikan to find him/herself as a people to fight and overcome negative economic/political odds. Our history proves that "we shall overcome"; TnT is a piece of cake, to say the least.

Someone once said that "a mind is a terrible thing to waste"; in the case of the Afrikan-Trini, the most important thing is to have an Afrika-centered, historical mind first of all. That DOES NOT exist among the mind-set of Afrikan-Trinis today.

Once Afrikan-Trinis re-locate, re-direct, re-orient and re-position their subconscious mind-set, then they will be "good to go" toward the attainment of economic and political empowerment in TnT. Afrikan-Trinis: do NOT be bamboozled, hoodwinked, outsmarted and took by persons who are promoting the concept of race-based Black Power in TnT. They should be dismissed and discarded. They are on a personal, political agenda and NOT a people, WE, agenda. Afrikan Trinis: do not succumb and become contaminated by this deadly, spreading race-based virus. In the Afrikan tradition: "Trinis of TnT unite; we have nothing to loose but our minds."

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Nantambu is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University, U.S.A.

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