Politics of Fear vs. Politics of Race
Posted: April 08, 2004
By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
As the virus of labour unrest permeates the eco-political bodypolitic of TnT, a very scary and dangerous phenomenon seems to be playing itself out. On the one hand, the PNM under Patrick Manning is wearing the politics of fear gloves while the UNC under Basdeo Panday is wearing the politics of race gloves in this 36-Parliament member political boxing match.
The fact of the matter is that neither of these fighters are going to
knock each other out; the only entity that would be left lying on its back
in this match is the expendable, working masses, the proletariat, of TnT.
Prime Minister Manning knows that he can promise the workers anything and
whatever he wants just to win a general election because he not only knows
but has also calculated that the PNM supporters have no where else to go.
Manning is convinced that they must vote for the PNM. They will never
vote for "those people" in the UNC. It is this psychological politics of
fear factor that is Manning's ace-in-the-hole at any election time.
Manning can get away with whatever he extemporizes on the election
platform and he knows it; hence, his categorizing the current labour
unrest at LNG as "awild cat strike" and the about-face and rejection of
his electoral promise of a multi-sectoral minimum wage.
Manning knows that the workers, the proletariat, will rant and rage but at
the end of the day, they will still vote for the PNM rather than "those
people" in the UNC.
Manning is playing this politics of fear mind-game to the hilt and he
will continue to play it until the proletariat figures out where he is
In this regard, the adage :The threat of force is more potent than the
actual use of force" is apropos here in TnT politics. Manning is
skillfully and slickfully using this threat of a UNC government in power
as the force to manipulate, deceive and control his supporters and
constituents. It is working like a charm; so far, so good.
Patrick Manning will continue to succeed in using this fear card until a
trustworthy, potent and effective alternative emerges to give the
proletariat a Plan C from which to choose instead of the PNM (Plan A) and
UNC (Plan B).
The sad legacy is that only when Manning sees such a serious alternative
then and only then will he listen to the dictate of the masses and work
to maximize their interests. At the present time, the PNM government is
working to maximize the interests of a foreign, U.S.A.- based
TransNational Corporation (TNE) and to hell with the workers,masses, who
are employed therein.
Maybe, now is the time for the proletariat-masses of TnT to begin the
process of forming their own political party--- a party that will truly be
of the people, by the people and for the people.
The bottom-line is that there is vital need for a new pressure, political
paradigm in TnT. The current labour unrest must serve as the catalyst to
bring this into reality.
Manning must realize or must be made to realize that the masses brought
his party into office and they will take it out of office, if necessary.
The masses must let Manning know that they are sick and tired of being
sick and tired and that they will no longer be hoodwinked, bamboozled and
took by the PNM. Enough is enough.
The masses must let Prime Minister Manning know that he would not be
allowed to play with people's lives and that a promise is a promise.
Unless the masses put their political feet on Manning's neck, he will
continue to take them for granted and they will be relegated to the
"exclusion principle" status when it comes to public policy and governance
under the PNM.
The public must understand that the current labour crisis originated with
an ex tempo promise Manning made to the workers during last election.
This crisis should serve notice to future politicians that they cannot
just vent idle promises to people just to get their vote. People's lives
and well-being are very serious matters and all politicians of every elk
must be made to take the people seriously.
"Magnum Est P.N.M. Et Pravalebit--- Great is the P.N.M. and It Shall
Prevail" maybe the time-tested logo of the PNM but the working, dissed
masses, the proletariat today are much greater and stronger than the
current PNM-Manning regime and if Manning does not change his anti-masses
public policy position then the masses/people/workers will prevail
instead. Be fore-warned, Mr. Prime Minister. You are not all powerful.
On the other hand, Basdeo Panday only has to mouth/shout racism and racial
discrimination by and from the PNM to rally his supporters and
constituents around the UNC flag.Panday does not have to prove any such
allegations--- the words speak volumes as to his real, sinister, covert
Panday is also skillfully and slickfully using the politics of race card
in order to conceal the overt ineptitude and corrupt nature of his regime
while in office.
The use of the politics of race is Panday's weapon to make sure that his
supporters do not vote for "those people" in the PNM. This is his ploy to
manipulate, deceive and control them. It is also working like a charm; so
far, so good.
In this current genre of politics in TnT, it seems that the only logical
conclusion that can be drawn is that Panday just wants to carry the title
of Prime Minister one more time before he disappears and rides into the
political retirement sunset, while Manning just wants to go down in
history as the Second Father of the Nation. It is just that simple as far
as these two politicians are concerned. They couldn't care less about the
majority of the people; they only care about themselves and their minor
The fact of the matter is that between the politics of fear and the
politics of race, the people of TnT are the only expendable scapegoats.
This is the sad legacy of the current state of politics in this country.
The PNM's politics of fear and the UNC's politics of race are the endemic,
vicious duo to facilitate and prolong the reality, albeit agony, of
political recidivism in TnT. There's got to be a better way for WE the
people of TnT. Electoral mammaguy, pappyshow and congosa must be
expunged from TnT politics.
In the final analysis, we the people--- the voting citizens of TnT must
make sure and ensure that politicians do not use any and all means
necessary just to get into public office.
Intimidation in any form/shape must be eradicated from the electoral
landscape of TnT.
Truth be Told: At this crucial juncture in the political history of TnT,
what this country needs is not politicians who refuse to act as
responsible public servants but responsible public servants who refuse to
act as irresponsible politicians.
Put another way, TnT needs public officials who are dedicated, committed
and sworn to serve and maximize the basic human needs of the people at
the national, macro level and not private politicians who are dedicated,
committed and sworn not only to maximize their personal interests but also
the vested interests of their cronies, financial backers and "parasitic
oligarchies" at the national micro level.
Whether it is the politics of fear or the politics of race, my fellow
Trinbagonians, the bottom-line is still : "We living in jail."
And neither the nuttin PNM nor the corrupt UNC holds the key to release
the citizens from this jailed position. To be more specific and precise,
this writer is firmly convinced that the leaders of these parties have
lost the key and are now using phony duplicates when it comes to the
conceptualization, formulation and implementation of public policy and
governance in TnT , especially where crime and personal security/safety
matters are concerned.
The leaders of the PNM and UNC do not have the slightest clue as to how
to deal with these matters. In this regard, there seems to be a symbiotic
relationship between incompetence, stupidity and wait-and-see attitude.
Truth be Told: TnT has been wearing the same political khaki pants for far
too long.Now is the right /opportune time for a political wardrobe
change.Having used unreliable, untrustworthy, deceiving, reneging and
tarnished detergent every five years, the citizenry have finally realized
that the political khaki pants still stinks.
The citizens have finally realized that they have to and must use a
different kind of detergent next election time around, if not sooner.
Change gotta come.
Truth be Told. Since Prime Minister Manning has not only turned his back
and dissed LNG workers but also reportedly instructed the
USA-California-based TNE not "to pay that type of money to workers", he
must be warned that these very same workers, voting citizens of TnT, will
turn their finger at him during the next election (or sooner) a la
cricket empire Billy Bowden.
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").
Dr. Nantambu is Professor Emeritus at Kent State University, U.S.A. His
e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org).
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