PEP COLUMN: There is a socialist option!
The Barbados that we know today was built by the manual and mental labour and on the backs of the masses of the Barbadian people – 95 per cent of whom are black.
Having built up the major businesses, these same black people have been forced to look on helplessly while wealthy foreign capitalists have snapped up ownership of these major corporations – Barbados Shipping & Trading, the Barbados National Bank, the Insurance Corporation of Barbados, among others.
But, in the face of these dashed hopes, ordinary citizens were still able to console themselves with the thought that although they, or their children, might never own the “commanding heights” of the economy, at least, they possessed outstanding First World-type social services – state provided free education, health services, and a comprehensive social security system.
Well, if we are to judge by the voluminous and insistent mouthings emanating from virtually every sector of the social and political “establishment”, even this badge of honour is about to be removed!
The International Monetary Fund’s Therese Turner-Jones demands that Government institute immediate cuts and limit its social spending to the “most vulnerable parts of society”; Dr Justin Robinson, of the University of the West Indies, declares the time has come for the authorities to “look at providing resources only for the vulnerable in society”, and recommends that education and health care be cut.
And, to avoid any doubt in the matter, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler goes on record and confirms that Government and the IMF are “on the same page” regarding cuts in spending.
What, in fact, these establishment figures are promoting is a conception of society and of the human being that is fundamentally different from the conceptions that have animated the masses of our people during their long centuries of struggle.
In spite of the fact that virtually all of the social and economic progress that Barbados has made over the past 60 years has been achieved on the basis of a programme of “social-democracy” measures and policies, the current ruling elite have determined that the only way to respond to the present economic crisis is to jettison our tried and tested prescription for success, and in its stead, to pursue a neo-liberal capitalist approach in which the traditional private sector elite is placed on a pedestal.
And this is their approach in spite of the fact that the world is facing a massive existential crisis that was produced by the system of neo-liberal capitalism. This has resulted in capitalists and the capitalist ideology being almost universally discredited.
Why then would we permit the facile spokesmen of a discredited ideology to convince us that their “game” is the only game in town?
The PEP rejects this notion, and makes bold to say that there is a “socialist option”.
There is an option that is based on principles of fairness and equality, and that is built around the concept of the masses truly governing themselves and their society.