Veritas has posted about Jamaica’s infatuation with the People’s National Party, The post, not surprisingly is with regards to the Estimates of Expenditure of the 2012 to 2013 budget.
Of particular concern is the $19.4 billion tax package outlined by the Minister. Taking careful aim, Phillips applied the GCT to everything from milk, to crackers, to saltfish, even patties – while lowering the overall rate of the GCT by 1%. The tax on electricity, which was to have been abolished as promised by the PM herself, was expanded; printed material, the telecoms sector, the tourism sector – all taxed. Coupled with this massive tax package was a public sector wage freeze. The stage seemed set for riots and demonstrations, as was the case in 2009, when then Minister Shaw outlined a similar tax package. Instead, there has been little more than murmurings of discontent at the tax burden and a quiet acceptance of the wage freeze by public sector groups. I was stunned. What was so different when Shaw had proposed these measures? All hell had broken loose then, why not now? And then it hit me, this is PNP country. Jamaica is in bed with the PNP, and like an abused spouse, we silently bear the beatings, because surely Mama P loves us, a dats why she beat wi.
So a politician lied. Why is Veritas surprised? He is surprised because the country has given up. When the Greeks got screwed over, they knew what to do. From Chris Hedges:
Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. They know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.
Fuck with the Greeks, and they’ll get all Spartan on you ass.
But there is something that doesn’t sit well with me when I read Veritas’ article. The idea that Jamaica was PNP country only makes sense if a majority of the Jamaican population votes for the PNP. And with a voter turnout at the general election of 53% and a local government voter turnout of 34.5% I think its safe to say that the majority of Jamaicans aren’t really concerned about the political process. Hell, I ‘d put forth that the majority of Jamaican people really don’t care much about anything.
Well, there is something Jamaican’s do care about. Themselves. Everybody is an individual now, just compare Michael Manley back in 1972 with the 1988 version. When the Berlin Wall came down, and American consumer capitalism and Mont Pelerin style neoliberal governance came to dominate the Western world, all hope for a democratic socialist utopia got dashed and scattered like a boardhouse after Hurricane Gilbert. A simple glance at the number of scandals that the PNP took part in during from 1988 to 2001 will show that they have gone from being a socialist party to a kleptocratic, Machiavellian, political machine.
But doesn’t that describe all Jamaicans at this point? A non-ideological herd, struggling apart, yet alone together Go to any verandah, street corner, university or workplace and ask Jamaican people what they believe. Blackness, socialism, capitalism and other ideologies aren’t even on the radar. What we have are a nation of people that believe… nothing. Want nothing. Hope nothing. Expect nothing. Dream nothing. Desire nothing. Lets use the old Olympic test. Here’s the defining image of 1968:
Things wont change until someone gives Jamaicans something worth believing in. Because just like the PNP, we sure don’t seem to believe in each other, even though every man believes in himself.