The Problem with PNP voters. In a 30 second video.

Based PNP.

It used to be that trying to obtain a better life for yourself in Jamaica was like a man running up a down escalator, not realizing that the escalator was running down. You had work ungodly hard just to get where you wanted to go. Well, what if you can’t even get to run up the escalator in the first place? An incident that took place at the People’s National Party rally in Half-Way-Tree on the night of the 31st of January, can be taken as what happens the escalator gets blocked.

The Jamaica Urban Transit Centre’s main Half-Way-Tree bus park is divided into an upstairs and downstairs section. When entering the conference for the first time, one gets of the (usually chartered) bus, walks to upper the section, and towards the centre of the city where the rally is situated. You may also walk to another upper section, the top floor, if you wish to easily get to your bus, or get to Molynes Road. That wasn’t happening about after about 7 in the evening. Police blocked off the stairs. Why? “Councilors and candidates only pass this point!” The upstairs section had then been refashioned to be used as a speech rehearsal room, among other things. So now that we were down, there was no way to get back up to where we were originally. Unfortunately, none of the supports that were with me seemed to get the symbolism of that particular event.

Notice that in the video, the supporters were calling the policemen “Labourites” (the main opposition party is the Jamaica Labour Party). It’s not that the councilors and candidates failed to create a secure area for them to congregate outside of the bus park. It’s not that they failed to realize beforehand that their supporters would need to go up- and downstairs, in the central location of the rally. What we have here is that the typical “die-hard”, not just PNP, voter fails to see that her political actions impact her personal life. The politicians up at the top know that they won’t be blamed for their actions, but that the police would be. They don’t see the need to curry favour with the supporters. They know that once there on top, they’ll stay on top. And that those on the bottom will stay on the bottom.

This is it. The final stretch. No, not for the election on the 25th of February, but final stretch as in final. For all intents and purposes, Jamaicans are now locked in three classes: rich, poor, and broke. Nobody talks about social mobility in Jamaica anymore. Yes, we do talk about education, Business Process Outsourcing jobs that are being created, and other such economic indicators, but those don’t matter. What does matter is that the 100 dollar bill can barely buy what it could 4 years ago, much more 8 years ago. And number of 100 dollar bills in one’s purse or wallet hasn’t changed. That is because our politicians are more focused on giving the IMF and multi-laterals interest on their loans than to be bothered with such silliness like sustained economic growth, stable exchange rates, and whatever. The type of PNP supporter that goes to such a rally simply cannot imagine a better life for themselves, not in the types of leaps and bounds that one sees in the history of nations like South Korea, or post-World War 2 Western Europe. The idea that your wallet can become fatter without having to stand in line at the Western Union or the MoneyGram is an alien concept to them.

What makes The System so perverse is that the typical die-hard PNP supporter cannot see how far he has fallen down the stairs. He doesn’t even realize that there was a staircase in the first place. Voting is more a social event done as a member of a tribe than a form of political action that is a necessity in a functional democracy for those attending these rallies. Tribal peoples don’t react to rational appeals. Splitting and ad hominem attacks are how they engage in political discussion. Those at the top of the staircase make their decisions based on how much more they will get from the next tax cut they will get this time around. After all, when you’re at the top of the staircase, its easy to catch the money when our political leaders decide to give out tax cuts and contracts. But how long the tribe will hold together when there’s no more space downstairs, or when the money stops trickling down is something I don’t want to be around to see.

Peter Bunting is batsh_t crazy

While Nationwide News Network can be generally acknowledged to be useless, there are still a few instances where it serves some purpose. Take for example yesterday,  when they basically did a repeat of the Biography Channel’ Gangsters: America’s Most Evil episode,The Kingston Kingpin: Christopher “Dudus” CokeThey did the usually thing they do in their Cover Story segment. They basically just took large segments of the show and aired it verbatim (do they have the rights for this show?), without any moral judgement, just boring commentary.

This meant that I was able to get most of what the “documentary” was about without any unneeded commentary. And what I got was that Peter Bunting has serious emotional problems stemming fro a desire for approval, perhaps resulting from some childhood trauma, or a lack of attention from his father. In other words, he is batshit crazy. This guy makes “Shady” K.D. Knight seem absolutely sane.

Peter Bunting, looking crazy as fuck
The very picture of mental stability

His batshit craziness revolves around two statements:

  1. That the 2007 -2011 JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) administration was a client of Christopher Coke
  2. That the Attorney General’s Department was under the thumb of Christopher Coke

These two statements are extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence – none which was given, or could be given, by Mr. Bunting. The first claim that was made rests upon two other mini-claims made during the documentary by him and other sources.

The first mini-claim was that the JLP’s electoral campaign was funded by Coke. This is of course , nonsense. No one man has the power to fund the electoral campaign of a major Jamaican political party. Both parties, if they choose, can rely on the much more legitimate funding of the group of capitalists at the heart of their respective parties, local and overseas. They are the refugees of the Jamaica Democratic Party’s failed 1944 campaign, who instead decided to join the two main parties. So you have names like Matalon for the PNP (People’s National Party), and Ashenheim for the JLP. These are men whose wealth and access far exceed that of Mr. Coke. The Ashenheims ran the Gleaner newspaper for nearly 100 years, and the Matalons basically built most of urban Jamaica. These are the people behind the scenes, not some gangster dressed in drag.

Business, Sar?
Business, Sar?

The second mini-claim is that Coke swung the vote for JLP in the 2007 General Election. If all it took for the JLP to win elections was for a Coke to swing the vote, then they would not have had lost an election since the days of  Lester “Jim Brown” Coke. The PNP got booted out due to a middle class electoral being tired of scandals, corruption and incompetence. If the Trafigura scandal was the snowball, then the Cuban light bulb scandal was the avalanche that got an apathetic middle class running for the polls. That is not something that Coke, or the JLP, could have had orchestrated.

The idea that Coke could have had manipulated the Attorney General’s Department is libelous at worst. But this is to be contested, as such claim is unsupported by subsequent investigations.

Most of these things are common knowledge to most Jamaicans,yet Mr. Bunting chose to make a fool of himself on a “documentary.” And I use the term “documentary” loosely because the structure of the program is not one that is geared toward education, but one for entertainment.

  • The use of the quick, MTV-style jump cuts that do not linger on a scene for more than 10 seconds,
  • the rapid-fire comments from the “interviewees”, the preference of phrases over paragraphs,
  • the deep voice of the interviewer to suggest authority, who produces “Dudus”as “Doo-Doos” in a basso profundo baritone
  • the use of theme music to create a leitmotif

These are all techniques that serve to manipulate a viewer into thinking that what he is watching is a serious work of journalism, when it is really nothing more than a cheap ripoff of BET’s (Black Entertainment Television’s) American Gangster. Does anybody really expect that the complex history of the intermingling of crime and politics in Jamaica could be explained in one hour, minus 12 minutes for sponsors?

Apparently Mr. Bunting did, which is what makes a him a complete nut. Could you imagine Michael Manley, Edward Seaga, P.J. Patterson or Bruce Golding appearing on a trash program like this? No, we cannot, because we still think of these men as serious intellectuals who would not degrade themselves to appearing on some trash documentary with mediocre ratings. We used to think the same of Mr. Bunting, but he is apparently a man driven by emotion, not reason. The problem is that his emotions are the type of crazy driver that cuts of 5-ton trucks to get to head of traffic at an intersection.

This is just the latest of Mr. Bunting’s recent insanities. But this should come as no surprise to the average Jamaica, as this is itself the latest stage of Jamaican politics. No longer are our politicians intellectuals who take on the persona of either “The Preacher” (Michael Manley, Alexander Bustamante) or “The Dignitary” (Edward Seaga, P.J. Patterson), but emotional clods who can only (barely) manage, not lead.  And they manage through displays of emotion and and gimmicks, like Last Lick Politics, not through reasonable analysis, sensible ideology, or moral character. This is how we have this fool Bunting , bawling like a little bitch, saying only God can save us, and appearing on trash TV making a fool of himself. Mr Bunting is the new generation of Jamaican politician – the politician not as leaser, but as a cartoon character.

We are all PNP (Personal National Party) members now!!

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:

And here is 2008

High crime rate, police killings, skin bleaching and economic stagnation? Chinese workers committing suicide at Foxconn’s factories? Fuck all that , I’ll take a PUMA contract , thank you very much….

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.