I ended the previous article in this series with the suggestion that no one has suffered more because of the presumed ‘inerrancy and infallibility’ of professor Sir Hilary Beckles’ “Western scholarship” than his family, especially his son Rodney.
And to support this claim I cited the seemingly paranoid, perverse reason the prominent Pan Africanist Sir Hilary gave the Barbadian media and public to defend his decision to send Rodney to a well known, predominantly-white-Barbadians-controlled-and-attended primary school: according to media reports, he said it was to spy on white people, basically.
I maintain that this explanation by Sir Hilary when his parenting was subjected to scrutiny predicted or foreshadowed his son Rodney’s later illegal drug usage and killing of his friend Khalil Campbell in January 2007.
To be clear, I am not saying that either Beckles Jr’s illegal use of marijuana, for which he was not tried, or his killing of Campbell, for which he faced a murder charge and was acquitted, were inevitable.
I am simply asserting the widely evident fact that illegal drug usage and extreme violence are part of a pattern or continuum of behaviours and situations that may, in Rodney’s case, legitimately raise questions about Sir Hilary’s and Lady Beckles’ parenting competence.
A similar predictability is behind Aristotle’s much quoted assertion: “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will show you the man.”
‘Professor’ Viola Davis, Chancellor in the school of life that I am still attending, framed the equation more poignantly, as she commented on short-sighted, petty political machinations by David Comissiong, one of Beckles’ key reparations crusading allies, ahead of the fateful 2001 UN Conference.
Quoting the ancient Heraclitus, consciously or unconsciously, Davis told me “Character is destiny.”
My focus is the kind of seeds of distrust and suspicion that were sown in the infant Beckles’ mind, and how these sour seeds or bitter beliefs may have borne fruit in the tragic, lethal outcome of a dispute which, according to at least one news report of the time, may have begun as a case of good natured teasing by Campbell about the shoes Beckles Jr was wearing.
More broadly, I am not only concerned with the normaliszation but, and more acutely, the ‘domestication’ of what 2016 Labour Party leadership challenger Angela Eagle has called the “politics of grievance” and particularly the mixed messages that rote recitation of such rhetoric sends to ‘Labour children’.
In other words, I am concerned about the conscience corrupting, mind poisoning potency of the economic historian Beckles’ and other Labour ideologues’ insufficiency rhetoric in child rearing, familial contexts.
Labour predictability and self-fulfilling prophecy
In the previous article I noted that like Sir Hilary, both former Labour leader Tony Blair and his prominent Jamaican-descended colleague Diane Abbott have been publicly criticised for socialism-preaching-but-not-practising school choices.
I think it can be reasonably stated that there is some kind of vision blurring blot or disconnect around Labour politicians’ understanding of and attitude toward scholarship.
And while prime minister Blair may be viewed as having sought to address this political-pedagogical disconnect or dysfunction, with his “aspirational” New Labour project, his deputy Lord Prescott’s ambivalent attitude toward education probably provides one of the worst examples of this dysfunction’s tragic efficacy – possibly only surpassed by Blair’s Pentecostal excursions.
In his autobiography, ‘A Journey’ the Constantinian complex afflicted Blair shares details of a visit to a Black Church Conference in Brighton where he got “drunk with the spirit”, in a manner not entirely dissimilar from his son Ewan’s experience with alcohol a few days previously.
But I cannot fault Blair too heavily for integrationist overtures or mixing his drinks, while denouncing Beckles’, Nigel Farage’s, Trump’s, Louis Farrakhan’s and others’ racial racketeering isolationism.
My concern is to draw attention to the pragmatic problems that arise when your domestic, personal pedagogy and parental discourse is out of sync with your ‘political broadcasting’.
This kind of Blott (Blair-Abbott) phenomenon seems to persistently blur Beckles’ and other fundamentalist Labour preachers’ vision.
It seems to restrict their neuro-ideological airways, obstructing the circulation of rational thought in the domestic sphere, where as any sound socialist knows, it matters first and foremost.
Readers will recall what I first shared in article seven of this series (and quoted in article eight) about the “impracticality of a dualistic, ambivalent British manners matrix that can only ever assure a fragile peace.”
Note also that the “‘too polite’ Norwich-based, lifelong Labour Party supporter” I referred to in that connection is “working in the education field”.
That individual, a head teacher, voted for Clive Lewis on the basis of his proficiency with Labour’s rhetoric of the marginalized, I believe.
In fact, as I recall, when I asked that educator why he/she was voting for Lewis, he/she simply said something like “Ooh, I could never vote Tory!” (I use the gender referent ‘he/she’ to protect the individual’s identity.)
And I seem to recall that top level educator shuddering as those words were spoken, clearly showing deep revulsion at even the idea of voting Tory.
This apparent instinctiveness or automaticity of response underscores the point I am making here about the rote-like, robotic or Corbottic (inspired by the political collaborations of Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott) character of Labour discipline and indoctrination.
Or, in a word, its predictability.
And I should note here that in my mind Aristotle’s prophetic formulae is associated with Roman Catholic indoctrination more than ancient Greek philosophy.
Perhaps that is one reason why in April last year I told Dr Michael Nibblet of the University of Warwick that I see little difference between some universities’ and churches’ pedagogy.
Indeed, from my perspective, even the antagonistic, fundamentalist atheist AC Grayling’s New College of the Humanities project can be construed as a psychologically self-alienated and socio-linguistically short-sighted and ill-fated religious venture, possibly having less to do with that Western scholar’s academic ambitions than with childhood trauma suffered in Gambia or Malawi.
But more pertinently, my preoccupation with the Roman Catholic Church (lets call it a preoccupation for the moment) has to do with Catholicism’s links to Sir Hilary, my local MP Lewis, the University of Illinois and the previously mentioned Barbados-sown, globally grown criminal conspiracy in which they and other persons and institutions are implicated.
Actually, as with the Labour Party, through a letter before action sent to its London-based Bishops Conference, I have informed the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales that I am considering legal action against it.
Sadly, like the Labour Party, the Bishops led by Cardinal Vincent Nicholls have so far spurned my proactive attempts to address the issues undermining authentic, frank and mutually respectful Christian fellowship between them and I, and in turn, between myself and other believers, especially in the local Catholic community.
I am particularly concerned about the state of relations between myself and members of Norwich Justice and Peace, especially longstanding members Pamela Lowe, Colin Allen and Isabel Ingram, as I informed the Catholic Safeguarding officer for our diocese, Michael (Mick) Thurley.
And the behaviour of the Catholic Bishops has only intensified my concerns for J&P members and other Norfolk Catholics’ wellbeing, because unlike the Labour Party, the Bishops have so far failed to even formally acknowledge letters before action that I began sending them by both post and email in June last year.
The Bishops seem instead to be banking on silence, which as Verene Shepherd, one of Beckles’ academic colleagues has pointed out, is one of the deadliest weapons in the arsenal of an assassin.
They seem to be banking on the killer instinct that makes Donald-Trump-like demagogues treat politics, religious or otherwise labelled, like a zero sum game.
And I feel obliged to note the silence here too of Unite the Union General Secretary Len McCluskey.
He too appears to have decided that the best response to my proactive attempts at constructive, conciliatory dialogue is a party political, placebo-like non-engagement policy.
But I and other silence scrutinizing alchemy assessing semanticists are mindful that where silence can be curative and healing in one social context, in another it can be destructive of civilized engagement.
As science writer Jo Marchant and others may attest, it can lead to a poisonous, communicable continuum of death.
And I have been tracking such a semantic series of deaths (including the sudden death of Norfolk County Council executive Harold Bodmer and the similarly ‘unnatural’ death of Labour MP Jo Cox), in Barbados, England and elsewhere, for some time now, and very carefully.
And my heart’s desire is to prevent any more mad Maox (Thomas-Mair-killing-Cox) misanthropic, misinterpretation of ‘the times and the seasons’ (Acts 1:7).
My main concern here, as indicated previously, is to prevent any further assassination of character or shipwrecking of human potential through deliberate or unintended distortions of faith or ideology.
It is to prevent the predictable destruction of life and distortion of ‘intellectual property’ by the globally influential, presumably well-meaning but deeply flawed and fallible scholar Beckles, my local MP Lewis and others implicated in the afore mentioned decades old criminal conspiracy against me.
And as I indicated in a Facebook post recently, while no doubt causing some strain in relations between myself and members of the Catholic Church, the Labour Party and other entities, I expect my crusade for justice to benefit those entities ultimately.
Responding to predictably snide, cynical comments by one of Lewis’ supporters in the local Muslim community I wrote “And the really great thing about this is that not only will a stronger, more unified Labour Party emerge when our work is done, THE WHOLE LANDSCAPE OF BRITISH, BARBADIAN, AMERICAN, CANADIAN and other national political-ecological systems will be transformed for the better.”
Sadly, that selective silence supporting Muslim skeptic seems too infatuated with Lewis, who he claims to have interacted with personally, to grasp the idea that like Beckles’, the Norwich South MP’s ‘scholarship’ (such as it is) could be wrecked by his human fallibility.
Like others in Norfolk’s Jewish, Christian and other religious communities who have endorsed the veteran trade unionist Lewis, his Muslim ally seems intent on portraying me as a ‘crank’ and my fight for justice as a “grand delusion” and exercise in futility.
But discerning readers will agree that like Liggins’ clearly prejudiced view of me, that Muslim detractor’s attitude merely exposes his commitment, conscious or unconscious, to Beckles’ and Lewis’ self-fulfilling prophecies about me.
Like Beckles and others who see the world through a perverse blacks versus whites and vice versa lens, that Muslim will probably continue to see what he expects to see – perhaps until a deeper revelation of Allah’s party politics transcending ways sets him free.
Reaping and sowing globally and inter-generationally
As previously stated, I view Sir Hilary as a tragic hero.
A man for whom I once had such high regard that I asked him to write a foreword to my book, The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled, I now view with a mixture of modest admiration, suspicion and embarrassment.
Not surprising if you accept my historical perspective, which implicates him, along with ‘publisher emeritus’ Harold Hoyte, broadcaster Vic Fernandes, journalists David Ellis, Kaymar Jordan, Julius Gittens, politicians Donville Inniss, Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur and other influential Barbadians, as key catalysts in the conscious or unconscious, direct or indirect propagation of mind poisoning, character defaming pedagogies, the fruits of which are suspicion, cynicism and social volatility.
I have focused on the fallibility of ‘Labour’ politics and scholarship here.
But the catholicity of justice and peace perverting politics, whether labelled ‘Conservative’, capitalist, Democratic or any other denomination is not lost on me.
Coming from Barbados, where capital and labour, truth and falsehood, faith and doubt may merge imperceptibly, I have earned ‘First Class Honours’ in the study of political complexity.
That is why in 2001, with a prescience not unlike that of the economist Pettifor, whose education at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa enabled her to predict the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis, I warned my Pan Africanist colleagues of the folly of pushing a reparation for trans-Atlantic slavery narrative without serious consideration of the role of Africans as slave traders, not just as slaves.
And while I had no direct contact with Beckles during Barbados’ preparation for the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), it seems clear to me that I was a target of his indirect aggression.
Looking retrospectively, I see traces of the anger Sir Hilary unleashed on me at a University of the West Indies reception, in the reasoning he offered for sending his son to a predominantly white private school, rather than a government run one.
The UWI reception followed a public lecture at the Cave Hill Campus, possibly delivered by former British Prime Minister and cricket enthusiast Sir John Major.
Oblivious to the protocol dictating room temperature for the intake of red wine, I made the churlish ‘mistake’ of asking for a few blocks of ice to chill mine.
Well, you might think that I had insulted his mother (or poked fun at his shoes?), the way the goodly professor responded.
He could hardly find words to express his distress and outrage at my socialite’s offence!
I thought he was on the verge of an apoplectic fit.
And as the look of embarrassment on one of his colleague’s face expressed, this overreaction said more about the character of the man than my plebe-like faux pa said about me.
Like the explanation of his school choice for Rodney, that outburst exposes the predictably self-destructive perversity of professor Beckles’ pedagogy, and point not only to a corrupting of Rodney’s conscience by his father from a very young age, but to the corruption of Beckles’ own conscience over many years.
It points to or predicts the cynicism of that sage.
And following this familial economic forecasting lead, it is difficult to see the thinking Beckles outlined for his school choice as anything but a rationalization of abuse of the infant Rodney’s conscience.
I see it as a cynicism inducing, deeply damaging manipulation of Rodney’s moral compass, much in the same way that fundamentalist atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews Muslims, Socialists and other inflexible ideologues brain wash children and adolescents, making them Jihadis.
Moreover, I believe that the innocence violating, pessimistic priming of a child to see the world through a divisive, paranoid racial lens that is implied by Beckles reasoning, is no less child abuse than the sexual grooming or priming that perverted, predatory Catholic priest paedophiles have excelled in.
In either case the innocence of the child is corrupted and his or her life blighted by assaults on their youthful openness and optimism, the basis of social resilience and wholesome socialisation generally.
Still, what we have here, basically, is evidence of professor Beckles’ poisonous pedagogy poisoning his own son’s mind, possibly irreversibly.
And the possible finality of such damage is indicated by Rodney’s age.
He would have only been four or five years old at the time, the standard ages of primary school entry in Barbados, as in the UK, the US and indeed most countries.
And I have certainly seen the fruit of such insipid inoculation in religious settings, where believer’s are bound-in by distrust of any but those in the upper echelons of their own doctrinal edifices.
The “Fear Factor”, as Barbadian businessman Dick Stoute has called it, operates cyclically, like ‘Labour discipline’, to deny both young and old desired relief.
Beckles jaundiced journey
Now, am I saying that the socialism preaching Sir Hilary and Lady Beckles set out to shipwreck their son’s social conscience and maroon his life chances?
I am saying that on a balance of probabilities, the tragic events of January 2007, when Rodney Beckles killed Khalil Campbell in a reputed Jamaican drug den was predictable because of the kind of fundamentalist, anal retentive, anti-social programming that Rodney was subjected to by his probably well-meaning, possibly over-protective daddy.
Moreover, I am saying that the negative, suspicion breeding racial programming that produced that particular instance of privately catastrophic black-on-black violence for the Beckles and Campbell families is characteristic of Jamaica’s labour party dominated political discourse generally.
It is part of the ‘ambient terror’ that many Jamaicans have come to accept as part of their everyday existence.
And I am saying that the ‘whites blaming’ that professor Beckles and others in Jamaica’s, Barbados’ and other Caribbean countries’ educational and political directorates excel in prevents them from addressing the black-to-black trust deficits that are a key component of that climate of fear.
In “The Destruction Of Black Civilization”, Chancellor Williams addressed this kind of trust deficit, albeit on a ‘macro economic’, continental scale.
In his “Overview” he wrote about the consequences of conflict and environmentally occasioned social fragmentation and isolation in the Sudan and elsewhere in Africa.
He wrote “Disunity and mutual suspicion became an African way of life. Small chiefdoms sprang up everywhere, often no more than a village of one or two hundred people.”
What I would have readers note here is how this same description of, lets call it, the political landscape, can be transferred to other parts of the world with little or no modification.
Is not what Williams is describing here a feature of all human society?
We will have disagreements from time to time, and these may lead to a parting of ways and leave lingering doubts and fears.
Some disputes will be explosive, and like the Beckles-Campbell bust-up in 2007, end fatally.
Grudges may even be held in seemingly less serious cases and, as between the sons of Abraham, Jews and Muslims, be sustained indefinitely.
What is Brexit, if not a manifestation of Britain’s perennial discomfort with its European neighbours’ proximity.
What about Scottish longing for independence or Anglo-Irish conflict?
Then there is the fragile peace between Indians and Pakistanis?
Do these conflicts differ from those among Africans fundamentally?
Are black people more tribal than any other people?
Are we less appreciative of the benefits of unity?
I think not.
Indeed, as I explained during a talk I delivered at the University of East Anglia some years ago, as part of a project called Aftershock, it seems to me that black people give other races credit for our strengths and weaknesses with equal ease.
And in doing so, we rob ourselves of agency.
I cite the notorious letter of the British slave owner Willie Lynch to explain what I mean.
Many blacks, especially American blacks cite Lynch’s letter to explain black-on-black distrust and mutual destruction.
They see black-to-black suspicion and violence as an outworking of Lynch’s advice to plantation owners to set father against son, daughter against mother, husband against wife and so on.
But as I asked my audience at the UEA’s Sainsbury Centre, don’t those kinds of disagreements and divisions occur naturally?
Why then exalt the infantile sociopath Lynch to the status of an evil genius?
Small children in the home and school playground can run rings around parents and teachers, demonstrating proficiency in Lynch-like divide and rule strategies to a polished degree.
My children play mummy against daddy and vice versa naturally.
The point I want to impress on readers is that if we truly develop the cognitive and affective composure and flexibility needed to resolve conflict peacefully, rather than just aping or rotishly reproducing the external forms (especially the words) of that composure and flexibility we cannot help but use those social cohesion building skills with everybody.
We will not differentiate between persons of varying colours, classes or creeds when we are mindful of the fallibility of all human beings.
Empathy, our salvation always: empathy
I can understand why Beckles who spent his crucial, characteristically volatile adolescent years growing up in England, where he was a part of its minority black community, might feel such “mental toughening” of his infant son had some validity.
However, Beckles was then living in Barbados, where the majority black and minority white populations had over centuries, with some difficulty, crafted a kind of mutual accommodation.
There has long been a kind of ‘unofficial apartheid’ on the island, that both sides tolerated, and even exploited, for their own ends.
A rough outline of the arrangement is evident in the domination of politics by black Barbadians, while white Barbadians dominated in the commercial field.
That is a simplification, of course, because in addition to slave ownership by free Blacks like Joseph Rachell and Rachel Pringle, dominance politically or commercially is a matter of perception.
Political office and commercial wealth, like pretty much everything else in life derive their power from the faith we put in them.
And it seems clear to me that faith, whether defined in religious or secular terms is one of the “fundamental forces”, to quote Pettifor, that drive economies at both the macro and micro levels.
This is the power of the ‘placebo affect’ that is evident both in the fields of physical and mental health, as Marchant, author of the book ‘Cure’ may agree.
And the Marxism minded Beckles seems to have put an extraordinary amount of trust in political and commercial dominance to the detriment of his family – especially the wellbeing of his elder son Rodney.
And let me be clear, again, that I am not without sympathy for Sir Hilary.
Heaven’s knows what he may have gone through as a child in the rural parish of St Andrew at the hands of whites there.
Likewise, I can only imagine how challenging life may have been for him when, at 13 years old, his family moved to England.
But if the goal of scholastic attainment is to maximize individual human potential and in turn the collective enrichment of society, something is sadly amiss when the Vice Chancellor of the Caribbean’s foremost university shows signs of malevolently nursing childhood and adolescent injuries.
Something is sadly amiss when an internationally celebrated educator appears to suffer a Trump-like deficit of empathy.
Why would anyone model UWI or any other educational institution on the ill-fated “Trump University”?
In his best known book, The Destruction Of Black Civilization, African-American social historian and writer Chancellor Williams offers a very useful, albeit fallible, problematic analysis of ‘Western scholarship’, which he treats as a fundamentally white racist preserve.
In this instalment of my Mouth of the Beast series of articles, I will be examining the scholarship of one particularly prominent ‘Western scholar’, professor Sir Hilary Beckles, currently the Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.
As the title suggests I will be doing a kind of cost-benefit analysis of Beckles’ scholarship, assessing the extent to which the University of Hull trained economic historian’s career has been a blessing and blight to himself, to fellow Barbadians and other Caribbean people and, given his international prominence, to the global community.
And here I must declare an interest: Sir Hilary’s ‘scholarship’ is a crucial focus of legal and other actions I am pursuing in an effort to rehabilitate or reform relations between myself and Clive Lewis, my local MP and relations with the Labour Party as a whole.
Lewis, and Diane Abbott, both key supporters of the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn are implicated with Beckles and others in a Barbados-sown, globally-grown conspiracy that I have uncovered and am currently mounting an innovative, peculiarly ‘para legal’, fundamentally spiritual response to.
Laura Clower, legal counsel with the University of Illinois (subsequently UofI), knows a bit about the distinctive, idiosyncratic, nature of my para-legal initiative.
She and Linda Schuh, another UofI employee are implicated in the conspiracy because of their role in derailing a business project of which my book, “The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled” (TBBTR) is a primary focus.
But without any forewarning or subsequent explanation, Schuh abandoned talks I was engaged in with her about a Caribbean distribution deal for the Encyclopedia.
Mia Mottley, a former Barbados Minister of Education, and Donville Inniss the island’s current Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development are also implicated, along with Lewis’ former BBC colleague Mike Liggins and other news media personnel in what is primarily a rapacious, selective silencing, soul destroying, psychological assault on my and other’s intellectual property and related human rights and entitlements.
In my case, the assault has been sustained for more than 20 years, depriving me of significant material, fleshy fruit or practical proceeds of my labours.
Beckles and others, especially his fundamentalist feminist, Judeo-Christian, Muslim and other religion racketeering co-conspirators, simultaneously consumed my political capital, while insisting that I “have nothing professional to offer”, as British-Barbadian writer Nailah “Charmaine Gill” Imojah, a professing Rastafarian writer once asserted.
In what was supposed to be a conciliation meeting, overseen by poet Esther Phillips, Imojah made that offensive assertion even as she basked in acclaim achieved by hijacking a poetry-Jazz music project I had been developing in 1997.
My article Fundamentalist Feminism, located here, gives details of the long-running dispute I have with Imojah or ‘Lie-e-lah’ as I sometimes call her, and other Barbadian gender, race and religion racketeers.
And readers should note that like “The Donald” whose use of the word “democracy” is based primarily on theories and masks an aversion to the concept, “The Beckles'” use of the term “reparatory justice” borders on parody.
From my vantage point he has distinguished himself in international academic and political circles as a champion and defender of workers’ and human rights by disenfranchising other knowledge traders.
Similarly, Sir Hilary refuses to admit his scholarly fallibility and complicity in intellectual property rape and other professorial profiteering at my and others’ expense, even as he calls for reparatory justice, based on Britain’s profiteering at the expense of Africans and their descendants and as he denounces the “grotesque inequalities” (his mate Corbyn’s favourite catch phrase) and rape-like atrocities of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its colonial legacies.
As Beckles and others, including the Commonwealth Secretariat Human Rights port folio holder, Jamaican Karen Mckenzie preach against slavery and colonialism related atrocities and their legacies, they have turned both a deaf ear and a blind eye to my and others’ human rights, apparently.
I am being forced to take legal action because Beckles and his Western scholarship corrupting, workers’ human rights trampling co-conspirators have resisted numerous efforts to get reparatory justice redress for their violations of my knowledge worker rights in a more amicable, non-litigious manner.
And I should also make it clear from the outset that I am not acting for my own or my family’s sake only.
I am taking a stand for the millions of knowledge traders and other persons, working in both formal and informal education sectors, whose lives are being adversely affected by the scholarly and other fallibilities and human rights perversions of Beckles, Lewis and the Labour Party, through its international connections.
Just as Beckles is a key focus but not the only object of my concern about the corruptibility or fallibility of Western scholarship, so too I am not the only target or victim of his and his conscious or unconscious co-conspirators’ academic anomalies and perversions.
The Barbados-sown, globally grown conspiracy that I am responding to spans the fields of politics, religion, academia, commerce and the media in several states, and adversely affects persons in many countries, including Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, India-Pakistan, the UK. the US, Canada, France, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Brazil and Israel.
And that global configuration of the conspiracy is at least partly because poisonous elements of Beckles’ and others’ reverse racist Pan Africanist pedagogy are being disseminated by mainstream and marginal academic, media, trade union and related political channels around the world.
And I believe we have seen one of the consequences of the conspirators’ “sad, cynical, success” in the triumph of White Supremacist racial separatist Donald Trump over the utopian integrationist Hillary Clinton, in their battle for the White House.
But long before the Clinton-Trump or Clump capitalist catastrophe that I and others forecasted, much of the groundwork for that and other widely publicized, profoundly problematic, potentially pyric victories (like Brexit) was laid in unreported acts and secret pacts that predicted the present precarious state of not only Barbadian, British and American scholarship but all Western education systems.
Plagiarism and other forms of academic impersonation and identity theft that disembowel intellectual effort and promote a false dichotomy between knowledge workers’ “word and flesh” are ‘destroying’ (I am more inclined to say devaluing or distorting) all civilization, not just Africans’ and their descendants’.
How many white British and other Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) knowledge workers (like myself) who are residing in the former BBC Norfolk employee Lewis’ Norwich South constituency are being raped (not represented), because of superficially progressive but profoundly backwards, retrogressive, conscious or unconscious Beckwis (Beckles-Lewis) knowledge economy distortions and perversions?
Based on long-standing, ongoing personal contact not only with Barbadians but also with the Norwich branch of the Roman Catholic Church’s Justice and Peace commission, the local Muslim community and persons who identify themselves by various gender, racial, religious or other labels, or none, I can name several persons who are being adversely affected by Beckwis’ deeply flawed, supremely self-serving knowledge economy forecasting.
I have been trying to draw attention to the perverse, selective silencing, truth distorting racial reasoning of professor Beckles and other economic historians since at least 2001, when he, Mottley, politician David Comissiong and others gave Barbados the dubious distinction of being the principle national sponsor of trans-Atlantic slavery reparations, at the cumbersomely labelled World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance (subsequently WCAR).
And I have the dubious distinction of having supported their efforts, although I fundamentally disagreed with them on the issue of African fallibility and complicity in the Maafa, as the seismic tragedy of tran-Atlantic slavery and colonialism is sometimes called.
But it seems that I am rather more comfortable with admitting my shortcomings and fallibility than Beckles, Lewis and others.
It certainly seems to have been Williams’ salvation as he not only studied the forces behind the destruction of black civilization but apparently engaged with them in his own work.
I believe that his salvation, such as it was, stemmed from a profound sense of empathy that allowed him to engage with others’ corrupting, destructive flaws and fallibility from a position not only of forthrightness, calling a spade a spade, but also one of forgiveness and compassion.
And being no less empathetic than Williams, let me be the first to say that such conscientiousness is an endlessly difficult balancing act.
But no less committed to reparatory justice than Beckles, even as I denounce his shortcomings in the strongest terms possible, I am aware that like another University of Hull trained economic historian, Lord (John) Prescott and former Labour leader and British prime minister Tony Blair, Beckles is also a tragic hero of sorts.
Barbadians are certainly familiar with the scandals that have plagued his pursuit of excellence.
Williams’ racial characterization of Western scholarship was probably more accurate in 1971, when TDoBC was first published than it is today, when well established, tenured black scholars like Beckles, professor Richard Drayton and others routinely challenge the racist privileging of their white counterparts’ opinions.
And some white scholars, like Martin Bernal, have also built on Williams’ white prejudice and privilege challenging work, especially in the area of African Studies.
There is also a considerable body of West-raised or acculturated Asian scholars, who add to the complexity of the picture.
Indeed, Williams’ warnings about “Asian imperialism” and “Arabs’ white superiority complex” (page 34) are particularly pertinent today, not least because of the current state of these groups’ global presence and the economic and political influence they exert.
Note, for example, the election of Sadik Khan as Mayor of London.
And what about China and India’s strategic investments in African economies?
Williams wrote “Asian imperialism, though rarely ever mentioned, was, and still is even more devastating for the African people than that of either Europe or America. The Arabs’ white superiority complex is not one whit less than that of Europe or America, although their strategy of ‘brotherhood’ deceives naive Blacks.”
Intriguingly, while it may be argued that Williams’ assessment of the extent of America’s white bias is undermined by Barack Obama’s presidency, it can also be argued that Obama’s Asian “association”, projected both by the Kenyan-Irish descended American’s brown skin and his Muslim affiliations affirm Williams’ essential argument.
However my main purpose here is to address the corruptibility and fallibility of all scholarship, whether labelled Eastern or Western, Northern or Southern, and irrespective of the race, religion, gender or any other label of those who generate its contradictory leisures and ledgers.
I have previously expressed concerns about perennial tensions between Blacks and Asians as I have personally experienced them in a Barbadian context, through my interactions with the politically and economically well-connected matriarch Philomena Mohini Harris’ family.
And among Barbadians the alleged ‘dead chicken deviance’ of Caribbean commercial powerhouse Ram Mirchandani is a matter of folklore.
Moreover, I remain concerned about post 9/11 and 7/7 Anglo-American surrender of impartiality and objectivity, as arguably excessive soft diplomacy concessions were made to India and other Asian countries, validating VS Naipaul’s, Narendra Modi’s and others’ Islamaphobia and correspondingly extreme Hindu nationalist reactions.
However, I have no interest in endorsing or otherwise advancing Donald Trump and Peter Thiel-recalling divide and rule analyses or strategies, regardless of whether Williams or anyone else endorses or advances them.
Indeed, I think it is safe to say that based on what has gone before in this series of articles, it should be clear that while I remain a committed Pan Africanist like Beckles and Comissiong, I am a radical Pan Humanist first.
It should be clear that while I see some validity in the notion of ‘whiteness’ being normative, in many Western formal and informal educational and socializing contexts, as recently argued by another Williams-like apologist, black American academic Reggie Williams, I do not subscribe to the view that “whiteness” is normative in every scenario.
In article six I recounted a Twitter exchange I had with Williams, where I challenged that racist assumption at the heart of an article entitled “Seeing whiteness”, that the Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary had published in the Christian Post.
As Mottley, leader of the Barbados Labour Party and others have noted, while it is self-evident that “whiteness” is normative in some scenarios, especially in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Europe where white people’s numerical majority as reflected in their domination of mainstream media and academia is still significant, it is not unchallenged.
The veil of whiteness over Western society’s vision and values is rather more porous than Williams imagines.
His vision, apparently shared by Beckles and others whose scholarship seems fundamentally compromised by a neurotic negativity or ‘inadequacy syndrome’ is in fact marred by the kind of generalization or ‘bigly’ thinking that Trump and other gender, race and religious racketeers trade on.
A persistent advocate of the wisdom of small beginnings, I subject all ‘big ideas’ to rigorous scrutiny: not least my own ‘macro economic’ notions.
So, my persistent WCAR-related questioning in 2001 of Barbadian Pan Africanists’ decision not to discuss the involvement of black people in the trans-Atlantic slave trade as traders, rather than just as slaves or slave descendants was a matter of conviction and principle.
Back then, as we prepared for that UN conference, which was hosted by South Africa, I felt that this fraught question of black-on-black abuse and violence is critical to any discussion of reparations.
My insistence that this vexing issue should be frankly discussed by Beckles, Mottley, the former Barbados Government Commission For Pan Affairs Director Comissiong and other government and NGO affiliated persons involved with me in conferences, dialogues and other preparatory activities linked to the WCAR was therefore not personal – certainly not in the petty, base sense of that word.
It was in fact an assertion of my own and other moderate black Barbadian thinkers’ personhood: the personhood of the majority of Barbadians, who choose middle-of-the-road positions not just on trans-Atlantic slavery reparations, but on a range of issues as a matter of course.
Moreover, I was asserting the personhood that every race racketeering extremist, paedophile priest, political con artist, plagiarizing academic and selectively silent journalist attacks not just in their victims, but in themselves, ultimately.
It was an expression of my and their freedom of conscience: our right to see things differently; to disagree.
It was, in fact, an expression of my democratic, human rights, including the right to imagine or believe what I choose to imagine or believe.
My right to be me.
Again, these are precisely the kinds of human rights that Beckles and other Pan Africanists were asserting even as they harassed, undermined, intimidated and threatened me, directly and indirectly.
And they made good on those threats too, as I was pounced on by some of Barbados more rapacious political capital hunting carnivores.
Not only was I declared a spy by Aaron Larrier, the Comissiong sanctioned, self-appointed head of the NGO Committee involved in preparations for the UN Conference.
Additionally, at Larrier’s bidding, the matter was put to a vote, and I was banned from attending that Committee’s private deliberations, which I had freely attend up to that point.
Now, I cannot say that the human rights activist Beckles was responsible for that attack on my human rights definitively.
I cannot say that the UWI Vice Chancellor, a globally prominent champion of reparatory justice was directly responsible for that specific instance of repressive injustice that befell me.
I cannot say with 100% certainty that Beckles, knighted for his services to tertiary education, arts and sport, particularly cricket, the game whose name is a synonym for fairness of thought and balanced, beautiful action, contributed to one of the ugliest, most unfair and imbalanced assaults on Barbados’ democratic heritage and developmental institutions.
But I am clear that the balance of probabilities supports this conclusion.
I am clear, as are many Barbadian and other Caribbean citizens who have followed his career, that over many years, Beckles has consciously or unconsciously modelled an African supremacist version of the Aryan supremacist scholarly fallibility that both he and Chancellor Williams have denounced.
More than this, and this is one reason why I consider Sir Hilary a very tragic hero, however brilliant and successful he may seem academically, discerning observers will agree that his hubris and sociopathic sense of entitlement has made him and members of his family “stars” in a very sad public show.
Indeed, it is apparent that some of the very social bond breaking, black civilization destroying behaviour that Williams has attributed to a “British (and European) philosophy of education” is being manifested by the University of Hull educated Beckles in a very tragic manner.
I have written about his eldest son Rodney’s involvement in the killing of another troubled Pan Africanist, Khalil Campbell previously.
In that article, published some years ago on the US based Pulse Point-Allvoices platform, I made links between that tragedy that unfolded in Jamaica in January 2007, 10 years ago, and the truly extraordinary explanation the social-democracy-preaching Beckles offered for his decision to have that son educated at a majority white Barbadian private school – a Barbadian instance of the parental public school choices by the social-democracy-preaching Abbott and Blair and which generated similar news stories.
According to news reports at the time, Beckles basically said that he sent his toddler son to a private, predominantly white school to spy on whites, with a view to subverting their destruction of black civilization strategies.
Presuming that this is what he actually said and that he actually meant it, that seems like a kind of child abuse to me.
To be continued…
References Why are our kids so miserable?