This article was first published on my Wikinut blog on 2nd Dec 2014.
Both Theresa May and Mia Mottley, the Barbadian labour politics preaching, feminist politician with whom I compare the capitalism championing May here, have become the prime ministers of their respective countries, England and Barbados, since then.
Also note that both women share a birthday, October 1st.
I think the notion of two sharks opportunistically circling their respective prey may be as valid a way of thinking about May’s and Mottley’s leadership as the idea of two protective mother hens shielding their adopted chicks.
The Goddess Kali archetype certainly supports this “bi-polar” understanding of female energy and instincts.
Thoughts of an encounter I had with one of the participants at a British Society of Criminology seminar entitled ‘Women as Victim-Offenders: Negotiating the Paradox’ also come to mind here poignantly.
That experience is recounted in an appeal I made to the parliamentary Women And Equalities Committee here in England recently.
That appeal is focused on the dangers of fundamentalist feminism.
What do English Conservative MP Theresa May and the left-leaning feminist Barbadian politician Mia Mottley have in common?
The May-Mottley post-colonial continuum
It was useful to hear British Home Secretary Theresa May speak of her faith during the Friday, November 28 broadcast of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
Talking about her early life, the vicar’s daughter said everything revolved around the church. She also revealed that contrary to some people’s stereotypical expectations, she did not go through a turbulent period of adolescent questioning and rebellion about her father’s faith.
And in perhaps predictably amenable fashion, the Maidenhead MP who is tipped to be a future prime minister attributed this seemingly gracious, drama-free transition from childhood to adult faith to her parents not forcing their religion on her.
Given the story of ecclesiastical compliance Ms May shared it comes as no surprise that the only ism she supposedly subscribes to is “conservatism”, as she told DID interviewer, Kirsty Young.
But her story also raises a number of issues – including questions about her capacity to facilitate, manage or otherwise come to terms with the radical changes in Christianity and other contemporary religious developments that her party and indeed all of Britain are currently engaging with.
The Guardian’s Paul Vallely, the BBC’s Robert Piggot and Caroline Wyatt and other journalists typically associate these seismic changes with the emergence of Pope Francis I.
But there is an arguably more insightful association the mainstream British media seems either extraordinarily incapable or reluctant to address: the relationship of these controversial religious developments to the triune tensions of British-Barbadian-American power relations.
The BBC’s silence, in particular is a marvel, given the depth of British-Barbadian historical and political relations on one hand, and that organization’s known liberal, labourite leanings and affiliations on the other.
From this writer’s perspective, the suggestion that Piggott, Wyatt and other BBC staff are unaware of the interrelation of Mia Mottley’s, Owen Arthur’s Dennis Kellman’s and other Barbadian politicians’ influence on British politics – especially through their direct or indirect interactions with Dianne Abbott, Chukka Umunna, John Major, Tony Blair and others is as untenable as the suggestion that no one at the BBC could have foreseen (and possibly prevented or limited) the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Moreover, from where I stand, there can be no truly incisive and accurate assessment of contemporary Christian-Muslim conflict, gay marriage, clerical and Parliament-linked paedophilia and other religious developments – and Ms May’s approach to handling such matters – without a proper weighing of her and her British legislation-leading predecessors’ interactions with their post-colonial Barbadian and American counterparts, especially the former Barbados Attorney General Mottley and Eric Holder, May’s American “twin”, until his recent resignation.
From my perspective, Mottley particularly, now leader of the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), is something of a bellwether – or should that be belle-weather – for the interface of global post-colonial gender politics and religion.
Mottley, a notoriously abrasive speaker at times, with a deep, manly voice, is the subject of considerable speculation about her sexual orientation among Barbadians.
The view that she is a lesbian seems to be held by many despite her denial of and successful suing in 2008 of British Magazine Country Life for repeating a claim made in a local calypso song that she sexually assaulted another woman.
Despite her denial of this salacious biting allegation, the story seems to have been widely embraced and become somewhat canonical, like “folk gospel” on the island.
But it isn’t the salaciousness of this story that ties the colourful Mottley to the comparably subdued, conservative May.
It is the Barbados media and wider official silence surrounding that story.
That official silence attests to Barbados’ comparably colonial, ruling-power-obeying “democracy”.
Indeed, retired Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine, who lived in Barbados for a number of years and was defrauded by Barbadian political and business elites links that kind of silence to Barbados’ tenacious clinging to a colonial legislative hang-over, the Official Secrets Act, which has long been abandoned by its British creators and other progressive jurisdictions.
But more than the official silence, it is the silence of Mottley herself about her sexual orientation that aligns her with May as a conservative, compliant, conventional-opinion-observing woman.
The fact is that for all her abrasiveness and daring, exemplified most memorably in her call for the legalization of homosexuality and prostitution in Barbados, Mottley apparently dares not decisively address the one issue that many commentators (including former three-term-winning Barbados prime minister Arthur) apparently believe stands between her and the prime ministerial office she seeks.
On the question of her sexuality, Mottley, like May, maintains an exemplary conservative reserve and reticence.
But like May’s compliant Christian persona, Mottley’s silence on her sexuality, implying that she might subscribe to the conventional Christian heterosexual norm, raises questions about her capacity for the courageous leadership on this considerably complex matter that Barbadians might reasonably expect of a prime minister.
Barbadians might reasonably speculate that if Mottley is not prepared to show leadership on her own behalf as a lesbian woman – if she is indeed of that “persuasion” – how could she be trusted to act in the best interest of other homosexuals?
They might reasonably ask, if Ms Mottley is gay, why with all the gains that have been made in advancing gay rights, would she not acknowledge her lesbian inclination, if she is so inclined?
Why suppress the issue of her sexuality if it might possibly advance the feminist agenda that has been a key component of her political programme?
Might it not have occurred to Ms Mottley that her silence could give the impression of a guilty conscience?
Might it not have occurred to her that her sexual-orientation-silence, like May’s portrayal of conservative-Christian-compliance, might give the impression that beyond all her feminist bluster she is fundamentally ashamed of her sexuality (if she’s gay) and is in fact a coward?
Might she not feel any moral obligation to “man-up”?
Might she not realize that she runs the risk of being labelled a public-pleasing political opportunist who is willing to to essentially sell her soul in pursuit of power?
Indeed, some commentators might argue that it was a Mitt Romney-like-malleability-suggesting-silence behind Mottley’s proposal that homosexuality and prostitution be legalized in Barbados and that she did not give those proposals profound, personal-application influenced thought.
They may see in Mottley’s silence, a change of heart about “gay pride” (her own or others’) that shares the same lack of depth and conviction that may be behind Theresa May’s reported change of heart about gay people adopting children.
This article was posted in a heated Facebook discussion on Margaret Thatcher.
The discussion was started by Clive Ó Mocháin a member of the group British Politics, who posted a picture of Baroness Thatcher and below it the words “Hate figure or effective leader”.
I counted more than 480 responses, many peppered with obscenities, in the first 24 hours of the post.
That Thatcher, like Jeremy Corbin, divides opinion is beyond question.
I posted the following essay in a bid to find a middle-ground.
Nobody’s perfect, and ‘Laddy’ Thatcher may be said to represent humanity at its most fallible and fabulous.
Both her weaknesses and strengths were amplified by the socio-political system that created, sustained and sabotaged her.
She enthusiastically aided and abetted that sabotage by her hubris and vanity.
And the main cost was to her immediate family, especially her children.
Mark Thatcher’s ill-fated imperialist adventure in Africa and Carol Thatcher’s racist behaviour attest to this.
Among her extended family, her ideological “sons” Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Michael Gove, Theresa May and others are especially tragic statements of the folly she accomplished: the perpetuation of an unhealthy, feudal-lords-favoured (and favouring) “Great Britain” myth.
Probably against her maternal instincts and better judgment, she has perpetuated a parasitic, predatory paedophile-like formal and informal “education” system – in which the role of the BBC and other media houses in suppressing open and honest debate and critical thinking are critical.
Contrary to her best intentions she poisoned the milk of human kindness even as she sought to deny murderous, misguided misanthropes the oxygen of publicity.
Britain, at its greatest, is a space in which people are valued on the basis of their humanity, irrespective of their “public” office or status.
It is a country where we all make time for each other, not just for “celebrities”.
Our “greatness”, is best measured by our capacity to care for others, just as we care for ourselves.
Whether British, American, Canadian, Barbadian (like me) or any other nationality, our “greatness” corresponds directly to the level of responsibility we are willing to bear.
It is fundamentally linked to our willingness to bear responsibility for humanity’s
failures in the same way we applaud and identify with its successes.
Lady Thatcher’s American “cousins” George W Bush and Mitt Romney apparently have trouble understanding this Christian “do unto others as…” theory.
Her pragmatic, Indian “brother” Sir VS Naipaul apparently missed the class that explained this nation-building methodology while he was at Oxford University.
Barbadian academics Sir Hilary Beckles, Afrocentric poets Edward “Kamau” Brathwaite and others clamoring for trans-Atlantic slavery reparations from Britain, France and other European nations but not from African nations or tribes that prospered (at least temporarily) from enslaving and trafficking workers seem to have been “educated” just as shallowly.
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe once seemed to have learned this lesson, apparently forgot it for a while, but may be re-learning it again now, if some reports out of Zimbabwe are an accurate indicator of a change in his “blame anyone but me” mentality.
They and the “Iron Lady” apparently missed the memo that explained how all of us – male and female, rich and poor, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim or atheist, capitalist or communist – are all part of the same human family.
They apparently missed the message that because we are all fallible flesh and blood we all need to have humility and show empathy.
So, hate figure or effective prime minister?
The humane, humble and empathetic among us would know that’s a false dichotomy.
Misanthropic mother Maggie was a bit of both, clearly.
From my vantage point though, as a student of gender theory, she will lamentably be remembered mainly as a fundamentalist feminist fantasist: a self-destructive Talibank thinker who in the name of British “greatness” undermined her household’s and her own humanity.
As I indicated in a tweet to Anglican priest Rev Jane Atkinson on September 6, I am deeply troubled by the “celebratory” tone of media coverage around BBC presenter Rachael Bland’s death.
Using the Twitter handle that features her maiden name Hodges, I tweeted “Apologies to family and friends of @Rachael_Hodges but I find the ‘celebratory’ tone of reports of her illness and death rather contrived and fatalistic.”
And later that day I indicated the Christocentric (more so than Christian) basis of my concerns, tweeting “Is it just me @RevJaneAtkinson, or is there something contrived and excessive about the “celebratory” tone of media coverage of @Rachael_Hodges’ death? Having seen an AIDS victim healed I cannot help but see her death as a profound tragedy.”
My sincere belief in the possibility that Bland’s life could have been miraculously saved therefore prompted my tweets to Rev Atkinson as much as anything else.
And there is much else that I will be addressing here about mainstream media and medical contrivances and excesses – or “overthrows” in cricketing language.
My use here of cricketing jargon and my application of the wider “cosmological cricket” method of analysis that I introduced in the first article in this series has been facilitated by the curious criss-crossing of the paths of England batsman Alistair Cook and India bowler Jasprit Bumrah on the fourth day of the recently concluded fifth test cricket match, at the Kia Oval in London.
Bumrah’s “overthrows” secured Cook’s historic century, the 33rd and last in his illustrious career with the bat. A grand finale!
I hope to be more controlled and accurate in my comments about the end of Bland’s curiously tragic and triumphant media career than Bumrah was.
As in the first cosmic cricket article, documenting my careful, Christocentric engagement with the atheistic Marxist Selma James, my goal is a cricket-like, fair and balanced assessment of Bland’s and her BBC colleagues attempt to make the best of a terrifyingly tragic situation.
The challenge is to be fair to them even as I give liberal expression to my instinctual-intellectual, dare I say spiritual equivalent of Bumrah’s “anomalous, sling-arm action and natural pace”, as his ESPNcricinfo profile puts it.
The Jewish reformer Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth had a similar problem.
According to the biblical writer John, Joshua said “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
That unpredictability is the antithesis, virtually, of the “overthrowing”, “over-blowing” instincts that I believe brought the church into existence.
In my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled, I address the perfectionist anxiety and other individual and group dynamics that are a part of or that interact with this instinct, as I make the case that Joshua merely wanted to reform Judaism, not start a new religion: Christianity.
Relying heavily on the words of the Bible, especially the original Hebrew and Greek texts, I argue that Joshua’s main theme was the “Kingdom of God”, not the church or any other earthly, real estate linked interest – with all due respect to the occupants of the Vatican, the White House, the Israeli Knesset, the Kremlin, the Saudi Council of Ministers, the British Houses of Parliament and similar secular and religious power bases.
The history of the world is replete with examples of how such spaces and places of concentrated power are repeatedly proved to be in some way self-contradictory: impotent.
Joshua may have articulated and incarnated the truth of this power dynamic more successfully than anyone before or after him by his resurrection rich resetting of the relationship between time and eternity; between life and death.
But it is not an original idea. It is not an original story.
Thanks to Karl Jung, Joseph Campbell and others, the links between the Christ narrative and ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman divinities are well known.
I have traced that story to the multiple millennia old, plagiarist publishing and bookish body-snatching trickery of the African folklore figure Anansi.
And a primary paradox of Joshua’s Word Become Flesh life story, that wondrous genomic web surely, is how like the cricketing criss-crossing of Cook’s and Bumrah’s fates, success and failure are always at each other’s mutual service and jeopardy.
One previewer of this article, an aspiring midwife, has left me in no doubt of the peril I am putting myself in, saying people will ask who I am (or think I am) and what gives me the right to question Bland’s, the BBC’s and the wider mainstream British media’s arguably capitalizing, kamikaze response to her cancer predicament.
The fact is nothing her former colleague and friend Richard Bacon, BBC 5 Live Controller Jonathan Wall or anything anyone else has said or done has altered my sense that however well intended, there is an at least questionable, possibly unwholesome, suicide contagion risking element in the laughing gas logic behind Bland’s You, Me and the Bic ‘C’ podcast that she co-hosted with Deborah James and Lauren Mahon.
However commendable her and their efforts to put a positive “top spin” on their and other cancer sufferers’ predicaments, nothing that has come to my attention so far has shaken my sense that the former cricketer-turned-commentator Johnathan Agnew demonstrated something like the speed bowling precision and penetration that bagged him 666 first class wickets when, responding to Bland’s September 3 tweet saying she was told that she had “days left” to live, he tweeted “And then reality suddenly bites and perspective gained. This is awful. No words, other than love to you and Steve xx”.
From overs to ovaries
So, I persevere in my effort to engage with the reality of death that Bland faced, or tried to face, with due respect to all implicated, naturally or unnaturally.
Aided by my editorial midwife, my Shi Maria or Sis’ Nancy, I persevere with the publication of possibly offensive opinions, having fully reconciled myself to the possibility of being misrepresented or misunderstood, intentionally or unintentionally.
This would not be the first time that has happened.
Part of the impetus to birth the artificially inseminated opinions I share here is my experience of the soul destroying power of the media to undermine through silence.
I persevere with this protracted labour of life and love (as CNN assistant managing editor Christina Kline can attest, it’s taken a lot longer than I anticipated) because I am equally concerned about the mental and physical health and well being of the BBC’s news, information and entertainment consuming public and that of BBC personnel.
I am concerned that tributes to the irreverent, gaseous (contagious) laughter-in-the-face- of-death attitude that Bland propagated through her podcast are symptoms of the widespread technological-ethical desensitization and disconnect from reality that celebrity centered secular and religious print and electronic media content seems to be fostering.
If BBC Norfolk reporter Mike Liggins recalls an email I sent him in 2013, he can attest to the care and camaraderie that I seek to be guided by in my often fraught interactions with journalists, academics and other traders in the knowledge industry.
As I recall, in that email I sought to empathize with Liggins on the basis of my understanding of the deadline and other pressures of a journalist’s workload.
Such care for Liggins and other BBC personnel, including former staffers like my local MP Clive Lewis, might come as a surprise to some who know of my long-running fight with British, American, Caribbean and other media houses over their probable role in a Barbados-sown, globally grown campaign of character assassination, economic sabotage and other attacks on my intellectual property and human rights.
But others like Liggins, to whom I have always sought to be cordial and respectful, even as I have publicly denounced him for privately and rather questionably labeling me “a crank”, can attest to my goodwill toward all associated with that broadcasting entity.
Others still, like Barbadian businessman David Harvey who know of my commitment to principles of empathy, forgiveness and interdependence can attest to my efforts to play with a straight bat, treating all equally, irrespective of gender, race, religion or class.
Using the “open face” of the bat
This openness to engaging with others despite possible, even probable differences of opinion stems from my heartfelt belief that all differences between human beings can be overcome through dialogue.
This “open bat” belief not only prompted me to consider contacting Bland directly, when I learned of her days left dilemma: it also explains my rather random addressing of my second tweet of September 6 to Rev Atkinson.
I have never met Atkinson, vicar of St John’s Church in Little Thornton, Lancashire. And I cannot even recall why I started following her on Twitter, frankly.
She and I have not had a single conversation about religion or anything else, so far as I am aware.
My tweets were merely invitations for reverend Atkinson to engage with me on the Bland cancer battle phenomenon.
I did not assume that she shares my belief in miracles. And I note her non-response to my tweeting thus far in that respect.
Moreover, I do not think I would have tweeted to reverend Atkinson on September 6 had she not come to my attention via a twitter notification, as I was preparing my second tweet about Bland that day.
And crucially, more than the fact that Atkinson is a priest, it is the fact that she describes herself as a “wife and mum” that led me to include her in my Bland bravery critiquing tweet.
I felt that as a wife and mother like Bland, who heart-breakingly, has been wrenched from the familial bonds of her husband Steve and their two year-old son Freddie, Atkinson would appreciate the value I place on those womanly roles.
But I did not assume that Rev Atkinson would agree with or even approve of my divine-healing-possibility-based beliefs.
I did not assume that she shares my, oncologist Dr Craig Martin’s, Healing Rooms associates Ray and Ruth Scorey’s or similar theists’ belief in the power of prayer to heal the sick.
Indeed, knowing the skepticism of many Anglican priests about this area of Christian faith, I am prepared for the possibility that Atkinson disapproves of the position that I am taking here profoundly.
Nonetheless, as I reflected on the possibility of life saving divine interventions, like that which I believe saved the life of a Barbadian who was dying of full-blown HIV/AIDS in 2003, I could not help but wonder if Bland’s life might also have been saved.
That HIV/AIDS survivor is the person I referred to in my tweet to reverend Atkinson.
And I also spoke to that Barbadian on September 6, urging him to share his story precisely for people like Bland’s sake: people whose lives are in jeopardy.
And one of the main questions I am grappling with here is if rather than seeking to “punch cancer in the face”, as she once put it, had Bland and those now lionizing her pursued a more humble, religiously reverential, deftly death defying strategy, might she still be alive today?
My fundamental concern is that Bland did not even consider the possibility of a miraculous, supernaturally “mediated” recovery because that proposition is alien to the culture of the super cool, scientifically sophisticated, secular, technologically advanced “Beeb”.
I am deeply troubled by the possibility that the secular humanist, typically atheistic ideology that apparently dominates its programming policy is generating a lethal silence on crucial matters of faith and spirituality at the publicly funded BBC.
My concern, as I hinted in a somewhat cryptic September 8 tweet, is that media celebration of Bland’s irreverence in the face of death may be “masking a deadly cynicism and conceit” that is at the heart of the mainstream global media’s relationship with the Western medical and wider secular scientific establishment – and with the pharmaceutical industry particularly.
And I believe that if the opioid addiction epidemic in the United States and a similar pharmaceutical drug crisis here in the UK and elsewhere has made anything clear, it is that this “deadly cynicism and conceit” transcends simplistic secular-religious rivalries.
As I suggest in the first article in this cosmic cricket series, religion is not the only opiate of the masses: irreligion can be an opiate just as easily.
Informed by at times cordial but mostly fraught interactions with a number of BBC Norfolk personnel, including Liggins, Lewis, Rita Johnson, Wendy Witham and Gary Standley, it seems clear to me that it is not just pie-in-the-sky-eyed Pentecostal and other fundamentalist evangelical Christians that are susceptible to ideological tunnel vision and faith fantasies.
Indeed, if one considers the “chemical imbalance” character of the identity politics preaching and practice of Sir Hilary Beckles, Dr Sandra Richards, Margaret Gill, Boris Johson, Nigel Farage, Jane Garvey, Sandi Toksvig and other fundamentalist evangelical feminists, capitalists and communists (socialists), it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that all ideological systems, whether labeled secular or religious, are subject to the perpetual patterns of degeneration and renewal that are seed-like or seminal components of much print and electronic media mischief and hazards.
In TBBTR, based on lessons learned from my own free thought limiting, possibilities precluding immersion in evangelical fundamentalist Pentecostal Christianity, I explore these secular and religious label transcending cycles of degeneration and renewal.
And my belief that the BBC and other media houses often function much like a church, temple, synagogue, mosque or other religious organization is key to my view of the public mischief that may have been perpetrated by Bland’s cancer battling podcast and the questionably celebratory tone of tributes following her death.
Indeed, my understanding of the limitations of all print and electronic news and knowledge trading, digital or analog, has evolved from my perception of the considerable harm that preachers like the late reverends Holmes Williams and Granville Williams of Barbados and reverends Billy Graham, Franklyn Graham, Bishop Eddie Long, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson and Pope Francis have done, despite their best intentions, through their efforts to communicate truth from the pulpits of their large churches, through radio and television broadcasts and through Bible, tract and other Christian literature distributing activities.
As I note in TBBTR, the thought of my own capacity to mislead through my writing and publishing activity terrifies me (page 24).
Long before I was introduced to the work of the late Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, I had acquired at least an elementary common sense grasp of the fact that words can become “carcinogenic” when they are mass produced and misapplied or otherwise lifted from their historical context.
Barbadian broadcaster Vic Fernandes, of the Starcom Network may recall a message I sent to him around 2002 about my detection of toxic elements in the environs of Rev Williams’ church, Peoples Cathedral.
At the time I was thinking particularly of the tragic death of pastor Ricardo Birkett in his mid 30s.
A bright light and heir apparent to Williams, potentially, Birkett was also cut down by cancer, a rare blood-based strain, if I am not mistaken.
I am concerned that even before Bland was afflicted with cancer she had inherited or became infected by a BBC bullying culture mediated, power-of-prayer precluding, atheistic version of the church-focused, closed mind encouraging quality of faith that I believe Rev Williams may have infected Birkett with unintentionally.
The big ‘C’ Rachael Bland and I didn’t have: a conversation
I actually contemplated contacting the brave Bland to tell her about the divine intervention and miraculous healing that is possible when we break the walls of silence that insulate us in sanitized secular and religious bubbles or enclaves.
I considered tweeting to Bland when I learned of her heart breaking, desperate days left dilemma on September 6, as my colleague Dr Natalie Tobert, a medical anthropologist who I was visiting in London that day can attest.
Among other things, I sought to enlist Tobert’s help because I thought she might share her knowledge of the apparent suppression of scientific studies supporting the efficacy of spiritual remedies with Bland.
I also thought I might tell Bland about that Barbadian who was miraculously delivered from death’s door as he lay wasting away under the soul devouring ravages of fully blown HIV-AIDS.
He had been sent home to die, at his request, because death seemed imminent.
I prayed with him for divine healing and he is still alive and well today.
And living with the thought that I may have been similarly used by God to prevent Bland’s death if I had contacted her is just one of the consequences of the indecisiveness that prevented me from initiating a conversation with her via Twitter or any other means.
But that indecisiveness is a consequence of my own fraught faith journey, and especially the result of my first-hand experience of the special care that a conversation about religious faith, initiated in such a public space, with a possible atheist dying of breast cancer would entail.
Followers of this blog may recall the complex, secular and religious walls transcending, ideological bubble bursting, interdisciplinary bridges building skills I documented and demonstrated in the record of my careful conversation with the Marxist matriarch James, published here on May 6, exactly four months ahead of my tweet to Rev. Atkinson.
The parallels between that conversation with James and the challenging one I envisioned with Bland are significant.
Here is an extract of my record of the James-Campbell conversation. It begins with an assessment of James’ “apparent unfailing optimism” that sadly foreshadows the critique of Bland’s outlook I am pursuing here. I wrote,
“Much as I applaud James’ apparent unfailing optimism, which in many ways reflects the pragmatic hope and sense of purpose that powers my own often thankless ‘invisible’ work, I cannot help but be uneasy about the prospect of her and others’ work ending in frustration, or worse, for them and others… What I hope this analysis of James and my careful conversations makes clear are the challenges that we all face if women’s and men’s words are to be fleshed out or incarnated fruitfully and have their intended inter-generational, ‘carnal knowledge’ curating and harmonizing, creative outcomes.
“It was toward this end I that referenced the idea of the ‘banality of evil’ during my interview with James, as a counter to her selectively pessimistic, self-fulfilling prophecy risking, mainstream media modeled view of communication challenges.
“The danger of this morbidly mechanistic, deadly digital view, the price that women, men and children are all paying for superficial, corporate deadlines driven news coverage and analysis, with its simplistic secular-religious dichotomies and antagonisms, can hardly be calculated.”
The James-Bland comparison, points not only to the potentially lethal intersection of fundamentalist evangelical strains of atheism and feminism but also to the possible irrelevance of age.
There is a 48 year gap between James and Bland, demonstrating how irreversibly a dubiously death “embracing” mental dye can be set.
The whole point here though is to explore the possibility that Bland not only considered experimental cancer treatments, as reported by her longtime friend and colleague Bacon, but to what extent she may have been open to the idea of being healed by prayer or a similar supernatural power invoking expression of faith.
And readers should be clear: I am not saying that Bland did not try a traditional “prayer of faith” based remedy.
Was Bland a victim-perpetrator of a British Bullying Corporation?
I am saying that based on what I know of her podcast and of the BBC, her resorting to such a remedy seems unlikely.
The question, again, is to what extent it may be accurate to say that Bland’s employment with the BBC and her apparent immersion in the wider “liberal” British and Western media’s aggressively secular, typically hostile-to-religion environment conditioned her mind and determined her death.
My main concern is to what extent Bland, Radio 5 Live controller Wall and other mainstream media decision makers may be complicit, through personal or technological communication overthrows or excesses, in publishing, broadcasting, podcasting or otherwise propagating a subtly bullying culture of death.
Yet beyond my own and other’s well publicized and documented stories of BBC and other UK, US, Canadian, Caribbean (especially Barbadian, Antiguan and Jamaican) journalists’ bullying, plagiarism, politically subversive maneuvering and related machinations I assume nothing.
As the oncologist Dr Martin, a devout Christian could attest, I would be the last person to put Bland or any other person under any pressure to accept my belief in Christian or other faith healing traditions that challenge Western medical and wider secular scientific orthodoxy.
My spirituality and psychiatry reconciling associate Tobert and others familiar with my idiosyncratic, church-attendance avoiding or severely limiting, unconventional brand of spirituality can attest, I would be the last person to pressure Bland to accept my beliefs.
Martin and his pastor John Browne, of Servant’s Church in Norwich know at least a little about how deeply skeptical I am of all organized, church-based religious routines.
So I can say with the clearest possible conscience that I fully affirm the plucky Welsh woman Bland’s right to live and die as she chose.
But again, having seen the “hand of God”, or what we might call the glorious uncertainties of the cosmos, in line with my cosmic cricket, sporting chance, open-minded view of the world, I am obliged to point out that Bland’s death may have been both needless and needlessly kamikaze.
I am not saying that prayer guarantees that we are healed.
I am saying that it creates that opportunity.
And I am concerned that having immersed herself in the atheistic culture of the BBC (as Birkett and I had immersed ourselves in church-bound evangelical fundamentalist Christianity), Bland may have been denied, or denied herself, arguably, the power to choose a miraculous, supernatural remedy.
And, again, I feel obliged to explore this possibility at the risk of offending Bland’s BBC colleagues, friends and family because of my own experience of the cynically silencing atheistic propensities of the BBC, CNN, the Associated Press, the Washington based International Center for Journalists, the London based National Union of Journalists and similar secular media entities.
And my and others’ concerns about the BBC’s, the Guardian’s, the Telegraph’s, the Daily Mail’s and other mainstream media and new (social) media houses’ roles in institutionalizing insensitivity and a widely documented culture of bullying is a matter of public record, having been previously published here, here, here, here and elsewhere.
Indeed, for several years now, drawing on both personal and professional experience, I have been warning anyone who would listen about a secular and religious boundaries transcending mechanistic moralizing propensity that seems to be both at the root and in the self-perpetuating fruit of the global misuse of artificial intelligence and related technological interventions and legal-social innovations.
This is the backdrop to a link I made between Bland’s religious and wider convention challenging cancer coping or fighting parental strategy and musical “matriarch” Elton John’s gay parenting advocacy.
Responding to a story by CNN assistant managing editor Christina Kline about the launch of Sir Elton’s ambitious 300 concert farewell tour on September 8, I suggested that the British pop musician may have “done more than any other singer to consciously or unconsciously undermine the concept of motherhood, parenting and family life”.
Sir Elton’s and others simplistic, explicit or implied equation of gay parenting with heterosexual biological procreation not only makes light of far reaching issues of biological heredity, at least potentially, it disembodies and fragments the construction of personal narrative that is key to the growing child’s grasp on reality.
There have to be better ways of ensuring that LGBTQ people are treated with respect and dignity than by imperiling the imperatives of procreation and parenting that are rooted in male-female biological interdependence and complementarity.
However well meaning, the simplistic celebration of Bland’s brand of bravery by her BBC and other media colleagues it triggered me with thoughts of John’s and other gay, lesbian and transgender spokespersons’ consciously or consciously perpetrated technological “overthrows”, misappropriations and misdeeds.
It smacked of the media-political conceits that justify abortion but decry the death sentence for murder simultaneously.
It prompted thoughts of overthrows or overflows like the abuse of analytics by Google, the chilling, soul sickening sale of sex robots as substitutes for intimate human contact and the political hijacking of the good intentions and generous information sharing of Facebook, Twitter and other Anansi approximating perversions of social media users intentions and identities.
Whether they are accidental or deliberate, such abuses of technology are not only cheapening human communication and connection but are existential threats, as Stephen Hawkins, Elon Musk and others seem to have conceded rather belatedly.
And as I told Lancet Psychiatry founding editor Niall Boyce, ahead of the 2018 Digital Innovation In Mental Health Conference, in which we both participated, these threats, like the “invention” of writing and the development (not invention) of Gutenberg’s printing press are only the latest in the long list of creations by which we human beings consciously or unconsciously over extend and “overthrow” our professed beliefs.
This is some of the thinking behind the conclusion I have reached that while probably well meaning, the “up beat”, supposedly morale boosting component of media stories about Bland’s tragic demise at 40, leaving her two year old son and husband behind, may also be a social symptom of what the designers Dolce and Gabana might call the synthetization of human sentiment – at the risk of offending Sir Elton, Toksvig and other gay parenting apostles and evangelists.
At any rate, the untimely death of the yet young Bland by breast cancer has prompted me to redouble my efforts to ensure that all cancer and other disease suffers are not deprived of access to the full spectrum of natural and supernatural, possibly life-saving cancer remedies by the bigotry and poverty of imagination that generations of legalistic and literalistic, consciously or unconsciously divisive print and electronic media programming has made a feature of everyday life – and death.
Supported by the research of medical anthropologist Tobert, and with crucial contributions from Digital Innovation in Mental Health Conference convener Dr Becky Inkster, conversation analyst and entrepreneur Dr Elizabeth Stokoe, deadly disease defying Pentecostal Christian oracle Keith Barrow, medical folklorist Dr Andrea Kitta, educator-artists Deborah Liversage and Janice Lear-Gurney and others who in various ways exemplify the passion, creativity and overall zest for life that clearly powered Bland’s pubic image, I am redoubling my efforts to fight the fundamentalist atheist and theist evangelizing that is at the crux of supposedly intelligent, liberty loving, progressive humanity’s social suicide.
This article was first published in July 2015. It was intended to be the first in a series of interventions I am making into on-going discussions on “gay rights” in Barbados and elsewhere. For one reason or another I failed to follow-up this focused study of the media’s gay marriage agenda, until now.
Better late than never.
In fact, the timing could not be better as this article is being published against the somewhat simplistic media coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland.
I say simplistic because as CNN, the BBC, Sky and other mainstream media houses focus on the issue of clerical child abuse there is no evidence of the role of church-media complicity in the broadcasting of stereotypes that have contributed to the psychic dissociation and moral fog currently confounding the best intentions of humanity.
This first essay develops a related point I made in a Facebook discussion with other Barbadians, including some politicians, about the importance of biological parental links.
“As some of you know, I tend to be very critical of the fundamentalist Christian view of homosexuality. I think they’re too judgmental.
But I have several misgivings about ‘gay marriage’, not least because of how it could impact child rearing.
I find the notion of two men or two women belittling the biological, heterosexual basis of human life and identity deeply troubling.”
In these measured, balance-seeking terms, I began a carefully worded contribution to a discussion on gay marriage started by retired Barbadian banker Philip Corbin on Facebook on July 19.
And while I was not aware of Corbin’s banking background when I joined his online conversation, I was mindful of how the issue of “gay parenting” and biological inheritance relates to the question of banked and biological legacies (“blood banks”, of a sort), which I had started to explore in [link=page::3nv0bglh]another article here[/link].
Of course, I was also mindful of links that might exist metaphysically (providentially) with my on-going [link=http://korebelief.com/lloyds-bankrolling-barbados-based-criminal-conspiracy/]Lloyds Bank rehabilitation project[/link], in which the issue of idea tracing, like family tree tracing and other identity assessments features prominently.
Corbin’s conversation thus becomes a Korebelief.com “channelling space” in a manner I scarcely anticipated as I got involved.
Through the direct and indirect, conscious and unconscious contributions and inputs of prominent Barbadian politicians, business people, religious clerics, and at least one “outsider”, Englishman Gavin Dawson, the conversation exposes the shaky, contrarian thoughts that are the brittle bedrock and fraught foundations of Barbados’ increasingly earthquake prone ideological interactions.
A related Twitter conversation about the importance of parent’s biological links in childrearing, with India-born English writer, broadcaster and neurobiology lecturer and enthusiast Kenan Malik also comes into focus.
In that conversation I coined the term “biospherical” as I sought to communicate a geopsychics embracing understanding of the interplay of nature and nurture.
Corbin, a former Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce employee appears to be responding dismissively to a denunciation of gay marriage made by a prominent local cleric-politician, the self-styled “Apostle” David Durant, founder of Restoration Ministries International.
Above a screenshot of an online Nation newspaper report on statements made by Durant and other local clerics in a recent press conference, Corbin quips,
“Are Churches in Barbados being inundated with requests to perform same sex marriages? Why is there this inordinate preoccupation with same sex marriages? Surely there are more pressing societal issues which the church should be addressing!”
But this latest controversy around homosexuality in Barbados curiously follows what seems like a rather measured denunciation by Durant and others of any US or UK precedent-following legalization of gay marriage that may be being contemplated in Barbados.
Based on my investigation of related events so far, it seems that the main impetus for Corbin’s dismissive response may have come from the headline chosen by the local Barbados Today newspaper, in [link=http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2015/07/17/not-here-2/]its report[/link] on Durant’s statements, rather than what Durant actually said.
That provocative Barbados Today headline, published July 17 shouts “Not Here!”
Instructively, another report on the Pastors Prayer Network press conference, published on July 19 by the rival Nation newspaper employs a less combative, more conciliatory title – “We don’t hate homosexuals”, which I suspect more accurately conveys the spirit in which the evangelical clerics sought to deliver their message.
Might the approximately two-day interval between the press conference and the Nation’s report have allowed its author, Carlos Atwell, more time to process what he had heard?
Was the Barbados Today reporter, Anesta Henry, deliberately trying to sensationalize an issue which Corbin and others are inclined to dismiss as a “storm in a teacup”?
Might Henry or one of her editors – Kaymar Jordan or Emmanuel Joseph, for example – have been motivated by a sense of allegiance with or sympathy for the ruling Democratic Labour Party to exaggerate Reverend Durant’s point, in a mischievous hope of diverting attention away from the DLP’s current problems and unpopularity?
This seems to be the main point that Corbin and some other commentators were making – possibly because of Reverend Durant’s well-known links to the DLP. He sits as a DLP senator in the island’s Parliament.
I note that former opposition Barbados Labour Party member Lynette Eastmond is one of those inclined to dismiss Durant’s and his colleagues’ views.
She wrote: “But why would a church whose doctrine does not allow for same sex marriages be inundated with requests? Performing same sex marriage is a matter for the State not the Church.”
She thus echoes a smugness I distinctly recall hearing in pronouncements by her BLP colleague David Simmonds, a former Barbados Chief Justice.
He referred to conscientious Christian objectors as a “moral minority” some years ago.
And the memory is a bit vague, but I believe that back then Simmonds may have been referring to Christians who denounced a call for the legalization of homosexuality (and prostitution) by Mia Mottley, another BLP member.
But I would not want to suggest that atheistic or “liberal” types like Ms Mottley, Ms Eastmond or Mr Simmonds and their counterparts in the media have a monopoly on ideological smugness.
There is something distinctly “smug”, or at least complacent in pastor Durant’s and other Christians’ scripture-citing denunciation of homosexuality.
From my perspective, both Christian believers and atheistic unbelievers are liable for the incendiary nature of local pro and anti gay rights discourse.
Both for and against buggery laws can seem like smug bugs in Barbados’ burning rug.
Indeed, while acknowledging and commending Rev Durant’s and his praying network colleagues’ efforts to be conciliatory and communicate Christian compassion and love even as they denounce homosexuality, I also feel obliged to add that their efforts probably don’t stand much chance of convincing others who hold differing views while they remain within their selective-scripture-quoting, [i]shallowly[/i] biblical comfort zone.
Put differently, I believe that however sincere and well-meaning pastor Durant (whom I have known personally from the 1980’s) and other Christian leaders who denounce homosexuality or gay marriage [i]in blanket terms[/i] on the basis of supposed biblical authority and evidence may be, they are in danger of doing more harm than good until they venture deeper into the historical waters on which the Bible’s authority floats.
They need to appreciate that while “Thus saith the Bible” may be proof positive for them of the rightness of their views, other people may require more objective, empirical support for a position on homosexuality and gay marriage.
They must realize that their arguments must be at least as rationally rigorous as those of the politicians and secular media ideologues with whom they differ.
And I would say that this is a [i]minimum standard[/i] for Christians, because as far as I’m concerned, the arguments that the secular media is advancing in support of gay rights and gay marriage and parenting in particular, tend to lack rational rigour.
I make this point in the Corbin-initiated discussion, posting, rather lengthily:
“I believe disagreements on ‘gay marriage’ are inevitable – as are disagreements on every other issue that grabs the Barbados media headlines from time-to-time.
But I also think it is crucial to find common ground and at least some limited consensus on this issue because it is so fundamental to family life, questions of identity and the like.
That’s why I disagree with the simplistic, divisive theological arguments that Rev Durant and others bring.
I disagree with many gay rights advocates for similar reasons. Their arguments about ‘gay marriage’ and ‘gay parenting’ are not rigorously thought through.
But you know what, I think the Barbados media is as much to blame for this as any other educational or socializing agency – school, church, family, clubs etc.
I believe that journalists and others who have liberal access to the public via radio, tv and other outlets – people like Kaymar Jordan, David Ellis, Emmanuel Joseph, Eric Smith and Julius Gittens, for example – are failing extravagantly in their duty to help Barbadians make informed decisions on ‘gay marriage’ and other far-reaching, complex and consequential issues.”
Another person with “liberal access to the public” is political scientist Peter Wickham.
Wickham is known for his advocacy of gay rights, often in Eastmond-Simmonds-Mottley recalling, “smug”, condescending fashion.
And he has managed to excite the ire of at least two other persons who have so far contributed to Corbin’s discussion: writer and (former?) BLP politician Wendell Callender and DLP government minister Denis Kellman.
And Kellman, brings a peculiarly [i]personal[/i] dimension to his criticism of Wickham.
Commenting somewhat cryptically, he posted “How is it that you all have allowed Peter to dictate the agenda for us, if he is flying a kite because the chord is pop that is his business. He has never [been] able to gather moss for himself or who he has been trying to protect.”
And again “Everybody knows that Peter is not selfish that he is acting as a Proxy for Gavin [Dawson] and his supporters… Is Peter like his grandfather?”
Kellman’s cautious, cryptic language may stem from the fact that homosexuality is still illegal in Barbados, punishable by the death penalty.
He might be mindful of the selective silence that has become a socio-political expedient, not so much because of this legal prohibition (because homosexuality in Barbados is widely tolerated) but because of the relative “smallness” of Barbadian society and the resulting “closeness” of Barbadians [i]at home and abroad[/i].
This “closeness” means news travels fast among Bajans and being labelled or labelling someone else a homosexual could have far reaching consequences [i]at home and abroad[/i].
As I have noted in [link=page::3ryx1fyn]another article published here in November 2014[/link], Mottley, widely believed to be gay despite never publicly accepting or embracing that label, demonstrated how costly such labelling by others could be when she successfully sued a British publication.
Barbados Today Chief Executive Officer and Editor-In-Chief, Jordan would no doubt be mindful of these and other factors, such as the complicity of members of the local police force and their international counterparts in campaigns of “selective silence”, that could make the labelling or “outing” of public figures like the former attorney general Mottley and call-in radio show moderator Wickham not only legal but life and death matters, as they are in Barbados’ sister island Jamaica.
Canada-based Jamaican lawyer and gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson was at pains to make this point in [link=http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/01/10/porter_jamaicas_leading_gay_activist_maurice_tomlinson_married_a_torontonian.html]an interview he did with the Toronto Star in 2012[/link].
Describing a state of affairs that a number of persons in Barbados’ and other Caribbean countries can no doubt identify with he said the law against homosexuality is rarely enforced and more often “police use it for extortion”.
He thus attests to the sinister silence and secrecy-banking and trading that undermines Barbados’ and other countries’ police and press’ democracy supporting roles.
From my vantage point, the best chance Barbados has of being saved from its present, long-standing, deeply dangerous economic, moral and political state of affairs rests with Solutions Barbados, led by structural engineer Grenville Phillips.
I believe that Solutions Barbados, founded and led by Mr Phillips, who is possibly “the first ever chartered structural engineer to run for elective politics anywhere on our planet”, is the most holistically credible and trustworthy of the newer political parties that will be contesting the May 24 Barbados general election.
Employing the metaphor of a “bunker” and the “parking problem” I introduced in my previous article, I make bold to say that Mr Phillips and the other 27 candidates standing with him currently provide the safest most secure options Barbadians have for rebuilding, re-orienting and rejuvenating our long abused, scandalously misused economy and society.
Indeed, as a creative Caribbean change catalyst and holistic, domino effect development driver of more than 30 years standing myself, it is my studied view that Barbadians’ individual and collective brands will yield the richest possible dividends only if they are prophetically (and profitably) parked or invested in the Solutions Barbados bank of human capital that Phillips, the son of one of Barbados’ most distinguished business leaders, and his party colleagues are building.
In fact, were it not for the young ages of my children and other matters which make it necessary for me to live in England at the moment (despite the fact that their mother and I have been separated since 2010), I would probably have been standing in that general election as a candidate for Solutions Barbados, as I was invited to do, by Phillips.
Mr Phillips invited me to be a Solutions Barbados candidate when I visited Barbados last October.
I was keen to take up the offer because, as those who follow this blog and my other online communication channels are aware, I have been questioning the fitness of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to lead Barbados for many years.
My reservations about the DLP and BLP, the two parties that have dominated Barbadian politics since the island’s independence in 1966, are based first and foremost on my interactions with and observations of the conduct of members and supporters of both the DLP and BLP, over several years.
I was born into and raised in a DLP household.
My father, the late Jeffrey Campbell (of Jeffrey Campbell Hi Fi “fame”) was an active trade unionist and was virtually “bonded” to the late DLP power broker Sir Richard Haynes, for whom he canvassed in Carrington Village and other Nazareth approximating Barbadian parking spaces.
Also, and as I indicated in the previous article published here, I had a brief but significant conversation with Prime Minister Stuart last October and my interactions, directly and indirectly, with Ms Mottley go back to the 1990s, at least, when I was working on a cricket based board game called Quicket.
I have engaged even more extensively with current BLP supporter and prominent Pan Africanist activist David Comissiong, currently doing the rounds on BLP platforms in a bid to see his cousin Mottley and other BLP candidates elected.
All BLP and DLP members and activists are implicated in the Barbados-sown, globally grown campaign of character assassination and intellectual property rape and sabotage that I have been the target of for more than 30 years.
Indeed, at varying times, in varying ways, BLP, DLP, NDP (founded by Haynes), PEP (founded by Comissiong) and other labour politics preaching, political capital grasping individuals and their local, regional and international allies have acted consciously or unconsciously to undermine my and others’ efforts to live by the labour of our hands and minds, for the benefit of our immediate and wider Barbadian families.
I would even go so far as saying that consciously or unconsciously all Barbadians (myself included), not just our politicians, have contributed in some way to the decline of our economy, society and individual well being that we are currently experiencing.
My own primary shortcoming, perhaps, has been my “big picture” preoccupation and ambition, which no doubt made some observers question the pragmatism of my program.
Certainly, since founding my business Intelek International (formerly The Roots Academy) in the 1980s, I have not only been working for the benefit of all Barbadians and Caribbean people, but in spirit and truth, for all humanity.
My song “Small Beginnings” serves as a reminder to me of the importance of pursuing a grounded, organic growth vision, thereby reconciling my nationalist and internationalist ideals and agendas.
Yet despite knowing this, Comissiong particularly, with the conscious or unconscious complicity of my current local MP Clive Lewis, of the British Labour Party, current University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, fundamentalist feminist activist lecturer Margaret Gill, politician “porn prince” Donville Inniss and other conscious and unconscious Barbadian, British, American, Canadian, Indian, Nigerian and other gender, race and religious flag flying racketeers have conspired to block and frustrate the conciliatory legal and other efforts I have made to free myself of the psycho-social choke-holds that they have persistently sought to hold me in.
As recently as May 1, “Sista Docta” Sandra Richards, Beckles’, Comissiong’s and Gill’s UWI Cave Hill colleague and Pan Africanist ally, sent me a thinly veiled death threat because I made it clear to her, in unambiguous terms, that I was aware that she had been undermining me and my gender, race and religious labels transcending work for years.
“Rest in peace” the DLP-BLP divide and rule demagoguery channeling, racial rhetoric reliant Richards wrote during an exchange of text messages, after I questioned her level of literacy.
I had suggested her “fundamental problem” is “some kind of illiteracy” because despite clear written evidence of my efforts to be understanding, empathetic and conciliatory toward her, while declaring my deep hurt and disappointment over her treacherous treatment of me, Richards who was at the time in London for her mother’s funeral (sadly), accused me of “misdirected fury” toward her and threatened to report me to the Metropolitan Police.
This kind of subtle, indirect aggression is just part of the campaigns of psychological warfare that I have been subjected to by Barbadian and other conscious or unconscious fundamentalist feminists and race racketeers like Richards since at least the 1990s.
It is part of the pattern of negative labeling and misrepresentation that simplistic secular-religious news separation channeling Caribbean journalists Harold Hoyte, Al Gilkes, Julius Gittens, David Ellis, Dennis Johnson, Kaymar Jordan, Francine Alexander-Charles and their American and British associates (including Sandra Moore, Mike Liggins, Rita Johnson, Jill Lawless, Herbert Dyer and others) have perpetrated against me, consciously or unconsciously.
Even approaches I have made to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, the Washington based International Center for Journalism, the Inter American Press Association, Britain’s National Union of Journalists and the Church of England to have my dilemma highlighted and addressed appear to have been thwarted, consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly by BLP, DLP and affiliated academic, political, religious and commercial interests.
It is only by the grace of God and the prayers of those who call on a “Name Above All Names” (Philippians 2:9), in my defense, that I have survived the conscious and unconscious conspiring of DLP, BLP and other politicians and activists who have been raping and robbing Barbados, consciously and unconsciously, since at least the 1960s.
It is first and foremost my faith in God, which powers my Emperor Haile Selassie simulating “confidence in the victory of good over evil” that has kept me sane despite BLP, DLP, Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP (yes, I remember your moral bipolar bungling, Lorraine Winslade) and other efforts to create a “hostile environment” in Barbados, the UK, the US and elsewhere for me and others in my Intelek International “family”.
This forgiveness focused, empathy engendering faith, modeled on the self sacrifice of Joshua of Nazareth, has saved me from the kind of “misdirected fury” that Richards accused me of – just before she practiced it herself, ironically.
This Christocentric, more so than “Christian” faith, informs my acknowledgement of the “divine spark” in all of us, irrespective of our gender, race, religious or other labels and the limitation of vision and fallibility of faith that these labels or “bunker categories” (as philosopher-film maker Zarina Khan calls them) may entail.
And this faith in God is the primary basis of my support for Solutions Barbados: a party founded on a personal faith in God that guarantees that however errant or fallible we or our interpretations of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Upanishads or any other religious text may be, we may enjoy divine favor and mercy.
Since initiating communication with Phillips in July 2015, I have come to respect and admire him increasingly.
But I am not supporting his political initiative because I think he or it is perfect.
I am supporting him and Solutions Barbados because whatever this immensely gifted civil engineer may lack in political experience, he seems to make up for more than adequately in a fear of God based honesty and integrity.
Like the simultaneously humble and proudly emerging astrological therapy evangelist and practitioner Maria Mavropoulos-Stoliarenko, I see a challenging but overall bright future for Solutions Barbados, regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s general election.
The planets are aligned in the first structural engineer to stand in elective politics on this planet’s favor!
My own seismology and semantics intersection tracking “software” is discerning positive vibrations emanating toward Soulutions Barbados from the earth’s core.
I predict that Barbadians will thrive under Phillips’ and other key party members and supporters guidance in ways that the economic historian Tristram Hunt, who included Barbados’ capital city Bridgetown in his chronicle of Ten Cities That Made An Empire, could ever have anticipated.
This is partly because I am anticipating support for Solutions Barbados from Stuart, Mottley, Comissiong, Owen Arthur and others, provided they have the good sense to abandon the antiquated gender, race and religious racketeering artifices of the BLP and DLP, and make a quantum leap out of the divisive party politics that George Lamming and other seers have dubbed destroyers of Barbados’ human capital.
Guided by the faith of our African and European Christocentric ancestors, Barbadians are poised to lead the world in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).
The opportunity to be a channel of God’s peace that was squandered when a glory grabbing, historical racial grievance exploiting spirit got the better of then Deputy Prime Minister Mottley (or was she the Attorney General?), Sir Hilary, Comissiong, the scandalous opportunist Aaron “Buddy” Larrier, the gay marriage “gofer” Peter Wickham and others who hijacked brand Barbados at the United Nations’ World Conference Against Racism in 2001 is now once again before Barbadians.
The divinely inspired Soulutions Barbados nation rebuilding project can surpass anything that the secular historian Hunt, who possibly identifies as an atheist or agnostic, could imagine, given the limitations of economic theory, which, incidentally appears to be being radically rethought.
The magnitude 4.6 earthquake that shook Barbados on April 28, 2018 (UTC Time), two days after PM Stuart finally announced the long awaited date for the now imminent general election, is a sign to those who recognize the interdependence of natural and spiritual phenomena.
But while she apparently took the symbolism of the day she was speaking as a sign of God’s seal of approval on her determination to be Barbados’ first woman prime minister, she apparently had no regard for the fact that the symbolism could arguably apply more radically to God’s seal of approval on a new party: Solutions Barbados.
Mottley therefore demonstrated the kind of self-serving symbol rendering “illiteracy” that Richards displayed on May 1.
But then Mottley’s very name, sadly, denotes disparity, incongruity and confusion.
Holding her in as high a regard as I do, indeed as I do Gill, Richards, Comissiong, Beckles, my local MP Lewis, the Allvoices-Pulse Point affiliated journalist and former soldier Dyer and others, despite their betrayals, I cannot help but feel sorry for Mottley.
That is why I hope she has the good sense to try to work with Phillips, rather than perpetuate the gender rivalry and racketeering that has been shaking the foundations of Barbadian family life and wider social cohesion to its core – like the November 2009, magnitude 7.4 (note that 7 x 4 = 28) earthquake that marked a new seismological era for Barbados.
I hope Mottley, her spiritual backer Reverend Sonia Hinds and other women with whom the simultaneously homicidal and suicidal Richards is close, has the good sense to abandon the zero sum gender games that Barbara Rambousek of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other highly, strategically placed women seem adept at playing, even as they, like Richards, deplore such micro aggression.
I hope that notwithstanding the phenomena of nominative determinism of Mottley’s name, readers will see the seismic rumblings and shaking that have become worryingly frequent in Barbados as omens pointing to the highly volatile, extremely dangerous character of the deeply submerged, conspiratorial “silence of Omerta” character of the fundamentalist feminism that Mottley courts, consciously or unconsciously.
The Solutions Barbados leader’s name can be rendered as “big city, horse power lover”. And he and his colleagues will certainly need all the horse power and stamina at their disposal to turn the divisive gender, race and religious politics and racketeering that is undermining Barbados’ vital values consensus around.
I am calling on all Barbadians at home and abroad to do their part to support him.
Vote Solutions Barbados and join and contribute to its peace and prosperity building program.
I recently submitted the following appeal for a parking fine I was slapped with by Norwich City Council a few weeks ago.
The appeal is a small part of a program of human rights advocacy I have been pursuing on my own and others’ behalf, in response to a Barbados-sown, globally grown campaign of psychological warfare that has been directed against me for more than half a century now.
I share the words of that appeal here as a template for the kind of human ecology focused activist litigation that I have been developing with the direct and indirect assistance of visual artist Deborah Liversage (currently “parked out” in The Gambia), the environmental justice litigators Client Earth, the mental health advocacy network Emerging Proud and various other individuals and organizations which, while not inerrant and infallible agents, have much to offer as channels of healing in the world.
My hope, at the very least, is to underscore the links between the choices that Barbadians will make in the upcoming May 24 general elections on that island (where I was “parked” for a brief period last October) and political and other developments unfolding in England, which has been my “bunker” since July 4th, 2006, when I arrived here as an immigrant.
My choice of the term “bunker”, instead of garage or parking space is explained in the next two paragraphs.
Khan, who apparently first “made a name” for herself with a dramatic project undertaken in war torn Sarajevo has said “One of the main obstacles facing us all is the way society hides behind ‘bunkers of categories’. We cannot say, who we are if we cannot say, where we come from or which community we belong to. That is a major obstacle, which must be undone, urgently. My work is about undoing frontiers and categories. An urgent process, because those bunkers are where war begins.”
However, my work, as a Linguistics trained, Pentecostal tongues speaking, studying and theorizing holistic communications and education specialist, involves ridding the clearly well meaning Khan, Barbadian politicians Freundel Stuart, Mia Mottley, David Comissiong, Grenville Phillips and others of the delusion that a world entirely without “bunkers of categories” is either desirable or possible.
It is to help them appreciate and navigate the complex Yin-Yang complementarity that is at the core of human identity and existence.
My focus, as indicated in various ways, at various points in my artwork, books, music and other creative output, is what I called the “nucleus of reality” in my November 1982 penned poem Communion.
And at the time I wrote them, I probably had only a very infant inkling or understanding of how my inking of those three words could be related to or be a corollary of the relatively recent emergence of “String theory” in the study of the atom.
From my point of view, therefore, Khan’s own excessive preoccupation with the abuse of religion to rationalize war is perhaps the most formidable obstacle to the realization of her good intentions.
From my lexical labels transcending point of view “religion” is no more responsible for wars than the secular calculations that drove Adolf Hitler’s, Joseph Stalin’s, Slobodan Milosovic’s, Marshal Mobutu’s and other seemingly blood thirsty, megalomaniac political leaders’ agendas.
And I blame the mainstream media’s divisive, simplistic and ultimately unhelpful labeling of complex phenomena as “religious” or “secular”, thereby parking those phenomena in facile classification bunkers (or parking spaces), for the cognitive confusion and psychological distress that so many British citizens and residents suffer.
Aided and abetted by their shortsighted allies in politics, commerce and academia, the mainstream media is consciously or unconsciously creating a haze of morality that is as psycho-socially suffocating as the industrial activity generated smog that covers large parts of China and India.
My appeal to Norwich City Council is intended as a breath of fresh air, to alert the relevant officers of that and related organizations to the need for them to do their part to ensure that we all live in a wholesome, high air quality environment.
We have enough of the low minded fogging of facts and suppression of truth by fake news peddling traditional and new (social) media opportunists to last us an eternity.
The lethally literalistic word play of University of the West Indies “quality assurance” executive Dr Sandra Richards, who recently ended a very serious, contentious conversation that she and I were having with the words, “Rest in peace”, is clearly calculated to work like carbon monoxide on the mind, not clear the air, so that she and I can both breathe easy; breathe freely.
And it is not only the antithesis of the healing rhetoric that Richards’, UWI Vice Chancellor Sir Hillary Beckles and other UWI officials preach.
Richards’ threat is also the latest attack she and Mottley admirers, like her UWI colleague Margaret Gill, have perpetrated against me, in the long-running Barbados sown, globally grown campaign of character assassination and economic sabotage that conscious or unconscious succubus socialists have led enthusiastically.
I publish my appeal of the Norwich City Council parking ticket or Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), partly as a rebuke to those who like my “bad minded” Barbadian academic compatriots pursue a simultaneously homicidal and suicidal Pan Africanist and White Supremacist pedagogy.
My appeal is published here to remind them and their allies at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk County Council, Hellesdon Hospital, BBC Norfolk, the University of East Anglia and everywhere else in the Commonwealth of nations of our global, oxygen oriented interdependence.
In Stigmata, an as yet unpublished collection of writings, I quote the late Martin Luther King Jr who, speaking to the issue of human interdependence wrote,
“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
The “greater goal” of the forthcoming Stigmata collection is to demonstrate solidarity with those across the length and breadth of Barbados who struggle with the social oxygen denying, micro aggression perpetrating and other character assassinating effects of stigmatization every day.
As I note in Stigmata “Barbadian society, partly because of its demographic ‘smallness’ and ‘closeness’ and partly because of its conservative historical evolution, probably tends to stigmatize rather more aggressively and permanently than other societies.”
I have also linked this self-destructive, judgmental attitude to Barbadians’ excessive dependence on written things, a dependence to which our pride in our 98% literacy rating attests.
Former Labour Party MP Tristram Hunte, the economic historian who now heads the London-based Victoria and Albert Museum, failed to engage with this aspect of Barbados’ “knowledge industry” as holistically as he could have in his 2014 publication Ten Cities That Made An Empire, where the role of Barbados’ capital Bridgetown in the building of the British empire is detailed.
Barbadian Zarina Khan, who specializes in real estate and intellectual property trading could probably educate Hunte about the interdependence of Britain and Barbados in these core economic spheres.
Not to be confused with the Pakistani-Indian-Tunisian-French film maker Khan, the Barbadian Khan probably knows what it means to experience significant breathing difficulty through the British Home Office recalling creation of a “hostile environment” because of her proximity to Barbadian politics.
It was through Khan that I first met the Barbadian Mottley, in the 1990s, when I was seeking legal advice about a cricket-based board game I was creating called “Quicket”.
More on Khan, Quicket, related issues of nominative determinism and a brief conversation I had with Barbados PM Stuart, in my next article here.
In the meantime, I would be grateful if readers would let me know what they think of my appeal and if they have any similar legal appeal stories to share.
I can be reached by email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @Poeticjazztice.
As I told the officer who issued the PCN, I had only been parked for a few minutes to check if I was at the right location, the address of the Elim Church I was visiting.
I was there to seek the help of that church’s leadership with a number of personal and community challenges that I am addressing in my capacity as a holistic communication and education specialist.
Unfortunately, I became “distracted”, as I occasionally do, because of the mental and emotional (cognitive and affective) weight of the burdens that I am being made to carry by the collective hostility and/or indifference of my GP, my local MP, Clive Lewis, Twitter CEO Bruce Daisley, some Norfolk Constabulary, Hellesdon Hospital, Lloyds Bank, Utility Warehouse, University of East Anglia, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and British Broadcasting Corporation personnel and other individuals and organizations that in various ways have been consciously and unconsciously undermining my and my family’s well being and life prospects directly and indirectly.
This collective, conscious and unconscious hostility and/or indifference, has created a “hostile environment” that is linked not only to the current Conservative government’s immigration policy but also to the current and past gender, race and religion racketeering tactics and immigration intrigues of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the United Kingdom Independence Party and other political entities.
My visit to that Elim Church and other formal and informal (including legal) initiatives that I have embarked on are part of my efforts to engage constructively with the Labour Party, Norfolk County Council, the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, Ishaan Mosque and other religious and secular groups and individuals, so that we can adress the “ambient terror” that we are all experiencing.
I believe that psycho-social terror and/or anxiety is evident in the phobias, suicides, murders, marital breakdowns and other symptoms of Britain’s ongoing national identity crisis, especially in issues around Brexit.
And the state of distraction that contributed to my failure to return to my car in a timely manner on April 22, 2018 (and before that, my failure to properly read the instructions about parking outside the time limits allowed for that particular space) is in fact one of the less harmful consequences of the state of psychological siege that I am living under as a result of my MP Mr Lewis’ and other politically motivated individuals’ and/or groups’ hostility and/or indifference.
Thanks to the conscious and unconscious gender, race and religious racketeering of current and former Norfolk Police personnel and their “partners” in Norfolk’s majority and minority ethnic communities, I have been living with an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrilation) since at least 2008.
This psyhcosomatic affliction puts me at risk of a stroke or heart attack, a situation described by one doctor as habitually drinking from a river in which crocodiles are submerged and ready to strike at any minute.
And then there are the two-legged crocodiles who wish me dead because of my outspokenness against their gender (including gay rights), race and religious political racketeering.
One of them, an influential Barbadian academic, Dr Sandra Richards, sent me a threatening message (“rest in peace”) on Monday, May 1, when she and I had an argument.
Like the “unapologetic trade unionist” Mr Lewis, his former BBC colleague Rita Johnson and other politically well-connected Norfolk residents, Dr Richards, an employee of the University of the West Indies responsible for “quality assurance”, seems to think that my challenging of her evangelical fundamentalist Pan Africanist beliefs is an offence that is punishable by death, literally or at least metaphorically.
Please note that Mr Lewis MP recently sentenced me to a kind of metaphorical death by refusing to enter a dialogue with me to resolve past disagreements amicably.
These and other matters weigh heavily on my mind daily – like the “psych ops” that Conservative MP Ian Duncan Smith once boasted that he and other Brexiters deployed as part of their EU referendum strategy.
So, I am using the opportunity this PCN appeal has provided me to ask Norwich City Council to spare me the financial and psycho-social stress and hardship that this parking fine is likely to cause me.
Moreover, I would urge Norwich City Council to consider that given the extraordinarily hostile “psych ops” assault conditions I am currently living under, by setting aside this appeal against your parking fine, you would be endorsing the “hostile environment” that my MP Mr Lewis, Dr Richards and others have been consciously or unconsciously conspiring to create for me.
I believe this is a contravention of Norwich City Council’s, Mr Lewis’ and other public official’s and bodies’ duty to provide a safe environment for the citizens and lawful residents of this country.
In this regard, I draw your attention to at least three decisions that have gone against the UK government for failing to ensure that all who reside within its borders have the clean air required for them to “breathe easy” (https://www.clientearth.org/government-loses-third-air-pollution-case-judge-rules-air-pollution-plans-unlawful/).
I had my third conversation with the disarmingly self-deprecating yet profoundly assertive and politically potent Crossroads Women’s Center founder Selma James on Wednesday, February 21.
Essentially in the form of an interview, this conversation, our first, “fleshy”, face-to-face engagement, focused mainly on communication challenges and the careful listening and speaking that is required to avoid the pitfalls that bedevil all human communication: pitfalls that stem at least partly from the arbitrary, patently conventional yet unpredictable character of spoken language and its written representations.
James and I agree on the obscurity of language.
In fact, when I suggested that even at our best, human beings cannot communicate beyond certain parameters, James went further, saying “We can’t communicate at all”.
But James obviously did not intended for those words to be taken literally.
Why would she do the interview if she did not think there was some chance of getting her message across?
However, her intensification, one might even say excessive affirmation of the point that I had made, may prove true of the apparent Utopian Marxist James’ most careful and cared for communication in the long term, ironically.
Tragically, the considerable good that James and other Marxist feminists have accomplished in underscoring the value of women’s so-called “invisible work” risks being overshadowed by Utopian, group think expectations of what the visible valuing of women’s or anyone else’s work should entail.
As I argue below James and other Marxist secularists seem prone to the very excesses of religious “heaven on earth” or “pie in the sky” thinking that they rightly associate with the “opiate of the masses”.
Yet if millennia of religious and secular ideology based pursuit of a perfect world has taught us nothing else, has it not taught us the impossibility of perpetual, pervasive peace on earth?
Much as I applaud James’ apparent unfailing optimism, which in many ways reflects the pragmatic hope and sense of purpose that powers my own often thankless “invisible” work, I cannot help but be uneasy about the prospect of her and others’ work ending in frustration, or worse, for them and others.
Fundamentalist evangelical feminists may be happy to blame men for all the communication failures that have culminated in wars and other forms of conflict, but most people will agree that in the “battle of the sexes” both sides are at fault and at risk.
What I hope this analysis of James and my careful conversations makes clear are the challenges that we all face if women’s and men’s words are to be fleshed out or incarnated fruitfully and have their intended inter-generational, “carnal knowledge” curating and harmonizing, creative outcomes.
The danger of this morbidly mechanistic, deadly digital view, the price that women, men and children are all paying for superficial, corporate deadlines driven news coverage and analysis, with its simplistic secular-religious dichotomies and antagonisms, can hardly be calculated.
So too will those familiar with the warning of Karl Jung, often quoted by me, regarding what is lost by “modern man’s” simplistic rejection of the existence of a spiritual realm. Here is Jung’s warning again:
“Modern man does not understand how much his “rationalism . . . has put him at the mercy of the psychic “underworld . He has freed himself from ‘superstition’ (or so he believes), but in the process he has lost his spiritual values to a positively dangerous degree. His moral and spiritual tradition has been disintegrated, and he is now paying the price for this break-up in world-wide disorientation and dissociation.”
The inclusion here of the above “Beast from the East” video, references to the Jewish festival Purim, with which the Jewish James may be familiar and my employment of cricket language and themes is part of my attempt to not only demonstrate the validity of engaging with the spirit world “metaphorically” but to explore its metaphysical, Caribbean creole communication continuum resembling reality.
James batting on a ‘sticky wicket’
In the brief essay “A Word About Words”, one of the introductory segments of my book The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled (subsequently TBBTR), I briefly address the kind of conversational pitfalls that make communication perilous for persons like James and I, who speak the same language – in our case, English.
As I note in TBBTR, citing Jamaican linguist Merlene Cuthbert, same language speakers are at times in danger of misunderstanding each other because they make assumptions about what each other means to say when they use shared words.
This perverse potential of spoken words was no doubt a key factor behind the Marxist feminist James’ decision to have her own recording of our conversation created.
Another key factor, probably, was the way the conversation was going at that moment, approximately 1 minute 20 seconds after I had started recording it, using the camera on my mobile phone.
I was forced to use my phone after another camera I had borrowed specifically for our interview turned out to be inoperable because it needed charging.
And when my phone camera’s capacity was exhausted I used its audio recorder to capture another 29:12 minutes of conversation with James.
And the ‘siesmological’ or, in technical creole linguistic terms, the substratal, yet richly symbolic significance of these recording gadget gymnastics will become apparent as this written record of James’ and my careful conversation progresses.
The manner in which James and I marshalled and utilized our respective Marxist and “Christian” (I prefer the term Christocentric) experiences to converse both collaboratively and competitively, like cricket captains exploiting climatic and other atmospheric conditions on the field of play, certainly makes for an engaging cosmic cricket commentary.
For now though, it will suffice to say that like that borrowed, “dead” camera, something of James and my own cryptic, potent-yet-impotent cerebral capacities are demonstrated.
The clearly confrontational, possibly irreconcilable Marxist and Christocentric experiences and ideas that underlie her and my respective linguistic competences rise to the surface in rather intriguing, continuum of character revealing language performances.
A “Beast From The East” like Siberian silence and chill can be detected in all of the three recordings (two video, one audio) I did on my phone in James’ Kentish Town, London office that day.
Links to those recordings, in their unedited entirety can be found here, here and here. And a transcript of all three recordings is also being prepared for publication.
So why post another video recording, created a week later at the start of this article?
As I state in that video, shot in the predawn hours of March 1, I was struck by and wanted to capture something of the deadly, silent assassin character of the heavy snowfall we were experiencing in Norfolk and other parts of England: a silence that I felt was not only refracted in or paralleled by James reluctance to discuss details of her marriage to the late Caribbean Marxist and cricket historian CLR James, but also linked to a wider, cosmological yet particular, peculiarly enigmatic “carnal knowledge” marital reality.
I had actually begun to explore this simultaneously attractive yet destructive and therefore repelling, lily-white-yet-deep-night, shadowy capacity of snow in the winter of 2012-13 with a series of articles referencing Norfolk’s deep frieze.
But back then I only had a very limited, hazy sense of how a frosty silence could share features with a God Father and Earth Mother mystique and related Yin-Yang possibilities.
I had only an elementary understanding of how an Anglo-American meteorology mediated, Mediterranean modeled matrimonial “silence of Omerta” could be reconciled to Purim bacchanalia to produce the “substratal” narrative about creole Caribbean cricket and speech that I am attempting here.
And then there are these “waking night” shifts I have been doing, in my Holistic Homecare and Hospitality brief.
Sleep walking as I have been some days, I could be forgiven for not fully appreciating how the emergence of the phrase “Beast from the East” in mainstream Western news reports might be linked to my long running “Mouth of the Beast” series of articles.
Asleep and awake simultaneously, how could I have known that I was metaphysically reconstructing a scene from the movie Zero Dark Thirty?
But notwithstanding my own occasional Ben Carson-like brain fart or brain freeze, I usually know a deathly chill when I have encountered it in another’s speech.
And James’ welcoming warmth and hospitality clearly gives way to beastly chilling, at times abrupt speech and dismissive sentiment – especially when I offer what for her seems to be an intolerable, capitalism excusing take on the causes of the deadly dissolution and failure of the 1979 Grenada Revolution in 1983 (7:21 to 9:23 of the audio recording).
Grenadian descended Barbadian Marxist David Comissiong and his ideological twin Sir Hilary Beckles, a Marxist economic historian, could not have responded more icily!
James’ strident, and from my viewpoint, disappointingly one-sided, ideologically puritanical response can be heard from 7:29 of the audio recording.
In the first video recorded segment of our conversation though, James was playing a more defensive Calypso cricket.
Her thought tango with me was more tentative.
The clearly visible rolling of James’ eyes and a brief, cryptic smile on her face suggest that she is batting “on the back foot” or on a “sticky wicket”, as her late Trinidadian husband CLR, a passionate cricket enthusiast and writer, might have said, if he was in attendance.
James’ ideas are articulated or become flesh rather haltingly and less compellingly at that moment.
Her verbal batting is more reminiscent of the hyper-defensive West Indies batsman Jimmy ‘Pad em’ Adams’ game than the lightning quick master blasters Vivian Richards’ and Brian Lara’s, in that instance.
James’ ideological Kadooment and Purim
James seemed unprepared for my first question about the paradoxical situation that currently exists, where the International Wages For Housework Campaign that she is best known for overshadows the actual housework that she has done and, I imagine, is still doing.
I remain somewhat surprised that the Jewish James, born Deitch, formerly Weinstein (according to Wikipedia) had difficulty responding to that question, not least because I had raised it in the first article I had published about her and my evolving acquaintance.
As I recall, I had also sent James a copy of that article and suggested that she read it ahead of our meeting.
To be fair to her though, I also have a vague recollection of James saying that she may not have been able to access that article for some reason.
Anyway, it was as she was haltingly framing her response to the Purim mask mimicking paradox of her public persona and private praxis, which I had now raised a second or third time, that James’ colleague Sarah Calloway entered her office with refreshments and, simultaneously, proposed that they do their own recording, presumably as a kind of security against James being misquoted by me.
As seen at the end of the first video, James agreed with Calloway, saying “I always like to know what I’m doing, you know.”
This comment is telling, highlighting the fact that despite our previous two telephone conversations, and the publication of the article referencing them, James felt that she did not know enough about me to trust my reporting.
I might as well have been an unknown, masked reveler ‘latching on ‘pon she bumper’ on a Bajan Kadooment morning, as far as she was concerned (those familiar with my Barbados Crop Over festival based Lewd Logic project will have some appreciation of the light-hearted language and imagery I am using here).
James was clearly having second thoughts about my intent.
And this arguably legitimate concern about my identity and possible motivation for seeking her out had been indicated earlier, before I had started recording, when James asked me “Who are you really?” or words to that effect.
But my answer, briefly summarizing my evangelical Pentecostal Christian background, subsequent religious disillusionment and current critical yet empathy emphasizing and evoking, Christocentric (more so than “Christian”) metaphysical outlook on life seemed to fall on deaf, or at least, hearing impaired ears.
The lifelong writer James’ considerable powers of mental record making, information recall and application seemed to be inoperable just then, like that camera that I had borrowed to record our long sought, keenly anticipated, carefully negotiated conversation.
That camera was not the only thing that was not performing at optimum capacity, apparently.
And in addition to a recharge of battery, there seems to me to be an even more urgent need for an adjustment of James’ Marxist feminist lens.
Whether it is a question of her age or a consequence of the widely attested obscurity of the current social media transforming, fake news foggy playing conditions that political activists like James, and indeed all of us who would change society for the better are now obliged to perform in, the faltering of James’ vision is unmistakable, sadly.
In particular, the “bad light” or poor visibility that James labours under, through her idealistic interpretation and application of Marx’s teachings, is apparent in her inflexibility on the causes of the failure of the Grenada revolution, as previously noted.
Her dogged denial of my suggestion that Maurice Bishop’s New Jewel Movement “splintered from within”, suggests an idealistic, Utopian Communist inflexibility that is worryingly reminiscent of the ideological rigidity that I have observed among some puritanical Pentecostal and other evangelical fundamentalist Christians, militant Muslims, juridically jaundiced Jews, bigoted Buddhists, hate peddling Hindus and other religious persons.
Areas of incoherence and inconsistency that challenge the authenticity of the very important and valuable work that the autonomist James has done and, remarkably despite her age, is still doing also come to the fore in the equation of money and power in her matriarchal materialist dialectical analysis of women’s “reproductive work”.
I believe that one of the most dire consequences of this clearly unintended, antisocial socialist anomaly, not just for James, but for many women she has influenced directly and indirectly, is evident in the ideological hijacking and political prostitution of womanhood that James herself has lamented persistently.
Moreover, I believe that in assessing the Marxist matriarch James’ legacy, careful consideration needs to be given to her and other clearly well meaning, but excessively ideological feminist activists’ contribution to the opportunistic homogenization or ‘bulk packaging’, politicization and commodification of mothering.
Even as I noted my own paid and unpaid, especially parental caring work, and thanked James for her role in facilitating the financial measurement of unwaged care, thereby allowing for it to be remunerated, I was nonetheless constrained to ask James if she thinks there will ever be a point when there will be “universal agreement” on what a parent’s patting of a son’s or daughter’s head is worth (video recording number 2, from 1:32 to 4:40)?
That is because from my fatherhood and more widely informed point of view, the possibly catastrophic current commodification and politicization of mothering, and fathering latterly, is behind much of the anxiety that British children and parents are suffering, as successive World Happiness Reports published by the United Nations suggest.
Moreover, I believe this conscious or unconscious ideological-political hijacking, excessive monetizing and related undermining of family values, and motherhood in particular, reached a nadir in the public attack of “matriarch” Sir Elton John on the designers Domenico Dolci and Stefano Gabana, when they publicly voiced their reservations about legalistic efforts to make homosexual parenting normative.
Again: “The letter killeth.”
Now, those who know of my ongoing efforts to get legal redress for human rights abuses I have suffered at the hands of the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the British Labour and Conservative parties and other institutions and individuals implicated in a Barbados-sown, globally grown conspiracy to undermine my knowledge trading work and impoverish me can attest to the fact that I value the law highly.
However, if I have managed to communicate nothing else through TBBTR, I should at least have made clear my profound agreement with the ancient dictum that “the law is an ass”, a denunciation of legalism usually traced to Charles Dickens, though rather inaccurately.
Hence, as one source explains, when Mr. Bumble, the unhappy spouse of a domineering wife, is told in court that “…the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction”, he replies: “If the law supposes that…the law is a ass – a idiot”.
Does Mr Bumble’s denunciation of “the law” differ fundamentally from the biblical denunciation of the lethal capacity of the Jewish scriptures (in the original Greek “te gramma”) in 2 Corinthians 3:6, which I repeatedly stress: “the letter kills”?
Are we not confronted here with the very problem of clouded consciences and hazy vision that Joshua of Nazareth addressed when he is said to have declared “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:39-40 KJV)
Yet the anti-Zionist, supposedly secularism grounded, grass roots reality stressing, philosophical speculation denouncing writer-activist James and other feminists often treat the writings of Mary Wollstoneraft, Virginia Woolf and others as inerrant and infallible holy writ.
They thus fail to engage authentically with the phenomenon of matriarchal marital monopolizing, especially the passive-aggressive guises in which it can masquerade.
“Panty government”, as some Caribbean people crudely call it, is not always openly domineering.
Criminologist Rachel Stuart, an advocate of women’s autonomous agency and culpability in illegal activity has been convicted and imprisoned four times herself, and therefore speaks to these matters with personal authority.
Stuart, Dr Susan Batchelor, I and other members of the British Society of Criminology recently spent an entire day discussing the involvement of women in crime as “victim-offenders” and only managed to scratch the surface of this paradoxical situation.
In the meantime, while James and other women ignore or undervalue women’s soft power, it seems to be finding bold, biological orthodoxy challenging assertion in the pop icon John’s and other gregarious gay men’s conscious or unconscious matriarchal ambitions.
Note that Sir Elton caused a stir in the US in 2010 by describing Jesus as a “compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems”.
Also note the coincidental timing of United States president Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election motivated gay marriage endorsement, and Sir Elton’s advocacy of it.
John had previously been content with the notion of “gay partnership”.
And Obama’s links to my native Barbados, through his gay marriage endorsing attorney general Eric Holder are also noteworthy, given Barbados’ historical role in propagating British cultural mores in the Americas, as British economic historian Tristram Hunt has documented in his book Ten Cities That Built An Empire.
But I hardly have time to explore the role of prominent Barbadians like political scientist Peter Wickham and Barbados Labour Party leader Mia Mottley in propagating an emergent homosexual “reproductive work” orthodoxy here.
Sufficeth to say, it seems that what legalistic inflexibility and intolerance in feminism catalyzes, like legalistic inflexibility and intolerance in fundamentalist religious and other spheres, is the “poverty of imagination” (as South African Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer has called it) that the gay parenting rights crusader Sir Elton exhibited even as he accused Dolce and Gabana of a lack of grace.
And those who assume that women’s “sovereignty” over their bodies justifies the capitalist codification and commodification of abortion, making it an absolute, virtually sacrosanct woman’s right, suffer similar literalistic, fundamentalist feminism clouded lenses.
It also seems clear to me that the “rights” of prostitutes advocated by the probable James satellite Motley and other Barbadian and Caribbean feminist socialists, with scant regard for the demoralizing, dehumanizing potential of the sex trade for women and men, can be just as counterproductive and antisocial as the crass clumping and capitalist commodification of marriage by excessive, intrusive Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other binary “block chain” labeling, homosexuality homogenizing, holiness monetizing religious interests.
The “Beast from the East” like, turbulent environmental conditions that their traditional and new media intensive political campaigning generated, with the help of their respective Randolph Hearst recalling, huffing and puffing media allies, inevitably undermined the radical rooting in reality that makes any marital “carnal knowledge” communication or exchange authentic.
It is a numbers thing, essentially.
Think of Chinese Whispers, the communication distortion game.
Like the diffusion and distortion of the Jewish reformer Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth’s message across temporal and spatial boundaries, the sheer number of “personal” commitments that Clinton and Trump made, or that were made for them, implicitly or explicitly, by authorized or unauthorized members of the Democratic and Republican parties, ensured the obscenity and unreality of their Messianic persona incarnating, political capital amassing activity.
And the inauthentic and deceitful character of the ostensibly woman empowering, but actual sexual slave-making sex cult of which the apparently self-deluded American actress Allison Mack was allegedly the matriarch comes to mind here forcefully.
I have noted the probable roots of Clinton’s and Trump’s messianic complexes in their relationships with their father and mother respectively.
Similarly, I would not be surprised if the Superman star Mack’s relationship with her father has contributed to her alleged co-dependence with the cult leader Keith Raniere, a virtual “Mack daddy”.
But however we view Mack’s and Raniere’s victim-offending, in terms of criminology, it seems clear that an inflexible, intolerant, fundamentalist Marxist lens, like an inflexible, intolerant fundamentalist Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Capitalist or any other excessively ideological religious or secular lens, generates bigotry, prejudice and potentially catastrophic stereotyping.
It produces and perpetuates the “gang mentality” or “group think” that I expect James, Galloway and other socialists find abhorrent – at least in theory.
Could anyone who knows James imagine her becoming a Mack-like “groupie”?
Yet it could be argued that James devotion to Marx does not differ from Mack’s devotion to Raniere, substantially.
James salvation, from this perspective, would be the capacity of her brand of Marxism to problematize its own atheistic, materialist cosmology – much like James’ capacity to engage, as fellow Marxist Bettina Aptheker has done, with the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father critically.
Aptheker revealed that abuse in Intimate Politics, her autobiography.
And Aptheker’s openness on this crucial matter contrasts with James’ unwillingness to talk about her relationship with CLR poignantly.
There is certainly ample theoretical, specifically written evidence that James is aware of the dangers of the gang mentality generalizing that has come to the fore during the Brexit referendum in England and around the battle between the matriarch Clinton and patriarch Trump for the United States presidency.
Her colleague Nina Lopez emphasizes James’ insistence on precision, which I applaud and share, in Lopez’s foreword to Sex, Race and Class – The Perspective of Winning, a 2012 publication of a collection of James writings dating back to 1952.
Unfortunately, this insistence on precision was not as much in evidence during the “oracle” James and my conversation.
In fact, James’ chilly response to what she apparently sees as capitalist stereotypes make her insightful writing on class crossing grass roots activism and similar incisive analyses that reflect her insistence on precision seem like Purim masquerading.
Was James mirroring my Columbo-esque performance?
Again, keen to allow James the benefit of the doubt, I am willing to consider the possibility that I am to some degree responsible for that.
Having initiated the tango with James, there is a degree to which my moves dictated her missteps.
She did say after our interview, and unfortunately, off the record, that the question I raised about social media was beyond her competence.
Could my rather relaxed, casual interviewing style, punctuated with long pauses and some half-finished and disjointed sentences, reflecting the fact that I was somewhat sleep deprived after one of my weekly carer night shifts, have induced James into some sleepy or sloppy thinking?
I readily admit to a rather sleepy or sloppy, detective-Columbo-like speech performance that morning.
However, all things considered, I believe that I managed to maintain my “line and length” with something like Australian cricketers Glen McGrath or Shane Warne recalling bowling consistency.
I believe I was able to demonstrate the Barbadian fast bowler Kemar Roach approximating speed and penetration of thought, word and deed that our compatriot, historian Trevor Marshall has labeled a “pursuit of the quintessence of spirituality”, in his foreword to TBBTR.
As volatile as Kurtly Ambrose, potentially, when my ire has been ignited, my salvation, so to speak, has been a “pastor” Ridley Jacobs recalling, Christian humility: a humility that I believe was manifested in Jacobs’ consistent stewardship as the West Indies’ wicket-keeper batsman, as I recently told him.
While probably differing with Jacob’s conventional Christian world view in significant ways (I am more likely to pray prostrate rather than kneeling, for one thing), the curiously competitive, yet compassionate and collaborative motivation that informs my relatively open-minded interaction with James shares fundamental Christological, empathy and reconciliation focused features with the Wesleyan wicket keeper Jacob’s theology.
My eclectic, interdisciplinary academic exploits and ideological labels transcending activism resemble Jacobs’ improvisational, unorthodox batting style in some ways.
Basically, despite at times patchy, inconsistent speech production, I was able to maintain conversational coherence and consistency as I interacted with James because of my underlying, time and space tested commitment to something approximating cricketing fair play.
Put alternately, I am able to maintain my interlocutory line and length in complex, at times inhospitable, windy conditions because my in many ways favorless, politically abused and exploited life experience has equipped me with reservoirs of empathy and resilience.
Playing through the line
I first got a firm sense of how much the fossilized or frozen, inflexible thinking patterns of Marxists like James and other secular ideologues can have in common with rotish religious thought patterns and systems when I read Understanding Secular Religions, by American Christian apologists Josh McDowell and Don Stewart in the 1980s.
But it was while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, under the tutelage of Caribbean linguists Korah Belgrave, Peter Roberts, Martha Isaacs and others at the Barbados-based University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill Campus that I was introduced to fundamentals of scientific language analysis, like the distinction between judgmental prescriptive and more objective, open-minded descriptive approaches to language analysis, and could therefore apply these fundamentals to my then already advanced study of religious and secular belief systems.
The main ideas of TBBTR had already been established by then, as copies shared with American International Publishers, SCM Press and other interests can attest.
My studies of Linguistics reinforced and enriched those ideas.
The sociolinguistic and sociopolitical parallels between the evolution of Standard English and other “ruling class” language varieties and canonical or conventional Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Capitalist, Communist and other dominant, literary canon established and enforced religious and secular knowledge systems thus became apparent to me.
Similarly, my use of the term “fossilization” above, to describe the hardening of opinion that James demonstrated on the Grenada revolution question derives from and is dependent on my familiarization with the technical, language learning concept of “interlanguage fossilization” sometime between 1995 and 2005, when I was pursuing my Linguistics degree.
This combining or coalescing of language acquisition and development theories and religious conviction shaping experiences and ideas can also be detected in my criticisms of the Marxist Corbyn and other “sleep-walking socialists”, on one hand, and carnivorous capitalists like Theresa May on the other.
And the same concern with the semantic substance or core structures of outwardly differing beliefs and thought systems dictates my “clumping” of humanist views held by James, Corbyn, my local MP Clive Lewis and other apparent evangelical atheists with the religious prejudices and presumptions that these and other humanists characteristically, and rightly, challenge and protest.
And this ethical efficacy and truth focused, religious and secular language penetrating mode of analysis is in fact mirrored by James’ own preoccupation with precision, mentioned above, and as documented by her colleague Lopez.
Lopez notes James’ determination to avoid generalizations, quoting her where she declares “I hate imprecision. It’s the enemy.”
And Lopez underscores how the kind of conversations that James and I have been engaging in contribute to the degree of lucidity and precision that James has achieved in her activism.
Noting that training has been “a two-way learning process”, Lopez shares this account by James of her process:
“I trained myself by training others, trying to be useful to them, to understand what they were having trouble with. I still do. It’s a big discipline.”
And in words that recall the typical faith-knowledge deficit that the late Barbadian evangelical fundamentalist Christian preacher Holmes Williams sought to address through his booklet Know What You Believe, James continues, “To explain myself I had to find out what I thought. I can never just sit down and think things through, but as I speak and try to find the right words my thoughts become clearer.”
So, thankfully, if her colleague Lopez can be believed, James is “always updating herself”.
Will we meet again?
And that is why as I reflect on the whole process of getting to know James so far, I am strengthened in my previously expressed view that she is a kind of oracle and that our interaction, like that I share with artists-businesswomen Janice Lear-Gurney and Deborah Liversage was divinely destined.
The question, raised in the previously cited article, is destined for what?
Noting the coincidence of James and my second telephone conversation occuring on the anniversary of the first, and her and my involvement in the “care industry”, I wrote “I feel both a sense of indebtedness to James and a sense of unease. Where might these signs of serendipity and synchronicity lead?”
Certainly, considering the differences in our genders, ages, races and ideological orientations, some clashing of opinions between James and I once we had actually met seemed inevitable.
Despite the mutual interests and acquaintances in Barbados and other Caribbean countries that we discussed during our second telephone conversation, she and I seemed destined to collide, like the arctic anticyclone Hartmut (as the Beast from the East has been dubbed in Germany) and the cyclone Emma that collided with it on and around February 24.
Despite our best intentions and mutually respectful aspirations, we seemed destined for a collision that would compound her, my and others’ confusion and deepen our respective ideological assumptions and prejudices, thereby deepening each other’s relative detachment from reality.
And James and I might be in for a major falling out yet.
I will have a better idea of whether or not she will agree to meet with me again after this article is published.
For the time being though, I am not only enjoying the calm before any possible storm but I am in some ways looking forward to the “Beast from the East” heavy snowfall that may be coming.
And that is because I deeply believe that James and I have more in common than our differences suggest.
I believe a dialectical synthesis of our views or thaw of our thoughts, if you will, is inevitable.
And this is despite James’ demonstrated “take no prisoners”, winner take all, tragically Trump-like conversational tendecies, which she defiantly displayed in a conversation with former Conservative Party politician Edwina Currie.
I have a deep sense that whether or not I one day have the honour of changing her “adult nappy”, literally, I will be able to claim the honour of perhaps gently waking James from the kind of elderly Marxist socialist sleep that I may have awoken Labour Party leader Corbyn and my local MP Lewis from rather more abruptly.
I certainly sense that James and I can collaborate to bridge the, Brexit-attested, Trump-election-win-reinforcing generation gap without too much of the clashing and clanging communication of ideas that risks disturbing her and my own necessary nocturnal carers’ napping.
I am keen to work with James and others at the Cossroads Womens’ Center to address the very serious challenges facing both our generations.
The group think tornadoes behind London violence
From my semantics and seismology intersection monitoring point of view, the stabbing deaths of two young black men in the vicinity of James’ office less than 10 hours before she and I met is a peculiarly ominous oracle.
And the fact that neither James, her colleague Calloway, a black woman, nor I (a black man) mentioned those deaths during our meeting at her office concerns me deeply.
I am awed by the fact that during our careful conversation, we were all silent about the tiny, yet terrifying, life threatening group think tornadoes that have been touching down around James Kentish Town base and in other parts of London with flesh ripping ferocity.
That is part of why I chose to open this article with the foregoing “Beast from the East” night time video recording.
It locates my conversations with James in the wider dialogue or dialectic of carnivorous conversation through which character can be molded or mortally wounded, as the case may be.
It connects the gun and knife crime courting conflicts currently flaring up in Camden and other London boroughs to the time and space transcending cosmological conflict that touches down or is incarnated in every human psyche, as the recently deceased Guyanese writer-mystic Wilson Harris may have put it.
Of course, in a profoundly personal sense, my emphasis in that video on the potent, deadly silent assassin character of heavy snowfall, the fact that its gradual, frosty build up can end life, effectively, attests to my own experience of relative isolation and silencing by the conscious and unconscious designs of Margaret Gill, Charmaine “Lie-e-lah” Gill, James Carmichael, Harold Hoyte, Al Gilkes and other Barbadian political conversation shapers who, like James, arguably, contradict themselves dialectically.
It attests to my experience of being “frozen out” of conversations by the Marxist myopia and other imagination insulating, vision limiting lenses of my local MP Lewis, a journalist-turned-politician, and his supporters, including BBC Norfolk’s Rita Johnson, who, from my perspective, seems guilty of an extraordinary failure of empathic vision.
Rather like James and the “musical” matrix John, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Mother of Chapel Johnson and other Norfolk-based journalists seem oblivious to how much their secular, possibly atheistic ideological fixations and fossilizations may have in common with the precision and specificity trampling stereotyping and generalizing of Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish and other “block chain” generators or “bump stock” triggerers of religious bigotry.
They and Lewis, who recently rejected an effort I made to find common ground with him and work collaboratively despite past tense relations, seem intent on relegating my ideological labels transcending, linguistics and theology combining work to the margins and shadows of British, Caribbean, American and other societies’ academies.
Indeed, Lewis, a “bookish theoric” if ever I have met one, seems so intent on erasing any trace of my cutting edge contribution to contemporary British society that he is willing to undermine Labour leader Corbyn’s claims to be leading a movement for a new, more deeply democratic, authentically socialist political ecology and economy.
How else might one explain Lewis’ ongoing rejection of my now six months old peace offering even as Corbyn denounces Theresa May, Amber Rudd and other Conservative Party members for their “hostile environment” immigration policy toward Caribbean and other minorities?
Having been the target for more than a quarter of a century of the deadly Beast from the East snowfall recalling, tribal political silencing and character assassination that is a feature of both secular and religious, socialist and capitalist political capital accumulating strategies (like the gender, race and religious racketeering that I have been denouncing persistently in my “Mouth of the Beast” article series), I see the Windrush West Indian immigration scandal currently making headlines in England as just a symptom of how British politicians and their monetarily overpaid, ethically underachieving media allies tear at and undermine the bonds of British society.
In a couple of weeks I will be marking the 12th anniversary of the first publication of my article Fundamentalist Feminism.
I re-publish that article here today, February 15th 2018, for a number of reasons, including as a prelude to an upcoming third conversation with the feminist Marxist thinker Selma James, best known, according to Wikipedia, as the founder of the International Wages For Housework Campaign.
As a feminist myself, I am obliged to problematize what Wikipedia apparently accepts uncritically.
Is there not a paradox here, possibly?
How is it that the woman who has perhaps done more than anyone else to have a spotlight shone on the economic value of women’s unwaged, private or invisible work, can be considered “best known” for work done in the glare of public scrutiny?
What of her private, unwaged, invisible work legacy?
Shouldn’t that work be “rescued” from obscurity?
During a brief conversation with James today, only our second so far and occurring exactly on the first anniversary of our first conversation, which took place on February 15, 2017, intriguingly, I got a glimpse into how she resolves this paradox by asserting her right to privacy.
I also got a sense, of the depth of her and my shared belief in serendipity as she agreed that the mirroring dates of our twin conversations was noteworthy.
James, the third wife and long-time collaborator of Trinidadian Trotskyist CLR James also flashed me a hint of her extraordinary humility, saying of her relationship with the Caribbean bard “I was just his secretary, really.”
And the crisis that is a consequence as much of James’ working class roots, perhaps, as it is a tributary of the tangled relations at the heart of male-female interdependence generally, is thus brought into stark relief.
The obscurity at the interface of human procreation and productivity, the conception and birthing of every “brain child” remains intact for James, despite her being a mother of millions, conceptually.
I address this morphological marital dilemma, a crisis of identity, essentially, in Fundamentalist Feminism where I explore what I call “gender complementarity”.
And I am anticipating a lengthy and fruitful correspondence with James around these and related issues as we pursue what from my point of view seems like a dialogue that was divinely destined to be.
Working as a paid “carer” myself, in both knowledge trading (intellectual property) and the less glamorous “adult nappy changing” and wider “carnal knowledge” curating (bodily health maintaining) capacities, I feel both a sense of indebtedness to James and a sense of unease.
Where might these signs of serendipity and synchronicity lead?
Might she one day be a nurse-needing participant in my Holistic Home Care and Hospitality project, like the oracle Janice Gurney?
What omen, good or ill, might one cipher from the proximity of my second conversation with James, born Weinstein, to the emergence of the “Me too” movement and my own irregular, oracular literary and other efforts to ensure that this extraordinarily movie and wider media manufactured tempest does not wipe the long, low frequency record of female-on-female sexual harassment, rape and murder clean?
Might my “channelling” of both Selma’s and her late husband’s theorizing around the issue of homosexuality prompt the “seen it all” actress Sharon Stone, of Mosaic fame currently, to finally answer the question I put to her, via Twitter, about female-female sexual violence in the movie and wider media industry?
A constructive engagement with the less prominent National Union of Journalists members Arjum Wahid and Nick McGowan-Lowe about the relevance of my “Help Google Be Good” petition to the journalism profession may be more likely.
In that petition I liken excessive elements of Google’s information ecology footprint to Harvey Weinstein’s catalytic and as is now clear, catastrophic libidinous lechery, incidentally.
And somewhere along that rope there is a knot called Gaia Pope, that ties James’ views on epilepsy to a testimony of hope: a lump in this writer’s throat that is free of the mild malignancy of Geoffrey Boycott’s cricket commentary.
But the 87 year old has not only demonstrated comparable moral mettle but also outlived the younger Baroness Heyhoe-Flint who died aged 77 last January.
Like her late cricketer-historian husband who died age 88 in 1989, James therefore demonstrates a penchant for pragmatically penetrating all kinds of boundaries.
Junior (Jay) Campbell
February 15th, 2018
a major threat to women, men and the family: a threat to humanity
Introduction: an appeal to the United Nations and other international agencies
My purpose here is to expose fundamentalist feminism, an ideological and political movement that I believe is one of the greatest threats facing women, men, the family and society generally today.
I have chosen to deal with this issue on the eve of International Women’s Day precisely because I hope to attract the attention of bodies such as the United Nations to this issue.
There is a view, in some quarters, that the work of the United Nations and other international agencies is excessively and unjustly influenced by feminist politicos whose zeal to advance women’s issues is not being balanced by a reasonable concern for challenges facing men.
This certainly is one way of interpreting the comments of Barbadian Parliamentarian Trevor Prescod who, while addressing a men’s meeting some years ago expressed the concern that attempts by males to bring balance to gender issues in international meetings were being more or less “shouted down” by women. Prescod suggested that women attending such meetings were “winning” the arguments by virtue of the sheer number of them present.
Of course, it stands to reason that in the absence of meaningful dialogue – where all sides to an issue are given a reasonable hearing, there can be no real winners. The reduction of discussion on gender issues to a “war of words” between the sexes benefits no one, for as Calypsonian Singing Sandra of Trinidad and Tobago has said, “Nobody; nobody wins a war”.
When dialogue on gender issues deteriorates into a verbal war between males and females, as in physical war, perhaps more so – because without meaningful dialogue there can be no hope for genuine solutions – it is our essential humanity, which transcends gender, ethnic, religious and similar boundaries, that suffers.
I pray that this appeal will have some weight and consequences among the male and female personnel of international agencies and all others who have the interest of humanity at heart. If one woman, man or child is helped by this initiative my purpose will have been achieved.
My purpose here is to expose fundamentalist feminism, an ideological and political movement that I believe is one of the greatest threats facing women, men, the family and society generally today.
Fundamentalist feminism defined
Basically, fundamentalist feminism is an aggregate or body of ideas that promote an unrealistic, and unhealthy concept of women by exaggerating their strengths and virtues and concealing their vices and weaknesses. At the heart of fundamentalist feminism, is the suggestion that women are capable only of good, and not of evil.
Essentially, fundamentalist feminism blames men and men’s dominance (also called “patriarchy”) of politics, religion, business, the family etc, for most or all of the problems facing society.
Fundamentalist feminism overlooks or conceals the complicity of women (mothers, wives, sisters, consorts and other women) in the “evil that men do”.
Fundamentalist feminists label instances of such “complicity” as evidence of women’s victimization and abuse, freeing them of both blame and responsibility.
It is to that extent – at least – essentially anti-feminist, dis-empowering women.
Like fundamentalist religious, racial, political and other ideological systems, fundamentalist feminism is based on predominantly simplistic, one-sided analysis that favors its “messiah-types”.
So, just as Christians, Rastafarians, black people or white people are viewed as “infallible” heroes in their respective fundamentalist systems, women are viewed as humanity’s only hope in fundamentalist feminism.
The interdependence of males and females – an essential feature of the human condition and an inescapable prerequisite of our material and spiritual well-being, that is normally apparent to all – is thus ignored or understated by fundamentalist feminists.
The joint responsibility of men and women for humanity’s successes and failures is denied.
The basic belief of fundamentalist feminism is that women are good and men are bad: women are non-violent and peacemakers, men are violent and war mongers; women are honest, men are dishonest. In short, fundamentalist feminism teaches that women are morally superior to men.
Fundamentalist feminism is therefore a kind of “reverse chauvinism”.
It has roots in the challenge of the women’s movement to “male chauvinism”, but unlike the more salutary segments of the women’s movement, it is not concerned with gender “equality”. Fundamentalist feminism audaciously declares the superiority of women! The goal of empowerment for women is not advanced in the context of equality, but rather in the context of supremacy and domination.
Writing on feminist legal theory, Erin Pizzey, founder of the women’s refuge movement, notes in a December 2000 article that “the ideology of legal feminism today goes far beyond the original and widely supported goal of equal treatment for both sexes.” She says “The new agenda is to redistribute power from the ‘dominant class’ (men) to the ‘subordinate class’ (women), and such key concepts of Western jurisprudence as judicial neutrality and individual rights are declared to be patriarchal fictions designed to protect male privilege.”
On November 18th 2005, I sought to share Pizzey’s views with an audience gathered at the eleventh annual Caribbean Women Catalysts for Change Lecture, hosted by the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus’ Centre for Gender and Development Studies. The lecture was delivered by Madame Justice Desiree Bernard, the first female judge of the recently instituted Caribbean Court of Justice.
I was disappointed, though not surprised, to find that no one else attending the lecture, male or female, seemed to have heard of Pizzey. This “anonymity” accords with Pizzey’s own testimony of the ostracism to which she has been subjected by many influential feminists and their male supporters, because of her views. It supports her assessment that:
“There was, and still is, a strict censorship against anyone trying to break the code of silence. No one wants to acknowledge the extent of the damage that the feminist movement has done to the family and to men in the last thirty years.”
Pizzey does not claim to be a feminist or any other “ist”. She describes herself simply as ‘a lover of God in all his aspects.’ She did join the women’s movement in her native England in 1971.
However, she says she did so with reservations because of the movement’s leftist and totalitarian leanings. She speaks of standing up in many “violent and threatening collectives” of the movement, to tell its leaders that “hating all men” was not something she wanted to be a part of. She says she was “hated with a passion” because of her views and ultimately excluded from this “liberation” movement.
Pizzey also tells of boycotts by members of the press, withdrawn invitations to speak publicly and other obstacles that have been set in her path since she has left the movement and has been seeking to challenge what she sees as its ill-founded and socially destructive strains – what I call fundamentalist feminism.
Concerns I share with Pizzey include:
fundamentalist feminist propagation of such erroneous ideas as a) women are not as capable of violence as men b) women are not as likely to abuse children as men and therefore make better parents than men and c) women are less likely than men to be afflicted by “political power-hunger”
fundamentalist feminist corruption of the legal system, leading to a) fathers of children being denied their rights b) the introduction of laws that are founded on presumptions of women’s innocence or are otherwise biased toward women
fundamentalist feminist influence on education leading to discrimination against boys by both male and female teachers
fundamentalist feminist domination of the discipline of “women studies” (I benefited from a few courses in this discipline and think it has redeeming qualities but I am not sure Pizzey would agree)
fundamentalist feminists’ hijacking of the legitimate causes of women – for political and monetary gain, and
media cover-up or suppression of the very real short-comings and dangers of fundamentalist feminism.
I also identify in a profoundly personal way with Pizzey’s story. I share the following details of my own experience because I think it provides significant insights into the essential pathos of the fundamentalist feminist psyche (power-hungriness and glory grabbing – what I call the Lie-e-lah syndrome) and its opportunistic operation in the political realm.
By exposing the evil that fundamentalist feminism generates I hope to encourage a more wholesome, authentic feminism. I do not believe fundamentalist feminism’s primary threats are its threats to men’s well-being: I believe its primary threats are to the well-being of women.
Just as fundamentalist Christianity is anti-Christian at its core, so too fundamentalist feminism is profoundly anti-feminist. Rooted in a denial of truth, it tends toward self-alienation and therefore exposes women to delusions (of insignificance or grandeur).
The stories of the sociopathic behaviour of two individuals recounted here, makes this clear. Their stories, intertwined with my own, are set out below. I have given them fictitious but appropriate names – “The Liar” and “Market Guilt” – to conceal their identities. I have also “confused” their genders, deliberately using masculine or feminine nouns and pronouns inaccurately to refer to either or both of them, and in some cases, to their male and female allies and/or consorts.
In addition to further concealing their identities, this strategy of “gender confusion” reinforces two recurring points made here: 1. that fundamentalist feminism is profoundly anti-feminist and 2) that not only females embrace and/or exploit fundamentalist feminist ideas to serve their misguided, selfish political or other agendas. At a deeper, symbolic level, it also hints at the complex “homo-ideological” (on the verge of homosexual) properties of the fundamentalist feminist psyche.
At a basic level, of course, the concealment of these individuals’ identities also protects me from legal liability. I can vouch for the truth of what I say here, but it has so far been impossible to find anyone else that can do that who is willing to. A wall of intimidating silence has been constructed to shield The Liar and Market Guilt from the just consequences of the distressingly deceitful behaviour they and their allies have perpetrated.
Even the office of the Ombudsman in Barbados, to which I turned for relief around 2000-2001 has failed to breach that wall. I hope the publication of this document will inspire at least one of the persons who can corroborate my story with the courage he/she needs to do so.
My experience of fundamentalist feminism
I have never joined a feminist organization, but like Pizzey, I have been a supporter of legitimate, genuine feminist causes for many years. Among other things, as a free-lance journalist I have written and produced material on Violence Against Women for UNIFEM and the Caribbean Media Corporation (formerly the Caribbean News Agency or CANA). I was also the privileged, sole male participant at a “round-table” on women in politics, hosted by the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research (CAFRA), some years ago.
Like Pizzey, I too have suffered exclusion, victimization and isolation by feminists because of my refusal to ignore the shortcomings of feminism. And, just as there seems to be an attempt to erase Pizzey’s contribution to women’s causes and her very existence from history, there seems to be an attempt to erase my own work and existence, in the Barbadian and wider Caribbean context.
The media in Barbados is playing a critical role in this. On the March 14th, 2002 edition of the popular local radio call-in program “Brass Tacks”, senior Starcom Network staff member and host David Ellis launched a broadside against my organization Intelek International and myself. I had by then been engaged in a little publicized “feud” with other staff members or associates of Starcom Network, or its parent organization, the Nation Publishing Company for some time.
One catalyst for this “feud’, was a dispute I had with The Liar, a former media personality, over an extravagantly unethical breach of intellectual property he committed against me. This man/woman has for some time challenged my contribution to an artistic production in which he/she participated in the late 1990s. I contested, and still contest, her failure to mention my contribution to that production when he announced the credits the night of the production.
My dispute with this individual escalated as members of Barbados’ feminist movement, led by Market Guilt rallied to cover-up or otherwise excuse The Liar’s “oversight”. Among other things, Mr. Guilt, an acknowledged psychiatric sufferer (possibly a schizophrenic) has argued that The Liar was entitled to use an idea to which I introduced her because no one can claim “ownership” of an idea. I am familiar with this view, held by many communist-leaning persons, but have never seriously engaged Ms. Guilt on it because the fundamental point for me was The Liar’s failure to acknowledge my contribution on the night of the production. I thought, and still think this was the least she could do, since she had asked my permission to use the idea.
The dispute has escalated even further though, taking on political dimensions, as one of the organizations hosting the production became a catalyst for the cultural renaissance that is currently sweeping Barbados. Bolstered by the innocent and perhaps naive attention of then Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sport (subsequently Barbados’ Attorney General, now Minister of Economic Development) Mia Mottley, The Liar went on to claim that she was “the Founder” of that organization.
I view this exaggeration as a spectacular manifestation of the “Lie-e-lah” syndrome, to which fundamentalist feminism is prone, because of its power hungry, glory grabbing and truth-twisting propensities. It is more accurate to view Market Guilt, myself and other persons as co-founders of the organization in question.
The founding of this organization is in fact a fine example of the operation of the male-female interdependence to which I referred above.
However, The Liar’s coveting of the “founder” role is consistent with the unethical breach of and flagrant disregard for principles of intellectual property that remains the genesis of our dispute – and my dispute with Market Guilt.
Indeed, Ms. Mottley, The Liar, Market Guilt and other local fundamentalist feminists seem to prefer a radical feminist interpretation of the history of the organization that erases the seminal male influences behind it, represented by its male founding members. They seem to favour a fundamentalist feminist interpretation of Barbados’ cultural legacy that exaggerates women’s contributions – implying that the organization in question was the product of a virtual “virgin birth”. They seem committed to projecting the idea that it is mainly women who were (and are) prepared to bear the sacrifices and take the risks that have transformed the particular area of Barbados’ cultural landscape with which I am concerned, from a virtual barren wasteland (as far as the current generation of practitioners is concerned (no disrespect is intended toward outstanding Barbadian forerunners of this artistic discipline), to the fruitful plain that it now is.
Actually, one highly placed female academic has even gone so far as to declare that women may be more disposed to be this kind of artist because they are more spiritual than men! The “virgin birth” view of the organization merits more scrutiny than may at first be apparent.
Now, I am not suggesting that this academic is a fundamentalist feminist. On the contrary, my interactions with her suggest that she is a quite reasonable human being whose thinking is characterized by balance, not extreme opinion. A successful academic, she certainly does not seem disposed to the power-hunger or glory grabbing of the Lie-e- lah syndrome.
I therefore believe this academic’s views were arrived at by a simple observation of the current gender profile of Barbados’ cultural landscape. The fact is, thanks largely to the manipulations of fundamentalist feminists, and the complicit, slanted and superficial reporting of the males and females of local media houses who support them, it may well appear that Barbados’ current cultural renaissance originated with and is being led by females. The ill-founded projection of The Liar as the initiator and embodiment of this renaissance has been critical in the creation and perpetuation of this false impression.
That exaggerated, Lie-e-lan impression of Barbados’ current cultural flowering is based fundamentally on a denial or devaluation of the role of male artists – including my own role. And, at least in my case, this denial or devaluation has not come about “accidentally”: it has been achieved by a sustained, systematic campaign of character assassination, beginning with the charge that my disagreement with The Liar over the project mentioned above, stemmed from my being jealous over her success with that project.
I have been represented as an envious, dishonest and unprincipled person, seeking to reap success where I have not sown the requisite seeds of creative or administrative effort. I have been hated, shunned and ridiculed by fellow artists in Barbados’ relatively close-knit creative community. I have been made the object of (and still am plagued by) an unofficial boycott or “embargo” of some kind, which limits my capacity to trade as fully as I desire in intellectual property in this country. I believe the following incidents and situations are evidence of this boycott or embargo:
The non-playing of music and other audio material I have produced by local radio stations.
The silence of media personnel and other social commentators on my contribution to Barbados’ current cultural renaissance.
The omission of any reference to my work among that of Barbadian artists who were featured on an edition of the Art Club, a television program produced by ARTV in London, and aired on CNN several times a week.
The omission of any reference to my work in the UNESCO/NCF sponsored “Country Cultural System, Profile: Barbados”, authored by Dr. Glenford D. Howe”.
The rescinding of an invitation to present copies of a poster I published (the “Bowler’s Psalm”) to the West Indies cricket team (I had previously presented the team with copies of my “Batsman’s Psalm”).
A “side-lining” and silencing I suffered after I was invited to participate in a popular local cricket discussion radio program, “Best and Mason”.
The rescinding of an invitation I received to perform some of my work at a local farewell function for a foreign diplomat.
These incidents and situations are just a sample of the “violence” to which I have been subjected as my conflict with The Liar and Barbados’ fundamentalist feminists has escalated and widened. I refer to it as violence because this is precisely what it is.
In her 1997 book When She Was Bad: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence (New York: Viking, ISBN: 0-607-85925-7) Patricia Pearson highlights this kind of violence, known as “indirect aggression”. Indirect aggression, as noted by Stuart Birks of Massey University, New Zealand, in his review of Pearon’s book, has been defined by Finnish psychologist Kaj Bjorkqvist as “‘a kind of social manipulation: the aggressor manipulates others to attack the victim, or, by other means, makes use of the social structure in order to harm the target person, without being personally involved in the attack.'”
Pearson says girls develop the capacity for indirect aggression from very early. Distinguishing indirect aggression from the physical, direct violence commonly ascribed to men, she says,
“… as soon as girls hone their verbal and social skills, at around ten or eleven, they become aggressors of a different kind. They abandon physical aggression, even though their pre-pubescent hormones are still no different than boys’, and adopt a new set of tactics: they bully, they name call, they set up and frame fellow kids. They become masters of indirection.”
I believe an extraordinary example of such violence against myself and my organization (Intelek International) occurred in 1998 or so, when a function I had organized with a local government department was “hijacked” by The Liar, probably with the help of Market Guilt.
I had been in dialogue with members of a local NGO that was the immediate organizer of the event, and had arranged to have members of an organization with which The Liar and I were affiliated perform as part of their programme. On the evening for which the reading was scheduled, The Liar had commandeered the proceedings by the time I arrived. When I inquired with an official of the government department as to what had transpired, I was informed that The Liar had been identified as the leader of our organization, and therefore the person with whom the organizers of the event should do business. I had presumably been represented as an impostor, glory-grabber or other fraud.
Needless to say these and other indirect assaults by The Liar, Market Guilt and their fundamentalist feminist backers have taken and continue to take a tremendous toll on me physically, emotionally and financially. They impact negatively on my capacity to nurture and provide for my wife and daughter and participate to the optimum of my ability as a productive member of Barbados’ creative community.
Other prey and predators in Barbados’ fundamentalist feminist politics
Yet, I am not the only victim. I stated earlier that fundamentalist feminism is antifeminist at its core. I know of a number of female artists who have also suffered indirect aggression and have been similarly disadvantaged by local fundamentalist feminists. Theirs and other examples illustrate the opportunistic, unprincipled character of fundamentalist feminism. Like Christian and other forms of fundamentalism, it is a malleable ideological construct, lacking sound historical, factual grounding. This lack of authenticity makes it a widely adaptable tool that can be manipulated by males and females alike, to serve their selfish ends.
Many males have benefited from the entrenchment of fundamentalist feminism in Barbadian politics, the media and broader commerce including: publishers/publicists, cultural and political activists, poets and politicians.
Their examples are a chronicle of falsehood oriented, “unholy alliances” that demonstrate the extraordinarily adaptable character of fundamentalist feminism, for some who benefit now, it would appear, were at one time objects of considerable indirect and direct (at least verbally) aggression by local feminists. Of course, as an instance of political conflict, their examples would have to be weighed with due regard to their own exploitation of Barbados’ feminist and wider female lobby and vote.
The vagaries of fundamentalist feminism therefore do not manifest themselves with any kind of consistency or coherence. Its fruit are varied, and even contradictory because, again, of its lack of rootedness in reality – its lack of authenticity. This feature also accounts for the ease with which it can fuse with or fuel the agendas of other ideological systems, such as Christianity, Communism, Capitalism, Rastafarianism and Pan Africanism.
Fundamentalist feminism’s adaptation by males to purely personal ends, whims and fancies is probably best demonstrated by the examples of individuals in the publicity/publishing field, who are some of The Liar’s most committed supporters. Each has reaped personal benefits, though of different kinds, by either perpetuating The Liar’s exaggerated opinion of his contribution to Barbados’ current cultural renaissance or by shielding him from accountability for that exaggeration and related dubious deeds. One, a married man with whom she has been sharing an adulterous relationship for many years, is now the mother of The Liar’s child.
In the case of two others, the dividends have been particularly significant: they include support for the suggestion that a publication with which they and The Liar are associated was the critical catalyst behind Barbados’ current literary and broader cultural renaissance. Actually, responsibility for Barbados’ current cultural renaissance is so highly prized, that it has even attracted “claims” from Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who assumed his Government’s ministerial portfolio for culture in 2001.
The exploitation of the vagaries of fundamentalist feminism in the cultural and political arena by government and opposition actors in Barbados is particularly instructive. There is no question in this writer’s mind that the popularity that some government and opposition figures have enjoyed has in large measure been achieved by accommodations reached with some of this country’s most unprincipled fundamentalist feminists – women and men who are determined to assume positions of power in this country at any cost!
Personally, I shudder at what the implications of that alliance – which crosses political party lines – could mean for Barbadians.
At the very least, it could lead to the concealment (and/or corruption) of the Christocentric focus of the current cultural renaissance in this country. Communist, Pan Africanist and Rastafarian or Rastafari-sympathizing fundamentalist feminists in this country seem intent on erasing or obscuring any evidence of the Christocentric roots of this renaissance, especially as represented in my own work. The intention, it appears, is to claim the contemporary “revolution” in cultural consciousness for the more militant activists who have been labouring long for Barbados’ cultural liberation.
I do not object to the honouring of the years of cultural activism by persons like Elombe Mottley, the Mighty Gabby, Cynthia Wilson, Kamau Brathwaite or the younger Aja, Arturro Tappin and Market Guilt. I however object to the suggestion that these and other Communist, Socialist, Pan Africanist or Rastafarian oriented cultural and political activists were the principle or only catalysts of Barbados’ current cultural renaissance. Such a view marginalizes and minimizes the crucial reconciliation and syncretization of Christian and nationalist currents that myself and others (like the Reverends Harcourt Blackett, Dean Harold Crichlow, Canons Andrew Hatch and Noel Titus and Father Clement Paul) represent. It misrepresents the historical evolution that has led to the emergence of such fundamentalist and broader Christian cultural initiatives as the use of steel pan in churches, the Experience Christian Calypso Tent and the participation of fundamentalist church oriented groups like “Living Springs Dance Academy” in the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
I explore these issues more fully in another document I am currently preparing. There I look, among other things, at some of the schizophrenic analysis and outcomes of the cultural awakening currently sweeping Barbados. My main concern here though is the schizophrenic analysis and society fragmenting fruit of fundamentalist feminism.
The “battle of the sexes” is with us to stay. This is probably the oldest conflict known to man, and I see no logical reason to expect it to go away. Actually, I believe gender conflict is a quite basic, natural and potentially wholesome part of the process of human development. I believe it is a primary forum for the transmission of values such as honesty, patience, humility respect and tolerance; I believe that from childhood onward, gender differences play a key role in our development of conflict resolution skills.
The emergence of fundamentalist feminism, a perversion of the legitimate concerns of the feminism of the 19th and 20th centuries, stems from our perennial, repeated failure to manage this age-old conflict. At the deepest psychic and most distant historical level, it stems from humanity’s unhealthy, idealistic longing for and preoccupation with perfection.
In another discourse (“The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled”) I identify this longing as a key factor behind the intimidating and exploitation breeding perception of scripture that I call the “terror of the Bible”. I speak in that text of the “propensity of the human mind to seek to establish some infallible, unquestionable, unchanging authority around which we may order our perception of reality and regulate our conduct.”
In the context of fundamentalist feminism, this “authority” becomes feminity, as defined by fundamentalist feminists. For fundamentalist feminists, womanhood is the “inerrant and infallible” guide to truth – in more or less the same manner as “the Bible” is the “inerrant and infallible” guide to truth for fundamentalist Christians. In either case, what is needed is a more realistic, dynamic and, to that extent, authentic understanding of both authority and truth. (Let me say here that while useful and entertaining the treatment of “the sacred feminine” as a locus of power in Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”, probably does not facilitate this end as well as some might think).
In layman’s terms, no man or woman, is always right. No human being is perfect. No human system of government is perfect. A dynamic, difference and change respecting understanding of authority and truth takes into account the fallibility of all humanity and all human systems of control and government. Such an understanding leads us to value each other more, irrespective of gender, racial, religious or any other ideological differences: it emphasizes our interdependence.
In the domestic context, a dynamic, difference and change respecting understanding of authority and truth will help male and female partners share the leadership role, recognizing that this is a function more so, than an office. The “head of the household” model of home management, promoted by many churches and the Men’s Educational and Support Association of Barbados (MESA, of which I was the first Secretary) and other men’s organization is as defective as its fundamentalist feminist counterparts. Husbands and wives (or male and female partners) need to be tutored in a dynamic paradigm of leadership that emphasizes sharing of responsibilities in the context of agreed values and goals. These goal and values need to be viewed as the foundation upon which the home is built and the “head” that the homebuilders serve. The Principle-centred, value based teachings of leadership trainer Steven R. Covey point in the right direction.
Furthermore, the indispensable value of truth needs to be emphasized. Wholesome relationships between men and women cannot be attained in the absence of honesty – especially honesty with oneself. We need to be able to admit when we are wrong; we need to be able to face our failings if there is to be balance and harmony in our relationships with others.
Patricia Pearson’s book emphasizes the need to acknowledge unpleasant truths where they exist. In her chapter on women in prisons, she suggests we will not solve a problem if we deny its existence or its true nature. The fundamentalist feminist Lie-e-lah syndrome thrives on denial and self-deception.
While Pearson’s book concentrates on extreme violence, much of what she says can be adapted to refer to more common interaction. Much insight can be gained from shifting one’s perspective away from the prevailing paradigm which focuses on men’s shortcomings and looking at the role of both males and females in instigating and perpetuating violence – physical and psychological.
In an advertisement televised as part of the recent UNIFEM project, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the Sixteen Days of Activism Global Campaign, Barbadian calypsonian Allison Hinds expressed the desire – and right – of Caribbean women to express themselves without fear. The prevailing paradigm, with its roots and fruit in fundamentalist feminism, is itself intimidating. As Starcom network’s David Ellis suggested some time ago during an edition of Brass Tacks, any challenge of the prevailing paradigm is met with swift, sweeping claims of male insensitivity, bias, pettiness or worst (also recall parliamentarian Prescod’s views, shared in the introduction above). Pizzey’s and my own marginalization are also evidence of the treatment those who challenge this paradigm can expect – regardless of their gender.
I hope that the publication of this essay and the account here of my own, ongoing struggle against this paradigm serves as a source of encouragement to those who may feel that they are alone in their own struggles. I hope my own continued quest for “poetic justice” will serve as a source of inspiration and courage for men and women to speak out against the scourge of fundamentalist feminism. I will be happy to assist with the publication or dissemination of such stories in any way that I can. I can be reached at the following email address:
The article below was originally published on the England-based Wikinut citizen journalism website on October 25, 2015. I reproduce it here, now in compliance with the law of love (Galatians 5:14) and in the service of the most sublime “carnal knowledge” scripting.
February 10, 2018
Today I’ll be doing my first public reading in several years.
The occasion is the inaugural Love Arctually production.
As explained below, Love Arctually is “rooted in my experience of the potential and limits of language – especially written representations of language.”
This article, the first in what I expect will be a long-running series, explains the rationale behind the project.
The article is substantially derived from an open letter I wrote to inform friends, family, business associates and other possibly interested parties about the project and to invite those who could do so to attend.
There is also additional text and a number of photos and other images created for the project.
First, an extract from the email I sent to my brother Wayne, my local MP Clive Lewis, retired Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine and others, informing them of and inviting those of them who could to attend it.
Thanks for the interest you have shown in the Intelek International Love Arctually project.
Your encouragement and engagement is critical to its success and means more than I can say. (And as you all know, I am not put at a loss for words easily!)
Below is a brief background to the project and a summary of what those of you who attend its first public “installment” on Sunday, October 25th, at 7:00 pm at the Costessey Center in Norwich can expect.
Love Arctually is rooted in my experience of the potential and limits of language – especially written representations of language. I come from a literacy-focused culture, much like England. In fact, Barbados has been called “Little England”.
Essentially, Love Arctually provides a platform for sharing and showcasing the power of literacy to liberate and limit our perceptions of reality.
The focus is on what I call “thought tints”: scales and shades of meaning in which our words are rooted and from which they derive authenticity, as they are incarnated or “fleshed out” in time and space.
It’s about conversations with ourselves (in our consciences) and the love and care we can express through a coherence and consistency of thought, word and deed.
It’s a forum for discussing language as “current” (electrical charge) and “currency” (credibility).
When was the last time you heard an electrifying speech?
To be continued…
Below is a copy of an email I sent to University of the West Indies (UWI) Chairman Sir Paul Altman on December 8th 2017.
A “small beginning” of what I hope evolves into a mutually respectful, relationship rehabilitating conversation between UWI and me, the email expresses my concerns about self destructive, social cohesion depreciating elements of Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles’ Pan Africanist pedagogy, especially his reparations for trans-Atlantic slavery rhetoric.
My email explains how since at least 2001, when Barbados controversially put slavery reparations on the United Nations agenda, at the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance (WCAR), Sir Hilary has been consciously or unconsciously pushing a parasitic, simplistic and socially poisonous “good blacks vs evil whites” reparations narrative.
I turned to Sir Paul, a prominent Jewish Barbadian real estate entrepreneur because previous, more informal efforts to get my concerns addressed by approaching Sir Hilary himself, including through calls to his office at UWI’s Mona Campus in Jamaica, and through his colleagues Dr Alan Cobley, Dr Eudene Barriteau and others at UWI’s Barbados and Trinidad (St Augustine) campuses have so far proven ineffective.
Having not received a response from Sir Paul to-date, I am publishing my letter to him here in the spirit that the Guyanese politician Jesse Burnham published her 1964 pamphlet “Beware My Brother Forbes”, prophetically warning her compatriots of the grave threat she believed he posed to Guyana’s democratic prospects.
It seems clear to me that whatever their intentions, good or ill, professor Beckles, politician-lawyer David Comissiong, ethicist Anna Kasafi Perkins, education analysts Verene Sheperd and “Sista Docta” Sandra Richards, feminist activist Margaret Gill and others working for or close to UWI are channeling the worst of the now long deceased democracy degrading, even disemboweling, Guyanese dictator Forbes Burnham’s legacy.
(I will address the good that the sagacious Burnham did, in spite of his own and others’ limitations, in due course.)
And I am clear that by opposing Beckles’ ivory tower broadcasting of Burnham’s divisive spirit, I am risking a fate like Walter Rodney’s.
Rodney was the manipulative Marxist Burnham’s most prominent critic until he was assassinated, on Burnham’s instruction, allegedly, with British and American governmental complicity.
Like Maurice Bishop of Grenada, he was a Caribbean casualty of the Cold War conflict.
Moreover, having suffered a degree of character assassination and commercial sabotage at the hands of Aaron “Buddy” Larrier and other Beckles spiritual allies or thought twins in 2001, in the lead-up to and following the WCAR, I am also mindful of Beckle’s links to the volatile, violence rationalizing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrkhan.
Indeed, Farrakhan’s divisive denunciation in 2014 of Kofi Anan, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and others as “Uncle Toms”, “sell outs”, and “collaborators” on the basis of the bellicose Beckles’ interpretation of their conduct during WCAR 2001, is chillingly reminiscent of how Larrier, Comissiong, Rastafarian academic Ikael Tafari and others attacked me in 2001 ahead of the WCAR because of my insistence that the role of Africans as traders in the slave trade, not just tradees needed to be adequately addressed in our pre-conference deliberations.
Moreover, readers should note that in a 1993 speech the characteristically tantrum tongued, hot headed, Farrakhan defiantly asserted the NOI’s right to “deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats” as they saw fit.
Note too that at that time the fiery tongued, black people homogenizing Farrakhan was defiantly responding to decades old allegations that the NOI was responsible for the assassination of Malcolm Little, better known as Malcolm X, but most respectfully, arguably, as Malcolm Shabazz.
And I note “Shabazz’s name changes here because they document a spiritual journey that the secular, mainstream, popular media seems to have done much to devalue and distort, consciously or unconsciously.
There certainly seems to be a tendency for some human ecology misreading, word-to-flesh mismanaging editorial entities, like BBC Norfolk’s Mike Liggins, to treat Rodneyesque and Shabazz-like rebels the way Elijah Muhammed apparently treated his once highly prized, most prominent disciple: that is, like privately owned property to be disposed of as the NOI supremo saw fit.
It certainly seems that Muhammed, with Farrakhan’s acquiescence, and some say a CIA wink, treated Malcolm like a slave, really, when you think of it.
Like Liggins, who called me a “crank”, Charmaine “Nailah Imojah” Gill who called me a liar and failure, and others who project their Burnhamesque, binary and bi-polar labels onto my and others social capital and wider intellectual property proprietorially, Muhammed apparently presumed to dictate Shabazz’s narrative: to self-servingly stereotype and define his former disciple’s story.
Unsurprising then that two days before he was murdered, Malcolm, having freed himself of Muhammad’s 12 years of ideological domination, described his former devotion to the NOI as inducing a kind of brain death.
Of course, while valid to some degree, this assessment should be taken with a pinch of salt as it ignores Shabazz’s personal responsibility for what he believed.
This blame-shifting capacity is part of the attraction of the race demonizing, “wicked white people” and “bestial blacks” gospels that race racketeers like Beckles, Burnham, Farrakhan, Nigel Farrage, VS Naipaul, Surinder Kandola, Robert Mugabe, Steve Bannon, Kelly-Ann Conway, Reverends Sally Muggereidge and Joanne Farman propagate consciously and unconsciously.
I fear a similar personal responsibility side-stepping, bow-to-Beckles-compelling zombification is happening at UWI.
University of Warwick lecturer Michael Nibblett and Jamaican religious history authority Doreen Morrison can attest to this on the basis of comments made by Dr Aaron Kamuguisha, a high profile UWI academic, when I challenged his ideological bowing to Becklesque, Burnham-recalling racial bigotry during a talk he delivered at UoW in 2016.
And a note of caution to those apparently infatuated by British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn may be beneficial here, given the openly threatening and otherwise intimidating tactics that Corbyn’s Thomas-Mair-like, Militant friends and supporters are alleged to have repeatedly been engaging in.
Certainly, like Burnham and his socialist ideology preaching, then state-capture-and-state-capitalism practicing adherents, some of Corbyn’s and his comrade and militant founder John Lansman’s Caribbean Black nationalist counterparts tend to treat rebellious “Rodneys” like me that challenge their authority like wild animals that need to be destroyed or at least discredited.
Intriguingly, the prominent Barbadian thinker Lamming, best known for his novel “In The Castle Of My Skin”, offered this assessment during the 5th annual Assembly Of Caribbean People, held at UWI Cave Hill.
From my vantage point, under Sir Hilary’s Vice Chancellorship, all of UWI but especially Cave Hill, where he served as principal for a number of years, is at risk of becoming a Burnham blight transmitting, Farrakhanesque flame-thrower rhetoric replicating factory.
More on that in part 2 of this discourse, by which time I hope to have heard from Sir Paul and can report that my concerns about UWI’s future are being taken seriously.
My name is Junior (Jay) Campbell and I am an England-based Barbadian holistic communications and education specialist, trading as Intelek International.
Under the Intelek label I pursue a variety of personal development and social cohesion building activities.
And where possible I work with various public and private sector and similarly ostensibly opposing interests (for example, Christians and Muslims) to build the kind of value consensus that Barbadian sociologist Richard Carter has identified as one of our country’s most urgent needs.
Typically, following Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s, Mahatma Ghandi’s and other peaceful protester’s example, I do this by emphasizing principles of interdependence and the consequent need for programs of action rooted in systems that facilitate mutual respect and accountability.
It is in this regard that I have been prompted to contact you, in your capacity as Chairman of the Council of the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill Campus.
I am deeply concerned about the “divide and rule” course of Cave Hill’s and the wider UWI body’s pedagogy.
This mind poisoning pedagogy is being propagated by Vice Chancellor professor Sir Hillary Beckles, Dr Sandra Richards, lecturers Margaret Gill and other UWI personnel, consciously or unconsciously.
I am particularly concerned about Sir Hilary’s, Gill’s and Richards’ deeply divisive, shallowly scholastic and fundamentally undemocratic, capricious and dictatorial reparations advocacy.
In 2001, as a consultant to the Barbados Government Commission for Pan African Affairs, I worked with politician David Comissiong, Rastafarian community leader Iral Jabari Talma, trade unionist Ricky Parris and other Afrocentric human rights advocates who with professor Beckles led Barbados’ “successful” (I use the term advisedly) 2001 bid to have reparations for trans-Atlantic slavery put on the United Nations agenda.
Then and since, I have been astounded at the capacity of professor Beckles and other leaders of Barbados’ reparations lobby to dismiss or trivialize the issue of Africans’ and African-descended Barbadians complicity in the trans-Atlantic trade as slave traders and owners.
From my perspective, this reduces Barbadian reparations advocacy to a kind of opportunistic, race racketeering demagoguery and undermines Barbadians’ capacity to engage with the very emotive, volatile issues around past, present and future race relations in our country constructively.
From my perspective, Beckles, Comissiong, Vincentian prime minister Keith Mitchell, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and other Caribbean, American, British, Canadian and other reparations advocates are not so much knowledge workers as political propagandists.
Their reparations advocacy is characterized by a dangerous deficiency of self criticism, rooted in a consciously or unconsciously cowardly commitment to discreditable self interest.
From my perspective, Beckles’ “success” at garnering Mitchell’s, other Caribbean, American, British and Canadian political and academic leaders’ support for his short-sighted, radically retrogressive, scholastically anemic and intellectually malnourished, “obese English” reparations bid is more indebted to systemic weaknesses in Barbados’ and these country’s governance systems than any thing else.
I can attest first hand to the failure of Barbados’ politically compromised and morally adrift media establishment to hold Sir Hilary, Comissiong, Dr Sandra Richards and other fundamentalist feminist and Marxist opportunist reparations advocates accountable for defects in their one-sided, reverse racist values consensus undermining reparations reasoning.
The complicity of Rev Gerald Seale, Rev Harcourt Blackett and other Barbadian, American and other clerics through arguably well-intended but characteristically “ecclesiastical”, indulgent and excessive interventions must also to be noted and lamented.
Like the media these and other cleric’s and lay people’s contributions to the debate have often consisted of ethically flawed, generalization and stereo-type based ideas.
What is needed, at least, is a more mathematical, radical scrutinizing and weighing of African descended Caribbean slave traders and owners motives.
For example, the questionable personal and political concessions made by Toussaint Louverture, Nanny of the Maroons, Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley and other well meaning but nonetheless fallible Caribbean freedom fighters need to be examined with equal amounts of objectivity and empathy.
I note that each of these leaders at least attempted to use authority earned through revolutionary rhetoric and/or struggle to negotiate accommodations that ultimately replaced one set of dictators with another.
CLR James identified the essential dynamic behind this race glossed phenomenon in the context of the Russian revolution, denouncing it as “state capitalism”.
Such penetrative analysis seems sadly missing in the reparations discourse that Sir Hilary propagates.
What is happening instead, essentially, is that scientific analysis and argumentation are being sacrificed on the altar of political, racial and religious sentimentality: cults of personality and opportunism have been pushing principled, historically grounded argumentation to the periphery of the reparations debate.
And I cannot over-stress the extremely harmful part being played by unprincipled, short-sighted elements in Barbados’ mainstream news media and their co-conspirators in international news and publishing interests, especially some academic publishers.
The West-Indian-politician-Westminster-choir-boy ploys and trickery that Barbadian calypsonian Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter deplores in one of his well-known songs are being taken up by Beckles and others whose scholastic authority and power to persuade derive not so much from the content of their arguments as from their proximity to Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale UCLA and other British, American and similar “first world” educational institutions.
(And I have copied Harvard University’s Laird Bell professor of History Sven Beckert into this email and would welcome his thoughts on that point.)
But like the widely discredited but defiant British academic, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, professor Beckles and other reparations crusaders seem to be exploiting weaknesses in international education systems of accountability and transparency.
Yet even as the foundations of predominantly secular segments of the international academic fraternity are being shaken by seismic shifts in thinking in medicine (especially in the field of mental health), Beckles’ beloved economics and other social sciences, Beckles, Gill, Comissiong, Richards and others seem to be mechanically regurgitating fundamentals of discredited, divisive, shallowly socialist, essentially “state capitalist” Marxist ideas.
And I believe that like the Donald Trump presidency, a patent product and propagator of “fake news” reaction to the gay marriage “faith ruse” excesses and other anomalies of Barack Obama’s presidency, the consequences of binary, divisive thinking about reparations for the Barbados economy and society are apparent already.
Professor Beckles’ and his fundamentalist feminist and other allies’ combative, one-sided reparations propagandizing is sowing seeds of distrust and paranoia, undermining what little values consensus the sociologist Carter and others may have documented.
Buttressed by the malicious, mischievous machinations of Aaron Larrier, Richards and others who have consciously or unconsciously cultivated a deep antipathy for white people through misfortunes they have suffered as minorities during their sojourns in England and other predominantly white countries, Beckles like the “new negroe” Bussa before him and whom he immoderately champions, is pouring contempt on centuries of quiet, diplomatic, peaceful conflict resolution methodologies and traditions that Errol Barrow, Tom Adams and other more circumspect Barbadians have developed.
I have even heard the ideologically imbecilic suggestion by one UWI Cave Hill acolyte, that Bussa should replace Barrow as Barbados’ putative “Father of Independence”.
Arrogantly discarding biblical and other anciently attested peace building, social cohesion advancing methodologies (like Egyptian Ma’at and South African Ubuntu traditions, to which they nonetheless occasionally pay lip service) the robotic reasoning, shallowly “radical” reparations revolutionaries dispense with the unique, geo-politically crafted, temporally and spatially measured and mediated “truth-to-power-speaking” techniques that have been dictated by Barbados 166 square mile topography, as much as by anything else.
Disdaining of the “cool headed”, morally measured, conflict management and resolution skills that are Barbadians’ distinctive heritage, as Mariano Brown and other Caribbean politicians and business people have noted, the gender, race and religious racketeers that shield Beckles, Gill, Richards and others from rigorous academic and moral scrutiny are selling Barbados down the river as surely as some of our African ancestors did, and some of our African, African American and Black British contemporaries routinely do today.
Our youth are being tutored in coarse and volatile political agitation that seems more characteristic of Jamaican, Trinidadian, Guyanese and other lesser developed, more temporally and spatially challenged realms of democratic discourse, doctrine and practice.
I am asking your help to address this deeply regrettable democracy destroying trend.
It is an abuse of the Barbadian and wider Caribbean tax paying public’s contribution to the development of UWI and our other formal and informal educational institutions over successive generations.
I have tried to recruit professor Allan Cobley and other UWI personnel without success.
Similar approaches to the Inter American Commission On Human Rights, the Commonwealth Secretariat, mainstream and other news entities, like the supposedly progressive Barbados Underground blog have been sabotaged by the machinations of Comissiong, Larrier, Gill, Richards and the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Karen Mckenzie, originally of Jamaica.
I have had some success though in getting Donville Inniss and other Barbadian politicians and business people who have been undermining my work to rethink their unethical, human rights violating objectives and strategies.
And an initial conversation with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart during a visit to Barbados in October 2018 has led me to think that ill-conceived efforts to have me declared persona non grata, mainly because of my questioning of fundamentalist Christian and other excesses (documented in my book “The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled”) have been abandoned.
I have a sense that the most formidable obstacles to the good that I can do for Barbados as a peace maker have been overcome and I am keen to build on this foundation.
Moreover, I have been speaking to many Barbadians at home and abroad who share my perspective.
However, as conversations with prominent Cave Hill academics (including one who spoke in the presence of two English colleagues during a visit to England) have made clear, many of professor Beckles’ colleagues are intimidated by him and his international academic and political connections.
The aforementioned visiting academic spoke of the need to ensure that he could continue to pay his mortgage.
And I am told that the suppression of criticism of Sir Hilary at the Mona Campus in Jamaica is at a particularly perilous stage.
I suspect that the impunity implied by the outcome of the trial of his son Rodney Beckles on that island for the alleged murder of Jamaican Khalil Campbell has had a chilling, demoralizing effect on many potential whistle blowers.
For my own part, having been labelled “a spy” and otherwise attacked by rabid reparationist Aaron “Buddy” Larrier, the late Dr Ikael Tafari and others, I am not without sympathy for those who have been silenced.
Having seen the kind of blame and flame throwing rage and other hot head, bullet blunt irrational behavior Sir Hilary’s mouth has triggered in the likes of Louis Farrakhan and others, far be it from me to call those who find silence in the face of his divide and rule offensives cowards.
But notwithstanding the hardships I have suffered at the hands of other people, especially as a result of what former prime minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford has called “academic politics” I fear only God, Sir Paul and commit my and my family’s welfare to his care.
Still, any advice you can offer on how I can get professor Beckles and other UWI personnel who have previously viewed me as a threat to their interests to work with me on a less demagogic, more democratic, measured and conciliatory reparations discourse (giving due attention to proactive, self reparation strategies particularly) would be deeply appreciated.
If it helps to view this letter as a formal complaint to the UWI Council you chair, please accept it in that context and capacity and advise me what additional steps I can take to ensure that the menace Beckles poses to himself and others is addressed appropriately.
In closing, I want to assure you that I have made no secret of my concerns about Sir Hilary’s, Comissiong’s and others’ questionable arguments and methods.
From 2001 until now, I have denounced them openly, as the article extract copied below and the full article at the link accompanying it makes clear.
I have also sought to demonstrate empathy, the very thing that I believe can facilitate consensus around reparations and similarly fraught gender, race and religion charged debates.
Despite Comissiong’s, Beckles’, Gill’s and others’ apparent complicity in the aforementioned or alluded to campaign of character assassination and economic sabotage that I have survived, I have forgiven and bear no ill will toward them.
But I cannot stand quietly by while Sir Hilary undermines the very liberty he would champion.
“Slavery was not just a system of holding people in bondage, it was holding people in bondage for a purpose, and that was to make money, to make money off of their bodies, and that’s the important realization that Americans have to come to,” said Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, speaking after a talk by Sir Hilary at Harvard.
But thanks to the selective silence and/or incompetence of journalists Kaymar Jordan, Olutolye Waldron, Julius Gittens, Harold Hoyte, Al Gilkes, David Ellis, Anthony Blackman and others, Beckles is basically allowed to treat UWI like his own slave plantation.
This and similar interventions are motivated as much by my sense of duty to the thus “enslaved” people of Barbados and the Caribbean as by concerns for my own and my family’s welfare.
I see little difference between the mind control manipulations of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the intellectual property plundering, knowledge trading machinations employed by Sir Hilary, Rupert Murdoch and some other knowledge industry owners and workers today.
Sadly, I see much of the same “body of information” snatching behavior being perpetrated by social media Goliaths Google, Facebook and Twitter, with the conscious or unconscious connivance and complicity of some members of Britain’s National Union of Journalists (of which I am a member).
And I actually feel sorry for professor Beckles and company much of the time.
As a member of Barbados’ Jewish community you may be familiar with the phrase “banality of evil”, coined by Hannah Arendt in her book covering the trial of Adolf Eichmann.
Basically, I believe professor Beckles and company have a lot in common with Eichmann and the Nazi regime that both braced and butchered (metaphorically) his heart and mind.
Their reparations advocacy, falls ominously within Arendt’s description of Eichmann, especially her belief that his inability to think for himself was exemplified by his consistent use of “stock phrases and self-invented clichés”.
According to Wikipedia, Arendt claims “The man demonstrated his unrealistic worldview and crippling lack of communication skills through reliance on ‘officialese’ (Amtssprache) and the euphemistic Sprachregelung that made implementation of Hitler’s policies ‘somehow palatable.'”
In at least one of the articles on my blog I may have compared Eichmann’s incarnation of “the banality of evil” with Beckles’ (and Trump’s, possibly) peculiar Caribbean incarnation of the “bananity of evil”.
I am also inclined to compare their demagoguery with the “bigly” gambling of Trump, Google founder Sergey Brin and the “fear and loathing in Las Vegas” channeling mass murderer Stephen Paddock.
Arendt’s references to Eichmann’s “stock phrases” actually recalls the “bump stock”, mechanical modification that the reputedly imperious, controlling Paddock used to maximize the killing potential of his weapons.
It also recalls the “roller coaster of emotion” manipulating pressure tactics used by the now discredited Trump University, according to court materials, among them sales playbooks, describing a technique that was used to persuade students to pay for courses costing as much as $35,000 for that real estate business training institution’s “Gold Elite” program.
As both my book “The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled” and my Linguistics thesis on glossolalia (glock-solalia?) indicates, I have been engaged in a study of such “fear and loathing” cognitively and affectively fossilized and fossilizing communication phenomena for some time.
Conversation analysis specialist Dr Elizabeth Stokoe of Loughborough University, copied in here with other secular and religious education stakeholders, can also attest to this.
She knows as well as anyone of my concern that “intelligence” derived from interrogation or any other conversational encounter should be historically rounded and grounded. That it should be authentic.
Please help me save UWI and Barbadian and Caribbean educational achievement from association with counterfeit, immoral, unethical Trump University approximating machinations.
Junior (Jay) Campbell
Intelek International Link to article cited
Extract from article cited
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 and demagogues 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 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.