Blessing and blight of Hilary Beckles’ scholarship – Mouth of The Beast #11
The ‘errancy and fallibility’ of ‘The Beckles’
In his best known book, The Destruction Of Black Civilization, African-American social historian and writer Chancellor Williams offers a very useful, albeit fallible, problematic analysis of ‘Western scholarship’, which he treats as a fundamentally white racist preserve.
In this instalment of my Mouth of the Beast series of articles, I will be examining the scholarship of one particularly prominent ‘Western scholar’, professor Sir Hilary Beckles, currently the Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.
As the title suggests I will be doing a kind of cost-benefit analysis of Beckles’ scholarship, assessing the extent to which the University of Hull trained economic historian’s career has been a blessing and blight to himself, to fellow Barbadians and other Caribbean people and, given his international prominence, to the global community.
And here I must declare an interest: Sir Hilary’s ‘scholarship’ is a crucial focus of legal and other actions I am pursuing in an effort to rehabilitate or reform relations between myself and Clive Lewis, my local MP and relations with the Labour Party as a whole.
Lewis, and Diane Abbott, both key supporters of the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn are implicated with Beckles and others in a Barbados-sown, globally-grown conspiracy that I have uncovered and am currently mounting an innovative, peculiarly ‘para legal’, fundamentally spiritual response to.
Laura Clower, legal counsel with the University of Illinois (subsequently UofI), knows a bit about the distinctive, idiosyncratic, nature of my para-legal initiative.
She and Linda Schuh, another UofI employee are implicated in the conspiracy because of their role in derailing a business project of which my book, “The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled” (TBBTR) is a primary focus.
But without any forewarning or subsequent explanation, Schuh abandoned talks I was engaged in with her about a Caribbean distribution deal for the Encyclopedia.
Mia Mottley, a former Barbados Minister of Education, and Donville Inniss the island’s current Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development are also implicated, along with Lewis’ former BBC colleague Mike Liggins and other news media personnel in what is primarily a rapacious, selective silencing, soul destroying, psychological assault on my and other’s intellectual property and related human rights and entitlements.
In my case, the assault has been sustained for more than 20 years, depriving me of significant material, fleshy fruit or practical proceeds of my labours.
Beckles and others, especially his fundamentalist feminist, Judeo-Christian, Muslim and other religion racketeering co-conspirators, simultaneously consumed my political capital, while insisting that I “have nothing professional to offer”, as British-Barbadian writer Nailah “Charmaine Gill” Imojah, a professing Rastafarian writer once asserted.
In what was supposed to be a conciliation meeting, overseen by poet Esther Phillips, Imojah made that offensive assertion even as she basked in acclaim achieved by hijacking a poetry-Jazz music project I had been developing in 1997.
My article Fundamentalist Feminism, located here, gives details of the long-running dispute I have with Imojah or ‘Lie-e-lah’ as I sometimes call her, and other Barbadian gender, race and religion racketeers.
And readers should note that like “The Donald” whose use of the word “democracy” is based primarily on theories and masks an aversion to the concept, “The Beckles'” use of the term “reparatory justice” borders on parody.
From my vantage point he has distinguished himself in international academic and political circles as a champion and defender of workers’ and human rights by disenfranchising other knowledge traders.
Similarly, Sir Hilary refuses to admit his scholarly fallibility and complicity in intellectual property rape and other professorial profiteering at my and others’ expense, even as he calls for reparatory justice, based on Britain’s profiteering at the expense of Africans and their descendants and as he denounces the “grotesque inequalities” (his mate Corbyn’s favourite catch phrase) and rape-like atrocities of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its colonial legacies.
As Beckles and others, including the Commonwealth Secretariat Human Rights port folio holder, Jamaican Karen Mckenzie preach against slavery and colonialism related atrocities and their legacies, they have turned both a deaf ear and a blind eye to my and others’ human rights, apparently.
I am being forced to take legal action because Beckles and his Western scholarship corrupting, workers’ human rights trampling co-conspirators have resisted numerous efforts to get reparatory justice redress for their violations of my knowledge worker rights in a more amicable, non-litigious manner.
And I should also make it clear from the outset that I am not acting for my own or my family’s sake only.
I am taking a stand for the millions of knowledge traders and other persons, working in both formal and informal education sectors, whose lives are being adversely affected by the scholarly and other fallibilities and human rights perversions of Beckles, Lewis and the Labour Party, through its international connections.
Just as Beckles is a key focus but not the only object of my concern about the corruptibility or fallibility of Western scholarship, so too I am not the only target or victim of his and his conscious or unconscious co-conspirators’ academic anomalies and perversions.
The Barbados-sown, globally grown conspiracy that I am responding to spans the fields of politics, religion, academia, commerce and the media in several states, and adversely affects persons in many countries, including Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, India-Pakistan, the UK. the US, Canada, France, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Brazil and Israel.
And that global configuration of the conspiracy is at least partly because poisonous elements of Beckles’ and others’ reverse racist Pan Africanist pedagogy are being disseminated by mainstream and marginal academic, media, trade union and related political channels around the world.
And I believe we have seen one of the consequences of the conspirators’ “sad, cynical, success” in the triumph of White Supremacist racial separatist Donald Trump over the utopian integrationist Hillary Clinton, in their battle for the White House.
But long before the Clinton-Trump or Clump capitalist catastrophe that I and others forecasted, much of the groundwork for that and other widely publicized, profoundly problematic, potentially pyric victories (like Brexit) was laid in unreported acts and secret pacts that predicted the present precarious state of not only Barbadian, British and American scholarship but all Western education systems.
Plagiarism and other forms of academic impersonation and identity theft that disembowel intellectual effort and promote a false dichotomy between knowledge workers’ “word and flesh” are ‘destroying’ (I am more inclined to say devaluing or distorting) all civilization, not just Africans’ and their descendants’.
How many white British and other Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) knowledge workers (like myself) who are residing in the former BBC Norfolk employee Lewis’ Norwich South constituency are being raped (not represented), because of superficially progressive but profoundly backwards, retrogressive, conscious or unconscious Beckwis (Beckles-Lewis) knowledge economy distortions and perversions?
Based on long-standing, ongoing personal contact not only with Barbadians but also with the Norwich branch of the Roman Catholic Church’s Justice and Peace commission, the local Muslim community and persons who identify themselves by various gender, racial, religious or other labels, or none, I can name several persons who are being adversely affected by Beckwis’ deeply flawed, supremely self-serving knowledge economy forecasting.
I have been trying to draw attention to the perverse, selective silencing, truth distorting racial reasoning of professor Beckles and other economic historians since at least 2001, when he, Mottley, politician David Comissiong and others gave Barbados the dubious distinction of being the principle national sponsor of trans-Atlantic slavery reparations, at the cumbersomely labelled World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance (subsequently WCAR).
And I have the dubious distinction of having supported their efforts, although I fundamentally disagreed with them on the issue of African fallibility and complicity in the Maafa, as the seismic tragedy of tran-Atlantic slavery and colonialism is sometimes called.
But it seems that I am rather more comfortable with admitting my shortcomings and fallibility than Beckles, Lewis and others.
It certainly seems to have been Williams’ salvation as he not only studied the forces behind the destruction of black civilization but apparently engaged with them in his own work.
I believe that his salvation, such as it was, stemmed from a profound sense of empathy that allowed him to engage with others’ corrupting, destructive flaws and fallibility from a position not only of forthrightness, calling a spade a spade, but also one of forgiveness and compassion.
And being no less empathetic than Williams, let me be the first to say that such conscientiousness is an endlessly difficult balancing act.
But no less committed to reparatory justice than Beckles, even as I denounce his shortcomings in the strongest terms possible, I am aware that like another University of Hull trained economic historian, Lord (John) Prescott and former Labour leader and British prime minister Tony Blair, Beckles is also a tragic hero of sorts.
Barbadians are certainly familiar with the scandals that have plagued his pursuit of excellence.
Williams’ racial characterization of Western scholarship was probably more accurate in 1971, when TDoBC was first published than it is today, when well established, tenured black scholars like Beckles, professor Richard Drayton and others routinely challenge the racist privileging of their white counterparts’ opinions.
And some white scholars, like Martin Bernal, have also built on Williams’ white prejudice and privilege challenging work, especially in the area of African Studies.
There is also a considerable body of West-raised or acculturated Asian scholars, who add to the complexity of the picture.
Indeed, Williams’ warnings about “Asian imperialism” and “Arabs’ white superiority complex” (page 34) are particularly pertinent today, not least because of the current state of these groups’ global presence and the economic and political influence they exert.
Note, for example, the election of Sadik Khan as Mayor of London.
And what about China and India’s strategic investments in African economies?
Williams wrote “Asian imperialism, though rarely ever mentioned, was, and still is even more devastating for the African people than that of either Europe or America. The Arabs’ white superiority complex is not one whit less than that of Europe or America, although their strategy of ‘brotherhood’ deceives naive Blacks.”
Intriguingly, while it may be argued that Williams’ assessment of the extent of America’s white bias is undermined by Barack Obama’s presidency, it can also be argued that Obama’s Asian “association”, projected both by the Kenyan-Irish descended American’s brown skin and his Muslim affiliations affirm Williams’ essential argument.
However my main purpose here is to address the corruptibility and fallibility of all scholarship, whether labelled Eastern or Western, Northern or Southern, and irrespective of the race, religion, gender or any other label of those who generate its contradictory leisures and ledgers.
I have previously expressed concerns about perennial tensions between Blacks and Asians as I have personally experienced them in a Barbadian context, through my interactions with the politically and economically well-connected matriarch Philomena Mohini Harris’ family.
And among Barbadians the alleged ‘dead chicken deviance’ of Caribbean commercial powerhouse Ram Mirchandani is a matter of folklore.
Moreover, I remain concerned about post 9/11 and 7/7 Anglo-American surrender of impartiality and objectivity, as arguably excessive soft diplomacy concessions were made to India and other Asian countries, validating VS Naipaul’s, Narendra Modi’s and others’ Islamaphobia and correspondingly extreme Hindu nationalist reactions.
However, I have no interest in endorsing or otherwise advancing Donald Trump and Peter Thiel-recalling divide and rule analyses or strategies, regardless of whether Williams or anyone else endorses or advances them.
Indeed, I think it is safe to say that based on what has gone before in this series of articles, it should be clear that while I remain a committed Pan Africanist like Beckles and Comissiong, I am a radical Pan Humanist first.
It should be clear that while I see some validity in the notion of ‘whiteness’ being normative, in many Western formal and informal educational and socializing contexts, as recently argued by another Williams-like apologist, black American academic Reggie Williams, I do not subscribe to the view that “whiteness” is normative in every scenario.
In article six I recounted a Twitter exchange I had with Williams, where I challenged that racist assumption at the heart of an article entitled “Seeing whiteness”, that the Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary had published in the Christian Post.
As Mottley, leader of the Barbados Labour Party and others have noted, while it is self-evident that “whiteness” is normative in some scenarios, especially in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Europe where white people’s numerical majority as reflected in their domination of mainstream media and academia is still significant, it is not unchallenged.
The veil of whiteness over Western society’s vision and values is rather more porous than Williams imagines.
His vision, apparently shared by Beckles and others whose scholarship seems fundamentally compromised by a neurotic negativity or ‘inadequacy syndrome’ is in fact marred by the kind of generalization or ‘bigly’ thinking that Trump and other gender, race and religious racketeers trade on.
A persistent advocate of the wisdom of small beginnings, I subject all ‘big ideas’ to rigorous scrutiny: not least my own ‘macro economic’ notions.
So, my persistent WCAR-related questioning in 2001 of Barbadian Pan Africanists’ decision not to discuss the involvement of black people in the trans-Atlantic slave trade as traders, rather than just as slaves or slave descendants was a matter of conviction and principle.
Back then, as we prepared for that UN conference, which was hosted by South Africa, I felt that this fraught question of black-on-black abuse and violence is critical to any discussion of reparations.
My insistence that this vexing issue should be frankly discussed by Beckles, Mottley, the former Barbados Government Commission For Pan Affairs Director Comissiong and other government and NGO affiliated persons involved with me in conferences, dialogues and other preparatory activities linked to the WCAR was therefore not personal – certainly not in the petty, base sense of that word.
It was in fact an assertion of my own and other moderate black Barbadian thinkers’ personhood: the personhood of the majority of Barbadians, who choose middle-of-the-road positions not just on trans-Atlantic slavery reparations, but on a range of issues as a matter of course.
Moreover, I was asserting the personhood that every race racketeering extremist, paedophile priest, political con artist, plagiarizing academic and selectively silent journalist attacks not just in their victims, but in themselves, ultimately.
It was an expression of my and their freedom of conscience: our right to see things differently; to disagree.
It was, in fact, an expression of my democratic, human rights, including the right to imagine or believe what I choose to imagine or believe.
My right to be me.
Again, these are precisely the kinds of human rights that Beckles and other Pan Africanists were asserting even as they harassed, undermined, intimidated and threatened me, directly and indirectly.
And they made good on those threats too, as I was pounced on by some of Barbados more rapacious political capital hunting carnivores.
Not only was I declared a spy by Aaron Larrier, the Comissiong sanctioned, self-appointed head of the NGO Committee involved in preparations for the UN Conference.
Additionally, at Larrier’s bidding, the matter was put to a vote, and I was banned from attending that Committee’s private deliberations, which I had freely attend up to that point.
Now, I cannot say that the human rights activist Beckles was responsible for that attack on my human rights definitively.
I cannot say that the UWI Vice Chancellor, a globally prominent champion of reparatory justice was directly responsible for that specific instance of repressive injustice that befell me.
I cannot say with 100% certainty that Beckles, knighted for his services to tertiary education, arts and sport, particularly cricket, the game whose name is a synonym for fairness of thought and balanced, beautiful action, contributed to one of the ugliest, most unfair and imbalanced assaults on Barbados’ democratic heritage and developmental institutions.
But I am clear that the balance of probabilities supports this conclusion.
I am clear, as are many Barbadian and other Caribbean citizens who have followed his career, that over many years, Beckles has consciously or unconsciously modelled an African supremacist version of the Aryan supremacist scholarly fallibility that both he and Chancellor Williams have denounced.
More than this, and this is one reason why I consider Sir Hilary a very tragic hero, however brilliant and successful he may seem academically, discerning observers will agree that his hubris and sociopathic sense of entitlement has made him and members of his family “stars” in a very sad public show.
Indeed, it is apparent that some of the very social bond breaking, black civilization destroying behaviour that Williams has attributed to a “British (and European) philosophy of education” is being manifested by the University of Hull educated Beckles in a very tragic manner.
I have written about his eldest son Rodney’s involvement in the killing of another troubled Pan Africanist, Khalil Campbell previously.
In that article, published some years ago on the US based Pulse Point-Allvoices platform, I made links between that tragedy that unfolded in Jamaica in January 2007, 10 years ago, and the truly extraordinary explanation the social-democracy-preaching Beckles offered for his decision to have that son educated at a majority white Barbadian private school – a Barbadian instance of the parental public school choices by the social-democracy-preaching Abbott and Blair and which generated similar news stories.
According to news reports at the time, Beckles basically said that he sent his toddler son to a private, predominantly white school to spy on whites, with a view to subverting their destruction of black civilization strategies.
Presuming that this is what he actually said and that he actually meant it, that seems like a kind of child abuse to me.
To be continued…
References Why are our kids so miserable?