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We will all be free one day

The late Ronald Lightbourne (File photograph)

We should never give in to apathy even when seemingly horribly lost. We each live inside of our own spheres of influence and it is too easy to say to oneself one cannot make a difference, particularly when it appears that power is distributed so narrowly.

In large jurisdictions such as America and France, where there are millions of people, there are also many subgroups whose collective voice invariably represents the voice of obscure individuals.

It is difficult in small jurisdictions to get functioning interest groups aside from not having universities where colloquiums are being held. In many countries, it is the students that are at the tip of the conversation on political reform. The modern-day example is the Iranian student movement.

Bermuda back in the late 1960s and early 1970s had its student impact also. Then it was more about Black history being taught in schools. That there has been no intellectual movement since the Progressive Group, which operated largely in secrecy, is telling of the intellectual status of where discussions have been left — even abandoned — for 60 years, aside from the few attempts made by persons such as Arnott Jackson, Stuart Hayward, Ronald Lightbourne and myself during the 1980s.

It is not contentment that dominates; it is political ignorance. The idea of individual rights has not dawned on the population. Who can win or has won dominates the ethos of politics; hence the aim and focus are purely on winning the majority votes as the most important aspect of politics. I recall going to a political banquet where the speaker was to talk about the Progressive Labour Party and its history. The speech was entirely a chronicle of victory and loss over the previous 50 years. There was nothing of substance relating to social goals or political ideals, just ramblings about victory and coming back from defeat.

It was surprising to me to see a Royal Gazette editorial break into that space to take on what should be a common topic about how insular the process is for the kind of party privacy on leadership that affects the entire populace — that this can be tolerated after fighting so hard for adult suffrage back in the 1960s. There is not even a trace of consciousness that this bears an absolute resemblance to what we fought against 60 years ago with the property vote.

That it was the old oligarchs that kept that system which benefited them is not too different from the reverse oligarchy practised to maintain power today for the benefit of a few. But who sees that? The leaders openly declare the only persons who have any say in this system are those who have joined the party. That an individual has voted in favour of the PLP for successive elections spanning 60 years, do they not count?

The examples of the American and the French revolutions should be the maxim for today. “No taxation when there is no representation.” The voters would be within their rights to say we withhold our vote until we have an equal say.

Truth be told, the PLP could not win an election based on its membership.

The huge question is, why are the 43,000 voters beholden to a philosophy which does not serve them, but which in fact tells them they have no real value unless they join? It is truly a story of the tail wagging the dog.

If anyone stood tomorrow and said, “follow me because you have the power to determine what the future holds”, why would you not take it?

The question is not one of granting the power, for it is an inalienable right and the power is already there. Ignorance keeps one from assuming what is their inherent right.

You have the power. What is lacking is the will because the will has been surrendered to the politic that disregards you.

One day we will all be free and we will experience our true equality, but that will not happen until we bury what we have at present.

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Published October 05, 2022 at 5:23 am (Updated October 05, 2022 at 5:23 am)

We will all be free one day

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