Comment accéder gratuitement à la BBC depuis son ordinateur ?
Connectez vous sur le lien suivant, la marche à suivre vous est expliquée :
Bonne écoute à tous .
JP Révauger est né en plein baby boom, alors que la guerre d’Indochine n’était pas encore terminée, et que celle d’Algérie venait de commencer. Après des études secondaires au Lycée Montaigne de Bordeaux et d’anglais à l’Université de Bordeaux III, il a été reçu à l’Agrégation en 1977, et a participé à inauguration de l’option « civilisation », qui venait d’être ouverte. Il a effectué trois années d’enseignement dans des établissements secondaires de la banlieue parisienne et a obtenu un DEA d’histoire contemporaine à l’IEP de Paris. Nommé assistant à l’Université Stendhal Grenoble III en 1981, il y a soutenu une thèse de IIIème cycle, (La gauche extra-parlementaire britannique à l’épreuve), puis une thèse d’Etat (La notion d’autogestion en GB), toutes deux sous la direction de Pierre Morère. Nommé Maître Assistant ( 1983) puis Professeur des Universités (1989) à Grenoble, il a ensuite exercé dans les Universités d’ Aix Marseille 1 (1994-1999), puis des Antilles et de la Guyane (1999-2002), et enfin de Bordeaux III depuis 2002. La majeure partie de ses activités d’enseignement concerne le domaine de la civilisation britannique contemporaine et du 20ème siècle. JP Révauger a exercé diverses fonctions administratives en tant que directeur de département (Aix et Antilles) ou responsable des programmes européens de l’université (Aix). Il est depuis 2005 responsable du Master recherches langues, du parcours Europe contemporaine du Master, et, depuis septembre 2005, directeur de l’UFR d’anglais de l’Université de Bordeaux III.
Sur le plan de la recherche JP Révauger a créé et animé un centre de recherches, l’Observatoire de la société britannique, à Grenoble et à Aix, dont le centre d’intérêt principal était la pauvreté en GB et la méthodologie de la civilisation, et qui publiait une revue, les Cahiers de l’Observatoire. JP Révauger a également co-dirigé un programme de recherches sur le transfert des politiques sociales, avec un partenaire britannique, ce qui donné lieu à de nombreux colloques et publications. JP Révauger fait partie d’un centre de recherches regroupant civilisationnistes spécialistes de différentes langues et géographes, l’équipe MITI TIDE (Territoires et identités dans le domaine européen), Unité Mixte de Recherche n° 6588 du CNRS.
Il mène des travaux dans les domaines de la politique sociale britannique, des comparaisons entre la France et la Grande-Bretagne, et de la confrontation des modèles européens de politique sociale avec d’autres problématiques en dehors de l’Europe, en particulier dans la Caraïbe anglophone. Il est impliqué dans plusieurs programmes de recherche comparatifs, et dans une réflexion sur la méthodologie de la discipline.
JP Révauger encadre des travaux de recherche dans les domaines de la civilisation britannique contemporaine et de la civilisation de la Caraïbe anglophone, en encourageant les doctorants à développer les aspects comparatifs de leurs recherches, qui lui semblent représenter un des domaines les plus prometteurs de la discipline.
Rassurez vous : JP Révauger a aussi une vie active, des passions et des engagements en dehors du domaine professionnel, mais ce n’est pas le sujet de ce blog.
Comment accéder gratuitement à la BBC depuis son ordinateur ?
Connectez vous sur le lien suivant, la marche à suivre vous est expliquée :
Bonne écoute à tous .
“The populations in the British West Indies have no native civilisation at all. People dance Bongo and Shango and all this is very artistic and very good. But these have no serious effects upon their general attitude to the world. These populations are essentially Westernised and they have been Westernised for centuries. The percentage of literacy is extremely high. In little islands like Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica and even in your own British Guiana, the population is so concentrated that with the development of motor transport, nobody is very far from the centre of things. There is an immense concentration of knowledge, learning and information. People live modern lives. They read modern cheap newspapers, they listen to the radio, they go to the movies. The modern world is pressing upon them from every side giving rise to modem desires and aspirations. There is no national background to mitigate or even to influence the impact of these ideas upon the social personality of these islands.”
CLR James. 1958.
Lecture on Federation, (West Indies and British
Delivered: June 1958 at Queen’s College
Printed at the “Argosy” Co., Ltd., Bel Air Park, East Coast, Demarara [Guyana]
Studying the impact of colonial culture on a society implies an analysis of the relationship between that society and the colonizer. The specificity of the Caribbean is that societies were indeed the products of colonization, since they did not pre-exist the colonial process. This is not to say that relationships of exploitation and domination were accepted, but that colonialism, had far more than an impact on the Caribbean: it created societies . The point made in this paper is that many of the most radical thinkers and leaders who challenged the established order in the English speaking Caribbean reached out to the whole world, well beyond their native islands and the “mother country”. Their thinking was not limited in scope to the culture of the colonizer. It was global, at a time when this was not a fashionable slogan for eco-warriors. Interestingly, the first port of call for the radical diaspora was Britain, especially for the generation born in the early 20th century, the likes of CLR James or George Padmore. It was either the US for people like Eric Williams or Cheddi Jagan, or again Britain for an even younger generation, that of Maurice Bishop. However, for a variety of reasons, even though the formative years in Britain had their impact, radical thinkers broadened their scope well beyond the English Channel, the spires of Oxford and the chimneys of Battersea Power station. They were in contact with the international socialist movement, and were aware of and sometimes involved in crucial internal debates. Britain and the US were stepping stones in their intellectual careers, but by no means were they considered as focal points or exclusive seats of intellectual power. This was true of diasporic intellectuals, as well as of some local radical movements, such as the Oil Workers Trade Union in Trinidad. The term “Black Atlantic”, referring to the dialogue between American blacks, the Caribbean and the Black diaspora in Britain is in fact too limited in scope. Africa, and the Soviet Union were at times central concerns for Caribbean radicals.
Remarkably, the radical tradition, which started with CLR James, seems to have ended with Maurice Bishop, who died in 1983. Over the last decade, critical intellectuals, such as Norman Girvan, have tended to focus on the nuts and bolts of the Caribbean Common Market and the economic negotiations with the EU. The messianic character of socialism, and the power of internationalism seem to have spent their momentum, for some time at least, in the meanders of the cold war, which, in the Caribbean as well as in Europe, froze ambitions and created unbridgeable demarcation lines .
This paper will first of all examine the intellectual and political careers of two famous Trinidadians, George Padmore and CLR James. I will then consider the case of the most radical Trade Union in the region, the Oil Workers Trade Union of Trinidad. The last part will be devoted to an analysis if Maurice Bishiop and Bernard Coard, the leaders of the ill-fated revolution in Grenada.
George Padmore, race and class.
CLR James, born in 1901 and George Padmore, born in 1903 were both middle class Trinidadians. Padmore left Trinidad for the US in 1924, where he started medical studies and joined the Communist Party in 1927. He soon became a communist organizer among American Blacks, only to be absorbed by the fledgling Communist International in 1929. He became a full time organizer for the International in Moscow in 1929, and was subsequently posted in Austria and Germany until the Nazi take-over in 1933. His political career was extremely rapid. After leaving Germany, he went to Britain, where he became critical of the Third International, and left the communist party. The crucial issue at the time for black communists in the US was: to what extent should the opposition between blacks and white society be considered as the key issue, or on the contrary as secondary to struggles involving both whites and blacks ? In other words, the connection between “race” and “class” could not be taken for granted. Within the US party, the theory of the “Black belt” prevailed, until the 1940’s, when Earl Browder led the CP to adopt a social democratic, less confrontational line. US blacks should be encouraged to demand self determination, and the creation of an agrarian black state in the South of the US should be seen as the objective. US communist Harry Haywood defended this line well into the 1960’s. The relationship between the racial factor and class was the crucial one for black radicals of the diaspora.
Padmore left the party in 1934, angered by the attempts made by the USSR to improve its relationship with colonial powers such as Britain and France, so as to seek allies against the Nazi threat. In Communist jargon, his line was defined as “ultra leftist”. However, it illustrates the difficulty for a colonial radical to consider the defense of the Soviet Union, or international power struggles, as more important than the fight against colonial rule. Padmore remained associated with the left, and, until the 1950’s, London became fairly central for future African leaders such as Kenyatta, and later N’Krumah. Solidarity did not exclude rivalry, however. The concerns of the black intelligentsia engulfed much more than the “black Atlantic”. After Ghana’s independence, Padmore remained there until his death in 1959. 
CLR James, the endearing maverick.
CLR James left Trinidad for Britain 10 years after Padmore, in 1932, when he was already teaching. He earned a living writing articles on cricket, and joined a proto-trotskyst ginger group within the Independent Labour Party in 1933. The ILP was a non-sectarian radical socialist organization which consistently opposed Stalinism and sponsored a number of successful writers, the most famous of whom is probably George Orwell. James’s twin concerns for African issues and the international struggle against fascism were reconciled in 1935 in the campaign against Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia. Like George Padmore, his main concern became the need to take on board the national or racial issue on the one hand, and the overall universal struggle for socialism on the other hand. By the time James moved to the US in 1938, he was already a prolific writer of novels and political essays. His book on the Haitian revolution Black Jacobins, was widely acclaimed and is still read. It is a historical reconstruction which purports to change the way the black masses should be considered. They were real historical subjects, not just the prey of demagogues. James got involved in arcane debates within the trotskyst movement, concerning the real nature of the Soviet Union. Should it be defended after all, in spite of the elimination of Trotsky? Was it purely a police state, or did it retain some elements of a truly proletarian regime (a “degenerate workers state”) ? Such abstract considerations had in fact a very real translation in practical terms, during the cold war. In practice, radical socialist currents which dissented with Moscow had to decide where they would stand in this global struggle. A few currents decided to choose “non alignment” and adopted the slogan “neither Washington nor Moscow”. Interestingly, James chose Washington. This is never acknowledged openly, especially by the stream of enthusiastic supporters James’s work gave birth to. The brunt of his criticism against imperialism was always directed at Britain, which symbolized racial superiority and conservatism, and never at the US. During the second world war, James refused the argument whereby American blacks should take part in the war once the Nazi offensive against the USSR had started. The Soviet Union was not worth fighting for. During the crisis in Guiana in the 1950’s, which led to the establishment of the disastrous Forbes Burnham regime and the marginalization of the suspected communist Cheddi Jagan, James was very critical of Jagan, and, in practice, contributed to Burnham’s assent. There is probably more in this than the resentment of a historical trotskyist towards a communist sympathizer, since the US were clearly hostile to Jagan at the time. In broad geopolitical terms James avoided challenging vital American interests. This was an extremely realistic stance on the part of a Caribbean radical. There is no need to embark in plot theories or spy stories to interpret this. Eric Williams, a true historian who became the Prime Minister of Trinidad, and a Marxist by training, chose exactly the same approach, contrary to Maurice Bishop in the early 80’s. This enabled Williams to widen his room for manoeuver, even vis a vis the US. In 1963, Williams was able to negotiate the return to Trinidad of the Chaguaramas base, occupied by the US since the Second World War. This had been a soft spot in the Caribbean, since this prime site for maritime activity was supposed to be the capital of the Federation of the West Indies (FWI). It was still under US control at the time, and this had affected the credibility of the FWI. As a further proof of independence, Williams was very critical of the US intervention in Grenada in 1983, when the leaders of Barbados and smaller islands welcomed it. However, in spite of a number of nationalizations in the oil industry, Trinidad has maintained a working relationship with the Oil Majors, which is obviously necessary in order to remain abreast with technological change in the field, and exports a lot of its LNG to the US. The role play between Trinidad and the US is under control. Trinidad and Tobago is allowed to maintain an independent stance, within reasonable limits.
James devoted a lot of efforts to the nurturing of a small faction within American Trotskyism, the “Johnson Forest tendency”. Indeed, “Forest” was CLR James’s pseudonym within the party. He provided a lot of the inspiration for this group, whose chief idea was that negroes all over the world constituted an exploited mass whose political potential had so far been underestimated. In a sense, he heralded the movements which, in the 1960’s, came to consider the third world as the new revolutionary vanguard and took to direct action on its behalf. This was true of the French followers of Pablo, during the Algerian war of independence, as well as of the South American followers of Che Guevara. James was therefore ahead of his time, and survived the militants who took literally his metaphorical calls to arms .The deadliest weapon he was familiar with was the cricket bat.
James’s writings were rather eclectic, since he embraced literary criticism as well as the visual arts and popular culture. This also explains the cult surrounding him and his considerable popularity in the West Indies. His lack of sectarianism and his ability to discover and uphold new causes earned him a lot of support in the 1960’s. He was no real doctrinaire, when factionalism plagued small revolutionary groups. For instance, he provided generous support for the idea of “Black Power”, but gave the expression an extremely wide meaning, engulfing Booker T Washington as well as his fiercest critic, WEB Du Bois, the Black Panthers, Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. This stood in stark contrast with the relationships within the Black movements: Malcolm X was probably murdered by the Nation of Islam, and Stokely Carmichael took the Black Panthers to task for accepting the support of white radicals.
The radical culture of San Fernando.
In Trinidad itself, James was seen as an icon of radicalism. His non-sectarian leadership was looked up to by the movements which tried to avoid the ethnic polarization which plagued Guyana. The ethnic mix of Trinidad was comparable to that of Guyana, except that the numbers of Africans and Indians were roughly the same. The ruling party under Eric Williams was mostly made up of Blacks, who tended to occupy the state apparatus. This created some resentment, especially in areas far removed for the capital city Port of Spain. The oil field workers of Trinidad had always been the most multiracial and the most radical sector of the working class movement. Their mobilization in 1937 had led to long strikes, riots, the deployment of British troops, but at the end of the day, compromise, and the report of the Moyne Commission. The Oil Workers Trade Union of Trinidad (OWTU), the most militant Labour organization in the island was a direct outcome of this crisis. The OWTU still exists and, although it faces competition from other unions today, it remains a significant force. It is now a general union, organizing well beyond the ranks of oil workers . In the first decades of independence, the OWTU was associated to communism, although no formal communist party existed in Trinidad. The OWTU belonged to the World Federation of Trade Unions, which was dominated by communists, and, when it came out on strike in the 1960’s, it was claimed it had a political agenda .This is far from clear, even if its leader, George Weekes, joined a small party created by CLR James, the Workers and Peasants’ Party. The legacy of traditional working class militancy is very strong, as is radical culture in the oil fields of San Fernando. A popular and widely acclaimed calypsonian and rastafarian from San Fernando adopted as his nom de plume Black Stalin, a defiant gesture, which matches his sometimes very political lyrics. The best known of his songs, Burn Dem, proposes to send to Hell Ian Smith, Queen Victoria, Margaret Thatcher, “ The English woman who on South Africa refuse to put sanctions” as well as Ronald Reagan: “Because of the things they do we (sic), I want to fix them personally”. Stalin, the singer, is entrusted with a divine mission on Judgment day: “ These people had their day, well now is time for Stalin to play”. This represents a creative synthesis between Marxism-Leninism, Rastafarianism, Christianity and the tradition of “Kaiso” (Trinidadian term for Calypso).
There is a radical climate in this part of the island, which could have offered a favourable spawning ground for socialist ideas. This remained limited, and the power of the OWTU has been much eroded. A coup was attempted in 1970, in the name of Black Power, by discontented army officers, fresh from Sandhurst. This was supported informally by a lot of people who demonstrated in the San Fernando region, although the OWTU did not provide official backing. In practice, the OWTU remained a strongly working class organization, and refrained from entering directly the political arena and challenging Williams on that field. Its connection with the USSR is not all that clear. After all, the union organized the funeral of CLR James, a former trotskyst, the casket being born by members wearing their blue shirt uniform. Orthodox Communists would certainly not have condoned this. On the other hand, the Union also had good relations with Maurice Bishop, the leader of the Revolutionary People’s Government in Grenada, who totally aligned himself on the Soviet positions in the United Nations, much to the embarrassment of the USSR, who recommended caution and never committed themselves to supporting Grenada. So on the whole, the OWTU would seem rather close to the British National Union of Mineworkers under Arthur Scargill, sharing a confrontational approach to industrial relations and a distaste for traditional politics. But with steel pans rather than brass bands. Indeed, CLR James and Scargill corresponded .
The 1970 crisis must have been taken seriously by the government. Little is known about the extent of the repression, but George Weekes, the leader of the OWTU, spent 7 months in jail.
Eagles and Mosquitos. Bishop, Coard and the US.
The last of the radical leaders so far in the English speaking Caribbean is obviously Maurice Bishop, from Grenada. The US will be celebrating this year the 30th anniversary of their massive intervention in Grenada against the People’s Revolutionary Government, 5 days after Bishop’s murder. Bishop and the other leaders of the “New Jewel Movement” were trained in Britain in the late 1960s and early 1970’s. Bishop himself was a lawyer, and spent some time at the LSE. His close companion , who is often blamed for his murder, Bernard Coard, had been trained both at Brandeis, in the US, and then at Sussex, where he defended a Phd in development economics. He was a typical diasporic intellectual, taking up lecturing positions at UWI, in St Augustine (Trinidad) and then at Mona in Jamaica. Bishop was the charismatic leader of the movement, which emerged after Grenada’s ill-conceived independence in 1974. Britain had granted independence hastily, in spite of the opposition of Grenadian society: unions, churches, employers demonstrated to postpone independence, but their protest went unheeded. A weird repressive and cranky regime was set up, under one Eric Gairy, famous for building a landing pad for potential UFOs. This regime was overthrown by a coup led by Maurice Bishop in 1979. The new “People’s Revolutionary Government ruled until the fatal crisis of October 1983.
Bishop had a direct contact with the masses, and shared with CLR James an ability to shun sectarianism and concentrate on the issues which he felt were central, and also struck a chord in people’s minds. He combined passion, and a shrewd analysis of local mentalities. The reform package he put forward and partly implemented included education, social security, the buttressing of Trade Unionism, improving the lot of women, and the development of a new type of tourism, a reasonable social democratic agenda. However, his thinking must also be related to that of Coard. Coard’s academic standing was much higher than Bishop’s. He was also directly associated to the Communist Parties of the USA and Great Britain at some point in his career, even though his later evolution towards revolutionary tactics and international confrontation took him very far from the CPGB, a very moderate euro-communist party which introspection and in fighting led to self dissolution in 1991. Coard made quite an impression among British educationalists and Black militants in Britain for publishing a pamphlet in 1971 blaming the “institutional racism” of the educational system for the underachievement of black pupils. The question of the underachievement of black school boys became a very central one in America, in Britain as well as in the Caribbean, and opinions on its causes diverge significantly. Charles Murray’s book The Bell Curve blames the culture of the black community, and the lack of involvement of black fathers in family matters. Conversely, he British black “anti-racist” movement considered that white society was inherently, “institutionally” racist, and excluded black children precisely because it rejected their culture. So it is very much the case that Coard’s interest in the subject put him at the core of strategic debates. However, the most striking contribution Coard made to the Grenadian revolution, and probably the most disastrous one, was in the field of international relations. Coard was probably the inspirer of Bishop’s speeches in the United Nations. The People’s Revolutionary Government adopted a stance which defies the logic of the cold war, and certainly the logic of the USSR. It openly stood by Cuba, by the Ortega regime in Nicaragua, provided uncritical support to all the Soviet backed movements in the world, from Palestine to Western Sahara in Morocco or to the Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia. This did not tip the balance of forces in any way, given the size of Grenada, but this was an irritant for the US. The Soviet Union never encouraged the PRG to act so provocatively. By the early 1980’s, the Soviets were mostly concerned to avoid turmoil in their own sphere of influence, and certainly did not welcome trouble in the Caribbean, the Americans’ backyard. They were certainly not prepared to run any risk on behalf of Grenada. The provocative stance of Coard and Bishop, which led to the US intervention, could only be motivated by a totally unrealistic appreciation of the regional situation.The Caribbean as a whole was not prepared to contemplate a global rebellion against “imperialism”, which meant that a showdown between the US and Grenada could only lead to the swatting of the mosquito.
Perhaps the Grenadian regime was a victim of its own rhetoric about world revolution, and seriously believed the “South” would rise against the USA. This interpretation is based on the psychological mechanisms at work within revolutionary movements, such as self-induced delusion that the dynamics of revolution are irresistible. Perhaps the unrealistic standpoints of the PRG in the United Nations can be attributed to its “small nation” status, which gave it the impression it enjoyed diplomatic immunity, whatever cause it actually promoted, because it carried so little weight. Be that as it may, the US intervened after Bishop had been murdered by a faction possibly headed by Coard. Coard himself was jailed and was only released in 2009. The ostensible cause for the US intervention was the building of an international airport with Cuban support, and the security of a few American students staying at a private US University in Grande Anse.
The “Big Game”, ie the geopolitical struggle between East and West was therefore fatal to the Grenadian revolution. Repeating dogmatically the slogans manufactured by the Soviet regime without any consideration for the regional circumstances only lead to defeat, and the crushing of the hopes of radical socialist movements in the Caribbean. This stands in stark contrast with the realism of CLR James and Eric Williams, who, with the same Marxist background as Bishop’s and Coard’s, followed an entirely different agenda, and attempted to use whatever space was available for political action, without going “a bridge too far”.
To what extent can socialism be considered as part and parcel of colonial culture ? Even though Marxism originally sprung from Europe, the political practice of socialism became global in the XXth century. In the case of the English speaking Caribbean, the training of most radical thinkers took place in the UK or the US, with the exception of the leaders of the OWTU. Indeed, the Caribbean was a privileged spot for exploring the relationship between social domination and ethnic domination, a favourite theme for academic Marxism in the US and Britain. However, the geo political location of the Caribbean also made it and still makes it an interesting observation point on the fault line between major tectonic plates. As geologists and vulcanologists know, observing such unpredictable movements can be pretty hazardous. The cold war, and the relationships between the neo Bolivarian movements of South America and the USA certainly affected the Caribbean, sometimes tragically. The intellectual game was not always abstract and confined to conferences and University staff rooms. What is at any rate clear is that radical intellectuals in the region were never parochial, and were active participants in global ideological debates.
Fire burning, fire blazing
Judgement morning, I by de gate and I waiting
[This is my time for burning] I burning, and I burning, and I burning, and I burning!
[Peter, keep the fire blazing] Blazing, blazing, blazing, blazing!
[This is Jah time for burning] I burning, and I burning, and I burning, and I burning!
[Peter, keep the fire coming.]
Peter you don't know, the pressure that I undergo,
From these mad man and woman, I feel the full weight of their hand;
They make their oppressed law, they never care 'bout the poor,
Peter, these people had their day, well now is time for Stalin to play.
Peter, wait, I say Peter wait! Peter, look Ian Smith by the gate [Burn he, burn he!]
Peter, I don't want you to make fuss, remember I want Christopher Columbus [Burn he, burn he!)
Peter, look the English woman who on South Africa refuse to put sanctions [Burn she, burn she!]
Peter, I just don't care what you do, but Reagan going in the fire too [Burn he, burn he!]
[This is my time for burning]
[Peter, keep the fire blazing] Blazing, blazing, blazing!
[This is Jah time for burning] We burning, and we burning, and we burning, and we burning!
[Peter, keep the fire coming] Hit me now!
Peter, don't grudge me, your hand done full already,
You done deal with The Fuhrer, go ahead and take Foster.
But that woman, Mary, remember that's my baby,
So much confusion that she make, you got to give Black Stalin a break.
Peter, wait, I say Peter wait! Peter, look Botha reach by the gate [Burn he, burn he!]
With Botha I don't want you to waste time, remember we still have Morgan behind [Burn he, burn he!]
Peter, look the English woman who sent foreign troops in Africa land [Burn she, burn she!]
Peter, I just don't care what you say, de Klu Klux Klan man can't get away [Burn he, burn he!]
[This is my time for burning]
[Peter keep the fire blazing] Blazing, blazing, blazing!
[This is Jah time for burning] I burning, and I burning, and I burning, and I burning!
[Peter keep de fire coming.] Hit me! Burn dem oy!
Coming, coming, coming..
We burning and we burning, and we burning, and we burning!
Peter, stop pushing, it have plenty more coming.
They call them from over sea, but leave my -------
During my lifetime, to me they were so unkind,
So much corruption that they make, now it is time they must feel my weight.
Peter, Peter don't hold me back! Look the one who draft the Public Order Act [Burn he, burn he!)
Peter look, catch that big belly fella, wey carry my money down Panama. [Burn he, burn he!)
Peter, Peter, look the woman who bring foreign troops in the Caribbean [Burn she, burn she!)
Peter, I just don't care what you do, but baldhead going in the fire too [Burn he, burn he!)
[This is my time for burning] I burning, and I burning, and I burning, and I burning!
[Peter, keep the fire blazing] Blazing, blazing, blazing!
[This is Jah time for burning] We burning, and we burning, and we burning, and we burning!
[Peter, keep the fire coming] Coming, coming, coming...
[This is my time for burning] Burn them oy, man!
[Peter, keep the fire blazing] Blazing, blazing!
[This is Jah time for burning] We burning, and we burning, and we burning and we burning!
[Peter, keep the fire coming] coming, coming, coming...
 Paul Gilroy. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, London, Verso, 1993.
 Baptiste, Fitzroy and Rupert Lewis (eds.), George Padmore: Pan-African Revolutionary. Kingston, Ian Randle Publishers, 2009.
 Weiss, Holger."The Road to Hamburg and Beyond: African American Agency and the Making of a Radical African Atlantic, 1922-1930." Comintern Working Papers, Åbo Akademi University, 2007- 2011. Available on line.
 CLR James. Black Jacobins. London, Secker & Warburg, 1938.
 CLR James: Lecture on Federation, (West Indies and British Guiana)
Delivered: June 1958 at Queen’s College
Printed:at the “Argosy” Co., Ltd., Bel Air Park, East Coast, Demarara [Guyana]
by CLR James 25 pp.;
Transcribed & marked up: by Damon Maxwell for the Marxist Internet Archive (on line).
 The CLR James archive on line provides access to many of James’s articles. See http://www.marxists.org/archive/james-clr/index.htm.
CLR James’s personal letters and papers were purchased by the University of the West Indies after his death and are available at St Agustine, Trinidad.
 Kent Worcester, CLR James, A Political Biography, New York, State University of New York Press, 1996.
Farukh Dhondy, CLR James, a Life, New York, Pantheon Books, 2001.
Anthony Bogues. Caliban’s Freedom, the Early Political Thought of CLR James. London, Pluto Press, 1997.
Black Stalin :Burn dem. 1987.
 Letters deposited at UWI St Augustine.
 Maurice Bishop (March 13th 1979) “A Bright New Dawn”. First address to the Nation on Radio Free Grenada. 10.30 am. http:/thegrenadarevolutiononline.com.
Maurice Bishop (June 15th 1979) “Women Step Forward”- National Conference of Women. Marryshow House, UWI Lbrary Extension, St George, Grenada. http:/thegrenadarevolutiononline.com.
Maurice Bishop (July 2nd 1979) “Education in the New Grenada.” Speech at the National Education Conference July 2-3rd 1979. http:/thegrenadarevolutiononline.com.
 Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray. The Bell Curve. Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. New York, Free Press, 1994.
 Maurice Bishop (April 13 th 1979) “In Nobody’s Backyard” also known as “Grenada is now Free. Onward to Socialism: On month After”. National Broadcast, Radio Free Grenada and television Free Grenada. http:/thegrenadarevolutiononline.com.
Maurice Bishop (6th September 1979) “Imperialism is Not Invincible.” Sixth Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, September 3-8th Havana, Cuba. http:/thegrenadarevolutiononline.com.
Maurice Bishop (1O October 1979) Address to the 34the Assembly of the United Nations. New York. http:/thegrenadarevoultiononline.com.
Les emplois d’avenir professeur sont un détournement et une imposture.
1. Le montage financier des emplois d’avenir professeur consiste à ajouter aux bourses d’enseignement supérieur une prime de 400 euros mensuel, pour un engagement de 12 heures par semaine. C’est un détournement total de la fonction des bourses, qui sont censées permettre à des étudiants méritants, mais de milieu modeste, de suivre des études sans travailler. On transforme donc un étudiant en employé de l’éducation nationale, occupant un emploi précaire.
2. Ceci est d’autant plus grave que toutes les études démontrent que les étudiants exerçant un travail à temps partiel en sus de leurs études ont un taux d’échec bien plus élevé que les autres. Cette mesure n’a donc rien de social, mais revient à confiner les boursiers dans des carrières inférieures. Il faut au contraire augmenter le montant des bourses si on veut que les boursiers réussissent et n’aient pas besoin de prendre un « petit boulot », voire conditionner cette augmentation à une réussite aux examens.
3. Cette mesure rompt avec le principe républicain d’égalité en réservant des emplois aux étudiants boursiers, ou originaires de tel ou tel quartier. Les politiques de discrimination dite positive sont incompatibles avec le droit, stigmatisantes et n’ont généralement qu’une fonction cosmétique, à l’image de ce qui a été mis en place à l’IEP Paris, qui les combine avec une sélection sociale féroce.
4. Sachant que la première année de la nouvelle licence risque devoir réduire sa composante disciplinaire au profit de la remédiation et de la pluridisciplinarité, il est particulièrement hasardeux de confier des tâches pédagogiques à des étudiants de L2, voire de L3.
The point made in this paper is that the dynamics leading to change in the Caribbean had little to do with nationalism or the recognition of national identities, but were inherently social. The demands for decent living standards and basic rights, and in some cases their political construction within the framework of socialism dominated the 1920’s and 1930’s. After 1945, Britain’s desire to leave the region gradually modified the stakes, and social movements assumed a different dimension, since federation and independence offered new opportunities. Three countries are examined: Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana. The first one is usually seen as a success story, the second one as enjoying a rather lively existence, and the third one has just recovered from a disastrous decolonization, totally dominated by the cold war.
National identity, a problematic concept in the Caribbean.
The situation of the English speaking Caribbean was markedly different from that of other colonies. The population had been imported from different parts of Europe, Africa and India over the centuries in order to service the plantation economy. African slaves had been brought from a variety of regions. Their original languages had been largely forgotten, and replaced by several linguistic combinations, including English, in some islands, French, and African elements. Families had been de-structured, as well as social hierarchies and tribal or regional allegiances. Creeds, religions, cultural practices and customs survived, but in a fragmented form. There was indeed no collective national identity, even among black West Indians, apart from the common consciousness of ruthless exploitation, racial domination, and the denial of basic rights. This was compounded by the fact the population of the West Indies was not limited to Black Africans, but also included a number of whites, in some islands a large number of mulattoes, and in two of the major territories, a significant Indian population. Some of those whites did not associate with the planters class, but joined the movement for social emancipation, such as Captain Cipriani in Trinidad.
Indians had been brought in the 19th century, as indentured labourers, to replace slave labour in the plantations after the abolition of slavery. In British Guyana they represented over 50% of the population, and , in Trinidad, 40%, not including mixed-race Trinidadians, many of whom had a measure of Indian blood. In Jamaica, the Indians were a minority, and there were none in Barbados. Indians had a very different approach to identity than Blacks. They had not been cut off from their linguistic roots, they practiced Hinduism or Islam and soon established extremely strong family structures, buttressed by elaborate matrimonial strategies. Indians, in the interwar years, did not constitute the thriving business community they represent today. Most of them were poor, unqualified, disenfranchised sugar-cane cutters, often living far away from the centers of power in the capital cities. In terms of identity, they might have seen themselves as subjects of the Empire, who happened to live in a corner of the Caribbean, but their sense of Indianness was also very strong.
Mulattoes were to be found mostly in countries where Britain had not been the sole colonizing power. In Barbados, which was solely colonized by Britain, there were no intermarriages or informal relationships between blacks and whites, whereas in Trinidad, successively colonized by Spain, France and Britain, 20% of the population was of mixed origins: Spaniards and French colonists had no qualms about crossing the racial divide when it came to sex, and/or love, contrary to the British. The identity of mulattoes is notoriously flexible. In the French West Indies, they were envied by Blacks, and treated as go-betweens by planters, both economically and politically, but they pioneered the movement for equality . In Trinidad and Jamaica, they were extremely active in politics, and in the movement for social emancipation. Needless to say, race or “national identity” were not central in their commitment, since they could identify to several categories, and did not fit in a single pigeon hole.
The relationship to the “mother country”, as colonial powers were then called was distinct from that to the local planters, who were clearly identified as former slave owners, and as a tightly knit group of exploiters. Social unrest and protests against exploitation were frequent in the 19th century, and led Britain to take over directly the administration of the Caribbean colonies, which became Crown colonies, and to abolish the “Charters” which entrusted the islands to a legislative assembly made up of planters. This was the case everywhere except in Barbados. Direct rule by Britain was clearly less oppressive than rule by the local planters’ class. 
From this situation derives the fact that protest movements and claims, in the inter war period, were not expressed under the form of “national sovereignty” or “home rule” or “local control for domestic affairs”. The essential problem was social, and not national. The only movement rooted in identity politics, bearing an indirect relationship with sovereignty and nationalism was Marcus Garvey’s pan Africanism in Jamaica. This was based on race, and the myth of a return to “mother Africa”. Apart from this movement, the “mother country” was not the enemy. Political franchise was certainly demanded, but in terms which were not dissimilar to what Britain had known during the Chartists’ campaigns a century before. In a similar context, the French Caribbean demanded and obtained in 1946 full citizenship rights, political and social equality. Independence or home rule were not on the agenda of the rather muscular movement for emancipation in 1945.
The issue of “home rule” was not central in the British West Indies, and blacks were certainly not prepared to support an increase in the degree of control local whites exerted over the islands. This explains why, in spite of the ministrations of the Anglo American Caribbean Commission, in spite of Britain’s support for a “federation”, which, rationally was the obvious pathway towards meaningful independence and development the British proposal met with little enthusiasm. The Caribbean today is still struggling to survive and overcome the tragic mistake of 1962, heal its political divisions, and allow micro states to build up their capacity and relate to international forums.
Independence comes to Little England
The interwar years were mostly oriented towards social protest, and culminated with the “mother country” at long last keeping its promises, and committing itself to social and political reform – not “decolonization”. Most of the leaders who became prominent in the 1950’s, and to whom Britain entrusted the stewardship of the Caribbean, when it decided to leave the region, were politically trained in the labour movement, in social protests, or as lawyers servicing the trade unions. They were all part of an emerging middle class, and were all students either in Britain or in the US at some point in their careers. In Barbados, the two prominent leaders were Errol Barrow and Grantley Adams. Errol Barrow became prominent during the war as an effective young pilot for the RAF, studied law at the LSE, and entered politics as a Labour candidate in 1950 in Barbados, only to leave the party for the slightly more radical Democratic Labour Party. Grantley Adams, a much older man, trained at Oxford, had indeed founded the Labour Party in Barbados in 1938, then chaired the Barbados Workers Union until 1954, the confederation of TUs in Barbados, a quasi replica of the TUC. They were certainly the most prominent politicians and leaders available when the federation and independence befell the island. By no standards could they be seen as nationalists in the ideological sense of the word. Not did they dabble in “identity politics” like Marcus Garvey.
Indeed, the nickname of Barbados is “Little England”. This is not to say problems were not serious. The gradual decline of the sugar industry, since the 19th century had not been compensated by new activities, Barbados being a flat island with a dry climate, the option of banana plantations, adopted in the French West Indies from the 1930s, could not be contemplated. In spite of new links with Canada, the economy was not buoyant, incomes were extremely modest , and public expenditure was maintained at the lowest possible level. The riots of 1937 left 14 dead in the streets of Bridgetown. The reforms advocated by the Moyne Commission could easily be considered as an agenda for social development – not Home rule. They included a welfare fund of £1M per year for 20 years, universal suffrage, legalizing TU pickets, a wages board, a workmen’s compensation scheme, the clearing of slums, public housing, preventative medicine, economic diversification and a public education program including teacher training. The main step taken during the war was suffrage, which was extended to women, and remained restricted to rate payers, but with lower requirements. All this had little to do with sovereignty, but owed a lot to the demands of the Labour Movement in Britain.
After the demise of the Federation, Barbados became independent in 1966, and was ruled for ten years by Errol Barrow’s Party, until 1976, when Grantley Adams’s son, Tom Adams, won the elections and became premier. Barbados enjoyed democratic procedures and stability. It followed a rather enlightened path, diversified its economy thanks to tourism, and joined Carifta, the first attempt at creating a Common Market among former British colonies, after the demise of the FWI. Barbados embraced liberalism with enthusiasm, and felt at home in the English speaking world. It had no axe to grind vis a vis the USA, Britain or Canada. Its emphasis on offshore banking proved rather problematic, since Barbados condoned procedures designed for tax evasion and was threatened with expulsion from the OECD at some point. As a result of this, a measure of regulation was introduced. However, the leap from the status of an impoverished, unprofitable colony which was a burden for its colonizer to that of an acceptable international tax haven and a favourite destination for upper class tourism is impressive. It is roughly on a par with Martinique in terms of GDP per head.
Trinidad: red flag over the oil fields.
A somewhat similar story would apply to Trinidad. The 1930’s were dominated by an emerging socialist movement led by Captain Cipriani. He was one of the organizers of the dockers’ strike in 1919, and founded a political organization which soon became the local branch of the Labour Party. Of Corsican descent, he devoted his life to labour politics, became a councillor in Port of Spain, and remained in office for twenty years. One of his followers, Uriah Butler, was a forceful speaker who concentrated on the emerging multicultural labour movement in the oil fields of San Fernando, south of the capital city. His audiences were carried away to such an extent that a policeman who attempted to arrest him, during a public meeting was killed on the spot by the crowd. Butler went into hiding, and became even more of a hero. The Oil Workers Union became one of the most radical and militant Trade Unions in the region, and joined the World Federation of TUs, dominated by the Communists. Butler created his own party after the war , called the British Empire Workers, Peasants and Rate Payers’ Union, a far cry from identity politics or nationalist approaches. Eric Williams, who belonged to a much younger generation, had more of an academic and administrative career. He defended a Phd in history at Oxford, focusing on the economic determinisms which led to the abolition of slavery. Although he made no official allegiance to Marxism, he was clearly influenced by the idea that ideological superstructures are derived from the economic infrastructure and class relationships. He was involved in the Anglo Caribbean Commission which, during and after the war, drafted blue prints for the future of the Caribbean, and prepared the 1948 Montego Bay conference which aired the idea of a federation. Indeed, Williams seized the opportunity offered by Britain’s desire to pull out of the region in order to appear in the limelight. He withdrew from the commission and embarked in an exercise in informal lecturing in a public park, just in front of Trinidad’s legislature, and formed his own party. The idea of independence was certainly not on the agenda, but the British proposal for a federation was not met with enthusiasm by the larger islands, who feared the cost of maintaining the smaller, poorer islands. They certainly did not want to shoulder the administrative costs of the Empire which Britain shunned. If the white man no longer wanted to carry his burden, why should the black man succeed him ? Besides, the federations which had been envisaged in Eastern Africa and around Rhodesia were designed to perpetuate white rule, and had been resisted by Africans. The lack of support for the federation in Jamaica only created an opportunity for Trinidad to refuse it as well, and the country became independent as a matter of course in 1962. However, labeling Williams “the father of the nation” is an overstatement. Independence was more of a windfall than the outcome of a struggle. Among the Pantheon of decolonization a famous diasporic figure from Trinidad is also to be found. CLR James, the writer, journalist and life-long militant socialist, was probably one the least patriotic or nationalist characters one could imagine. He was prominent in the international trotskyst movement, one of the least nationalist currents of the socialist family. He even created his own faction, the “Johnson Forrest tendency” with a few friends, and focused on the need to address the plight of American Blacks in a specific manner, since they were largely isolated and disenfranchised. He carried his internationalism to the point of refusing to support the American and British involvement in World War II, on the grounds that class barriers were more important than national oppositions. After a period of collaboration with Williams, he fell foul with him, and became a fierce critic of post-independence policies. Trinidad was therefore a hotbed of social radicalism and socialist agitation, not a spring board for nationalist currents. The existence of a racial divide between Blacks and Indians, which is still a feature of the island certainly made the assertion of a specific national identity problematic, although this became the official line.
Trinidad became independent in 1962 immediately after the collapse of the federation, but also in the year Britain modified the rules for immigrants .The ties were becoming much looser. Industrial relations, and the social question remained problematic for another 20 years. In spite of the nationalization of Shell (1968) economic power remained in the hands of international companies. Tate and Lyle, of sugar fame, was by far the largest land owner. Wages in the oil sector remained very low until the 1970s. CLR James created his own party, and was arrested. In 1968, US Black Power leader Stokely Carmichael, who had left Trinidad at age 11, was not allowed to land to give a lecture. Eventually, an attempted coup, in 1970, failed, in spite of the combined discontents of young army officers, black power militants, radical trade unionists and oil workers. The rise in oil prices gave the government some leeway, but relations remained difficult and distrust widespread, in spite of the glossy brochures on the carnival and the speeches in praise of multiculturalism.
In the throes of the Cold War: British Guiana.
British Guiana, subsequently known as Guyana, is usually considered as part of the Caribbean, as is the case of former Dutch Guyana, now Surinam, and French Guyane. However, it stands apart in more respects than one: the size of its territory, its rich mineral resources including bauxite, and the fact that the majority of the population was not black, but Indian. The decolonization of Guiana is one of the least successful ones: the rule of law was flouted by the “mother country” in the name of the global struggle against communism, communitarian violence was encouraged, and the leader supported by Britain, Forbes Burnham, turned in fact into an extremely controversial figure, who imposed a dictatorship on the country and a disastrous policy of economic autarchy. Living standards fell to a level well below that of the rest of the Anglophone Caribbean. The irony of the situation lies in the fact that Burnham, who was deemed less of a liability than the majority leader Chedi Jagan, whose wife had been a member of the CPUSA, came to adopt Marxist language and dogmas. Britain prevented a suspected socialist, in the English sense of the word, from leading the country into independence, only to entrust Guyana to a weird regime, using marxist slogans and closed to the rest of the world .
Guiana’s march to independence was completely determined by the cold war. Cheddi Jagan, whose training had been essentially political in the context of Black radical academia in the USA, was the unopposed leader of the People’s Progressive Party. The PPP won 18 seats out of 24 during the general elections of 1953, and Jagan became the Prime Minister – for 4 months. Guiana had been granted a more advanced constitution than other countries of the Caribbean, after a report, published under the Attlee government by the Waddington Commission. All English speaking adults were given the right to vote, but the governor would retain extensive rights, including the suspension of the constitution. The commission had acknowledged the racial divide between Blacks, who controlled the administration, and Indians, most of whom lived in rural areas, and had at the time an inferior status, but it encouraged participation of Indians to politics. The Churchill government became gradually more worried about Jagan’s alleged links with the Soviets. The British governor on the ground, Savage, did not recommend action, but intensive lobbying by the local sugar industry took place at the Colonial Office, which favoured a muscular approach. On October 9th, 1953, British troops took control of Georgetown, the governor suspended the constitution and demoted Jagan, after 133 days as premier. The US had not been directly involved in the operation, or indeed informed by Churchill, although the AFL CIO had, for a few years, supported a “company union” in the sugar industry, which the PPP considered as a bosses’ union. This indirect role, familiar to Europeans, remained the main mode of operation. This direct and rather brutal approach certainly testifies to the persistence of old ideas and methods within the British Government, as became clear in 1956 with the intervention in Egypt. 
Until 1956, British military presence was not controversial within the British government. The authorities were actively engaged in splitting the PPP on ethnic lines, and succeeded in 1958. Forbes Burnham created his own group, mostly on ethnic black African lines, but Cheddi Jagan remained popular, and increased his international standing. He was invited by N’Krumah to celebrate the independence of Ghana. In the wake of the Suez Debacle, Britain’s position changed. The heavy handed approach was seen as a mistake, and new elections were organized in 1957. Jagan won 9 seats, out of 14, Forbes Burham 3. Jagan became Chief Minister and remained so for three years.
However, the US administration became increasingly concerned about the influence of suspected communists in Guiana. Concern about Soviet advance in the conquest of space after the launching of the Sputnik in 1957 was compounded by Cuba’s gradual appeals to Soviet support, after the 1960 Soviet trade fair in Havana.
In 1960 a constitutional conference chaired by Ian Mac Leod concluded that elections would be held in 1961, on the basis of the first past the post system, and the government resulting from them would run internal affairs, and probably lead Guiana to independence.
British and American views therefore diverged significantly after 1960, since Britain was markedly less worried than the US about Jagan. Jagan unwittingly visited Cuba in April 1960, 3 months after the Soviet trade fair. By mid-August 1960, the US was intervening directly and financing anti-communist groupings in Guiana. According to Ian Macleod’s biographer, the following exchange took place between Macleod and Kennedy “Mr President”, asked Mac Leod, “Do I understand that you want us to go as quickly as possible towards independence everywhere else in the world, but not on your doorstep in British Guiana?” According to Macleod, Kennedy laughed and he responded” That’s ‘s just about it”.
The 1961 elections gave the PPP 20 out of 35 seats. Forbes Burham’s group won 11 and a Catholic conservative organization obtained 4 . In spite of Jagan’s visit to Washington DC in october 1961, the decision to destabilize him was taken. Bombs went off in February 1962, Georgetown was set ablaze and black gangs terrorized Indians while the police, mostly black Africans, stood by. 5 were killed. Dean Rusk, US Secretary of State, intervened directly with Douglas Homes “writing that “the US would not put up with an independent British Guiana under Jagan” . Relationshsips between the US and Britain were strained, on this particular issue. Macleod was probably much closer to the truth than the Americans when he described Jagan as a “naïve London School of Economics marxist, filled with charm, personal honesty and juvenile nationalism”. This was months after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, a few months ahead of the Cuban missiles crisis, and the US were not amused. They were prepared to resort to any extremes rather than risk another Cuba in the Caribbean. They reacted exactly in the same way in 1983, with the invasion of Grenada. In May 1962, Macmillan wrote to Kennedy, accepting to postpone independence, against the best advice of British officials on the ground. Britain committed itself to hold new elections on the basis of proportional representation, allegedly in order to acknowledge the ethnic division of the country between blacks and Indians. This met a demand of Forbes Burhnam’s, party but only reinforced ethnic strife. Strikes and race riots broke out in 1963. The riots claimed 200 lives and made thousand homeless. One author claims this was the case for 13000 individuals.
In December 1964, the elections gave Jagan’s PPP the largest group, but no absolute majority. A coalition was formed, excluding the PPP. This was not technically inconceivable from a constitutional point of view. Even though the PPP was the largest party, its electoral support had been eroded, and the goals of the US services had been reached. British observers conclude that the 1964 election abided by democratic procedures.
Guyana became an independent country in 1966, the regime became increasingly authoritarian. The 1968 elections allowed the marginalization of Burnham’s conservative christian allies. Accounts amount to clear indictments of the regime, and Burnham’s critics allege the vote was clearly rigged , much to the embarrassment of the US. Burnham ruled the country until his death in 1985, and his regime survived until 1992. Intimidation and oppression of Indians became the rule. Gangs of black youths were allowed to rob, rape and murder Indians without any interference from the police or paramilitary militias. A black historian who challenged Burnham, Walter Rodney, was murdered in 1980. 8O% of the economy was nationalized, and collapsed in the 1970’s, bringing about a serious fall in living standards and a flow of emigration. A system of import substitutions was put in place, since the country could no longer afford imports. By the mid 1970’s Burnham had established good relationships with Cuba and the USSR. The only reason why the US did not intervene against him was the fact that Jagan, the official opposition, had become critical of the west and was also openly aligned on the Soviet Union.
By 1990, at the end of the cold war, the production of bauxite and electricity was down to 50% its level in 1970 and poverty was widespread. Emotional accounts of survival in such dire circumstances, and of the resilience of ordinary Guyanese people are very moving. There are some similarities between the fate of Guyana and that of Haïti, whose status as two of the poorest countries in the Northern hemisphere is largely due to incompetent management. Both countries, in spite of their poverty, have produced a stream of extremely articulate intellectuals and artists, most of them part of the diaspora. Sir Shridath Ramphal, secretary of the Commonwealth in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and Trevor Philips, head of the British Equality and Human Rights Commission are both Guyanese.
Under strong pressure from US President Jimmy Carter, free elections were held in 1992 .The PPP won by a wide margin, and Jagan became president until his death in 1997. Political democracy has become the rule. Similarities could be drawn here with South Africa, where Communist leader Nelson Mandela was only liberated after the fall of the Soviet Union, when he no longer represented a geopolitical liability.
Since 1992, Guyanese leaders have tried to attract foreign investment, especially in the mining sector. Access to financial resources, new technologies and markets made this quite natural. Guyana has privatized a lot of its economy. Ironically, the return to the market economy took place under the stewardship of Jagan and his successor, also of Indian descent. Attitudes towards the relative efficiency of the market and state driven policies in the region vary according to ethnicity more than ideology. Even in Trinidad, the Indian coalition, although it was much more radical and in tune with the international socialist movement, proved a keen supporter of the private sector, when the black PNM favoured state driven policies. In Guyana as in Trinidad, there seems to be a love story between Indians and capitalism, in spite of the radical ideological background of leaders. The marriage of Marxism Leninism and Rio Tinto/Alcan inc. might be incestuous, but this seems to be condoned by Indian gods. At any rate, business acumen and the ability to make a profit seem to be one of the legacies of the British empire to its Indian subjects, alongside cricket.
Benedict Anderson’s work on Imagined Communities has taught us a lot about the way identities are created. E.P. Thompson had adopted the same view towards class: social identities do not fall from heaven, are not due to any mysterious “essence”, but are the result of historical processes. Nations only exist when they say so, and enough people identify with them. This is compounded by the fact there is no agreement on what a nation is, and on what is really crucial in identity, and on whether nationhood can be obtained, or lost. The West Indies were not made up of nations in the 1920’s and 1930’s, they were just god-forsaken parts of the old British Empire, but the decolonization process was providential, and enabled some islands to construe a specific identity.
The Federation could have provided the framework for a Caribbean identity based on the common historical experience of the plantation economy and slavery, on shared natural problems such as hurricanes and earthquakes, on the need for efficient and cheap transport, on the challenge of development, but this was not to happen. The Caribbean sea was treated as a natural border, when it is no more a border than mountains or large rivers, where similar populations share the same livelihoods and food, trade with each other, engage in smuggling, and seduce each other’s women. The opportunity lost in 1962 now presents itself under a different shape, that of Caricom, the Caribbean Common Market, a historical chance which the region might be able to seize. Britain pointed in the right direction, but did not insist very firmly when the locals proved unenthusiastic.
The three countries’ history diverged considerably after independence, whereas their life under British rule had been largely uneventful and even dreary. Decolonization presented new opportunities, and tough challenges. Development has now displaced decolonization as the key issue, and there is no direct relationship with any “mother country” any more.
Independent countries have all attempted to create or buttress national identities. In some cases, where language and ethnicity are broadly similar, this is only challenged by the considerable migrations going on in the region, because of economic imbalance. Tens of thousands of Guyanese tend the homes and hotels of Barbados. In countries where the ethnic mix is complex and moving, a political definition of identity is being promoted, which the French and the US feel very much at home with .This is the case in officially multicultural Trinidad.
Decolonization is old hat, by now. Today, the question of national identity in the region is in a sense similar to the situation in Europe. To what extent can the recent “imagined communities”, independent nations, co-exist with a regional identity, that of the regional common market ? The ability to combine several levels of identity is one of the current challenges. This is not just a matter of expediency or a purely socio-economic issue: other approaches, based on ethnic, religious or cultural identity compete with the political and historical definition of nationhood. They have proved to be a recipe for disaster, essentialism and strife.
 Kevin Yelvington, Trinidad Ethnicity, London, Macmillan, 1993.
 Armand Nicolas, Histoire de la Martinique, Paris, Editions l'Harmattan, 1996. tome 1 page 185 .
 Isaac Dookhan, A Post-Emancipation History of the West Indies. London, Collins Educational, 1975.
 Colin Grant, Negro with a Hat, The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and his Dream of Mother Africa. London, Jonathan Cape, 2008.
 Le combat pour la départementalisation fut mené en particulier par Aimé Césaire, à l’époque élu communiste. Elle fut accordée dans l’élan démocratique de l’après-guerre. Toutefois, les droits sociaux ne furent accordés sur la même base qu’en France que progressivement, ce qui généra beaucoup de frustrations.
 Eric Williams. History of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, New York, A&B, 1981
 Kent Worcester, CLR James, A Political Biography, New York, State University of New York Press, 1996.
Farukh Dhondy, CLR James, a Life, New York, Pantheon Books, 2001.
Anthony BOgues. Caliban’s Freedom, the Early Political Thought of CLR James. London, Pluto Press, 1997.
 A.N.R.Robinson. The Mechanics of Independence. Patterns of Political and Economic Transformation in Trinidad and Tobago. Kingston Jamaica, UWI Press, 2001.
 Maurice St Pierre, Anatomy of Resistance. Anti-colonialism in Guyana, 1823-1966,London, Macmillan, I999.
Robert Shepherd, Ian Macleod, London, Hutchinson, 1994. p 239
 Stephen G. Gabe, US Intervention in British Guiana. A Cold War Story. University of North Carolina Press, 2005. P.93
 Gabe, P.94
 Gabe, 126
 The PPP obtained 45.8% of the vote, or 24 seats out of 53. 40.54% of the vote and 22 seats went to Forbes Burnham’s party, and 12.4% of votes, and 7 seats to the conservative group.
 Gabe, p.159
 Judaman Seecoomar, Democratic Advance and Conflict Resolution in Post Colonial Guyana, Leeds, Peepal Tree, 2009.
 Benedict Anderson,Imagined Communities,London, Verso, 1983.
 E.P. Thompson,The Making of the English Working Class, London, Victor Gollancz, 1963
Traditionally, French or American identities can be acquired by people who share the desire to build the nation, participate, integrate. Learning the language is paret of the process, but not a precondition. Becoming a German was impossible until the law was changed under G. Schröder.
1. L’accord sur la flexibilité intervenu le 11 janvier 2013 entre partenaires sociaux est-il équilibré ?
La réponse est non. Dans les points présentés comme obtenus par les syndicats, on trouve 3 choses.
a. La taxation des CDD. Elle est très limitée, elle exclue l’intérim, les saisonniers, les remplacements. Elle est de 3% pour les CDD de moins d’un mois (soit 45 euros environ), de 1,5% pour les CDD jusqu’à un mois (22,5 eurosd par mois). Pas de quoi encourager une entreprise à accorder un CDI…
b. Les comptes de formation seront transférables d’une entreprise à une autre . La formation serait donc un luxe, ou un avantage pour les salariés ? Non, elle est indispensable à la compétitivité, comme la formation initiale.
c. Les assurances complémentaires santé deviennent obligatoires ; C’est nécessaire, parce
que la sécu ne fait pas son travail, et parce que les remboursements de base sont très insuffisants. Cela compense la faiblesse de la sécu, et coutera cher à tout le monde, y compris aux
salariés. C’est l’Etat qui est gagnant.
Le patronat obtient :
a. La mobilité interne ne nécessite plus un plan social. Si un salarié refuse la flexibilité interne, il peut être licencié pour motif personnel, donc sans reclassement
b. Les licenciements sont facilités. Si les syndicats sont d’accord, l’entreprise s’affranchit de toutes les contraintes du droit du travail en matière de licenciement. Si les syndicats ne sont pas d’accord, le projet est soumis à la direction du travail, qui doit modifier tout refus dans les 2 mois (ou 4 selon les cas). C’est à l’Etat de s’excuser de faire respecter les règles.
c. Les basses de salaire ou augmentation du temps de travail temporaires (2 ans) sont possible, si accord syndical. En cas de refus par l’employé, licenciement sans aide au reclassement.
2. La méthode est-elle la bonne ? Non.
a. Les négociations à froid sont toujours favorables au patronat, vu l’état de faiblesse des syndicats français, qui ne tirent leur force que de la mobilisation. Sans mobilisation le syndicalisme est une réalité virtuelle en France.
b. Le syndicalisme français est extrêmement divisé, et certains syndicats se positionnent systématiquement en position intermédiaire entre les syndicats revendicatifs et le patronat. Pendant la crise des retraites, ceci a été désastreux.
c. Les politiques doivent prendre leurs responsabilités, et sont maintenant en première ligne. La régulation sociale, en France, passe par l’Etat, l’action gouvernementale et la politique.
d. Le contenu du projet de loi soumis au parlement sera donc crucial, et permettra au monde du travail de voir ce qu’il en est de ce gouvernement.
A typical baby boomer, JP Révauger was born at a time when France was still in the throes of two post colonial wars, in Indochina and in Algeria. He was educated in Bordeaux, and graduated in English at Bordeaux University. Student life in the post-1968 context was enjoyable and lively. This included one year at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, attempting to elicit utterances in French from students. In 1977, he passed the national competitive exam known as the “agrégation” which, in practice, acts as the gateway to teaching and research. He then contributed to the Cold War by polishing brass buttons for twelve months for the French Armed Forces. The next three years were spent teaching in secondary schools in the bracing atmosphere of the Parisian suburbs. JPR obtained his research MA in contemporary history from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, a rather posh and exclusive outfit, thousands of miles away from the rest of the country. His first academic position was obtained at Grenoble University in 1981, the year Mitterrand became President. He defended two theses there, one on the Far Left in Britain, and another one on Workers Control and Self Management in the UK, and was promoted first as an associate professor and , in 1989, as a full professor. JPR then obtained positions, successively, at Aix en Provence (1994-1999), Martinique (1999-2002) and eventually Bordeaux, where he is currently posted.
His teaching has always been focussed on British XXth century history, politics and social studies, within departments of English, a subject known in French academia as “civilisation”. He has been involved to some extent in university politics and administration, as French academics are supposed to be. This gives one a great vantage point to try and make sense of institutional dynamics, and has a sobering effect on anyone tempted to overestimate the leeway enjoyed by individuals and administrators in medium sized organizations, such as universities. He is currently director of the English department and of the research MA programme.
JPR’s research interests include social issues, social policy, the impact of public policies, with special emphasis on comparisons between Britain and France. His sojourn in the Caribbean- and subsequent research- enabled him to broaden his interests, which now include social models in the Caribbean. JPR is involved in European studies , which he tends to see as grounded in comparisons between member countries, and in the relationship between the dynamics of integration and national contexts. This is very different from other views, based on the inevitability of integration. The comparative dimension is now, in his eyes at least, an important dimension for research grounded in both language and social studies.