From Michael Manley to Christopher Dudus Coke: The struggle against neocolonialism in Jamaica

The U.S. request to get Christopher Dudus Coke, a well known leader of the so-called “Shower Posse gang” with ties to the ruling Jamaican Labour Party (JLP), to be extradited to the U.S. on the alleged charge of gun and drug trafficking, strained, at first, the relation between the U.S. and Jamaican governments.

Jamaica chose to resist the U.S. decision by appointing a law firm in the U.S. Things changed when Jamaica’s prime minister, Bruce Golding indicated they were considering handing over Christopher Coke to the U.S. government which had claimed Coke to be a fugitive. Supporters of Dudus responded by setting up barricades and torching police stations in response to Golding’s decision.
 
Without science and information there is no truth and real understanding of the contradiction that confronts Jamaica and African people today. There are many questions to answer.

Why the mobilization of State violence on such a huge scale and with such intensity against African people in Jamaica? The government uses armored vehicles, truckloads of soldiers and helicopters against our people.

What do we make of the disparity between the high number of Africans detained (500) and killed so far (73) and the low number of weapons seized by soldiers and police (only four, including an AK-47 automatic rifle)?
 
There were unconfirmed reports of numerous civilian casualties during the Monday, May 24 assault on Tivoli Gardens, an impoverished Jamaican neighbourhood and Coke’s base of support. According to a Reuters news article, some of those reports said military helicopters dropped explosives on the ramshackle district.
 
Why did the prime minister, Bruce Golding, and his JLP originally pay $50,000 to the U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to help overturn the extradition order against Christopher Dudus Coke?
 
http://www.uhurufiles.org/public/uhurunews.com/images/20100613_jamaicaasi/jamaica_whitetourists.jpg style=”width: 250px;” />

White people enjoy themselves in Jamaica at the expense of African people

Why does the Jamaican government suddenly want Coke dead? This would produce possible disastrous consequences for Jamaica’s tourism industry, which depends on white people enjoying themselves at our expense in Jamaica.
 
Why did the U.S. want the extradition of Christopher Coke? After all, it is the U.S. that is the kingpin of drug trade and weapons sales in the world.
 
The attacks on Coke are surely an assault on what he represents as a powerful individual in Jamaica’s political scene.
 
These attacks are not an assault against the source of violence, poverty and corruption in Jamaica, which is the 500 years of colonial domination by Spain, the United Kingdom and now the U.S. Furthermore, the present wave of violence is a legacy of U.S. involvement in our affairs that links back to the 1970s.
 
According to Gary Webb’s book “Dark Alliance,” “In 1977, two investigative reporters exposed a ’destabilization program‘ against Michael Manley ‘s government reportedly run by the CIA’s Jamaican station chief, Norman Descoteaux. The campaign included covert shipments of arms to Manley’s opponents, the use of selective bombing and assassinations, covert financial aid to the conservative Jamaica Labour Party, the fomenting of extensive labour unrest, and bribery.”[1]
 
One thing is certain, the U.S. is not fighting drug and gun smuggling in Jamaica. It was the CIA that flooded Jamaica with guns to prevent the rise of a revolutionary movement in Jamaica in the ‘70s. It is the U.S. that is the number one sponsor of narco states such as those in Colombia and Afghanistan. It is the CIA that runs the drug trade in the world.
 
The U.S. is not seeking to prevent Jamaica from developing its narco state status. Just look at Afghanistan. The U.S. reversed the Taliban’s efforts to eradicate the poppy fields.
 
In deprived communities, the so-called gangs have replaced the neocolonial State in delivering welfare, education and other basic social necessities to the people.
 
The workers did not create the violence in Jamaica. It is a well-known fact that the JLP and the People’s National Party (PNP), two major factions of the African petty bourgeoisie on the island, armed their supporters in the ‘70s to carry out violence to eliminate or neutralize their local opponents and secure votes that would deliver them to power.
 
This engineered horizontal violence is a form of counterinsurgency, which was consolidated with the introduction of the drug economy.
 
According to Monsignor Richard Albert, “Because the government is not socially intervening in these communities, community leaders who deal with petty crime in their area also deal with school problems of all children, they provide for the little old lady to make sure she gets food, they distribute legal and illegal jobs, etc. They take the role of the State at a basic level.”[2]
 
And an April 2008 Amnesty International (www.amnesty.org) report said that political leaders acknowledge that consecutive governments actively helped create the environment in which gang violence could flourish. Gang control is at its most pervasive in communities entirely under the control of one or other of the political parties, known as “garrison communities.”
 
Police violence is the basic domestic policy of the Jamaican government against workers and poor peasants
 
The statistics coming out of Jamaica are chilling. It is a hellish life for the African masses, who are caught between neocolonial poverty and violence.
 
“Between 2000 and 2007, 1,422 people were killed by police and a further 1,115 were injured.” (Bureau of Special Investigations) “In 2005, 1,674 people were the victims of homicide – a record high.” (Jamaica Constabulary Force) These statistics compare with colonial assassination in Occupied Palestine. B'Tselem, The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, reports that 4,908 Palestinians were killed by Israelis and 1,062 Israelis were killed by Palestinians between September 29, 2000 and December 26, 2008.[3]
 
“Jamaican police shot dead 113 people last year, down from 133 the previous year. But Jamaica only has a population of 2.6 million, compared with eight million in New York City, which had around 25 fatal police shootings last year… There have been 49 already this year, and it's only May," said Yvonne McCalla Sobers, chairman of Families Against State Terrorism (FAST), a Jamaican pressure group. She told BBC News Online: "It's not as if the police are succeeding in bringing crime down. Crime levels are continuing to go up. We have had 460 murders so far this year.”
 
Another recent report from Amnesty International presented to the United Nations, clearly shows an escalation of police violence against our people in Jamaica: “According to official statistics, the number was a record high in 2007, when 272 persons died as a result of use of force by the police; 224 were killed in 2008 and 253 in 2009….”[4]
 
The attack on Christopher Dudus Coke has begun to bring to the attention of the peoples of the world the war without end against African workers in Jamaica. That war is a precondition for the exploitation and looting without end that Jamaica has been submitted to since Christopher Columbus initiated the genocide of the Indigenous people of the Americas over 500 years ago.
For its part, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) said it is encouraging the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) "to continue their relentless and courageous efforts to restore law and order in certain sections of the capital." The PSOJ added, "It is now clear, at this time in our history, that Jamaica is at war with gang violence, drug dons and organized crime. It is a war which we, as a country, must win."[5]
 
Every war, in any form, at any time and anywhere against the oppressed peoples, against African poor people, by the imperialist bourgeoisie or by the African petty bourgeoisie class, whether Bruce Golding, Obama, Seaga, PJ Patterson or Zuma, is a war to maintain the status quo. It is a war to maintain capitalist relations between the haves and the have-nots.
 
Who are the real criminals?
 
Defining crime and the role of the bourgeois neocolonial State is part of the deepening political education of the people. It is critical for those of us who want to see Jamaica and African people free from neocolonial rule to educate the people.
 
The criminals in Jamaica are those who wiped out the Indigenous population of Jamaica, assaulted Africa, captured us and brought us in slave ships to the foreign land of Jamaica. They used us to build the only world economy that ever existed, a world economy whose maintenance requires us African people to live separated from each other and our natural resources and the fruits of our labor.
 
The criminals are the African petty bourgeois class who mobilized the people to vote them into public offices solely for the purpose of administering a capitalist economy born and maintained at our expense worldwide.
 
The real criminals are those Jamaican rulers who give away our money to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. They have allowed imperialist products to be dumped in Jamaica at the expense of the development of local production.
 
The criminals are the Jamaican ruling parties and the U.S. government who introduced drugs and gun violence in poor community districts of Jamaica for the purpose of encouraging horizontal violence amongst people suffering from the same colonial conditions and preventing revolutionary consciousness growth.
 
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Striking bauxite workers in Jamaica, 2009

That is why the imperialist media is incapable of showing you what the African workers in Jamaica have built for Britain, Spain, the U.S. and the rest of the parasitic capitalist world. They have not shown you all the bauxite and other resources leaving Jamaica to develop the imperialist countries. They cannot show you the wealth the U.S. hotel owners are making in Jamaica.
 
Well before Christopher Dudus Coke was born, the British colonialist rulers set the trend that we see in the Jamaican economy today. Investment in the bauxite and alumina sector was encouraged by the Bauxite and Alumina Act of 1950. The Hotel Aid Law of 1944 provided a similar catalyst to investment in the tourism sector. Today, in 2010, the Jamaican economy is still based and dependent on bauxite, alumina and tourism.
 
In 1960, the top 20 percent of society received 61 percent of the national income and 10 percent of the population owned 64 percent of the land. Unemployment averaged roughly 25 percent during the period from 1975 to 1985, affecting women and urban youth the hardest.
 
Like other countries in the Western Hemisphere, Jamaica quickly compiled a large external debt in the 1970s and 1980s; by the end of 1986 it amounted to $3.5 billion, one of the highest GDP.
 
Christopher Dudus Coke is no revolutionary
 
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Christopher Dudus Coke

Christopher Dudus Coke is a creation of the alliance between U.S. imperialism and the African petty bourgeoisie. He is a creation of the decadent, backward working class elements and the political ruling class elite of the JLP and the PNP, who work to stifle democratic space in Jamaica.
 
They have used violence to dominate their opponents and mobilize votes for their respective sponsors. As a result of this intervention, the contradictions amongst our people in the poor neighborhoods were antagonized, leaving the men in arms the main power brokers in the community.
 
Secondly, the introduction of the drug economy armed and enriched certain dons who are beyond the control of politicians that initially supported them. These dons later became the politicians’ source of financing.
 
Dudus Coke is not involved in political education of the people. He is not calling for power in the hands of workers. He is not calling for the overthrow of the African petty bourgeoisie. There are even reports that are saying that Coke is willing to hand himself in to the U.S. embassy.
 
 His lawyers call him a legitimate businessman, the major shareholder in two successful Jamaican companies, Incomparable Enterprise and Presidential Click. To such followers, he is the man who sent their children to school, mediated in disputes, clothed and fed them, gave them employment and stopped crime. At his command, no children were allowed on street corners after 8:00 p.m., all men had to work and petty thieving was outlawed. It is claimed there was no stealing or rape in Tivoli Gardens.[6]
 
African workers need our own power, the power of the worker that depends first on our ability to build the African Socialist International (ASI) that unites and mobilizes all Africans in the Caribbean region for power against the Jamaican State violence and for a democratic State under our own workers’ leadership.
 
Our struggle for power is also a struggle to eradicate the drug economy that is of no use to the workers.
 
Our power is a State mass power, of one billion Africans worldwide moving in the same direction releasing black steam to burn all imperialist and neocolonialist bourgeois obstacles in our wake.
 
Jamaica needs the ASI now to develop a Revolutionary National Democratic Program (RNDP), under the leadership of the African workers in alliance with poor peasants and progressive intellectuals. Dudus and his followers would have to state their position and unity with the RNDP like every single member of the oppressed community.
 
Dudus comes from a family tied to the JLP, a neocolonialist party in Jamaica. His father and his brother were accredited with being the leaders of the Shower Posse when they met their violent deaths. His father, who was also the bodyguard of Edward Seaga, a former JLP leader and prime minister of Jamaica, was killed in jail while waiting to be extradited to the U.S.
 
Dudus’ wealth is colonial wealth too, just like the wealth of the members of the government of Jamaica. It comes from a relationship between oppressed nations and oppressor nations, between the African petty bourgeoisie and the African working class.
 
According to an article in the Daily Mail, “Another of his companies, which handles lucrative government tenders for road contracts, has been ferrying construction materials into Tivoli Gardens, used to erect defensive barricades…Coke’s wealth has enabled him to move out of Tivoli Gardens. He now lives in an opulent former plantation home in Red Hills, a cool, peaceful retreat favoured by entrepreneurs and politicians. A string of senior politicians, including Golding, have been reportedly electronically intercepted talking to Coke at his strongholds.“[7]
 
His job was to mobilize votes for the neocolonial ruling class organized inside the JLP, of which he is a supporter.
 
The contradiction is that he has achieved a level of power and influence in the community and inside the JLP. Is it this reality that makes the U.S. insecure to the point of demanding Bruce Golding, the prime minister, extradite Dudus to the U.S? We know that the U.S. cannot tolerate an independent power amongst the African colonized people.
 
The real issue is the 48 years of Jamaica’s ruling class surrender to imperialist parasitism and how to overturn it
 
The Jamaica bourgeois media and the Jamaica ruling class have been debating the crisis in Jamaica for years. Most of the local pundits and petty bourgeois intellectuals recognize the source of the crisis that has brought the Jamaican government to collapse.
 
Here are some of the recent articulations of that crisis from The Gleaner, a neocolonial newspaper, which opposed Marcus Garvey in the days of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
 
 On April 25, they reported on a speech that the prime minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding had delivered on April 20. “For the last 14 years consecutively, we have been spending more than our revenues can cover,” the prime minister began by telling us. “Our current expenditure has grown three times as fast as our revenues, he continued — 76 percent versus 24 percent.”
 
Matalon, the head of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, who openly supports the assault on Tivoli Gardens, Christopher Dudus Coke’s support base, said that: “Over the 35-year period covered by the Productivity Summary Report, the productivity of the average Jamaican worker has declined at a rate of 1.3 percent each and every year. The decline in recent years has doubled to 3.4 percent per annum…”
 
“Jamaica's crisis of debt returning to 140 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and debt servicing requiring 60 percent of government expenditure is the result of years of accumulated failure of government to balance its expenditure with the availability of non-borrowed resources. After improvements to the middle of the 1990s, Jamaica's public finances were significantly affected by the costs of resolving the financial sector crisis….”[8]
 
African Internationalists must define tasks of African revolution in the Caribbean and in the Americas
 
Jamaica, like the rest of African world, needs revolution that will destroy imperialism forever.
 
We are not talking about a movement similar to the one Michael Manley led. There is a difference.
http://www.uhurufiles.org/public/uhurunews.com/images/20100613_jamaicaasi/jamaica_michaelmanley.jpg style=”width: 230px;” />

Michael Manley was the 4th prime minister of Jamaica

 
Manley was a radical petty bourgeois reformist, who did not believe in the power of the workers. His movement was not a revolutionary movement, although Manley recognized Cuba and carried limited social reforms and programs, which in the short term may have benefited the poor people. He surrendered to the IMF and other parasitic capitalist forces.
 
In order to defeat U.S. imperialism in the region, the creation and consolidation of the ASI Caribbean Front of the African revolution is necessary.
 
One of the tasks of such an organization is to give unconditional solidarity to the Indigenous people of america who are fighting to get their land back.
 
The creation of the World Tribunal for Reparations to Africa and African People must bring U.S. and British imperialism to trial for crimes against Africans in Jamaica and around the world. We must consolidate a revolutionary national democratic program that will call for the immediate seizure of State power by the African working class in alliance with progressive social forces in Jamaica.
 
The willingness of African masses to defend Christopher Dudus Coke must be turned into the willingness to build the ASI, the revolutionary Party of African workers to complete the long and historical African resistance to imperialism in Jamaica.
 
The blood thirsty African petty bourgeoisie cannot continue to rule as in the old days. The shout to kill police must be transformed to revolutionary struggle against the State. The workers must develop the struggle beyond torching police stations. We must develop the power to appoint and remove police chiefs and police officers anywhere in Jamaica. Workers’ control of police stations and army barracks is the ultimate test of any majority democratic rule.
 
We must internationalize the issue of police murder and violence against the people. We must make the call for liberty, democracy and power by building around the world to expose and isolate the Jamaican government and win support for the Revolution in Jamaica.
 

U.S. hands off Christopher Coke and all African people!

End the state of emergency now!

End Jamaican State terrorism against African people

Build the ASI!

One Africa! One Nation!



[1] Page 143, Gary Webb in “Dark Alliance: the CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion,” Seven stories printing Press, New York
 

[2] Monsignor Richard Albert, St. Catherine, Episcopal Vicar, St. Catherine, Jamaica, and Chair of the Crime Prevention Committee in Spanish Town, October 2007.
 

[3] "Israelis and Palestinians Killed in the Current Violence,” http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stats/deaths.html
 

[4] Jamaica, Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review Ninth Session of the UPR Working Group Human Rights Council, November-December 2010, 19 April, Amnesty International
 

[5] "Sector groups support security operations," The Gleaner, May 29, 2010
 

[8] Colin F Bullock, Contributor, “Fiscal policy in a time of economic crisis.” Colin F. Bullock is lecturer in the Department of Economics, UWI, Mona.

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