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A People’s Movement for Change (PMC)

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In the ‘new’ politics of change that opens the door of the 21st century, it is ‘outside people’ who make the difference. The media gives us different names for these political changes, but can we not discern certain similarities between the Orange revolutions of Eastern Europe, the first Barrack Obama presidential campaign, the Tea Party movement in the USA, the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street partisans?{{more}}

All these disturbing social eruptions get their momentum from a force of people who are outside mainstream politics. People who have been outside the established political parties bring new power to these movements. They are generally speaking “People’s Movements for Change”. Notice, for example, how the moral stirrings of Obama’s “Yes, we can” campaign introduced into the Democratic Party mobilisation, a mass of new energy that moved the elections onto higher ground, beyond the Democrats, imaginings. Almost, they hijacked the campaign. On the other hand, the Republican party in the USA at present is struggling to colonize the Tea Party movement and ride on it, hopefully into a presidential victory.

Beyond these two scenarios, the now “Occupy Wall Street” movement is not likely to get hitched to either of the main political parties contending for power in the USA, not after the clear and present shortfalls that President Obama has had to, or chosen to embrace.

All these People’s Movements contain contradictions within them. No one political or social ideology or position unites the great bulk of the movements. In Libya, the anti-Ghadaffi forces were/are a difficult Callaloo. It will take plenty cooking to bring them together.

THE SVG PMC

What about a People’s Movement for Change in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? As many see it, the two main political parties seem to fill the centre stage of the nation’s political imagination, and an “outside people” shows little sign of striding onto the Vincentian political scene. In fact, one contradiction that our People’s Movement for Change is living with, is that our members have not sufficiently become “outside people”. We look with some favour on one or the other of our two main political parties. That is a strategic handicap, not because it can cause internal rift in the movement; we avoid that. The handicap affects how free our minds are to grasp the delicate shifting of the winds of change between the parties and also away from the parties.

Suppose the time comes tomorrow when the ULP is teetering near the tipping point of the collapse of its legitimacy and support, then persons who see the ULP as better than the NDP, will not be open to “step outside”. They will hold the fort against the NDP, staging within the party lines of battle. Of course, it could happen that the NDP for one reason or the other in the face of a tottering ULP and a suffering nation, held back from bringing that ULP government to its knees. In that situation, those who favour the NDP might still not step outside party and join or lead a non-tribal politics for opening our democracy and repositioning our development.

The politics of a people’s movement for change must be a visionary “outside politics”, representing people for whom the status quo and the way it practices inequity, distorted development and oppressive rule that status quo as a constraint must go. Our PMC in SVG is not waiting for a political crisis to unveil itself to the public’s view. We know and anticipate the crisis. We step outside the excuses, the apologies and the alternatives that will change nothing. An impotent politics is staring us in the face and we must not be part of it. A people’s movement for change begins with people who step outside. Let us go there, outside the tribes, inside the future.

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