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A culture of critical conversation 2


Sense make before book

Do you remember Bra Nancy, that anti-hero of our folk tales? For today, I want to christen him/her “Comrade”, Comrade Nancy. Let us bring him/her into focus. Where did Nancy fit in the community?{{more}} What class did she belong to? Do you see a person with large properties and wealth, do you see a business manager, head of department, or a head teacher, or professor, do you see a military or police chief? No, the Comrade Anancy was a vulnerable street person, a village person, a working class person, even a victimised person.

And yet, Nancy was no victim, no fool. Even though she/he had no certificate from high school or even primary school, Nancy was not illiterate. S/he was bright with sense that make before book. I want to feel that when one time we used to call Prime Minister Mitchell “Nancy”, Comrade Nancy would have felt a mixture of pride, and shame; more shame than pride. But then you never can tell with our Comrade Nancy. The point that I want us to reflect on is this. Comrade Nancy knew how to read reality like how you and I read our ABC. S/he knew that Masa King was not her/his friend. S/he knew that Bra Lion was in a class above him/her, so were Toukuma and others. The class that Nancy belonged to had to be watchful, strategic, intelligent and opportunist. While other members of the society labeled Nancy a trickster, and a worthless ‘good-fu-nuthin’, I seein this folk person, the makings of a revolutionary liberator who never went to sleep. I want to be like that Comrade Nancy – watchful, strategic, intelligent and making use of the opportunity for (common) upliftment, justice, progress and our liberating salvation. Can a new Comrade Nancy class arise at this time in our land, born in a culture of critical conversation?


How Comrade Nancy loves cocoa tea and chocolate tea, but when he heard that, in the court house, Masa King bound Bra Toukuma into an agreement with Lord Armajaro, Nancy laughed a bitter laugh, and Comrade Nancy sat down to think. By the way, when Nancy is thinking, it’s like Nancy opens a conversation with the cocoa, and Nancy can see the inside story, while you and I just focus on the outside of the story that they put in front of us. As Comrade Nancy sat down, a crowd of farmers appear at Argyle listening to music and waiting to hear from Masa King. Nancy see Masa King looking deeply worn out as he hug up Lord Armajaro’s messenger and talk in his ears. He says “Bless Lord Armajaro, he is my saviour. I have to finish this airport before elections, and I can’t do that and see about the farmers at the same time, so tell Lord Armajaro he must take over the farmers for me and free me up to work on the airport. He will be like the Minister of Agriculture in charge of ‘Gomery and Reuben, and I will be his deputy. We will sign to that. I will give him the farmer them.’

Comrade Nancy groans when s/he thinks about what Prime Minister Gonsalves sign with Armajaro. Is like Masa King turn into a slave trader, betraying and selling out his own people, and to see that Bre Toukuma join up with Masa King and Lord Armajaro only make things worse. That is when Comrade Nancy decides that s/he will do her/his best not to leave the farmers to go like sheep to their slaughter. There must be a better way and if Masa King was too burnt out or traitorous to design a project, then the farmers would, have to raise, rebel and unite around a different more consensus based cocoa agreement and industry.

As you will guess Comrade Nancy and Oscar (I) are classmates; we are both in the class of working people, but I have to penetrate Nancy’s message beyond its face value. Critical conversation demands that. It is a consistent practice, not just a skill that you learn in school and use when you feel like. So, I ask myself, where is Comrade Nancy making a wrong connection? How is s/he so confident that farmers can rise and rebel because s/he, Nancy, sees the danger in front of them? Can Nancy see for them unless s/he can join them in a critical conversation? And then I ask myself this: So why can’t I join the Comrade Nancy too, to put our thinking out there? Yes, critical conversation always comes back to a call to action, whether it is action to confirm and strengthen your practice, or action to change it.

This critical conversation faces us with basic question. Could it be that P.M. Gonsalves is really turning us over to Lord Armajaro, his Saviour?