After an introduction to the video which Comitas gives in the audio (above), we watched this footage of Michael Manley, then recently ex-Prime Minister of Jamaica (he won re-election a few years later). Manley speaks eloquently about the problems facing his country and the larger impact they have on the world.
Michael Manley address at Hunters College
This week Professor Comitas moved onto discussing what he called three periods in the History of research in the Caribbean. Loosely they are: (1) Everything before 1945 (2) post war scholars (1945-1980s) (3) contemporary period (1980s through to now).
During the class today Professor Comitas spoke at length about the role of Anthropologists, their work, his own beginnings and how he started working in Barbados. Will post more here soon, as well a response to a second listening.
I asked a few questions after class, thinking about where my interests intersect with this work, trying to think of what I might research and write about. I was interested in the idea that ‘Plantation America’ (Julian Steward’s term for the region) was a dependent society, that this was a quality of slave societies – that they be dependent on the societies that they are serving (i.e. Europe, the purchasers of their mono-crops). This, for me, had interesting potential political implications for the region into the future.
When considering the ideas of Social Ecology and Bookchin’s other ideas of a Confederalist Libertarian Municipalism, is it possible to imagine the Caribbean being united under such a banner? Comitas was suggesting that the vast differences between cultures within the archipelagoes had so far prevented anything like a union from forming. This is precisely what interests me. Does the Caribbean,with all of the cultural and political legacy from slavery and colonialism, provide us with examples of the sort of challenges that any contemporary political alternative is likely to face? Could the alternative model of education of ALCs and their political equivalents succeed there?
Not sure if I am making my point clear enough, even for myself. Is the Caribbean the perfect place to test the theories of Bookchin, precisely because of the legacy of slavery and its challenges?
These are only preliminary thoughts of course.