Kaieteur News – The anti-PPP/C politics of race should not surprise anyone. It was predictable that those antagonistic towards the ruling party would have resorted to charges of racial discrimination and marginalization
This is the typical playbook of anti-PPP/C forces. The anti-PPP/C forces in Guyana are resorting to race and one of the main reasons for this is because they can no longer creditably make an argument about class.
There are greater grounds – and these have always been – to criticise the PPP/C on the basis of class. But the anti-PPP/C forces cannot indulge in class analyses and class criticism of PPP/C policies because it is not in their interest to do so.
The PNC/R is a working class party but only in terms of its membership. In terms of its financial backing, ideology, policies and leadership, it is aligned to the same forces which control the PPP/C – the business class.
Working class pennies cannot fund an election, not the type of the elections which the political parties like to run these days and which involve costly rallies, mobilising supporters and ensuring huge entertainment value. To finance these campaigns requires hundreds of millions of dollars and that money comes from the bourgeois class, the same class, ironically, which controls the PPP/C.
It would be financially suicidal for the PNC/R to take engage in criticism of the bourgeois class. It will venture some criticisms of the Private Sector Commission. But it will stay clear of being critical and hostile of the bourgeois class.
One of the major financers of the PPP/C was given a major contract. The PNC/R could not criticise this act of cronyism because the same financer also handedly supports the PNC/R.
One of the reasons why the PNC/R’s streets protests have fizzled out is because inevitably such protests descend into attacks on the business class. And the financers who belong to this class make their views known to the PNC/R’s leadership, and as a result the protests tend to dissipate.
When it was in government, the APNU+AFC pursued neo-liberal policies. Instead of crushing the very class, which keeps the PPP/C strong, the Coalition ended up in the same bed with the bourgeois class.
The PNC/R was forced to disassociate itself from the parking meter contract signed by an APNU+AFC City Hall. It was forced to do this because the AFC expressed concern at the loss of middle class and petite bourgeois class support as a result of the protests against the introduction of parking meters. The AFC made it known that the PPP/C was the prime political beneficiary of the protests against the parking meters while the Coalition was losing support.
The APNU+AFC’s policies hurt the working class more than the business class. The Coalition imposed huge taxes on workers. It sent home more than 7,000 sugar workers. It took away the education cash grant and abolished a programme which provided stipends to 2,000 ordinary Amerindians. It stopped the one-month bonus to the Disciplined Services and this measure enraged ordinary members of the Disciplined Services. It initially imposed VAT on private education not realising that this measure affected working class parents who sent their children to private school. The working class also was burdened by the imposition of VAT on electricity and water.
The Coalition may not have been as groovy with the Private Sector Commission as the PPP/C was but some major players in the private sector were very close to influential figures in the APNU+AFC. The business class benefitted under the APNU including through the reduction of the corporation tax and by extending the export allowances granted to non-traditional exports to the fisheries sector a move which benefitted fish exporters.
Undoubtedly, there were some progressive measures employed by the APNU+AFC. But all of these fitted neatly into a neo-liberal framework.
The adoption of a neo-liberal agenda by the APNU+AFC was not surprising considering that many of its leaders belong to or have ambitions to belong to the petit bourgeois class. Many of them are part of the professional class and do not always align themselves instinctively to the working classes. But they are fond of using the working class as fodder when they wish to attack the PPP/C.
It is for all of these reasons – the financial dependence on the bourgeois class, the pursuit suit of neoliberal policies and the ambitions of the petite bourgeois leadership – that there is such paucity of class analyses of the PPP/C rule and policies.
Instead the anti-PPP/C forces are pushing racial narratives discrimination and marginalisation – narratives which as we have seen are easily discredited. The anti-PPP/C forces cannot do better because they and the PPP/C are aligned to the same class and as such have to seek refuge in the old and typical forms of opposition politics.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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