Categorized | Editorials

Capitalism, Conflict and Crisis

We were critical when we thought that some of law enforcement officials might have been derelict in the performance of their duties. And assuredly, we will continue to do so as and when the need arises.

As the latest news coming so rudely suggests, crime continues to blaze a bloody path throughout some of this nation’s heartland communities.

On occasion, we have taken the police and others who serve to task. That said, today we take another tack; this time around to thank the hard-working constabulary for all that they are doing and to pray Godspeed on them as they serve in what seems a thoroughly thankless role. We make this point as we take stock of some of the challenges these men and women face as they go about the business of helping maintain some semblance of law and order in this brutal place.

Indeed, we are slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that it is the sheer brutality in this cruel place that itself brutalizes some who would serve. What we suggest concerns what we now see as some of the real challenges these men and women face as they try to stem a tide that seems to know no end.

For years now, we have heard and seen how this or that politician and this or that community leader would talk about the latest crime wave; and thereafter the chatter would continue.

Thereafter, some thug would go to another low in barbarism. In at least one instance, a man and his wife were so thoroughly and disgracefully brutalized and tormented that the press censored itself; thus keeping from the public some of the more luridly pornographic aspects of that exercise in sadism and drug-addled dementia.

Today, we call on the authorities to do what they must; and to the police to move aggressively and with the utmost determination to root out the thugs and other monsters in our midst. We rhetorically ask – what of the suggestion that these troubles are merely symptoms and expressions of a world order at work [capitalism] over which we and our neighbours have no real control? We make this observation as we recall our response and sickened reaction when we heard about the latest killings that took place on this island that is ours. As we thought more about the matter, we recognized it –as fact revealed — that we too have been numbed into a silence borne on the wings of an incessant report of abuse, neglect, crime, decay, social rot, mayhem and murder that seems to know no end.

In addition, there are all those other reports concerning the extent to which the American way of life is but one side of that dread equation where the insistent report of gun-fire attests to the reality that, life in the Bahamas is also deeply inflected by the American way of death. And then, there is even more when we examine the extent to which Bahamian cultural life has been over-run by some of the worst expressions of U.S. popular culture – thus the rampant idolatry of things and the subsequent devaluation of the human person. In other words, things are bad now and as we currently fear, they may get even worse. This is due in no small measure to the fact that our nation and region are relative to the United States quite puny – and therefore quite unable to resist the attractive power of the behemoth to the north. We know that for as long as records have been kept concerning the economic history of the Bahamas, the story told has always been the same.

That is to say – as James Ferguson so correctly notes – the Bahamas is [today] “…merely doing what it has done for most of its history: supplying American demand…” By extension, there is today no doubting the validity of an argument which would suggest that today’s Bahamas bears all the birth-marks that are to be associated with the growth and development of American-styled and inflected world-capitalism. It is therefore entirely plausible that it is this system and this ordering of the world’s current economic, social, political and cultural realities which so powerfully shape and direct social life in not only today’s Bahamas, but which also do the same for the rest of the region inclusive of Haiti and Cuba. And as James Ferguson notes, “…The Bahamas’ transformation from subsistence farming to mass tourism took place over the 20th century but really accelerated from the 1960s onwards. Today the islands welcome over three million tourists annually, with the industry accounting for more than 60 per cent of GDP and over half of employment…”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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