I WRITE to take issue with Peeping Tom on an aspect of the views he expressed in his column in Kaieteur News of Sunday, May 06, 2018, under the caption, when he proclaimed “Cheddi was no racist!”.
It is not my intention here to deal with the issue as to whether or not Cheddi Jagan was a racist, since in my estimation, neither Jagan nor Burnham were racists. However, both men consciously manipulated Guyanese racial insecurity for their political advantage.
However, it is my intention to challenge the Peeper’s contention that there is no justifiable basis for the accusation that race consideration was a factor in Dr. Jagan’s position on West Indian Federation. In his column Tom wrote, “…it is highly ironic that a revisionist has sought to instead cast the glare on Cheddi Jagan, accusing him of not supporting Federation because of ethnic considerations.” I also noted that a similar position was articulated by Mr. Ralph Ramkarran in his Conversation Tree column in the Stabroek News of March 25. 2018, that was captioned “Cheddi Jagan on West Indies Federation: CLR James on Cheddi Jagan”.
The evidence that race considerations played a role in Jagan’s and the PPP’s position on Federation is found in the PPP leader’s speech to the party’s 1956 Congress. To be more specific, the information is on page 15, starting at line 6 of the last paragraph. It reads as follows: “What is the position in Guiana? Imperialism – Bookers, the Sugar Producers’ Association – has declared its support. The native capitalists (Peter D’Aguiar and other Portuguese elements) in the Chamber of Commerce join the imperialists representatives in this body in support of Federation, but for different reasons – protection in a wider home market. The Indians feeling as they do, a sense of national oppression, are almost a 100% opposed to Federation. This is why the Indian native capitalist who predominates in the Junior Chamber of Commerce go against their class interests and oppose Federation. The Indian capitalist up to this stage puts his ‘national’ interest before his ‘class’ interest.
Consequently, he can be a resolute ally against imperialism within those considerations. Rahaman Gajraj is the only Indian capitalist who supports Federation. This is due to political opportunism – support of imperialism by virtue of his position as a nominated member of the Executive Council – than to class interests”.
Here, Jagan has used political and Marxist constructs to mask his capitulation to Indian racial interest when he said the Indian capitalists put their ‘national interest before their class interest and are resolute allies against imperialism.
Honestly, I don’t think that the above information and its logical inference is not known to Peeping Tom or to those persons like Ralph Ramkaran, who have had a long historic relationship with the PPP. These persons continue to ignore this type of evidence because it suits their purpose of exorcising race imperatives from the politics of Dr. Jagan and the PPP.
Editor, I engage Peeping Tom on this matter in order to educate the younger generation about the dangers that are inherent in political propaganda and historical revisionism.