Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Michael Manley - 10 years later
Ten years after his death, Michael Manley continues to be a controversial figure. The fiery and eloquent leader of the failed non-aligned movement during the 1970s, Manley advocated counterbalancing the power of the U.S. in the Caribbean (its backyard) and the global south, the equality and self-determination of formerly colonized peoples and the ethos of democratic socialism in domestic Jamaican policy. His writings include "Up the Down Escalator," "The Politics of Change," "Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery" and "The Poverty of Nations" as well as "History of West Indian Cricket," his labor of love. His legacy continues to be mixed: under his leadership Jamaica began to drown under the weight of its external debts, to bleed skilled workers and the middle class, to experience an escalation in violence that continues to play out in the island today. Yet he introduced free secondary and tertiary education, the national housing trust, and other social reconstruction policies from which the country still benefits today. An exponent of rich rhetoric, Manley's administration attracted to Jamaica the negative attention of the U.S., whose CIA worked hard to de-stablilize the country and put Manley out of business. Efforts to understand his legacy still continue.