“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
“Studying history . . . helps [us] to develop a sense of ‘shared humanity’; to understand themselves and ‘otherness,’ by learning how they resemble and how they differ from other people, over time and space; to question stereotypes of others, and of themselves; to discern the difference between fact and conjecture; to grasp the complexity of historical cause; to distrust the simple answer and the dismissive explanation; to respect particularity and avoid false analogy; to recognize the abuse of historical ‘lessons,’ and to weigh the possible consequences of such abuse; to consider that ignorance of the past may make us prisoners of it; to realize that not all problems have solutions; to be prepared for the irrational, the accidental, in human affairs; and to grasp the power of ideas and character in history.” (The Bradley Commission on History in Schools established in 1987 given the expressed concerns about the quantity and quality of the history teaching in American schools.) History comes in various types: social, economical, political, diplomatic, intellectual, cultural, etc.
“You can’t win a political campaign without momentum. With momentum, campaigns roll to victory, without it, they linger into defeat.
Collective planning is impossible without an underlying general consensus on the nature of the problem and the proposed solutions.
The AFC is adamant in its refusal to join a pre-election coalition with old parties mired in old politics and its Acton Plan 2011 speaks of its seeking to establish “A liberal democratic culture for Guyana (based on) Western democratic political systems, such as Australia, the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Canada, India, Brazil and others.” These are however all essentially majoritarian systems with a commitment to political arrangements that are – in my view – fundamentally unsuited to an ethnically divided society such as ours.
On 27 December 2006, Dr Christopher Lamb made a request to the British cabinet office for copies of cabinet minutes and records relating to meetings at which the attorney general’s legal advice concerning military action in Iraq was discussed.
“I thank God, we have no free schools nor printing; and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world; and printing has divulged them and libels against the government.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has now been formally launched and has given us some idea of its core beliefs: immediate post election national unity government, constitutional change to implement shared governance, a strict separation of powers and equitable distribution of the national wealth.
“If any generalization about institutional design is sustainable, given the bloody outcomes of countless political systems that appeared to exclude major cleavage groups from power, it is that majoritarian systems are ill-advised for countries with deep ethnic, regional, religious and other emotional and polarizing divisions.” (Andrew Ellis, “Dilemmas in Representation and Political Identity,” International IDEA, 2006).
“Ethnic groups are constructed social forms as opposed to organic entities that developed naturally over time.
Stuart Kaufman, speaking of extreme cases of ethnic violence, suggests that politicians can only stir up ethnic discontent if there is some historical experience to support their positions.
Speaking about the Middle East to the British parliament a few weeks ago, President Obama echoed a long list of political observers when he contended that we must not expect those in power to relinquish it without some resistance.