MASS A DAY -DONE-
A masterpiece of Political and Sociological Analysis
By Dr. ERIC WILLIAMS
Political Leader P.N.M.
This picture was taken at the University of Woodford Square,
P.O.S., the night Dr. Williams gave this address. He is seen
approaching the rostrum followed by the Deputy Political Leader,
Dr. P. Solomon.
MASSA DAY DONE
A masterpiece of Political and Sociological Analysis
By Dr. ERIC WILLIAMS
Political Leader P.N.M.
This picture was taken at the University of Woodford Square, P.O.S., the night Dr. Williams gave this address. He is seen approaching the rostrum followed by the Deputy Political Leader, Dr. P. Solomon.
MASSA DAY DONE
This fundamental address was delivered on the night of Wednesday, March 22, 1961.
On December 4, 1960 the Trinidad Guardian announced that Sir Gerald Wight had joined the Democratic Labour Party. The announcement was presented in such a way as to suggest that this was a feather in the cap of the Democratic Labour Party, and there fore the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago should follow the lead of Sir Gerald Wight. Consequently, in my address here in the University on December 22, in which I reported to the people the outcome of the Chaguaramas discussions in Tobago, I poured scorn on the Guardian, reminding them that our population of today was far too alert and sophisticated to fall for any such claptrap. I told the Guardian emphatically: Massa Day Done. In other words it was the Guardian I attacked for its slave mentality. But if Sir Gerald Wight and his admirers thought that the cap fitted him too, that was nothing over which I should lose any sleep.
The Scribes and Pharisees had a field day. Someone wrote to the Guardian to say what a gentleman Sir Gerald was, ever since he was a boy of eight on horseback. Another one wrote to say that Sir Gerald had got him a job. Farquhar,
that notorious sycophant, called my statement mischievous and accused me of responsibility for all the evils of Trinidad society which he, from his pulpit, had not been able to exorcise Finally the DLP in a statement which appeared In the Guardian on March 5, 1961, called on me to withdraw what it called the wicked statement Massa Day Done, and to make an unqualified apology for introducing it.
I categorically refuse to withdraw my statement or to make any apology for it, qualified or unqualified. I repeat, more emphatically than when I said it the first time, Massa Day Done. I accuse the DLP of being the stooge of the Massas who still exist in our society. I accuse the DLP of deliberately trying to keep back social progress. I accuse the DLP of wanting to bring back Massa Day. Tonight I shall explain to you fully just what is meant when I say, Massa Day Done, and by the same token just what the DLP means and stands for when they not only object to the statement but even ask me to withdraw it.
This pack of benighted idiots this band of obscurantist politicians, this unholy alliance of egregious individualists, who have nothing constructive to say, who babble week after week the same criticisms that we have lived through for five long years, who, nincompoops that they are, think that they can pick up any old book the day before a debate in the Legislative Council and can pull a fast one in the Council by leaving out the sentence or the paragraph or the pages which contradict their ignorant declamations for people like these power is all that matters. They have not the slightest idea as to the constituents of progress in our society and the elements of our historical evolution. All that they can see in the slogan, Massa Day Done, is racial antagonism. This is characteristically stupid. Massa is not a racial term. Massa is the symbol of a bygone age. Massa Day is a social phenomenon: Massa Day Done connotes a political awakening and a social revolution.
What was Massa Day, the Massa Day that is done? Who is Massa?
Massa was more often than not an absentee European planter exploiting West Indian resources, both human and economic. I had particularly referred in my address in the University before Christmas to a book well-known to students of West Indian History written by an absentee English landlord who visited his plantations in Jamaica for the first time around 1815. The author's name was Matthew Lewis. He has written a Journal of his visits to Jamaica, and in my address I referred to one passage in the Journal when, as he went around the plantation, the slaves ran up to him with all sorts of complaints, saying "Massa this, Massa that, Massa the other". Massa lived in England off the profits of West Indian labour. He became a big shot and ostentatiously flaunted his wealth before the eyes of the people of England. He was a big noise in the House of Commons in the British Parliament. He could become a Lord Mayor of London. A famous play entitled "The West Indian", presented in Drury Lane in London in 1776, portrayed Massa as a very wealthy man who had enough sugar and rum to turn all the water of the Thames into rum punch. Massa's children were educated in England at the best schools and at the best Universities, and it was openly and frequently claimed in the long period of the British controversy over the abolition of the slave trade and abolition of slavery that Oxford and Cambridge were filled with the sons of West Indian Massas. When things got bad and sugar ceased to be king in the West Indies, Massa simply pulled
out of the West Indies, in much the same way as the descendants of Massa's slaves today pull out from the West Indies and migrate to the United Kingdom.
We have a record of one such Massa in the small poverty-stricken island of Nevis. He arrived In Nevis about 1680 with ten pounds, a quart of wine and a Bible. He developed into a big shot, became planter, merchant, and Legislator, and when things turned sour in the 19th century, he invested all his wealth derived from the West Indian soil and the West Indian people in railways and canals and harbours in Canada, India and Australia. He went back to live in the old County of Dorset in England from which his ancestors had migrated to the West Indies, and his biographer tells us that today the same family occupies the same pew in the same church in the same village. What he does not tell us is that it was as if Massa had never emigrated to the West Indies. Massa left behind Nevis as under-developed as he had found it. The wealth that should have been ploughed back into Nevis to save it from its present disgrace of being a grant-aided Colony, went to fertilise industrial development everywhere in the world except in the West Indies. Today only a beach which bears his name survives to remind us that this particular Massa had ever existed in Nevis. His English biographer tells us that, it was as if he had never left his English County. We tell him it is as if Massa had never been in the West Indian Island.
On, his West Indian sugar plantation Massa employed unfree labour. He began with the labour of slaves from Africa, and followed this" with the labour of contract workers from Portugal and China and then from India. The period of Massa's ascendancy, the period of Massa's domination over workers who had no rights under the law, the period of Massa's enforcement of a barbarous code of industrial relations long after it was repudiated by the conscience of the civilised world, lasted in our society for almost 300 years.
To his slave workers from Africa the symbol of Massa's power was the whip, liberally applied; records exist showing that 200 lashes were not infrequent, and a tremendous howl was raised by Massa when British law tried to step in and limit punishment to 39 lashes under supervision. To his contract workers from India the symbol of Massa's power was the jail. Massa's slogan was: the Indian worker is to be found either in the field or in the hospital or in jail. For such trivial offences as leaving the plantation without permission, being drunk: at work, using obscene language, encouraging his colleagues to strike, the Indian worker, who was paid a legal wage of 25 cents per day, was sentenced to jail by the law of Trinidad and the law of British Guiana where Indians were employed in large numbers.
Massa's economic programme was to grow sugar and nothing but sugar. His table, one of the most glaring examples of gluttony that the world has ever known, was almost entirely imported, and as a Brazilian sociologist, Gilbert Freyre, has emphasised in respect of that country, it was the African slave who kept, alive the real traditions of agriculture in the West Indies and concentrated on the production of food for his own subsistence. The Indian contract worker went even further than the African slave, and it was he who brought West Indian society to its present level in terms of the production of such essential commodities as rice, milk and meat. Massa's economic programme represented the artificial stunting of West Indian
society, and a powerful Royal Commission sent out from. Britain to the West Indies in 1897 condemned the emphasis put on a single crop peculiarly vulnerable in the markets of the world, attacked Massa for making it difficult for the West Indian peasant to get, land of his own on which to grow food crops, and advised that there was no future for the West Indies which did not put in the forefront of the programme of economic development the settlement of the land less labourers on the land as peasant owners.
Massa's day should have been done then. But it was very easy in those days for Britain to ignore the recommendations of a Royal Commission and Massa was allowed to perpetuate his uneconomic and anti-social activities until 1930 when another Commission from Britain, at the height of the world depression, repeated the condemnation of the 1897 Commission almost in the identical language used by its predecessors. Massa's long economic domination of the West Indies reduced the population of the West Indies, whether slave, contract or free, to the drudgery of the simplest and most unedifying operations, almost unfitting them totally for any intelligent agricultural activity, and giving them a profound and almost permanent distaste for agricultural endeavours.
Massa was able to do all of this because he had a monopoly of political power in the West Indies which he, used shamelessly for his private ends as only the DLP can be expected to emulate in our more modern times. He used this political power ruthlessly to import workers for his sugar plantations with no respect either for elementary economics of his time or of population problems of the future. Massa's economy was distinguished by perhaps the most scandalous waste of labour the history of the world has ever known. Forty house slaves in a Jamaican slave household was not unusual, and the domestic female slave who carried the cushion for Massa to kneel on in church in Surinam, or kept Massa's cigars lighted while he was being shaved in Brazil, typifies not only Massa's total con tempt for the human personality but also his pathological unconcern with the most elementary considerations of cost of production. It was the same with the Indian workers brought in on contract. They were brought in without any consideration whatsoever as to the supply that was really needed, if any was needed at all, and a Commission from the Government of India which visited the West Indies and Surinam in 1915 condemned as an unwarranted waste of labour the importation of four workers to do work which would have been light labour for three.
Massa was able to do all this because he controlled political power in the West Indies and could use state funds for his private gain. Whilst he imported African slaves out of his own personal resources, he dug into the purse of the West Indies Treasuries for public financing of Indian indentured migration to the tune of about one-third of the total cost of introducing the workers. This went on throughout the 19th century on Massa's insistence at the very period when, as thousands of Indians came to Trinidad and British Guiana, thousands of Barbadians and Jamaicans went to build the Panama Canal, or migrated to the United States of America to do unskilled work, or went to Cuba to work on the sugar plantations in that Island.
As far as Massa was concerned this organisation of West Indian economy, this dispensation of political power was one of the eternal verities. He developed them
necessary philosophical rationalisation of this barbarous system. It was that the workers, both African and Indian, were inferior beings, unfit for self-government, unequal to their superior masters, permanently destined to a status of perpetual subordination, unable ever to achieve equality with Massa. It was there in all the laws which governed the West Indies for generations the laws which denied equality on grounds of colour, the laws which forbade non Europeans to enter certain occupations and professions, whether it was the occupation of jeweler or the profession of lawyer, the laws which forbade intermarriage, the laws which equated political power and the vote with ownership of land, the laws which, consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, attempted to ensure that the non-European would never be anything but a worker in the social scale the improvement of whose standard of living depended as a British Secretary of State once told the workers in Jamaica in 1865 on their working on Massa's plantation for wages. That was why, when slavery was abolished in 1833, and Massa was afraid that the emancipated slaves would no longer accept the drudgery and exploitation of the slave plantation but would work for themselves on small plots, Massa in Barbados and Massa in British Guiana destroyed the gardens and food plots which the slaves had been permitted to cultivate during slavery in order to force them, out of the threat of starvation, to accept starvation wages on the plantations
Massa was determined to use his political power for his own personal ends He had no sense of loyalty to the community which he dominated or even to the community, from which he had origin ally sprung. When Massa in Haiti found that the French Government was ready to abolish slavery he offered the island, to England. When Massa in Jamaica found that the British were ready to abolish slavery he entered into conspiracy with planters in the southern States of America When Massa in St Croix in the Danish Virgin Islands found that it, was too difficult to deal with the emancipated slaves he tried to sell the island to the United States of America When Massa, in Cuba on his sugar plantation found himself eon-fronted by a combination of abolitionist forces representing progressive metropolitan opinion, free white planters in Cuba growing tobacco and not sugar, and the slave themselves, he too turned his eyes to the United States of America and plunged the country into civil war When Massa in Jamaica in 1865 recognised that it was no longer possible to hold back the tide of constitution reform and deny the vote to the emancipated slaves, he brutally suppressed a revolt among the Jamaican workers and peasants and persuaded the British Government to suspend the self governing Constitution of Jamaica and introduce the Crown Colony system. And when Massa in Barbados in the 1860 s feared that West Indian federation might involve a large redistribution of his land among the workers of Barbados, Massa made official overtures for joining .the Canadian Federation. Massa was always opposed to independence. He welcomed political dependence so long as it guaranteed the economic dependence of his workers. He was for self-government so long as it was self-government for Massa only and left him free to govern his workers as he pleased. Our whole struggle for self-government and independence, therefore, is a struggle for emancipation from Massa.
That was the West Indian Massa. There has been slavery and unfree labour in other societies. Ancient Greek society, precisely because of slavery, had been able to achieve intellectual heights that so far have had no parallel in human history. The
ownership of a large slave empire in the West Indies did not prevent the flowering of intellect and the evolution of politics in the metropolitan countries of Europe. But the West Indian Massa constituted the most backward ruling class history has ever known. Massa in Jamaica had a contempt for education and the profession of teaching which scandalised even the commentators of the 18th century. A traveler in Haiti before its independence commented caustically on Massa's anti-intellectual outlook. He described the conversation of Massa as follows: It begins with the price of sugar and then goes on to the price of coffee, the price of cocoa, and the laziness of Negroes; and then it retraces the same ground beginning with the laziness of Negroes, and going on to the price of cocoa, the price of coffee and the price of sugar. Massa in Trinidad in the early 20th century asked sarcastically of what use would education be to the children of the plantation workers if they had it. He stated unambiguously in the Trinidad Legislative Council of 1925, in the age of Cipriani, that as long as Trinidad was to remain an agricultural country, the less education the children of the plantation workers had the better. As one of the abolitionists in the Colonial Office recognised a century and a quarter ago, there was no civilise society on earth so entirely destitute of learned leisure, literary and scientific intercourse and liberal recreations.
This was Massa Day. This was Massa the owner of a West Indian sugar plantation, frequently an absentee, deliberately stunting all the economic potential of the society, dominating his defenceless workers by the threat of punishment or imprisonment, using his political power for the most selfish private ends, an uncultured man with an illiberal outlook.
But not every white man was a Massa. Las Casas, the Roman Catholic Bishop, condemned in Cuba, in Santo Domingo and in Mexico the iniquitous exploitation of the aborigines by the Spaniards. Thomas Clarkson, the humanitarian in England, and Victor Schoelcher, the radical politician in France, dedicated their entire lives to a relentless crusade against slavery. It was Clarkson who, 170 years ago, made one of the finest defences of the African against charges of inferiority, before modern sociological research and modern progressive ideas. It was Victor Schoelcher who provided the abolition programme in France in 1848 with the resounding peroration that the French Republic could not compromise with slavery and tarnish its immortal formula, "Liberty, Equality and. Fraternity". It was the white Cuban philosopher, Luzy Cabellero, who coined the famous aphorism that "the blackest thing in slavery was not the black man." It was the white Cuban philosopher, Jose Marti, who educated Cuba in the view that man is more than white, more than Negro, more than mulatto. It was the white Spanish planters in Puerto Rico who themselves, demanded the emancipation of the slaves. It was a white Danish Governor who, on his own initiative abolished slavery in St. Croix and returned home to be impeached for exceeding his instructions. It was the white Missionary, John Smith, who died in, imprisonment in Massa's jail in British Guiana because he insisted on educating the Negroes and teaching them to read in order that they could read the Bible. It was the white Rev. William Knibb who organised in Falmouth; Jamaica, a tremendous movement against Massa and swore that he would not rest until he saw the, end of slavery, and who, once slavery was abolished, spent the rest of his life in providing schools for the children and in trying to secure land for the people. It was the white Rev. James Phillips in Jamaica who, as far back as 1845, put forward proposals for
the establishment of a University College in, Jamaica which, if the British Government of the time had had the foresight to accept and to promote, would have changed the whole course of West Indian History, in the past 100 years.
Here in Trinidad it was people like the Grants and Mortons who first undertook the education of the children of the Indian indentured workers on Massa's plantation. It was names like Lange which advocated the vote for Massa's workers. It was the Alcazars and the Stollmeyers among others in Trinidad who fought Massa on the question of Indian indenture. It was Sir Henry Alcazar who, in a memorable phrase in a memorandum to the Royal Commission of 1897, stated that the effect of Indian indenture was to keep the ruling class of Trinidad at the moral level of slave owners.
If Massa was generally white, but not all whites were Massa, at the same time not all Massas were white. The elite among the slaves were the house slaves. Always better treated than their colleagues in the field, they developed into a new caste in West Indian society, aping the fashion of their masters, wearing their cast-off clothing, and dancing the quadrille with the best of them. To such an extent did Massa's society penetrate the consciences of these people, that Haitian independence, which began with a fight for freedom for the slaves, ended up with a ridiculous imperial court of a Haitian despotism with its cafe-au-lait society and its titles, its Duke of Marmalade and its Count of Lemonade, exploiting the Negro peasants. The Maroons in Jamaica, runaway slaves who took refuge in the mountains from .the horrors of the plantations and who became the spiritual ancestors of the Rastafarian movement of our time, after waging a successful war against Massa and forcing Massa to recognise their independence and to constitute them a veritable state within a state, accepted a peace treaty which required them to help Massa to put down any other slave rebellions. Emancipation of the slaves led in the smaller West Indian Islands to a gradual transfer of ownership of property to the point where, in such islands as Grenada and St. Vincent, whilst Massa remained, his complexion became darker.
This, then, was Massa in the West Indies. This was Massa Day.
The most savage condemnation of Massa in Trinidad came from the evidence of an Englishman who made Trinidad his home, Mr. Lochmere Guppy, Mayor of San Fernando, before the Royal Commission of the Franchise in 1889. Guppy related to the Commission a conversation between himself and a sugar planter with whom he had remonstrated about the condition of the houses provided for the Indian immigrants. "The people ought to be in the field all day", the planter said. "I do not build cottages for idlers". When the Mayor reminded him that there might be sickness or children or pregnant women, the planter answered, "Oh my dear Guppy, what do you talk to me about lying-in and nursing women; I only want working hands." To which Guppy retorted, "Then you will never have a settled population of labourers on your estates". "A settled population", said the planter: "I want two years of good crops and good prices, and then I will sell my estates and go to live in Europe".
Guppy voiced the growing national and liberal consciousness when he unsparingly criticised the Indian indenture system as a selfish expedient pursued by
a few Massas to the detriment of the community at large. Their chief aim by the policy, he emphasised, was to keep down the rate of wages, to force down artificially the price of labour and to confine it to the cultivation of the sugar cane. This they did "by importing labourers at the public expense to be indentured to plantations; by taxing the necessary food of the labourer; and refusing to grant Crown lands to small settlers; by inequitable labour laws; by encouraging the unjust administration of the laws by Magistrates devoted to the wishes of the sugar planters; by refusal of practicable roads other than those required to convey the sugar planters' produce to the shipping place, and minor means tending to the same end. During all this time no men could be more grandiloquent about their intention, in all they proposed to do, being the development of the resources of the island; no men could be more determined, as shown by their measures, to do no other thing than bolster up the more or less nominal owners of sugar plantations".
Life with Massa was summed up by me in a formal statement I made to an international conference in Geneva on October 20, 1955, when I acted as spokesman of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions at a meeting of the Committee on Plantations of the International Labour Organisation. In my statement I concentrated particularly on a reply on sick pay for plantation workers submitted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through its representative at the Conference, Mr. Albert Gomes. The reply of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago was as follows: "The sugar employers do not consider it possible to provide sick pay to plantation workers".
My formal statement at the Geneva Conference on this question reads as follows:
"Let me emphasise in some detail the significance of this statement from the Government of Trinidad in the light of the views which have been expressed from time to time by the sugar employers of the Caribbean area social questions and the conditions of the workers. I shall give some specific examples:
1. In 1896, the British Government appointed a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the difficulties then being encountered by the British West Indian sugar industry. The principal sugar employer in: Trinidad gave evidence before the Commission to the effect that the plantation workers could live comfortably on 5 cents a day.
2. In 1910, before another Royal Commission of the British Government, this time on the commercial relations between Canada and the British West Indies Canadian manufacturers and Trinidad merchants and employers indicated how it was possible to subsist on this low wage. They stated that what was rejected as stockfeed in Canada, was imported into Trinidad as flour, which was bought up like hot cakes by the plantation workers;
3. In 1915, a Commission of the Government of India was sent to various Caribbean territories to investigate the conditions of the indentured Indian immigrants. The Commission re ported that the protection of the plantation workers against malaria by providing mosquito nets and against hookworm by providing shoes, would only involve unnecessary expenses for the sugar employers.
4. In 1926, in Trinidad, in evidence before a committee of the Legislative Council on the restriction of hours of labour de signed principally to prohibit the labour of children of school age during school periods, one of the principal sugar employers stated in the most emphatic way that if they educated the whole mass of the agricultural population, they would be deliberately ruining the country. After this he proceeded to ask, of what use would education be to the children, if they had, it?
5. In 1930, on a visit to British Guiana, a, well known British Philanthropist, a close friend of the late Mahatma Gandhi, was told unambiguously by one of the sugar employers that the London directors of his company would not provide any money for the elimination of the disgraceful workers' houses, though they would readily spend money for the installation of new machinery.
6. A Commission of Inquiry, which investigated widespread disturbances in Trinidad in 1937, was advised that sugar employers thought it unnecessary to provide adequate sanitary facilities for their employees, because the workers would not use them.
7. In. Barbados in the following year, one of the sugar employers assured the members of the commission of inquiry investigating similar disturbances in that island that the plantation worker in Barbados did not take milk in his tea because he did not like milk!
I just leave to your imagination the conditions which would prevail today in the British Caribbean territories if the views of the sugar employers had received the consideration which they thought should be attached to them."
The Second World War meant the end of Massa Day. Wendell Wilkie, the unsuccessful Republican candidate in the 1940 American Presidential Election, issued a general warning in his book One World, written at the end of a world tour. Wilkie warned the world:
"Men and women all over the world are on the march, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. After centuries of ignorant and dull compliance, hundreds of millions of people in Eastern Europe and Asia have opened the books. Old fears no longer frighten them. They are no longer willing to be Eastern slaves for Western profits. They are beginning to know that man's welfare throughout the world is interdependent. They are resolved, as we must be, that there is no more place for imperialism within their own society than in the society of nations. The big house on the hill surrounded by mud huts has lost its awesome charm."
They marched everywhere, during and after World War II in India, in Burma, in Indonesia, in Nigeria, in Ghana, in the Philip pines, in Puerto Rico, above all in the United Kingdom. The counterpart of Massa in the West Indies was the squire in the United
Kingdom. The welfare state has been super-imposed on the class society. The age of sweated labour in the factories has been abolished by the British trade unions. Oxford and Cambridge .no longer serve exclusively the sons of the ruling class, and Parliament and the diplomatic service are no longer the exclusive preserve of their graduates. Massa Day Done in the United Kingdom too. Here is an
advertisement from the Observer, one of London's principal Sun day papers, on February 12, 1961:
"BUSINESSES FOR. SALE
AND FROM KENYA, NIGERIA, CENTRAL AFRICA, MALAYA, INDIA and Other Corners of What Was The Empire Of Sahib, Boss And Master, come a host of sadly disillusioned one time Empire Builders to face the necessity of providing home and income for self and family And to this problem the most certain answer is the purchase of A Village Store with maybe an. appointment as Sub-Postmaster, or the purchase of, a Pub, Filling Station, Tea Room or some such business. There is no better thought."
Massa Day Done, Sahib Day Done, Yes Suh Boss Day Done. All decent American public opinion is nauseated by Little Rock. The horrors of the Congo, deplorable though they are, represent the struggle between Massa and Massa's former exploited subjects. Massa is on the run right now in Portuguese Angola. The pressure from India and Ghana, Malaya and Nigeria in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference has forced the South African Massa out of the Commonwealth.
Massa Day Done everywhere. How can anyone in his senses expect Massa Day to survive in Trinidad and Tobago? That, how ever, is precisely what Sinanan and the DLP stand for. Because for them to ask me to withdraw the statement, Massa Day Done, and, adding insult to injury, to demand that I apologise for it, is to identify themselves with all the forces of reaction which have been overthrown or are at bay in all the other countries of the world. What they seek, Sinanan and the DLP, is actually to restore Massa Day. For Massa Day Done in Trinidad and Tobago, too, since the advent of the PNM in 1956. Let us assess the position in Trinidad today.
Massa's racial complex stunted the, economic development of our territories. Today, with the PNM, the cane farmer, the small farmer growing cane, pitting his puny weight against the large plantation, is receiving a recognition that he never anticipated, and is coming into his own, a man with a stake in his country, with the legal right to refuse his labour if he wishes to and to work his own land. The sudden and dramatic growth of industry, producing fertilisers, furniture, milk, textiles, paints, cement and a hundred other essential commodities, is vastly different from the monoculture society of Massa Day. In Massa Day, the West Indies produced what they did not consume and consumed what they did not produce. Today, under the PNM, the slogan is, "Made in Trinidad".
Massa stood for the degradation of West Indian labour. PNM stands for the dignity of West Indian labour. The symbol of Massa's authority was the whip; his incentive to labour was the lash. Today, with the PNM, the worker's right to establish trade unions of his own choice and to bargain collectively with his employers is recognised by all but the obscurantist who still regard Trinidad, as Massa did, as a place to which the ordinary conventions of human society ought not to apply. Massa passed laws to forbid non-Europeans from being jewelers or lawyers. Today, under the PNM, the right of the West Indian to occupy the highest positions in public and private employment is axiomatic and is being increasingly enforced.
Massa stood for colonialism: any sort of colonialism, so long as it was colonialism. Massa's sole concern was the presence of metropolitan troops and metropolitan battleships to assist him in putting down West Indian disorders. Today, with the PNM, those who were considered by Massa permanently unfitted for self-government, permanently reduced to a status of inferiority, are on the verge of full control of their internal affairs and on the threshold, in their federation, of national independence.
Massa believed in the inequality of races. Today, as never before, the PNM has held out to the population of Trinidad and Tobago and the West Indies and the world the vision and the practice of interracial solidarity which, whatever its limitations, whatever the efforts still needed to, make it an ordinary convention of our society, stands out in sharp contrast as an open challenge to Massa's barbarous ideas and practices of racial domination.
Massa was determined not to educate his society. Massa was quite right; to educate is to emancipate. That is why the P.N.M., the army of liberation of Trinidad and the West Indies, has put education in the forefront of its programme. If Massa was entirely destitute of a liberal outlook and learned leisure, the P.N.M., come what may, will go down in history as the author of free secondary education and the architect of the University of Woodford Square.
The D.L.P. statement of March 5 reflects the hostile forces which still exist in our society. There are still Massas. Massa still lives, with his backward ideas of the aristocracy of the skin. And Massa still has his stooges, who prefer to crawl on their bellies to Massa, absentee or resident, Massa this, Massa that, Massa the other, instead Of holding their heads high and erect as befits a society, which under the P.N.M. is dedicated to the equality of Opportunity and a career open to talent. Farquhar is one outstanding example of this contemptible backwardness and this slave mentality. The D.L.P. is another. When they ask me to withdraw my banner, Massa Day Done, they are in fact telling the people of the West Indies that they want Massa to continue in social control, monopolising political power, stultifying economic development, disciplining the workers. They are in fact telling us that they are as much the stooges of the Massa of the 20th century as the house slaves were of Massa's 18th century counterpart.
We of the P.N.M., on the other hand, have been able to incorporate into our People's National Movement people of all races and colours and from all walks of life, with the common bond of a national community dedicated to the pursuit of national ends without any special privilege being granted to race, colour, class, creed, national origin, or previous condition of servitude. Some of our most active and most loyal P.N.M. members are indistinguishable in colour from our Massa. In recent weeks I, with several top leaders in the P.N.M., have had the opportunity to meet privately with many representatives of business and the professions in our community, and we have all been struck, notwithstanding a little grumbling here and a little dissatisfaction there, with the large reservoir of goodwill and admiration which the P.N.M. is able to draw upon. You members of the P.N.M. must understand once and for all that you misunderstand your Party and you do a great disservice to your national cause if you think that every white person or every Indian is anti-P.N.M. or
that every black person is pro-P.N.M. You shall know them not by their colour or their race but their fruit.
When, therefore, I categorically repudiate the D.L.P.'s impertinent suggestion that I should withdraw a historical analysis which is the product of more than 20 years of assiduous research on the problems of the West Indies in the context of the international community, I unhesitatingly condemn them for betraying, not for the first time and not for the last time, the vital interests of our national community. I accuse them of an intellectual dishonesty which is prepared to accept any bribe and to commit treason to their country in order to grasp political power for themselves. They serve to remind all of us here in the University, which like all reputable Universities must remain dedicated to the pursuit of truth and to the dispassionate discussions Of public issues, of two import ant considerations which are fundamental in P.N.M.'s conception of the national community and in P.N.M.'s crusade for the interracial solidarity first, not every white is Massa, second, not every Massa is white.
If Sinanan attacks me for the statement Massa Day Done, where then does Sinanan stand on the question of the cane farmers of Pointe-a-Pierre, Naparima and Caroni whom P.N.M. has just recognised as a vital force in our society, these cane farmers of today who were Massa's indentured Indian workers yesterday? If Sinanan attacks me for the statement Massa Day Done, where then does Sinanan stand on P.N.M.'s programme of housing for sugar workers and cane farmers which has accelerated the elimination of the disgraceful barracks in which Massa housed his indentured Indian workers against all the invectives of the Englishman, Lechmere Guppy? If Sinanan attacks me for the statement Massa Day Done, where then does Sinanan stand in respect of the Indians who, as indentured workers, adopted the slave terminology of Massa and were forced into the social and economic Status which Massa carried over from the regime of slavery?
I must ask Sinanan and the D.L.P. to, answer these questions in view of their alleged concern with the problem of the small farmers. The D.L.P. has just published a plan for agriculture with the photograph of Stephen Maharaj; in it they ask for a sound credit system for farmers. Bryan and Richardson led last Saturday an agricultural demonstration from the Eastern Counties demanding aid for the farmers.
Let us recognise immediately the right of any group of people to demonstrate peacefully in our community. Let us recognise immediately that the agricultural demonstration was itself a tribute to the political awakening and the national spirit generated by P.N.M. But when all is said and done, the question remains: Who is the farmer these people have in mind? Massa? It is precisely Massa who has so far directed the operations of the Agricultural Credit Bank set up in 1945 and dominated the facilities extended by it to farmers. Here are some examples of the operations of that Bank:
1. A loan of $10,000 in 1955 for the development of cocoa and citrus; two years later it was ascertained that the estate had a large area in anthuriums, orchids, African violets and roses.
2. A loan of $25,000 in 1954 to pay off a bank overdraft and for development; this was followed by another Joan for $35,000 a year later again to pay off an overdraft.
3. A loan of $6,000 in 1955 to extend an estate dwelling house; the applicant already owed over $30,000 on two previous loans.
4. A loan of $43,500 in 1955 to an employee of the Bank to purchase an estate.
5. A loan of $13,000 in 1956 to purchase an estate which was sold two months later.
6. Loans of $50,000 and $68,000 in 1955 and 1956 to a large planter who used the money in part to make payments to the press and the church, and to pay dividends, income tax and auditors' fees.
7. Loans of $150,000 in each of the years 1955 and 1956 to a large industrial and commercial concern.
As against this emphasis on large scale agriculture and the big planter who had sufficient security to approach an ordinary commercial bank, the small farmers and agricultural societies were pushed into the background by the Bank. The average loan made to farmers in this category varied between $110 and $175 from 1950 to 1959. Thousands of dollars were left unutilised each year which could have been allocated to small farmers. Small farmers waited months and years for attention, whilst the big farmer was attended to in a matter of days. One such large farmer, who received a loan of $40,000 in August 1957, made his application in July; there were several applications there pending. A large loan of $26,000 was approved in two months in 1956; a small loan of $600 took eleven months.
What is the explanation of this system? It is fourfold (1) the lack of any precise policy laid down by the Government for the guidance of the Bank; (2) the insufficient liaison between the Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture, which is the organ of Government responsible for agriculture in the country; (3) the composition of the Board and staff of the Bank; (4) the latitude given to all such statutory bodies to function in independence of the Government.
Bryan must have known all of this; if not, why did he not know? The P.N.M. had to learn it. Yet Bryan did not one single thing to correct it. The P.N.M. has had to take the necessary steps. First we transferred the Agricultural Credit Bank to the Ministry of Finance where, as a financial institution, it properly belongs. Second, as soon as the transfer had been effected, the Minister of Finance instituted an investigation into the operations of the Bank. Third, on the basis of that investigation, we proceeded recently to alter the composition of the Board of the Bank. Fourth, we are proceeding shortly to amend further the Ordinance governing the Bank to make available to it for loan purposes additional capital Of 1% million provided in the Five Year Development Programme and to enable it to make loans to fishermen out of a sum of $500,000 earmarked In the Development Programme for this purpose. Finally, we have made available subsidies in many forms to the small farmers, and we are concentrating particularly on the prospects and problems in the world market for our export crops, whilst we have already taken large and positive steps to stimulate a greater production of local foodstuffs and fruits. A new market is now being built on the Beetham Highway to improve the distribution system, while, with the active encouragement of P.N.M.'s Government, a large new factory, Pacmarime, will shortly be in production on Wrightson Road canning local products and so providing an additional market for the farmers.
Bryan was Minister of Agriculture for six years and did none of these things. Now, as a member of the Federal House with not enough to do, he wants me to agree to a radio debate with him on agriculture. He had six years of radio time; now he wants a little lagniappe. Stephen Maharaj and Ashford Sinanan sat in the Legislative Council for six years before the P.N.M. and did nothing to help the cane farmer or the cocoa farmer over whom they now shed crocodile tears. Richardson was a member of P.N.M. General Council. Apart from lobbying to get a seat in a farming area, none of us in the General Council had any suspicion, either from his participation in the work of the General Council or from his silly articles in the Guardian, that he had any affection for the farmers at all. Now he wants a Small Farmers Association. Will he please tell the small farmers how much money he has been able to borrow from the Agricultural Credit Bank, so that they can compare the Bank's tenderness to a doctor of medicine doing part-time agriculture with its disregard of the genuine agriculturists of the country? To avoid all further misunderstanding on this question Of credit, I shall publish forthwith the investigation of the Agricultural Credit Bank which I was, for various reasons, reluctant to make public. Then the small farmers will be able to judge for themselves.
Why this sudden recognition by Bryan, Richardson, Maharaj, Sinanan and D.L.P. of the existence of the small farmer, when in years gone by they never uttered one single word of condemnation of the Bank's neglect of the small farmer? All that is left for them to do is to blame P.N.M. for the fall "in world, prices. You know the explanation, Ladies and Gentlemen, as well as I. It is election year, and for guys like these, anything goes. They lack brains, perspective and principle. So they resort to confusion, intrigue and of course the Guardian, our old Public Enemy No. 1., whom we sent straight to hell on April 22, 1960.
It has recently been announced that the Guardian is to change hands and will hereafter form part of international chain. It is obviously impossible for us to anticipate the line of action that twill be taken by the new Canadian owners. We can only wait and see. We note in the meantime that Monday's Guardian could find a lot of space for a report on the opening of a D.L.P. office in Gasparillo on Sunday, no space at all for a P.N.M. rally in Morne Diable on the same Sunday, and insufficient space for a truncated report of a monster P.N.M. meeting in San Juan on Saturday night. We can only conclude that the explanation lies in the fact that the D.L.P. function was attended by 125 persons (which no doubt explains the Guardian's photograph that suggested a death rather than a birth), while there were at least 5,000 present at P.N.M.'s Morne Diablo rally. Monday's Evening News reduces the estimated 8,000 at P.N.M.'s San Juan meeting to 1,250; I suppose the reporter got tired of counting. We mote also that Gornes today writes on everything under the, sun except P.N.M., that Farquhar did not appear last Sunday, that we have been spared for some Sundays Forrester's idiocies and that the voice in the wilderness of Cassandra seems to have been strangely silent in recent weeks. We watch with interest to see how long the absurd review of the week's news will continue to disgrace the Sunday news. For the rest, as I have said, let us wait and see what the new Canadian ownership will produce. But whilst we wait and see, the danger of a press monopoly continues with all the evils that that brings in its train even in the advance and diversified United Kingdom society, still more in Trinidad with its legacy of four and a half years of dishonest reporting, deplorably low intellectual standards,
and partisan prostitution Of freedom of the press. We shall continue our efforts to appraise and to counteract this monopolistic pattern. In these efforts Our own Party organ. The NATION, has an important role to play as the intelligent voice of the national community the trumpet of independence, the jealous protector of West Indian interests. In the impending revision of the Canada-West Indies Agreement of 1926, for example, whose side will the Canadian-owned Guardian take? The West Indies? Or Canada? Now that the principal obstacle to a daily issue of The NATION has been removed from the scene, P.N.M. has its own contribution to make to the promotion of political education through the press and to the maintenance of the press from monopolistic control.
Let the D.L.P. know therefore that no amount of attacks on the P.N.M. by Sinanan or the Guardian will in any way stop the onward march to national independence and community dignity No amount of stabs in the back from P.N.M. renegades will stop us either. After all, as a new party, nine months old when we won the 1956 elections, faced with ever-increasing pressures in four and a half years in power as a Government, it was inevitable that scamps and vagabonds and individualists should hop on the band wagon and seek to corrupt the party for their personal ends. We are now finding out those who pretended to support us on Chaguaramas because they thought we would not succeed in our declared policy to tear up the 1941 Agreement. They applauded loudly when I said that I would break the Chaguaramas problem or the Chaguaramas problem would break me; they saw me broken already. Now that I have broken the problem, 10 and behold, all the scavenger birds of the P.N.M. suddenly suggest that I have changed my direction and they don't like us West of the Iron Curtain. All those who see in the Castro a precedent for a few persona lusting for power to take control suddenly begin to attack us for not emulating Castro; they forget we took power peacefully and did not take it from a fascist dictatorship. All such who wish to confuse, who seek to climb on P.N.M.'s backs to achieve their own mental aberrations, who want to abuse me because I refuse to condone corruption in any quarter, all these imps of Satan will be dealt with in due course.
C.L.R. James' case has been sent to our Disciplinary Committee for action; when, it is no longer sub judice I shall deal with it fully and publicly, and with all those who seek to use him in their struggle to defeat the P.N.M. and to destroy me.
We go on our way, confident and undaunted. We stand here tonight, we the P.N.M., enormously proud of the confidence the vast majority of the people have in us. We have seen it recently for our selves, in Tunapuna, in Fyzabad, in Point Fortin, in Princes Town, in Sangre Grande, in San Juan, and on Sunday in Morne Diable. If the people wish to abandon that confidence in us, because they don't have a secondary school in Fyzabad, because they don't have price supports in Sangre Grande, because they don't have rental mortgage houses in Princes Town, because they have a dirty drain in San Juan, because the oil companies are reducing their labour force in Point Fortin; if the people want to sell their identification cards to the enemy, or refuse to take their photographs because they have to go to a fete or play cricket or wappie, or can't be bothered to vote, if the people want to sell themselves back into the, slavery from which P.N.M. has emancipated them; if the people prefer Massa to P.N.M. then they have the democratic right to make a history that will be
unique in the world. History is full of instances where slave owners restore or try to restore slavery. I know of no instance when the slaves themselves, once emancipated, return voluntarily to their former chains.
If you wish to do that, Ladies and Gentlemen you must do it without the P.N.M., certainly without me. We shall continue on the road of national dignity and national independence It is we of the P.N.M. who brought the United. States Government to you to renegotiate in Tobago a treaty negotiated for you in London twenty years ago. It is we of the P.N.M. who gave you your flag and ran it up at Chaguaramas to do the saga ting everyday in the breeze. It is we of the P.N.M. who will shortly renegotiate the basis of your relations with Venezuela with a view to removing the discrimination against you that is sixty years old It is we of the P.N.M. who brought the Secretary of State for the Colonies for the first time in your midst to appreciate at first hand that the future destiny of the West Indies depends on you. With the new Agreement on Chaguaramas, we of the P.N.M. have even been able to welcome Sir Winston Churchill to Trinidad. It is we of the P.N.M. who will take the United Kingdom Prime Minister around when he comes on Friday on his historic visit, and I hope hundreds of you will be at Piarco to welcome him. It is we of the P.N.M. who will show him around some of our development projects, who will take him to Chaguaramas, who will take the lead in making representations to him in respect of West Indian migration to the United Kingdom, protection for West Indian products and economic aid to the West Indies, in order to assure economic stability as the foundation of our political democracy.
It is only left now for Her Majesty the Queen to visit us. After all we are an important part of the Commonwealth, and if Her Majesty can go to Australia, to India and to Pakistan, to Nigeria and to Ghana, she can come also to the West Indies. There will shortly be an appropriate occasion for so distinguished a visit. Her Majesty's sister, Princess Margaret, inaugurated the Federal Parliament on April 22, 1958. The Federation will arrange for its independence at a conference in London scheduled to begin on May 3,1. I now publicly propose that Her Majesty the Queen be invited to inaugurate the, first Parliament of the Independent West Indies on April 22, 1962, at 11 o'clock in the morning.
And so we stand ready to meet the challenge of this year's election. The challenger calls himself the D.L.P. but the goes under many aliases and has no fixed abode. He stands for nothing in particular: he poses as the champion of labour and the small farmer but worships at the shrine of Massa. He has been repudiated by Britain and America and the Guardian has sold out under him. He has offices but no party. Like ancient Gaul, he is divided into three parts.
Defending our title is the P.N.M., the party of principle and not of wealth, the party of the people and not of Massa, the voice Of the national consciousness and not of individual or sectional privilege the mass movement of the national community and not the divisive tendency of an unassimilated splinter group. With our new electoral procedure we eliminate corruption, protect the living from the dead, identify the individual, and ensure free, honest and unperverted elections. With our free secondary education we safeguard equality of opportunity and a career open to talent.
With the University of Woodford Square in the lead, we have called upon the many rather than the few for financial assistance for our cause, to enable the Party as such not the individual candidate to finance the election campaign. By so doing we ensure greater discipline of and control over the elected representatives. The population is contributing magnificently. I have here with me tonight a dollar turned over to Dr. Solomon as a contribution to our Public Appeal for Funds by a young man, a member of the P.N.M., who was given it by an Opposition Member whom he assisted with changing a flat tyre in the early hours of one morning after a late sitting of the Legislative Council. Once again therefore, tonight, our Women's League will, with the permission of the Police, solicit your contribution in our official receptacles. Tonight of all nights I call on you to help us, for tonight of all nights Massa Day Done.
And so we proceed to the election bearing aloft proudly our banner of interracial solidarity, with the slogan inscribed thereon, Massa Day Done, and below it the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln who dealt Massa in the United States of America a mortal blow:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in."
Printed by P.N.M. Publishing Company, Ltd., 90 Frederick Street, P.O.S.