NEW WORLD GROUP REPORTS

This formula did not work, at least not in its intended form. For one thing, the meetings held on the campus, in my assessment, lacked coherence, urgency and a sense of relevance. These meetings, it will be recalled, heard White speak on “Rudie Music”, Patterson on “Slavery”, De Castro on the “Jamaican Elections” and Miller on Colour and Concepts of Beauty”.

The subjects are in themselves, highly appropriate to the kind of searching analysis of the society that we wish to carry on. The fact that the discussions failed to provoke the thinking of the audience can be traced in part, but only in part, to the somewhat “academic” presentation of the subjects and the failure of most of the main speakers to draw radical conclusions from their analysis. The fact is, that members of the New World Group present at these meetings failed dismally (and here I do not except myself) to impose the coherence and inject the relevance and the urgency into these discussions that was warranted by the nature of the subjects and the radical objectives of the Group. I suggest that the reason for this can only be a certain lack of self-confidence on the part of Group members in the importance of the conceptions we have of the society and in our ability to persuade others as to the validity of these conceptions and to defend them against attack.

The second element of the programme was to be the establishment of a “bank” of speakers and subjects which would be circulated to groups and asso­ciations, and upon which they -would be invited to draw. In fact this never took place, because the member of the Group who agreed to organise this did not carry out his task. On the other hand, some amount of activity in this direction did take place in an ad hoc manner. The Group has supplied speakers to the Citizens’ Education (Jamaica) Foundation for a Seminar on Unemployment held at Mona in September 1967, and one on Human Rights held in Mandeville in March, 1968. Speakers were also supplied for a pre-vocational Training Course for underprivileged boys. Individual members of the Group also addressed The Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers, The Jamaica Teachers Association, Excelsior School students, and the Coke Youth Group. Most of these activities resulted in advertisement and sales of the Quarterly and Pamphlets.

Of far more significance to our contact with the community at large were activities which were in essence responses to, topical issues: our “Teach-Ins” and pamphlets. It is here, I think, that we can record our limited successes for the year. In August 1967 we scored a minor coup with a Teach-In en Anguilla which was attended by two representatives of the island council, about 500 members of the Jamaican public, and was broadcast live over radio. This Teach-In was by far the most successful of the three held for the year, in terms of participation by the public and of exposure of the public to the Group. In November we held a second Teach-In on Devaluation and in March a third on Sugar. Both of these were fairly well attended and broadcast live over radio. They were, however, far less successful in terms of public participation.

This was due in part to the more technical nature of the subjects; but possibly too, to the failure of the Group to make the issue under discussion more understandable and more relevant to the daily lives of people. Because of this, these latter two Teach-Ins consisted in large part of what I would call “intra-elite” dialogue. That is to say, economists from the University argued with Government econ­omists, representatives of the business community and of the sugar interests, about the structure of the economy, in a way that left the population apparently unmoved.