REVIEWS: THE HERO AND THE CROWD IN A COLONIAL POLICY By A. W. Singham

At the ‘advanced’ stages of constitutional growth, “local” men attained the topmost administrative positions formerly held by expatriates. The top office in Grenada, that of Administrator, was held by Jamaican in the Colonial Civil Service, and he was the one who called for the suspension of the Grenadian constitution. It must not be assumed that a West Indian Administrator would be less harsh on the local leader in times of crisis. On the contrary, the West Indian Administrator is likely to be stronger on ‘law and order’ than the expatriate. Any West Indian achieving high rank in the Civil Service in colonial days is likely to be a member of the middle class, thoroughly socialised in the Civil Service, and emphasising a strong reverence for British constitutional practice and procedure. In addition to this, he feels obliged to show that, like his white predecessor, he can do the job at hand, according to “Westminster” standards.

Another factor that may lead the West Indian Administrator to be stronger on ‘law and order’ is that “authoritarianism is inbedded in the entire social structure and the colonial personality structure”

M. G. Smith has indicated the short comings of the literature on personality structure, the misapplication of concepts borrowed from alien studies, and their use in the Caribbean area. Yet he makes the point that various writers agree on the definition of West Indian personality patterns. (Smith, P. 48). Thu Braithwaite’s analysis of authoritarian characteristics of the middle-class in Trinidad, although described as “quasi-psychological’ in manner, may be valid for similar groups in other West Indian Territories (Smith P. 4 7) . Inasmuch as all writers on the subject agree that the West Indian society and family structure tend to produce authoritarian personalities, there seem to be an urgent need for more detailed study or the West Indian family system, especially since Singham draws attention to the fact that “other societies with different types of family structure … also produce predominantly authoritarian personalities “(p. 91 ).

In the final analysis it is the colonial system that pits the Administrator against the local leader, and whether the Administrator be English or West Indian, it is against him that the wrath of the local leader will be directed especially if the Administrator is not sympathetic to the viewpoint of the local leader. as was the case in Grenada. Since the wrath of the local leader is system-directed and not man oriented, it is not surprising that Carry devoted a large part of his time to fighting the Administrator. What is a trifle surprising is that Singham found it necessary to quality Gairy’s behaviour toward the Administrator, with the phrase. “although the latter was a fellow West Indian” (P. 308 ).

In Singham’s book, the local leader is the hero and the author is careful to point out the differences, bet ween the hero and the possession of charismatic qualities. In any hierarchical ranking of the charismatic leader and the hero, the latter must fill the second spot. The hero generally Ines to impose change from the top rather than through a process of political socialisation. He is able to mesmerise crowd and arouse them but only for brief periods of time. The length of time must of necessity be brief for he merely propagandises the masses instead of meaningfully politicising them. While Singham points out that the hero intentionally does not meaningfully politicise the mass since this would lead to a circulation of mid-elites, in the case of Gairy in Grenada, sustained arousal would have entailed the formation of an organised political party which Gairy tacked. His vehicle, for such short-lived periods of mobilisation, was the crowd.

On occasion the hero may even behave like the charismatic personality. According to Singham, in the colony the hero appears to be destroying order, and while the charismatic personality may be involved in the same type of action, he, however, is doing so “because it promises in some instance to provide a new and better order, one more harmonious with the more inclusive and deeper order of existence” (P. 310). On the other hand the hero has to resist reducing anxiety permanently or the conditions that lead to such anxiety “for it is tile manipulation of anxiety that enables him to maintain control over his cadres and the mass.” (P. 314).