In the context, the way in which New World can reform the role of the intellectual classes and intellectual institutions is by stating what it knows to be true whether or not this angers “the Government” or wins us popularity and support. It may be of interest to note that even to arrive where we have now reached, we once had to take the unpopular decision, (attacked especially bitterly by Guyana activists and Jamaican Young Socialists) to keep the Group as a free Forum, open not just to “real socialists” but to anyone who wanted serious discourse and hard study of Caribbean problems whatever his class or racial origin, ideological orientation, and political affiliation.
None of what I have been saying argues against the need for Groups which would seek to influence the political process in ways different from New World. On the contrary, a decision by New World to stick to its chosen specialization makes it all the more urgent to found organizations which will bring people together to deal with the day-to-day problems with which the economic and political system confronts them. Unemployment, sickness and police brutality cannot be left to take care of themselves.
I dream myself of participating in a massive Caribbean sou-sou. This is something understood by the whole population except for the Governments who are intimidated by the propagandists of the IMF, and the economists, who are brain-washed by Ricardian economics into canvassing patterns of accumulation relevant only to England in the 19th century. Starting small as did the New World, we can aim ultimately to tie this sou-sou to the more pressing needs of the population in housing, education, farm improvement, financing of business, and the like. The concept of “casa money” can be modified and extended to provide a margin to purchase the services of lawyers, agricultural economists, engineers, architects, and all the other skills required to get the communities moving on their own resources instead of waiting for Washington, New York & London to send money as our phony Development Plans are advocating. This may be one of the innovations needed to break the system of foreign branch-banks and financial intermediaries. The option of nationalizing them may be barred to us on military grounds. It is something to be considered. Perhaps that is the task for the next round.
To this end, there is clearly a pressing need for the infusion of technical skills and the stimulation of popular leadership if only because the old order systematically robs the communities of these resources. These inputs of skill and leadership cannot be directly provided by New World as an organization. The individuals in the Group may, if they so wish, decide to work “in the field”. But then their jobs in the intellectual system will only have to be done by others.
What is more, when they go into the field, there is no guarantee that the various political organizations they will found will all go the same way. The achievement of New World will then be to have spawned a number of political movements with some common consciousness of the Caribbean condition. That, I might add, is “a real alternative”,: but groups like New World will still be needed to defend the community against the new orthodoxy.
To conclude, there is some evidence – very slight, admittedly – that the indirect effects of our work are greater than Mr. White allows. The few people with whom we do communicate through our publications are themselves strategically placed to inform opinion in their roles as school teachers, civil servants, journalists, Trades Union leaders and other influential members of the community. Who knows what they are being moved to do? Mr. White has been moved to make his analysis of the situation known to others through the medium of this Journal. Suppose he is able so to reach others who feel like him! There may be other kinds of responses. For instance, the following:
“There is among so many of us who were at U.W.I. as well as among hundreds of other West Indians abroad a tremendous amount of energy, talent, and a passionate longing to be of some effective use at home. But the channels into which all this can be directed are obscured by so many things that we continue to float around these alien cities frustrated, unmotivated, and so useless, that we have little respect for ourselves left. Some people will obviously have to do the work of drawing together and revitalising the wanderers for we don’t all of us have the initial strength or the courage it needs. (NEW WORLD has) …. helped to revive in me a vision and now I will play my part by returning to the only place where I have a function”.
If this is representative or exemplary, and if we are prepared to think in terms of development, need we ask whither goes New World?