ARTICLES: THREE CASES OF CONSTITUTIONALISM AND CUCKOO POLITICS: CEYLON, BRITISH GUIANA AND GRENADA

V – CONCLUSION

In the three cases we have examined, several consequences seem to be inherent in colonial constitutions of these types, some of them the opposite of what was intended. To begin with, we find the change-oriented social movements quickly adapting themselves to the limited goals set for them by conslitutionalism. In the cases or Gairy in Grenada and the P.P.P. in British Guiana, we found potentially radical movements becoming reformist within a short period of time. In Ceylon we witnessed the curious phenomena of non-party politics and the adaptation of personality politics to a traditional social order. In every case we found that the introduction of universal adult franchise and electoral politics encouraged electoral machines based on caste or communal lines rather than on political ones. This type of politics also provided a rare opportunity for lower class individuals to be socially mobile in fairly rigidly stratified societies. This often resulted in the unwillingness of the elites to engage in any type of politics that would produce structural changes and siphoned off the discontent of potential radical leaders by giving them a stake in the system.

One of the most important prerequisites for genuine decolonization is the introduction of structural change and a genuine transfer of power. This necessitates conscious attempts to introduce economic and social change by utilizing the power of the state. Any attempt, however, by the political elite to control the economy, naturally results in their alienating the imperial powers. This fear of alienation results in an unwillingness on the part of the elites to decolonize. This further reinforces the politics of procedure. It has produced a generation of politicians who have become convinced that they are actually introducing structural changes in the society. In actual fact they have made “cuckooism” their ideology. They are very wary of conflict and dissent. They emphasize harmony and good manners.

From this a new political culture hero has emerged. He is well dressed, well balanced and well adjusted. He is the cocktail party politician par excellence. His most important drive is to gain acceptance in the international world, whether it is in Moscow or Washington, or decreasingly these days in London. Most of all he prides himself on the fact that he has improved the nation’s image abroad. He genuinely believes that the cuckoo bird is functional, and to prove it he gets foreign scholars to write about his own “enlightenment” and his nation’s drive toward modernity, equality and freedom – until one morning he wakes up and finds that the clock has been destroyed!