By Obika Gray
Gray's primary thesis asserts that the Jamaican country is a kind of predatory kingdom that comes with contradictory social forces into an association that's hierarchical, frequently brutal and finally debilitating to democracy. He introduces a chain of constructs to aid this argument, however the extra attention-grabbing and novel theses are to be present in his vibrant description of the social forces that face up to the predatory country and the way they've got carved out a modicum of autonomy in accordance with what he describes as an intricate worth procedure of "badness/honour."
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Additional info for Demeaned But Empowered: The Social Power of the Urban Poor in Jamaica
This commitment to the concerns of the poorer classes demonstrates that the parties and the trade union leaders were not going to be the mere captives of propertied groups. By the late 1940s, therefore, the struggle for power combined two contradictory impulses: political victimization and violence against sections of the poorer classes, and active solicitation of the social and labour rights of the poor and the extension of a problematic patronage to them. This was the subtle but gradual purchase on power that sections of the urban poor began to win for themselves.
The intensity of this early antagonism therefore found sections of the urban poor arrayed against each other like two hostile “national” communities. Each became a “proto-nation”, determined to hold onto its sacred exclusivist rights, ready to demonize its opponent, and poised to back up this antipathy with naked violence. Third, the struggle for power in the 1940s not only produced a violent fanaticism among partisans, but also saw the direct sponsorship of violence by the political parties and their complicit leaders.
Their social power has altered the dynamics of power relations, but not always in ways that permit the urban poor to unilaterally dictate outcomes to the power holders. Paradoxically, then, the urban lower class – the most rebellious and feared social stratum in postcolonial Jamaica and nemesis of the powerful – finds itself in a checkmated situation anchored in the very marginality that gave them a purchase on power. Such debilities are matched, however, by predicaments of the predatory state.
Demeaned But Empowered: The Social Power of the Urban Poor in Jamaica by Obika Gray