During 1981, just prior to NJAC's first entry into electoral politics, the party organized several People's Parliaments throughout the country discussing Principles for a New Society.
This programme was held in a number of different regions in Trinidad and Tobago. These included John John, Laventille, Belmont and Maraval in the North, St. Joseph, Arouca, Arima and Sangre Grande in the East, Felicity, Enterprise and California in Central, Debe, Penal, Point Fortin and Princes Town in South, Rio Claro, Guayaguayare, Biche and Mayaro in the South East and Bon Accord, Moriah, Glamorgan and Scarborough in Tobago.
After brief introductions by NJAC speakers, the microphone would be open to all, regardless of political persuasion, to make their contribution.
“We want a society whose ideological basis must be MAN. We do not want a society whose ideological basis is the machine, whose ideological basis is money, whose ideological basis is profit. What we want is a society whose ideological basis is Man. YOU, YOU, YOU, where each and everyone has an importance, where the society is geared for the maintenance of you; where everything in the society is geared towards the care of you, where all funds, all resources must be utilized with one consideration: to make you happy.
“We do not want a society which is built on individualism and which is based on the exploitation of man by man…
“We want a society built on the psychological basis of Man so that the old person who has given his life to the society can be cared for; the child who is coming up will be seen as the fruit of the nation to be nurtured; the man and woman would be provided with food, shelter, education, clothing and employment. And in return we demand of that man that he give of his best.”
For most of its history, the political life of Trinidad and Tobago was controlled absolutely from abroad. There is one slight difference between the islands in that up until 1898 when Britain joined them in one state, Tobago had a limited representative institution, the House of Assembly. But this was exclusively for the white planters and it was a powerless body, the most it could do was make recommendations to the colonial government.
This is completely within the logic of how the society was conceived by those who founded it – the colonial powers. It was not really seen as what you would call a society. It was a collection of labouring human chattel under the management of white settlers to serve one purpose - turn the resources stolen from the indigenous peoples into riches for the ‘mother’countries. Emancipation brought no change to this vision, just different legal and social forms to achieve the same end.
Caribbean society is the most artificial of societies. Here the colonial regime was not a matter of an indigenous economic system subverted by Aliens or an indigenous people subjected by Aliens. The indigenous system was wiped out, just as the indigenous people were virtually exterminated, making the region a geo-political entity without roots beyond Slavery.
This was a pure creation of colonialism – an implanted economic system run by settlers and transplanted peoples. Some came here to exploit. Others were brought here to be exploited. There was no common purpose or pretence of common purpose. The economic system was built on the most naked forms of exploitation. Its undisguised purpose was to provide a haven for high profits for metropolitan investors, profits which went into the building of their countries.
The growing effectiveness of political and labour organization of Blacks (Africans and Indians) brought some thin disguises to this pure ideology of exploitation in the early twentieth century. The idea that the economic system also had some responsibility for the needs of the people received official legitimacy – in word if not in deed.
To understand Culture is to understand Man. The process of cultural development is the process which leads to the development of a unique personality, a unique identity in a human group.
“Man’s culture develops in his search to satisfy his needs at the most basic level and in his pursuit of quests, which are not directly aimed at satisfying the most elementary biological and spiritual needs, but quests which assume importance based on the historical development, conditioning and situation of a group.”
The whole process if interaction between Man as he is evolving culturally and his changing environment is a very complex one.
THE SOCIETY MUST AS A CONCEPT BELIEVE IN THE EQUAL WORTH OF EVERYONE OF ITS MEMBERS.
All media of education, formal and informal, must consciously seek to destroy the myths which breed complexes on the basis of race or the materialistic image of man (which equates social and human worth with job and money).
THE SOCIETY MUST ESTABLISH REAL EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY
There is no point in claiming in theory and law that all doors are open to all citizens regardless of class, creed or race and at the same time ignoring the social reality that social, economic and even psychological factors handicap some and advance others.
There are practical measures necessary for equality to be realized:
The legal system has an important part to play in the protection and maintenance of a Just Society.
As it operates now the legal system is far too manipulated by money and influenced by class biases.
The masses of people find themselves outside of its operation. They feel alienated from it and therefore when the individual is called upon to play a role such as a juror, he or she sees it as a burden, a humbug. An accused person sees it as an instrument of coercion that he must fight against.
The only concern in a Court of Law generally is the question of whether a person brought before the court is guilty or not guilty of committing a particular act.
The method of correction is in truth and fact nothing but punishment.