It is impossible to speak or write about the British schooling system and its engagement with the post-war Black presence these last 50 years without calling the name, Winston Best, over and over again. Read the rest of this entry →
There is a stirring in the soul of Michael Gove that does not augur well for the nation’s children and the schools to which parents are legally bound to send them. The Secretary of State appears to want to bombard the schooling system with at least one new policy initiative per week. It would not surprise me, therefore, if his next target is ante-natal clinics and the monitoring data they could produce on children yet unborn.
Michael Gove is clearly fixated on the role of schooling and education in determining Britain’s economic competitiveness in the global market. The view of schooling he projects, therefore, is of children who should be regarded as economic units from birth, whom schools should process into products that can guarantee the nation’s economic competitiveness. The ‘independent sector’, as reconfigured by Gove to include academies, free schools and state maintained schools that would mirror the traditional independents, is clearly considered to be better at honing those economic units than local authorities and the voluntary aided sector could.
But the one issue Mr Gove seems determined not to pronounce upon, other than the market oriented utilitarianism of schooling, is ‘what is education for’? Read the rest of this entry →
On 25 October 1983, Ronald Reagan sent 8,000 members of the US Armed Forces to invade Grenada, an island with a population of just over 100,000 people, in an operation which he named ‘American Fury’. It is an operation he had been planning ever since the bloodless revolution of 1979 had displaced the US-anointed tyrannical Prime Minister, Eric Gairy.
Thirty years later, Dr Bruce Paddington, Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, has marked the anniversary of the massacre at Fort Rupert on 19 October 1983 and the US invasion with a truly extraordinary film (see trailer below.) I saw the film on Friday 17 January 2014 at a screening in the auditorium at The British Library, along with some 300 others.
The film takes you on a journey of hope and near despair.
First, one is given a graphic account of the brutal repression of the Gairy regime and its indiscriminate killing of those openly dissenting and challenging that regime, including the murder of Rupert Bishop, father of Maurice who helped plan and executive the overthrow of Eric Gairy while he was on an overseas visit. Ironically, Fort Rupert, formally Fort George which was renamed in honour of the martyred Rupert Bishop, was to be the place where Maurice Bishop and fifteen of his loyal supporters were massacred by machine gun on 19 October 1983.
You then share in the elation, sense of liberation and hopefulness of the Grenada people as they own the revolution and engage in building popular movements (women, youth, senior citizens, farmers, trade unionists, etc.) and local organs of government, including zonal and parish councils and forums for decision making that fed directly into government policy making.
The film explores the human rights record of the People’s Revolutionary Government and includes testimonies from former detainees, including those who sought to organise a ‘free press’, independent of the government and its channels of mass communication. Among those former detainees interviews were the recently voted out former Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas, and the veteran journalist Leslie Pierre. Read the rest of this entry →