Jamaica, like most third world countries, is awash with many NGOs. These organisations run the gamut from advocating transparency, gender rights, LGBTI rights, Black rights and so on and more often than not are extremely visible and well-funded. They are often seen engaging with the State, pressuring the State or putting on workshops so as to ‘better inform’ the citizenry, an action which is something that, on the face of it, no well-thinking person can object to.
So, in the end, what is wrong with these organisations, what is wrong with these groups doing what can only be described as credible work in canvassing, engaging and educating citizens?
On the face of it, nothing. In an ideal world such actions and groups would, without thought, be greeted with open arms and the general call would be made to engage them. We unfortunately don’t live in utopia, and the groups which, on the face of it, promote good, decent issues and even publish half decent work are almost always compromised and in such a critical way that it makes any good work they were doing immaterial and marks them as enemies of people truly seeking a lasting change — a change which can only be achieved through defeating imperialism.
Groups such as the NIA, CAPRI and many others may do ‘decent work’, but publishing a report, for example highlighting poverty in Jamaica and ways to solve it are made meaningless and suspect when the group doing it not only accepts money from entities such as USAID or the British and EU equivalent, but promotes State Department talking points and agents who overthrow democratically elected governments seeking to implement the very same measures laid out in the reports. It is pointless demanding greater transparency and more democratic process if your financial and political muscle comes from a group which has as its agenda the destruction of movements and parties seeking to enact such laws.
In life, choices are made, and sides are taken, this is the way of the world. These groups, by accepting the blood-soaked money of these nations, have taken a side and it is the side of the things and actions which they purport to be against. There can be no other excuse. If it were a case of not having visibility they could have worked with the myriad groups currently in existence and built a truly meaningful coalition. If it were fear of not being taken seriously then it shows that they are not that bright, as a group made up of locals educated on the issues would only be effective in getting its points across to the State.
No, these groups have done this devil’s bargain for one of two reasons, either they wish to have the big payday and cushy office and are not open to slogging on the ground to get their agenda across, or they are actively trying to lay groundwork to undermine truly progressive and left-wing movements in the nation. Either one is awful, either one is grounds for total disavowal, shunning and tainting your every action with the suspicion that you might very well be a cover in order to tear down any future government not to the global behemoths’ liking.
This may seem to be farfetched, the paranoid ravings of a stoner who has had one too many hits. But upon closer reflection and reading such conspiracy rags as the New York Times, or The Guardian, we see where NGOs as far afield as China, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Russia, Iran (you see a pattern) and many more, openly engage with members from the embassies of imperialist powers, call for the overthrow of governments and use violence on a scale which is terroristic in nature.
NGOs in Jamaica that have taken State Department money have taken the side of the rapist in Bolivia, they have taken the side of the lyncher in Venezuela, they have taken the side of the British Imperialist flag-waving Hong Kongers who beat to a pulp people coming from the mainland. They have taken the side of the Gusano who seeks to overthrow revolutionary Cuba and reinstate Latifundio, and they have taken the side of the monsters who aimed to destroy Nicaragua in a failed coup in 2018. They have taken the side of the people who ousted Aristide from Haiti and continue to support the despot Moise.
This is not hyperbole, this is not melodrama. Facts, at times, can come off that way, but nothing listed above is an exaggeration. You cannot be with the people and at the same time take money from and praise their oppressors, that makes no sense and makes you either a hypocrite or a fool and either is enough to ensure that right thinking people stay away from works done by your organizations. These groups knowingly or unknowingly have chosen a side and it is therefore incumbent upon those who oppose imperialism and all forms of bigotry to oppose these groups.
No middle ground can be given in this fight, be it metaphorical or literal, and to maintain alliances or support for these groups is to not only give tacit support to their backers, but also invariably to provide help to those we seek to depose as it provides them with vital information needed on what progressive movements think, feel, and how they act, possibly fatally compromising any future progressive government.
I think though that they have always told on themselves much in the way a poor card player has a tell. For all the noble talk about gender rights, sexual equality, race equality, transparency, democracy and all the other good things under the sun, they never talk about economic justice ensuring that the wealth transfer which currently takes place from poor to rich is reversed or that workers own a share in the means of production, or other types of economic levelling which would go a long way towards fixing the other problems they campaign for. The fact that this issue so basic and yet so unmet that the citizens continue to protest for it, is never addressed — despite taking millions from USAID etc — says it all. These groups have chosen a side, chosen superficial issues and disregarded the larger issues of imperialism, class, and economic levelling and they cannot be trusted.
Liberation has never and will never come with the assistance of the oppressor. True, Lenin said the capitalists will sell us the rope we use to hang them with, but that did not mean that the oppressors would be willing grave diggers. On the contrary, we will have to pay for our liberation, and pay dearly.
The tools will be bought from the capitalists (phones for communication, etc) but they will not go quietly into the night. These people are not our friends, they do not mean us well and any good that does come from them is temporary and merely a by-product of their attempt to keep us in a stranglehold.
We must call this out, demand that they take a stand. They must accept the fact that liberation and equality will not be achieved by working with those who keep us in chains or be condemned as the traitors they are. The lines are drawn, and the die is cast. Now is the time for choices and picking sides and some have chosen the side that continues to oppress the masses, that is their right.
Equally it is our right to call out the contradictions and hypocrisies of these groups and movements, highlight the fact that they are nothing more than glorified fifth columnists and create our own groups which would make irrelevant and useless these foreign-funded organisations.