WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

Things Awry in the House of Red

Political identity ?With elections in play many are anxious, even panicking over ALP’s present state; and are wondering why the party can’t get its act together.

An allegory may help.

Two loosened wheels bring a car to jagged halt! Frantic driver retrieves runaway wheels and begins search for missing wheel nuts. Hours of fruitless looking make him realize he’s in front the mental asylum; and that the ongoing argument is actually an inmate in serious dispute with himself.



Sometime thereafter, the erstwhile voice breaks off back and forth tiff with self and says: “hey you; stop wasting time. Take two nuts each from remaining wheels and use them to put back on other wheels. You’ll have two nuts on each wheel; when you get into town buy more”.

Clearly, things are awry in the House of Red. Can ALP convince voters that smarts compensate for insanity; and they can be put back into gov’t- albeit with ‘two nuts on each wheel’?

No need for this column to rehash ALP’s bizarre discordant self destructive theatrics; except to bemoan the morass each ensuing episode brings.

How is it a party with rich legacy and heritage- tied inextricably to A&B’s birth as a nation, can find itself in such shambles of dispute, disrepute and disrepair?!

Perhaps in some perverse, even deliberate way party principals plot, thrive and depend upon the turmoil. How else does one explain high levels of institutional energy being sapped by recurring schizophrenic meltdowns while little attention is paid to underlying cause of their organizational psychosis?!

The prevailing surreptitious mindset might very well be to later use responsibilities, power, and plums of gov’t to correct and/or corral dysfunctions. Little do they realize gov’t was the very source of the party’s institutional decadence!

The party is obviously immensely smart; yet is collectively un-insightful; perhaps even delusional. Members live under the false truth of practicing party politics when in fact they’re not- And seem set to continue the illusion with little hope of reality breakthrough!

And no, the leadership issue, as defined by many, is not the genesis or sum of the problem. The malfunction goes much deeper!  Still, the good news of ALP’s sad state is that every problem has a history- which rightly analyzed can help rectify things!

ALP’s primary problem is lack of cosmology. They have long strayed from disciplines of party politics and have ceased being a political party.

There is no structure to their order; no order to their structure. The present amorphous reality called ALP is a club at best- even a gang; but definitely not a political party. That is the sum um bonum of their malady! They’re broken at the very foundation; fissured at the core.

What the ALP has become can only be explained by 28 unbroken years in gov’t. Those years took a heavy toll on the party as a political entity. Over that period the gov’t incrementally and imperceptibly devoured the party’s political identity- ate it all up!

The unceremonious kick from office in 2004 did not destroy the ALP. By then there was nothing left; the party was already just a shell. It had been slowly cannibalized and sacrificed through the wheeling and dealings of governmental transactionalism!



A political party is by very nature a transformational entity driven by ideals, values, visions and philosophies; and held together by an enduring transcendental ethos of collective passion, discipline, commitment, and sacrifice- All for the greatest good of people and country.

A government, on the other hand, is an out and out unrepentant transactional beast; operated within the candor of backroom wheeling and dealing, give and take; even callous midnight massacres of take down and take out- usually driven by selfish profligacy of power and greed!

Against this backdrop, and within SIDS contexts, two crucial observations are important:

1.  A party is essential for constraining and influencing a gov’t. The more this happens, the more gov’t conduct will demonstrate values driven behavior; and the more likely that party will remain intact after gov’t. However, for obvious reasons, the longer a gov’t retains power, the more likely it will consume its party.

2.  While it might not always be practical to run a gov’t in keeping with party ideals; it is definitely inadvisable to run a political party with machinations and strategies of gov’t behavior.

In various contexts, some manage gov’t Vs party dynamics better than others. My assessment is that the ALP was and continues to be on the wrong side of both crucial observations above.

First, their big sin of omission while in gov’t was not allowing the party to maintain its homeostasis and identity. The gov’t consumed the party until eventually there was no moral fiber left in the equation. This was pretty easy because party officers were either gov’t principals themselves; or if not, were too heavily dependent upon gov’t favors (for survival) to have been honest barometers.

Second, prime movers within the ALP have refused to unlearn survival tactics they practiced within a fiercely competitive cabinet- with little awareness such tactics are ill suited for rebuilding and restoring the party while in opposition. Their big sin of commission is continuing to practice individual survival smarts instead of the collective insight needed to resuscitate the party for reentry into gov’t.

To-date ALP has not rediscovered its soul and pedigree. And it won’t be able to return to party politics until it does. Small wonder ALP hasn’t been able to replenish its stock of trust with the people; and can’t romance and seduce the population anymore! To do these a party must have passion and ‘soul’. The ALP lost both a long time ago and is doing absolutely nothing to regain them.

To rise from the ashes and save itself from itself, the ALP must urgently revisit its roots; and reestablish authenticity by rediscovering its reason for being- why it exists! In short, the critical task is to ensure each person, from captain to cook, i.e. Comrade Leader to Branch Activist finds party ‘religion’ again- and comes away not only singing; but living: “it’s a great change since I’ve been born”!

I am sure there are people ‘within the bowels of Labor’ so to speak, who remember the glory days and the emotional commitment called forth.

When men, women and youth across all party organs kept the faith, the belief; the trust! And I am sure many young people remember their parents giving their all for something they believed in. Don’t hearts burn and yearn to rediscover that passion?!

The good news is: cords that are broken can vibrate once more! It is not too hard to kick start a revival towards true party politics within ALP once the will to do so exists!



Short of that nothing can help the party. There is nothing ‘sexy’ or compelling about its present hollowness. Members will continue to be individually smart; but collectively insane- fighting themselves while muttering the empty word “comrade”; and hoping rapprochement will get them into government.

Interestingly, ALP’s distasteful public skirmishes are rationalized as signs of true party democracy- just another indication of deliberate collective delusion. Group dynamics suggests three stages of healthy in-group vibrancy: 1. Debate, 2. Dissent; and 3. Re-group. Repeatedly ALP only gets to stage two; all because they’ve not gotten back to being a genuine political party.

Unless and until prime ALP operatives let go of transactional gov’t mentalities and embrace transformative party modalities nothing they try will work. New candidates will only receive the worst kind of mentoring political neophytes can hope for. They will just be contaminated and/or marginalized; not groomed.

Getting back to the rudimentaries of party politics must be priority #1 for the ALP; or it will forever lack the glue of a genuine sensible cosmology! Nor will it ever possess the collective insight to unshackle itself from the curse of self destruction – And of course will forever remain an easy target for strategic UPP exploitation.
 
Raymond S. Edwards, Ph.D. Organizational Psychologist & Minister of Religion- is an International Development Consultant and Executive Leadership Specialist.

Author’s Note: This is 2nd of a three part essay series- Part I: Things Fall Apart: Can the Gov’t Survive? Part II: Things Go Awry in the House of Red. Part III: On Crisis & Cure: It’s Your Time A&B!)
 


                 

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14 Comments In This Article   

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...make that move...

#14 Jumbee Picknee » 2012-05-21 16:24

GASTON, MEK DE MOVE, NO FRAID. WE HAVE DE POWER FU TRANSFORM OUR NATION. YOU HAVE BEEN AN UNDERSTUDY LONG ENOUGH...vere
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Jumbee Picknee

ALP Civil War: The War of Gaston’s Succession

#13 PLM » 2012-05-21 13:47

The ALP was never a political party. It was and continues to be a Bird sham whose only purpose is the perpetual supremacy of the Bird clan. Gaston “smack down” Browne has upset the bird’s nest with his presumptuousness (“only the birds can run Antigua”). There can be no peaceful transition in the ALP, Gaston will have to cut off the head of the Bird faction and kill it.
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PLM

Well Said - Dr. Edwards

#12 Son of the Soil » 2012-05-21 10:07

Dr. Edwards, in his discourse, has aptly and effectively addressed the fundamental challenge facing the ALP. As I read the article it struck a chord of nostalgia within me and served as a reminder that when values are eroded there is a domino effect on every fiber of our lives. And we dare to wonder why our country is beset with 'ills'? As a child, I admired my father's commitment to the ALP and even aspired to become actively invoved. As an adult, I observed the erosion of the part's guiding priciples and became completely disappointed and disoriented. I made my exit from the ALP and politics as I do not see the other party as a viable option. Our founding fathers must be turning in their graves.
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Son of the Soil

I Share the Sentiments of the 'ALP Sleeper'

#11 Son of the Soil » 2012-05-21 09:41

Dr. Edwards, in this discourse, has aptly and effectively articulated the ALP dilemma. He has struck a chord of
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Son of the Soil

@HC

#10 ANTIGUAN WOMAN » 2012-05-21 09:12

I could not agree more,here is a quote of what is happening here (People can be so Apathetic,they continue to ignore the real "PEOPLE"trapped in poverty-(Daphene Zuniga). It seem some people are soo wrapped up in their eloquent and comfortable life style that they completely ignore or actually forget that there are some persons who find it difficult to get out of bed in the mornings because of what the day brings,and that,s nothing but distress and pain. I fail to see how the ALP is the one who has the burden on their shoulders to prove anything to the public,i also fail to see how the dis-unity,whether perceived or real can influence a person trapped in the scourge of poverty to keep voting for the ones mainly responsible for their situation.We must be either Illiterate or we enjoy suffering,These people with all their education,just needs to step down from their high ladders and place themself for a few moments in the lives of a young woman who has no Job, cannot pay her rent or feed her Children,they just need to get real.
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ANTIGUAN WOMAN

@Reality

#9 oversee » 2012-05-21 08:08

You ask, 'what should be done with the (now 30 year old infant) and the irresponsible parent': answer, look into your mirror and see how the infant has matured then take a trip to Texas to have a fond look at your parent who ran the ponzi scheme and ask him why he didn't tell you he was taking you for a very bumpy ride to nowhere. Funny how greed can twist a grasping hand and muddle an undeveloped mind such as yours, really!!
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oversee

ALP/UPP

#8 Slapping Hand » 2012-05-21 07:31

This article could easily describe the present UPP Government's behavior in office!

ALP needs new leadership to return to its glory days!
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Slapping Hand

RE: Things Awry in the House of Red

#7 STEVE » 2012-05-21 07:26

Who is this guy? Instead of him concentrating on WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW he talking some stupdness (in my opinion). He really thinks that the A.L.P. have learned NOTHING AT ALL from being in the political wilderness? Have he ever been in anykind of wilderness and is he saying if he has, he has learned nothing? I just find this so foolish. We are dying now and he talking some stupidness.
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STEVE

RE: Things Awry in the House of Red

#6 Reality » 2012-05-20 23:56

An allegory may help.

Imagine an adult, frustrated with a crying, disobedient, petulant infant, decides to shove it out of the house.

After thirty years, the infant has grown (but unsurprisingly not developed) and has been engaged in terrorism (both state, and non-state sponsored), illegal internet gambling, and ponzi schemes.

What should be done with the (now 30 year old) infant, and the irresponsible parent?
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Reality

where is the other choice.

#5 HC » 2012-05-20 21:18

Given the option to vote for a so called divided party,tried and proven or one that cause you to go to bed hungry without electricity,and running water,to me the latter is not an option.Although i appreciate these Intellectual pieces,i dont think they are really addressing the real down to earth g** root people,or the real problems we face,which is bigger than any politician.The upp is a tried and failed experiment,voting for them again would be like committing suicide,give me the divided party please.
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HC

Insightful? Really?

#4 Thinking Big » 2012-05-20 18:26

Dr. Newton made the case something ago in one of his commentaries. He specificially address the need for party to grow organically. His model was distance and balance. Parties and governments are not the same though they are interrelated in the Caribbean. So there must be distance for parties to serves as corrective resources to governments. There must also be balance as members of parties serve in the government and the other way around. As he discussed this balance require that MP both deliver on the government level while keeping the constituency which is the lifeline of the party alive and well. Nothing new from Dr. Edwards. This commentary promises more than it delivers in terms of depth of analysis and new insight and relevant application.
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Thinking Big

A few bad apples!

#3 Wadada Obancho » 2012-05-20 17:27

Dr Edwards is telling us in a very academic way , how to fix the house of Labor. It all goes back to leadership . The current Alp leadership has been compromised by too many old issues. Dr bs has his blue eyed mole in the house of labor ,who he has successfully used to diffuse the fencing and Chinese generator issues. Unless labor elect a new a fearless leader ,Dr bs will continue dividing the country and the labor party.
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Wadada Obancho

the fix must be applied to the family

#2 tenman » 2012-05-20 10:29

What the writer described is an organization issue which needs to be fixed. The problem is that it is a deeper societal problem. If one were to read an article by Hillary Beckles, Cricket Cash and Country, the same problem will be seen. Its now all about the individual. All these problems come from the fact that we have too many broken families. Its from the family we learn how to function in an organization or society. The root where the fix needs to start is at the family level. Anyone ever wonder why VC Bird was called pappa Bird?

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tenman

Pastoral Stuff

#1 ALP Sleeper » 2012-05-20 07:36

Great, great job Dr Edwards! Today you were pastoral. My parents grew me a Laborite but I became disenchanted and dormant. I remember when ALP was the ALP. We knew who we were and what we believed in; and we lived and sacrificed for it. To be honest I feel ashamed at what our party has become. All I am seeing is ‘cash and carry’ behavior. I only hope leaders read and absorb what you have said. If the party returns to itself; I will return to the party.
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ALP Sleeper

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Dr. Raymond S Edwards


 Dr. Raymond S. Edwards is a Columbia University trained organizational psychologist & international development expert; as well as a New York state certified staff development and training specialist. His consulting services include Cabinet retreats, Executive Team workshops and Organizational Change seminars. He is also an ordained minister, qualified educator, prolific writer and motivational speaker.

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