What Happens When We Stop Dreaming? Accounting for the Waning of Post-Independence Radicalism

 During the independence period of the 1960s in the English speaking Caribbean, radical thinking and action dominated the socio-political landscape. These expressed themselves through competing approaches to social action and change, with each also subjecting the ideological trappings of power to uncompromising critical analyses. The post-independence period has seen a gradual evanescence of this radicalism without accomplishing the dreams of political freedom and economic equality that animated the revolutionary spirit of the period. In fact, empirical works have shown that economic inequality has increased tremendously, political culture has degenerated, and social action is directed more towards market defined goals than towards age-tested moral ideals. This paper explores two epistemologies of social action and social change: the first underpins the praxis of Walter Rodney, and the second is explicit in the post-colonial imaginary of Wilson Harris. I argue that the isolationist, exclusivist, and competitive nature of these modes of critique are partially responsible for the waning revolutionary spirit. The recovery of radicalism necessitates a practical critique capable of piercing through the enchantment and hegemony of late capitalism and of mobilizing the victims of this hegemony.


Duane Edwards is currently a graduate student at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus.  He is in hi final year reading for a PhD in Sociology.  He has always exhibited a keen interest in understanding the dynamics of society.  He therefore studies and a writes about various social issues in the Caribbean, such as development issues, ethnic conflict, stratification, gender, and social institutions. Consequently, he contributes to a number of conferences and academic publications.