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Decolonization in St. Lucia

Decolonization in St. Lucia: Politics and Global Neoliberalism, 1945–2010

Tennyson S. D. Joseph
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 240
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    Decolonization in St. Lucia
    Book Description:

    Tennyson S. D. Joseph builds upon current research on the anticolonial and nationalist experience in the Caribbean. He explores the impact of global transformation upon the independent experience of St. Lucia and argues that the island's formal decolonization roughly coincided with the period of the rise of global neoliberalism hegemony. Consequently, the concept of "limited sovereignty" became the defining feature of St. Lucia's understanding of the possibilities of independence. Central to the analysis is the tension between the role of the state as a facilitator of domestic aspirations on one hand and a facilitator of global capital on the other.

    Joseph examines six critical phases in the St. Lucian experience. The first is 1940 to 1970, when the early nationalist movement gradually occupied state power within a framework of limited self-government. The second period is 1970 to 1982 during which formal independence was attained and an attempt at socialist-oriented radical nationalism was pursued by the St. Lucia Labor Party. The third distinctive period was the period of neoliberal hegemony, 1982-1990. The fourth period (1990-1997) witnessed a heightened process of neoliberal adjustment in global trade which destroyed the banana industry and transformed the domestic political economy. A later period (1997-2006) involved the SLP's return to political power, resulting in tensions between an earlier radicalism and a new and contradictory accommodation to global neoliberalism. The final period (2006-2010) coincides with the onset of a crisis in global neoliberalism during which a series of domestic conflicts reflected the contradictions of the dominant understanding of sovereignty in narrow, materialist terms at the expense of its wider antisystematic, progressive, and emancipator connotations.

    eISBN: 978-1-61703-118-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XI-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-7)

    This work explores the impact of global transformation upon the independence experience of St. Lucia, which attained its independence in the immediate post–Bretton Woods order in which a global framework had emerged that afforded little space for a radical shift in the internal role of the state in the postindependence period. Consequently, the concept of “limited sovereignty” became the defining feature of St. Lucia’s understanding of the possibilities of independence (Thorndike 1979a, 603; Lewis 1993, 118–119).

    In this work, the concept of neoliberal globalization is associated, in line with the perspectives of David Harvey (2005) and William Robinson...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Conceptual Issues Sovereignty, Nationalism, and Independence in the Era of Global Neoliberalism
    (pp. 8-20)

    The impact of global neoliberalism on the practice of sovereignty of the independent nation-state has given rise to a wide body of reflection (see, for example, Agnew 2009; Sassen 1996, 1998; Harvey 2005; and Robinson 2004, 2008). The work of Robinson in particular is key to understanding the impact of global neoliberalism for the independence experience of St. Lucia. In contrast to the widely held viewpoint that globalization has brought about the end of the nation-state or the death of sovereignty, Robinson (2008), in contrast, sees the state as being transformed to serve the needs of a transnational capitalist class...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Tentative Anticolonialism Implications for Decolonization under Globalization, 1940–1970
    (pp. 21-50)

    The period surrounding the publication of the reports of the Wood and Moyne commissions of inquiry into West Indian social and economic conditions in 1922 and 1938, respectively (see Cmnd. 1679 [1922]; Cmnd. 6607 [1945]), provides a useful context in which to examine the internal colonial relations of St. Lucia. This period coincides with a phase of economic and social upheaval that sparked the popular nationalist movements in the West Indies. It is in response to these upheavals that the Wood and Moyne commissions were activated and resultant shifts in colonial policy, culminating in eventual decolonization, can be identified.¹ The...

  8. CHAPTER 3 The Politics of St. Lucian Decolonization, 1970–1982
    (pp. 51-81)

    Contrary to popular and academic notions that see small size and economic underdevelopment as arguments against the demand for formal sovereignty (see Jackson 1990; Hintjens 1995), it was the prospects for economic development that underpinned the movement toward formal independence in St. Lucia. While in the late 1960s Associated Statehood was seen as the final resting place of the country’s sovereign aspirations and as being compatible with the territory’s economic development aspirations, by the early 1970s it was seen as inhibiting such development. When the case was made for formal independence, the key to economic development was identified in the...

  9. CHAPTER 4 St. Lucia under Global Neoliberal Hegemony, 1982–1990
    (pp. 82-111)

    Perhaps the most critical feature of the political economy of St. Lucia in the years immediately following the return of Compton to office in 1982, and following the collapse of the Grenada revolution at the wider regional level, was the emergence of local and global realities that sustained Compton’s ideas on the role of the state in its relation to global capital. In short, the global political economy validated Compton’s brand of limited sovereignty, coincidental with the interest of ideological neoliberalism. Thus, while the precarious global economy of the post-1973 period had been used to justify a narrow independence framework,...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Deepening Globalization and the Unmaking of the Postcolonial Order, 1990–1997
    (pp. 112-136)

    A series of global shifts in the 1990s signaled the “emergence of a new world order characterized by the globalization of production and consumption, [and] the liberalization and regionalization of the rule of economic law” (Nurse 1995, 2–3). These changes held far-reaching implications for the St. Lucia banana industry, leading to a process of adjustment that made the question of globalization, in a very direct sense, a “localized” issue for St. Lucians (Slocum 1996). The adjustments included privatization of the St. Lucia Banana Growers Association, the purchase by the Windward Islands governments of Geest Industries’ banana interests in the...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Global Neoliberalism and the Left Agenda, 1997–2006
    (pp. 137-166)

    The period leading up to and immediately following the 1997 electoral victory of the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) witnessed the philosophical repositioning of the party to embrace the objectives of global neoliberalism. This imperative of realignment required a number of responses from the SLP, largely fashioned and pursued by Kenny Anthony, appointed as party leader in January 1997. One of the clearest features of Anthony’s early leadership was a deliberate attempt to transform his party in response to what he perceived to be the new global realities confronting the Caribbean Left and impacting small postcolonial states. Among the immediate...

  12. CHAPTER 7 “Sovereignty for Sale” Domestic Politics and International Relations in the Early Twenty-first Century, 2006–2010
    (pp. 167-186)

    When St. Lucians voted the United Workers’ Party (UWP) into office on 11 December 2006, they did so against a background of having witnessed a largely upheaval-free transition from an economy dependent primarily upon banana production to one based on tourism and services. Given this reality, the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) had contested the 2006 election on the basis of the SLP’s managerial competence, its success in taking St. Lucia through the early pressures of trade liberalization and the onset of a globalized neoliberal economy, and its general success in achieving economic growth and political stability in one of...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 187-192)

    The exploration of the independence experience of St. Lucia reveals that much of the politics revolved around tensions between the local demand for sustaining the economic and political objectives that had given rise to nationalism, on the one hand, and the imperative of adjustment to the largely external demands for adjustment of neoliberal capitalist hegemony, on the other. Central to the earliest impulse for national self-determination had been the issue of economic development and viability and the questions of internal political democracy beyond the historical experience of colonialism. These aspirations were largely seen in the politics of working-class nationalism in...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 193-202)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 203-222)
  16. Index
    (pp. 223-231)