Sunday, 16 July 2017

DRAFT Dancehall Republic - The Resistance to Jamaica


I live in a twin dimension nation called " Dancehall Republic and the State of Jamaica" otherwise called "Jamaica and The Resistance".

We are like a bowl of Lucky Charms breakfast cereal, an immiscible shakeup of bland oats and multi-coloured marshmallows, rather than a bowl of cornmeal porridge with all of the ingredients perfectly cooked.

I am Jamaican but also a member of the moderate wing of The Dancehall Nation.
In her erudite chapter, Out of Many, One Dancehall, from the book Dancehall, from Slave Ship to GhettoDr Sonja Stanley-Niaah rounds up many useful perspectives about what Dancehall is, and sets out an accretion: 
Jamaica clings to heroes who built their names on collective goals and standards such as sports administrator Herb McKenley village leader Nanny of the Maroons; gentrifier of the Jamaican language, Louise Bennett Coverly; and reggae crooner and symbol of gentle Rastafari, Bob Marley. 
Pelinco - Que provoca Discordia y discussion e incita al alboroto

"Who do you say that I am?"
The constitution of Jamaica is one bundle of laws that were revoked and others that were renewed as at August 6, 1962. There is no vision statement, so in effect, this act removed the rule of the UK, and firmly established rule by an oligarchy which remains today.

"Dancehall is space, culture, attitude, fashion, dance, life/style, economic tool, institution, stage, social mirror, language, ritual, social movement, profile, profession, brand name, community and tool of articulation for, especially, inner city dwellers, who continually respond to the vibe expressed through the words, 'without dancehall a wha we woulda do, reggae music call we must answer to..."
So Dancehall is more than music, it is an unwritten constitution that values individuality, excess, the extreme, and the intense. The nation declares that you have the right to express yourself and to take what you want from life, for nobody is going to help you. Be fabulous, offend, but do not, EVER, be boring. Any diminution of self-expression, such as false cultural marks of decorum or modesty have absolutely no place in The Dancehall Republic.
The oligarchic State of Jamaica upholds the motto "One God, one aim one destiny". It is an outlook that declares that human progress requires community livity and respect for nature.
The National Anthem of Jamaica is written from the point of view of a benevolent patrician in subservient conversation with a supreme male deity, and ending with a call for justice for the collective. This song is meaningless to us, we ignore it, and find it boring and somewhat pathetic.
The Dancehall constitution begins: Every person shall have the right to free determination of his or her personality. Big up yuself my yute.
The Dancehall anthem is is Buju Banton's "Untold Stories" that starts with "I" and describes an unending struggle.
Because of wide differences in our values, our two nations are not cohabiting well. We, The Dancehall Nation, are continually being assaulted by Jamaica's restraints on our self-expression. We leave the bun dem out culture to religious Jamaicans of all creeds and instead - as a matter of self defence and bare survival - will spit our most corrosive vitriol and repel all smalling-up of us on this here former land of the damned and slave colony island. We are The Resistance and the true inheritors of every single man, woman or child who defended himself or herself against all forms of oppression from the abuse of the Tainos to the child abusers and corrupt officials of today.
The unofficial Jamaican academy for culture do not realise that their declarations do not concern us. Keep your ackee and North Sea codfish, village mento and gerreh, Indian madras fabric, Boys and Girls Athletic Championships, security industry wreath laying ceremonies, Nyuu Testiment (Patwa Bible), Grand Gala and pantomime. You cannot speak for The Dancehall Republic, the resistance.
The Dancehall Republic does not participate in that collective memory bank of ancestral worship, our nation is a means of mental survival for the 40% of residents of Jamaica who understand clearly that only a moral fight will allow us to  achieve our aspirations.
We do not need stories of our grandparents for inspiration. We have our international brand Usain Bolt; the unshackled manifestation of Our Lady of Dancehall - Saw; and our purveyor of reachable dreams and fantasies car-tel. 

The resistance that we now call Dancehall Nation started when Juan Lobolo used his wits and might to create a sustainable platform for his family, first with the Spaniards by routing the British, then with the British by routing the Spanish. He is immortalised with the name Juan de Bolas Mountains.
In her blog post, The Slave Trade, Maroons, Windscreen Wipers and Reparations: I Want to Know , Kelly Ogilvie McIntosh said of our ancestors, "Their survival was due in large part to their own skill at bush and jungle war craft....These fearless braves secured their own survival at the expense of other runaway slaves who were seeking a way out of slavery and who also headed for the hills." Then Mrs McIntosh asks, "What role did our own really play in our history, in our enslavement by Europeans, in our forced journey to the west?

But there is no reason to ask what you already know.

The list of black bodies that were carried in by The Resistance includes Jack Mansong, Sam Sharpe and Paul Bogle. These are legitimate political and economic outcomes so that our ancestors could survive in hostile conditions. We did not only do it with a sharp edge, we did it with intel and networking.

Intel and Networking
Because of her training in storytelling, Amina Blackwood Meeks has come close to understanding how we became mentally strong. In a Gleaner article in 2005, she records, Ananse as "de one what was a important part of we pre-Columbian socialisation, de one dat help we survive nuff atrocities over 500 years." 

The soft among us only heard amusing stories, the ambitious among us understood the value of wits and intel and networking, and this gave us the heart to break out of Lobby's estate in 1673, and establish our first garrison in Jamaica's mountainous backbone.
We, the Dancehall Nation are expanding in number with one driving desire, to achieve our personal goals. We have no quarrel with the state of Jamaica. Jamaica, on the other hand, continues to crave our assimilation or plot our extermination.
The Problem With Marcus Garvey
Both nations pay lip service to black racial pride promoter, Marcus Mosiah Garvey. 
The Resistance does not have the luxury of embracing the philosophies of Marcus Garvey, we have to use every mental muscle and physical flesh and bone to deal with our survival, and for those who we love. We will not be bound by conventions on physical appearance, much less attire. The body is our temple to do with as we wish, to associate with whom we wish and to decide our own individual moral standards. Again, we will not be passive in bluntly shredding all those who speak failure to us. 
What does The Resistance Want?
We do not want to gain control of government, Jamaicans want that, we leave it to them. As we have the allegiance of 80% of Jamaica, we are not at risk of being exterminated, but in trying to rid themselves of us, Jamaica will only hurt itself and stall its progress. Make no mistake, we will summon up the blood, lend the eye a terrible aspect; set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, bend our spirits to their full height.  *
For Jamaica and The Resistance to cohabit this island, Jamaica needs to rapidly deliver a decent standard of living and youth opportunities for the vast majority of the islanders. This has been elusive since the encounter between the Europeans and the Taino people.
Jamaica's 2011 Population and Housing Census said that the island has just under 40,000 squatter settlements, and 1/5th live below the poverty line. In February 2017, the PIOJ is reported to have said that the poverty rate is 20%.

Although 80% of Jamaica is not said to be living below the poverty line, the pop culture of The Resistance / Dancehall Republic is very captivating for youth, and so residents of Jamaica are attracted to its cultural output. They do not understand the dancehall philosophy of resistance for survival. In fact, very few who enjoy the music and the styles and the atmosphere of The Dancehall Republic would actually want to live, work, raise families, do business and grow old within the core of its sphere. 
The Dancehall Republic, although not lacking in youthfulness, will not mature from is current state. The loudest and most strident proponents lean to Jamaica for the future of their children. They send them to conservative schools, they seek to live within the exclusive enclaves instead of established garrisons of their compaƱeros.
When members of the Dancehall Republic break through politically, or economically, they leave The Resistance, and start their tentative discovery of Jamaica, their mythical dreamland.

Tommy Lee Sparta as quoted in the Jamaica Star July 18, 2017
"Mi wish mi did more brighter right now. Mi educated, enuh, like mi smart and mi can represent miself, and if yuh talk to me yuh will know that. Mi can read and write, enuh, but mi wish mi did more educated," he said.
According to the deejay, an advancement in his education would benefit his music, especially since dancehall has evolved lyrically over the years.
"Music nowadays a education and literature. Mi wish mi did pay attention to literature because a since mi big, mi realise how important it is. That's why mi kids dem go good school. Mi can't keep up with the parent and teachers meeting, but mi will go graduations," he said.
Tommy Lee Sparta also said that his children have no choice but to attend school whether they like it or not.