Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garrisons: The Frankensteins of Jamaican Politics

Jamaican olitics and ganges are intermingled in urban regions known as garrisons, according to"The Politics of the Garrison in Jamaica: Electoral Manipulation Through Patronage and Violence", by Peter Wright.

Wright provides the followng Takeaways:

  • The term "garrison" describe an area where there is a fanatic loyalty to one political party.
  • The garrisons must be removed from the political process to truly have free and fair elections.
  • The politicians who created the garrisons no longer control them but have some influence over them.

1 comment:

  1. So basically, it's a hollow state in the process of hollowing out.

    "Vote-buying and other means of electoral manipulation, though significantly reduced in each election since 1993, is still problematic. The constituencies plagued by the garrison phenomenon exhibit these electoral breaches more than any others. Except decades ago, when there were major
    geo-political developments, as a result of changes in constituency borders and garrison conflicts, these constituencies have never been won by the opposing party. "

    I don't think they NEED vote-buying - the people know darn well the vote ranks on the usefulness scale somewhere between the daily newspaper horoscope and the lottery ticket.

    The article provides some interesting details, such as the "ward heelers" who are called "area leaders." However, I don't see any way to apply these details to any practical goal.

    I would say something insightful about Irish immigrants to 19th century America participating in machine politics with "ward heelers" but frankly I'm too ignorant of history. My impression is that Jamaica has no demographic shifts comparable to immigration. But representative democracy can easily fail, even without immigration.