Cannabis as a tool for social transformation: how it all started

Grace Kwinje and Rastafarian

In his book How Europe underdeveloped Africa, pan-African, historian, Walter Rodney defines culture, “A culture is a total way of life. It encompasses what people ate and what they wore; the way they walked and talked; how they treated death and greeted the newborn.

by Grace Kwinjeh

Before the brutal invasion in the name of Western civilization, by Christopher Columbus and others, indigenous peoples of the world, we live their lives, enjoying their cultures without interruption. The violent entrance in communities in Africa, Asia and South America, upset the history of entire indigenous societies through pillaging, mmurder and enslavement.

This story of invasion keep staying vigorously contested in contemporary politics, as Indigenous peoples seek to unravel their individual histories while reclaiming their stolen heritage.

On the small island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the African tree trunk drum and cannabis have for centuries played a central role in the resistance against colonial invasion and continued defiance against it after independence. Eit is have been significant mobilization tools to stimulate social awareness about freedom, for the oppressed classs often leading to violent clashes with settlersClasses.

JThat’s why, as we reflect on history, a conversation about the criminalization and racialization of cannabis SVG offers an important case study for everything radical progressive.

Owhile the role of the drum has diminished, cannabis remains an important tool for social transformation.

Consequently, there is a context for understanding the real anxiety against cannabis cultivation that market forces as directed by major Western countries have nothing to do with doubtful moral justifications they so wish to espouse. Rather, these are part of a historic response to invade and destroy an ancient colonthere’s sovereignty and ability to support themselves, leading to US-funded military invasions destroying entire plantations.

Operation Weedeater under the Clinton administration, who targeted and destroyed weed farms, versus Farmers who had already lost their sources of income in the banana plantations, due to New WTO regulations. More cynical was the attempt to then give more aid in exchange for the destruction of cannabis farms, not to mention reparations for centuries of slavery.

This violence against farmers must be understood in a broader socio-historical context, it did not happen in a vacuum.

Further thexpose deception especially by Western capitalist interests of their apparent goodwill in the destruction of a native ganja farms. I submit that this served as a camouflage for a more sinister violent reply to youthe struggle of social movements for political and economic emancipation whose ideas are rooted in the eradication of racial capitalism.

In this regard, a unique yet inspiring story unfolds in the little Caribbean island of STB. Lhero of the liberation, Joseph Chatoyer would be thead a momentous and unique resistance to the British military invasion in 1762.

NOTbut you have to understand that there was a history and a people before the colonialists, these were divided into Black Caribs and Yellow Caribs, the Garifuna and the Kalinagos who occupied separate sides of the island.

In this historical anecdote after a few years of massive resistance to their invasion, the british armyaccording to some accounts had to use unorthodox methods to lure and assassinate the high king Shimmer in 1seven72. Eventually taking over the islands famous for black gold, rich volcanic soils.

After the “victory”, the British and French still fearful Garifuna reorganizing and taking over their land captured them and “deported” 5,000 to Honduras.

This context of being conquered by the Garifuna people fueled paranoia and conclusions about the mystical regarding the “Black Caribbean”, the use of magical powers, including cannabis, the drum and the church, in particular, the Shakers Baptists became prime targets for violent persecution.

Fast forward

It was a day in May 1973, during a confrontation between the colonial administration and the local Vincentians, during which the leader of Black Power and pioneer of the cannabis trade, Junior Spirit Cottle, was shot in the throat. A tremendous movement had emerged bringing together all groups (indigenous peoples and those brought as slaves.) who were marginalized, suffering deprivation under the status quo.

The fires of revolution were burning around the world from the Caribbean, from the United States to Africa, still fueled by musical legends including Bob Marley. The Rastafari movement has become a powerful spiritual and political engine Obligate for the movements worldwide, offering a new consciousness to the black man to free himself.

IIn Rastafarianism, ganja is smoked for medicinal, meditation and healing purposes, an ancient tradition passed down during the time of slavery by indentured East Indians.

To this day, two decades later, the bullet remains lodged in Spirit’s throat, a reminder of the brutal cruelty he suffered at the hands of this same system he still fights with others. A system that manifests itself in the contradictions encountered in the construction of the post-colonial state, questioning the problems caused by capitalism this time in the field of agroecology and cannabis cultivation.

Build a link on why cannabis, for spiritual and economic reasons Iis at the heart of this fight, as social movements continue to build resistance against capitalist exploitation.

Therefore, the historical progression in resistance from the time of slavery to the present day must be understood in this larger context of total liberation and victory over poverty.

On the fateful mayday 1973 angry colonialistitches would descend into an appearance weird rampage, targeting Drum Movement members, destroying their drums, in a fit of angering them in pieces. The Black Power movement in the Caribbean had revived the use of the African tree trunk drum as part of a broader cultural consciousness for the oppressed classes.

global cCapitalist oppression may seem all-powerful and overwhelming, but it is driven by instability, anxiety and fears, which leads to paranoia.

The fear of the unknown the mystical the spiritual which in the SVG has historically taken a rather tragicomedy turn.

Along with the destruction and the establishment of laws banning drumming, the Shaker Baptist Church is also under attack. They were attacked for drumming, singing and dancing, wilder manifestations of the holy spirit, as some began to sing and speak in tongues. A 2012 ordinance would ban them, leading them to worship underground in the mountains.

The Iindomitable spirit by the Vincentians has a history since they came out of struggles claiming profits in recent years from medicinal ganja. Intrinsically exposes capitalist class manipulations to take control of a people and their resources. To be continued