Workers’ Self-Management in the Caribbean: The Writings of Joseph Edwards

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Joseph Edwards (born George Myers, also known as Fundi, the “Caribbean Situationist”) was a Jamaican refrigeration mechanic and labor organizer from West Kingston. In 1969, he led a wildcat strike and workers’ council at Western Meat Packers in Westmoreland, and was a major organizer of the Unemployed Workers Council and Independent Trade Union Advisory Council.

Image (65)Edwards was a profound critic of electoral party politics and trade union hierarchy and was among the most proletarian political theorists of his generation. His articles and pamphlets survey struggles for workers’ organization in banana and sugar cane fields, bauxite mines, clerical offices, and industrial factories. The first published collection of writings by Joseph Edwards, Workers’ Self-Management in the Caribbean transforms how we understand class struggle during the Caribbean New Left generation.

“[Joseph Edwards] was always involved in a practical way with the struggle of the dispossessed and the exploited for a new world. There was never a moment in his life when he was not engaged with some form of organization whether on the sugar plantation, in the factories or in the communities around Westmoreland. There is no figure in Caribbean radical history of the 1960s and 1970s that I respect more.”
— Bukka Rennie, author of The History of the Trinidad & Tobago Working Class in the 20th Century.

“Matthew Quest has made a tremendous contribution to the historiography of Caribbean labour by collecting together Joseph Edwards’s writings, and introducing this neglected but critical fighter for workers’ power to a new generation of anti-capitalists.”
— Christian Høgsbjerg, Department of History, University of York, author of Mariner, Renegade and Castaway: Chris Braithwaite.

“[A] brilliant analysis of the work and impact of Joseph Edwards, one of the respected socialist thinkers of the Caribbean radical tradition. [Matthew] Quest accurately depicts Edwards as embodying the voice of workers’ self-management and championing direct democracy.”
— Jerome Teelucksingh, Department of History, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago.

Workers’ Self-Management in the Caribbean: The Writings of Joseph Edwards represents the resurrection … of a little known but monumentally significant radical thinker from the early post classical colonial period in the Caribbean.”
— Modibo Kadalie, author of Internationalism, Pan-Africanism, and the Struggle of Social Classes.

“The [Caribbean] region is overdue in giving Joseph Edwards the recognition he deserves as its own piercing voice of the libertarian left.”
— Justin P. Holder, Department of History and Philosophy (Undergraduate), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.

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