None Shall Escape

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For me, half the fun of searching for old vinyl records is found in the unforeseen stories and experiences that unravel with every new record digging adventure. One could argue that hunting for music online similarly uncovers some interesting artifacts, but scour your local flea market or try finding the last remaining record store in town while traveling the globe and you’ll find the computer just doesn’t compare! Here’s a short list of surprises that have turned up in the last year while in pursuit of my next blog entry….

  • Someone’s family photos from the 1920’s, in a record sleeve
  • Hand written song lyrics and love notes, also in a sleeve
  • A toilet plunger used as a 45 rack! (the seller said the plunger was unused)
  • Unopened bottles of whiskey from the 60’s
  • Met an original recording artist from a local funk band from the 70’s, and helped him fix his broken keyboard

And, of course there’s the life stories that every old collection you’re flipping through has to tell. For example, what exactly is going on when you find a sealed copy of a local funk EP in a collection full of country records? Or, how about the lone cumbia 45 that was trashed and buried in a pile of Broadway show tunes in pristine condition? Here’s a more recent discovery that surprisingly turned up in a pile of weathered jazz albums.

None Shall Escape is an independently released collection of excerpts, largely from a forum on Caribbean politics, held in San Francisco in 1983. According to The Anarchist Library, the edited commentary belongs to former frontline organizer and workers union activist Fundi. The site features Fundi ‘s writings and includes the following introduction…

The basis for his (Fundi’s) critical analysis of Grenada and the English-speaking Caribbean comes from a history of first-hand experiences with collective revolt in Jamaica.In 1967 he worked as a refrigeration mechanic at Western Meat Packers in the parish of Westmoreland. This area of Jamaica has the largest meat packing plant and the largest sugar refinery in the Caribbean outside of Cuba. Fundi was one of many workers who started the first strike in the history of Western Meat packers when a woman co-worker was fired for refusing to stand in a puddle while working on tile assembly line.

By Jamaican law and institutional practice, workers must keep working while the dismissal of a Co-worker is being challenged. But in this instance, tile meat packing workers spontaneously shifted the fate of rebel workers from union office negotiators to instantaneous strike action.Later in 1968, Fundi again became involved in a six week strike of sugar workers at the West Indies Sugar Company. This led to the formation of a broad-based Sugar Workers Council which took the government and unions by surprise.

The ongoing conflict between autonomous workers action and union/state representation has been detailed by a group of Caribbean Situationists in the LP recording “None Shall Escape.” In that album Fundi describes the resistance against hierarchical, representational forms of organization by Caribbean radicals:

From the start we saw through the fraud of the “independent” unions that ground up the meat packing and sugar factory workers. We decided that the union bureaucracy must stop; that there should not be any mediation between us and the boss for this has been responsible for suppressing confidence in ourselves to take up the total task of ending capitalism. So we took control of our union dies. We developed the capacity for instant strike action. We had meetings on the factory compound and the farms during work hours against the wishes of the boss and traditional unionism. We took control of the canteen. Such actions are the bedrock of direct participation which stands in truth against the lies of centralized leadership.

Wow, we really went down the rabbit hole! If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you now want to hear Fundi speak for yourself?…

– Smokestack

7 thoughts on “None Shall Escape

  1. wow, thanks for reading and how cool that Fundi is your grandfather! is this your first time hearing this?
    just like I wrote about in my posting… you never know what journey a new record might take you on. thanks for reaching out!

  2. A collection of Fundi’s writings, titled “Workers’ Self-Management in the Caribbean,” has recently been published. The book includes transciptions of all of Fundi’s best-known articles and pamphlets. A partial transcription of this LP is also included. Fundi (born George Myers) wrote under many pen names, the most well-known of which was the name Joseph Edwards — this is the name under which the new book is published. Check out the book on the publishers’ website: http://oooabooks.org/books

  3. I remember many a day helping my father Fundi to press freedom pamphlets in the backyard in his mother’s Kingston backyard, he was and still is a great influence on my intellectual development

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