BEFORE THE Jamaican elections last December I visited Clive Dobson, president of the National Workers Union (NWU), at the union’s modest, two-story office amid the Victorian decay of downtown Kingston. Michael Manley headed this union for nearly twenty years before he was first elected prime minister in 1972. Old-timers like Dobson still talk of the resounding ninety-seven-day strike against the state television company in 1964, when Manley, a light-skinned son of privilege, led marches and mass lie-downs at the company headquarters. He exhorted the workers to bring down the “walls of Jericho,” and the workers called him “Joshua.”
As prime minister, Manley enacted minimum-wage laws, compulsory recognition of labor unions...
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