Prime minister, statesman, party leader, trade union organizer, journalist and author, Michael Manley is also a native Jamaican, born to a generation which has lived through that island nation's successful effort to attain independence. The dimensions of that independence, the architecture of Jamaica's two-party system, and the economic and foreign policies that have brought growing resilience are each a Manley legacy.
As one of the founders and organizers of the People's National Party 30 years ago, he became its president in 1969 and still serves. A leader in the Jamaican Parliament, a former Prime Minister, and Senator, he has also been a working journalist, a trade union organizer, and is the author of a half-dozen books which address the needs of his emerging homeland, and Third World nations everywhere.
In the turbulent and changing world of today's Caribbean, he has become a steadfast figure, known and respected by heads of state on both sides of the Atlantic. A self-professed idealist whose career in public service has been directed toward the politics of change, Michael Manley has never quit his battle for the equal treatment of every nation and all peoples. "The more I have thought about the morality of politics," he wrote recently, "the more there has emerged for me a single touchstone of right and wrong: and this touchstone is to be found in the notion of equality."
As an architect of strategy in a post-colonial society, our discussion leader has worked most of his long career to replace his homeland's psychology of dependence with a spirit of individual and collective self-reliance. Observers of his effort will tell you he has succeeded where many others would have failed.