In the early days of political decolonisation (1960s), the climate of Caribbean politics was charged with a sense of national euphoria premised on the promise of liberation from colonial instruction. Seizing the moment and the favourable political mood, compelling public figures such as Fidel Castro, Michael Manley, Forbes Burnham, Cheddi Jagan, Eric Williams, Errol Barrow, Eric Gairy and Maurice Bishop, all to varying degrees, and in their own unique styles, exploited a perceived charismatic endowment, which was woven into the populist politics of the time. In the process, they experimented with the ideas of empowerment and self-determination with a view to winning and cementing the loyalties of their followers.
‘Caribbean Charisma’, employing Marx Weber’s treatment of the bases of political legitimacy (charismatic, traditional and rational-legal), assesses the degree to which the concept of charisma is relevant to an appreciation of the political triumphs and successes o the leaders in question, and examine how these modern leader were able to utilise their charismatic qualities in pursuit of specific ends.
This book is an original and timely approach to understanding the nature of political leadership in the Caribbean, and is intended for all interested in the nature of political succession.