Michael Manley was born on the 10th of December, 1924 in the parish St. Andrew, Jamaica and died on the 6th of March, 1997 in the capital of Jamaica, Kingston. He was a politician who served three terms as prime minister of Jamaica (1972-80 and 1989-92) and was a powerful champion of Third World issues (Manley: A Legend in His Time). He was the son of noted sculptor Edna Swithenbank Manley and national hero Norman Manley, the founder of the People's National Party (PNP) and Jamaica's prime minister from 1959 to 1962 (Michael Manley Biography). While attending Jamaica College, the colony's exclusive secondary school. Manley excelled mostly in athletics, but showed early signs of his rebellious nature by publicly challenging the authoritarian approach of his headmaster and ultimately he resigned from the college (Manley: A Legend in His Time). Following service in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, he attended the London School of Economics, where he studied with socialist Harold Laski (Jamaica Calling). According to biography.com he worked as a freelance journalist in London, Manley returned to Jamaica in 1951 and went to work for "Public Opinion", a leftist weekly newspaper. He soon became active in the trade-union movement, attaining positions of union leadership and gaining recognition as a skilled negotiator. In 1962 he was appointed to Jamaica's Senate, and in 1967 he was elected to the House of Representatives. Two years later Manley succeeded his father as president of the PNP, and when the party won the election in 1972, he became prime minister. In 1973 he was one of the founders of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom), and he cultivated close relationships with Cuba and the socialist countries of eastern Europe and the Far East, a move that did not sit well with the United States and led to a loss in international foreign aid. Manley proved popular with Jamaicans, who nicknamed him "Joshua" after the biblical prophet, and in 1976 he was reelected (Michael Manley). His policies, however, eventually proved to be financially disastrous. Violence between the left and the right escalated, and he lost the 1980 election to the conservative Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labour Party. By the late 1980s, however, Manley had adopted a more moderate outlook and favoured closer relations with the United States. In 1989 he was again elected prime minister. Still claiming to be a socialist, he nonetheless pursued free-market policies and privatized many state-owned enterprises. In 1992 Manley was forced to resign because of poor health. He later died in 1997 (Michael Manley).
National Contribution and Impact
Being influenced by Harold Laski, he gravitated towards the democratic social ideas that were prevalent in England at the time. Manley came to be dubbed by the sugar workers. Initially a highly nervous public speaker, he grew over the next 20 years of active and successful trade unionism into an impassioned speaker. He also came to acquire a deep awareness of the many social and economic ills, above all the deep-rooted inequality, at the heart of Jamaican society. When Michael Manley came back to Jamaica, he was union organizer and negotiator in the National Workers Union (NWU), which was affiliated to the Peoples National Party (Michael Manley Biography). Being a negotiator for the National Workers Union (NWU) earned him respect from prominent figures in society. The NWU represented a worker at Radio Jamaica, Graham Binns, The Manager at the time, disciplined an announcer, Michael Manley confronted him about it. His exuberant personality had Binns succumbed to his arguments. Binns described him as a charismatic political leader (Payne n.d.). He was elected as Prime Minister in 1972, at this time; seventy percent of the Jamaican economy was already foreign dominated. The mineral industry was completely controlled by multinational corporations. The unemployment rate was 24...
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