In this commentary on Orlando Patterson’s article Jamaica’s Bloody Democracy, in which the recent violence in Kingston is used to draw a link between democracy and violence, Mervyn Claxton argues that Patterson’s thesis is seriously flawed because, inter alia, it accepts Freedom House’s concept of democracy which is wrongly assumed to be universally valid. The principles and concepts of Western political theory are incapable of explaining the political dynamics in countries of the South, which is the principal reason why institutional forms of western democracy have proven so ineffective in promoting genuinely democratic governance in these countries, including the Caribbean. Different modes of governance are needed, as shown, inter alia, by the,   recent demand by Jamaican civil society groups.

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