LINE OF MARCH FOR THE PARTY
COMRADE MAURICE BISHOP
CHAIRMAN, CENTRAL COMMITTEE
MONDAY 15th SEPTEMBER 1982.
Comrades of the Political Bureau and Central Committee of the Party, Comrades of the Party.
I will like to join with Comrade Strachan to say on behalf of the Central Committee that we are very happy to have all the comrades here this afternoon. As Comrade Selwyn has pointed out, essentially what we want to do today is to deal with the proposed line of march as examined by the C.C. of the Party in the last few weeks.
In our view the line of march needs to take into account four specific features; —
Firstly, the present character and stage of the Revolution. We regard that as fundamentally important. We must decide what exactly is a correct characterisation of the present stage of the Revolution!
Secondly, the line of march must address in a serious way the question of the main tasks facing the Party and Revolution at this time.
Thirdly, we must determine a correct prioritisation of those tasks; we must establish priorities bearing in mind particularly, the comments, criticisms, suggestions, proposals etc. which have been made by Party members and, of course, taking into account the totality of the objective and subjective situation.
The fourth and final factor is the need to emphasise the further development of the subjective factor, the need to place great emphasis and importance on the further development of the subjective factor, that is to say, the Party. In other words, we must look at the Party itself, review the history of the Party Very briefly and deal with the question of criteria for membership into the Party and for remaining as members of the Party.
Comrades, in terms of the character of the Revolution, the first aspect to the line of march, we believe it is important for us to look at this question at this time for several reasons.
Firstly and obviously, because we must as a Party know where we are. As Party members, candidate members and applicants we have to face the broad masses out there; we have to answer questions about where we are, what we are trying to do and so on and therefore we must be able to answer those questions in precise terms. We believe further that there is some confusion on this question, that it has not been sufficiently dealt with in the past and therefore we want today to look at it that much more carefully. It is extremely important for us to get a better understanding of where we are, of what we are trying to build and of how we will be able to build it. That is why we feel that this whole question of what exactly is the present stage is so important.
Before looking at that, a few words on the question of where we have come from, in other words, the inheritance of the Revolution. All comrades know of course that we inherited a backward, undeveloped economy, with a very low level — one can say in fact, a primitive level, of technological and economic development in the country. There was a very low level, and there is still a low level of development of the pro ductive forces, that is, of living hunian labour, objects of labour and instruments of labour. This low level of development of the productive forces in turn resulted in very under developed class formations.
What we have in Grenada primarily of course, is a very large petit bourgeoisie, particularly a large peasantry — the rural petit bourgeoisie — small farmers who own small means of production and who must therefore work as they cannot live off their own plot of land alone. Some of them employ labour; some do not. So a large peasantry or bulk of our rural petit bourgeoisie. Then there is the urban petit bourgeoisie in terms of shopkeepers, garage owners, craftsmen, small restaurant owners and such like. The whole range of the petit bourgeoisie in our country. That of course is by far the largest class formation in the country.
We also have a working class which is very small and made up of agricultural workers based mainly in the rural areas, transport and communication workers on the docks, in telephone, electricity, etc., manufacturing and industrial workers (the smallest section of all) who produce garments, cokes, beer, that sort of thing. Some sections of the working class are employed by Government — garbagemen, the lowest clerical workers, the daily paid workers and so on. And of course we also have the commercial workers. Some of these comrades of the working class are also small owners of the means of production, but do not rely on that to support themselves — at least not as their main means of support.
In terms of the inheritance I also want to emphasise the low cultural level of our population at large as part of that inheritance and in particular the lack of technical skills and technical expertise of the working people. We must emphasise also the 19th century type of capitalist that we have in the country, capitalists engaged primarily in comprador activity, in other words largely in the importation and thereafter distribution of goods. This is a particularly parasitic type of capitalist in the full time service of international capitalism on which they must depend for the manufactured goods which give them their profits. They produce nothing and the vast majority of them engage in no form of manufacturing or industrial activity at all.
As part of the inheritance too, we must also note the very low level of infrastructural development of our country. Further, very backward agricultural development is also part of our inheritance and has relevance to the present stage of the Revolution. This inheritance of ours does have negative implications for the road that we are travelling on, for our objective to build Socialism in our country.
First of all, having a small working class is a very very serious disadvantage because only the working class can build Socialism. We know this is so because the working class is the class that is always growing; in fact, it has been historically, and it still is part of capitalist development that the working class gets larger and larger. Again, it is the working class that is most prepared for organisation and discipline because of having to work every day, having to arrive on time, having to engage in collective organisation and collective bargaining in their trade unions and so on. The working class too owns no means of production, in fact owns nothing except their labour and therefore they are the ones who most of all have to fight to end the oppression that comes about as result of the private ownership of the means of production which of course enslaves them and ensures that their own development is stultified and, finally the working class does have the key role in building socialism because of their role in production.
This inheritance is a problem also because of the large petit bourgeoisie that it has leit us. We of course have that number of petit bourgeoisie in our country precisely because of economic under-development, precisely because capitalist production was so undeveloped that they did not need much labour and therefore people were by large forced to try to make a living however they could and wherever they could. But because the petit bourgeoisie is a vacillating class it is more difficult to build Socialism when there is such a large amount of petit bourgeoisie in the country, precisely because they are in the middle and you have to fight hard to win them. Many of them of course have bourgeois aspirations, many more are deluded and [illeg.] by bourgeois ideology and propaganda and therefore the struggle to win the petit bourgeoisie has historically been a very serious intense struggle in all countries that have embarked upon a path of Socialist transformation.
The question we must now pose comrades is whether a society such as ours with their primitiveness, with so little infrastructure, with so little development of productive forces, with such a small working class can really build socialism. This is a question that many other countries before us have posed and many other countries in the future will continue to pose. Of course, this question arises because socialism requires a good level of development of the productive forces, it requires infrastructural development, it requires agricultural development, it requires industrialisation, it requires a high level of cultural development of the people, it requires an even higher level of political development and political consciousness, it requires central planning of the economy and society as a whole, it requires a serious Marxist Leninist vanguard Party leading, guiding and directing the whole process. All of these things are prerequisites for the building of Socialism, and, of course, the vast majority of these either do not exist at all or are at a very low level of development, at this time. Nonetheless, the answer is yes, it is possible for a country like ours to build Socialism. That of course we all know. It is possible, but the question is how and we think that this can be seen if we examine some of the possibilities or models for economic development in our country.
We believe that there are four main possibilities for economic development of Grenada and countries like Grenada. The first of these is a total private sector free enterprise system of economic development, your Seaga of Jamaica or your Puerto Rico model of development, where free enterprise is given full rein, where the private sector is able to rule uncontrolled. The second model is a total state sector approach where just about anything important is owned by the State, where the State owns virtually everything that matters. The third type is a mixed economy, but with a private sector dominant, and of course, that is the model that we have chosen in Grenada, the mixed economy—state sector dominant type model. But even after having said that, there are still questions of why we have chosen that form and the question of precisely how will that form assist us to build socialism are two such questions that come to mind. Obviously, if we are speaking of building Socialism and we are, then it is clear that our objective as Marxist—Leninist must in the first instance be to construct socialism as rapidly, but scientifically as possible. That being so, clearly we cannot choose the path of capitalism. We cannot choose the path of a total private sector free enterprise model because that will be inconsistant with what we believe in and what we have been and are struggling for. We could not likewise choose that path of the mixed economy, with the private sector dominant because that will have tremendous dangers for the successful construction of Socialism and will have us without the effective possibility of guiding and regulating economic development through the imposition of taxes, the granting of credits and concessions and the use of all arms of the State apparatus. This must necessarily be so because it is, as we know, the objective material basis of the economy that determines and directs the political, social and cultural development of the society as a whole.
Equally, we cannot opt for the total state sector model as the state does not have the necessary material of financial resources, management and skills resources, access to markets, international contacts and so on. All of this should be obvious, but for those who have any doubts, please reflect on the tremendous difficulties that we have in finding the dollars necessary to pay the downpayment to the British Company — Plessey’s — that will be installing the radar, communications and navigational equipment for our new international airport, or reflect on how difficult it has been to find guaranteed markets for our primary products and our agro-industrial products, or how difficult it is to find engineers or architects or science teachers or managers — and note I did not even say good managers, I just said managers. No, it would be impossible at this time for the state on its own to build Grenada.
That, of course, means that an alliance is necessary, an alliance in the first place between the working class and the petty bourgeoisie, in particular the rural peasantry, and in the second place an alliance with those elements of the upper petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie who, for different reasons, are willing to be involved in building the economy and the country at this time.
DEFINITION OF PRESENT STAGE OF GRENADA REVOLUTION
And this leads me at long last to the answer to the question — what is a correct characterisation of the present stage of development of the Grenada Revolution? And the answer, of Course, as we all know, is that the Grenada Revolution is a national-democratic, anti-imperialist Revolution, involving the alliance of many classes including sections of the small bourgeoisie but under the leadership and with the dominant role being played by the working people and particularly the working class, through their vanguard Party the NJ M.
That comrades is how we define the present stage of the Grenada Revolution today. Obviously National Democratic, anti-imperialist means what it says. I did not say a socialist revolution as some comrades like to keep pretending that we have. Obviously we do not have a socialist revolution and it is not socialist precisely because: —
(1) The low level of development of the productive forces. You cannot have a socialist revolution with this low level development.
(2) Our working class is too small and too politically underdeveloped.
For these primary reasons we cannot proceed straight away to the building of socialism but must first pass through a stage where we lay the basis, where we create the conditions, including the socio-economic and political conditions, for the building of socialism and the creation of the socialist revolution, that is, for the full coming to power of the working class. In other words, comrades, what we are into now (this national democratic stage) really means two things. What we are speaking about now is not socialist construction, not the socialist revolution, we are speaking about the national democratic revolution, we are speaking about socialist orientation. So the important things to contradistinguish here are socialist construction the second stage versus socialist orienttation the first stage, which is the stage we are in at this time.
We want to point out too, comrades, that the national democratic anti-imperialist stage can be led not just by the working class, not just by the petty bourgeoisie, but even by the bourgeoisie. It can be led by the bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie or the working class — any of these class forces can lead the Revolution. If it is led by the bourgeoisie, obviously, it could never go on to build socialism — that will be an impossibility; no bourgeois can build socialism. If it is led by the petty bourgeoisie, the only basis on which it can build socialism is if the petty bourgeoisie leadership in the course of the class struggle is transformed into a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist leadership and therefore develops a Marxist-Leninist Party that then guides and directs the process. Without that transformation, it would also be impossible.
Therefore, obviously it is only the working class that can build socialism. It is only under the leadership of the working class, led by a Marxist—Leninist vanguard Party that the process can be completed and we can go on to socialist construction. That is the only time it is possible.
That again, comrades, needs to be understood by us because of its tremendous relevance to the nature of the alliance we have and what we need to do from here on.
This national democratic stage of the revolution has, broadly speaking, two main components — a political aspect and an economic aspect.
POLITICAL ESSENCE OF THE NATIONAL-DEMOCRATIC PARTY
In terms of the political aspect, the essence of that political aspect is the dictatorship of the working people, dictatorship of rule of the working people — that is the essence. This essence implies a change in the balance of forces that presently exists, a change in the balance of forces that will usually be involved in the anti—i1nperialist struggle of the national liberation movements. In other words, in your Angolas, Mozambiques, etc., what you would normally find happening is that there is a class alliance involved in the fight to end colonialism. And that class alliance will involve the bourgeoisie, the petty-bourgeoisie and the proletariat (the working class) – all three.
And in countries like ours, after independence, just like in Grenada today, what you usually find happening is that state power is wielded by an alliance of the bourgeoisie, the petty-bourgeoisie and the working class through a particular Party or combination of Parties, and usually comrades, as you know, the situation is that it is the bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie that is pre-dominant, the combined bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie that is pre—dominant, and the working class is the minority influence. That is the usual situation in countries like ours even after independence. That is what is happening right now. Right through the English-speaking Caribbean — in all of them — you can see that the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie are ruling and that working class representation is very small.
But when countries start to move to develop this essence I was talking about — the dictatorship (or rule) of the working people — is that in the course of class struggle, the bourgeoisie begins to become subordinated and the influence of the petty-bourgeoisie and working class together becomes pre-dominant. In other words a drift begins to take place, at first imperceptible, but gradually observable and at a certain moment when quantity becomes quality, that shin becomes very clear and very noticeable. And at that time, the bourgeoisie becomes the minority force and the petty bourgeoisie and proletariat begin to rule. And when that happens, it becomes the first time at which it is possible to shift the country away from the path of capitalist development, because a combination of bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie pre-dominant necessarily means that the emphasis will be on capitalist development. And equally, once the shift takes place then the potential is there for the first time to begin to move along the path of socialist orientation and away from the path of capitalist development. That comrades, is our situation in Grenada, and that was the situation when we took power on March 15th, 1979.
When we took power on March 15th 1979, as comrades know, we did not take power as an alliance — we took power as NJ M. But within the first few hours of taking power, we tried to build an alliance and we begun to build that alliance for two main reasons: — Firstly to hold on to power in the first few seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks. And the second reason was to defeat imperialism, in the months and years thereafter, because defeating imperialism is a complex process, that requires a political orientation and an economic transformation that involves crushing the rule of the monopolies and of big business in your country, that involves taking control of the commanding heights of the economy and so on. And we cannot do that on our own and that is why the alliance was and is needed.
From the start too, comrades, we had an alliance with sections of the upper petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie right from the word GO. Within the first few hours of the Revolution, we began to put that alliance in place. I can remember all of us making phone calls to different sections of the Petty—bourgeoisie and the National bourgeoisie, inviting them to come down to Radio Free Grenada and in some cases beginning to feel them out as to whether or not they were willing to serve on the ruling council of the People’s Revolutionary Government. I can remember very well that the first set of names we announced for the ruling council was fourteen (14), not twenty- three (23). And these fourteen names were made up mainly (outside of the immediate leadership), of the petty- bourgeoisie, the upper petty-bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie. You remember that? Simon Charles and Sydney Ambrose — peasantry, Bernard Gittens — professional middle strata, Lloyd Noel —- professional middle strata; Palm Buxo and Norris Bain — middle capitalists; Lyden Ramdhanny —big capitalist; that is who the People’s Revolutionary Government was. And this was done deliberately so that imperialism won’t get too excited and would say “well they have some nice fellas in that thing; everything alright.” and as a result wouldn’t think about sending in troops.
That was the mistake, for example, the comrades in Gambia made a few months ago. Remember the Gambia Coup E’tat a few months ago? What was the first thing those comrades did? They say “we are Marxist-Leninists and have just had a Marxist-Leninist Revolution and we go wipe out the bourgeoisie.” The same day they overthrow them — same day, they didn’t even give them three days. So fortunately, NJ M had a little more sense than that. And like I said comrades, the first fourteen names were bourgeoisie, big capitalist, petty-bourgeoisie, middle capitalist, peasantry and professional middle strata — that is who made up the People’s Revolutionary Government. It is only after about a week and a half (if I recall correctly), when we held the Party General meeting in Radio Free Grenada’s studio (and some comrades here would have been present at that meeting) that we finally got around to pulling some more Party comrades. You all remember that meeting down in Radio Free Grenada studio. It was then we chose nine more comrades to make up the twenty-three. But the first set of names were Lyden, Pam Buxo, Norris Bain, Lloyd Noel and so on. That is what I mean by saying that the alliance began from the first few hours and the first few days. And that alliance was and is extremely important.
From our point of view comrades, why do we need the alliance?
We need the alliance firstly, as we pointed out already, to hold power in the first few days and weeks.
We need the alliance, secondly, to consolidate and build the revolution and to ensure the defeat of imperialism. This time we can’t do this effectively without the alliance.
We need the alliance, comrades, because we don’t have enough managers, because we don’t have enough capital, because we don’t have enough international contacts, because we don’t have enough markets. For all of these reasons, we need the alliance.
But there is absolutely no doubt that we have a hegemonic control on power and over all the capital areas of the State. We can see this in several different ways. If you consider the question of Cabinet. The Cabinet of our country has ten (10) ministers and nine of these ten ministers are members of the Party; the only non-member of the Party is Norris Bain. If you look at the ruling council of the People’s Revolutionary Government, you will see it no longer has twenty-three people because Lloyd Noel is in detention, Pam Buxo is out of the country, Lyle Bullen is no longer involved. There are three people who are out, there are now twenty (20) people who are in the P.R..G. And if you look at the Party and the Cabinet and you analyse them carefully, you will discover an over 90% direct control by the Party of the ruling council of the P.R.G. and Cabinet.
Secondly, to see further this hegemony or control I am talking about comrades, look at the composition of our army and militia. We don’t have any upper Petty-bourgeoisie or bourgeoisie in our army or militia. When you look at the officers in the army it is Working class comrades or petty-bourgeois revolutionary democrats or communists who are the officers in the army — that’s the situation in our Army.
Thirdly comrades, consider our Zonal Councils and our Workers Councils and so on. The bourgeoisie is not invited deliberately and consciously, so they don’t have the opportunity to come and try to confuse people inside the councils. When we’re having a Zonal Council in this building or a Workers Parish Council, we send out the invitations, we decide who we want to invite and we live the bourgeoisie out deliberately and consciously.
Consider the trade unions in our country, five of the eight leading trade unions are under the direct leadership and control of full members, candidate members and applicants of our Party. There is no doubt about it; what we have is hegemony; we have full control.
I want to think of another area. Just consider, comrades, how laws are made in this country Laws are made in this country when Cabinet agrees and when I sign a docuinent on behalf of Cabinet. And then that is what everybody in the country — like it or don’t like it — has to follow. Or consider how people get detained in this country. We don’t go and call for no votes. You get detained when I sign an order after discussing it with the National Security Committee of the Party or with a higher Party body. Once I sign it — like it or don’t like it — its up the hill for them.
It is also important to note comrades, that while we are in an alliance with sections of the bourgeoisie and upper petty-bourgeoisie, they are not part of our dictatorship. They are not part of our rule and control — they are not part of it. We bring , them in for what we want to bring them in for. They are not part of our dictatorship because when they try to hold public meetings and we don’t want that, the masses shut down the meeting. When we want to hold Zonal Councils and we don’t want them there, we keep them out. When they want to put out newspaper and we don’t want that, we close it down. When they want freedom of expression to attack the Government or to link up with the CIA and we don’t want that, we crush them and jail them. They are not part of the dictatorship. In fact, if the truth is told, they have been repressed by the dictatorship. They have lost some of the rights they used to have. Now it is the working people who have these rights, not the bourgeoisie. When the working people want to hold a public meeting, we don’t stop them. When the working people want to go and hold a picket, we don’t stop them. When they want to Picket Bata, that is good, but if Bata want to picket workers we jail Bata. The workers could Picket Bata, but Bata cannot picket no workers. When Torchlight workers want to take over the company, we support them, not publicly and through making noise because that would not be in our interest. We pretend we don’t know what’s happening and let the trade unionists do it. But if the Torchlight owners try to crush the workers, we jail the Torchlight owners.
The point is all rights are not for them, all freedoms are not for them, but all rights and freedoms are now for the majority who are no longer oppressed and repressed by a tiny minority. That is very important to understand because that is what dictatorship or rule means. And that is how every state operates. That is why the state came about in the first case; so that there would be a dictatorship and a minority, in the case of the capitalist state, would crush and oppress the majority. In the case of the Socialist State, the majority will crush, oppress and repress the recalitrant minority. That is what it is, and that is what the nature of the dictatorship is, so they are not part of that. And that is very important for us to understand.
Comrades, as we see it, this political essence — this dictatorship of the working people — is what we have to continue to develop and to build rapidly if we are to make substantial progress in building the national democratic anti-imperialist phase of the Revolution. And I would say, there are six (6) things to watch and to emphasise in terms of the political essence.
First, it means control by the Party and the working people. So we have to be guided by that at all times. The Party and the working people; the Party acting in the name of the working people and particularly, of course, the working class must control, guide and direct [line missing]
Secondly, it means an alliance has to continue to be maintained, firstly, with the peasantry and other elements of the petty-bourgeoisie, and secondly with sections of the upper petty-bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie.
The third thing, comrades, the question of our people; their education (political and academic); the development of further democratic mechanisms and organisations and means and methods of getting them to be involved and to participate and so on. The need for greater training in democracy for them. In other words, the preparation for them to rule. That, of course, primarily refers to the working class but it applies in general to the working people and also to the broad masses in terms of the development of democracy, in terms of the involvement in mass organisations, in terms of participation in the organs of popular power.
The fourth point, the necessary emphasis we have to give at all times to the working class (we are going to come back to that so I don’t want to say too much on it). But for this political section, it has to be emphasised.
And the fifth point, the building of the Party, because again it is the Party that has to be at the head of this process, acting as representatives of the working people and in particular the working class. That is the only way it can be because the working class does not have the ideological development or experience to build socialism on its own. The Party has to be there to ensure that the necessary steps and measures are taken. And it is our primaiy responsibility to prepare and train the working class for what their historic mission will be later on down the road. That is why the Party has to be built and built rapidly, through bringing in the first sons and daughters of the working class.
And finally comrades, the need always for firmness and inflexibility on political questions that affect the building of socialism. On the economic front, you can have a lot of flexibility; on the political front the flexibility must be very little. We have to be firm because we are walking a real tight rope. On the one hand, you have to give encouragements and incentives and build the confidence of the bourgeoisie. But on the other hand, when they step out of line, we still have to crush them. So it’s that kind of tight—rope that has to be walked.
ECONOMIC ESSENCE OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PATH
I want to come comrades, to the economic essence in the non-capitalist path, or more precisely the path of socialist orientation. That is what the economic essence of this national democratic business is — the non—capitalist path of economic development, the path of socialist orientation. That involves in particular building the state sector along particular lines which I now want to describe quickly.
Firstly, the state sector must be built to be the dominant sector. As comrades know, that’s happening already. Last year over 90% of all investments in this country were by the public sector, by the state and at this time the state controls about a quarter of the total economy. Building the state sector to be the dominant sector means a number of things: –
(a) We must assume total control of all financial institutions over a period of time. I did not say total control tomorrow morning or next year, but equally over a period — that must happen:
(b) We must assume total control of all foreign trade and also of some aspects of internal trade. The MNIB, of course, is helping us in that area already. This year, the MNIB will have a turnover of $20m. Right now MNIB has $35m in stocks (quite a staggering figure). Right now, MN IB is buying over 78 agricultural items from the farmers is Grenada. Right now, one in every ten farmers is selling his produce to MN IB. Bight now, the three main depots for the MN IB (Young Street, Hillsborough Carriacou, and Petit Martinique), in January, February, March of this year together, sold something like 500,000 lbs of produce. And I’ll give you something that’s even more staggering than that which was told to me by the Manager of the MNIB depot in Petit Martinique — Linus Belmar. Belmar told us that the Petit Martinique depot has 2 monthly turnover of $60,000 —a quite staggering figure. The role of the MNIB, both in the area of imports and exports, will have to be stepped up in the coming period.
(c) We must assume total control of all Public Utilities – electricity, telephone, water, National Transport Service. And here again, as comrades know, we already in fact control those four. The missing one for us now is Cable and Wireless and the Satelite Dish from the Soviet Union will be one aspect of the tuning in relation to Cable and Wireless.
(d) We must continue the building of the infrastructure — air port, sea ports, roads etc. —— all aspects of infrasturcture.
(e) We must ensure the further development of tourism, of the manufacturing and industrial sectors; of the agricultural sector; of the agro-industrial sector; of fisheries. In other words, all of the main pillars of the economy — agriculture, agro industries, fisheries, tourism, manufacturing and light industry.
(f) We must develop central planning mechanisms for the economy and the society as a whole. But first of all we must start with the economy. In terms of the development of the economy comrades, over the next lO— 15 years; as we see it, the next 5 years — emphasis will undoubtedly be tourism. That is not to say that we like tourism. That is because we have no choice. Tourism is the sector that has the greatest potential for giving us the profits to invest in the areas we really want to invest in -— agriculture, agro industries, fisheries, and non—agro industrialisation generally. That’s really where we will like to go, but those cannot produce the money at this time, while tourism can. We estimate that we will spend about $550m in just tourism alone over the next couple of years, including the cost of the New International Air-port.
It is important to observe comrades that all of this lays the basis for the development of capitalism. And that of course is a major problem because it means that if we are not careful capitalism rather than socialism will be the end product, just like when Lenin had formulted NEP right after the Great October Socialist Revolution, the Bolsheviks too had that same problem and concern.
Simultaneously we will be nurturing the shoots of capitalism and the shoots of socialism and the question is which one becomes predominant and how you control and ensure that socialism is what comes out and not capitalism. We have the same problem as the young Soviet State faced but a million times more difficult, because our state sector is much smaller and does not have the potential in this immediate period for providing the profits to build the economy and the country. And of course, we have a much smaller and less ideologically developed working class. On top of that we have this massive petty bourgeoisie; you have this low level of development of class consciousness; you have this total backwardness and primitiveness in the economy. In other words comrades, we have a tight rope that we have to monitor very carefully as we walk it – every single day, understanding clearly that all of this infrastructural development, and all of this activity we are describing not only can build socialism but also capitalism.
What this means is that our primary task must be to sink the ideas of Marxism/Leninism amongst the working people so that their own ideological level can advance and they can begin to better understand what we are trying to do and why their class consciousness can be raised in this way. Secondly, of course we can control the development of capitalism through the use of laws and regulations; because one thing we do have is political control (and we have that firmly) so we can decide on how much taxes to charge, we can decide who get credits, we can decide who gets concessions and pioneer incentives, we can decide what kinds of Laws to pass and when, we can decide who to “manners” and when. In other words, we can use the apparatus of the State in order to effect those controls. But it is a tight rope and we just need to be careful and understand what we are involved in.
TASKS OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC STAGE
Comrades, the tasks of this national democratic stage can perhaps be summarised in ten points; and I want to just quickly list them.
(1) Ensure the leading role of the working class through its Marxist/Leninist Party backed by some form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. But please note that I said some form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, because obviously at this stage we cannot have the dictatorship of the proletariat or the working class, but the form we would have at this first stage is the dictatorship of the working people.
(2) Build the alliance between the working class and mass of the working people ….
(3) Ensure over a period, public ownership of the means of production. In other words, build the state sector.
(4) Work towards the gradual transformation of agriculture along socialist lines through development of voluntary co-operative farms and state farms.
(5) Plan development of the economy in order to lay the basis for the building of socialism and to raise living standards.
(6) Begin the implementation of the cultural revolution. And this cultural revolution, as all of us know, is one of the four revolutions we are building at the same time — the political, economic, scientific and technological and the cultural. And in the context of the cultural revolution, I want to emphasise three main points — the spreading of the socialist ideology, the wiping out of illiteracy and the building of a new patriotic and revolutionary—democratic intelligentsia.
(7) Build the defence capacity 0f the country so as to protect it and to protect the revolution from internal and external enemies ….
(8) Develop proletarian internationalism. As representatives of the working class in Grenada, we have to ensure that our working class and the working people always demonstrate maxinium solidarity with all international working class struggles. That is a fundamental responsibility.
(9) Develop equal and friendly relations with all governments in the world, except the fascist military dictatorship and apartheid types.
(10) Build rapidly our links with the Socialist World, especially the Soviet Union. And here I should hardly need to say more; we have just come back from an important visit to the land of Lenin, the Soviets in the last two days have arrived, nine of them including the Ambassador and their Embassy is about to be opened and so on. So these links and relations are building reasonably satisfactory.
TASKS FOR THE PRESENT PERIOD
Coming out of all of this comrades, what are the tasks as seen by the Central Committee?
1) The first task is sinking the ideas of Marxism/Leninism among the working class and the working people. The main vehicle for this comrades is socialism classes. The Central Committee feels very strongly that this is the Number One task. And of course, there can be only one Number One task, and this the Central Committee regards as Number One sinking the ideas of Marxism/Leninism among the working class and the working people. The fact of the matter is that a national democratic revolution can be turned back easily. For example in the case of Nasser’s Egypt, not withstanding the years of hard work put in by Nasser and his party into trying to build the national democratic revolution in Egypt. After his death it took only a few years to roll back all that had been accomplished. And there were several reasons. One, the party was not in fact built along Leninist vanguard lines and secondly, because the ideas of Marxism/Leninism had not taken root, there was no deep class consciousness in Egypt. We know that in many of these national democratic revolutions — in Iraq, Somalia, Algeria and so on – the fact is that the ideas of Marxism/Leninism were and are not being spread. And therefore, with the ideological work being weak, at a certain point it becomes easy for forces op- posed to revolutionary transformation to overturn what had been accomplished.
2. The second task, comrades, the organisation of the working class and the working people through their trade unions, their organs for popular power, their mass organisations and through sports and culture — the Organisation of the working class and the working people.
3. Thirdly, comrades, strengthening the Leninist character of the party by bringing in the best elements of the working people and in particular the working class, and through building the internal organisation of the Party.
4. Fourthly comrades, building the economy along the path of socialist orientation, thus providing more material benefits for the masses and laying the basis for the construction of socialism.
5. The fifth task, developing the defence capacity of the country through building the militia both quantitatively and qualitatively by strengthening the influence of the Party in the militia.
THE SUBJECTIVE FACTOR — THE PARTY
Comrades I want to close, but what I want to close by saying will take another fineen minutes or so. I want to close by going into the question of the subjective factor, in other words the party, a very brief history of the party’s development and the criteria for party membership at this time.
Over the past nine and a half years, our Party has passed through many stages of development; all of us know that. We have analysed recently that there have been six major stages that the Party has gone through. The first stage began on the llth March, 1973, with the merger, when came NJM out of JEWEL and MAP led by intelligentsia and rural petty-bourgeoisie. The Strategy adopted was one of mass mobilisation with seizure of power coming through mass mobilisation, general strike, street marches and thereafter insurrection. Mistakes were made, a deep class approach was not taken, no attempt was made to build a Leninist Party, there was an over—reliance on spontaneity and the possibilities of crowd politics. That period comrades, March “75 to April “74 is the period of mass mobilisation in action. Using the issue of Gairy’s incorrect approach to the question of independence as a base we went around the country agitating the masses for popular insurrection. During that same period in fact, within the first two months of the Party being formed, we liberated 51 rifles from Gairy. It is true we did not hold them for as long as we would have liked; we had them for one year and then Belmar took them back, but in fact we stole 51 rifles as part of that preparation.
During this period of mass mobilisation, we held the People’s Convention of Independence and the massively attended People’s Congress where five historic, but nonetheless ultraleftist, decisions were taken. You remember the decisions? Firstly, we tried Gairy, found him guilty of 2.*7 crimes and gave him two weeks to resign. We suggested that a National Unity Council should be elected and a National Unity Council was elected and we said it would have the task of supervising the orderly transition to power of the new regime. We also decided that the people would take steps to remove the Gairy dictatorship if he did not resign within 2 weeks. So undoubtedly, this was ultra—leftism in action. Nonetheless the major weakness of this period was the subjective factor, the fact that a Leninist approach to party building and to strategy and tactics were not adopted; and this is notwithstanding the notable achievements of the period, including the publication of our Manifesto.
In the time period, July “7’7 to August “78, the party did make a qualitative leap forward in terms of Lenmist standards and principles. That is the period when we stepped up our work among the working class, the work was not sufficiently deep, but at least it was starting. We tried to organise the agricultural working class but did not get very far because of Gairy’s use of repression in protecting his base among the agricultural working class. But we did some work during that period with the urban working class and with sections of the rural petty bourgeoisie — the farmers and the fishermen. That is the period too when the Organising Committee of the Party was formed, thus taking some of the strain off the Political Bureau and leaving matters of discipline, party organization and so on, for the Organising Committee to handle — a critical step forward.
And then we came to the next period, the fourth period from August “78 to March “79, when the Party really moved into top gear. The timing was fortuitous for us because at the exact moment that a revolutionary situation was developing a number of key work committees of the Party began to function. Inner party democracy was also being strengthened; party study was going on, and a mass scientific approach to organisation was beginning to develop.
And from March ‘79 to this period, the fifth (5th) we have had a lot of mass activity. It is the period when we broadened and deepended our links with the working people and the masses in general, through the mass organisations — women, youth, pioneer —; through the organs of popular power — workers, parish and zonal councils —; through the socialism classes, very critically and also through our greatly expanded work in the trade unions. In this period, we have considerably deepended, broadened and expanded our links with the working people and the broad masses in general. This is the period too when the Party began to develop a number of critical new structures and committees, including the C.C. itself, PCB’s and a Committee on the economy for the first time. They have not all done well as we would have liked but the fact is that important new structures have been set up and have begun to function.
During this period too, the Party has also been involved in supervising many aspects of the State Apparatus and in running the state generally. The party is involved in all the key programmes of the Revolution, the Centre for Popular Education Programme, the Land Reform Programme, Youth Employment Programme, and recently in the discussions around the Budget and the Economy. So this is a period that has seen a number of new mechanisms, new structures and new work committees and greatly expanded work in dozens of different areas at the same time.
But we believe very strongly, comrades, that as from now, Sptember ’82 the Party is definitely entering a new stage of the revolution and of our Party’s development. We feel that because of the growing internal and external complexity of this period, because of the growing quantity of work required of the Party and in order to cope with the new complexities that once again we have to change gears and step up the pace. This year we have a maj or role to play in the development of the Economy because this is the essential basis for progressing on our path of socialist orientation. Furthermore, the question of the Armed Forces, especially the militia and of the Party assuming leadership of the key positions there is something that we have to be involved in a lot more this year. The question of increasing the quantity and quality of our socialism classes, as our priorities demand is also, something that we must take much more seriously. The CPE Programme, in its second phase, must also get a lot of attention this year. The Youth Employment Programme and the Land Reform Programme are central to agricultural and overall Economic development.
In other words, we are required to work on a dozen critical fronts at the same time, and that is going to require a lot more application of Leninist standards of discipline, consistency and seriousness. All of this, comrades, means that our ideological and organisational level as a Party will have to rise considerably. It is clear that if we had not insisted higher standards we would not have reached where we have reached. But it is equally clear, comrades, that holding power is much more difficult than taking power. There is no doubt that the Party can be built more rapidly on the basis of lower standards but this will mean that the tasks we have set ourselves, including our historical task of building socialism, would not be accomplished. As Lenin told us a long time ago “better fewer but better”. Immortal words that we must never forget.
During the Party’s history, there are members who have dropped out; some for opportunist reasons; others because they were not willing to make the sacrifices required in the particular period; in other cases, as the Party’s ideological outlook developed, they came to realise that they did not share the desire to develop socialism; some others just could not take the level of disciplines, of organisation, of strain, of hard work, of sacrifice. But no one is a member for life in the seri ous Leninist Party and, at this point, the Central Committee would like to enumerate the criteria for party membership and to go into some details as to the qualities required for promotion in the Party.
POTENTIAL APPLICANTS TO APPLICANTS
From our experience, comrades, these are the people who are most likely to move to Marxism/Leninism. These comrades are then invited to join classes where they are tested to see whether they are hostile to, or accepting of the ideas of Marxism Leninism. If they are not anti-communist, and if they continue to work well and show an honest approach, they are admitted as Applicants. And as all comrades know the period of applicancy is one year. That gives both the Party and the applicant the time to judge whether the applicant really accepts the science of Marxism/Leninism and is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to become a Party member.
APPLICANTS TO CANDIDATE MEMBERS
When assessing an applicant for promotion to Candidate Member the following five points are looked at:
(1) Whether the applicant accepts the principles of Marxism Leninism and shows willingness to continue to develop.
(2) Whether the applicant has been working consistently and effectively in his/her [illeg.] of political work and developing in terms of organisational skills.
(3) Whether the applicant has in practice accepted party discipline, in practice.
(4) Whether the applicant has good relations with the masses, including party members and non-party members with whom he works in his Union, Mass Organisation, Army, Workplace etc.
(5) Whether the Applicant continues to be of good character so as to present an example to the masses he/she comes in contact with; whether certain petty bourgeois traits such as individualism, hostility to criticism, arrogance, indiscipline and so on are being eroded; and whether proletarian qualities such as respect for the working class, co-operativeness and co—operation, discipline, modesty, self criticism are being built. If accepted as a Candidate member, another year would now elapse before the comrade is eligible for consideration for full membership.
CANDIDATE MEMBERS TO MEMBERS
At this stage, the stage of moving from Candidate Member to Member, the Party looks for the fullest possible development of six factors.
(1) Ideological development as seen in a development of the ability to analyse and cope well with many different situations and to correctly apply strategy and tactics – the essence of correct Marxism/Leninism Leadership.
(2) The development of correct leadership. A professional approach to his/her political work, expressing Leninist organisational standards in all aspects of the work.
(3) The development of an ability to supervise and guide the work of junior party comrades.
(4) The removal of petty bourgeois character faults and the development of a character which provides an outstanding example to other party comrades and the masses alike.
(5) The development of very good relations with the masses and other party comrades.
(6) The development of the technical and professional skills needed by the comrade in his or her job.
Comrades, some comrades feel that it takes too long to become a full member in our Party. Some comrades feel it is rough enough to have applicants, then candidate members and then members so that on top of that to have Potential Applicants is really just pushing the pace too much. And yet the truth is that some comrades in the Party are right now proposing another new category of not just Potential Applicants but of Prospective Potential Applicant, to make it even more difficult to gain entry. The fact is, comrades, that we feel it is correct in our situation for us to have this long process of what, at one level, can be seen as probation before comrades can become full members. We think it is important now because at the level of party leadership we want to keep the number down; in fact at the level of the Central Committee of the Party, our anxiety and concern is to see the Party lifted in terms of quantity and quality in the shortest possible time. But we also know from experience that this whole question of coming to accept full membership in the party and really internationalism and operationalising in a serious way party discipline and party duties is something that does take time to really sink home. Sometimes comrades might last two or three years but then on a certain issue when the class struggle is really heightened they break and then leave the Party.
The truth is that it is not really a case of the Party Leadership laying down harsh conditions; it is real life and the demand of the struggle that make it necessary for us to have these difficult conditions and for us to ensure that comrades who are full members, and also candidate members, are truly the finest representatives of the working class and the most steeled in struggle, in discipline, in dedication, in commitment and in total commitment for the working class and their interests. That is not the C.C. laying laws down, that is real life laying the laws down. And that is why comrades, we feel very strongly that these criteria are critical and necessary.
We believe it must become more and more difficult for comrades to become full members and candidate members and it must become more difficult for new comrades to remain as members and candidate members; and those who are unwilling to live up to the demands of this membership would have to be moved. We believe comrades that this stage of our process requires this. Being a Communist, comrades means becoming a different kind of person. Our society is deeply petty bourgeois and this means the majority of our people are deeply individualistic, ill-disciplined, disorganised, unproletarian, hostile to criticism and so on. Many in the middle strata and intelligentsia often find it difficult to relate as equals with the working people while at the same time many working people lack confidence in dealing with certain types of people. It takes time for a new proletarian person to be built. It takes time for a Communist to be built. So in reality, comrades, promotion is not decided on by the Party but by the development of comrades themselves.
On behalf of the Central Committee of our Party, I want to congratulate all the comrades who have been recently promoted from applicants to candidate members who are here with us today for the first time in that capacity, and who as a result of that new status have assumed new rights, duties and responsibilities. I also want to congratulate in advance those comrades in this room who will shortly be promoted from candidate members to full members. Comrades now know the basis on which they have been promoted. Those comrades who have not been promoted at this time will also, we hope, understand and accept the reasons why they have not been promoted.
We believe comrades, that this line of march will equipt us to go into the field and to move rapidly to ensure that this first stage of the path we are on — the socialist orientation stage — is rapidly built. We believe that we have correctly defined the new tasks required to handle the new situation that has developed. We believe that as Party, individually and collectively, we must now develop oursleves into becoming more professional, more disciplined, more Leninist so that we would be able to meet the demands of this period. We also believe firmly that the path we have chosen is the ONLY correct one. We believe that this path would certainly bring us to our second major historical objective to seeing socialism, of seeing socialist construction achieved in our country, thus ensuring that the working class in Grenada would assume their rightful role and become fully emancipated for the first time.