The ABC of NJM:
Questions & Answers on NJM - Its History, Ideas, Principles, circa 1974
- WHAT REALLY IS THE JEWEL?
WHAT DOES "JEWEL" MEAN?
The Jewel is a political Organisation with the aim of involving the citizens at large in the process of Government.
WHEN WAS NEW JEWEL FORMED?
Jewel means Joint Endeavour for Welfare, Education and Liberation.
ARE NJM'S LEADERS POTHEADS, HOT AND SWEATY, WHO HAVE JUST COME OUT FRESH?
IS NEW JEWEL A MIDDLE-CLASS MOVEMENT?
The Jewel was formed in March 1972 and later joined up with another group (MAP) in March, 1973, to become "New Jewel."
IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT NJM IS A "TOWN MOVEMENT". COMMENT? -
No. NJM has massive support among the unemployed, the workers and the poor.
WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF THE NJM LEADERSHIP?
Nonsense. Most of New Jewel Support lies in the Country side. In fact, the Organisation started in St. David's, the most rural area of Grenada and still has strong support there.
WOULD IT BE TRUE TO SAY THAT NJM IS A YOUNG PEOPLE'S MOVEMENT?
The Leadership is generally considered to be the well-educated and honest. It involves Lawyers, Teachers, Farmers and un-employed. What they all have in common is hard work, dedication to the people's cause. All of them have matured through struggle.
WHAT ABOUT INDOOR MEETINGS?
No. Although most young people and students support NJM, it is much more than a Young People's Movement.
DOES THE MOVEMENT HAVE A FLAG?
The Movement started out with small indoor meetings throughout the Country. This went on for months. In addition, the founders of the Movement met regularly among themselves for months to develop a group consciousness. It was only after the completion of this long process of development that public meetings began.
WHAT PROPORTION OF THE POPULATION SUPPORT NJM?
Yes. The colours are red, black and green, the African Liberation colours. There is also an orange ball in the centre signifying hope for the future.
It is difficult to tell precisely. It is clear, though, that Jewel has a majority.
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS
IS THE NEW JEWEL ITSELF RUN DEMOCRATICALLY?
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ORGANS OF THE JEWEL?
Yes. Decisions are based on the principle of collective leadership. All major matters are decided upon by the Bureau in the first instance.
First there is the Bureau. This is usually made up of about ten or so persons elected by the NJM congress or Convention. The Bureau has authority to coopt people into it. Almost every member of the Bureau is Secretary to one of the NJM's Committees. The Bureau normally meets once a week.
Then there are two co-ordinating secretaries who have special responsibility for the overall running of the organisation. These are also members of the Bureau.
Next there is the National Co-ordinating council with one delegate from each village. This body has power to accept, reject or modify any decision of the Bureau, or to take any other action that it deems fit. For instance, the Council made a number of changes in the first draft of the NJM Manifesto as proposed by the Bureau. The structure of the Organisation calls for monthly council meetings.
Finally there is the NJM Congress. It is made up of every member of the organisation and is scheduled to meet once a year. A joint Jewel/Map Congress was held in March, 1972. It is the highest decision-making authority in the organisation. It is the Congress that elects the Bureau.
ABOUT THESE NJM COMMITTEES, WHAT ARE THEY? AND WHO ARE THEIR SECRETARIES?
Each village has its local group and elects its representative to the NJM National Co-ordinating Council.
BESIDE THE SECRETARIES ABOVE, WHO ELSE MAKE UP THE BUREAU?
These include the Legal Defence Kenrick Radix, Finance and Fund Raising Lloyd L. Noel), Organisation ( ), Publications (Teddy Victor), Education Research and Community Development (Trevor Emmanuel), Youth and Students Affairs (Bro. Sawney), Workers Affairs (Selwyn Strachan).
WHO ARE THE CO-ORDINATING SECRETARIES?
ARE THERE ANY WOMEN IN THE CENTRAL LEADERSHIP?
WHAT NEW JEWEL STANDS FOR:
DOES THE ORGANISATION STAND FOR ANYTHING NEW?
IS IT TRUE THAT THE MOVEMENT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOVERNMENT?
DOES THE ORGANISATION HAVE ANY BASIC PRINCIPLES?
IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT JEWEL DOES NOT BELIEVE IN HAVING LEADERSHIP AT ALL. COMMENT:-
ABOUT THIS NEW FORM OF GOVERNMENT, PEOPLES' ASSEMBLIES, HOW WILL IT WORK? TELL US ABOUT THAT?
Other members include Maurice Bishop, Bernard Coard, Baby Neckles, Unison Whiteman and C. Humphrey.
ARE PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLIES OPERATING ANYWHERE?
DOES NJM PLAN TO INTRODUCE PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLIES OVERNIGHT?
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO CHANGE THE POLITICAL SYSTEM?
Sure. It is simple and easy to understand. The Government will be made up of two levels - The Village Assembly and the National Assembly.
First, let us take the Village Assembly. In Grenada there are about sixty villages. In each village there will be a village assembly. All the people of a village (leaving out children) will be members of the village assembly. The village will meet once a month, let us say, and discuss the problems of the village and take decisions on these matters.
A village Council will be elected by the village assembly. The Council will do the day to day work of the village and put into effect the plans and decisions of the village assembly.
This Village Government will deal with matters of Health, Police, Morals, People's Court, Public Safety and Recreation for the Village. Funds for these matters will come from the National Assembly.
Then, there will be the National Assembly. This will be made up of about sixty person, one from each village.
This Assembly will be the Government of the land. The Assembly will elect a Chairman. The Chairman will be changed at intervals. The Assembly will decide which committees will head the different Government Departments.s The Assembly will decide on the issues facing the nation. These include matters of Agriculture, finance, transportation, foreign affairs, trade, civil and postal Services, roads, education and hospitals. The national Assembly will decide on the distribution of funds to the various village assembles. The national Assembly will elect a National Council that will do the day to day work of the Assembly, besides these Assemblies, we propose workers assemblies whereby workers will control certain aspects of the enterprise and conditions of work. Each major category of workers for example, Seamen, Technical and Allied Workers, will elect one representative to the National Assembly.
The System of People's Assemblies will place power directly into the hands of the people. The Village Council will do what the village assembly, the people, tells it to do, no more no less. The Village assembly can dismiss and replace any member of the Council or the whole Council at any time, not every five years.
Similarly, each village Assembly can replace it representative on the National Assembly at anytime. And all the village together can change the whole National Assembly at anytime. Similarly, the National Council serves only as long as the National Assembly is satisfied with it work.
Besides placing power directly into the hands of the people, people's assemblies will and the divisions that the party System has brought to Grenada.
We believe in a strong central Government or National Assembly. However, members will be subject to the control of their village assemblies.
WHY CHANGE THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM?
Because the present system, the party system is divisive and full of fraud. It does not involve the people.
YOU SAY THE PEOPLE MUST HAVE CONTROL, POWER, WHY?
The present System is the cause of poverty, unemployment and misery. It is simply not working.
SO JEWEL LEADERS ARE NOT JUST ANOTHER BUNCH OF PEOPLE FIGHTING FOR POWER FOR THEMSELVES. IN WHAT WAYS ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
Because the people know what they want and when they want it. They are the best ones to take decisions on these matters.
32. WHAT ABOUT ELECTIONS?
IS NJM VIOLENT?
Our message is different. It is not "Make us the new ministers, the new bosses." Rather it is, "organise yourselves in your communities and create a system where you the people control the Government" (instead of the Government controlling you as at present).
THE JEWEL HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF TRYING TO FORCE NEW THINGS DOWN PEOPLE'S THROATS. WHAT DO YOU SAY?
The Movement does not advocate violence. However, we recognise the right of individuals and groups to protect and defend themselves.
WILL NJM DO AWAY WITH THE BALLOT-BOX?
DOES NJM BELIEVE IN A DEMOCRATIC GRENADA?
WHY NOT JUST SHOOT THE DICTATOR?
IS THE JEWEL AN ATHEISTIC MOVEMENT?
IS THE ORGANISATION COMMUNIST?
No. Our ideas are always just proposals. We state and explain them to the people. It is always up to the people to approve, accept, modify or reject. The decision rests with the people. In this sense, our views are always subject to change by the people.
WHAT ABOUT THE CONFISCATION OF ESTATES AND PROPERTY?
No. We think that some of the Marxist analysis is valid, however, for instance it is clear that the Middle Class in Grenada, a minority of the people, wishes to dominate the Country. We have drafted a programme for Grenada. It is our programme to suit the needs of the Country. It includes People's Assemblies, a brand new concept. Our manifesto is not the Communist Manifesto.
DID THE JEWEL BREAK THE LAW AT LA SAGESSE?
THE MOVEMENT HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF BEING RADICAL. WHAT DO YOU SAY?
We reject this. Where it is our well-thought-out policy to nationalise property, there will be negotiations and appropriate compensation.
WHAT ABOUT RUM AND CORNED BEEF-POLITICS?
WHY NOT JOIN WITH G.N.P. AND MAKE ONE UNITED NATIONAL POLICY?
As a people, our condition is serious and critical. We need to take serious and critical steps, radical steps to change our condition.
IT HAS BEEN RUMOURED THAT NJM HAS NO PLAN FOR THE COUNTRY. IS THAT SO?
Good question. We are willing to co-operate with the G.N.P. or any other group on specific matters that we agree on. But our programmes and basic views and ideology are different from theirs. For instance, we stand for People Assemblies and nationalisation of financial institutions. They do not.
Our ideas are different. We cannot paper-over these serious differences. We cannot join up, therefore, because we have little common ground.
It is not enough to be against the same thing. We must be for the same basic things. Else we shall unite in name only. It is clear to us that the G.N.P. Programme is geared toward the middle-class minority in our society. Let us not bring all those conflicts and contradictions into the rank of a so-called united front. It will only cause chaos and confusion and inaction.
Most of us in the NJM have been working together for years now. We agree on where we are heading and how. We welcome all those who broadly share our views.
WHAT IS THE NAME OF NJM's MANIFESTO?
No. NJM has a comprehensive plan, a manifesto.
WHAT TOPICS DOES IT CONTAIN PROPOSALS ON?
"Manifesto for Power to the People and for achieving real independence for Grenada, Carriacou, Petit Martinique and the Grenadian Grenadines".
Food, housing, clothing, education, health.
Yes. Agriculture, fisheries, agro industries, CARICOM and tourism.
HOW DID NJM's MANIFESTO COME INTO BEING? OUT OF THIN AIR?
Trade, banking, insurance and transportation, local investors and financing the program. Other major proposals, include labour and unemployment, price controls, pension, police, courts, civil service, constitution, new villages, regional and international affairs, people's assemblies and a new society..
WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR FOOD?
No. It evolved out of years of discussion and meetings with the people throughout the country. it was drafted by the Bureau and modified by NJM'S Council and accepted by the People's Congress as the basis for our development. We believe that it addresses itself to our nation on the threshold of the Twenty-first Century.
ANYTHING ON HOUSING?
We need a National food strategy which would be linked with our agriculture plan to provide all our local food consumption.
WHAT ABOUT CARRIACOU AND PETIT MARTINIQUE?
Yes. A National low cost housing plan/scheme using local materials. We will make a survey of natural resources from materials here for building houses.
HOW MANY SECTIONS WILL OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN HAVE?
Our ideas include the development of livestock, limes, cotton and a soil and water conservation program. The citizens will run their own affairs.
WHAT ABOUT FREEDOM SCHOOLS?
WHAT ABOUT HEALTH?
Four. Those a re (1) Agriculture, (2) Fisheries, (3) Agro Industries, (4) Tourism.
GIVE US ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR MANIFESTO?
"High quality medical attention, we feel, must be a right and not a privilege". Every child will be immunised against many diseases as part of an island-wide preventative medicine campaign.
IS NJM AGAINST TOURISM?
Agro Industries. We shall set up factories to can, process, and package crops and fish, a variety of jams, jellies and animal foods.
ABOUT LOCAL PRIVATE INVESTORS, WILL WE GET RID OF THEM?
Nonsense. NJM is for a new tourism, one owned and controlled by Grenadians using local foods and catering not only to the rich but also to the peoples of the Caribbean and the Third World.
WHY NATIONALISE BANKS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES?
On the contrary, there is a bright future ahead for them. For example, there will be abundant investment opportunities in developing these factories in new agro industries.
WHY AN IMPORT BOARD?
WHAT WOULD BE THE RESULT OF ALL THESE DEVELOPMENT PLANS?
WILL THESE PLANS AFFECT THE COST OF LIVING?
WHERE WILL FUNDS COME FROM FOR ALL THESE PROJECTS?
Real and meaningful Independence requires economic independence. And economic development will require the setting up of these agro industries in order to channel money into those new areas. We as a people, must control the policy of our own banks and insurance companies. Obviously the government does not plan to seize people's savings, but the bank profits will help in the setting of new industries for our people. Moreover the workers and staff will remain as usual.
WHAT ABOUT A NATIONAL INSURANCE A PENSION SCHEME?
ANYTHING ON LAW ENFORCEMENT?
From a number of sources. From government revenue, from profits of nationalised banks, insurance companies and formerly foreign owned hotels and agro industries, from local private investors, from savings on bu-bul ministers salaries and from foreign grants and loans.
ARE THE PEOPLE'S COURTS MOB OR KANGAROO COURTS?
WHAT ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION?
Yes. Our proposals will turn the police force into a police service, with a strong police association to bargain for the police, and with policemen working in their own villages. There will also be a number of needed reforms in the court system., People's courts made up of villagers will deal with a number of minor offences.
WHAT ABOUT NEW VILLAGES?
The present constitution will be the basis of a new constitution. The new constitution must contain a statement of the basic principles the society stands for. It must also provide machinery for enforcing our fundamental rights and freedoms.
New villages will be truly planned communities with all the facilities necessary for a new life. Each village will be run by its village assembly.
IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS?
We support completely the full political and economic integration of the Caribbean. We believe in the joint ownership of air-lines and shipping, and the removal of all travel restrictions.
WHAT IS THE CORNERSTONE OF OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY?
WHAT QUESTIONS MUST WE, AS A PEOPLE, ASK OURSELVES AND ATTEMPT TO TACKLE?
We support the organisation of Non-Aligned Nations in their struggle to prevent economic and political domination. We support the liberation struggle especially in Africa.
AS A PEOPLE MUST WE SEARCH THE ANSWER TO ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?
(1) Who are we? (2) What is the nature of our condition? (3) Why are we in that condition? (4) What can we do to change that condition? (5) What can we change it to?
To the reader: DO YOU HAVE YOUR NJM MANIFESTO?
Yes. What do we want? How can we get what we want? Why do we want that? What must we do to make sure to keep what we achieve?
HAS JEWEL FAILED THE PEOPLE?
Have you read it yet? Collect one at NJM office on Lucas Street, St. George's. IT'S F R E E.
WHAT CONCRETELY ARE NJM's ACHIEVEMENTS?
No. It has awakened the political consciousness of the people. It has brought the sickness, the cancer, to the surface for every one to see and to decide together what to do about it. As one person put it the other day, "NJM has made us aware of our true condition and of our collective strength. Even if we are still exploited today, we now know that we are exploited and we now know what to do about it".
There are many. First there is the airport shutdown in which the movement mobilised thousands of persons in a massive demonstration designed to force the authorities to bring a police-murderer to justice. It succeeded in its objective. Then there was the La Sagesse affair. The people tried Lord Bronlow for stealing their beach and convicted him. This brought into being the era of people's courts and people's politics - The beach is now public, La Sagesse is free.
The May convention organised by the Jewel brought thousands of Grenadians together and clarified the issue of independence. My developed the concept of real and meaningful independence.
NJM was active in organising the two general shutdowns of the island last year and in the series of demonstrations between November and January. These were concrete attempts to transfer power peacefully in keeping with the decision of the people's congress in November.
The organisation has run a weekly newspaper non-stop for over a year now. Even parties in power are not able to do this. (note for instance Gairy's 'Horizon').
Furthermore, our movement has discredited the regime both home and abroad. Even the regime has conceded this. In addition we have provided medical and legal help for hundreds of persons victimised by the regime.
Moreover, we have prepared a manifesto, a national plan to reconstruct and further construct the nation.
Very importantly, we have come up with a new form of government, a form that is far more democratic. Indeed, we are one of the few new groups in the world today to have attempted to do so.
Lover the past months, we have mounted a massive series of meeting that must be a record in the Caribbean for an organisation in a non-election time. This has mobilised the people.
The New Jewel Movement has united the people cutting through class lines as never before. We now have a mass movement capable of taking power.
Yet there are difficult days ahead. The regime continues its policy of increasing repression. Recent laws make if difficult to even hold public meetings now.
But the struggle will continue with equal vigour and even greater determination. In a struggle as sacred and precious as this, we can set the time limit.
It seems that a few voices expect us to do in one year what others have failed to do in decades. We do not work [unclear word]. We are a people's organisation. We are only as strong as the will of the people.
At long last, there is basic agreement on where are we doing and how. After months of struggle together, the issues are now clear.
All that remains now is the transference of power in an organised way. It is this question to which we must now address ourselves with deliberate urgency. The struggle ahead will not be easy. However, all signs point to a glorious victory and a bright new dawn for all our people.
- WHAT IS THE NEXT MOVE OF OUR STRUGGLE?
This will be outlined in a meeting over the coming days. As usual, it will be discussed by, and decided upon by the National Co-ordinating Council of Delegates and by the Bureau. As usual, it will involve the people. We are not shifting away from our policy of people's participation.