The Grenada Revolution Online

Bishop Speech - Fourth Anniversary of the
People's Revolutionary Government
13 March 1983

NOTE: Draft of Speech - "Education for People's Power, Production and Defense." The only available copy of the 4th Anniversary speech is in draft form. It has been reproduced as typed. Someone edit the document changing “their” to “our” and “us” to “we” and “began” to “really accelerated,” for example. These changes have not been made. Paragraphing has had some modification for readability.

Sisters and brothers,

Patriots of Free Grenada,

Friends,

Comrades all,

On behalf of the New Jewel Movement and the People’s Revolutionary Government, I extend to you all our warmest revolutionary greetings on this 4th Anniversary of our glorious people’s Revolution.

For us as indeed it is for all freedom-loving Grenadians at home and abroad, today is a time of joyous celebration as we mark the most historic date in our calendar – March 13, 1979.

Four years ago on that fateful Tuesday morning the struggling masses of our believe homeland opened a new chapter in their history, thus taking their destiny into their own hands for the first time.

On that day they began to build a revolutionary democratic process that would lift Grenada out of the darkness of oppression, exploitation and backwardness and bring it forward into a bright and liberating future.

Four years after freedom came to this land the foundations of that new revolutionary process are now firmly rooted in our social practice and today out people are involved in the momentous task of constructing the house of freedom, justice and happiness on strong revolutionary pillars.

Later today with a military parade of our people in uniform and with street dances and parties all over the country we will bring to a fitting climax the fourth festival of our revolution.

Comrades, as you know, the character of this year’s festival has been somewhat different to the previous three while at the same time maintaining the majority of the features our people have become accustomed to.

Instead of a mass rally in the Queen’s Park on March 13, yesterday our people attended some 12 smaller rallies in every parish of our country.

As you recall, last year over 25,000 patriotic Grenadians and hundreds of foreign guests and friends gathered in Queen’s Park for the largest mass rally in the history of our people.

But because of our country’s limited transport resources some 10,000 more patriots who wanted to come to Queen’s Park found themselves stranded on the roadside.

To avoid a repetition of this problem our party and Government therefore decided on a new approach this year which was to break up this massive event into a number of mini events around the nation.

So, at scores of rallies in workplaces and communities the theme of the 4th festival still reached thousands upon thousands of workers, farmers, women, youth and students.

The productivity exhibition, the sporting and cultural competitions, the village beautification, the launching of new economic projects and a host of other traditional aspects of our festival of the Revolution were carried out by our people this year with the same revolutionary enthusiasm as they displayed in previous festivals.

The many different events over the past three weeks and the dozens of speeches by the leadership have all been organised and conducted in the spirit of the festival theme which bears a close relationship to the overall theme for 1983, the year of Political and Academic Education.

This festival theme was carefully chosen because after scientifically analysing the present stage of our people’s struggle and identifying the immediate needs and tasks inherent in this stage our party and Government concluded that our emphasis for the fourth festival should be on education for people’s power, production and defence.

Comrades, when we celebrate four years of people’s power we are not honouring an abstract concept but instead recognising a concrete reality.

We are celebrating the undeniable fact that today our working people have more of an opportunity than ever before to exercise genuine political power and to put their labour power into the creation of economic wealth that will benefit them and their children.

This festival theme says that education gives more power to the people and that political and economic power can never be effectively exercised by an uneducated people.

It is only with and through education that our working people can exercise the power they won on March 13, 1979 with confidence and authority.

And it is only with education that our people can fully understand the monumental implications of their action on that memorable day when they overthrew the Gairy dictatorship four years ago and of the historical mission and responsibility that this revolutionary action thrust upon them.

Furthermore, political education will make clear how power exercised in the interest of the working people, who comprise the majority of our population, will bring about the fundamental social and economic changes in our society which are necessary to improve the quality of life for the poor and working masses.

Education for people’s power means the building of class consciousness among our working people.

It means a deeper and fuller understanding of our history of oppression and exploitation from the days of slavery, through colonialism, neo-colonialism and Gairyism.

It means understanding why today imperialism stands as the major obstacle to the progress of working people all over the world.

And, it strengthens our appreciation for the various organs of peoples power such as the zonal and parish councils and for the 5 pillars upon which our new revolutionary democracy is being built: responsibility, accountability, participation, benefits for the masses and electability.

With education our people can never be fooled, brambled or led astray by lies, rumours and superstitions.

Through education for people’s power and participation our masses will understand that in this great historical drama-called revolution they are not merely the passive audience manipulated by the directors and a handful of actors but that they occupy centre stage and are directing the dramatic action in their own interests.

And comrades, when we say education for production what do we mean?

Is there a link between education for power and education for production?

Can production be increased without political and academic education?

Our working people as the new actors in Grenada’s revolutionary drama must know the answers to these questions.

They must understand that more and more of the Grenadian economy of today and most certainly in the economy of tomorrow and in the years to come science and technology will be introduced to increase productivity.

Economic life in our society is fast becoming more complexed, more intricate, more sophisticated.

As we push forward over the next 3 years with the struggle to wipe out unemployment in our homeland, hundreds of new jobs will be created, jobs which will demand skills and higher levels of training and education; jobs for tractor drivers, soil scientists, farm managers, agricultural economists, accountants, co-operative farmers, extension officers, plumbers, electricians, masons, carpenters, painters, architects, surveyors, engineers, and teachers.

Today, our economy stands on the threshold of a new era – the era of skills training and of education for production.

Like a giant airplane poised at the top of the runway, with revved up engine ready for takeoff it cannot move unless it has a trained pilot, a skilled flight engineer and educated navigator.

In other words, our free working people will never effective exercise their historic mission of driving the Grenadian economy into the 20th century if they lack the skills and the education required for this massive task.

Comrades, when we speak about education for production we are also saying that our working people must understand why the Revolution gives priority to certain economic projects like our international airport, our agro-industrial plant, our post expansion, our Eastern Main Road, agricultural feeder roads and so on.

The worker education classes now taking place in dozens of factories, estates and offices around the country will make it clear to our people that in revolutionary Grenada today when they work and produce they do so for themselves, for their children and for the nation, not for massa or for the big boys who once ruled this country.

Today, our workers must know that when they work harder and produce more they will not only build Grenada but they and their children will reap the fruits of increased productivity in the form of higher wages, shared profits, free secondary education, free dental and medical care, house repair benefits and so on.

Through education for production our workers will grasp the importance of exercising their newly-won democratic rights at their workplaces.

What is to be produced, how much is to be produced over what period of time and in what manner, how work performance is to be analysed and evaluated, what is the financial state of the enterprise, how often and what type of emulation ceremonies are to take place, how working conditions can be improved, what grievances should be addressed and many other questions related to production should be of interest and concern to every workers at every workplace in today’s Grenada.

Such are his and her rights in our new revolutionary democracy and education will make it clear that the exercise of these rights must be the responsibility of free workers as we begin the fifth year of people’s power in our country.

If with education our workers fully comprehend that the causes and the drastic effects of the present world capitalist crisis on our economy and on the economies of all poor, developing countries then they will see the necessity to swiftly break away from the economic dependence on imperialism.

If by education for production our farmers take full advantage of the Ministry of Agriculture’s new machinery pool, its fertiliser and other input programmes and its modern, scientific techniques and methods of farming then they will clearly see the concrete rewards of collaboration and cooperation by higher production yields and lower production costs.

And, comrades, the third and final element in this year’s festival theme places emphasis on education for defence.

Of what lasting value is our people’s newly won power and their increasing productivity if on the spur of a moment or by a mere whim imperialism can roll back these gains because we lack the capacity to defend them.

History has proven that revolutions which have been defeated by imperialism are ones where the masses were not armed.

And history has also taught us that when a people are armed not only with weapons but also with consciousness and education no force on earth can turn back their forward march into the new dawn.

In 1983 we have an obligation to apply those lessons of history.

When our people in uniform pick up their guns to defend their Revolution they must know they are defending their new and expanded human rights and their right to chart their own course of social and economic development.

Education for defence will make for a sharper and fuller appreciation of the world anti-imperialist and anti-fascist struggles since the sovereignty, integrity and self-determination of popular revolutions like ours cannot be maintained unless they are defended.

Make no mistake about it, comrades, imperialism is not sleeping.

It is the implacable enemy of every genuine revolution in the world today.

When it is not threatening with its military aggressions it is destabilising with its economic and propaganda sabotage.

For sure, as indeed for all revolutions, the question of defence is not only a military question but means also the protection of our cultural sovereignty against the daily barrage of imperialist ideological attacks through its mass media.

It means protesting our people against the insidious penetration of cultural imperialism, against calculated lies, wicked rumours, distorted information and twisted half-truths.

Finally, this year’s festival theme has served to remind us all that education for people’s power, education for production, education for defence, indeed all forms of education with a revolutionary objective is, for the individual and the nation, a cherished human right and once achieved it becomes a treasured possession, an invaluable asset that cannot be taken away from us, a living, growing process that is further enriched by every newly acquired understanding, by each new insight, by every additional piece of knowledge.

Comrades, two days ago our party and our fighting people marked the 10th Anniversary [11 March 1973] of the formation of the New Jewel Movement with justifiable pride and satisfaction.

Ten years ago on this day a united, purposeful, organised political force came into being out of a merger of two progressive organisations: Joint Endeavour for Welfare, Education and Liberation (JEWEL) and Movement for Assemblies of the People (MAP).

Within days [“months” is handwritten above “days”] of its formation the New Jewel Movement made public its manifesto and programme which outlined its vision for a new Grenada, a Grenada free of exploitation and oppression.

Ten years later that manifesto and programme is being systematically fulfilled as our party continues to shine a beacon on the path which lies ahead.

The celebration of the NJM’s 10th birthday takes on a special significance today March 13, the day four years ago when our party led the Grenadian people to final victory over the Gairy dictatorship thus culminating a long and bitter struggle that began in the very first year of the party’s formation.

Today, we must pause to reflect on the rough road the NJM has travelled since 1973 and on the many signposts along the way:

-      the People’s Parliament in Seamoon, the brutal beatings of Bloody Sunday.

-      the daily mas demonstrations in the streets of St. George’s in January 1974.

-      the tragic events on Bloody Monday, the underground days.

-      the countless beatings and torture, the murders, the disappearances.

-      the rigged elections of 1976, the indignities, and insults of Gairy’s so-called Parliament, the denial of basic human rights.

Yet, throughout all these difficulties the Party stood firm with the people, always struggling with the people and on behalf of the people come rain or shine, always open, honest and frank with the masses, leading them but also learning from them.

It took six years of organised struggle to remove the tyrannical Gairy regime but comrades, it will take many more years of struggle to remove the legacy of backwardness and destruction left by Gairyism.

March 13, 1979 ended one stage of our people’s struggle and began a new stage, the struggle against imperialism, and the struggle for national construction.

The New Jewel Movement, the vanguard of our working people, will continue to lead and guide our country through this new stage in our struggle.

The growth and maturity of the New Jewel Movement over these past ten years has meant a radical departure from the anti-working class parties of the old type which once dominated Grenada’s political culture, parties that represented the interests of the ruling classes and the exploiters, parties that made deals with colonialism and imperialism, parties manipulated by a handful of opportunists who occasionally spoke in the name of the people when it was convenient to do so but who always acted in the interests of the people’s enemies.

Today we have all right to celebrate 10 years of building the NJM, the party of a new type, one with a programme and a plan on how to construct the new and just society, a party comprising the most patriotic, conscious, incorruptible, disciplined and self-sacrificing persons in our society, a party guided by the highest moral and scientific principles.

Today, we have all right to celebrate our party’s 10 years of revolutionary experience and performance, 10 years of combining revolutionary thought and action, theory and practice.

But comrades just as 10 years is an important landmark in the life of any political organisation so too is 5 years a significant anniversary in the life of any Revolution.

As you know, next year we will mark the end of 5 years of people’s power in our country, the culmination of the early years of growth, of a period when our party and our patriotic people acted as guardians of our young Revolution, sustaining and nurturing, protecting and guiding, making sure that the health and strength of our new process be always safeguarded, laying the basis for its future growth and maturity.

With this in mind our party and Government plans next year to give our young Revolution its biggest birthday party ever.

Our fifth festival of the Revolution will see many more activities than in previous years.

Hundreds of people from all over the world will be invited to join us in the festivities.

Indications are that hundreds of Grenadians living abroad and score of our Caribbean sisters and brothers from neighbouring countries will also join us next March.

The 5th Anniversary of our glorious Revolution will be a truly extravaganza event, bigger and better than ever before, a giant festival that we can all look forward to with keen anticipation and one for which we should begin to plan and prepare from tomorrow.

Sisters and brothers, comrades, friends.

A few hours ago our delegation returned home from New Delhi, India, having attended the successful 7th Summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Every since we joined the Movement in September 1979 and were elected to the Co-ordinating Bureau, the organ which ensures the application of the agreements adopted at the summits, Grenada has played an active role in this Movement which is made up of  85 of our sister developing countries and our involvement has greatly enhanced the prestige and credibility of the Grenada Revolution.

We have consistently upheld the lofty principles upon which the movement was founded in 1961, principles such as anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, anti-neo-colonialism, support for the national liberation struggles, for international détente, for a new world economic order and opposition to apartheid, racism, Zionism, and military alliances.

At the New Delhi meeting Grenada added its voice to the demand of the Non-Aligned Movement for urgent measures to curb the arms race, to reduce international tensions and to eliminate all vestiges of colonial rule around the world.

We called on the Movement to give special consideration to the problems of small developing island states and we proposed that an international conference be held soon on this subject with the endorsement and approval of the entire Non-Aligned Movement.

In accordance with one of the principles of the movement – greater economic and political co-operation among the developing countries – we held a number of bilateral meetings with heads of state and leaders of delegations in which we discussed the devastating effects of the world capitalist crisis on our economies and how we could concretely strengthen our co-operation, unity and co-ordination in the struggle for a new international economic and information order.

We also examined ways in which this South-South co-operation could be translated into a common negotiating positions vis-à-vis the rich, developed countries of the North especially on the question of a fair and equitable balance in world trade.

Comrades, as we have said on a number of occasions, the world today is in the midst of a serious economic crisis, which began in 1979, one from which no poor, developing country has escaped unhurt.

Grenada is no exception.

Since the first year of our Revolution the world market prices for our nutmegs, cocoa and bananas had steadily declined while the prices of food and manufactured goods we import from the industrialised countries has steadily risen.

In other words, our economy has been earning less revenue for its exports and paying out more for its imports.

Yet in spite of the devastating effects of this crisis on our economy, in spite of the dismal legacy of economic underdevelopment, corruption and mismanagement from the Gairy dictatorship and in a regional context where other national economies are sinking under the heavy weight of debt to the West we have been able not only to keep our heads above the water but even to swim forward.

Judged by any standards comrades, the economic performance of our Revolution in four years of people’s power is impressive if not startling.

Just consider a few statistics that were announced in Cde. Coard’s report on the economy on February 24th  and with which our people are by now familiar having studied and discussed and criticised the report in their revolutionary democratic parish and zonal councils over the past two weeks.

Economy

-Stats. And other features from the report

section of

-what accounted for this impressive performance

the speech

-upcoming budget day (March 17th)

to be

-what must be done to maintain this performance

developed

- fresh new facts on the world capitalist crisis

later.

 

So comrades as we close the chapter on the fourth year of our Revolution and open the door leading into the 5th year of people’s power and participation what are the tasks and the responsibilities, and the challenges that confront us as party and people?

We say that the fifth year of revolution must be the time when we transform our country into one big popular school, the time when our people must hunger and thirst for knowledge and leaning, the time when our people must begin to untap their enormous creative potential and apply their creative abilities to the raising of production.

The fifth year of people’s power must be the time when our revolutionary culture gives birth to more Coonyhars, more inventors like the proud beetle trap man from St. David’s who was our country’s first worker of the year.

It must be the time for our people to heighten their appreciation and understanding of their history, their struggles, their culture, their traditions, their arts and sciences and those of other free peoples around the world.

It must, in the final analysis, be the time for political and academic education.

As we pointed out in our New Year’s address the main educational task in this period must be to push ahead vigourously with the CPE Adult Education programme, which as the popular slogan says, will take you from where you are to where you want to do.

More of our working people must be brought into this excellent programme so that by the end of the 5th year of Revolution the present enrollment of 5,000 should be doubled.

With a CPE certificate our working people will have more access to job opportunities, to skills training and to job promotion.

We must also pay much attention to the consolidation and development of the National In-Service Teacher Education Programme (NISTEP), the Community School Day Programme (CSDP) and to the various technical training programmes already on stream.

Furthermore, our primary and secondary school students should take a more serious and disciplined approach to their studies.

As internationalists, our duties and responsibilities in the fifth year of Revolution must extend beyond our borders.

We live in a region and in a world where nations and peoples are interconnected, where the isolation of one from the many is virtually impossible.

In the region, the Grenada Revolution has the historic responsibility of struggling for a Caribbean integration movement that will bring Caribbean peoples together and of illuminating a new path to development for the struggling masses of the region.

But we understand clearly that our development and the development of all Caribbean peoples is not possible in an atmosphere of tension, of strife, of military threats and aggressions, of the denial of human rights, of rampant oppression, of exploitative dependency.

That is why we have repeatedly called for the Caribbean to be declared and recognised in practice as a zone of peace, independence and development.

That is why we have resolutely pursued a foreign policy based on friendship, good neighbourliness, mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the domestic affairs of other states.

Just as Grenada can never be isolated from the region so too the Caribbean cannot be isolated from the world.

Our concern for peace must reach beyond our Caribbean sea and embrace the whole of humanity.

World peace is our business as it is the business of all nations, large or small.

We call for an immediate end to the arms race because we know that in a nuclear war there will be no winners but only losers.

We call for immediate disarmament because we know that billions of dollars in economic resources are today spent on guns and bombs instead of on poverty, disease, illiteracy, and other forms of human misery.

As a people who struggled for years against a fascist dictatorship we have an obligation to continue supporting the just struggles of the people of Southern Africa and Central America who are fighting for their freedom and independence and to remain firm in our uncompromising opposition to imperialism and the forces of reaction all over the world.

Peace and freedom are indivisible and the denial of freedom anywhere must endanger freedom elsewhere and inevitably lead to conflict and war.

Forward to a peaceful and productive 5th year of people’s power.

Long live the people of our beloved Grenada!

Long live the Grenada Revolution!

FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!

 


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