MAP - Position Paper No. 1
NOTE: Below is a first position paper from M.A.P. The document is dated at the end - DECEMBER 1972 - in the same typeface of the text. The document was transcribed from a clear text. The transcription below keeps close to the original with minor format corrections.
Position Paper No. 1 of Movement for Assemblies of the People ( M A P )
Our Country today faces its biggest crisis. The present political and economic situation has now reached the point where almost everyone in the Society is dissatisfied and groping for change and a new sense of direction and purpose. The agricultural industry, the basis of our economy, is in near ruins; the cost of living has risen to unbelievable proportions; unemployment is widespread; political victimisation is at an unprecedented high; confidence in the electoral system has been shattered.
The promise of the fifties has not been fulfilled and few now believe that their aspirations and expectations will ever be realised.
To most of us, the exact reasons for this state of affairs are not clear. Some blame it on Government mismanagement; others blame the opposition party; still others blame the present crisis on the people themselves. The question we as a people must now ask and answer is -----what can we do?
The present members of "MAP" have looked with dismay at the collapse of our Country - politically, economically and spiritually - and have decided that the time is now to begin a Movement aimed at mobilising and organising the whole people into popular bodies to seek for true liberation, to work out the ways and means of such liberation and to begin the implementation of those ways and means. We see our task as assisting our people to achieve [sic] goal.
We recognise that in the final analysis this could only be achieved when the people, the whole people organised in our Villages and at our places of work, have taken political power as an organised mass movement. It is to this end that we now dedicate ourselves.
We believe that the basic reason for the political mess in our Country today is the continued existence and corruption of the party system of government as it now is. The people have become divided into two hostile party camps - GULP and GNP. One section of the people is fighting against another section over THE PARTY and THE LEADER. We go to the Polls once every five years and make an X; after that we must shut our mouths and take what we get from the party bosses called "elected representatives". These "elected representatives:, regardless of party affiliation, are not answerable to us. They simply attempt to fool us with promises and political big-talk at public meetings. Even in our once-every-five-years democracy, we have no control of the electoral process to make sure that the representatives we want are elected. What results is not democracy but "hypocrisy". We have to demolish once and for all the present hypocritical system and the very basis on which dictators arise. In its place, we, the people, must build a new popular system of government of the people and by the people. An egg must be broken before an omelette can be made; a political egg has got to be broken in Grenada today.
The present Governmental machinery of House of Representatives and Senate is extremely unsatisfactory, and it is our aim to discuss with our people the possible ways and means of changing the form, method and structure of this machinery. We believe that political democracy can only be relevant and meaningful if the people - all the people - are involved in its operation and control.
We recognise too that the State apparatus, the instruments by which the Government rules, and without which no Government can run a country, are badly in need of restructuring. To this end, we propose to put out for discussions over the next couple of months policy proposals on what changes are required in the administration of the Civil Service, the Judicial Administration and in the Police Department. In these areas, as in all other areas, the one thing that stands out a mile is that the people are not involved in their operation - and it is our convinced position that this participation is essential.
We believe further that the economy must be effectively managed and controlled and must be transformed into a modern, popular - controlled economy; so that, in Agriculture, for example, the control and organisation of that industry must be firmly placed in the hands of producers on a corporate and self-reliant basis.
All of this we see as essential before the quality of our material, social and spiritual lives can be bettered.
Our aim is to mobilise and organise our people into popular bodies to take political power and to run the government of the country. Our proposal for a new popular form of government is what we call ASSEMBLIES OF THE PEOPLE. It is very simple. The roots of the Assembly system are the Villages. All the people in a village will form a LOCAL VILLAGE ASSEMBLY. The Village Assembly will be the local government. At the Village Assembly the people will decide what they want and when. Elected Delegates from all local assemblies will comprise the National Assembly which will be the government of the Country. Most important, any Village Assembly at any time can recall its delegates from the National Assembly and elect new ones. There will also be Parish Assemblies made up of delegates from all Local Assemblies in the parishes.
The last paragraph outlined what can be called Community or Residential Assemblies. Our proposals also include the setting-up of WORKERS ASSEMBLIES. These Workers Assemblies will follow the same general pattern as the Community or Residential Assemblies. Transport Workers, for example, could form separate Local Assemblies of bus drivers, conductors, taxi-drivers and so on. And the same could be done in relation to nurses, sugar workers, teachers, estate workers, students, professionals, store clerks etc.
Elected Delegates from the Workers Assemblies will, likewise, be entitled to representation in the National Assembly.
So that, what we will have as a new form of government is:-
- Local Assemblies of all the people at the Village level
- Workers Assemblies of the people at their place of work
- Parish Assemblies of delegates from all Local Assemblies in the parish
- A National Assembly of delegates from all Local Assemblies and Workers Assemblies in the island
- The National Assembly will elect from among the members a National Assembly Council which will be responsible for carrying-out the day-to-day functions of the Assembly.
The Local Assemblies, Workers Assemblies and Parish Assemblies will also appoint similar Councils from among their membership.
We are convinced that this is the way TO BEGIN the building of a new form of government based on popular participation, involvement and control. With the Assembly form of Government, the people can than MAP out a new course and make a new beginning.
As immediate priorities, we have set ourselves the task of raising the funds necessary to purchase a press with which to put out a Weekly News Paper so that our views may be well circulated. It is also our intention to start within the next two months to hold a series of Public Educational Meetings to discuss the pressing problems in our Society and to call a Convention of the People, along the lines of Assemblies for the People, for April 1973 to discuss, among other things, the whole question of Independence. Before we become an independent Country, we must know what is involved, and must decide what sort of independence we want, what sort of governmental machinery we will operate after independence, what sort of economic changes we wish to se e introduced before and after independence, and what sort of Constitution an independent Grenada ought to have. It is our intention to begin discussions on all these vital topics immediately.
We are not selling a product-an election program. Nor are we asking for votes, or coming to lead. What we are seeking and hoping to do is to assist our people in their desire to lead themselves. And that, to us, is democracy. The people must say what they want, when they want, where they want and how they want. By means of the kind of activity we propose to follow, the people will work out the ways and means of bringing into being the new form of Government.
In this our first position paper, we state our conviction that all power and control must be placed in the hands of all the people. In later Statements, we intend to clearly set out our Policy Proposals for Liberation.
Let us together map out the path on the road to a new beginning.
M A P