REPORT BY M.A.P.
NOTE: Below is a report made to the M.A.P. Convention session of 10-11th March 1973 about a meeting of "a small number of committed persons" [some members of MAP at the convention] re organizing a mass movement. The 10-11th March 1973 meeting was held in St. David's. It was at this convention that M.A.P. AND J.E.W.E.L. merged to form The New Jewel Movement [NJM].
The document was transcribed from a fairly clear text. No attempt is made to decipher Bishop's handwritten notes, except in minor cases noted below. The text keeps close to the original with minor format corrections.
"REPORT BY M.A.P."
In this our first report, we propose briefly to look at our formation, why, what we set out to do, how, what we have done, what have been our experiences [unclear word] and some of our plans for the future.
In October, 1972, some of the present members of MAP got together and decided to call a meeting of a small number of committed persons to discuss what action could be taken as a first step towards organising a mass movement that could seize political power from out of the hands of the present regime.
An Agenda was prepared and Brothers and Sisters were asked to lead off on each item to insure that all attending would come prepared to make a contribution.
That Agenda read:-
1. Political Assessment -
- Ruling Regime,
- Movement - membership,
- Situation (experience/Lessons),
- Present Political situation.
2. What must be the Political goals of the movement?
- Concrete goals
- Broad perspective as to quality of goals
3. Broad strategy for achievement of goals
4. How do we begin!
- Method of Approach
- Concrete tasks and work
5. What is the next step from here?
- Concrete -
This first meeting was held on 27th October 1972, and nine persons attended. A decision was taken at this meeting that the group should meet weekly with a view to developing a collective consciousness clarifying our perspectives on working out a concrete direction and strategy.
A great deal of time was spent at this first meeting in assessing the present political situation, and it was agreed that all of the worst abuses of the system of "Parliamentary Democracy" were present in Grenada - elitism (indeed "one-manism"), inertia, inactivity and non-participation and non-involvement by the masses; an indolent and directionless opposition, frustration, victimisation, a bankrupt intelligentsia and middle-class, and corruption. The party system was seen as a major divisive influence.
Our assessment of the social, economic and spiritual state of the island revealed that matters were just as bad there. The cost of living was unbelievably and oppressively high; unemployment was widespread; production in the economy as a whole and particularly in our three export crops, was falling; the building-construction boom of the late sixties was at an end and the society was proceeding without a lack of direction [sic], purpose and sense of fulfillment.
It was obvious to us that change was urgently needed. The question then posed was - what do we change to?
WHAT WE SET OUT TO DO
We have set ourselves a single aim - the organisation of a mass movement to seize political power.
The masses need to take power into their own hands in order to carry out the following necessary and urgent tasks:
While the above may be categorised as the preliminary essentials, urgent consideration will also have to be given to revolutionizing the content and system of education and the shape of our cultural pursuits.
The aim can therefore be seen as the restructuring of the material, social and spiritual quality of the lives of the people by the people themselves.
In stating that our aim is the organisation of a mass movement to seize political power, we immediately set ourselves apart from the GULP and the GNP, both in our aim, and necessarily in our strategy, and structure. Both GNP and GULP were created as Parties under a Leader with a view to winning victory at the polls. They did not emerge out of the process of struggle, nor did their leaders emerge because of their organisational ability, commitment to the people or hard work. Rather, their leaders were the self-proclaimed "messiahs" from the start-the successful trade-unionist riding on the backs of the masses, and the intellectual middle-class politician appealing largely to the middle-class desire for Law and order and an end to "low-class, ragtail" Leadership and direction in the society.
By contrast, our position is that Leadership must be determined not at a small meeting where "messiahs" are proclaimed but must emerge only after the organisation has begun to develop roots in the society when the membership would then be able by virtue of their concrete experiences to decide who will be best able to carry out the wishes and needs of the people.
We have taken a long, hard look at the ways in which political power has changed hands in the past, and have agreed that there have been three basic ways in which historically this has been accomplished.
- To revolutionise the form, method and structure of the Governmental machinery. The present Governmental apparatus of House of Representatives, Senate and Cabinet must be replaced by a Revolutionary Government which incorporates the mass movement into the apparatus of Government;
- To revolutionise the State apparatus; that is, the instruments by which the Government rules. This apparatus has three main arms:-
i) An administrative arm - the Civil Service
ii) A "Law and Order" arm - the Judiciary comprising the High Court and the Registracy and
iii) A repressive arm - the Police Department -
These three arms are all working in a very unsatisfactory manner at the moment, and there is an urgent need to incorporate the masses into their operation and functioning;
- revolutionise the working of the Economy by introducing new urgent changes in the production, distribution, marketing, allocation and profit-sharing of our resources.
In broad terms, the requirement here is the building of a modern mass-controlled economy, placing the control and organisation of agriculture, for example, in the hands of producers in a corporate and self-reliant basis.
The first method is the one well-known to us - a party goes around the island once every five years promising this, that and the other in exchange for an "x". A more undemocratic method in the context of a society such as ours can hardly be imagined. For five minutes in every give years, as they put their "x", the people become important and thereafter they must take their "licks" as usual keeping their mouth tightly shut while the political papa-gods do their thing. Our Position Paper No. 1 has already analysed the serious divisions which the GNP and GULP have created in our midst. To form a party to contrast an election in 1977, cannot be our strategy.
The second method is not well-known to us or our people in the Caribbean as a whole, and seems unlikely at this stage to attract much support for the reason that history has shown that a country only accept the method of violence [NOTE: One again, Bishop has struck out the word "violence"; replacing it with "mass struggle"] when all "legal" means of effecting change have been exhausted. [NOTE: In the margin to this paragraph, Bishop has written "mass [unclear] or coup d'etat.]
We come then to the third method which can take a number of differing forms. The mass mobilisation and organisation of the people may be expressed in a "General strike" where the essential and other services are brought to a halt; or it can take the form of a series of demonstrations leading up to a confrontation with the regime in power; or it can be expressed in the form of a new organised mass movement aiming from the outset to create an "alternative" or "parallel" power within the community and adopting a strategy to arrive at this end.
Our view is that while none of these methods can be ruled out, the most appropriate method to be employed at this stage is that of the mass mobilisation and organisation of our people into ASSEMBLIES where all the power of State will be exercised by them. In short, the aim is power to the people organised in Assemblies. [Bishop again has a note - "Violence is involved in all 3."]
Our Position Paper No. 1 and a paper on Assemblies to be presented at this Convention [10-11 March 1973] have dealt with the reasons for aiming at the creation of Assemblies and have shown the reasons to be the introduction of a democratic participatory and responsible form of Government, in which the leadership will be subject to immediate recall, as events demand this.
Our proposals for the condition of a mass organisation are as follows:-
- The method of election.
- The method of violence [NOTE: Bishop has made notes here; crossing out 'violence' and replacing the word with "mass struggle". Following this is a note in Bishop's handwriting: "misnomer, as all 3 involve violence - SEE 'Strategy']
- The method of mass mobilisation [NOTE: Bishop has crossed out "mobilisation" and written "uprising".]
It must be stressed that these steps represent only the preliminary path along the road to the creation of a mass organisation leading up to the creation of Assemblies of the People and the seizure of political power. How fast we develop from hereon will depend largely on our collective efforts in working towards our goals, and in particular, in the short run, towards the People's Convention on Independence in April 1973.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE
So far, the present members of MAP have been engaged in nine main activities:-
- The creation of MAP Groups or "cells" in different residential areas around the island and at places of work in order to spread the idea of the Assemblies, and to begin the creation of infant Assemblies as and when the idea begins to take root.
- The beginning of a newspaper to spread the idea of the Assemblies and to assist in the process of organisation (a detailed paper on this subject will be presented at this Convention)
- The holding of a series of public educational meeting by MAP where the burning issues of the day will be discussed.
- The holding of a Convention of the people along the lines of an Assembly in April, 1973, to discuss the key question of Independence for Grenada (a circulated paper on "Meaningful vs. Meaningless Independence" will be discussed at this Convention).
- The holding of this internal Convention of delegates from all Groups mobilised by MAP during the period October, 1972 - March, 1973. This Convention must be seen as an important part of the over-all process, and is aimed at developing a collective consciousness and of providing all MAP Delegates with the required information and clarity on the future direction.
We recognise that the work that has been done so far is minute when compared with the work which we will have to undertake from now on, but stand prepared, ready and optimistic to carry on in the pace of all odds until our goal is attained.
In broad terms, our experiences so far have indicated that the road ahead will be a long, hard one, and may be attended by more apparent drawbacks than successes in the beginning. There are already ominous signs that many may not weather the course, but may instead succumb to the pressures and the hardships which have already begun to face us. How well we weather these storms will depend not only on our individual commitments, but also on our ability to forge from almost scratch a united organisation welded together by a unity of purpose, strength, consciousness and loyalty to our cause and to each other. That is the awesome task which faces us if we are to succeed.
Our efforts at cell-building have confirmed many of our original expectations. Whereas our aim has been the mobilisation in particular of the working and [unclear] classes, we have found that most of the initial response has come, not unexpectedly from the youth. Whereas our convictions led us to reject the way of one-man leadership, we have found that many persons seem instinctively unwilling to accept any other form. And do it has been with other expectations.
In explaining the idea of the Assemblies, we have been repeatedly pressed for answers on questions such as - what will be the relationship between MAP and the Assemblies? What will replace the present system of Ministers and of the Cabinet? How long should representatives to the Assemblies be allowed to hold office? At what point in time does a "cell" or group qualify to become a Local Assembly? What will be the relationship between the Local and the Parish Assemblies and the Local and the National Assemblies? Will the Local Assemblies have control over specified areas or total control? What will the position of Civil Servants, the Courts and the Police Department under this system? Can this system really work? Has it ever worked or is it working anywhere now? Now will the Assemblies affect our daily lives?
To all of these questions and many more, we have been attempting to pose answers, and it will be our continuing duty in the months ahead to develop and clearly explain our position.
The divisions, hatred and most of all, fear which the party system has created in our society has led many to stay away from our discussions, and encourages many more not to return a second time. The immediate material expectations of the youth and the belief of many of them that the gun provides a quicker and simpler solution have led us to prolonged discussion on the need and importance for Assemblies - in particular, to the important conclusion that MAP is not seeking power for MAP but for the people, that the Assemblies are not seen as mere Governmental forms or shells but as a total, living vehicle which would involve the people every way in all their daily pursuits, and which would provide the framework for placing power where it belongs - in the hands of the organised people.
Our experiences leave room for optimism. Centuries of repression and the brutalizing effects of today's harsh economic conditions have been insufficient to destroy the deep co-operative spirit of our people, as can be seen by the continuing transitions of the marketing co-operatives, the su-su, the maroons, the harvest and so on. The co-operative instinct is already internalized; it is now our task to give it a concrete, living, external and organised form through the medium of the Assemblies.
We have already looked at some of our plans in this Report. This Convention will develop and elaborate on these and decide on others.
All that remains to be said here is to repeat our conviction that Assemblies of the People will provide us with the best basis for getting ourselves out of the mess that we are in. If, by the end of this Convention, all of us leave firmly convinces of this, then a better start to the formal launching of MAP can hereby be hoped for.
- AND END TO PARTY POLITICS -
- The preparation of a Position Paper setting out our assessment of the present political, social and economic situation in the island and suggesting the creation of Assemblies of the People as a viable alternative Governmental structure. This Paper has been well received and has assisted greatly in our efforts at cell-building and spreading the new idea around the island.
- The holding of weekly internal meetings of members for the purpose of developing a collective position on the Assemblies and working out of a strategy for change. These meetings have also been helpful in assisting us to analyse our experiences in the field.
- The building of MAP cells around the island, and implementing the idea of Assemblies in a practical way in our respective places of work.
MAP has made contact with a number of existing groups and individuals in different parts of the island and a fair measure of success has attended this effort.
In addition, members have been attempting to get organisations to which they belong to discuss the idea of the Assemblies and where possible, to get them to practise the idea on a concrete way. We shall say more about his at the Convention.
- MAP has held a number of meeting with JEWEL with a view to getting that organisation to accept and agree to spread the idea of the Assemblies.
These meetings have proven useful, and it is expected that one of the main matters on which agreement will hope to be reached at this Convention is our future relationship with JEWEL.
- MAP has been engaged in carrying out research in gathering information on some of the burning issues affecting our lives. The result of this research can be seen in part by the papers to be presented at this Convention.
This matter of research, however, is a continuous process and delegates will be expected from now on to begin to gather information in their respective areas.
- The process of choosing a name for the organisation was a painstaking one. It is our view that this is not an unimportant matter, and that our name must at the same time indicate what we stand for, be simple, and if at all possible, be easily expressed as a catch-word.
We consider that the name "MAP" meets these requirements, but, as with every other matter on which we have so far reached a decision, we recognise the right, indeed duty, of this Convention to re-open the matter for discussion and decision.
- MAP has been attempting to raise funds. Our efforts to date will be disclosed at this Convention.
- MAP has spent a great deal of time in preparing for this Convention, which we view as the single more important and serious act undertaken by us to date.
We cannot overstress the importance we attach to the [unclear] of this Convention, nor the important role it is likely to play in our future development.
We have also begun to think seriously about the proposed Island wide People's Convention on Independence - our main strategic push - to be held in April 1973.
- MAP has also spent a great deal of time thinking about the siting [sic] and costing of a Headquarters for the Movement; the format and content of a newspaper; and the composition and structure of the decision-naming bodies and representatives of the Movement.
- LET US DEVELOP MAP -
- LET US SPE?D THE IDEA OF THE ASSEMBLIES -
- ORGANISE FOR THE PEOPLE'S CONVENTION ON INDEPENDENCE -
- ONWARD TO PEOPLE'S POWER -