The Grenada Revolution Online

WHY MEETING?

The document below is retyped from a copy of the original as close as is practical. If you see what looks like 'errors' be reminded the text is a duplication as typed, except for obvious typographical errors. From research indicators, it appears WHY MEETING? was written up around 20 September 1983. It was distributed by or at the Extraordinary Meeting for Full Members of the New Jewel Movement on 25 September 1983.

The Central Committee of the NJM held an extraordinary C.C meeting on August [handwritten 26] 1983 just one month after the end of the July Plenary [which ended 23 July 1983].

WHY MEETING?

This meeting was as a result of feedback of dissatisfaction from party members in relation to the conclusions of the July Plenary among other things. Membership criticised the conclusions as being politically directionless and opportunist in content. This sparked off a war of discontent with the work of the C.C to a point where members were questioning the leadership of the C.C. Some Comrades called for the removal of some C.C members, others for the change up of the entire team. What was clear however, is that his dissatisfaction came from a genuine feeling of concern and deep commitment to the party and revolution.

At that August meeting the C.C took the decision to recall all C.C. members to the country and commence a special plenary session on September 13th-15th. In fact the C.C. meeting commenced on September 14th and concluded on September 17th.

At this meeting the C.C. agreed on the following agenda:

(1) Present state of the party and Revolution

(2) Assessment of the work of the Central Committee

(3) Way Forward

WORST AND MOST DANGEROUS CRISIS EVER

At present the revolution is facing its worst crisis ever, and most serious danger in 41/2 years.

The mood of the masses is characterised at worst by open dissatisfaction and cynicism, and at best by serious demoralisation. Overall the mood is 1-2 on a scale of 5.

The mass organisations are in their worst state ever. The Woman's Committee which leads the NOW has seriously declined and is faced with possible disintegration in 2-3 months since some of the best party women had to be removed from that area of work, the best women outside the party are refusing to join the party and a number of sisters are contemplating resigning. At the time of the plenary, the NOW was being run on a day to day basis by a non-party sister. The July plenary's analysis of the Women's question was wrong and the matter has been raised again as serious concern of women party Comrades.

The NYO [National Youth Organisation] is in a state of virtual collapse, there exist total demoralisation and lack of clarity on the way forward [unclear] youth work since the C.C has not provided guidance to the youths.

The P.F.U. [Progressive Farmers Union] was faced with a situation of a split in the executive two weeks ago which would have meant its total collapse.

Amongst the working class, persistent ideological backwardness and economism exist. At the same time, we witness stepped up ideological infiltration amongst the working class by church [unclear] reaction, including the destabilisation of many worker education classes.

The militia is now almost a thing of the past. The work of the P.C.B.'s can be summarised by desperate effort largely unsuccessful results. Today we are also witnessing widespread and ever expanding activities of the church.

All of the above creates a perfect atmosphere and daily [unclear] conditions for a upsurge of counter revolutionary activity.

POSSIBLE DISINTEGRATION OF THE PARTY

Together with all of this Comrades, we face the possibility of the disintegration of our party which will surely come about within 3-6 months if some of us do not take steps to remedy the situation.

Party Comrades are fed up, many Comrades behaviour are characterised by deep frustration due to persistent failures which many Comrades feel stem from unreasonable blows and the ever-burdening workloads.

Comrades see crisis after crisis, things sliding, things getting worse and yet the C.C rather than coming out frankly and pointing out the truth, pointing out the real problem, the weakness of the C.C, it has thrown the blame left right and centre and lied to the membership when assessing its own work, as well as hiding from the membership some of the fundamental problems within the C.C over the past year.

This situation has led to a state of deep fear in the party, Comrades being afraid of raising any criticism, reasoning that if the situation is so clear and the C.C does not have the courage to criticise itself, how can they dare to do so. This has led to a lack of inner party democracy, has also led to the lowering of the prestige and credibility of the C.C in the eyes of the membership to the lower level ever in the history of the party. All of this has only made it more difficult for the C.C to lead the party and already signs of party disintegration have appeared. It is the C.C objective appreciation of all this that led it to conclude that disintegration will be a total reality in 3-6 months unless things are corrected.

THE REVOLUTION FACES THE DANGER OF BEING OVERTHROWN

We all know Comrades we say It every day the party leads the revolution, what then can the disintegration of the party mean. It can only mean one thing: The collapse and overthrow of the revolution will shortly follow the disintegration of the party.

What we face is not just simply the disintegration of the party, but the total loss of state power, because in a situation of widespread dissatisfaction, demoralisation amongst our best supporters and no party it is impossible to hold onto power for any length of time. It is the view of the C.C that is steps or [sic] not taken from now not only, no party in six months but the revolution will be overthrown within a year.

THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM: THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

The Central Committee concluded the main problem, the main reason for this most dangerous crisis that we face lies within the Central Committee.

Some members are of the view that the problem lies within the O.C [Organising Committee], others in the D.C [Disciplinary Committee], others say with both.

The C.C considered these views and arrived at the conclusion that the problem of the O.C. and D.C are only symptoms of the real problem and that the real underlying problem lies within the C.C.

In a situation where the C.C is not giving political leadership, where both C.C and P.B fail to function and the O.C and Cde. Selwyn in particular is asked to carry out his work without the necessary political direction and guidance and take in areas of work that should be dealt with by C.C and P.B [Political Bureau} when obviously the organisation of the party work must crumble.

In all areas of the party's work, it can be seen clearly that long-term strategic policy decisions on issues such as how to build the party, what areas of work to give priority to and which to cut out or lesson, how to build the NYO, how to ensure the success of the C.P.E [Centre for Popular Education] - dozens of vital political decisions have not been taken by the C.C of P.B. This [sic] the C.C has been politically unguided, and this is the fundamental reason for its many organisational errors.

Faced with a situation of growing frustration, dissatisfaction and rebellion from the membership, the D.C in an effort to keep things going, to prop up a sinking directionless ship was bound to make errors in its work and functioning.

RIGHT OPPORTUNIST PATH OF THE C.C

The C.C further concluded that the conclusion from the July plenary to the membership that the work of the C.C and P.B had improved marginally is a lie and a manifestation of the right opportunist path that the C.C has been on for more than a year now, hiding from the membership the truth and absolving itself of criticism from the membership while pretending all is well.

This path of right opportunism first came out openly into the light in September-October 1982 when the party was faced with the resignation of Comrade Coard from P.B and C.C.

WHY COMRADE COARD RESIGN

Comrade Coard emphasised as to the main reason for this resignation from the C.C and P.B. the slack and weak functioning of C.C and P.B, the vacillation and lack of collectively [sic] leadership manifested in the fact that P.B and C.C member will come to meetings hand and minds swinging. He was expected to think out all positions, take all initiative, implement all decisions, and at the same time be the axe-man, the one to take up all disciplinary matters and manners everyone and make all criticisms. This he said was totally contrary to the principles of a M.L party and once this continued there was no hope of ever building a M.L party. At the same time however, when he made efforts to get badly-needed decisions taken (e.g; on Torchlight, Gang of 26 etc.) and encourage and struggle for the C.C and P.B to get moving, to put an end to vacillation, to implement even agreed upon decisions and to engage in regular disciplined ideological study, some Comrades in the Political Bureau interpreted it as his fighting for leadership and all kind [sic] of back-biting resulted.

This made it impossible for him to continue functioning as a member of C.C and P.B, impossible to further influence the course of the revolution. Also in such a situation if he was to remain a member of the C.C and P.B, then Comrades would continued depending on him, it would have meant that the C.C would have develop at that rate. He would actually hold back the development of the P.B and C.C. His return on the C.C and P.B had become fetter on the development of these two higher party organs.

OCTOBER, 1982 PLENARY

In the October 1982 plenary meeting which considered the matter of Comrade Bernard's resignation the C.C leveled criticism at itself, criticised the weak functioning of the C.C and P.B and the weak chairmanship and leadership of Comrade Maurice Bishop. The C.C plenary at the time stated "The Party stood at the Crossroads two routes are open to the party. The first route is the petty bourgeois route which would seek to make Cde. Bernard's resignation the issue. This would only lead to temporary relief, but will surely lead to the deterioration of the party into social democratic party and hence the degeneration of the revolution. This road will be an easy one to follow, given the objectively based backwardness and petty bourgeois nature of the society.

PROBLEMS IN THE C.C

The second route is the communist route. The route of the Leninist standards and functioning. The route of criticism and collective leadership. The Central Committee reaffirmed the position taken by the general meeting of September 12th and 13th [1982]. The party must be put on a Leninist footing. The C.C finally concluded that Comrade Bernard's resignation was scientifically a correct decision, in the interest of the C.C and P.B and ultimately, of the Party.

One year has passed since then, but nothing has changed in fact the situation has gotten worse. Rather than coming off the road of right opportunism we have gone further along. On reflection, the very covering up of the issue of Cde. Bernard's resignation, the fundamental causes of it and of the removal of Comrade Radix was to continue along the path of right opportunism that the C.C elaborated on in October 1982. The withholding of the resolution of the October meeting was a step further along the road. The lack of frankness and open honesty by the Central Committee in its work from October '82 - July '83 maintaining a pretense that all is well was a major step along the path of right opportunism, the C.C conclusion of July was yet another step in that direction, and in the view of the C.C the penultimate step.

The present chance we have of rectifying it is our last change. To fake yet another opportunist position to duck against the real issues and cover it up with generalities would be to put the final nail in the coffin of the party and revolution.

It was therefore, the spirit of understanding our great responsibility to the party and revolution and to the working people that the C.C delebrations [sic] took place and the following conclusions arrived at.

The C.C. concluded the following: The source of the crisis in the revolution and party lies within the Central Committee.

The C.C concluded the following: The Central Committee is the source of the crisis in the party and revolution. All members of the C.C must be criticised for weaknesses and failures, in the form of low levels of discipline, organisation and ideological development and in particular for the failure to put the party on Leninist Path.

The degree of failure and weakness varies. Though some comrade has displayed such great weakness that some party comrades have concluded that removal from the C.C is the key to the way forward. The C.C however is of the firm view that even though some comrades have failed more than others on the C.C, their removal is no way a solution to the problems of the C.C, for comrades in the C.C today are by far the best quality comrades in the party today, the best C.C that the Party can offer at this time.

MAIN PROBLEMS

The C.C further concluded that the main problem in the C.C for some time now is the quality of the leadership of the Party and Central Committee provided by Comrade Maurice Bishop.

The C.C is of the view that the comrade has tremendous strengths, his ability to in spire and instill confidence in the people, his ability to unite the masses and hold so high the banner and prestige of the Revolution regionally and Internationally.

But today with the growing complexities and difficulties on the economic, political and military fronts facing us, these strengths alone cannot carry us any further hence the depth of this crisis.

For what the past four and a half years, in particular has proven in that Cde. Maurice lacks the precise qualities and strengths that are particularly required to carry the process forward in these most difficult times and to transform the Party into a Leninist one; namely:

(1) A Leninist level of organisation and discipline
(2) Great depth in ideological clarity
(3) Brilliance in strategy and tactics
(4) The capacity to exercise Leninist supervision, control and guidance of all areas of work of the party.

And when we take an honest look up and down the party, the only Cdes with precisely these strengths is Cde. Coard.

This Comrades in the C.C's conclusion is the fundamental problem in the C.C and hence the party.

KEY TASK: WAY FORWARD

The C.C went on to conclude that the key task facing the party today is to marry the strengths of Cdes Maurice and Bernard in the model of joint leadership of the party, giving the party the opportunity to use its best talent to overcome the dangers and difficulties of the present period, working out the correct strategy for moving the process forward, accomplishing the transformation of the party into a Leninist party and rebuilding and sustaining the mass work, for that is our only hope.

The C.C also agreed that each of the two Cde will have their own areas of responsibility spelt out in the following way:

CDE. MAURICE

(1) Work amongst the masses with special focus on direct personal propaganda in the form of
      (a) speaking to the organs of popular democracy
      (b) regular scheduled visits to work places Urban and rural, and
      (c) visits to schools - all aimed at raising the political and economic consciousness of the working class, young intelligentsia and working people and             inspiring them with a vision of the future.

(2) Militia mobilisation to raise the political consciousness and commitment of our militia units nationwide.

(3) regional and international work.

CDE. BERNARD

(1) Party organisation, returning as chairman of the O.C

(2) Party ideological development and the formation of Cadres

(3) Strategy and tactics

The C.C also concluded here that Cde. Maurice will Chair all Central Committee meetings which shall now become monthly and Cde. Bernard Coard all Political Bureau meetings, and both will submit quarterly reports on the progress of their work to the C.C. Also the C.C or P.B must discuss and ratify any major proposals or decisions sought by either of these two leaders of our party, thus guaranteeing the Leninist principle of collective leadership.

JOINT LEADERSHIP AND REALITY OF 10 YEARS

The C.C acknowledged that in reality joint leadership has existed in the party four and a half (4) years. During this time Comrade Bishop in practice led the party in the area now assigned to him and Comrade sic] in his, now assigned areas. For instance, it was Cde. Coard who formed the first M.L study group in 1974, who provided the ideological guidance for the NJM party manifesto and who struggled for the formation of the O.C, in 1979 which lifted the party's level of organisation, a key factor of winning power.

All this model is doing is formalizing the existing reality, and giving authority commensurate with responsibility. This could only improve and made more efficient the party work, for it is the most scientific and principled way of solving the present problems of the party leadership. The C.C believes firmly that it is the correct solution and only hope for pulling us out of this crisis, as well be for decisively transforming party into a Leninist one.

EVERY PARTY AND REVOLUTION MUST CHOOSE ITS OWN FORM OF LEADERSHIP BASED ON ITS OWN CONCRETE SITUATION

The question of leadership, the correct solution to the problem of leadership must proceed from the [unclear] to [unclear] and must be based on the qualities necessary for maximum leadership in any historic period. For us in Grenada the qualities necessary for leadership in this period have already been spelt out.

The concrete situation that existed in Grenada is that these qualities in total exist in two Comrades, hence the solution of joint leadership.

In some countries, all of these qualities exist in one Comrade e.g Cde. Lenin possessed them all. So does Comrade Fidel today. In other countries all the qualities do not exist in one person, e.g Nicaragua since the death of Cde. Fonseca. these qualities exist in nine Comrades hence the establishment of a nine man joint leadership, which for Nicaragua is the most scientific and correct solution to the problem of leadership in this historic period.

This model of joint leadership is an attempt to bring creative and scientific solution to the leadership question in our concrete circumstances and most fundamentally, as noted earlier it is the formal recognition of the reality of the leadership in our party for the first 10 years of the party, up until the year ago.

OTHER CONCLUSIONS AND DECISIONS

  1. The conclusions of the C.C July plenary all revoked.

  2. Comrade George Louison is assigned to lead the political work in St. Andrew's.

  3. Minutes of the just concluded C.C plenary is distributed to full members for study.

  4. Cde. Leon Cornwall is assigned to Armed Forces, responsibility for party political work, academic work and attention to the personal and social problems of our soldiers.

  5. a series of meetings to be organised to report conclusions of plenary to membership: Members 25th September 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m, Candidate members September 26th with 5.00 p.m. - 9.00 p.m. Applicants October 3rd 5.00 p.m. - 8.00 p.m.

  6. C.C to continue a new series of meetings with Cde. Coard present from Monday 19th September to elaborate a package of measures for the way forward and have minutes of these meeting made available to the membership for study. Members are asked to consider these views and come up with additional ideas. All comments and additions must be sent to the C.C.

The C.C will then review the package taking into account the views of the membership. This package will then be discussed by the party membership during weekend study sessions scheduled as follows:

September 30 to October 1st - Fedon and Butler

The Central Committee further concluded that in this moment of serious crisis and great dangers all party members are called upon to put their best foot forward in ensuring that the party and revolution are saved.

Now more than ever, and for the future the party demands of the membership the following:

  1. Iron discipline
  2. Firmly uphold and apply the principle of criticism and self criticism
  3. Leninist level of organisation
  4. Open warmth and selflessness in dealing with the masses
  5. Sink but not drown yourself if amongst the masses
  6. Kill all arrogance
  7. Greater scientific thought and reflection on the problems and difficulties of the party and revolution
  8. An end to all vacillation
  9. Bold, firm and creative style of thought and action

The Central Committee is of the view that only well organised scientific and systematic work reinforced with the above qualities will draw us out of this crisis and even so we must be aware that this will be a long process.

LONG LIVE THE PARTY! FORWARD EVER!

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