Becoming Revolutionary

NOTE: many online links to sources are no longer available; nevertheless, they remain, as the article ages, for your information

Revolutionary Roots

He who answers before listening; that is his folly and his shame.[1]

Thunderclap Newman in the U.K. had a Number One Hit in 1969:[2]

Call out the instigators

Because there’s something in the air

We’ve got to get together sooner or later

Because the revolution’s here . . .

The following disclaimer, on the other hand, applies universally. It was aptly expressed by writer Bryan Palmer: [3]

For every radical . . . fieldworker, for every militant anti-Vietnam War protester, for every women’s liberationist, there were countless . . . youth who followed no rebel road.

Minorities nevertheless sometimes make history, and they are certainly capable of putting a strong stamp on it, as elites have always understood.

The aim of this piece is to present the influence upon the worlds of those who were interested in revolutionary change. The assumption shall take the voice of “we” and what affected us.

Points of information are indicated in this chapter as take-off referrals to the accumulation of events that occurred previous to the detailed history of the Grenada Revolution.

The call to “revolution” brings to mind the question of its meaning. A study of the concept makes for a fascinating venture.[4]

Is “revolution” a form of social change? Is “revolution” also a “coup d’état”? A revolt? An uprising? An internal war? A class rebellion? Is “revolution” a war, essentially against one leader? Is it a battle, in essence, to set a charismatic leader as replacement for a demonized opposition leader?

Clusters of revolutionary groups grew out of social and academic communities. We had, to put it simply, the desire to change the world and we felt we could do it. We thought we knew how the system worked and we wanted to abolish unemployment and poverty. We wanted to make the world a better place. Essential to our way of thinking, “The System” was to blame.

Social Change and International Solidarity

There was that general feeling that if you worked within your surroundings for social change, you were working towards the larger revolutionary movement yet to come.

One felt poised on the brink of a conversion. One felt the call for one’s youth to be active. One had a sense that one’s own personal sacrifices in making change could affect society. One even had a hope of revolution in the United States. The leap in one’s thought of a sense of international solidarity from where one was located was, indeed, a faith based in boundless hope.

If your radical group, for example, drew fire from authorities and it cost the powers that be money to contain your group, kudos to your radical community for aiding world revolutionary movements. You gotta do what you gotta do to get done what needs to get done. There was a kind of out of bad-comes-good mode of thinking.

The experience during 1968, a key year for example, was personally overwhelming and led towards a positive life-changing manner for many.

As many of us were young, we thought we lived in a world of infinite means. We had a definitive attitude that all could be solved and in the most principled way. We thought we spoke and knew the truth, and often felt unwanted for our opinion. We scorned those who accepted a trade-off; and quietly accused our elders of “selling out.”

We were intellectually inclined, but few were part of academia. We were not really part of the working class, but we reasoned that if we had regular jobs, we were working; a part of the working class.

We had unique social lives, we thought. We had a sub-culture that was lived outside the norm. Our sub-culture, we were sure, knew more about how society worked than most others of the greater society. Our consciousness and our analysis of issues were right on target in our youthful view.

Little did we realize our innocent start towards maturity was a journey with potholes leading, in most cases, to the same place our elders stood. But we did not see it then, and that made all the difference

A fundamental reasoning held by many people during the time of the Civil Rights struggle, was put into words, in an unknown speech, by Dr. Martin Luther King:[5]

When we look at modern man we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance.

We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the earth as brothers and sisters.

Internationally, the shift in thinking had begun at the Asian-African Conference, called the Bandung Conference. The gathering of many countries was held in Indonesia in 1955.[6] According to Nigel Westmaas:[7]

Whatever its limitations, Bandung kindled the ideas of statehood and sovereignty along with thoughts of social change and transformation and was in effect, the birth of the Non–Aligned Movement.

Among the many attendees were Adam Clayton Powell[8] and Richard Wright[9] from the United States.

The Two Decades of the Fifties-Sixties into the Seventies

It was an exhilarating time, a phase in our lives of much intensity. It was a time of extremes - the uplift of hope and the despair of rock bottom. We had basic human needs for safety, security and survival. We also looked for moving our financial freedom into a sustainable income because we were wise enough to avoid starvation. We were at the age when we were highly interested in sex and intimate relations with another.

We had a need for doing good, being involved in something outside our Self. The concept of power as a need was way off our map. Some people were sure they could levitate, and some were stuck in the mud. Young people of unique common traits, black and white, were on the move. And they were viewing their path on an international basis.

The decade of the 1960s was a special time from which countless have not recovered with scores of people who know they will never rid that spirit from their bloodstream. Even those on the radical right carry over harsh and bitter feelings from what happened during those years into how they approach current issues.

Getting Information

Whether we were in London, Boston, Hamburg, or Saint George’s, there were multiple ways we could follow the threads of events around the world.

There were our libraries; local public, elementary school to high school. We had enough money to buy newspaper, magazines and books. Many of us had televisions in our homes and set the habit of the “newshounds” we became later.

If we were associated with a university, whether it be University of the West Indies, Mona, or the University of California, Berkeley, we were even more apt to get at the “meat” of revolutionary happenings across the globe.

We went to the university. We read books. We read periodicals. We listened to “our” music. We gathered world news from radio and television, but we learned the most about the world, not from our elders, but from our peers, our friends. We had a kind of unspoken network, a fraternity of dissent whereby all in “the struggle” were brothers and sisters.

The variations of what emerged from the 1950s into the 1970s played itself out in a revolution of all possibility, a fascinating study.

Where We Came From

The U.S. Census figures speak for themselves:[10]

1940   132,164,569

1950   151,325,798

1960   179,323,175

1970   203,211,926

Most of us in America lived in suburbs and a good many of us had automobiles.[11]

We who had become adults during this period were comprised of a higher percentage of intellectuals from middle class backgrounds than the population as a whole. We were children of parents with unprecedented wealth compared to previous generations.

We had been raised with fundamental beliefs in the value of patriarchy as the bedrock of our social system, but we were not buying it anymore.

The late humanist John William Gardner wrote of this generation:[12]

We decided that what we really wanted was a society designed for people;

a society in which every young person could fulfill the promise that was in him;

a society where every person, old or young, could live his life with some measure of dignity;

a society in which ignorance and disease and want would tyrannize no longer;

a society of opportunity and fulfillment

One Kind of Thinking

We were sure we could have it all. We felt we had stopped taking things for granted. Often we were vexed with our personal passive non-participation by tacitly condoning what we saw around us which we thought was surely wrong. We reasoned that if the natural resources of the earth belonged to all, surely the benefits from them should be shared by all. We favored artist types because we thought they mixed with all classes of society.

We were sure we were revolutionary and not reformist. We fully expected a socialist revolution. We became, in one form or another and to varying degrees, socialists, anarchists, communists, syndicalists,[13] nationalists, pacifists and feminists.

One thing was for sure — we were taught about hate and fear from a song. Many learned the words. From the film South Pacific playing in 1958 were the words:

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear

You’ve got to be taught from year to year

It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made

And people whose skin is a different shade

You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late

Before you are six or seven or eight

To hate all the people your relatives hate

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

The lyrics made perfect sense to us. No problem.

Still, behind that egalitarian sentiment, some of us were taken by a fragment of their imagination that Black people knew things Whites did not.

It was a formative time, a time of self-education in revolution. Let’s be frank. Those on the Left were naïve social idealists and slightly rebellious. We put some thought into our world. We were full of hope . . . a hope often dashed to the ground by the realities of human nature.

We, of the greater U.S. Left, had a point-of-view based on the religious ideology of our upbringing. We carried on a tradition of humanist liberalism. We believed in participation and advocated social democracy.

We, of the greater U.S. left, had a whole list of items of concern for ourselves and for our fraternal brothers: free education, opportunities for higher learning, women’s rights, economic control over resources, African liberation movements, land reform, opposition to police brutality anywhere it occurred, relations with Cuba, promotion of local cultures which included those people with indigenous roots.

We could rapidly use dangerous arguments and argumentative patterns that suggested we knew the inside story. An apt example is observing a reaction to an earthquake where crumbling blocks of cement fell on people’s limbs.

The reaction to the situation, though the earthquake example is from the great Haitian earthquake of 2010, was similar to the attitudes of some young people of the 60s.

Here is how our thinking and our accusatory judgment went:

Apart from the fact it costs them less money [to amputate limbs] than to give them the care a person would receive in the U.S. or Europe. . .yep nearly two thousand people, adults and children, have been amputated when they could have given alternate treatment . . . that is an offense against humanity.

The reaction immediately goes toward blaming the volunteer doctors, some of whom were from the U.S. and Europe with the ultimatum of judgment that they were committing an “offense against humanity.”  

The reaction assumed that doctors are deficient, not exclusively in care but in caring.

The reaction showed the person making the accusation did not know the subject.

Truths of the decision for amputations were (1) crushed bones and muscles; (2) unamputated limbs with crushed muscles leading directly to kidney failure and the country had few dialysis machines; (3) advance care was doubtful; (4) gangrene is a killer; (5) the likelihood of physical reconstruction with crush injuries is small; (6) in ideal circumstances, a different time and place, the necessity for amputations might have been reduced.

Another classic example of our kind of thinking went something like this:

We would declare nationalization was an integral part of socialism. That meant major corporations that made huge profits must be compensated and taken away from the hands of the few who own them; therefore pocketing all the huge profits.

The huge profits must be placed into the hands of all the people and allow the profits to go to the country’s national treasury to benefit all the people.

Bingo, all problems solved.

Except a corporation is not a person and just because of telescoping of thought by personifying a corporation is a shortcut to simplicity, in reality a corporation is a massive and complex organization with varying degrees of impact on society.

The ideal solution and blame – the famed “knee-jerk” reaction[14] — is at play versus the realities of an emergency situation where so many doctors from around the world volunteered or a quick fix to feed the world’s people. It was this kind of thinking we of the early 1960s entertained.

We let ourselves believe that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” If you said that about political matters, your peers might give an example which was an exception, but this was quickly dismissed. We were quick to name scapegoats. We were quick to rebut arguments about current affairs with examples from another time or place.

We were swift. We knew it all. We were arrogant. We always wanted to know which side you were on.


Shall we call them revolutionaries, or the Left, or progressives, or radicals, socialist, communist or those engulfed in the nihilism of the new? For the purposes of this study and its bent on revolution, the term “young revolutionaries” seems apt. There were countless and varied ways we found those who thought like us, we young revolutionaries, either armchair or those out for action.


Let us go “back, back” as my late friend wrote, and try to remember the early “beatniks”[15] somewhere out there in California. They were poets and writers, and they liked jazz. Their preferential clothing color was black. They would meet together in coffeehouses; men and women reading poetry, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. The “beats” were cool.

Not fully aware of the “underside” of the beat community; for example drugs other than nicotine, activities often of a criminal hue, and sexual relations of a non-heterosexual type, we were innocents who picked up on literature and music. We knew the beatniks were against materialism and we felt we believed that too.

We of the United States of America, who were the children of acquisitiveness from our parents’ rising incomes after WWII, knew something had changed in one group of the society and it was definitely other than what we experienced in the suburbs. Some of us ached to leave home and live in Greenwich Village.

Bob Dylan’s 1965 lyrics “Ballad of a Thin Man” turned around our heads: [16]

Something is happening here,

but you don’t know what it is,

Do you, Mr. Jones?

Somehow we read a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac; widely published in 1957,[17] but we had to be really cool to get books of poetry from City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.

On the Road impressed some of us at a time when our personal remedy from suburban stagnation was to get away, hit the road, explore the Big City and the Open West; all exciting prospects that we felt were urgently needed.

Eventually “beatnik” turned to “hippie” and the Sixties counterculture. By that time, our generation had traveled to new territory.

Over on the East coast, 1965 through 1969, on East 10th Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg creations were pouring out of the Peace Eye Bookstore. Poets Sanders and Kupferberg started the Fuck You Press and a musical group. They told tales of the Beat and hippie counterculture in the literary journal Fuck You: a magazine of the arts.[18]

Compressing time, one saw the emergence of the counterculture people who felt they did not want to have anything to do with the sick prevalent culture in America. And so they dropped out to live life the way they saw as best. During this period of the 60s, there often was a sense of collective hallucination which often gave assent to non-sensical behavior.

The anti-Vietnam War Movement with many mass demonstrations, non-violent for the most part, started in earnest in 1965 and continued into the 1970s.[19] The Vietnam War had a profound and depressive affect on our generation.

We attended demonstrations. We read the flyers. We believed in participatory democracy and inclusiveness. We bought the radical newspapers. We wore a “keffiyeh,” the Arabic scarf which indicated we were in solidarity with the peoples of Palestine.[20] We knew a refugee family from Jerusalem displaced to the Ramallah camp and then on to Washington, DC for a new life.

We went to conferences; for example, the inaugural Socialist Scholars conference at Rutgers University held 27 September 1965.[21] Participants included Robert A. Hill,[22] Martin Glaberman,[23] Conor Cruise O’Brien,[24] and Maxwell Geismar.[25]

We may have hung out in the same Cambridge, Massachusetts coffee shop frequented by Vanessa Redgrave while the magical voice of Fairuz[26] was echoing into the garden, lilting out from a custom-made audiotape. That was the Algiers Café in Harvard Square, in case you forgot.

We frequented political bookstores. We mined our local library for books and speeches known to us. We could read Race & Class, for example, from London. The journal’s first issue was in January of 1959.[27] Journals from near and far were obtainable.

We followed on “tough childhood” memoirs like the late Piri Thomas’ Down These Mean Streets, published in 1967 about growing up in Spanish Harlem.[28]

Since we were what we felt was poor, our view was empathetic, and precisely because we felt we were poor our point-of-view was predisposed to others with difficult childhoods when in actuality we were patronizing and arrogant, but young.

Joan Baez albums were at one’s local library alongside deep field recording collections of American and British folk music. We may have come upon the late Irwin Silber’s Sing Out magazine which he founded May 1950 and continued as editor until 1967. Silber wrote a monthly column titled “Fan the Flames,” a title similar to Antiguan Tim Hector’s later publication.

We followed the Supreme Court decision in 1967 [Loving et ux v. Virginia] allowing an inter-racial couple’s marriage to stand. We celebrated “Stop the Draft Week.” We followed every protest on television and radio. We intently watched Walter Cronkite report from Vietnam in the war right in front of our TVs.

If we were in Manhattan [October 1969] or Washington DC [November 1969], we may have been among the many at one or both of the Vietnam Moratorium marches. Buses were organized to such events.

We remembered slogans like “No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger.” We went to “revolutionary” films. We bent toward the outlaw side of culture.

All this new information was an adventure for us; one would say we were caught up in revolutionary adventurism, and we loved the vitality it brought to our lives.

We catalogued in our minds the multiple U.S. military interventions in Latin America, Africa and Asia over the past 70 years. We felt it all fit together and we knew the enemy.

We attended political meetings. We were sure one person at those meetings was an FBI agent. We suspected our telephone was tapped, even though we hardly ever uttered a word of importance in our phone calls. We suspected our political meeting group was infiltrated by another political party or an FBI agent.

We gave too much power to our supposed adversaries when we grew paranoid while seriously considering a conspiracy theory. We transferred information links to others; our friends near and far. We took our cues from revolutionary figures.

We watched Dr. King intensely and mourned his passing 4 April 1968, followed by the murder of Robert F. Kennedy 6 June 1968. We watched the rain fall on Resurrection City.

We were puzzled why there were so many protests worldwide in dismal 1968 and what caused the rising worldwide revolutionary trend. We passed over studying explanations and felt that we were in solidarity with the revolutionaries of the world.

We wondered how we could meet the magical Bob Moses. We were in awe of Malcolm X. We saw the many riots the summer of 1967[29] and we read the 1968 Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission[30] report, and there were still more & more civil disturbances.

We saw the politicians come and go. We were highly judgmental about Lyndon Johnson; in adulthood, we learned we had not “seen” the man’s humanity.

We debated the finer points of Trotskyism; even non-violence, for that matter. We read the books, digested the magazines, read the newspapers and reinforced the idealism and passionate hope with which we began our quest.

Grant us forgiveness for our youthful rigidities.

We had an alarming disrespect for authority. Even programs or actions which should have drawn our support were derided as “liberal.” “Liberalism” became a term used for derision. It was a label against centrist reforms like the War on Poverty, even the Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was one Liberal some of us quietly abhorred, not speaking out because of his popularity.

In our stated scorn for consumerism, we kept purchasing books and music recordings because we felt we needed them. We had distaste for things bourgeois, suburban, industrialist, middle-of-the-road and establishment — all emanating from a “paternalistic” culture.

We questioned the popular media, though were accepting of Leftist periodicals; every word was the “truth.”

We would draw quick conclusions about what was reported in the major media; e.g. if the Huey Newton story did not get reported in the popular media, we considered there was a conspiracy against printing the “truth” about people of the Left. We did not consider that another story, for example the closing down of Expo 67[31] in Montreal, could trump the news of a Black Panther. And if it did, we felt cheated. If Expo 67 news was more important than a Black Panther, well why was that? Just goes to show.

The newspapers and journals of the Left that we read had the “inside” truth and we felt we were duly fortunate to have gotten the correct answers. The fact that we had the correct line caused us to feel that we were radically revolutionary.

Our socio-political networks were highly specialized and grew from person to person. If, for example, one viewed a Newsreel film, we would read about the creators of the film and obtain names; one saw a name of a person they knew. We might contact that person and through that person meet others. Soon we had formed a linked community. Some communities were some strong and others marginal.

A primary category for linking to underground channels was through the arts – the new rhythm & blues recordings and oppositional types shown in films.

The events of the 1960s in the United States left a message. Even though revolutionaries were miles away in the Caribbean, William Van DeBurg observed:[32]

The historical context in which the militants operated magnified their every threat and made it appear that Armageddon was as near as they claimed.

The unprecedented scourge of civil disturbances which took place during the mid-sixties convinced many that every ghetto contained hundreds–even thousands–of irreconcilable extremists whose singular goal was to foment rebellion.

Terrified whites conjured up visions of campus radicals, Muslim separatists and black teenage gang members banded together in an unholy pact to kill whitey or force him to his knees.

The need to be aware of the seedbed by which revolutionaries grew is essential to understanding how we became revolutionary.

Our post-war younger generation had more affluence than our parents. Within that generation was the influential minority of youth who felt “there was a kind of nobility in being devoted to the public good in an unconventional way.”[33]

There were underground channels where one could obtain information related to fulfilling this goal. If you were a youth, you could read Albert Camus or MAD magazine, for example, and both were super cool. You could even attempt to read Jean-Paul Sartre.

Many of us were raised in the city or the city-suburbs. We were not raised on the farm like our grandparents. We did enjoy returning to the old homestead, if there was one, for visiting.

An important element of context for potential revolutionaries was the Cold War.[34] Simply put, worldwide, the Cold War was the name of a point of view that placed people in two separate arenas - between the Communist world and the Western world.

In the Caribbean, the Cold War led to a split in political parties between Left and Right. The political and labor history of the Caribbean played an important role in studying the context of the Grenada Revolution.

By the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s, the views of worldwide Left began to shift. The processing of political writings from Fanon, Nkrumah, Debray, Che Guevara, mixed with Lenin, Trotsky and Marx, and tossed with the teachings of Mao, congealed into the felt need for structure, a political program and education. 

One might have been among the “radical chic” who met up with Che on his 1964 visit to Manhattan and speech at the United Nations.

One might have even read the Cuban newspaper Granma Weekly Review. Granma[35] was the name of the old cabin cruiser 79 Cuban revolutionaries and 3 foreigners boarded in Mexico to make their attack on Batista forces in Cuba.

One studied Marxist classics supplemented by speeches of European student leaders — Rudi Dutschke,[36] Karl Dietrich Wolff[37] and Daniel Cohn-Bendit.[38] These speeches in themselves were packed with ideology, sayings and propaganda.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s 1969 Obsolete Communism: the Left-Wing Alternative was one reading in the Grenada revolutionary study groups of 1975.[39]

Strategies and tactics were needed, ideologies require clarity, and the structural roots of the political economy of the capitalist nations needed to be exposed.

We of the American Left had been looking for world redemption. We dreamed that through direct action the force of our morality and persuasion would take America, at minimal, to a frontier of peace and justice—a country where life was fair for its citizens and all people were treated equally.

By the second part of the 60s, after the pure euphoria, we felt the downward trajectory of our dreams when we experienced one tragedy after another. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 4 April 1968; [40] the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, 6 June 1968; [41] the election of Richard Nixon, 5 November 1968; [42] the My Lai Massacre, 16 March 1968,[43] and the Kent State shootings, 4 May 1970.[44]

The continuing specter of the War in Vietnam no matter how much we protested in marches, in print or in song, became a serious and dark cloud.

There were those who championed, as a political action way of life, to live permanently unemployed, or under-employed — outside the capitalistic system of consumerism, taxation, authoritarianism and war-mongering.

A portion of our peers dealt with the frustration of failed challenges by dropping out, some “did drugs,” some pushed back with violence.

They had hit a wall. They saw the old ways of protest as ineffective. The slogan “Power to the People,” the African National Congress (ANC) rallying cry, was not working.[45]

By the end of the 1960s, it could be seen that everything had been coming loose from the ten years of 1960-1970 and into the 1970s. Matters wheeled seemingly out of control in the 1970s, going into wild extremes.

We became bitter and disillusioned and alienated.

It isn’t really

It isn’t really

Tell me, it isn’t really


From Phil Ochs, “The Scorpion Departs But Never Returns,” Rehearsals for Retirement, A&M Records, April 1967

The Worldwide African Identity & Revolutionary Movements

National Liberation Struggles

Much interest was focused on the United Nations [UN]. Interest in the UN, established 24 October 1945,[46] included its work on decolonization.

For example, based on previous organized bodies, a Special Committee on Decolonization was created in 1961 by the General Assembly of the U.N. with small island Caribbean states achieving statehood. [47]

Aiding efforts at granting independence to colonial countries, U.N. members were continuously concentrating on this issue.[48]

The original edition of Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth was published in 1961 with the more popular editions in the U.S. and U.K. published in 1963. The theorist of the day for revolutionary struggle, about colonialism and racism was Fanon [1925-1961] [49] who wrote extensively on national liberation in Wretched of the Earth:[50]

During the colonial period the people were called upon to fight against oppression.

Following national liberation they are urged to fight against poverty, illiteracy, and under-development

As early as the 1961 when Patrice Lumumba was assassinated, the struggles in Africa for national liberation appeared to start their eventual full swing. In 24 April 1965, it was Che Guevara and other Cubans who made their way across Lake Tanganyika to the shores of the Congo for the first time.

Note the path of one liberation struggle:

Amilcar Cabral, in the late 1950s, began leadership of the Guinea-Bissau people’s struggle against forces of both Portuguese Guinea and Cape Verde [PAIGC].[51]

Cabral spoke at the first Tri-Continental Congress held in Cuba in January 1966.[52] The speech was titled “The Weapon of Theory.”[53] The theme was the spirit of internationalism. He also spoke following Che Guevara’s death of 9 October 1967.

Cabral spoke at the United Nations and visited black activist groups in the United States.

On 1 July 1970, Pope Paul VI had an audience with Cabral, Agostinho Neto from Portuguese-controlled Angola and Marcelino Santos from Mozambique. [54]

Amilcar Cabral was assassinated 20 January 1973.[55]

Unilateral Independence of Guinea-Bissau was achieved 24 September 1973.[56]

African Liberation Movements occurred in Algeria with independence granted in 1962, and in Kenya with independence granted in 1963.

The movements against Portuguese African colonialism in Mozambique, Guinea and Cape Verde, Angola, São Tomé and Principe brought changes, but also continuous turmoil.

The original film, Cuba: an African Odyssey,[57] is three hours long with three main sections dealing with Cuban internationalist aid — Lumumba and the Congo, Cabral and Guinea-Bissau, and Agostinho and Angola.

The Cubans had not consulted with the Soviets when they entered Angola. The Cuban vessel The Vietnam Heroico was seen in Angola. The United States did not know the incursion was all Cuban-led until November 1975.[58]

Angola and Mozambique were officially independent in 1975. [59] The island of São Tomé and its major city Principe also achieved independence in 1975.[60]

South Africa[61] with its practice of apartheid from 1948-1994[62] plus Namibia[63] under South African Rule and Zimbabwe[64] under British domination were additional countries of revolutionary struggles. Zimbabwe achieved its independence in 1980 and Namibia its independence in 1990.

Mali’s Modibe Keita, Ghana’s Nkrumah, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere, Guinea’s Ahmad Sékou Touré, Guinea-Bissau’s Amilcar Cabral, Algeria’s Frantz Fanon, Mozambique’s Samora Machel, Mozambique’s Eduardo Mondlane, Senegal’s Léopold Senghor, Martinique’s Aimé Césaire, and the United Congo Republic’s Patrice Lumumba are a few of the myriad of national liberation struggles to recall.

The Left in the United States embraced many African independence movements.

The U.S. citizen Stokely Carmichael entered the international revolutionary scene when, from 31 July 1967 to 10 August 1967, he attended and spoke at the Organization of Latin American Solidarity Conference [LASO] and Organization for Latin American Solidarity [OLAS] in Havana.

Castro activated, according to the Committee of Santa Fe report, the OLAS organization under the slogan: "It is the duty of the whole revolutionary army to make revolutions."

TIME magazine reported that “700 delegates and observers and 73 foreign newsmen [were] invited.”[65] 

A journalist reported “the conference held up the experience of the Cuban revolution as a general model.”[66]

OLAS was founded 16 January 1966 when delegates from 27 Latin American countries first gathered.[67]

From Cuba in 1967, Carmichael then visited Vietnam, Algeria, Syria, Egypt, Guinea, Tanzania, Scandinavia and France, talking with leaders in most all those countries.[68]

Karen Nersesovich Brutents wrote about national liberation movements in his National Liberation Revolutions Today. As of 1977, when the book was published in English, Dr. Brutents was a professor and Doctor of History in the Soviet Union, known as the major Soviet specialist on national liberation movements.

Brutents made the point that national liberation movements are not bourgeoisie democratic revolutions; nor are they independence movements.[69]

Dr. Brutents explained:[70]

National liberation revolutions are revolutions stemming from national liberation movements and aimed to do away with foreign political, economic and ideological domination and oppression (including national colonial subjugation), and to set up sovereign states.

The change was not so simple, according to Dr. Brutents:[71]

The most important aspect of national liberation revolutions that needs to be brought out is that in the course of these revolutions there is a change not only in the social nature of power, as there is in “conventional” bourgeois and bourgeois-democratic revolutions, but above all in its national character.

There is a change of ruling class both in social terms (although this does not always occur, as for instance, in the substitution of the Indian bourgeoisie for the British bourgeoisie), and in national terms (in every instance without exception).

The clash of social forces permeated much of the radical thought of the day with people striving to maintain power and privilege vs. those who wanted to alter the structure of society.

Though Caribbean radicals were not studying Brutents during this early period, they were doing so later during the time of the New Jewel Movement [NJM] in Grenada. At the Jamaican Workers Liberation League [WLL] and the later Worker’s Party of Jamaica [WPJ], Brutents was studied.

Culture - Mother Africa

Afro hairstyles, dashikis, Nehru collars, Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses [if one could afford them], clenched fists, sandals made of tires, and wide, wide bell bottom pants all carried a message that Black culture was changing.

The “process” was long gone by 1963[72] and natural hairstyles for Afro-American men were often patterned after singer Sam Cooke’s natural “do.”

The influences of the time from “Mother Africa” were new and unfamiliar. People were exposed to African culture in considerable measure—dance, art, music, poetry, clothing, hair style and history.

It was during this time of all things African for Africans no matter where they lived, the terminology cultural nationalism[73] came into academic use, though the term was not exclusive for Africans and began long before the 1960s.

Congress of African People

Imamu Amiri Baraka [formerly LeRoi Jones] founded the Congress of African People (CAP)[74] in the United States to advance his own vision of African cultural nationalism. The other organizers were Hayward Henry, the first chairman, and Richard Traylor, treasurer. [75]

Baraka’s vision and that of the others was particularly influenced by African leaders such as Julius Nyerere, Amilcar Cabral, and Ahmed Sékou Touré and by the African American cultural nationalist Maulana Ron Karenga.[76]

One sees in Baraka’s writings, and others of his political orientation, an emphasis on revolutionary socialism with an alliance with the black underclass, the black “peasantry,” a term for the black working class.

Speakers at the African Congress[77] held 6-9 September 1970 in Atlanta, Georgia, included Hayward Henry, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. John Cashin, Kenneth A. Gibson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Whitney Young, Jr., Louis Farrakhan, Howard Fuller, Richard Hatcher, Ambassador El Hajj Abdoulaye Touré, Evelyn Kawanza, Raymond Mbala, Rosie Douglas, Julian Bond and Imamu Amiri Baraka.[78]

The [CAP] conference leaders were Boston’s Hayward Henry [Mtangulzi Sanyika] of the Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus [BUUC], LeRoi Jones [Imamu Amiri Baraka], James Traylor [Mjenzi Kazana] and Howard Fuller [Owusu Sadaukai].[79]

In addition to the speakers, among others leading the eleven [11] workshops were John Henrik Clarke, Larry Neal, Rev. James Cone, and Trinidadian Tony Brown.[80]

The Pan African Movement

The book, African Congress: a documentary of the first modern Pan-African congress includes an Introduction by Baraka who provided an overview of Pan-African gatherings counting his CAP organization as one:[81]

The September 1970 meeting of the Congress of African Peoples in Atlanta, Georgia, was one in a growing historical tradition of international gatherings of Pan-Africans, in so-called modern history, beginning with the four meetings called by W.E.B. Du Bois down to the Manchester Conference (the fifth Pan-Africanist Conference) in 1945, pulled together by George Padmore and Du Bois, in which the phrase “Pan-Africanism” first got put into common circulation.

In most recent times, the Black Power conferences, held in 1966 (Washington, D.C.), ‘67 Newark, N.J.), ‘68 (Philadelphia, Pa.) were the immediate forbears, as well as an international meeting in Bermuda in 1969.

All these meetings were part of the same historical and contemporary dynamic, the movement for international African liberation, which is Pan-Africanism at its broadest!

Baraka edited this volume about the African Congress which stated the aim to form a Black political party and the text of an outline of CAP’s program of “self-determinism, self-sufficiency, self-respect and self-defense.”[82] It also included many speeches given at the conference.

One such speech was by the late Roosevelt Douglas, quoted below in part: [83]

Good afternoon to my Brothers and Sisters:

. . . this is supposed to be a Congress of African People based on the political ideology of Pan-Africanism . . . I was particularly distressed with what many of the speakers said with regard to the development of Pan-Africanist thought.

It was significant that many of our brothers stayed completely away from praising the work of the Honourable Marcus Garvey.

My Brothers and Sisters, it is important that when we leave here today we understand what the chronological development of Pan-Africanist thought has meant to use since 1900, and why I speak about the Caribbean.

It is important that you understand that the first Pan-African Congress held in London was organized by an African born in Trinidad, Henry Sylvester Williams.

Many of you may not have heard of this brother, but it is important that you understand because Africans in the Caribbean have played a very significant role not only to the development of Pan-Africanist thought but to the liberation of African people wherever they live.

Rosie Douglas also spoke about the challenges to students at Sir George Williams University in Montreal: [84]

Let me tell you that our struggle in the Caribbean is based on Pan-Africanist ideology.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be going to court in Montreal facing twelve criminal charges and the possibilities of life imprisonment.

This confrontation began two years ago when Black students at a white university in Canada launched a complaint against a professor who had insisted on failing Black students because he said that Black students and Black people were too damn stupid to be doctors.

We moved against this and the professor was supported by the administration of the university.

The administration of the university was then supported by the government of Canada.

What is important for those students who are here is that you must understand that white universities are controlled by the very same people who control the economic resources of the Caribbean and of Africa . . .

The fight which we began in Canada—when we realized that we would be facing life imprisonment, and that we had no tangible support in Canada, from a population of twenty-five million crackers—we decided that if we were going to confront the board of governors at the university that control the wealth of the Caribbean and of Africa then, if we believe in Pan-Africanism, we have to expand the base of our struggle from Canada into the Caribbean where our brothers in Trinidad, in Jamaica, in Haiti, in Cuba, in the Dominican Republic, in Puerto Rico, in Guyana, in Surinam, would understand that when we fight against imperialists in Canada they must engage in a similar struggle in the Caribbean.

Roosevelt Douglas also gave a workshop speech during the Congress of African People [CAP] in 1972. It is quoted in full, titled The Pan-African Struggle in the Caribbean [see full text General Appendix].[85]

Estimates put the attendee numbers at 3,500 people who were listening to speeches, attending workshops and making resolutions.[86] Almost all the Congress of African Peoples [CAP] listed as “Organizations Represented” came from the United States.

The Pan-African Journal was started in 1968 out of New York City by the Pan-African Students Organization and the Pan-African Institute.

In 1973, “Revolutionary movements in Caribbean colonial history[87] was a going title of volume 8, no. 2 of the Pan African Journal. This issue featured –

Repression and resistance in West Indian history by Tony Martin


Black Caribs—native resistance to British penetration into the windward side of Saint Vincent, 1763-1773 by Bernard Marshall


Conflicting tendencies in the Caribbean revolution by Bukka Rennie


Benito Sylvain of Haiti on the Pan-African Conference of 1900 by Tony Martin


Rabbi Arnold Ford’s back-to-Ethiopia movement by William R. Scott


Documents from the National United Freedom Fighters of Trinidad

A study on Pan-Africanism by Ronald W. Walters stated: [88]

There were new grassroots voices not involved with the Pan-African movement . . . in the Patrice Lumumba Coalition led by Irving Davis and Elombe Brath in New York . . . in Malcolm X Liberation University [MXLU] and the Student Organization for Black Unity [SOBU] in Greensboro, North Carolina led by Owusu Sadaukai, Tim Thomas and Mark Smith . . .

A Youth Organization for Black Unity [YOBU] [1969-1975] of Greensboro, North Carolina, grew out of SOBU and MXLU. YOBU’s aim was to build a revolutionary Pan-African youth movement, promoting Marxism-Leninism instead of revolutionary nationalism, in the United States and continue distributing the bi-weekly The African World newspaper. Nelson N. Johnson was YOBU’s national chairman.

Note that later, in Grenada, around 1973, one of the first organizations to bring Black Power to Grenada was called the Organisation for Black Unity [OBU].

A firm move beyond protest into action was the establishment of Malcolm X Liberation University [MXLU] on 25 October 1969 in Durham, NC.[89]  A year later the university moved its headquarters to Greensboro, North Carolina.

One prime organizer of MXLU was Howard L. Fuller, one Owusu Sadaukai, who also was a chief mover for the African Liberation Day [ALD] celebrations to come later.[90]  Sadaukai was additionally an organizer for the September 1970 Congress of African People in Atlanta.[91]

By 1969, Stokely Carmichael had extended the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party [A-APRP], founded by Nkrumah in 1968 to the United States as the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party [AAPRP]. The group was Pan-Africanist in its Marxism-Leninism [M-L] orientation with scientific socialism as a tenet of its ideology.[92]

During the period Walter Rodney was teaching in Tanzania, from 1968-1974, he was also traveling throughout America.

A United States study location for the scholar Walter Rodney was the Institute of the Black World [IBW]. Rodney was described as a Pan-Africanist.[93]

Dr. Rodney made contact with Vincent Harding, William Strickland and Robert Hill of the IBW when on a speaking engagement at Howard University, May 1970.[94]

He was also in the United States from February-June 1972 as a Visiting Professor at the Center for Afro-American and African Studies [CASS] at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.[95]

A journal article project and a summer month during 1974 at the Institute of the Black World [IBW] kept Rodney in Atlanta.[96]

The IBW was founded in 1968. Its organizers were Dr. Vincent Harding, William Strickland of SNCC, Jamaican Robert Hill and others. By March 1970, the IBW was associated with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, part of the Atlanta University Center.[97]

The Pan-Africanist organization of the IBW was located in Atlanta on Chestnut Street in the same house where W.E.B. Du Bois once lived.[98]

Archival materials of this period are found in the Vincent Harding Papers at Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library.[99]

In Africa, the country of Tanzania, the ideological framework, one with which Tanganyika African National Union [TANU] and Julius Nyerere worked, emerged in a TANU pamphlet in April 1962, published under the title Ujamaa—Essays on Socialism. This was followed by The Arusha Declaration on 5 February 1967.[100]

In 1968 Nyerere’s Ujamaa—Essays on Socialism was first published by Oxford University Press out of Dar es Salaam. The volume included ten [10] essays including the two named in the above paragraph.[101]

Bogues summarized Nyerere’s fundamental political concept:[102]

At the foundation of his political theory was the conception that the overarching good of a human polity was that of equality.

Nyerere wrote:[103]

The basic difference between a socialist society and a capitalist society does not lie in their methods of producing wealth, but in the way that wealth is distributed.

African Liberation Day [ALD]

In 1971, Owusu Sadaukai [Dr. Howard L. Fuller] traveled to Africa where he observed the anti-colonial movements in Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and Angola.  Upon his return to the United States, Sadaukai began to make plans for African Liberation Day (ALD) demonstrations designed to show worldwide support for the African liberation struggles.[104]

The concept of African Liberation Day, according to Sadaukai, was to make the connection between liberation movements in Africa and the United States in each of their struggles against corporate oppression.[105]

His title was National Chairman of the African Liberation Day Coordinating Committee [ALDCC]. His idea had been growing since his earlier tour of African countries in September 1970. On that tour he was representing the Student Organization for Black Unity [SOBU] and the Malcolm X Liberation University [MXLU] of Durham, North Carolina.[106]

After forming the African Liberation Day Coordinating Committee [ALDCC], the head office was at 2207 14th Street, NW in Washington, DC.[107]

The steering committee of Owusu Sadaukai, Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, Imamu Baraka, Ron Daniels, Angela Davis, Ron Dellums, John Conyers, Vincent Harding, Nathan Hare, Huey Newton, Stokely Carmichael, Richard Hatcher, Betty Shabazz, and many others, decided on 27 May [1972] for a Washington, DC demonstration.[108] 

Though the ALD celebrations were to co-ordinate with the annual observation of the Organization of African Unity’s [OAU] founding date of 25 May, “organizers ultimately chose Saturday, May 27, 1972 since a weekend date might allow for greater participation.”[109]

Ron Daniels, one of the organizers, gave this history of African Liberation Day [ALD]:[110]

At a historic meeting at Malcolm X Liberation University which included, Cleve[land] Sellers, Haki R. Madhubuti, Jamila Jones, Dowlu Gene Locke, Aleem Mshindi, Nelson Johnson and Ron Daniels, Owusu Sadaukai [Dr. Howard Fuller] shared the experiences of the trip to Africa [in 1971] and outlined a proposal for a massive demonstration in Washington, D.C. on May 25, 1972 [the last Saturday is May 27, but this demonstration could have been held on a Thursday], the first African Liberation Day, USA.

. . . African Liberation Day, USA, where some 50,000 brothers and sisters marched and rallied in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco demanding an end to colonial rule in Guinea-Bissau, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), Mozambique and dismantling of apartheid in South Africa

It was an awesome experience.

As the initial concept caught fire, a decision was made to mobilize demonstrations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Toronto, Canada in addition to Washington, D.C.

Chanting “We Are An African People” and waving Red, Black and Green Flags, 35,000 Black people gathered in Washington, D.C.

Another 15,000 rallied in the Bay Area, 5,000 in Toronto and hundreds in Grenada.

The first statistics from the 27 May, 1972, Washington, DC march, as put out by the ALDCC, was 30,000 participants.[112] The Washington Post reported the presence of 10,000-15,000 persons.[113] Speakers included Pan-Africanists plus U.S. elected Black officials, Congressman Charles Diggs Jr. and Walter Fauntroy.[114]

ALD marches took place on 25 May and 27 May 1972 in New Orleans, San Francisco [with Walter Rodney among the speakers], Toronto, Antigua, Dominica and Grenada.[115]

At the end of April 1972, Sadaukai visited Grenada for three days.[116] Sadaukai’s contributions formed the base for Grenada’s upcoming African Liberation Day on 27 May 1972 in Grenada, according to supporting documents.

In 2010, Professor Howard Fuller [Owusu Sadaukai] appeared in the film Waiting for Superman,[117] though not listed in major credits. He spoke about education in Michigan in the footage.

The Culture of Dread

By the 1960s and into the 1970s, a culture of Dread had become widespread, showing itself most prominently in reggae music—Bob Marley’s Soul Rebel, Toots & the Maytals Do the Reggay, Count Ossie, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, Dillinger, Culture, Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus, the Mighty Diamonds, Third World, Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths.

In the Great Britain of 1970, Jamaican artist Desmond Dekker sang the classic You Can Get It If You Really Want. The song, written by Jimmy Cliff, reached No 2 in the U.K. charts.[118] The part that Reggae and Natty Dread music played in the formation of the lives of Grenadian revolutionaries [and other revolutionaries] is a uniquely powerful thread.

A root of Rastafari belief stems from a 1964 speech by Haile Selassie:

That until the philosophy, which holds one race superior and another inferior, is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.

That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation.

That until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes.

That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race.

Until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained.

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in sub-human bondage; have been toppled and destroyed.

Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding, tolerance and goodwill.

Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of the Almighty.

Until that day, the African continent will not know peace.

We Africans will fight, if necessary and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.


Tuesday, April 28, 1964 - California.
JAH Ras Tafari, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering

The formation of Rastafarianism was based on: [119]

. . . the convergence of the heritage of the Maroons, the religious movement—called Ethiopianism—and the emergent Pan-African movement which culminated in the U.N.I.A. [United Negro Improvement Association] were some of the forces which merged in the formation of Rastafari.

The Americas

Since the definition of the countries of the Caribbean[120] is variable, an attempt at identification of them for this book is in order.

First are the independent countries—Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad-Tobago. Often, Cuba is omitted from this group.

The territories that have a historical relationship with metropolitan countries include the British Crown colonies of Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands and Montserrat; the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the Dutch Antilles and Aruba and the French Overseas Departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, and Saint Martin. The territories related to the United States are the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the territory U.S. Virgin Islands.

Often the mainland countries of French Guiana, Guyana [formerly British Guiana] and Suriname [formerly Dutch Guiana] in South America, plus Belize in Central America are considered parts of the Caribbean.

Some eliminate the “Caribbean” altogether and name the region as the Americas, or those countries in the Caribbean Sea [though some are outside of the Caribbean Sea], Middle America or even Latin America.

All of Grenada’s Caribbean neighbors were important to this history, and they are noted throughout.

Historian Rupert Lewis made a summary observation about the Caribbean region:[121]

Grenada is the beginning of the end of the Caribbean radicalism that really begins with the late 1960’s, rises to a high point in 1970 in Trinidad, and then with the Manley period in Jamaica, and develops in most of the islands as critical groupings and organizational activities and, which from a regional point of view, has a sense of itself as having a common agenda for change, with different groups having different ideological positions, but being all part of a movement for change in the sixties and seventies.

That ends quite definitely in Grenada in 1983.

A widely read journal and with many pages turned, especially in the United States, the National Geographic magazine seemed to be in every household; at the least in the basement or the local rummage sale. If one wanted to see photos of the Americas, especially the Caribbean, several issues featured classic photos.

The December 1965 National Geographic magazine feature was on the sailing vessel Finisterre winding its way through the Windward Islands. It was written by Finisterre’s Captain, Carleton Mitchell, with photographs by National Geographic Society photographer Winfield Parks. The very long article is 46 pages of island descriptions and events from Grenada to Dominica.[122]

The island of Grenada was one island visited, among many. There is a fold–out to a very long shot of the Carenage and its inner harbor and the classic photo of the woman in a straw hat sorting nutmegs. Human fingers extended into a bunch of ripe nutmegs with their ruby lattice–work of mace are shown in another photo, according to the writer about the photos.[123]

The photographer’s interest led him to Grenville and to what was then Seamoon Park and its horse racing events. He also got an image of a woman “heading” a weight of green bananas, and a picture of one of Grenada’s former wooden buses - this one the owner called Rolling Home with its open windows and tarps ready to let down in case of rain.

Shown up close was a cocoa pod on its way from being sliced open by a machete to make its way to a chocolate plantation “sweating shed” to ferment. [124]

There was the classic swirling skirt dance photo by Dean Conger of the National Geographic Society. The photo was taken on a shoot at the “Big Drum Dance” in Carriacou. [125]

The National Geographic Society published a hard–bound book in 1966 titled Isles of the Caribbees and the text was by Carleton Mitchell.[126]

The first chapter is “Grenada: Gateway to the Windwards.” The first photo of a panoramic overview of the Inner Harbor is by Dean Conger, National Geographic photographer. [127]

Boys walking donkeys on Grand Anse Beach was a photograph by Fred Ward for Black Star. The beaming smile of a little girl in her white dress was taken by Winfield Parks.

Conger got a long shot of fishermen on the Grand Mal Beach. A different racing photo was added to this book, also taken by Winfield Parks. A Caribs Leap view from the water by Fred Ward of Black Star [a stock photography service] and a stunning photo of Christ of the Deep close out the article. [128]

Some of the photos in the book, Isles of the Caribbees appeared in the February 1965 and also the December 1965 issues of National Geographic.

The Heritage of Social Stratification

A review of the literature, especially the studies of Michael Garfield Smith[129] shows the heritage of social stratification in Grenada. From 1953, those citizens of Grenada of the Western orientation elite figured at less than 7%; the remainder of rural traditionalism and African orientation.

A high correlation existed, and still exists in Grenada, between social status, pigmentation, association and family. If one were to look at Grenada society hierarchically, at the top would be the rich and white stratum, most of whom owned land and were schooled in Britain. They followed the tradition of their fathers and placed educational opportunity across the ocean on their legitimate children.

Categorized, this group was termed the White Planter Group. They took little part in local commerce, government or religious activities though the professional British expatriates found themselves in positions in Grenada as administrators, priests and doctors. [130]

Another group was the larger, brown upper middle class who overlooked most commercial enterprises, were on official councils and committees, belonged to select groups and organizations. If there was a beauty contest, the winner usually belonged to the brown elite. Usually island scholarships were awarded to those of a lower level, but elite, background. [131]

There were oddities in the broad generalization above; e.g. the fascinating S.A. “Bigs” Francis had made his money in the USA before returning to Grenada,[132] or the four East Indian wealthy produce dealers.

Few people of black African origin were involved in the economic or administrative bodies of the country.

The dominant religion of the Caribbean elite was Anglican; the religion of the folk was of the Roman Catholic faith, according to M.G. Smith who acknowledged in his writings the African origin of some religious ceremonies. [133]

Political Activity

The number of political parties grew in Caribbean countries, reflected in the global upsurges of political activity into the 1970s. Political activity centered in countries with branches of the University of the West Indies [UWI]; namely Jamaica and Trinidad-Tobago. There was also political movement in Guyana, based in the capital city Georgetown.

The primary group in Jamaica was first the Worker’s Liberation League [WLL] soon to become the Worker’s Party of Jamaica [WPJ] and similarly the Working People’s Alliance [WPA] pre-party and official party in Guyana.

The formation of Grenada’s New Jewel Movement [NJM] grew from the JEWEL and MAP organizations.

The Jamaican the Young Socialist League [YSL], founded in 1963, included Robert Hill, Norman Girvan and Hugh Small, among others, who worked within the People’s National Party [PNP] to bring forth socialist orientation and discussions.

The history of Jamaican politics is vastly larger that the tiny stabs at landmarks presented here.

Major demonstrations took place in Trinidad- Tobago during what is known as the February Movement of 1970.

Many of the key figures in the emergence of Caribbean Black Power were at the major Caribbean universities.

The Institute of Social and Economic Research [ISER], founded in 1949 at the University of the West Indies, published a journal titled Social and Economic Studies. Economists Lloyd Best, George Beckford and Norman Girvan published articles in this journal.

Academics, primarily from the University of the West Indies [UWI] and the University of Guyana joined in forming the New World Group in the 1960s. Interested in publishing academic papers, their first periodical out of Jamaica in 1965 was the New World Quarterly, published until 1975.[134]

The publication was organized by George L. Beckford of Jamaica, the late Lloyd A. Best of Trinidad & Tobago, Clive Y. Thomas of Guyana, Miles Fitzpatrick of Guyana and the late David DeCaires of Guyana.[135] An additional New World group member was James Millette of Trinidad-Tobago.

Much was hinged on what was known as the Caribbean Black Power Movement. In the period 1962-1969, the New World Group grew to include other radical black intellectuals from Canada, the Caribbean and the United States.[136]

An interpretation of the New World Group position vs. Marxism and scientific socialism was presented by David E. Lewis:[137]

For Best, et al. . . . Marxism is little more than another European Church.

It has a body of fixed doctrine and a hierarchy with pretentions of infallibility, much like the Roman Catholic Church.

Both these properties means, uncomfortable restrictions on the “independent thought” Best would like to see in the Caribbean.

The goals of these groups were generally ones of social transformation and the take-over of state power.

Groups developed out of Black Power, Black Nationalism, Marxism, anti-imperialist nationalism, revolutionary socialism via Cuba and Ho Chi Minh, Fanonian liberationism, the Cuban Revolution, Catholicism, Garveyism, and Rastafarianism.

Socialism was never forgotten among Black radicals during the period of the early 1970s. Consider this from Rosie Douglas, writing from jail circa 1973:[138]

Along with political independence, our people must begin to discuss the need for a new type of state (socialist structure) and new form and concept of government – a form of government patterned to meet our local conditions and not aimed at dividing the masses of our people and allowing them to participate in politics once every five years as a so-called equal to the upper class when there is no economic equality.

The village council must cease being a rubber stamp for the central government which itself is a rubber stamp of the upper class and “her majesty’s” government.

A new form of government must seek to bring all our people into the process of governmental decision-making and administration on matters of local and national concern from the village council to the parish council, to the workers council at the point of production, to the student council, to the national council.

This form of government will enable the people to govern themselves and sovereignty will reside democratically with the people.

The collective decision of a percentage (i.e. 51%) of voters at the village, parish or national levels would have the power to recall a representative who has acted outside of the authority delegated to him.

This will have the effect of eliminating the presence of political opportunists in effect then, we must assist our people in leading themselves in all aspects of their lives.

We realize that sovereignty is the complete independence of a people (state) in deciding all questions, relating to its internal life and foreign relations.

Black Power in the Caribbean

Marcus Garvey’s remains were returned to Jamaica in 1965, becoming Jamaica’s First National Hero.[140]

Garveyism, like the Nation of Islam, was a large mass movement in the history of Blacks in the United States. Branches of both Black movements were found in towns of all sizes.

Garveyites urged a cultural revolution towards the Black community to gain a mass following.

Manning Marable wrote about the Garvey Movement:[141]

Black power depended on activities that could restore both self–respect and a sense of community—essentially the development of a united black culture.

Black Power in the Caribbean was a political strategy similar to how it manifested itself in the United States, but Caribbean Black Power presented itself as radical political activism—radical politics, radical economics and even radical culture in addition to personal dignity and self-respect.

Militant Black Power evangelists were generally not receptive to analysis and discussion. Their strategy tended towards confrontation over interaction as they felt that status quo change was too slow.

West Indians who figured prominently in the 1960s U.S. Black Power Movement were Stokely Carmichael [Trinidad & Tobago], Roy Inness [Virgin Islands], Courtland Cox [lived in Trinidad] and Lincoln Lynch [Jamaica].[142]

In general and specifically, compared with the movement in America, Black Power in the Caribbean was less racial as it applied to melanin content of the skin. It was difficult to acclaim blackness in skin tone when Caribbean people were often multi-racial with their own hierarchical figuring of skin color based on shades of brown; the concept of the Brownocracy. 

Caribbean Black Power was riding on the trend in the States and using the movement to enlist mass support. When racial overtones were used by Caribbean Black Power intellectuals, the discussion concerned neo-colonialism with capitalists and imperialists being white. There was the belief that poverty in the Caribbean was not caused by racism, but by capitalism and oppressive imperialist policies.

Information about these parties and major events, like Haile Selassie’s visit to Jamaica in 1966 and Walter Rodney’s expulsion from Jamaica in October 1968[143] and the February [1970] Movement in Trinidad-Tobago, spread throughout the region and major world cities by radio, newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, university publications, conference publications and word-of-mouth.

C.L.R. James attended the 1st Regional Conference on Black Power in Bermuda, 10-13 July 1969. The specter of Black Power advocates gathering together was so unsettling that the British government sent a contingent of Royal Marines to watch over things.[144]

C.L.R. James was traveling extensively and added his weighty influence to the political thought of the time. One theme of C.L.R. James was the idea of transformation. Real change can be enabled by democratic actions of ordinary people.[145] James believed people joining together can transform their existence.

Dr. Robert Millette wrote at length on The Black Revolution in the Caribbean.[146] The piece was first published by Moko Enterprises, Trinidad & Tobago in 1971. His writing favored a black society, over a dependent one. Millette stated:[147]

. . . in my mind the establishment of independence in an ex-colonial society involves a revolutionary process.

And it involves revolutionary consequences.

When power potentially shifts from overseas to “within the territory itself,” he figured the world of possibility:[148]

. . . one of the interesting possibilities being that political power can be seized by force.

Dr. R. Millette also cautioned:[149]

 . . . that black men in power do not connote black power.

Once again, Black Power in the Caribbean was seen as radical Black Nationalism.

The theoretical partner with nationalism was the concept of national sovereignty.

Writer George Lamming spoke to this in 1982 at the Regional Committee for Cultural Sovereignty at a conference in Grenada:[150]

. . . sovereignty is the collective power of a people to exercise control and direction over their means of existence; and the freedom to define and redefine all those processes, material and otherwise, which make up our social reality.

A telex on 27 March 1979 from Ambassador Frank Ortiz Jr. of the American Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados to the Secretary of State in Washington, DC plus embassies and security bodies, summarized security in the Caribbean at the end of a discussion on the matter. Ortiz wrote:

The rise of radical movements in wake of British withdrawal has changed the traditional security situation in the Caribbean.

Poorly-equipped security services are no longer sufficient.

But we must be aware too that even the best-equipped force will not save a leadership out of touch with citizens.

And many of these government are our of touch with the new generation which grows out of the Black Power movement of the sixties rather than the Inns of Court in London.

This generation provides the leadership and manpower for radical groups throughout the Caribbean.

Embassy will do its part in maintaining contact with these opposition groups and, wherever possible, nudging island leaders toward accommodation rather than confrontation with their political opponents, but ultimately existing governments of the area bear the primary responsibility for meeting the economic and political needs of their citizens.

Grenada has made them more aware of the possible consequences of failure.

Corporate Imperialism

Advocates of Caribbean Black Power felt corporations were robbing their country. They were concerned the outside influence was going to change their national culture and take over national institutions and mores.

Consider the example of television. No one said corporations, the company, brought television to a foreign country.

What usually happened were the highly paid expatriates working for the corporation located in the foreign country wanted to have television for their family, one of many luxury goods. These executives developed ways and means for the foreign country to receive television signals. Soon televisions were imported as a consumer product. Soon most of the people in the country were watching television for lengthy periods.

Much of the imported television programs were the cast-offs from North American programs and, as put by George Lamming, “unloaded on a mesmerized and uncritical populace.”[151] 

Soon the styles and ways of the foreign country or countries became the desires of the citizens of the foreign country where the corporation was based.  Teenage boys were seen with wide Afros.

After being inundated with luxuries like air-conditioners, kitchen appliances, the latest automobiles, carpeting, motorized lawn equipment [most all duty-free], the people of the foreign country felt an invasion on their old ways when at the same time they yearned for the labor-saving conveniences. They felt the “full weight of imperialism,” as some would frame the matter, yet they enjoyed the fruits.

This dichotomous process is called “cultural imperialism” and highly resented by many citizens feeling the pressures on their society.

An attitude of cultural imperialism plays itself upon a smaller, so-called less important nation as advancement. The expatriate unwittingly assumes a higher state of being over the “natives.”

The foreigner from a large nation like the United States with its economic and military superiority acts as a representative of the first world knowing better than peoples of the “third-world.”

It was a particular thorn in the side of Black Power advocates that education in the Caribbean still carried remnants of colonial culture. Students studied history of other countries miles away from their own and rarely studied their own country or region. Students still took the test sent them from Europe.

Students did not learn about the great African fighters from the Caribbean like Toussaint L’Ouverture, Edward Blyden,[152] Henry Sylvester-Williams,[153] René Maran,[154] Aimé Césaire, George Padmore, Frantz Fanon, Marcus Garvey, or C.L.R. James.

The corporations that were producing goods from the resources of the country were seen as maximizing profits and sending the gain to external owners, usually the United States. The profits were seen as going to an owner or to boards of directors, stock brokers, stockholders with little invested in the host country. No one knew the amount of the profit, or how much was earned or where the profit went.

Corporate executives were seen as deciding and making secret deals behind closed doors.  These foreign bodies were seen as robbing the host country’s economy, including using up the host country’s resources.

Multi-national corporations were seen to restrict purchases in the foreign country and produce whatever might be needed in their own industry.

Corporations which produced goods were seen to export the higher quality items and sell the lesser quality good to the local population.

The pay scale for white expatriates in the foreign country was higher than black employees from the foreign country.

Black Nationalism and Foreign Corporations

If there were pure nationalism, with a sovereign right, the host country would be allocated the profit. If done according to radical proposals, the masses would participate in national decisions, including the parameters within which multi-national corporations operated.

For example, corporate profits would be reinvested locally; some capital going to the foreign country.

Caribbean radicals stuck to the concept of localization whereby West Indians produced and processed the resources of their own country.

The salient factor was that radical nationalists were of a mind to place the blame for the corporate actions or inactions on the country’s government. From this blame to a solution, revolution or control of state power was waiting in the wings as an option.

In the situation of Prime Minister Eric Williams and the 1970 government in Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean Black Power advocates put the government between a rock and a very hard place.

If the government were looking to find solutions to outstanding issues, the means for doing so were through parliamentary measures. Parliamentary changes took time and some radicals felt they could not wait.

They put the pressure on the government and its officials through protests and demonstrations with violence at the outer fringes.

The constitutionally-elected government of all the people could not see their rights jeopardized and the Trinidad-Tobago government stood firm calling for two states of emergency in the February–April 1970 period.

Radicals were outraged, stating they knew all along the continuing exploitation of “metropolitan whites” proved the existence of neo-colonialism. Some radicals ratcheted up an argument of conspiracy saying the CIA was involved.

In defense, some corporate executives would say they had Black employees. Statistics may have shown a preponderance of national employees over or equal to expatriate employees, but the radical critique was that this information was tightly held to the chest of the multi-national corporation.

The Caribbean Black Power people would come right back with the argument that those Blacks who were hired were sell-outs, black bourgeoisie, Afro-Saxons, Black lackeys or Black Honkies because Black Power people saw the white power positions held by the corporations in foreign countries.

The primary defense of the multi-national corporations is capitalism. The people of these corporate entities worked hard, invested millions, and the company they owned lock, stock and barrel was not to be shared no matter the location.

In Jamaica one found the bauxite[155] companies with bauxite used as the source for making aluminum—Reynolds, Alcan, Kaiser, Also and others.

Trinidad had the oil refineries—Texaco and Shell— and the company Tate & Lyle which formed the West Indies Sugar Company.

Booker Brothers, McConnell & Company, popularly known as Bookers, owned most of the sugar plantations in Guyana.

The Tourism Industry

The tourist industry is a topic often discussed because the tourist industry in the Caribbean uses foreign-made goods and is usually an enterprise owned by non-nationals. Tourists change the values in the host culture.

William Demas noted this about land:[156]

Large tracts of land have been permanently alienated to foreigners.

Some of the best beaches in some of the islands become exclusive preserves of foreign (and local) Whites.

Consumption habits (food, drink and recreation) of tourists influence the aspirations of the local population.

Foreign visitors wanted more and different goods as high-priced imported foodstuffs and material goods, and services. Most of these were not available in the host country.

Tourists have the money to get what they want, items the locals cannot afford. In other words, tourists bring their own lifestyle. Many times tourists bring their own aspiration and means to live part of the year in the host country; driving up property values.

The current argument goes that some islands have property values in keeping with those of the United States leaving no place for the island’s sons and daughters to make their home in their own country.

One complaint was summarized by Owusu Sadaukai (Howard Fuller) speaking on the Caribbean situation in Toronto in April 1972:[157]

Our lives are being controlled by white faces that are unseen behind the doors of the offices in which we work.

We are forced to live in shanties while new hotels and new housing development are being built for the white retirees and the new Oxford-bred Black bourgeoisie.

Sadaukai furthered his talk outlining national purpose:[158]

The purpose of a nation should be to develop production and institutions to meet the needs of all of its people—its people NOT somebody else.

Sadaukai continued:

[In the Caribbean] under the imperialist machine the resources are being used for the betterment of those who already have rather than those who have not.

The solution, according to Tapia newsletter of 29 August 1971, was to cultivate a Caribbean tourism movement to boarding house lodgings with advertising to low income people who wanted to take a Caribbean vacation, most of those being black Americans and Canadians.[159]

This identical issue was important during the time of development of a similar tourist strategy during the People’s Revolutionary Government in Grenada.

Rosie Douglas commented:[160]

Until we are able to produce sufficiently for local consumption, build and control hotels cooperatively and provide technical training and employment for our people, the tourist industry will remain another device to serve the needs of the white boy, to put some more money into the hands of the upper class and perpetuate the second class status of the lower class.

An easy fix on the tourism industry may not take into account the many expatriates who are hotel owners, who have made their home in the Caribbean and become citizens in their new country, whose spouse is Caribbean, whose family may have once been expatriate with diffusion over the years, whose aim is to use local produce and products, who directs cooks to cook the menu of dishes from the host country and who hires local staff.

The issue of whether tourists bring capital to a Caribbean island continues to this day, especially regarding cruise ships. It is harder to justify income from these tourists who are off the boat for one day at a time.

The cruise ship passengers eat their food on the vessel and their lodging is on the vessel. They leave the ship when it is in dock primarily to buy goods most likely made in another country on the cheap. The adventurous among them make it on to a tour van and get to pet the monkeys in a national park area.

Economic Nationalism

It is important to note the concept of Caribbean economic nationalism as interpreted by Dr. Anthony P. Maingot:[161]

In the early 1970s, Guyana took the leadership in many radical reforms in the Caribbean Basin.

Its nationalization in July 1971 of the Demerara Bauxite Co. (DEMBA), a subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of Canada (ALCAN), contributed to legitimizing the idea of state ownership in the British Caribbean.

Norman Girvan, who received his PhD in 1966 from the University of London, was on the faculty of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica in the early 1970s. He contributed his research and thoughts to many journals, one being New World Quarterly. He was Director of the Caribbean Centre for Corporate Research in Kingston, Jamaica and actively writes online.[162]

Girvan wrote extensively about the issue of Third World Minerals: predominantly bauxite and oil. When the bauxite industry in Guyana was nationalized, followed by the oil industry in Trinidad and Tobago and the actions in the Jamaican bauxite industry, Girvan corroborated the economic nationalist trend in the Caribbean for the first years of the 1970s:[163]

. . . the nationalization signaled the initiation of a new wave of economic nationalism that is now sweeping the region from one end to the other.

Religion and Marxist Philosophy

The predominant religion in the Caribbean is Roman Catholicism with half the population of Grenada, for example, believing in the Roman Catholic faith.  In the larger scope, Christianity is in the majority with Anglicans and Methodists predominating. Other religions include the Afro-Caribbean Creolized religions and East Indian religions [usually showing up in Presbyterianism].[164]

The 1960s saw organizations active in modernization issues:[165]

The themes of justice and liberation were given prominence during the sixties in international gatherings sponsored by the United Nations, the World Council of Churches and the Vatican.

These might be identified as having a direct impact on the Consultation [Trinidad in 1971], where both women and youth claimed and received special hearings.

In the Sixties, there were symposiums at the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development [UNCTAD], no. 1 & 2; Vatican II; the 4th Assembly of the World Council of Churches [WCC]; and the World Conference on Development [1967] sponsored jointly by the WCC and the Vatican.[166]

Important conclaves also included the 1966 World Council of Churches conference of church and society and the 16 March 1967 Papal Encyclical on Development of Peoples.[167]

The World Council of Churches, based in Geneva, Switzerland, was established in 1937.

Populorum progression is the Papal Encyclical on Development of Peoples written by Pope Paul VI. The church letter also spoke of development and the world economy serving all mankind and not just the few.[168]

The lives of some young Grenadian radicals saw their association with religious groups. Starting with Pope John XXII on 11 October 1962 and closing under Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1965,[169] the Second Vatican Council had an effect on the Caribbean and Caribbean youth.

The four Constitutions of Vatican II are complicated.[170] Below they are outlined with the aid of the writings of Rev. Robert Cuthbert.[171]

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy did away with most religious services done in Latin and also encouraged the use of local speech patterns and indigenous expressions.

The Constitution on Divine Revelation encouraged the Church to make access to the Scriptures more accessible.

The Constitution on the Church emphasized the Church not as an undisputed revelation, isolated within its own body, but as an organization with a mission to embrace equality of all religions.

The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World put the focus on building justice and peace. Cuthbert noted:[172]

Social action defined as charity was understood to be an inadequate interpretation of the Christian imperative.

In its place a new definition of social action was demanded and this called for a level of commitment that was total on the part of the individual, best described by the word “solidarity”.

It was a call for ecumenism, for unity among all Christians; praying together, making commitments, engaging in community service; even playing guitars during the church service.

Latin American radicals were drawn to matching the social thought of religion to Marxist philosophy in their branch of liberation theology. More specifically, they linked Marxist interpretations of Roman Catholic theology with political activism—social justice, the elimination of poverty, and human rights.

If the poor were the key to change, if the oppressed and exploited were the last inheritors of the earth, then it followed that the masses represented a living battleground for the future.

To put the matter another way, from a song by the Central Park Sheiks:

If the people’s key is the key of C

What is the key of the bourgeoisie?

George Lamming, in a 1983 speech, reminded listeners of the importance of religion in the Caribbean:[173]

Religion continues to be an important and pervasive force in the lives of an overwhelming majority of Caribbean people.

Any Marxist of our region who ignores or underestimates this face commits a fatal error of judgement; he fails to recognize where he is and, therefore, misconceives the thought and feeling of the people with whom he wants to communicate.



In the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean, West Indian music continued as the rhythm of Carnival and was centered on the talent of Francisco Slinger, known as the Mighty Sparrow.[174]  

Born in Grenada, Slinger went to Trinidad-Tobago when he was a year old, and there his talent grew. He aided the growth of the Calypsonian medium through his rising career as the dominant figure of the style. He was known as a member of the Young Brigade.

The Mighty Sparrow’s social commentary was biting and innovative, writing lyrics filled with wit and irony.

Consider his thrust against colonial education from Captain James Oliver Cutteridge’s West Indian Readers in Dan is the Man.[175] Cutteridge was an education officer in Trinidad.

Sparrow singing his 1963 hit Dan is de Man [about what was learned in colonial education] is an online video.[176]

humpty dumpty sat on a wall

humpty dumpty didn’t fall

Goosey Goosey Gander

Where shall I wander?

Ding dong dell . . . pussy in the well

Sparrow also sang another song in 1963 reflective of the times about Kennedy and Khruschev [The Cuban Missile Crisis]. The tune was titled “Kennedy is the Man for Them.”

Another Grenadian was Clifton Ryan [1928-   ], who also went to Trinidad-Tobago in his youth and made his mark. He was Calypso King there in 1964, known as “The Mighty Bomber.” [177]

An interesting performer, born in the United States,[178] from the 1950s was “Calypso Gene, the Charmer.”[179]

One song was a calypso-like tune using a title from a saying by Muslim pioneer Wallace Dodd Fard—White Man’s Heaven is Black Man’s Hell? It was issued in 1958.[180]

The young Calypsonian would play this song before Malcolm X gave a speech for the National of Islam [NOI], speaking a rhetoric of revolution. Another song from 1961 was Look at My Chains.[181] This was Minister Louis X, during his times as a professional Calypsonian in Boston and later in performances throughout the United States, then known as Louis Farrakhan.[182]

Farrakhan[183] was born Louis Eugene Walcott in the Bronx but moved with his mother to the West Indian community in the Roxbury section of Boston where he attended Boston Latin School. His mother was from Saint Kitts/Nevis; his absent father was Jamaican. The boy later returned to his given name, Louis Farrakhan.[184]

Farrakhan’s career as a public personality, within and without the Nation of Islam [NOI], continued past the year 2012.


Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique

The nation of Grenada embodies the island of Grenada, the sister island of Carriacou and smaller sister island of Petite Martinique. Many of Grenada’s major politicians came from, or had roots in the sister islands.

Carriacou had its own airstrip, Lauriston, which formed an additional way to arrive on the island. Previously the ferries Starlight V and Miriam B made the trips between Carriacou and Grenada, a 4-7 hour one-way trip, depending on the weather.[185]

The sister island Carriacou was known for its sea-island cotton, maize, pigeon peas and shipbuilding tradition. The first established secondary school, Bishops College, was located in Hillsborough. Paule Marshall, writing from the perspective of her West Indian roots, features Carriacou in her novel Praisesong for the Widow.[186]

The political and labor history of the Caribbean plays an important role in studying the context of the Grenada Revolution.

Still another element was the condition of the Caribbean in its post-colonial growth and hierarchical struggles between the peoples of former class structures, including the separation between rural and city people.  

M.G. Smith wrote of the intimate associations between the people in Grenada through kinship, family intermarriages and social groupings. People often inherited their occupation, stuck with people by way of immigrant status or origin, went to school locally or in another country, married within the same class. There was a hierarchical status structure and elites were the people who voted.[187]

Gordon K. Lewis commented on race and class:[188]

In a society like the West Indian, still full of rural poverty, in adequate housing, urban rootlessness, mass unemployment and social insecurity, the havens of race, as much as class, frequently remains the only known and available hiding place.

Author George Lamming in a 1980 lecture on “Politics and Culture” at UWI Cave Hill, Barbados campus graduation where he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters, wrote about the dominant class in Caribbean countries and its persistent legacy:[189]

A dominant class, exclusively white, laid the foundations of a cultural force that would influence all our lives.

It was the ideology of racism; a morality whose guiding principle was the exclusive privilege of the skin.

To be black was to be a commodity identified with the cheapest labour.

White was the symbol and source of all authority.

The priest and the planter, school and church, legislation and the law, all gave the weight of their authority to this social and economic arrangement; and they did so in the name of decency, honour, and Christian democracy.

M.G. Smith termed this class as the dominant minority—these included people involved with the government, justice, administration, welfare and development in their institutional form. The educated, those building formal religious bodies, the property owners—all wanted to maintain the status quo, keep their special privileged position.[190]

In Grenada, the base of educated people was in Saint George’s with the old families. They often carried a sense of entitlement which contributed to the classic “town vs. country” division. The late Gordon K. Lewis wrote about class in the West Indies: [191]

Skin colour determines social class; but it is not an exclusive determinant.

There are many fair-skinned persons who are not upper class, and many dark-skinned persons who are.

The real divisions of the society are the horizontal ones of social class rather than the vertical ones of colour identification.

West Indian class structures evoked this observation:[192]

The well-known West Indian multilayered “pigmentocracy” generated a social structure in which class was closely tied to color, so that black, brown, and white were accurately reflected in corresponding social and racial echelons.

That correlation, of course, was the heritage of slavery so that social respectability depended in large part, on each person’s racial ancestry.

The folk, according to M.G. Smith, were illiterate or barely, poor, illegitimate, of low status, spoke primarily patois with social institutions such as the maroon and susu.[193]

During his 1980 lecture, upon receiving an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree, George Lamming spoke of education in the islands:[194]

You are a minority; and you are a minority because education is scarce; [minority=educated] and was intended to be a scarcity so that it might serve as an instrument of continuing social stratification, an index of privilege and status; a deformed habit of material self-improvement.

Young Grenadian revolutionaries were generally the more fortunate within their society—children of the middle class, dark-skinned and fair-skinned, with basic educational opportunities primarily in the capital of Saint George’s.

They looked to conquer the challenges of poverty, unemployment, lack of education, economic disparity, ill-health, inequality and the political legacy of British Colonialism.

One marking of a major attempt at change in the Caribbean was the quest for unification through Federation, led in 1958 by Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad & Tobago , Grantley Adams of Barbados and Alexander Bustamante of Jamaica. [195]

Officially the dates of the Federation were from 3 January 1958 – 31 May 1962. The West Indian Federation, with the emergence of the concept in 1956,[196] was formed as a unit of ten [10] Caribbean territories, acting independently from Britain. The West Indian Federation concept failed because of internal political conflicts.[197]

Failure of the West Indian Federation in 1962, did not exclude visions of Caribbean integration. Rosie Douglas wrote of his view a decade later:[198]

Caribbean unification can only be meaningful it is aims at destroying the present colonial economic and political structure and building a new social order in which responsibility will be shifted to the massed of the people.

Today, the liberation of the Caribbean must mean the total revolutionizing of its social structure.

Douglas continued:[199]

. . . whether we live in Belize, Aruba, Antigua, Saint Kitts, Trinidad, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Curacao, Saint Thomas, Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia, Nevis, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, Grenada and the Grenadines, Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas or Bermuda and we speak English, French, Spanish or Dutch, we remain (except Cuba) territorial, political, economic and cultural appendages of racist-imperialist North America and Europe.

In writing about class, Douglas stated:[200]

To the lower class in Dominica and the Caribbean, unity means the collective development of the resources of the area in order that we can put an end to the high cost of living, chronic unemployment and under-employment, increasing crime rate, lack of cultural and national identity and insecurity in old age.

The unity of the masses therefore means anti-imperialist unity, unity for world peace, unity for liberation and for economic independence and advance – with a single political direction.

The smaller islands were given, by Britain, the designation of Associated Statehood, including Grenada.

Independence of Grenada was formally achieved 7 February 1974. External affairs and defense were the responsibility of Britain. The Governor-General was responsible to the Queen and not the British Government.[201]

The Grenada Revolution cannot be discussed without reviewing the intellectual, cultural, political climate, ambience and morals of the world at that time as it was absorbed into the psyche of this small island state.

What happened in the United States and Britain was reported to the Caribbean, and what was chosen for reportage was often a popularized summary of actual events.

Not to be forgotten was the British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC] World Service. There was the pre-modern BBC radio on the short-wave band. From 25 December 1976 - 25 March 2011, the BBC World Service brought news and music to Grenadian listeners.[202]

There was the isolation of Grenada so that a parallel line of world events had a delay in the Spice Isle. Still, it “reached,” as the saying goes.

Charisma—Eric Gairy and Maurice Bishop

On the main island of Grenada, there were full cups of ingredients precipitating the growth of the New Jewel Movement; not the least of which was the regime of former Chief Minister Eric Gairy.

Intellectual agitation was in the air. Countries were seeking independence and national liberation. Anti-colonial spirits ran high. And Eric Gairy was causing Grenadian radicals to feel the devil’s riding crop.

The importance of the trait called charisma is not to be diminished. The two primary leaders in Grenada, Eric Matthew Gairy and Maurice Rupert Bishop, around whom our story unfolds, each possessed a personality that gained popular support because of their extraordinary knack and talent.

There is no on-point definition of charisma, but you know it when you see it. Charisma is a magnitude and a sense of largesse; a magnetism of a certain quality shown in the personalities of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley, Mao Tse-tung, Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X, Eric Gairy and Maurice Bishop.

One outstanding trait that Eric Gairy and Maurice Bishop had in common was they were excellent orators. Their dress, manner, style, gestures, vocal modulations, and silences accompanied their package of plain-speaking language.  They simplified and personified their messages even when in a teaching mode.

In effect, they were selected as men worthy of devotion because of the imagery of their total being. For some, Gairy and Bishop had magical powers in their directness. It was Eric Matthew Gairy who called upon those mysteries of life.

For Maurice Bishop, everyone knew his father Rupert had been killed in the “struggle” and most people in Grenada knew Rupert Bishop. The loss associated with Maurice Bishop’s family tragedy added a special dynamic to his character.

People, it is said, had a mix of subjective feelings and impressions upon seeing each of them give a speech. When Maurice Bishop raised his hand above his head, the viewer followed along the trajectory, or when Eric Gairy stood on a car top in his white suit, he was perceived by some as other worldly.

A charismatic authority is perceived as a visionary who bases his judgments on fairness and correctness with his invincibility and prescience. The means by which the masses are wooed has a core of emotional appeal. There is the feeling the leader can get things done, skirt bureaucracy and solve problems.

The effect of mobilization of the masses by a populist leader is that all classes and groups become united under one leader.

In Grenada, “Papa” Gairy was the sole leader; “Brother” Bish was the popular leader of revolutionary change through people’s participation.

The emerging control of a central core like the NJM Bureau or the Central Committee began as early as the time Bishop returned to Grenada in 1970. Throughout Leftist histories one can read of the struggles within and outside of a Central Committee.

Often, charisma works best in a crisis, real or manufactured. A step towards further decolonialization in the attempt by Gairy to gain independence as a solitary Grenadian state was one such crisis. The threat to the Gairy regime by the young radicals was another critical point in Grenada’s history.

Anton Allahar’s book on Caribbean charisma made this point:[203]

For populist claims play on the peoples’ aspirations for democracy and economic leveling, and populist leaders are keen to present themselves as being above class, ethnic, regional or other sectoral divisions in the society.

Indeed, both Gairy and Bishop felt they were one with the people. Bishop especially raised the levels of expectations towards hope of a just and equal society, though there was no question Bishop rejected independent capitalism in favor of socialism when Gairy was all along saying the young rascals were Communists.

Eric Matthew Gairy

Frank J. McDonald wrote Grenada: Eric Matthew Gairy and the Politics of Extravagance published 25 May 1969,[204] and Tales of Uncle Gairy, 10 November 1969. These articles were published by the Institute of Current World Affairs. [205]

Going into the 1970s, Gairy’s consolidation of one-man rule of his Party, the GULP, was evaluated in retrospect by Ewart Archer:[206]

. . . it was this very insistence on one-man rule in the party which would make Gairy an extremely powerful man in Grenada after 1967.

In that year, the GULP was elected to office only months after a constitutional change had granted Grenada full internal self-government (autonomy) as an Associated State of the United Kingdom.

Although this was a lesser status than full independence, British control was now restricted to defence and foreign affairs and the locus of power had shifted from the representative of the British Crown to the premier, as the leader of the majority party in the new House of Representatives was now called.

From the time Gairy assumed the premiership in 1967 to his removal from office some 12 years later, he would control every significant state decision in Grenada.

Grenada, going into the 1970s, saw Eric M. Gairy as Premier[207] and Herbert Blaize as the Opposition Leader. Native Grenadian Dr. Hilda Bynoe was Governor General.[208] She was the first female governor in the British Commonwealth of Nations.[209]

The late Joachim "Sonny" Mark wrote about one relationship of Gairy and Bynoe:[210]

Gairy was always lucky to get others to engage in buffoonery for him or in his behalf.

In 1969 his appointed Governor Hilda Bynoe demanded that Trevor Emmanuel, then a Roman Catholic priest, make a public apology to the Government for a sermon he had given on human rights from the pulpit of the Saint George’s Cathedral.

The Firearms Act of 1968 passed by the Grenada United Labour Party [GULP][211] took away all firearms permits issued to members of the Opposition and people Gairy considered enemies and to impound personal weapons. [212]  These included citizens who for years had been permitted to carry guns to protect their property. One was Johnny Branch, part–owner of Douglaston Estate in Saint John’s, a Justice of the Peace, and a man with no convictions for any offence.[213]

Those who carried rifles on estates, for example, used them for a variety of protective reasons. According to DaBreo: [214]

Among those whose guns were taken away were Paul Kent, Eric Copland and Johnny Branch.

Johnny Branch, for example, is one of the owners of Douglaston Estate, in the parish of Saint John’s . . . Dr. John Watts, a onetime Political leader of the opposition Grenada National Party [GNP], also had his licence revoked.

While these people’s arms were being taken away, guns were being liberally handed out to the untrained, roughnecks of the Mongoose Gang.

Following the Firearms Act, harassment of any opposition began to be carried out by Gairy’s henchmen. There were beatings and searches, overt and tacit intimidation practices. One given example was when the homes of Dr. John Watts and Johnny Branch were searched. Nothing was found, and a pattern of searching homes and finding nothing was established, according to DaBreo.[215]

The opposition groups to Gairy’s regime and union came from farmer’s organizations – the Progressive Labour and General Workers Union [PLGWU] led by Pope McLean and the Grenada Farmers Union [GFU] led by Wellington Friday.[216]

Around the third week of May 1969, a spiteful fight involved accusations and counter-accusations; a Gairy call for a strike, incidents of threats, arson and hooliganism. Because of the recent Firearms Act, those carrying weapons, even for practical reasons, were susceptible to government action.

One incident involved farmer and Senator Ben Jones and his 40 hacked-down cocoa trees in Saint Patrick’s parish. Tensions were so high; the trend seemed to be towards armed resistance. Meanwhile, in Carriacou, there was talk of a secessionist movement, continuing to this present day.[217]

During 1969, flyers appeared in Grenada; an example below:[218]


Grenadians cannot take more!







As Premier and President-General of his

Trade Union he uses his position and

W.I.B.S. to frighten people into

Paying Union Dues


He Wants No Opposition!


He Wants a

One-Party, One-Union State


Grenadians are in Fear


Grenadians cannot take more!


From Now on – “It’s an Eye for an Eye

A Tooth for a Tooth”


We cannot take more!



The Grenada National Bank was established by Eric Gairy in 1969. All sorts of mayhem at the bank resulted, according to Joachim Mark.[219]

Constable Innocent Belmar was promoted to Corporal in 1969.[220]

By way of the Government Information Service [GIS], Gairy made Grenadians and others aware of his disdain of Associated Statehood and his goal of Independence for Grenada.

In a GIS statement of 21 February 1969, Gairy wrote about the preparatory steps towards independence through the United Nations and also about plans to open a consul office in the United States.[221]

The major event of 1969 was conceived by Gairy. The trade fair was called Expo ’69.

The idea for Expo ‘69 was supposed to have been sparked by Gairy’s attendance at the 5 September 1967 “Grenada Day” celebration of the 1967 Montreal Exposition. [222]

Gairy was masterfully in attendance at Expo ’69 wearing a white shirt, white suit coat, white pants and white shoes. In his opening speech at Expo ‘69, he said:[223]

Eighteen years ago I had a dream, as it were, eighteen years ago I had a vision that I could build Grenada and make Grenada a place of global repute and recognition;

eighteen years ago I had a vision that I could help build a West Indian Nation;

eighteen years ago I started establishing the principle that the worker was a necessary, vital and integral part of any industry or enterprise, knowing full well that I was incurring the wrath of a traditionally complexed and sophisticated society of false pride and sham, and so, eighteen years ago, the British Government sent their battleships to me and my people;

eighteen years ago I was confined behind barbed wires, eighteen years ago I was given fifty-two police cases within a few months.

Carifta Expo ‘69 was first international trade fair held in the Caribbean and it was held in Grenada. The fair was open from 5 April 1969 to 30 April 1969.

The Expo Office issued a 24-page booklet with an opening message by Her Excellency Dame Hilda Bynoe.[224] The grounds of the exposition were at a specially-designed complex in the True Blue Beach Resort area in the southern part of Grenada. [225]

Those in charge of the exposition were Chairman Peter Bynoe, Dip. Arch., A.R.I.B.A. The board included Executive Secretary George Isaac Marecheau; John Derek Neckles Knight; Senator Keith Alleyne, Q.C. and Hon. George Frederick Hosten. Mrs. Margo Foister “was nominated Secretary to the Central Committee.” Others who worked on the project included Neville DaBreo, Chairman of the Grenada Tourist Board and businessman Ben Davis.[226]

[Uncorroborated]  Gail Renwick, who was crowned Carnival Queen 1968 with her dazzling Crystal Chandelier costume, had a role in Expo ‘69.

One writer at the Expo Office waxed eloquent about the site description, quoted here in part:[227]

The Nutmeg Theatre nestles on the lips of Sandy Beach, beckoning to the gay abandon of the typical Carnival ensemble of artistes who would one day whisper — “I was there”.

Almost with a sense of betrayal one tears oneself away.

By June 1969, an incident occurred regarding the Church and the late Father Trevor Emmanuel. On Sunday, 16 June 1969, Fr. Emmanuel preached a sermon in the Saint George’s Roman Catholic Church – in part:[228]

If you hear that there is an attempt to obtain taxes fraudulently, what will be your reaction?

If the institutions of care for our sick are not adequate what will be your concern?

If good people have been deprived of the means to protect themselves, and that a great many people are unemployed, what should b your reaction?

If you hear that those who are responsible for the public protection have been interfered with as to render them inefficient, while the hooligan almost grows bolder in our society, what will be your reaction?

According to writer Frank McDonald, Fr. Emmanuel equated the freedoms above with scripture and personal rights. The Governor-General Dame Hilda Bynoe was sitting with the congregation during that sermon. She was not pleased.

She invited Fr. Emmanuel to Government House to discuss her displeasure and suggested that an apology to the Premier was in order.

Fr. Emmanuel declined; Gairy went on the radio shouting out Fr. Emmanuel’s name and charging:[229]

  . . . a considered effort here by a few people to damage the image of our isle of spice now aspiring for independence . . .

Their malice stems from their intense jealousy of (my) brain and proven achievements.

Following this outburst, a group of the clergy sent a letter to Gairy on 7 July 1969. The letter was signed by ten [10] church leaders from the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian houses of worship in Grenada; the largest denominations. They said Fr. Emmanuel had a right to speak out on all matters, including political ones, and noted that “Freedom of speech is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”[230]

The year 1969 marked the time of mysterious fires. Frank McDonald wrote of the consequences of the public incident relating to Fr. Emmanuel’s sermon:[231]

The same week that the clergy met and sent Premier Gairy their reaction to his broadcast, Father Emmanuel’s school was burned down and there was an attempted arson of two other buildings attached to the Methodist Church in Saint George’s.

The fire at the old Saint George’s R.C. School included the steel band on 3 July 1969.[232]

Father Trevor Emmanuel, who later was involved in the New Jewel Movement, spoke out about social justice issues:[233]

The unity of existence has become one of my fundamental themes.

I think that for a priest to be relevant today in the Caribbean he must preach about social conditions.

Here, poverty is a great hindrance to the full development of the human person.

In this respect, Gairy knows why he should take up the challenge I made.

His priorities are rather topsy-turvy.

He would rather avoid the real problems, such as housing, and concentrate on the glamorous aspects of tourism.


Remember Phoenix cigarettes, Blue Danube butter bread, Red Spot, Franco ice cream, blood pudding and one’s rum of choice? One does recall Chinatown, Tropical Inn, and the Bamboo Bar on the Esplanade, BBC nightclub, Portofino’s, the Lion’s Den and movies at the Empire Theatre. On 8 June 1968, the Grenada Zoo was opened; a Gairy project complete with engraved invitations for opening day.[234]

Memories are found in the writings of Anthony Wendell DeRiggs [Recollections of an Island Man],[235] and [Reflections & Ole Talk][236]; Dr. Winston J. Phillips [The Grenada Boys Secondary School Hostel[237]] and Lincoln Depradine [White Cloak & Coals Dust[238]].

The Time-Life Books volume on Cooking of the Caribbean[239], published in 1970, caught the eye of admirers with its colorful photos of Grenada. Books published in the Caribbean followed. This cookbook may have been one’s first introduction to the Spice Isle.

The Peace Corps in Grenada

The United States Peace Corps,[240] founded in the U.S. on 21 March 1961, was in Grenada from 1966-1979 and started up again in 1985.[241]

Among the seized Grenada Documents was one paper titled Secret Memorandum and the Peace Corps. The author is Jack Vaughn. The date is unknown.[242]

The memorandum on the Peace Corps came from the files of the People’s Revolutionary Government. The document reviewed and used as the source of selected quotations with commentary about the memorandum [see General Appendix]. [243]

“Extracts from a Secret Memorandum issued by the U.S. State Department to Peace Corps Volunteers” can also be found at the end of Salkey’s Georgetown Journal. [see General Appendix][244]

A note in Salkey’s Appendix indicated the “Secret Memorandum” was first published as an expose in Uhuru, [245] a twice-monthly newspaper of the Black community in Montreal, Canada from 1969-1970. [246]

The memorandum was reprinted in ASCRIA Drums (April 1970),[247] published monthly by ASCRIA, in Georgetown, Guyana. [248]

The “secret memorandum” via then Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn, issued to volunteers, essentially provided guidelines for volunteers to be righteous representatives of America.  The quotations in the document filled two typed pages. A selection is made of the more directive extracts:[249]

Use all means and opportunities for strengthening the position of those political personalities and groups which support the ideas of the West.

Direct their efforts in the field of political and social development to counteracting the spread of Communist ideas and methods, foster and inculcate the ideas and methods of private enterprise and personal initiative and demonstrate their evident superiority.

This is the only way in which the developing countries can expect the establishment of effective co-operation with the West.

In countries where the leaders adhere to the principles of nationalism and socialism, volunteers should cautiously but steadfastly oppose the dissemination and acceptance of those theories.

Other quotations concerned the individual volunteer:[250]

Peace Corps volunteers carry out their jobs in the country to which they are assigned in close contact with the US Embassy, USIA Missions and other US Agencies.

The US Ambassadors and Ministers, as heads of diplomatic missions abroad, control the activities of the Peace Corps volunteers in their respective countries.

All such contacts must be kept absolutely secret since any leakage would produce an undesirable reaction from public opinion and officials of the host country.

And then there was more about the Communists:[251]

The Communists believe that time is on their side in the cold war, that sooner or later the developing nations will turn Communist without a shot ever being fired, that history, social forces, poverty and the hatred for the colonial powers will tip the scale in their favour.

We stand ready to match our volunteers against anything the Communists may CONCERT [devise; plan]. We doubt the challenge will be accepted.

This unknown author of the documents summarized:[252]

Let our people not forget that whatever may be the intention, the Peace Corps volunteers are functioning all over Asia and Africa and Caribbean under the instruction given to this top secret Memorandum.

Now that the instructions given in the Secret memorandum have been made public, our people have no more doubts as to the real motives behind the United States in giving the Peace Corps assistance to our country.

Jack Hood Vaughn[253] was Director of the Peace Corps from March 1966–March 1969, appointed by U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson.[254] He had been Latin American Director from October 1961–April 1964.[255]

Media in Grenada

Grenada had three anti-government newspapers and a radio network during 1970.

One was the West Indian, a daily newspaper that was founded in 1915 by T.A. Marryshow, but later owned by the Gairy Government.

Another was the Torchlight issued twice during the week.

The third was aligned with the Grenada National Party [GNP]. It was titled the Vanguard,[256] not to be confused with the Vanguard newspaper of Trinidad-Tobago run by editor-journalist Wally Look Lai for the Oilfields Workers’ Union.[257]

The radio network Windward Islands Broadcasting Service [WIBS] had been founded in 1955. Old hands at WIBS include Leslie Seon, former Program Director and former Government Information Service [GIS] director, and Ray Smith.

Caribbean media historian John Lent related in text his May 1971 interview with Claude Theobalds, former chief program officer of WIBS:[258]

WIBS was administered by the West Indies Broadcasting Council, made up of the premiers of the islands [Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada].

Between council meetings, the premier of Grenada acted on the council’s behalf.

That left enormous power in Gairy’s hands.

From 1955-1971 [during most of Gairy’s three elected five-year terms] the WIBS building was located in Morne Rouge.

WIBS was stopped in 1971, and by the first of January 1972 Radio Grenada was formed as a government radio station housed in the same building.

The use of British libel law to protect an individual’s reputation was not ignored by Gairy:[259]

Between 1969 and 1971, he [Gairy] threatened or brought suit against LOOK [magazine], some London media, the Torchlight and the Vanguard.

The Grenada-Aruba Connection

A history of the Grenada-Aruba connection was first printed in Caribbean Week, October 1995. It was written by John Collins about San Nicolas, Aruba. The site at is unfortunately disabled as of November 2009. 

Collins wrote:

In 1924 Standard Oil commenced construction of its Lago refinery in Aruba . . . The four Grenadian leaders with close Aruban connections were Sir Eric Gairy . . . Maurice Bishop . . . Herbert Blaize . . . and Ben Jones . . . [Ivan Williams] said that the 1954 census revealed that Grenadians were the second largest group on the island after native Arubans.

Calypso - Grenadian Style

In Grenada, Calypso Monarchs were Lord “Whitey” Carleton “Mighty Hurricane” Mitchell [1968] of Clozier, Saint John’s; the Mighty Dictator [1969]; the Mighty Scaramouche [1970], Mighty Unlucky [1971] and Mighty Inspector [1972].[260]

The American and British Black Power Movement Influence in Grenada

American Black Power came to Grenada by way of the usual paths of osmosis. The movement of information from outside the Caribbean filtered into Grenada by way of newspapers, magazines, BBC radio, wire services, returning University of the West Indies [UWI] students, Grenadians traveling back home among various means.

The radicalization of Grenadians who primarily studied in the United Kingdom and at the University of the West Indies had its origins in the Black Power Movement.

Some spoke similarly about the nemesis of Rastafarians, called “Babylon.” These few took on the manner of arrogance, fearlessness, scorn and resistance.


In nearby Trinidad-Tobago, the primary newspapers were the Trinidad Guardian with most people purchasing the Sunday edition. The Guardian’s sister paper was The Evening News.[261]

The other newspaper was the Express, managed by Ken Gordon. These two papers were owned by Roy Thomson. Trinidadian newspapers were brought regularly to Grenada to be sold at newsstands.

In broadcasting, Radio Trinidad and the Trinidad & Tobago National Broadcasting System was on the air with a majority it their programming from outside the island.

Trinidadian Merle Hodge’s Crick, Crack Monkey[262] was published in 1970.

A variety of Top Calypso Hits (primarily from Trinibagonian artists) were available 1968-1970, including Child Training by Mighty Composer (Fred Mitchell) in 1969; Severe Licking by Baron (Timothy Watkins) in 1971; Black is Beautiful by the late Duke (Kelvin Pope) in 1969; Mr. Walker by the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) in 1968, and Miss Tourist by Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) in 1968.[263] Black Stalin (Leroy Calliste) was part of Lord Kitchener’s Kaiso Review in Trinidad-Tobago, starting in 1967 and placed in the Monarch line-up.[264]

Communication between parties of the Caribbean Left with news from Trinidad-Tobago was active. The situation in Trinidad-Tobago was summarized by Trinidadian Wally Look Lai; lawyer, journalist and activist:[265]

. . . from February to April in 1970, for two full months, we had a mass upheaval in Trinidad which hit the world headlines because the [Eric] Williams government was almost overthrown when the Army mutinied in the middle of it all, and U.S. and Venezuelan troops rushed to the scene to influence the outcome. The government survived the crisis . . .

Prime Minister Eric E. Williams’ book From Columbus to Castro: A History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969 was published in 1970,[266] followed by his History of Trinidad & Tobago in 1972. [267]

The Saint Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies [UWI] was founded in 1960.[268] Starting in 1966, an Institute of International Relations [IRR] was established on the Saint Augustine campus which was in Trinidad-Tobago. The IRR was in partnership with the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.[269]

Revolutionary groups, consisting of individuals calling for change of existing structures, could be found at the National Joint Action Committee [NJAC], the Union of Revolutionary Organizations [URO], [270]and members of the New Beginning Movement [NBM].

American Black Power Influence in Trinidad-Tobago

American Black Power came to Trinidad-Tobago by way of the usual paths of osmosis. The movement of information from outside the Caribbean filtered into Grenada by way of newspapers, magazines, BBC radio, wire services, returning University of the West Indies [UWI] students, and Trinidadians traveling back home.

Naipaul commented: [271]

In Trinidad, with its 55 percent black population, with the Asian and other minorities already excluded from government, Black Power became something else, added something very old to rational protest: a mystical sense of race, a millenarian expectation of imminent redemption.

Grenadian Fennis Augustine was interviewed in London by Cecil Gutzmore in the journal Black Liberator. He stated: [272]

 What you call the new style opposition groups came about during the Trinidad upheavals of 1970.

In any event there was a powerful influence.

Now the tendency in the Caribbean – we have already seen this – is that once a popular movement starts anywhere, it tends to spread throughout the area.

It is not anything as simple as imitation but rather a common economic and political situation which is the cause of this.

We all felt the impact of the Walter Rodney affair in Jamaica:  there were troubles in Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent.

And all was linked in some way to the explosion in the Black Liberation Movement in the USA.

Grenada also started a movement of young people, calling themselves Black Power.

Stokely Carmichael, who changed his name to Kwame Touré in 1968, was to visit the country of his birth, Trinidad-Tobago, during this unsettling time.

Eric Williams’ government warned the airlines against allowing Carmichael anywhere near the airport.[273] Carmichael was barred from entering Trinidad-Tobago in 1969.[274]

Eventful in 1969 was that students joined with the bus drivers in their strike in Port-of-Spain.[275] Protesters talked about the charges against West Indian students at Sir George Williams University in Montreal.

Other active groups were the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union [OWTU] and students-faculty of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Saint Augustine campus.

Groups prominent in the Black Power marches were the Afro Turf Limers, two chapters of the Black Panther party, the National African Cultural Organisation, the National Freedom Organization, the New World Group, the African Unity Brothers, the Southern Liberation Movement and the Tapia House Group.

The February Movement in Trinidad

Willy Look Lai observed:[276]

History can be very ironic, but the day he [Sir Eric Williams] send to American troops—April 21, 1970—was the very day—10 years ago, almost to the very minute—April 21, 1960—when he led a great march of the people on the American naval base in Trinidad, demanding the return of the base to the people and the withdrawal of the American military presence from Trinidad soil.

Much more happened during the February Revolution in Trinidad-Tobago. The overview here is to provide background.

One occurrence was during Trinidad-Tobago Carnival in February 1970, when groups of young people carried large photographs of American Black Power leader Stokely Carmichael, Mao Tse-tung, Eldridge Cleaver and Malcolm X.[277]

Sometime between late 1969–April 1970, Bishop returned from his studies and work in London. [Uncorroborated] He was recounted to have passed through Trinidad–Tobago during the time of the February Movement.

Between February 26 and April 21, 1970, people took to the streets in Trinidad-Tobago every day in ever-increasing numbers in what is termed the “February Revolution.”[278]

With roots purportedly based in the violent Black Power struggles in the United States, Trinidad–Tobago in 1970 was a nation of crippling strikes, a partial mutiny of the military and a movement which posed a serious threat to the leadership of Sir Eric Williams.

On 4 March 1970 there was a Black Power march of up to 10,000 people.[279]  Black Power leader Geddes Granger [Makandal Daaga], union leader president of the Transport & Industrial Workers Joe Young, and George Weekes, president of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), led 200 or more radical students from the Saint Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad on their march.

They were joined by grassroots supporters under the banner of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC). Dr. Ivar Oxaal described the events of the time as “the eruption of mass spontaneity in Trinidad at the commencement of the seventies.”[280]

Radical Black militant Michael Abdul Malik; the former UWI Students’ Guild president Geddes Granger [Makandal Daaga]; Aldwin Primus (head of the Black Panthers); Russell Andalcio, a UWI student; and Dave Darbeau were among the participants.

At one point NJAC formed their own People’s Parliament, an action that would be mirrored by members of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) in Grenada.

In the first days of March 1970, a People’s Parliament forum was held in the main Woodford Square and remained in session with protestors speaking continuously until late March, 1970 these speeches included one by George Weekes on 23 March 1970.[281]

The People’s Parliament area was the location of the state funeral of Basil Davis. Davis was a protestor, shot dead “by the police in Independence Square” on 6 April 1970.[282] Mahabir wrote that the Trinidad Guardian reported the date of 18 April 1970 when postmen spoke at the “People’s Parliament.”[283]

Mahabir continued the story:[284]

On the morning of April 21, the state of emergency was declared.

Fifteen Black Power leaders were arrested and detained.

The People’s Parliament was padlocked shut.

And a mutiny occurred in the Regiment.

Journalist Raoul Pantin of the Trinidad Guardian reported events in dispatches that included quotes and parts of speeches.[285] Pantin later interviewed Maurice Bishop in 1979. He also interviewed Bernard Coard in 2009 after Coard’s release from prison.

A name to figure in Grenada’s revolutionary history is Trinidadian Karl Hudson-Phillips, born in 1933, who was leader of the prosecution team in the Maurice Bishop Murder Trial of the 1980s.[286]

During the 1970 February Movement in Trinidad–Tobago, Karl Hudson-Phillips’ severe attitude toward those protesting was manifest from his legal position in the People’s National Movement [PNM] in a calypso tune by Trinibagonian, the Mighty Chalkdust.  Ah Fraid Karl was about Hudson-Phillips.[287]

Hudson-Phillips was the Attorney General in Trinidad-Tobago active in negotiations during February Revolution period and chief prosecutor of Black Power detainees.[288]  He was also the Attorney General in Trinidad-Tobago during the Michael Abdul Malik murder trial in 1975.

The leader of the mutinied soldiers during a dramatic phase of the February Revolution was Lt. Raffique Shah [born in 1946].[289] Shah later became a trade union leader and op-ed columnist at the online Trini Center web site.[290]

Fifty-two [52] people were detained from 21 April and 12 May 1970 under a new detention ordinance.[291]  Most were Trinidadians.

A Trinidad-Tobago detainee, Michael Als, played a role in the last days of Grenada’s People’s Revolutionary Government. He was detained by the People’s National Movement [PNM] in Trinidad-Tobago for seven [7] months because of his political activities.[292]

Another detainee in Trinidad-Tobago, the late Dr. Patrick Emmanuel, was Grenadian. He wrote for the [Grenadian] Forum newsletter. His column was published in Grenada during June 1970 even though he was still in prison in Trinidad-Tobago until August 1970. He was a brother of Trevor Emmanuel.

The publicity surrounding Trinidadian Michael DeFreitas [Michael X and Michael Abdul Malik] wove a web of revolutionary fervor from the U.K. to Port of Spain.

From the United Kingdom in February 1970, Trinidadian Michael X [Michael DeFreitas or Michael Abdul Malik] flew to his home country and headed up a march [with himself at the head] of militant left-wingers in Port of Spain.[293]

Political Groups in Trinidad-Tobago

National Joint Action Committee [NJAC]

The National Joint Action Committee [NJAC] was formed in February 1970 to gather radicals and intellectuals, students and the unemployed into one group.[294]  Key NJAC leaders included Geddes Granger [Makandal Daaga], Clive Nunez, Dave Darbeau, university student Russell Andalcio, Kelshall Brodie, Errol Balfour and Michael Abdul Malik.[295]

In February of 1970, key leaders of NJAC were arrested, as well as George Weekes of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union [OWTU].

NJAC had no regular newspaper, but held meetings and rallies attracting thousands of demonstrators. The organization did published pamphlets.

One NJAC pamphlet was Why Black Power, published in April, 1970.[296] Another was Slavery to Slavery: NJAC on the Economic System also published in 1970. Still others in 1971 were Conventional Politics or Revolution: NJAC on the Political System and a publication called Liberation.

The organization was centered on radical populism through Black Power. NJAC demanded “ownership, control and utilization of the island’s resources by the people.”[297]

Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union [OWTU]

George Weekes was the President of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union. The trade union, first formed in 1937, was organized to oppose the practices of the multi-national oil companies. Its weekly newspaper was the Vanguard. The first paragraph of its mission described its purpose:[298]

Having been organized as a vanguard against capital, we recognize that a society based on social justice and equity will only become a reality when the economic, social and political relations in our country are transformed in such a way that “those who labour hold the reign!”

The Tapia House Group

The late Dr. Lloyd Best was a professor of economics at the Mona, Jamaica campus of the University of the West Indies.[299] In Tunapuna, Dr. Best formed the Tapia House Group upon his return to Trinidad-Tobago in 1968. [300] Best had been involved with the New World group and its quarterly. In addition, there was a physical building called Tapia House and a bi-weekly periodical named Tapia. 

Tapia (a name taken from a form of slave housing) was published by Tapia House in Trinidad-Tobago as a newspaper every two weeks.[301] Tapia changed its name to The Trinidad & Tobago Review and still survives.[302] The Tapia group refused to become a formal political party.[303]

Best was termed by some a “middle class reformist,”[304] meaning he was for reform of existing structures, according to Wally Look Lai, and was a member of the New Beginning Movement [NBM]. Best was not for the overthrow of government.

Lloyd Best’s Tapia House pamphlet Black Power and National Reconstruction was issued in 1970. The pamphlet contained proposals following the February Revolution 1970 in Trinidad-Tobago.[305]

MOKO and the United Independent Party [UNIP]

Moko is a disease of plantains & bananas. Often the term refers to an African God and the West African heritage of stilt-walkers, “Moko Jumbies,”[306] appeared in Caribbean carnivals.

 A MOKO Review was first published by educators at the government-run Mausica Teachers College[307] of D’Abadie,[308] Trinidad-Tobago.

The first MOKO Review was printed at the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union [OWTU] press on 26 October 1968. [309]

The Walter Rodney 1968 exclusion-from-Jamaica story filled the first offering. By 28 March 1969, Moko Review #11 was issued; the volume number reflecting its fortnightly issue.[310]

After Walter Rodney was “banned” from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica “following his participation in the Congress of Black Writers in Montreal,” C.L.R. James protested in a speech at a rally at Sir George Williams University on 18 October 1968; and another rally in Ottawa a couple days later.[311]

As the year advanced into the 1970s, a belief was held by OWTU, MOKO and UNIP that the CIA was behind the struggle in Trinidad-Tobago, especially relating to oil, against trade unions.

[Uncorroborated]There were accusations that CIA operatives were working out of the American Embassy and pushing American labor unions like the American Institute for Labor Development [AIFLD] or those supported by AFL-CIO were out to destroy the union movement in Trinidad. It was believed by radicals that U.S. corporations like Texaco in Trinidad-Tobago would do anything to keep the oil and gas production and export prosperous; a profitable venture radicals did not favor.[312]

A university-based group formed 20 February 1970[313]  by James C.V. Millette, was the United National Independent Party [UNIP]. Dr. Millette, a history professor at the University of the West Indies, became General Secretary that organization. Millette had previously been associated with the New World group. UNIP advocated the Trinidadian petrol industry be under local ownership and control.[314]

MOKO Enterprise published a full book by James Millette in 1970 titled The Genesis of Crown Colony Government: Trinidad, 1783-1810.[315] In 1971, the publication known as MOKO became the official organ of Millette’s United National Independence Party [UNIP].[316] Richard Jacobs, who figured later in Grenadian politics, was also a member of UNIP.[317]

Various pamphlets were published by MOKO Enterprises of 14 Riverside Road, Curepe, Trinidad. One of those booklets was titled George Weekes:  A Message by George Weekes. President General, Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union.[318] One small booklet of interest was Cuba since 1959: a commonsense view of economic development, published in 1973.[319]

Links to Grenada of “the fearless MOKO” as a newsletter of 11 May 1973 featured an article on Premier Gairy in Grenada. This issue of MOKO also covered an impending Nurses Strike at three major hospitals in Trinidad-Tobago.[320]

A 1975 charge bill no. 1353 from MOKO Enterprises Ltd., 14, Riverside Road, Curepe, Trinidad, W.I. to New Jewel Movement, P.O. Box 167, Grenada listed NJM-bought leftist literature.[321]

New Beginning Movement

There was a split between NJAC and the New Beginning Movement [NBM], according to member Wally Look Lai:[322]

. . . ever since 1970, the major event has been the split between NJAC and New Beginning Movement, between the broad populist approach of NJAC and the scientific socialist approach of the NBM.

On the other hand, scholar Abrahams described the first issue of New Beginning advocating “popular assemblies and work with people in small groups.” [323]

The New Beginning Movement [NBM] first published the first issue of their newspaper from Tunapuna on 5 March 1971.[324] The full title was known as New Beginning Towards a Caribbean Revolutionary International.[325]  Primarily those Trinidadian nationals or those resident in Trinidad-Tobago and associated with NBM were Bukka Rennie, Wally Look Lai, Franklyn V. P. Harvey and the author Earl Lovelace.[326]

Later, in February 1974 it appeared that Documents of the Caribbean Revolution, Vol. 1[327] was published by New Beginning. The compendium had articles published by various political groups, including New Beginning Movement [NBM]. One part of the Grenada section was an article on “People’s Assemblies.”[328]


URO was “an orthodox Communist organization” with links to the Soviet Union and Cheddi Jagan in Guyana, according to a Liz Grant interview with Wally Look-Lai.[329]  One publication was the 1971 pamphlet The Struggle Against Dictatorship[330] about elections in Trinidad-Tobago.

East Indian Groups

East Indians in Trinidad-Tobago were upping the balance of power between races. They were graduating from schools, going to university, joining the civil service, owning property, starting businesses, raising families, separating into a distinct radial group in their newly found racial consciousness, becoming politically aware; all when thriving upon the base of economic growth under the Eric Williams government’s modernization plan.

Caribbean Ecumenical Consultation for Development [CECD]

In Port of Spain, Trinidad, a Consultation [from 15-22 November, 1971] was sponsored by the Steering Committee of the Caribbean Council of Churches (becoming established as the CCC) and the Joint Commission of the World Council of Churches [WCC] and the Pontifical Commission of Justice and Peace [SODEPAX].[331]

There were 260 churches from 25 denominations of 16 territories.[332] Trinidadian Presbyterian Minister Roy Gilbert Neehall was the associate general secretary of the conference.[333] Dr. Neehall wrote a conference publication booklet from the 1971 Ecumenical Conference on Justice, Liberation and the Christian Gospel.

Cuthbert explained in a 1986 “ecumenical:”[334]

Today it [ecumenical] is generally used to indicate the process of establishing a common mind on issues and the provision of a united witness.

The Caribbean Ecumenical Consultation for Development [CECD] concerned the issues of nationalism and development. One tendency was for the church to withhold investments in multi-national corporations, as well as promote discussion and apply Christian theology to national issues.[335]

Rosie Douglas put it this way:[336]

We fully support the position taken by the Caribbean Ecumenical Consultation for Development Conference recently (1971) held in Trinidad.

The conference “urged public declaration by the Church of their real estate holdings . . . and . . . put to the service of the poor underutilized Church land.”

Many resolutions were passed at the Ecumenical Consultation. One resolution marking a profound change was recognition of Cuba:[337]

The resolution that was passed on the subject called on Caribbean governments to “move swiftly towards full diplomatic relations with Cuba” and Caribbean churches to “increase links with the Cuban church.”

The Resolution regarding education reflected change also:[338]

Overcrowded schools, authoritarian teaching techniques, competitive examination systems, European-oriented curricula, an elitist bias and the denigration of local values were all identified as dehumanizing features in the prevailing educational systems in the Caribbean.

An implication about Grenada’s Presentation Brothers College [PBC], where Maurice Bishop was a student, surfaced:[339]

One [Consultation] resolution stated explicitly that “certain private high schools run by the church cater chiefly to class-colour elite of the region” and it called for the transformation of such schools so that “resources now expended on them can be redeployed into schools that are more socially just and more educationally useful.”

Identity was discussed by the late Prof. Rex Nettleford:[340]

Rex Nettleford, Professor of Extra-Mural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and a well-known creative artist, has observed that the question of cultural identity must inevitably be given high priority in any consideration of the issues of political independence, economic self-sufficiency and decolonization.

The Ecumenical Consultation acknowledged the scarcity of youth at the session, even though 60% of the region’s people were under the age of 25 years old.

The attendees created formal Resolutions on Caribbean media, freedom of the press, free expression, development with a Caribbean identity, issues of economic viability, agriculture and its importance to the region, community action, using local resources, reflecting local lifestyles, attempt to change class perceptions of churches; e.g. the Anglican Church for the political and economic elite, a decision-making participation process made by those who are effected by a decision, creating awareness, self-help, attacking the root causes of poverty, reduction of massive direct aid from the United States reduction of dependency of the Caribbean on the United States, Britain and Canada.

A conference newspaper was published. The periodical was the first issue of Caribbean Contact newspaper which was officially launched in December 1972.

Cuthbert viewed the mandate for the Caribbean Christian community:[341]

By consensus the clear mandate that emerged was that the solutions of the Caribbean Ecumenical Consultation for Development and the pioneering work of Christian Action for Development in the Eastern Caribbean should be given the highest priority in the work of the Caribbean Conference of Churches.

In 1973, CADEC became one section of the Caribbean Conference of Churches [CCC]. The start-up date fell within the time period of 1957-1977. The Caribbean Council of Churches is active to this day.[342] The head office was in Port of Spain.

Rupert Lewis wrote that Walter Rodney had ties with the CCC, especially in their emphasis on regional development and sovereignty.[343]Dr. Roy G. Neehall was the First General Secretary of the CCC. He gave a speech on “The Significance of the Grenada Revolution for the People of the Caribbean” at Howard University, Washington, DC on 25 October 1984.

Writer and historian, Cathy Sunshine stated the CCC came into being in 1973:[344]

The Caribbean Conference of Churches called for a regional Christian unity which would transcend the old colonial barriers.

Writer, participant and historian Robert Cuthbert described the Caribbean Council of Churches [CCC]:[345]

The Caribbean Conference of Churches is distinguished by its ecumenical base, its geographic spread and its ideology.

It is the first regional ecumenical conference of churches which the Roman Catholic Church is a founding member.

That the Caribbean Roman Catholic Church was a founding member of CCC is important to Grenada’s history because of its majority in a mid-1980 population study[346] showed Grenada to have a Roman Catholic population between 63.9-64.4%. The next major group was Protestants between 11.3-12.6%.[347]

The Changing Role of the Regional Caribbean Church

The Christian Action for Development in the Eastern Caribbean [CADEC], an ecumenical church group, figured in the young lives of Grenadians George Louison and Jacqueline Creft.

George Louison, born in 1951, taught at the Saint John Anglican School and was a Youth Coordinator for the Caribbean Council of Churches. He also led Grenada Assembly of Youth [GAY]. During the People’s Revolutionary Government he was Minister of Education. George Louison was 20 years old during the Consultation in Trinidad-Tobago.

Jacqueline Creft, born circa 1946-1947 attended Saint Joseph’s Convent School in Saint George’s. She later became Minister of Education. She was in Trinidad-Tobago during 1971 where she had been working for CADEC. She returned to Grenada in 1971 when she was 24 years old.

Christian Action Development in the Eastern Caribbean [CADEC]

CADEC was founded in 1969 by Church World Service, the development and disaster relief arm of the National Council of Churches of the USA.[348]

One 1970 CADEC program concerned education:[349]

The education program was referred to as Education of Development and was launched not only with a view to offering the clergy opportunities for specialized training, but for putting much emphasis on awareness-building, using the concept of conscientization made popular by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire.

Paulo Freire had a major affect on Grenada’s educational system during the time of the People’s Revolutionary Government. Much revision of attitude and practice was the result of understandings of his text Pedagogy of the Oppressed, first published in English in 1970.[350]

From Harvard University in 1970, Freire moved to Geneva, Switzerland where he was special education advisor to the World Council of Churches [WCC]. A full critique of Freire can be located on the internet.[351]

In 1977, Robert J. Neymeyer of the Inter-American Foundation wrote Evolution of the Localization Effort of the CADEC Development Committee.

From 1979-1984, Neymeyer established a mail order business out of Parkersburg, Iowa, USA. The catalog, by subscription, came from Caribbean Books. Bibliography of the English-Speaking Caribbean was immensely useful for research in Caribbean publications.

Michael X Returns to Trinidad-Tobago

Michael X landed at Port of Spain in his birth country Trinidad on 2 February 1971. He was born there in 1934[352] with his family home at McCarthy Lane, Belmont, Trinidad.

His real name, possibly on his passport, was Michael DeFreitas. His other names were Michael X used in London; Michael Abdul Malik used in 1971 in Trinidad. He had moved back home from his stay in London.[353]

As standard practice, New Scotland Yard had sent a confidential file on Michael X to Trinidadian police because Michael X was a dynamic character in the time of Black Power and wanted on charges in Britain.[354]

By 15 February 1971, Michael Abdul Malik had moved into 43 Christina Gardens with Stanley Abbott and Steve “Innocent” Yeates, both Trinidadians.[355]

Rock stars Yoko Ono and John Lennon showed up in Port of Spain visiting Malik and his wife Desiree for two days during this period.[356]

By the middle of December 1971, calling himself Michael Abdul Malik, he wrote for the BOMB newspaper of Cuerpe, Trinidad.[357]

Joe Skerritt was murdered in Trinidad on 8 February 1972. Michael Abdul Malik was charged with his murder. [358]

By 18 April 1972, the Michael Abdul Malik murder case of Joe Skerritt and the separate Gale Benson murder case moved through the courts. [359]

For Michael Abdul Malik, in the circumstance of the murder of Joe Skerritt, the jury returned a verdict of death; Stanley Abbott was given a 20-year jail sentence. It was the 21st of August 1972.

The other death in the legal case, the death of Gale Benson, involved a separate hearing. Ms. Benson was the daughter of Conservative MP Leonard F. Plugge[360] in the U.K. She went by the name of Hale Kimga.

Those named for the separate hearing included Abbott and Edward Chadee, in addition to Michael Abdul Malik [who was not tried for the Benson murder since he was under death sentence].

Michael X was hanged by Trinidadian authorities after a court trial on 16 May 1975. His wife Desiree had a souvenir program printed up for his execution.[361] There was a “Save Malik Committee”—Angela Davis, William Kunstler [funded by John Lennon], Dick Gregory, Kate Millet and others participated.[362]


The Garvey Movement

The 1920 Pan–African flag associated with the Universal Negro Improvement Association [UNIA] of Jamaican Marcus Garvey showed three colors in equal horizontal bands—red, black and green. The flag became symbolically known under other names.[363]

The greater legacy was that of Marcus Moriah Garvey—One God, One Aim, One Destiny, Love, Peace & Justice. Much of Garvey’s oeuvre and cultural style was adopted by Rastafari; however, Garvey’s affect on the mindset of the Jamaican people left a lasting legacy that included the Caribbean.

Another legacy is that Malcolm Little, aka Malcolm X was the son of Earl Little and Louise Helen Norton who were active members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association [UNIA]. Louise Norton was from La Digue, Saint Andrew’s, Grenada.

Garvey attempted to make change through his writings, teachings and programs. Who gave the white man power over you the black man? We were first in the world. Stand Up! Malcolm X echoes.

Garvey, it is said, never spoke of hating white people, but he did ask the African blacks of Jamaica to learn and know their roots—“Africa for the Africans.” Malcolm X heard again.

This shift in attitude, from a downpressure mode to an uplifted straight-back mode was one the beginnings of African nationalism, Black Pride and formed one base for the teachings of Walter Rodney.

Garvey is a Jamaican National Hero. One could spend their remaining years studying Garvey and his life.

The Declaration of Rights of the Black People of the World was registered by the New York County Clerk on 15 August 1920. [364]

The Wikipedia entry, packed with citations, links and referrals, should get one started online[365] in combination with the writings of scholars Tony Martin, Rupert Lewis, Robert Hill and the Marcus Garvey website.[366]

Jamaican Politics

In Jamaica, the newspaper Abeng, edited by Richard Small and published from 1 February 1969, through its dissolution by the following September, was a primary outlet for Black Power thought. By September 1969 the first Black Power Conference in Montego Bay was held.[367]

Michael Manley headed up the Jamaican People’s National Party [PNP] a few months before his father, Norman Manley’s death in 1969. Michael Manley became Jamaica’s Prime Minister in 1972, bringing his unique style of democratic socialism to Jamaica. He was reelected in 1976 and Manley was defeated in the elections of 1980 by Edward Seaga.[368]

In Jamaica, as early as 1971, the Worker’s Liberation League [WLL] was reading Lenin.[369] Out of the WLL grew the Worker’s Party of Jamaica [WPJ]. It was founded 15 December 1978[370] as a Marxist-Leninist organization. The WPJ was dissolved in 1992.[371]

Walter Rodney at UWI, Jamaica

The University of the West Indies was founded in 1948 with a campus at Mona, Jamaica.[372]

In 1968, Prime Minister Hugh Shearer sponsored the International Year for Human Rights at the United Nations.[373]

On 15 October 1968, Hugh Shearer’s Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) declared Walter Rodney,[374] Guyanese lecturer on African history at the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus there, persona non grata. Rodney was banned from reentering Jamaica after attending the Congress of Black Writers in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Riots in Jamaica followed the ban on Walter Rodney the next day, 16 October 1968. The disturbances and damage were called the “Rodney Riots.”[375]

Walter Rodney had presented a paper on 12 October 1968 at the Congress of Black Writers entitled African History in the Service of Black Liberation. News of what happened to “Brother Rodney” spread throughout the West Indies.

Rodney had been teaching African history on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies [UWI] from the beginning of the academic year 1968-1969 and he gave lectures to interested groups outside university grounds.

Rupert Lewis observed:[376]

He [Rodney] came into Jamaica at a time of growing black awareness and facilitated the influence of Rastafarianism as well as the impact of the Black Power movement in the United States.

And later Lewis wrote:[377]

Rodney made the connection between African and Caribbean liberation in the way that Garvey had done.

Many of the talks Rodney gave in Jamaica and Montreal from January 1968 into October 1968 were published in 1969 under the title The Groundings with my Brothers. [378]

Chapters in the 68-page booklet include:[379]

1.          Statement of the Jamaican Situation

2.          Black Power, a Basic Understanding

3.          Black Power—Its Relevance to the West Indies

4.          African History and Culture

5.          African History in the Service of Black Revolution

6.          The Groundings with My Brothers

The word “groundings” is explained in this manner:[380]

In the discursive practice of Rastafari, when “grounds” became “groundings,” the meaning was layered.

Not only did it mean sociality—an equal meeting that breaks socially constructed barriers of race, class, and education—but the nature of such an encounter was marked by “reasonings”—a form of discussion in which each person contributed equally to the discourse without any prior hierarchical claims of knowledge.

When Rodney wrote about Black Power, he said, in part:[381]

. . . the white world defines who is white and who is black.

In the U.S.A. if one is not white, then one is black; in Britain, if one is not white then one is coloured; in South Africa, one can be white, coloured or black depending upon how white people classify you.

He continued:[382]

The definition which is most widely used the world over is that once you are not obviously white then you are black, and are excluded from power—Power is kept milky white.

According to Rodney:[383]

The white power which is our enemy is that which is exercised over black peoples, irrespective of which group is in the majority and irrespective of whether the particular country belonged originally to whites or blacks.

Rastafari & Reggae

The culture of Rastafari bloomed in Jamaica as early as the 1930s[384] and peaked in the 1960s. Rastafari is not a religion per se, but more a way of life with an emphasis on a cultural way of life and the Mystic Spirit.

The arrival of Haile Selassie at Palisadoes Airport in Kingston, Jamaica[385] on 21 April 1966 caused a memorable commotion:[386]

In what amounted to religious frenzy Rastafarians converged on the tarmac when Selassie’s plane arrived and totally disrupted official protocol in their enthusiasm to meet the King of Kings.

It was the eminent Rastafarian leader Mortimo Planno who parted the throng so that the Emperor could descent with his entourage in safety.

Rasta ways, in many situations, ran counter to the prevailing culture. Hair was braided into dreadlocks, personal grooming was different, diet was ital[387]—an eating of foods that have a direct links with the energy the earth. Rasta ital practice, often, was no meats, no alcohol, no caffeine, no processed foods, and no artificially infused foods.

No matter how alternative their lifestyle, Rastas wanted their children to have a public education and not be ostracized from the classroom. They also wanted to maintain a right to smoke [and harvest] the “Holy Herb.”

Rastafari generally favored a rural lifestyle with plots of vegetables and patches of “weed.” Western culture was looked upon with disfavor – Babylon was its name. Rastas did not have much tolerance for the machinery of the state. They were often unemployed in the formal sense. The majority were literate.

A profound cultural change emerged worldwide in 1968 with reggae music:[388]

It was not only in France that 1968 was a year unlike any other.

Alongside social and political uprisings just as violent as in France if not more so, in Jamaica the word “reggae” was invented that year.

Hence the natural choice of "Do the Reggay", the hit by Toots and the Maytals and the first appearance of the word . . .

The rest of reggae’s story is in the popular culture, most notably with the genius and talents of Robert Nesta Marley and the extensive album,concert and film promotion of reggae artists.


Walter Rodney was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1942. His impact on the Caribbean and World Left was immense [see his Portrait].

Guyana, formerly British Guiana, gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966.[389] John Lent described the situation of popular media:[390]

In the 1970s, the government of the late Forbes Burnham virtually took over Guyanese mass media, purchasing newspapers, nationalizing broadcasting, and harassing the opposition with legislative, economic and physical sanctions.

In the early 1960s, Guyanese radicals were looking towards Africa. Eusi Kwayana [Sidney King] organized the African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa [ASCRIA] in 1963.[391] The movement continued into the early 1970s.[392]

What is known as the Rodney Affair of 1968 had an influence throughout the Caribbean. The first issue on 26 October 1968 of MOKO from Trinidad–Tobago featured the news about the Guyanese national Dr. Walter Rodney banned by the Shearer government of Jamaica.

According to Sanford in his book The New Jewel Movement:[393]

In October 1968 . . . tensions boiled to the surface when the government of Jamaica [the Hugh Shearer Jamaican Labour Party, JLP] declared Walter Rodney, a left-wing Guyanese lecturer on African history at the University of the West Indies campus there, a prohibited immigrant.

Shock waves of anger reverberated throughout the West Indies, particularly on the other campuses, and helped to touch off black power riots and a soldier’s mutiny that rocked the government of Trinidad.

Ratoon was a newspaper established in 1969 by a group known as Ratoon. Its members included Pansy Benn, Rickey Singh, Errol Fraser, Maurice Dale, Bonita Harris, Clive Y. Thomas, Omowale and Josh Ramsammy.[394]

The first CARIFESTA was held Guyana in February 1970. It was known as the Caribbean Writers and Artists Conference and featured Andrew Salkey and Martin Carter.[395]

As a Guyanese national, journalist Rickey Singh was starting his career in 1970 at a time when he was co-founder and president of the Guyana Institute of Journalists [GIJ]. The organization later was the revived Guyana Press Association [GPA].

Singh was not unmindful of union organizing and became the chairman of the journalists’ branch of the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union [CCWU] of Guyana.[396] Singh, who moved to Barbados, will appear in later volumes and closely followed on the Grenada Revolution.

Another group, ASCRIA, sponsored a regional colloquium 24-26 February 1970 at Georgetown called the Seminar of Pan-Africanist and Black Revolutionary Nationalists.[397]

A group called Movement Against Oppression [MAO] was formed in 1971 by Clive Y. Thomas and Andaiye.

One cannot ignore the poetry of Guyana and the Caribbean’s greatest, Martin Carter:[398]

And so

if you see me

looking at your hands

listening when you speak

marching in your ranks

I do not sleep to dream,

but dream to change the world


Antigua was the home of the opposition newspaper Outlet. The paper was founded by the Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement [ACLM] in 1968 and known for the essays of Tim Hector.[399]


African Liberation Day – Antigua

In Antigua, Tim Hector published in his Fan the Flames column a history of African Liberation Day: [400]

It was Owusu Sadaukai [Dr. Howard Fuller] as an African-American leader, in the wake of the decline of the Black Civil Rights movement in the United States, who with ACLM [Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement] leader, Tim Hector, in Antigua conceived the idea of African Liberation Day, to be observed on the last Saturday in May [27 May in 1972], when all Africans and partisans of liberation were asked to demonstrate, in support of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and Southern Africa in particular – the liberation struggles in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and for independence “in each and every” remaining colony be it in occupied Palestine, or the POLISARIO on Morocco.

Hector went on to make the point: [401]

It is little known, or often forgotten, that African Liberation day began in Antigua and Barbuda.

It was in Antigua and Barbuda that the first African Liberation Day as celebrated in 1972.

It was in Antigua and Barbuda, in 1972, led by ACLM, that there was the largest per capita, mass demonstration for freedom in Southern Africa and for African Liberation generally.


Reuters, the first regional international news service, began its Caribbean Desk in 1968 for news of the region. Since 7 January 1976 the desk became the Caribbean News Agency [CANA].[402] In the mid-1970s Reuters News Service had 14 subscribers.[403] Later in 1976, when CANA news was launched, it played a part in the history of Grenada primarily through the focus of its main correspondent in Grenada, Alister Hughes.

Roy Thomson owned the Barbados Advocate-News in the 1970s.[404] The newspaper Caribbean Contact was started by the Caribbean Council of Churches [CCC] in 1972. Rickey Singh became its third editor in 1974.[405]

The campus of University of the West Indies, Barbados, was founded at Cave Hill in 1960.[406] As a strategy to counter Black Power and radical ideology becoming a university issue, Prime Minister Errol Barrow saw through a Public Order Act in June 1970.[407]

Barrow did permit Rosie Douglas and [Stokely Carmichael] Kwame Touré to enter Barbados [though Touré was not given permission to speak]. The permission was granted even after Eric Williams had banned Touré from Trinidad-Tobago for radical activity.


At the early part of the 1970s, Rosie Douglas figured prominently on the leftist Caribbean scene. He had graduated from Ontario Agriculture College in 1963 in Canada [now the University of Guelph] with an agriculture diploma. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1966 from Sir George Williams University [now Concordia University]. He did postgraduate work in political science at McGill University in 1969. [408]

Following political activity described in the Sir George Williams section of his book Change or Chains and also this volume, he served a 2½ year sentence starting 28 June 1973 at a Canadian Federal Prison. After his release, he was deported.

Rosie Douglas was banned by Canada from entering Trinidad-Tobago, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Puerto Rico, and Grenada. In the other Caribbean islands, he was allowed a restricted 48-hour visit with no public speaking engagements.[409]

Black Power for Rosie Douglas was encapsulated in this statement:[410]

Black Power is the collective ownership, control and development of Dominican land and financial resources for the collective development of all the Black people of Dominica . . . full and independent development of all Dominicans hopefully within the context of a genuinely independent Caribbean nation.

The part played by the upper middle class liberation fighters, he wrote, must be for them to work for the upliftment of the lower class.[411] He did not look favorably upon upliftment from foreigners like Peace Corps volunteers, people from the U.K.’s Voluntary Service Overseas [VSO] or the Canadian University Students Overseas [CUSO] program.

Rosie Douglas wrote about white power in his book Chains or Change, written when he was in one of Canada’s prisons:[412]

White power (loosely speaking) has come to mean white people doing everything within their power to uplift and preserve domination of the white race over the non-white people of the world.

Black power means Black people doing everything within their power to break the back of white power to uplift the Black race.

The example of the power of class was evidenced in Dominica, he said:[413]

In Dominica, it is not customary to see the police or defense force in slum areas like “Pong” or “Lacon Phillip” protecting and helping poor people.

They are always outside Astaphan shopping centre, Nassief, Geest, Dom Can Timbers, C.D.A., A.C. Shillingford, the hotels, etc. – defending the property of the upper class.

Rosie Douglas, in his prison writings, put this information about Barclay’s Bank in a footnote:[414]

Outstanding African historian and Black revolutionary Walter Rodney, in dealing with some of the better known personalities involved today in imperialist activity in Africa and the Caribbean, points out that David and Alexander Barclay used vast profits accumulated from their involvement in the slave trade in 1766 to set up Barclay’s Bank. /p>

Today [circa 1972] Barclay’s Bank (the largest bank in Dominica) faces protest and boycott even in Britain from white youth because of their economic involvement (like Alcan Aluminum, Canada, Ltd.) in the construction of the Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique by the fascist Portuguese government.

It is hoped that this dam will provide the energy necessary for imperialist industrialization of Northern Mozambique at the expense of continued genocidal activity against African peasants in Southern Africa.


Montserrat,[415] a British overseas territory,[416] played a minor but key role in this narrative with its broadcast service, Radio Antilles, founded in 1963.[417]


Cuba was a fascination. A profound influence on radicals was the Cuban revolution of 1959 with speeches and writings of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Argentina’s Che Guevara and France’s Régis Debray.

Fidel Castro established, along with other revolutionaries, the 26 July Movement of 1955 in Mexico City.[418]

One of those aboard Granma was Che Guevara. Others aboard were Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl, plus another revolutionary leader, Camillo Cienfuegos. The landing on 2 December 1956 was a tragedy. Around 12 people survived and took to the hills of the Sierra Maestra.[419]

The year 1959 in the history of Cuba was looked upon by Caribbean radicals as the single-handed victory in breaking with U.S. imperialism which was seen as the main exploiter, the highest stage of capitalism and enemy of the peoples of the Third World.

During this era from 1959-1963 was the Bay of Pigs episode [April 1961], Operation Mongoose [November 1961], the Cuban missile crisis [October 1962], and the JFK assassination [22 November 1963].

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee [FPCC], formed in April 1960,[420] sought to defend the Cuban Revolution and to counter the CIA-FBI involvement in Cuba.[421]

In July 1960, LeRoi Jones, Robert F. Williams and Harold Cruse traveled to Cuba under the auspices of the FPCC. The alleged involvement of Lee Harvey Oswald in the FPCC essentially brought the group down after the John F. Kennedy assassination of 22 November 1963. [422]

A time of intrigue, double-dealing, covert propaganda, demonstrations, advertisements and university meetings invite investigation of the period relative to the continuous resentment against the Cuban Revolution by its opponents. A sparse highlight of Cuba’s history is covered in this truncated section. The era is a tangled history with contradictions and beyond the scope of this book, but worthy of study.

Caribbean writer George Lamming looking back on the Cuban Revolution:[423]

For it was the triumph of the Cuban revolutionary response that alerted many of us to the fact that a new chapter had begun in the politics and cultural life of the Caribbean people.

And Cuba is an integral part of our historical reality.

In 1960 the economic and cultural boycott of that country was total.

In 1979 all the island parishes of the Caribbean met in Havana to participate in the Third Caribbean Festival of Arts.

One event of importance was Fidel Castro’s visit to New York City in 1960. He talked at the United Nations during the United Nations General Assembly Session 19 September-13 October 1960. He and the Cuban delegation lodged at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem.[424] He met with Malcolm X for two hours[425] and got an attempted bear hug from Nikita Khruschev on that Manhattan trip.[426]

Shortly after that visit, Castro and his government accepted the residency of Robert E. Williams, radical Black Power advocate from North Carolina.

Williams was broadcasting in English from his exile in Havana from 1961-1965 with an 11 p.m. Friday night program on Radio Progresso.[427] The program was called Radio Free Dixie.[428] The strongly-signaled program could be heard in the southern United States. In addition, tapes were sent to select North American radio stations. Williams and his wife also published a monthly newsletter during his exile in Cuba, called The Crusader, criticizing racism, capitalism and imperialism.[429]

In early part of 1961, Cuba began international broadcasts, forming Radio Habana Cuba in May of 1961.[430]

The Organization of American States [OAS] expelled Cuba, one of its first members in 1948, from their organization. Cuba was not an OAS member from 21 January 1962 to 3 June 2009.[431]

A partial embargo by the United States against Cuba had been in effect since October 1960. The embargo was a near total one starting 7 February 1962.[432]

The First TRIcontinentalCongress of 100 revolutionary organizations was held 3-15 January 1966. Fidel Castro gave the closing address [available online] on 15 January in the Chaplin Theatre in the City of Havana.[433]

Out of the 1966 Tricontinental conference, a group was founded named Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America [OSPAAL].[434] OSPAAL went on to publish the Tricontinental magazine.[435]

One attendee was George Weekes from Trinidad:[436]

[Who was] attacked in the conservative Trinidad newspaper, the Guardian, and by the government of Eric Williams for attending the January 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Cuba.

A gathering of revolutionary groups in Latin America met in Havana for the first Conference of the Organization of Latin American Solidarity [OLAS] from 31 July-10 August 1967.[437]

Members of the Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] went back and forth to Havana during the 1960s. They were watched carefully by U.S. intelligence. One member was in Havana, and wrote to Bernardine Dohrn on 26 January 1969; a letter intercepted by U.S. government intelligence.[438]

Thirteen [13] members of Students for a Democratic Society [SDS], including Bernardine Dohrn[439] from the United States traveled to Havana in July 1969 to meet with the Vietnamese.[440]

Assuming they traveled together, the group went to Cuba by way of Mexico City on 4 July 1969. They returned to Canada on a Cuban vessel on 19 August 1969.[441]

The Havana visit was before the “Days of Rage” in Chicago, 8-11 October 1969—days of “direct action.” [442]

By the 1970s, the Department of the Americas [DA] in Cuba was well-established. Vice Minister Manuel Piñero[443] was in charge of the MINIT [Ministry of the Interior][444] National Liberation Directorate [Spanish: Directorio de Liberación Nacional-DLN].

In November 1974, Piñero was Chief of the America Department [Spanish: Departmento América – DA]. According to Rex A. Hudson:[445]

[Piñero] is said to be a nephew of Cuba’s Communist poet Nicolas Guillén

Another Cuban from the DA, Oscar Oswaldo Cárdenas Junquera is supposed to have worked with the NJM in Grenada before the coup on 13 March 1979, but the citation for this information gives no source.[446]

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro was and is a complex revolutionary leader. Because of the personable personalities of Fidel Castro and Maurice Bishop, the concentration in this outline is the amiable character of Fidel.

Both Castro and Bishop used their charisma and charm to effect change. Both men had die-hard loyalists. Both had close personal contacts with leaders of other nations. Both men were good listeners. Both men delivered speeches that had the audience watching every gesticulation, hanging on to every word, feeling inspired, and “feeling good about their country and themselves.”[447]

However, no head of government could give a speech or interview longer than Fidel Castro even with his nervous fiddling of the microphones and perhaps a cigar in his mouth. Maurice Bishop could have spoken as long, but people say he needed a cigarette.

Telescoping events, we recall Fidel Castro’s trip to New York City on 15 April 1959 - his goodwill tour.[448] The visit followed Castro’s triumphant arrival in Havana, Cuba on 8 January 1959.[449] And we jump to 3 January 1961 when the United States broke relations with Cuba.[450] John F. Kennedy began an assault against Cuba on 15 April 1961 with the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion.[451]

A return to the personable aspects of Fidel finds other characteristics are added:[452]

Fidel Castro certainly is a unique person (taller than most Cubans, articulate, action oriented, lucky, perceptive, filled with energy, leading through example, unusual memory, intense).

Biographer Peter Bourne described Fidel:[453]

There is in Fidel something of the grand seigneur.

It is a European, Hispanic style in which he sees himself as the good and benevolent ruler who, while secure in his right to permanent power, feels a deep moral obligation for the welfare of his humble subjects.

Another biographer, the late Tad Szulc wrote:[454]

Aside from pure politics, Castro inspires widespread loyalty on the basis of human chemistry.

An immensely attractive and contagiously energetic man, he is an unmatched persuader.

Venceremos Brigades in Cuba

On 1 January 1969, Castro issued his call for a great sugar harvest. Members of SDS were in Havana at the time. The way they could help was to get into the cane fields. When the SDS delegation returned to the United States, they began organizing the first Venceremos Brigade.[455] There were additional organizers out of New York City.

Fidel Castro set a ten million ton harvest goal of sugar cane by 1970.[456] The reason was for improvement in the Cuban economy, but also to show the Soviets that the Cuban-Soviet economic agreements could be met. Off from a bad start of a harvest in 1960 of 4½ million tons,[457] Fidel led the country on a drive involving all the population in the back-breaking work of cutting cane, including himself.

The target was not met, and Castro publicly said so on the 17th anniversary of the Moncada Attack [26 July 1970], according to Peter Bourne:[458]

. . . Fidel . . . accepted blame not only for the failure of the harvest, but also for the mess the entire economy was in.

In a continuing posture of contribution he pointed out “the responsibility for which all of us, and I, in particular have for these problems . . . I believe that we cost the people too much in our process of learning.”

He then offered to resign, which the crowd predictably rejected uniformly.

Cuban-born Julián Rizo, in New York City, organized the Venceremos Brigades there.[459]

Another Brigade organizer from the Cuban Interest Section in New York City was Alfredo Garcia Almeida[460] who was a Cuban intelligence officer. He was stationed at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York City and was chief of the North American Section of the Americas Department.[461]

At some point in Julián Torres-Rizo’s career, he became a Senior Cuban DA [SPANISH: Departmento América]; America/s Department intelligence officer and a member of the DGI [SPANISH: Dirección General de Inteligencia] General Directorate of Intelligence, stationed in New York.

Julián Rizo was appointed a member of Cuba’s delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations for the 1968, 1970, 1973 and 1974 sessions. He was in a group of Cuban delegates to the World Youth Congress at the U.N. during the period of 8-18 July 1970.[462]. Of the twenty-one groups formally listed, none was from Cuba. These could have been umbrella groupings, including one for Cuban students like the Union of Young Communists [UJC] formed in 1962.

In late November 1969, Rizo was director of the Cuban delegation to the Venceremos Brigade Camp. His intelligence job was to recruit members for the Brigade.

He remained attached with the Venceremos Brigadistas from the first group through to the fourth contingent.

One announcement for joining up in the brigade contingents appeared in the Guardian [NY] 25 October 1969:[463]

The deadline for applying to join the first contingent of the Venceremos Brigade is October 30 [1969].

The brigade will consist of 600 Americans—300 to leave at the end of November and 300 at the end of January-who will cut sugar for two months in Cuba, working with young Cubans at the Youth Centennial Column in Camaguey province.

The Cuban government is inviting the U.S. youth to provide them with the experience of working in a socialist country and to help harvest a record 10 million tons of sugar cane.

If this goal is reached, Cuba will have gone a long way toward economic independence.

The “rainbow brigade” will consist of 200 black, 200 brown and 200 white North Americans—working class youth, students, dropouts, returned GIs.

Extensive political background is not a qualification for joining.

The work will be very hard and home will be a tent in the field, so people applying should be in good health.

They should be prepared to accept the segregated (according to sex) housing and to abstain from any use of drugs.

Penalty for breaking these two rules is to be sent back to the U.S.

The round-trip cost will be from between $50—if leaving from the East Coast—and $150—if leaving from the West Coast.

Applicants should apply for a passport now, not waiting until the application is accepted.

For applications and posters, write: Venceremos Brigade, P.O. Box 643, Cathedral Station, New York, N.Y., 10025.

There were participants, even from the First Venceremos Brigade, who attempted to integrate their sexual orientation with their politics. Gay men and lesbians of the New Left and the Gay Liberation Front [GLF] joined the Second and Third Venceremos Brigades.

The Cuba of 1965 found homosexual men and women directed to camps termed “Military Units to Increase Production [UMAP].” [464] The camps were closed in 1968. [465]

The participation of gay volunteers for the Venceremos Brigades led to the Venceremos Project’s National Committee in January 1972 to bar lesbians and gay men from participation unless they were part of a tacit “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude. The document was titled “Venceremos Brigade Policy on Gay Recruitment.” [466]

Writing about the denial of participation with the element of a special kind of “white man’s disease,” Ian Lekus stated:[467]

To those inspired by Marxist theory or by the machismo-tinged aesthetics of Castro and Che Guevara, homosexuality represented either bourgeois decadence, a vestige of capitalism that required eradication, or a joke worthy of derision, dismissal, and harassment.

The First Venceremos Brigade [VB] of 216 members left for Cuba 28 November 1969 from Czechoslovakia, arriving in December 1969. Following six [6] weeks of cutting cane, plus a couple weeks touring the island of Cuba, they returned by ship via Canada 12 February 1970. [468]

A brigade of Vietnamese arrived at the same time, for the same purpose—help in the ten-million-ton zafra—referring to the sugar cane harvest.[469]

The Second Venceremos Brigade group of 687 Americans left by airplane 13 February 1970 to March 1970 to Mexico and then on to Cuba by ship.[470] They returned 28 April 1970. [471]

The Third Venceremos Brigade of 405[472] left Saint John, Nova Scotia 25 August 1970 on a nine day ocean journey with its trials and tribulations. The older vessel was once a U.S. merchant marine ship [WWII], then a banana boat for United Fruit and lastly confiscated by the Cuban revolutionaries.[473]

The group was scheduled to arrive after the cane harvest was complete. The unit worked on the Isle of Pines (Isle of Youth) picking citrus and planting seeds, plus other fruit grove work.[474] The citrus crop was headed for the Soviet Union like the sugar crop.[475]

The Third group returned by way of Canada on 29 October 1970.[476]

The Third Wave, the contingents were called “Waves” by some, saw troubles and alliances beyond the strike surrounding homosexuality. Behavioral reactions to homosexuals morphed into racism. To top it off, it was discovered years later that a group perpetrator of attacks was an FBI agent.[477] There were stories, from the American gay liberation movement, commenting on the divisions of men vs. women, Blacks vs. Puerto Ricans, Chicanos vs. whites.[478]

Some volunteers went home early; others were sent home. The tensions of dreams dashed, the reality of grinding work, the clashes of race and gender, the emerged conflicts over ideology, the assumptions of nationality caused challenges for the “norteamericano workers.” Allowances were made by American Brigade organizers and Cuban officials. [479]

One member of the Third Wave was Gail Reed.[480] Most likely it was through the Venceremos Third Wave that Julián Torres-Rizo met his future wife Chicago-born Gail Reed.

A first-hand account of the Third group’s experience was published in her memoirs by brigandista Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.[481]

The Fourth Venceremos Brigade found Julián Torres-Rizo talking to the group on board the cargo ship José Antonio Echeverria before landing upon their return to Canada. The speech by Julián Torres-Rizo was called Final Talk to the Fourth Contingent [see full text Appendix].

The Fourth contingent served in Cuba from 22 March 1971 through 29 May 1971. There were 221 members in the group.[482]

The stay for the Fourth Wave was two months, but in the middle of the contingents visit, Cuba’s First National Congress on Education and Culture positioned itself firmly. The pronouncement from the Congress noted the removal of all homosexuals from occupations where youth could be affected plus other restriction, but purges of homosexuals happened also where youth were not involved. [483]

Essentially, the Communist Party put the collective welfare of Cuba over individual sexual freedom.[484]

Some veterans of the Brigade in former years returned to Cuba in July 1971 when visiting the [Spanish: Instituto Cubano de Amistad con Los Pueblos] Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples [ICAP],[485] supposedly a cover for the head Cuban Intelligence office [Spanish: Dirección General de Inteligencia], the DGI.[486]

A group of 27-28 left Cuba in December 1971, and returned to the United States on a Cuban freighter, the Camaguey. The ship arrived at Saint John, New Brunswick on 21 January 1972, and entered the United States at Calais, Maine on the same day. The U.S. government had a copy of the Camaguey’s passenger manifest with the names of individuals.[487] In fact, the United States authorities had the manifests [traveler information] of the first 5 Venceremos Brigades.[488]

A letter, dated 21 January 1972, was intercepted and obtained by the U.S. Senate, Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary.[489]

That letter of 21 January 1972, revealed that 27-28 North Americans returned to Cuba. For most, their first trip had been with one of the earlier Venceremos Brigades. They were to learn on their second trip, according to the letter: [490]

The objective of the trip was two-fold:

to participate in a seminar on Latin America and to participate in the construction of a housing project.

In the seminar, we were able to learn in detail how the US government, under the guise of foreign aid and joint business ventures, has been able to monopolize the economy and major aspects of life in Latin America.

The Fifth Venceremos Brigade left 6 March 1972 and returned 4 May 1972. There were 138 participants.[491]

The Sixth Venceremos Brigade left the spring-summer of 1973. One participant, who had been in the Fifth Wave and returned in the Sixth Wave, stated the group built houses in the town called Las Naranjas.[492]

The Seventh Venceremos Brigade dates are unknown. The Eighth Venceremos Brigade left in March 1975,[493] returning to the United States in May 1975.

There were eight [8] trips to Cuba under the Venceremos Brigade program up to May 1975. The numbering of the “official” trips may be in error.

The groups continued. The 44th Contingent is scheduled for Cuba the summer of 2012.[494]

Brigade Director Julián Rizo stayed separate from the dormitories in a wooden cottage with a verandah all around when he was in contact with the Brigade personnel in Cuba. [495]

Not simply did the total of over 1300 American radicals work for two months cutting cane, picking citrus and other tasks, but the intent was the growth of their political perceptions following education and discussion based on Marxism in its Leninist, Third World-oriented version.

Later, in October 1979, during the regime of the People’s Revolutionary Government, Rizo was formally announced Cuban Ambassador to Grenada[496] with residency at the Cuban Embassy, Morne Rouge. He lived in Grenada with his wife Gail Reed and their child. [497]

A Cuban defector, in July 1983, gave the U.S. government information about the Brigades and the Cuban presence in the United States.[498]

Anibal Escalante

The National Directorate of the Integrated Revolutionary Organization [ORI] of Cuba was formed in 1961.[499]

The new organization, announced on 8 March 1962, included 25 leaders—Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro, Ernesto Guevara, Osvaldo Dorticós, Emilio Aragones, Blas Roca [head of the PSP [Spanish: Partido Socialista Popular] from 1934-1961], Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Augusto Martinez Sánchez, Anibal Escalante, Faure Chomón, Ramiro Valdés, Haydée Santamaria, Severo Aguirre, Flavio Bravo, César Escalante, Joaquin Ordoqui, Lázaro Peña, Manuel Luzardo, Ramón Calcines, Juan Almeida, Armando Hart, Sergio del Valle, Guillermo Garcia, Osmani Cienfuegos and Raúl Curbelo. [500]

Eighteen days later, still in 1962, Fidel Castro spoke to the nation on television, denouncing Escalante essentially for his arrogance in doing as he wished with the Revolution. [501]

Anibal Escalante was arrested on 10 December 1967. On 28 January 1968, Escalante was expelled from the Party with eight others, accused of “microfactional activities” and they were handed over to trial and sentencing. K.S. Karol explained the charges against the group:[502]

They were said to have disagreed with Castro’s domestic and foreign policy; to have held “pseudorevolutionary” (i.e. pro-Soviet) views, to have established a faction made up of former members of the [Partido Socialista Popular] PSP, and to have tried to influence the attitude of such friendly countries as the U.S.S.R., East Germany, and Czechoslovakia.

Attention to this history is important because the matter reappears later relative to Maurice Bishop and what occurred October 1983. Escalante was an old Cuban hand before the Fidelistas captured the Cuban Communist Party. According to a member of the Communist Party U.S., he [Escalante] – [503]

was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, according to the Cuban Communist newspaper Granma, for such offenses as holding “meetings and study sessions where the Party line and the measures taken by the Revolution were criticized and revolutionary leaders maligned.”

According to former Ambassador to the United Nations under the PRG, Caldwell Taylor, [504]

. . . the Cubans were saying that what happened with Grenada was what almost happened to them.

And Fidel and the top Cuban leaders have referred to 1983 as Escalantism.

Historian Elbaum observed:[505]

. . . between 1966 and spring 1968 Cuba stressed the need for armed struggle and hemispheric revolution, in contrast to Moscow’s emphasis on peaceful, parliamentary activity and détente.

Select Books and Films about Cuba

The Cuban news agency was:[506]

Prensa Latina, legal name Agencia de Noticias Latinoamericana S.A. (Latin American News Agency), is the official state news agency of Cuba, founded in March 1959 shortly after the Cuban Revolution

A book, later to be used in study classes during the People’s Revolutionary Government was published in 1970 about Cuba – Guerrillas in Power: the course of the Cuban Revolution.[507]

A Pathfinder publishing company collection of speeches, in English, by Fidel Castro, subtitled “Against Bureaucracy and Sectarianism,” was issued in 1970.

The Mini-Manual of the Urban Guerrilla by Carlos Marighella was written June 1969 and one version is online.[508] The Mini-Manual of the Urban Guerrilla was published in the November 1970 Cuban TRIcontinental Bulletin.[509]

The guerrilla tactics of the author Carlos Marighella, a Brazilian revolutionary, “reflect the personal experiences of a group of people engaged in armed struggle in Brazil . . .[510]

One Cuban film, Soy Cuba/I am Cuba was made over a two–year period by a production of Cuban and Soviet filmmakers. Soy Cuba was released in 1964. The Soviet Director was Mikhail Kalatosov who worked with Cuban Director Alfredo Guevara.[511]

The United States

Youth, the New Left

The adolescent or youth culture was the “new breed” of the 1950s-1960s.[512] An overview is found below of the coalescence and rising importance of adolescence, as a group, included their mark on society.

We were adolescents. We didn’t think anything interesting happened to our parents.

Youth had independent buying power and retailers targeted their interests. They loved their music.

Adolescents were innately in the turmoil of their tendency towards a state of rebellion. Rebellion at times increased into popular identification with extremes - like juvenile delinquents or commies.

Adolescents were naturally in their states of heightened sexuality and in extremes found themselves bearing children, born out of wedlock.

Social relationships between black and white Americans were growing; in fact the introduction to diversity in American society began during these times.

Culture - Books

From childhood, white, privileged people who came of age in the United States and other countries between the 1950s-1970s were often raised reading Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Tolkien’s The Hobbit plus The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Many of those young people made it a point to read books with a reputation of having been banned such as D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Cleland’s Fanny Hill, or Memoir of a Woman of Pleasure, and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. [513] James Joyce’s Ulysses was there on the shelf ready to be tackled.

Some would grab anything published by Olympia Press from France [and briefly from the U.S.], including Burroughs’ Naked Lunch,[514] Nabokov’s Lolita[515]and books by the Marquis De Sade.[516]

Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published in an uncensored version by the late Barney Rosset’s Grove Press. The Grove Press started in 1951 as an alternative publishing company.[517]

Grove Press’s periodical Evergreen Review [1957-1973] had a second issue, for example, entitled “The San Francisco Scene” with writers from what was called the “Beat Generation. [518]

How did young people get the books they liked from their local bookstore or shop?

One method was select titles were ordered through Bookpeople Distributors in San Francisco, California from 1969-2003. Bookpeople was a wholesaler and distributor of hard-to-find books.[519] Small Press Distribution [SPD] was formed in 1969.[520]

The old-line book distributors Baker & Taylor and Ingram were in business with warehousing of select titles for New Left readers.

Significant popular books, published in America by major publishers from 1952-1969, included these selections:


Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man


James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

Norman Mailer, The White Negro


John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me


LeRoi Jones, Blues People

Oscar Lewis, Children of Sanchez


Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media


Claude Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land

Kenneth Clark, The Dark Ghetto

Tom Wolfe, The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby


Herbert R. Kohl, 36 Children

Piri Thomas, Down These Mean Streets


Eldridge Cleaver, Soul On Ice

Malcolm X, Autobiography


Richard Wright, Native Son

Books to reach the Afro-American community could be found for sale in Harlem at Lewis H. Michaux’s African National Memorial Bookstore from 1932-1974.[521]

Another man named Oscar Michaux made 35 major films between 1919 and 1948.[522]

Una Mulzac opened her Liberation Bookstore on W. 131st Street in 1967, which dissolved in 2007 due to her poor health.[523]

In her bookstore front glass windows with the entry door in the middle, one once saw a sign on each side:[524]

If you don’t know, learn

If you know, teach

The maxim above is similar to one used by the People’s Revolutionary Government in their education projects:

If you know teach

If you don’t learn

Many young people in the United States were interested in the philosophical meanings of Albert Camus’ writings. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1975. Albert Camus died 4 January 1960 after an auto accident.[525]

The popular books written by Camus were published in the United States by Knopf. They included the novel The Stranger,[526] the novel The Plague,[527] The Rebel,[528] The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays[529] and Resistance, Rebellion and Death.[530]

The writings of Camus, a French Algerian, were translated from the French and editions in French were available in the United States. Published works by Albert Camus included fiction, plays, essays, journals, notebooks, correspondence, journalistic articles and diaries.

Not only were young people who read Camus focused on the concepts of the Absurd and Pacifism, they also knew Camus’ of opposition to totalitarianism and his opposition to capital punishment.

Frantz Fanon’s books began to be published in the 1960s.  In 1961, Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth[531] was first published by Grove Press. The book primarily dealt with the struggle of Algeria with colonialism. Fanon was widely read, often interpreted and was generally accepted as the given wisdom about decolonialization.

Back in the days when Malcolm X was in Detroit[532] in June 1953, the Socialist Worker’s Party [SWP] was close by. To get Malcolm X’s speeches in print, George Breitman, a founding member of SWP in November 1937, organized the speeches for a Pathfinder 1965 publication titled Malcolm X Speaks.[533]

Mao’s “Little Red Book” or Quotations from Chairman Mao was approved for export in 1966.[534]

The book publishing outlet for the Socialist Workers Party [SWP] was Pathfinder Press. The company published the complete works of Trotsky and many of Fidel Castro’s speeches. Many of their books were sold at Pathfinder Bookstores. [535]

After 1983 Pathfinder Press, and its equivalents in Great Britain and Australia, published transcriptions of Maurice Bishop’s speeches. The transcriptions were taken primarily from originals issued as public documents from the Grenada Government Information Service [GIS].

A book introducing the new decade was published in 1970 in the United States. This 752-page paperback was a collection of documents, assembled by Mitchell Goodman, aka “A Charter Member of the Great Conspiracy, in behalf of The Movement.” The full title is The Movement toward a New America: the Beginnings of a Long Revolution.[536]

Notable books of this history, published in 1970, were Paulo Freire’s Education for Cultural Consciousness and Pedagogy of the Oppressed; Joel Kovel’s White Racism and also Schwartz & Disch’s White Racism, Albert Murray’s The Omni-Americans,[537] Frantz Fanon’s Black Skins, White Masks. 

An important compilation was The Africa Reader: Independent Africa published with articles by Frantz Fanon, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, Albert Luthuli, Patrice Lumumba, Tom Mboya, Chinua Achebe, Julius Nyerere, among others. Nkrumah’s Class Struggle in Africa was published in 1970.[538]

Jamaican Marcus Garvey, Trinidadian C.L.R. James [1901-1989], Trinidadian Henry Sylvester Williams [Pan-African Congress of 1900],[539] Trinidadian George Padmore, American W.E.B. Du Bois and others were studied along with Mao, Marx and Lenin.

Those persons who were considered anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist were studied. They included Frantz Fanon, Ho Chi Minh, Amilcar Cabral, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Malcolm X, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Lucy Parsons, Simone De Beauvoir, Emma Goldman, Herbert Marcuse, Big Bill Haywood, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Gramsci, Bakunin, Lenin, Marx, and Engels.

Known Caribbean writers in the mid-1960s included V.S. Naipaul, Derek Walcott, George Lamming, Aimé Césaire, Edouard Glissant,[540] Frantz Fanon, Wilson Harris, Eric Williams, Maryse Condé,[541] and Patrick Chamoiseau.[542] The Calypsonian known as The Mighty Sparrow and cricketers Gary Sobers[543] and Rohan Kanhai[544] were heralded.[545]

Culture - Periodicals

Periodicals were vital to the worldwide radical movement. The popular underground press, primarily political, was active with its on-the-scene, alternative reportage, struggle-oriented journalism, propaganda and leftist editorial voice. Unabashedly political were the newsletters, newspapers and magazines of the Left.

If you were a dutiful member of Methodist Youth Fellowship in the United States, you might get your hands on Motive magazine, a publication of the Methodist Student Movement [MSM] from Nashville, Tennessee.[546]

From the issues you could follow on the writers of articles like Harvey Cox, David Halberstam, Corita Kent, and William Stringfellow. Sister Corita’s graphic artwork was featured in Motive.[547] A lasting landmark of her work is her 1971 “Rainbow Swash” in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. The brilliantly decorated gas tank is highly visible from the Southeast Expressway.[548] Most often one could read more of those writers listed in Motive magazine at libraries or higher educational institutions.

Teens with money of their own to spend, [relatively] independent of their parents, went into buying magazines at the nearest drugstore. Teens were scrambling for their identity, petulant, angry, and hilarious and desperately wanting to be free of what they were not quite sure.

Besides movie magazines, young people caught on to Mad magazine in late 1952 and they read it right up through their adolescence [even into adulthood].[549]

According to MAD’s history:[550]

Alfred E. Neuman, MAD's gapped-tooth moronic mascot, first ran for President in 1960 and continues to be the preferred candidate of many independent voters.

The "What, Me Worry?" Kid graces the front cover of nearly every MAD issue and was once even featured in a "Got Milk" ad!

The slickest magazine of the time was Ramparts, a magazine published 1962-1975. It included a subscription service that keep people in rural areas aware of the current political and literary topics. Ramparts magazine was revisited years later about its spurious sponsorship; nonetheless, for many the magazine kept people in touch. The Wikipedia page for Ramparts has no text citations, though source citations are listed.[551]

An interesting and long story about Sol Stern’s days at Ramparts relayed information about investigation of CIA ties to the Left.[552]

The Village Voice newspaper had been in place for New Yorkers with a quasi-alternative and locally detailed flavor.[553] One paid for each copy of the Village Voice and it was worth keeping up with the arts, news of the Left, and classifieds.

One of the supposedly first of the “free papers” started circulating in 1964. The paper was called “Freep” or The Los Angeles Free Press;[554] followed by The Berkeley Barb.[555] In New York City, readers had The East Village Other [EVO].[556]

Those who did not live on either coasts of the U.S. were purchasing “underground” publications made for distribution in their locale.

Monthly Review,[557] established in 1949 by Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman was the origin of many required Marxist readings in New Jewel study groups.[558]

Claridad came out of Puerto Rico in June 1959.[559]

Prensa Latina,[560] a Havana-based news service started in March 1959, had offices in New York City & Cuba.

George Breitman of the Socialist Workers Party [SWP] was editor of the Militant newspaper in November of 1963.[561] The weekly newspaper was constantly offered for sale, person-to-person. One of its main writers on Grenada in the early years was Osborne Hart; later the Grenada expert became Steve Clark.

The North America Congress on Latin America (NACLA) newsletter[562] was first published in February 1967. NACLA newsletter added to the over 50 radical publications out of New York.

The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research was founded in 1969, by Robert Chrisman and Nathan Hare.[563] Its first issue was vol. 1, no. 1, November 1969. The journal frequently featured Marxist pieces and its audience was the black community. The journal celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009 with Dr. Robert Chrisman, editor-in-chief and Dr. Robert L. Allen, Senior Editor.

As early as 1970, there was an Oakland-based Maoist group named “Line of March.” The group quickly changed their name, but in the 1980s published the Line of March journal. [564]

In the summer of 1970, the Underground Press Syndicate was formed, to be followed by Liberation News Service [LNS].

The periodicals, namely the Guardian [United States],[565] publications from the Black Liberators and La Raza, the Catholic Worker,[566] Ramparts,[567] the Realist,[568] are examples of those publications that were available and widely read.[569]

The Guardian [United States] reporters were on the scene, upfront and personal, covering national liberation movements, including Grenada. The newspaper was publishing from 1948-1992. [570]

Periodicals reflecting political points of view included the weekly Intercontinental Press (IP)[571] of the Trotskyite United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USFI). Intercontinental Press (IP) newspaper and Pathfinder Press carried tacit ties to the Socialist Worker Party (SWP).

The Daily Worker was published by the Communist Party USA. 

Another well-read periodical was Dave Dellinger and A.J. Muste’s Liberation[572] magazine.

Off Our Backs[573] was a radical feminist journal of the 1970s.

Out of Havana came TRIcontinental[574] magazine (communication outlet of the Organization of Solidarity of the People’s of Africa, Asia and Latin America) [OSPAAL] and Granma, still being published to this day, including a site online in English.[575]

The support by SWP for the Grenada Revolution was detailed and consistent.[576] The SWP, as a group, was not quiet when it came to publicity of favored causes and issues.

The publications of the United States Socialist Worker’s Party [SWP] are highlighted because of the part they played in commentary on the Grenada Revolution. Articles were reprinted in the Free West Indian [FWI] newspaper and vice–versa.

The major magazine of the SWP was Intercontinental Press combined with Inprecor.[577] Its main writer in the early times on the Grenada Revolution was Ernst Harsch.

In later years, the main writers were Ernest Harsch and Steve Clark. Other writers were Jerry Hunnicutt, Diane Wang, Osborne Hart, Andrew Pulley, Sam Manuel, Pat Kane, Malik Miah, Mimi Pichey, Nelson Gonzalez, Jim Percy, Alain Krivine, Coleen Lewis, and Fred Murphy. Some of these names could be pseudonyms.

Culture - Poetry

Not taking much to poetry, our generation did listen up when, in 1956, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems was published by City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.[578] It was the time of the “beatniks” out there in California.

In June, 1960, Julian Bond published a signature poem for his generation:[579]

I too, hear America singing
     But from where I stand
I can only hear Little Richard
     And Fats Domino.
But sometimes
I hear Ray Charles
     Drowning in his own tears
     or Bird
Relaxing at Camarillo
     Or Horace Silver doodling,
Then I don't mind standing
     a little longer.

Culture - Music

The role music played in social change was profound. We grew up when rock and roll was emerging. The music shaped our lives in ways sharply different from our folks.

One listened to the uncanny Anthology of American Folk Music [first issued in 1952] where the artist and society were directly integrated, and songs were the need of the people. Those four [4] volumes of American roots music from the collection of Harry Smith were songs of abounding history. The old songs were the counter to “How Much is that Doggy in the Window?” of the pop charts.

Songs and the folk music scene took off from there, marked along the way by folk singing in Washington Square, New York City and catching the last appearance of Woody Guthrie in 1961 in that very same park. Some carried the credo that music was at the core of being an American. Woody Guthrie died in 1967, the genuine American for many of us.[580]

The key elements to the distribution of music were radio play and vinyl purchases of 45 rpm songs. At the time, there were radio stations whose signals spread over a wide listening area. Teens would tune in at night and hear the sounds of rhythm and blues, rock and roll.

The basic traits of rhythm and blues [R&B] music were the dance rhythms, the emotive tone, explicit lyrics, and loud and harsh vocalizations or sounds as opposed to pretty vocal toning. The dominant instruments of these R&B tunes were guitar, drums, saxophone, and piano.[581]

Youth were also aware of “covers” where, in general, a song recorded by a black group was reissued by a white singer or group and made its way to the best-selling nationwide charts.

One example was “The Chords” with their recording of “Sh-Boom” 1954 on Cat/Atlantic. “Sh-Boom” was covered immediately by the Crewcuts on Mercury in 1954 and hit the charts.

Another was the song “Sincerely” recorded by the Moonglows in 1954 on Chess. It was “covered” by the recording of the McGuire Sisters from Dayton, Ohio, on Coral in 1955.

We heard the difference. We preferred the original. We knew the economics of the income gone to the “cover” record company and not to the original artist or record company. A peek into the economics of the recording industry gave us one of our first lessons in hypocrisy.

Black culture increased its presence in the music industry. After 1956, black singers were the feature of at least one fourth of the best-selling records.[582]

Disk jockey Alan Freed produced two programs called “Moondog’s Rock and Roll Party,” at the Cleveland Arena in 1953. The arena could hold only 10,000 people, but 30,000 people wanted to get in. For his first program, two-thirds of the audience was white. [583] 

Freed’s second program featured the Buddy Johnson Orchestra, Joe Turner, Fats Domino, the Moonglows, the Harptones, the Drifters, Ella Johnson, Dakota Staton, and Red Prysock. [584] 

Freed went on to have WINS radio show out of New York City.[585]

There grew a rejection of traditional attitudes of superiority toward black people, a crack opened because of music.

The new rock and roll music expressed emotion. We will not forget 1952 and Johnny Ray reaching the point of tears.[586]

Gillett summed it up about the time when rock and roll began:[587]

. . . as a kind of music, rock ‘n’ roll did not make its impact on the national popular music market until 1953, when “Crazy Man Crazy,” a recording by Bill Haley and His Comets, became the first rock ‘n’ roll song to make the best-selling lists on Billboard’s national chart.

Between 1954 and 1955, the music industry saw a treble upturn in sales.[588] Gillett got information from industry sales records and stated that 1956 was the vintage year for rock ‘n roll.[589]

The height of Elvis Presley’s popularity spanned eight years, from 1956 to 1963.[590] Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show three times in 1956.[591]

In 1956 on the Okeh label Screamin’ Jay [Jalacy] Hawkins sang “I Put a Spell on You.[592] The recording sold a million copies, but failed to make Billboard or R&B Charts.[593]

The popular music industry tried to reach for calypso music after the success of Harry Belafonte from 1956-57, but the American musicians union disfavored West Indian performers to the point of exclusion.[594]

Harry Belafonte’s volunteer and philanthropic efforts were put towards the civil rights movement, the human rights movement and later the revolutionary government of Grenada.[595] He starred in the 1957 film Island in the Sun,[596] primarily filmed in Grenada.

During the 1960s, Berry Gordy’s Motown recordings with its endless string of church influenced hits carried the beat for most of the record buying public with “an unparalleled ten-year run in the singles market.”[597]

Motown Records had its first #1 hit, "Please Mr. Postman," by the Marvellettes. Martha & the Vandellas’ song "Heat Wave" was released.

The major artists of the Motown Corporation were the Temptations, the Miracles, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Junior Walker, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Martha and the Vandellas and the Supremes.[598]

The spirit of the times was often reflected in the universal language of music and radicals did not deny the culture of music.

STAX Records was growing strong in Memphis, Tennessee during the 1960s.[599] The house band for practically every artist’s recording to come out of STAX, from 1962 through to around 1970, included Booker T. Jones, Lewie Steinberg, Steve Cropper, and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. Besides the in-house backup work, these four formed Booker T. & the M.G.’s [and had their own hits].

The Staple Singers, Booker T. and the M.G.s, Isaac Hayes, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, William Bell, Mel and Tim, Eddie Floyd, Johnny Taylor, Albert King, Ollie and the Nightingales, the STAX studio people including Donald Dunn, were artists who made their careers and homes at STAX records. Wilson Pickett plus Sam & Dave and others were signed to Atlantic Records and recorded at the STAX studios. Elvis Presley used the studios to record three albums in 1973.[600]

It was October 1962 that Otis Redding caused jaws to drop in the STAX studio. His smooth voice crooned the ballad “These Arms of Mine.” Redding was at his peak in the 10 December 1967 when he died in a plane crash at the age of twenty-six.[601]

Bob Dylan showed up in New York in January 1961. By February 1961 he began performing Greenwich Village, in October signed with Columbia Records, issued his first vinyl album 16 March 1962, and the rest of this American troubadour’s life is a legacy towards the voice of our generation.[602]

One Dylan song, written in 1965, revealed the internal anguish many felt during those the times:[603]

And if my thought-dreams could be seen

They’d probably put my head in a guillotine

But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only

The band, called The Fugs [1964], had three core members—Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg and Ken Weaver. They played a kind of “freak folk” music with a pointed political and satiristic bent.[604] The group went touring for anti-Vietnam protest gatherings.

In the late 1960s into the 1970s, many public high schools had music programs—choral groups, marching bands, concert bands and stage bands.

One memorable stage band program was held at Kashmere High School in Houston, Texas. As usually is the case, the Director of a large musical group was the guiding personality, as was the case at Kashmere High with Director Conrad O. Johnson.[605]

The Kashmere Stage Band won all high school competitions and other awards with their massive funk sound. Collectors started gathering up any of the eight [8] albums they recorded. [606]

A reunion was held in 2008 with 30 of the original band members as a tribute to their elderly band and life leader Conrad O. Johnson. Reunion scenes were filmed and made into the movie Thunder Soul.[607]

What was called the “Black Woodstock”, i.e. the Wattstax Concert in California, drew a massive crowd and tickets were one dollar each. Held on 20 August 1972 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the event commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots.[608]

The comedian Richard Pryor[609] used the location of Watts, where there had been riots in August 1965, as material for his observations on race relations in America during his performance.[610]

During the concert, Jesse Jackson raised his arm to lead the crowd in a chant - [611]


The Velvet Underground[612] emerged in 1964 on the New York music. The mastery of the group, with Lou Reed and John Cale, showed itself in a 1967 album of a classic recording written by Lou Reed and sung by Nico. The song was “I’ll Be Your Mirror” by the Velvet Underground and Nico.[613] Nico[614] was called an Andy Warhol[615] girl as was the actress Viva.[616]

To get the flavor of American music from 1954-1970, Charles Gillett compiled a selected list which, in its way, tells the story of the music feeding many a young revolutionary:[617]


Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, “Work With Me, Annie”

Joe Turner, “Shake Rattle and Roll”

The Spaniels, “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight

Elvis Presley, “That’s All Right”

Guitar Slim, “The Things I Used to Do”



Bill Haley and His Comets, “Rock Around the Clock”

Bo Diddley, “Bo Diddley”

Little Richard, “Tutti Frutti”



The Cadillacs, “Speedo”

Carl Perkins, “Blue Suede Shoes”

Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog”



The Crickets, “That’ll Be the Day”

Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On



Chuck Berry, “Sweet Little Sixteen”



Ray Charles, “What’d I Say?

The Drifters, “There Goes My Baby”



The Shirelles, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”

B.B. King, “Sweet Sixteen”



Bobby Parker, “Watch Your Step”



The Beatles, “Love Me Do”



Bob Dylan, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”



Otis Redding, “Mr. Pitiful”

James Brown, “Out of Sight”



The Rolling Stones, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

Bob Dylan, “Like a Rolling Stone”

The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Do You Believe in Magic”



Percy Sledge, “When a Man Loves a Woman”

Ike and Tina Turner, “River Deep, Mountain High



Aretha Franklin, “I Never Loved a Man”

Country Joe and the Fish, “Feel-Like-I’m-A-Fixin’-To-Die”



The Band, “The Weight”



Tony Joe White, “Polk Salad Annie”

Bob Dylan, “Lay, Lady Lay”



Sly and the Family Stone, “Thank You (Falettin Me Be Micelf Agin)”

Credence Clearwater, “Travellin’ Band”

Culture - Cars

One cannot remember the two decades before 1970 without remembering the automobiles of that time:[618]

As I was motorvatin’ over the hill,

I saw Maybellene in a Coupe-de-ville

Cadillac rollin’ on the open road,

Tryin’s to outrun my V-8 Ford.

©1955 Arc Music Corp. Chuck Berry

You could drive those cars on highways due to the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, known also as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower on 29 June 1956.[619]

The $25 billion in Federal payments made from 1957-1969 paid 90% of the cost with the States taking on the remainder of the financial burden.[620]

The miles and miles of new construction in the national plan affected communities all over the nation. The Interstate Highway System, with expansions over the years, put in place before 1970 remains today.[621]

Perhaps your father was hired as an appraiser of land and property because someone’s yard might very well be an off-ramp. You uncle’s construction company might be under contract for parts of the national highway system.

The expanded highway system brought suburban communities closer to the cities, and after World War II, returning members of the military were part of purchasing home made by the growing home construction industry in the outlying areas. It was possible to live outside the city because one’s automobile could quickly arrive at other communities by driving on the interstate.

Who could not forget the Studebaker? Many loved the design of the Studebaker of our memory. The auto designs from Studebaker are ever present online. The car manufacturer had financial troubles and soon the Studebaker, our “cool” car, was gone. It felt like a betrayal of our “modern” visual sense.[622]

Some of us knew of the electric car in America used primarily as a city car at the turn of the century. We also knew that into the early 1900s, the oil and automobile industries killed the electric car companies by means of the process of pure short-term capitalism.[623]

The U.S. sales, starting in 1955, of Volkswagen “Beetles”[624] replaced the fins of the cars of the time. U.S. sales hit 569,696 of the “Bug” on the road in 1970.[625]

The custom of Beetle maintenance was do-it- yourself with the help of a Volkswagen manual. The spiral bound book was not from Volkswagen of America, but issued from New Mexico and California in multiple forms and editions, some serial. One of the most popular was How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: a Manual of Step-By-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot.[626]

What was known as the “Hippie Bus” was often the Volkswagen Type 2 mini-bus.[627] The buses were ripped out inside and converted to custom use, and the outside was decorated.

The most popular “Hippie Bus” was “Further,” the 1939 International Harvester school bus with its body covered with psychedelic art work. The bus was driven across the country in 1964 by author Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters.[628]

Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was published in 1968, and featured the Merry Pranksters’ trip in the bus named “Further.”[629]

Culture - Films

We could tap into a network of political films. We could borrow films from one of the Newsreel Offices, for example. New York Newsreel distributed a film titled Venceremos, filmed in Cuba 1970–1971.[630] Exciting stuff.

Four films of the early 1950s brought adolescents up short to rethink styles of dress, speech, body movement, facial expressions and attitudes.[631]

These influential four films were The Wild One (1953), Blackboard Jungle (1955), East of Eden (1955) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

The Wild One featured Marlon Brando with the snarl, the sideburns, the motorcycle jacket and a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T motorcycle.[632]

Blackboard Jungle with Glen Ford and Sidney Portier was at its core about no appreciation for teachers and juvenile delinquency, including an episode with a switchblade. Bill Haley and His Comets played “Rock Around the Clock” in the background of the footage. There was a plaintive comment in the film for those who respected education:

Who cares about teachers anyway?

The James Dean[633] films of 1955, East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause touched a chord because in both films the character played by James Dean rebelled against being uncounted as a person with rights. Behind being uncounted was the feeling of being unloved.

James Dean died 30 September 1955 at the age of 24 years old.[634] People learned about the tragedy primarily by way of movie magazines.

It was those movie magazines that kept promoting the idea that James Dean was in love with various actresses. His androgynous presentation, not considered anything other than being “sensitive” at that time, later confirmed Dean, by more than one person, to be a young homosexual. [635] And that was OK.

The powerful 1965-1966 Gillo Pontecorvo-directed film Battle of Algiers[636] and the 1969 Costa-Gavras film Z[637] were two films sought out by those on the left.

Extending to 1973, film-goers saw a second Costa-Gavras film State of Siege[638] where “revolutionary activities” were shown through tales of the Tupamaro urban guerrillas in early 1970s Uruguay. The movie grew out of ex-CIA agent Dan Mitrione’s tale of U.S. interference in Uruguay’s affairs.

The Watts Concert was filmed for later release in February 1973.[639] Wattstax was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Documentary Film in 1974.[640]


Does culture shape preferences or vice versa?

The desire for a perfectly unified society outside the establishment pushed the Left towards an attitude of egalitarianism, social equality, classlessness and consensus. The youthful New Left felt they were at odds with society; even at war. Out of this anti-establishment approach grew the concept of participatory democracy outlined below.

Ellis elaborated:[641]

The New Left, like virtually all radical egalitarian movements, looked to the oppressed for an indictment of the system, as well as for an affirmation of their own preference for a noncoercive, egalitarian community outside the mainstream.

From the King James Version of the Bible, Matthew 20:16 came the basis for an attitude. The well-known verse was one that often eliminated the last three words:

So the last shall be first, and the first last:

for many be called, but few chosen

The rejection of hierarchical relations of authority comes from a fierce personal attitude that no one can make me do what I don’t want to for I can operate on the values of my conscience and principles. It does not matter what others think or what is to be the consequence because I shall maintain my moral purity.

People are naturally good. Didn’t I find this confirmed by reading Jean Jacques Rousseau? Didn’t I get my values from Sunday school?  I shall not vacillate or waver or compromise my righteous cause. I shall join the perfect fellowship; a beloved community. I am selfless and have no self-interest.

The collective action of the New Left was taken by consensus decision-making. People felt their hands were tied by a reactionary rule system like Robert’s Rules of Order, or along parliamentary lines, or that their important position was negated by majority rule.

These strictures were dismantled in favor of participatory democracy and anti-elitism. Long, long discussions could go into the early morning hours of inconclusive, rancorous debate. The subject matter could be minor, multilayered or major.

It was a movement, in general, without declaring leaders or structure, though both may have been in the shadows all along.

Stern adherence to egalitarianism produced extreme situations. A cooperative restaurant found some people working; others not. Another idea was for all staff in a central office to share clerical duties. Nothing got done. No one wanted to mop up or set up or take down or put away.

People would say egalitarianism is not the problem; no, it is the remnants of hierarchy and structure in your mind keeping the problem with your viewpoint. But hold on, egalitarianism, as practiced by fallible human beings, was often not fair.

A conscientious person about the restaurant or office had to work extra time and perform disliked tasks when others chatted outside. An egalitarian system of work distribution was particularly egregious when salaries [capitalism] were involved.

The poor need be behind any longer, so went the belief. They can be[642]

the avenging angels against the inequalities of capitalism and an alternate source of values to middle class consumerism.

The privileged Left looked to the poor and oppressed, the common people, as being somehow authentically noble because of their heritage of suffering. The disadvantaged were people with integrity; lived close to the earth; were informed, and were filled with native intelligence—”Mother wit.”

The disadvantaged were generous, honest, and hard-working, so most thought. It was supposed the underprivileged were angry at the circumstances of their lives. Significantly, the deprived were alienated from the system. There was faith from those of the Left that the rebellion of those unfortunates was the key to a future society and they were prepared to unite all the elements.[643]

. . . the New Left ended up ascribing to the poorest and most downtrodden members of society the same transformative potential that Marx and Engels had assigned the proletariat.

Taking the thrust farther, Ellis described the New Left’s prognosis:[644]

Projecting their romance for the oppressed onto the Third World, from Africa to Cuba, Vietnam, and China, the New Left often ended up excusing or explaining away repression and authoritarianism.

Participatory Democracy

Doing without bureaucracy, structure, and leadership, many on the Left turned to an ideal of organizations that would simplify participation and promote democracy and an egalitarian community. It was assumed by many on the Left that the rising tide of revolutionary groups had entertained wide-ranging discussion, had open membership, and these groups were non-hierarchical with informal structures.

Pateman noted the last days of DeGaulle, the British Skeffington Report on planning, and the anti-poverty program in the United States included a provision for the “maximum feasible participation” of those concerned.[645]

Was not democracy like that—where people would join with each other? Were not New England town meetings based on such a democratic form?

It was not always true that democracy was like that in real life.

Many groups were run on consensus vote. Robert’s Rules of Order was always available as guidance, but oh so rigid. Consensus became the way groups made decisions – often in the wee hours of the morning.

Participatory democracy” is a phrase used loosely for there are debates about what “participation” is and what the nature of “democracy” entails.[646]

The downside of so-called participatory democracy was that a handful of leaders took control and led the meeting. The others in the group “let” the leaders take them to consensus, often so they could go home to bed.

The rest, who were not inclined to work so hard in that manner, gave up their ideas to the articulation of the leaders. Issues were raised under the guise of consensus and anti-bureaucracy. It was a dictatorship by assent in a form without structure.

Many Left leaders were made popular by the media, became celebrities and were so-called spokespeople for “progressive” causes. Most were, but they were from the privileged class.

Many leaders were talkers, not workers.

Pateman described negatives aspects of “participation,” taken from history:[647]

The collapse of the Weimar Republic, with its high rates of mass participation, into fascism, and the post-war establishment of totalitarian regimes based on mass participation, albeit participation backed by intimidation and coercion, underlay the tendency for “participation” to become linked to the concept of totalitarianism rather than that of democracy.

But you retort, Liberals meant something else. Among the intelligent, privileged Liberals of these programs, “participation” worked out in theory.

In practice, it was found that program managers may have idealized participation, but the workers and members of any unit were not all that interested in taking the time to participate, even if some of them were part of the program management board. They were looking for someone to head the march, so to speak.

In further volumes we will see how the “Assemblies of the People,” markedly in Grenada, had no profit motive, but was founded on free service to one’s country.

The People’s Assemblies had a schema on paper, was psychologically energized because the first feelings of ownership and zeal were strong; only to simply fall flat from generalized inactivity because of those who were reluctant to be a part of change.

For the Assemblies concept to take hold, the potential for change was obviously ideal, but the irrational elements of human behavior were not factored in as unintended consequences.

Belonging to an assembly was a partial participation because there was a coordinating body at the top of the chart.

The process and its effect on the worker was something like being part of a restaurant co-operative. Ideally everybody was in it together. Thing is—some people did all the work when others did nothing.

The Poor

Transformation of society to include the poor was one thing. What was the reality of the culture of the poor and what did they want?

Besides the promising qualities the Left saw in the poor, there was the distaff side of reality. The poor had different values than those of the Left.

They were often distrustful of outsiders, even hostile. They were often disorganized and fragmented, too alienated, too apathetic, too passive, often with a fatalistic viewpoint.

What the Left did not want most of the poor wanted; to join the American middle class or to migrate to America. They wanted to buy into the American dream and believed this possible. For those left behind, if they could not get themselves out of poverty, how could the Left have expected to “help” them?

Dr. Barber warned:[648]

But as soon as others propose that they will do for the people what the people refuse to do for themselves, we get, not justice, but tyranny.

Ellis made an apt supposition:[649]

It is not enough to declare an idea noble and one’s hands clean; one needs to ask what will happen to that uplifting ideal when people behave not like angels but like fallible, biased human beings.


What if one found it workable to live under a constitutional government and have freedom of expression, assembly, and conscience? What if one found justice with equality before the law, free and competitive elections in a life where there were boundaries between one’s private and one’s public life. People who believed in these principles were often labeled reactionaries.

Reactionaries looked harshly at disregard for civil liberties or individual autonomy. They disliked authoritarian commandeering no matter how charming. They did not approve of state socialism. Even if there was a show of voluntary cooperation and egalitarian fellowship, they didn’t buy it. They thought the world more complex than those with a Manichean view of absolute good and absolute evil.

They were not comfortable with conspiracy or demonization, nor did they give any form of assent to militarism or violence as a necessary means. They did not like their stated difference of opinion be evidence of a deviancy that had to be halted.

When they disagreed that meant sinister intent on their part – disloyalty and betrayal threatening the future of a glorious revolution. When the aim was conversion to a world view, their disagreement came to be called “resistance.”

Author Ellis pointed out that freedom meant conflict:[650]

Suppressing freedom in the name of unity (or equality) does not eliminate the inevitable conflict of interests or values; it only stifles the legitimate expression of those conflicts, driving them underground, where they can silently fester or savagely erupt.

In their identity and solidarity with the common people, there was a subtle contempt, a dismissive disdain by radicals who looked at the ordinary lives of common people as ignorant, shallow, materialistic, and brain-washed since youth, selfish, mean and disinclined to learn, study or read.

The common people were often looked down upon by elites as passive victims of the system or mindless dodos. The common people were passive, distrustful and more diverse than one thought. The common people made choices and those choices were a product of a false consciousness, of the people swallowing whole the preferences of the system.

A patronizing attitude remained after the romanticized view of the common people wore off.

The common people needed an enlightened vanguard, full-time revolutionaries, to teach and rebuild the values of the people and turn their beliefs in a more politically correct direction. Was this path not chosen by the Russian revolutionaries?

Two forces were at work – a love and a loathing of the common people they championed. Those common people were often called “workers.”

How could well-intentioned people who worked long and hard hours for the betterment of society embrace intolerance, welcome single leadership and preach righteous violence in the battle between good and evil as they saw it?

The Cold War

What Were Those Commies Up To?

There is the hackneyed saying that you can't escape history. Let us, as the current phrase goes, “walk the cat backwards.”

The term "Cold War' first showed up in 1945 upon the publication of the book Animal Farm by George Orwell. President Reagan came of age under threat of the "Cold War."[651]

Take you way back to October 1965, of candidate for Governor of California, an extracted quote of Ronald Reagan's basis for thinking in relation to foreign policy:[652]

It's silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.

Being A Commie

During the period of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, unions and union organizers in the United States became tainted with dishonor as being part of the "Red Terror." An interesting part of history in the United States was being cast as a Commie sympathizer. The idea did not get rolling until after World War II.

In 1945, the House Un-American Activities Committee published a booklet. Its title was 100 Things You Should Know About Communism in the U.S.A. This pamphlet asked 100 questions; for example:

How can a Communist be identified?

The answer:

It is easy.

Ask him to name ten things wrong with the United States.

Then ask him to name two things wrong with Russia.

The booklet goes on to comment:

His answers will show him up even to a child. Communists will denounce the President of the United States but they will never denounce Stalin.

In 1955, it was Rabbi Harold Kushner who referred to his fellow college graduates as "the last generation to trust our elders." Within Kushner's lifetime began the generations of judgmental people so near and dear to us all. It looks like a whole bunch of us could be identified as Communists!

Needless to say, you get the idea of the 100 things you should know about Communism.

HUAC's document, among the many others issued at the time by the U.S. Government, set the foundation for our youthful and naive selves to be thinking of Communism as some body of evil and out to “get” us in middle-class America.

J. Edgar Hoover

The Big Daddy of it all was J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In March 1958, Hoover wrote Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It.[653]

In Masters of Deceit, we read not only of the wide variety of occupations in which one would find different types of communists, but also about the

Open Party members

Concealed Party members

Fellow Travelers



You did not want to become a dupe.

What is a Communist?

The [Original] Duck Test

What is a communist? US Ambassador Patterson spoke about the matter when he made a presentation before a Rotary Club group in Guatemala City, 1950:[654]

Many times it is impossible to prove legally that a certain individual is a communist; but for cases of this sort I recommend a practical method of detection - the “duck test.”

The duck test works this way: suppose you see a bird walking around a farm yard. This bird wears no label that says “duck.”

But the bird certainly looks like a duck.

Also he goes to the pond and you notice that he swims like a duck. Then he opens his beak and quacks like a duck.

Well, by this time you have probably reached the conclusion that the bird is a duck, whether he's wearing a label or not.

There you have it. Or, there you had it, for this was the slippery test used to identify communists in those days.

The word “communist” made one think that they could be labeled as such, that they were an unwitting victim of an international Godless conspiracy that could move upon one’s person in mysterious ways. One could be contaminated. Worst of all, one might be a “dupe.” We might be caught up in a sudden fear when we heard or read about such things as secret operatives, spies, agitators and undercover agents.

The word “communist” was an accusatory epithet, and those accused weren’t even near guilty. The word “communist” was so powerful as to stop discussion and debate. “Communist” was a scare word, one used to weed out, supposedly, un-American citizens of the United States.

During the Presidency of Harry S. Truman, the Supreme Court on 10 April 1950 ruled that citizens, called before a congressional committee, were compelled to state whether or not they "now or ever have been a communist."

An accusation was made by Senator Joseph McCarthy at a Republican Women's Club meeting 9 February 1959 that there were 205 employees in the State Department who were "card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party."[655]

"Card-carrying" was the code word with an "out" just in case the "loyal" communist did not have an official card. By the way, in a later speech, McCarthy lowered the number to 57, saying that's what he meant all the time.

Growing Up in Anti-Communist Times

Many of us in the United States spent their impressionable and formative years from 1950-1959; the childhood years were previous to that. Many neighbors and relatives seemed to have been in allied or armed services during World War II, and were striving to enhance their economic outlook and provide for their families.

Our homes saw subscriptions to "Readers Digest" and "Life" magazine, as well as the local newspaper, published with a morning and evening edition. We would read anything that came into the house, including pamphlets by Norman Vincent Peale.

Admittedly, we were, as writer Edmund White so aptly termed it, like those Midwest "public-library intellectuals, magpies of knowledge . . ." Using the public library, even working there as a page, and reading books, at least gave us lots of extra credit in public school classes.[656]

Essentially, we considered our REAL education as an autodidactic exercise where we would learn REAL things, and that information was in books and we got those books in the musty stacks of our main public library, despite what White said about himself—“like most autodidacts we were incapable of evaluating our sources.” [657]

Not only that, but we had conceived the notion of the importance of information-from-the-source. If such original source material was embarrassing to the author, well too bad. Such spokespeople had hung themselves on their own petard. We didn't feel the need to publicly evaluate people and perform an analysis. No, we would plainly put out to the public exactly what they said.

Mass Communications Brings Politics Into the Home

In the 1950s, families started owning a television. The first mass-produced televisions were made by Radio Corporation of America (RCA), cost $1,000 and were first issued 25 March 1954.

We may have been news-hounds back then, fed on the Edgar R. Murrow programs. In 1951, Murrow hosted the CBS program "See It Now." We also viewed the House Un-American Activity Hearings.

In the United States, 15 March 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted and sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit wartime sabotage. They were executed 19 June 1953.[658]

TIME magazine featured Senator Joseph McCarthy on its cover for the issues of 22 October 1951 and 8 March 1954.[659]

The House Un-American Activities Committee was investigating Hollywood in 1952 and over in the Senate, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, headed by William Jenner of Indiana was looking into the goings-on at the United Nations, and also into public and private schools.

By 9 July 1952, Senator Joseph McCarthy was still at it. Addressing the Republican National Convention, he declared:[660]

I say one Communist in a defense plant is one too many.

One Communist on the faculty of one university is one Communist too many.

One Communist among the American advisers at Yalta was one Communist too many.

And even if there were only one Communist in the State Department, that would still be one Communist too many.

Three months after the death of Stalin in 1953, the Rosenbergs were executed in the US. At the time, then President Eisenhower refused, two times, to issue an order of executive clemency.

In the late 1990s, after the Soviet archives were open to the public, it was revealed that the Rosenbergs were guilty of passing classified information about radar and sonar to their handler, but not atomic secrets.

Tail Gunner Joe” McCarthy was at it again in February of 1953. He declared that 30,000 books in government overseas libraries were written by “Communist” authors—Edna Ferber, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., W.H. Auden, Stephen Vincent Benet, Dashiell Hammett—you get the picture.[661]

It is always amusing, even today, to read the list of authors and titles on “banned book lists.”[662]

Edgar R. Murrow featured Senator Joseph McCarthy in his 6 March 1954 broadcast - “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy.”[663] McCarthy was shown in a critical light.

From 22 April 1954 through 17 June 1954, Americans could see Senator McCarthy in action on the television in their home. The live broadcast, televised by ABC, NBC and the Dumont networks, enabled what is known as the Army-McCarthy Hearings open to all. "Point of Order!" was the slogan of the day.[664]

Dan Wakefield in his book New York in the 50s[665] told the story of author Rudolph Wurlitzer who wrote an editorial supporting National Library Week for his Army base newspaper. The authorities took his security clearance away for that.

Fear of the Red Menace, fear of being “un-American,” that's what it was. In the hinterlands of America there was suspicion of New York, the New York Times, the United Nations, the contents of libraries, the Voice of America, Easterners, commies, lefties, eggheads, faggots and beatniks [plus a favorite—those “pointy-headed intellectuals who don't know enough to come in out of the rain”].

The 4 October 1957 Soviet launch of the satellite "Sputnik I" - “fellow traveler of the Earth”- caused enough uproar for public high schools to obtain funds for additional scientific studies; for example, a Saturday program about nuclear chemistry with radiation-detection devices.

The Sputnik launch and the level of educational skills in the U.S. were viewed as in a crisis in America.[666]

On 3 November 1957 a second Sputnik was launched - this time carrying a dog named Laika. The US successfully launched its first satellite, Explorer I, on 31 January 1958. [667]

One interesting side description growing out of the overall concept of “Cold War” was the Report from Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace published first in 1967 by popular publisher Dell in hardcover and paperback.[668]

The Report from Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace, from the initial editions, included the “Foreword” by Leonard C. Lewin dated June, 1967. In one of the first sections called “Background Information,” we find L.C.L. tape recording interviews with “John Doe,” and a letter of transmittal, signed-off 30 September 1966.

The copyright, usually signaling the author of a book, was registered to Leonard Lewin. [669]

The full text of the Report from Iron Mountain is online.[670]

The aim of the report was to study what would happen if the U.S. entered a state of lasting peace. The secret commission investigating the question met secretly. Their conclusion was war is necessary.

At the time, those of us who were taken up with getting a copy of this Report from Iron Mountain not only enriched the coffers of Dell Publishing Co., but we may have participated in one of the greatest literary hoaxes of all time.

On the other hand, if we following on the YouTube series Report from Iron Mountain,[671] we are thrown many red flags like “peace=socialism.” Conspiracy theorists hit on a hot one with these videotapes.

Our intent was to read Report from Iron Mountain, but the “think-tank” style of government commission writing put some of us off. Was this a highly refined satirical hoax? Did Lewin write the book or not?[672]

Lewin kept stating in print he wrote the book. The authorship of Leonard C. Lewin (2 October 1916-28 January 1999)[673] was reported in Lewin’s New York Times Obituary on 30 January 1999.[674]

Whether those on the Left read the Report from Iron Mountain or not, it was not a long leap for some to the conclusion, especially during the Vietnam War time, that the U.S military-industrial complex[675] was responsible for war and would not look for peace because DOW chemical would no longer make money; something like that.

On the other hand, some of those who believed war was inevitable got their suspicions about “peace” and institutions such as the United Nations from these times.

Civil Rights Movement

Worldwide the search by citizens for equal rights under the law—their civil rights—was a search that ran through each country’s history.[676] There was an African-American movement towards civil rights back to 1896 in the United States law of Plessy vs Ferguson.[677]

Many of those who were part of the Civil Rights struggle in American during the 1960s do not know the groundwork done by others in the 1950s. Brown vs the Board of Education in 1954 comes to mind.[678]

The ground-breaking civil rights work of others in the 1950s included Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey and the Scottsboro Boys. [679] Robeson, for example, brought his charismatic presence to the screen, and spoke with magnetic energy and righteous indignation.

One Margaret Bourke-White[680] photo, which was published in Life magazine’s issue of 15 February 1937, was widely reproduced during the time of the early civil rights struggles.[681]

Margaret Bourke-White saw her shot when a line of Afro-Americans walked in front of Alabama billboard in depression-era America [see photo at link]. [682]

The original photo of the billboard by Arthur Rothstein in February 1937 showed a distant view of a large sign. The billboard showed an automobile with white people as occupants. The proclamations on the Alabama billboard read “World’s Highest Standard of Living” at the top and “There’s No Way Like the American Way” at the bottom.[683] Arthur Rothstein was a professional photographer and most likely a colleague of Bourke-White.[684]

In one Bourke-White photo, the famous photo, one can see Americans of a darker hue in the Red Cross Relief line in front of that billboard originally photographed by Rothstein.[685] These were black victims of the 1937 Louisville, Kentucky flood.[686] The title of the photos in the series was “At the Time of the Louisville Flood.”[687]

The Afro-American Civil Rights Movement in the United States since 1955 has been widely chronicled and often stops on the day of the assassination of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on 1968.[688]

Claudette Colvin, at 15 years old, single-handedly and on impulse refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus in Alabama, 2 March 1955. She was immediately arrested and her case went to court.[689]

Emmett Till’s murder on 28 August 1955 in Money, Mississippi, caught national attention, especially when his white killers were acquitted.[690]

Another landmark event was 1 December 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. Rosa Parks did have non-violent training at the Highlander School[691] in Tennessee and her arrest and the boycott that followed was part of a larger plan.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott began on 5 December and carried through until 21 December 1956.[692]

When the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] was founded in April 1960 at Shaw College in Raleigh, North Carolina,[693] the song We Shall Overcome[694] became the Movement’s anthem.

Harry Belafonte eased the arrangements for eleven SNCC workers to take a break and be the guests of the late Sékou Touré,[695] President of Guinea. They left 11 September 1964 for three weeks. The group included Julian Bond, James Forman, Prathia Hall, William Hansen, Fannie Lou Hamer, Donald Harris, Matthew Jones, John Lewis, Robert Moses, Donna Richards, and Ruby Doris Robinson.

As an organization, SNCC was one of the first civil rights groups with an international outreach, primarily to Africa. The SNCC example was only one of the many instances when young people reached out organizationally and internationally.

One outgrowth of the Movement, as it was known, was in its music. Memorable songs came out of most events:[696]

Montgomery, 1955 - “We Are Soldiers in the Army”

Sit-ins , 1960 - “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table”

Freedom Rides, 1961 - “Which Side Are You On?”

Albany, Georgia, 1961-1962 - Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round”

Birmingham, 1963 - “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize”

Freedom March, 1963 - “Come by Here”

Jackson Movement, 1963 - “Mississippi Goddam”

Mississippi Delta, 1961-1964 - “Woke Up This Morning”

Selma, 1963-1965 - “Right! Right!

            Pick ‘em up and lay ‘em down

            Right! Right!

            Pick ‘em up and lay ‘em down

            Right! Right!

            All the way from Selma town

            Right! Right!

The Meredith March, 1966

Memphis, 1968

All Times - “This Little Light of Mine” and “We Shall Overcome”

The first Selma to Montgomery March was called “Bloody Sunday,”
7 March 1965.

John Lewis said in the film Soundtrack for a Revolution:

They can take away everything else but they couldn’t take away our songs.


Music created a sense of solidarity

A song from the Birmingham Movement, “Ninety-nine and a Half Won’t Do,” brought this quote from Guy Carawan:[697]

The variety of singing to be heard at mass meetings in Birmingham probably wasn’t matched in any other movement in the South.

Starting off with an old-time prayer service in which the older people sang and lined out the old-time spirituals and “Dr. Watts” hymns in a style which went back to slavery days, the meetings were then turned over to the songs of the movement’s sixty-voice gospel choir [the Birmingham Movement Choir] accompanied by the organ player of its leader [Carlton Reese].

After the church had rocked and spirits were jubilant, it was time to hear from their leader, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.

Cleo Kennedy and organist Carlton Reese led this plaintive song, captured on YouTube, at a Birmingham mass meeting held at the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963.[698]

Another memorable musical group, this time from the Albany Movement in 1962, was the SNCC Freedom Singers with Bernice Johnson Reagon, (contralto); Rutha Harris (soprano), Bertha Gober (soprano); Cordell Reagon (Tenor) and Charles Neblett (baritone-bass). [699] The group eventually reorganized into an all male group with varying personnel.[700]

The SNCC Freedom Singers performed all over the country, often at colleges and other gatherings like the 1963 Newport Folk Festival and Carnegie Hall.[701]

One song sung by the Freedom Singers was “Dog, Dog,” written by James Bevel and Bernard Lafayette in 1963. Bevel told the story:[702]

You know I lived next door to a man and he had a lot of children, and so did my dad, but we weren’t allowed to play together because they were white.

But we had two dogs. He had a dog and we had a dog.

And our dogs would always play together . . . So we wrote this song.

W.E.B. Du Bois was eulogized by Martin Luther King on 28 August 1963, at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Du Bois died 27 August 1963 in Ghana at 96 years of age.[703]

The single mass demonstration, the 1963 March on Washington took the civil rights struggle from being a Black cause in America to a national cause to protect the civil rights of all.

The landmark governmental action of the period was the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[704] Major events in the struggle for civil rights affected the youth of America, and many were televised.

Freedom Summer and the Movement

“Freedom Summer” engaged many youth of the country to volunteer in Mississippi. The campaign was launched in June 1964. Many volunteers were first trained in nonviolence at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio.[705]

Over the course of the ten-week project:

four civil rights workers were killed (one in a head-on collision), the three being Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner

at least three Mississippi blacks were murdered because of their support for the civil rights movement

four people were critically wounded

eighty Freedom Summer [706] workers were beaten

one-thousand and sixty-two people were arrested (volunteers and locals)

thirty-seven churches were bombed or burned

thirty Black homes or businesses were bombed or burned 

The emergence of Mississippi “Freedom Schools” in 1964 was a part of the Civil Rights Struggle in the United States.[707]

In addition to the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party [MFDP] with its leader Fannie Lou Hamer, the voter registration drive and freedom schools, the benefit to the young volunteers was life-changing.

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community was written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967.[708]

[Uncorroborated] Years later, political people looked back and noted this was a neglected book worthy of attention.

“Where Do We Go From Here,” was a speech given by Dr. King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC] in Atlanta on 16 August 1967. The full speech is available online.[709]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

Following Dr. King’s death, a songwriter named Dick Holler signed his song with Dion, American singer-songwriter. The title was “Abraham, Martin and John.”[710]

Has anybody here, seen my old friend Martin -

Can you tell me where he’s gone?

He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good, they die young

But I just looked around and he’s gone

“Abraham, Martin and John” was immediately on the charts; then recorded and performed by many other artists, confirming the soothing kind of dirge the nation needed to hear.

Nation of Islam

One extensive history of the Nation of Islam [NOI] and NOI member Malcolm X was written by the late Manning Marable, who stated:[711]

Between 1953 and 1955, the Nation of Islam more than quadrupled, from about twelve hundred [1,200] to nearly six thousand [6,000] members.

From 1956 until 1961, it would expand more than tenfold, to between fifty thousand [50,000] and seventy–five thousand [75,000] members.

The major luminaries who emerged from the NOI were Muhammad Ali [Cassius Clay], Malcolm X [Malcolm Little], Louis Farrakhan [Louis Eugene Wolcott] and others.

The convergence of the NOI, the early civil rights movement, Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X’s expanding views all formed the bedrock of the growth of the civil rights movement.

During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the Nation of Islam [NOI][712] was led by Elijah Muhammad.

The influence of NOI was profound and widespread, especially within the U.S. Afro-American community.

NOI spokesmen taught Black pride, discipline in dress, dietary practices and no drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.[713] Self-owned businesses were the order of the day.

A major television event was the program report, to the viewing public in the United States, about the Nation of Islam.

The program, The Hate That Hate Produced,[714] is found online in video[715] with ten [10] segments. The program was produced by Louis Lomax[716] and narrated by Mike Wallace.[717]

The Wallace-Lomax series appeared on WNTA-TV out of New York City in the middle of July of 1959 with a follow-up documentary on the “black supremacy movement” a week later. Malcolm X was out of the country at the time during the public reaction to the programs. [718]

Cassius Clay (soon to be Muhammad Ali) knocked out heavyweight champion Sonny Liston 25 February 1964 in Miami. Clay was widely photographed and quoted, and played his role to the hilt. His full life and integrity are a separate study.[719]

It was in Miami that Cassius Clay, Malcolm X and Sam Cooke met up; the time Cassius Clay joined the Nation of Islam [NOI]. [720] This was the same Sam Cooke who, as early as 1963, had an extensive black history library in his house.[721]

Muhammad Ali’s life on 28 April 1967 took on a political turn when he refused to be inducted into the Vietnam draft effort. [722] He was found guilty of draft evasion.[723] Ali continued his boxing career.

Along the way, he became known for his wise sayings—one from 1964:[724]

I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.

No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on 21 February 1965.[725]

Malcolm X, whose Yoruba name Omowale [“the son who has come home”],[726] frightened whites, calling them out as “white people.” He transmitted courage and pride to blacks:[727]

To many, only Malcolm X seemed to understand the depth of the abyss separating the races.

The ties of the Nation of Islam [NOI] and Malcolm X were formally broken March of 1964. His visit to Mecca was in April where he became a Sunni Muslim. In June 1964 he started the Organization of Afro-American Unity [OAAU].[728]

Alex Haley and Malcolm X wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X with an original 1964 copyright by Alex Haley and Malcolm X, but there were n=no printings in that year.

A first edition, first printing, dated 1965[729] from Grove Press in a dust wrapper and cloth binding enclosing 455 pages of text and 32 illustrations brings a hefty price in the antiquarian book market of today.[730]  A popular paperback edition was first published in 1966.[731] The book was a widely-read bestseller.

This author will not forget Alex Haley; seeing him writing away in the lower level connecting area between Countee Cullen Public Library[732] and the Schomburg Collection,[733] located in Harlem.

Despite travel schedules, from spring of 1963 until the final drafts of the book in 1965, Haley was talking with Malcolm X about his life.[734] Together they worked on the manuscript between interruptions and different meeting locations.

Much of Malcolm X material is archived at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.[735]

The first book of Malcolm X’s speeches was published in 1965.[736] The fame of Malcolm X grew even greater after his death on 21 February 1965:[737]

Brother Malcolm has become a symbol, a dream, a hope, a nostalgia for the past, a mystique, a shadow sometimes without substance, “our shining black Prince,” [taken from the eulogy by Ossie Davis] to whom we do obeisance, about whom we write heroic poems.

Malcolm X: a life of reinvention was published by the late Manning Marable in 2011.[738]

Black Power and Radical Black Nationalism

Being revolutionary required much, according to some: [739]

No revolutionary can claim his life for himself.

The life of the revolutionary belongs to the struggle.

In the United States, it was Integration Time, Black Power Time and Black Nationalism Time – the time of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC], Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Robert F. Williams, James Forman, Stokely Carmichael, Leroi Jones, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, and the Black Panthers.  

Ed Brooke from Massachusetts was elected Senator on the Republican ticket in 1966. He served in the U.S. Senate for two terms.[740]

Adam Clayton Powell Jr. served as the first African-American member of the House of Representatives, from 1945-1971.[741] Robert C. Henry was the first African-American Mayor of Springfield, Ohio, elected in 1966. Carl Stokes, taking office in 1968, served as the first African-American Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.[742]

A National Conference on Black Power was held 20-23 July 1967 in Newark, New Jersey. The sole official document issued from that conference was a Black Power Manifesto[743] recommending international black congresses and also the struggle against:[744]

The colonialist and neo-colonialist control of Black communities in America and many Black nations across the world by white supremacists necessarily is detrimental and destructive to the attainment of Black Power.

Over 1,000 delegates attended, including representatives from Bermuda and Nigeria. The chair was the late Nathan Wright, Jr.[745]

Workshops[746] were headed by Ossie Davis, James Farmer, Hoyt W. Fuller,[747] Nathan Hare,[748] Maulana Ron Karenga,[749] Cleveland Sellers,[750] and Chuck Stone.[751] Other national conferences were held in 1966 and 1968.[752]

Tommie Smith and John Carlos extended black-gloved fists into the air when receiving their Olympic medals. The 1968 Summer Olympic Games were held in Mexico. They both stared downward during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner in a gesture symbolizing, it was thought, black unity and power.[753]

James Brown[754] released Say It Loud - I’m Black and I’m Proud.[755] A highly popular song in August 1968, Brown claimed he was into Black Pride; not Black Power.[756]

Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver[757] published his essay collection Soul on Ice. Black Panther national treasurer Bobby Hutton, 17, was killed by Oakland police on 6 April 1968.[758]

H. Rap Brown, [Jamil Abdullah al-Amin], of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] disavowed non-violence and left SNCC in June 1968. In the succeeding years, he received media attention and had various skirmishes with the law. H. Rap Brown is now serving a life sentence in a Federal prison in Colorado.[759]

By this time, around 1968, berets, shoulder ammo holders, the carrying of weapons and charismatic oratory were the order of the day. This was the time of Che who had been killed in Bolivia in 1967. It was a time of cultural confrontation.

The Black Manifesto, known officially as the Manifesto to the White Christian Churches and the Jewish Synagogues in the United States of America and All Other Racist Institutions was presented by James Foreman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).[760]

Forman’s speech was given in May 1969 to the New York meeting of the National Council of Churches [NCC]. [761]

The manifesto had been adopted 26 April 1969 by the National Black Economic Development Conference in Detroit, Michigan. [762]

The manifesto was intended specifically for the white Christian churches and the Jewish synagogues in the United States of America and “all other racist institutions.” The manifesto, which called for reparations, was presented by James Forman. Concerning rhetoric not usually heard in the U.S., the manifesto said that: [763]

 black people in this country must understand that we are the Vanguard Force.

Such a vanguard force was prepared in a united and militant way, in spirit at the minimum.

In further explanation –[764]

We say that there must be a revolutionary black Vanguard and that white people in this country must be willing to accept black leadership, for that is the only protection that black people have to protect ourselves from racism rising again in this country.

Racism in the U.S. is so pervasive in the mentality of whites that only an armed, well-disciplined, black–controlled government can insure the stamping out of racism in this country.

In the United States, the Revolutionary Action Movement [RAM] with its short-term life was known as the first Black Marxist organization. The group, operating under Marxist–Maoist ideas dissolved in 1969.

Many people were intimidated by Black Power advocates; their bombastic and militant political rhetoric, their metaphors, their ghetto language. Observers, especially behind the screen of the interpersonal wall of television, were fascinated.

Robert F. Williams

Robert F. Williams [1925-1996][765] wrote Negroes with Guns when in Cuba.  His book was published 1962[766] and in 1963 had an imprint from Beijing.

His 1961 North Carolina confrontation with authorities led to an FBI Wanted notice for “unlawful interstate flight to avoid prosecution of kidnapping.”

Williams and his wife fled the country in 1961 for Cuba and then lived in China after 1966. In 1968, he was interviewed[767] at a demonstration against the U.S. policy in Vietnam at the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Williams returned to the United States 12 September 1969. A trial was held December 1975 and all charges were dropped. He died in 1996.[768]

Stokely Carmichael

In 1964 Trinidadian-born Stokely Carmichael graduated from Howard University with a degree in philosophy.[769]

In 1966, Stokely Carmichael [1941-1998], chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC], and Willie Ricks [now Mukasa Dada], also an organizer for SNCC, called for “Black Power” when working in Yazoo, Mississippi.[770]

Though the Civil Rights Movement period is the popularly known time the term “Black Power” was used, it was not the first time the term was coined. [771]

Among previous users of the term “Black Power” was Richard Wright in his book Black Power, a record of his sojourn to the Gold Coast-Ghana, which was published in 1954.[772]

Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America was written by Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton; published in October of 1967.[773]

Black Power was described in the Carmichael and Hamilton book with an overview of the concept: [774]

It [Black Power] is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community.

It is a call for black people to begin to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations and to support those organization.

It is a call to reject the racist institutions and values of this society.

The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise:

Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks.

It is a call to reject the racist institutions and values of this society.

Carmichael and Hamilton also observed:[775]

[Black people] stand as colonial subjects in relation to the white society.

Thus institutional racism has another name:  Colonialism

One of the many places where Stokely Carmichael spoke was in Seattle, Washington 19 April 1967 [audio available online].[776]

Black Power Movements peaked in the United States in the late 1960s and the Movement drew not solely on intellectual thought but upon cultural change, even to the point of widespread popularity of Black Power style.

The Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party [BPP] was formed 15 October 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California.[777] Shortly after the party was established, Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California.[778]

A film history about the Black Panthers was issued in 2006: What We Want; What We Believe: Black Panther Party Library.[779]

Another film was issued in 2011, called The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. The documentary was shot by Swedish journalists and film crews during the years of the Black Panther Party [BPP] showing archival footage of Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, Katherine Cleaver, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and Huey P. Newton and Lewis Michaux.[780]

The Black Panther Party in the United States has a full and documented history. Highlights included the introduction of arms even into BPP children’s lives - “Pick up the guns, pick up the guns.” The BPP started the first school breakfast and lunch programs, provided clothes and legal advice, plus other features of community organizing.

At least six radical American Black activists, called “Black Liberation Martyrs” from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] and the Black Panther Party [BPP] were allegedly assassinated in 1970 across the United States.[781]

Author Dennis Cashman succinctly commented on the movement in its transition through the 1960s.[782] The BPP operated with a nationalist Marxism mix from 1968-1971.

The African-American protest movement had once been a mainly southern and integrated, Christian and optimistic movement working for civil rights.

Now it was a largely northern, urban, secular, and militant movement favoring black power.

The movement was now far more radical in purpose and militant in tactics than anything envisioned only ten years earlier.

One radical, whose prison letters were published in 1970, was George Jackson [1941-1971]. Jackson spent eleven [11] years in prison. His book Soledad Brother was widely distributed, including published versions in England, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. [783]

George Jackson wrote in a 24 March 1970 letter:[784]

To seize power for the people and relegate fascism to the history books the vanguard must change the basic patterns of thought.

We are going to have to study the principles of people’s movements.

We are going to have to study them where they took place and interpret them to fit our situation here.

We have yet to discover the meaning of people’s war, people’s army.

Activist, Angela Y. Davis was, according to police, involved in a shoot-out outside the San Rafael courthouse on 7 August 1970 when Jonathan P. Jackson[785] was killed in an attempt to free the Soledad Brothers and his brother George Jackson.

The incident was known as the Marin County Courthouse incident in San Rafael, California.[786]

Jonathan Jackson had brought three guns registered to Angela Y. Davis to the Courthouse. Not only did he die, but the Judge and two others were killed.[787]

Angela Davis went into hiding and was arrested 13 October 1970 by the FBI. She was charged on three counts: (1) accomplice to conspiracy; (2) kidnapping, and (3) homicide. .She was acquitted on 4 June 1972 by an all-white jury of all charges.[788]

George Jackson was killed ruing a prison escape attempt from San Quentin Prison on 21 August 1971.[789]

Angela Davis was a guest of the Grenada Revolution in Grenada in the 1980s, notably in March 1981 for a Caribbean Workers’ Conference,[790] and March 1982, as speaker for International Women’s Day[791] and [uncorroborated] again during the August Carnival of 1982.


One example of a trust-buster of a governmental intelligence authority was the 8 March 1971 break-in of a FBI field office, a storage space, in the City of Media, Pennsylvania.[792]

Informative and personal documents from emptied file cabinets were anonymously mailed to various newsrooms by the Citizens’ Committee to Investigate the FBI. The newsrooms included the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Politicians were also sent selected documents.[793]

The highly studied break-in case, in which some documents from the Counter Intelligence Program [COINTELPRO] were taken, was never solved. One story about the forced entry put the identity of the action this way:[794]

An underground women’s commando stole classified documents that the FBI had compiled on activists.

 The activists stole: [795]

 . . . more than 1,000 FBI documents that revealed years of systematic wiretapping, infiltration and media manipulation designed to suppress dissent.

COINTELPRO’s aim, starting 25 August 1967, was to:[796]

 . . . “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and otherwise neutralize” the civil rights, Black liberation, Puerto Rican independence, Native-American, antiwar, socialist, and New Left movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

The COINTELPRO surveillance program was started by J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI and driven by anti-communism. It involved eavesdropping, bogus mail, black propaganda, disinformation, harassment arrests, infiltrators or agent provocateurs, “bad jacketing,”[797] fabrication of evidence and alleged assassinations.

“Bad-jacketing” segued easily into a culture of rumors and underground talk. For sure, we “knew” a person supposedly from the Socialist Workers Party [SWP] who had infiltrated such and such a group.

Or surely that person was an undercover FBI agent.

To counter such spurious suspicions was a near impossible task. To accept the possibility of such suspicions was to live with paranoia and tempt you to leave the movement, possibly even to do yourself in.

Los Angeles Times reporter Jalon, quoting from a COINTELPRO memo, wrote:[798]

. . . the bureau worked to “enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

One just kept on, keeping on. One tried, years later, after hearing clicks on their phone not to conclude the FBI was listening.


Protests did provoke change:[799]

A heightened sensitivity to inequality and injustice, even if gratingly self-righteous or impossibly utopian, can be a useful spur in the side of a complacent or at least pragmatic polity.

One could say one’s view of resistance all started on the steps of the City Hall Rotunda in San Francisco in 14-16 May 1960. We saw film footage[800] [Operation Abolition][801] of protestors at the meetings of the House Un-American Committee [HUAC] being washed down the steps from the force of fire hose water.[802]

Jump to the 1964-1965 start of the academic school year and the activities of the Free Speech Movement [FSM] at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of the State of California in 1966. It does not take a laborious exercise of the imagination to see how he used the actions of the protestors in his election strategy.

Still focusing on Berkeley, the young and privileged, those who by all appearances seemed to have everything, got their heads into thinking they were oppressed owing to lack of freedom of speech; due to displays of masculinity, shall we say, by law enforcement actions upon their physical persons, and the reactionary response of many ordinary citizens.

At the same time, the radicals were heartened by what they saw as victories of the free speech and civil rights movements. There was the feeling that one person gathered with others could make important changes in society.

Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man was published in 1964. Essays on Liberation was published in 1969. Marcuse[803] was studied by many.

The period 1960-1970 saw Black Power advocates protesting within university communities and not just about the War in Vietnam. Racial integration in the U.S. Armed Services was also a topic of concern for some Americans. Many protest demonstrations took place at Howard University in Washington, DC, most specifically in the push towards making Howard and its curriculum a Black one.[804]

People had been through over a decade of protests about the military-industrial complex, the Vietnam War draft, the arms race, poverty, nuclear testing to name primary topics.

A large number of Americans were part of the anti-authoritarian generation where no one outside their inner selves was going to tell them what to do, much less compel them.

These American, usually young, formed personal truths of freedom of self-expression, egalitarianism, search for community and high moral values. It often felt as if the rising generation had taken their Sunday school lessons to heart – feed the poor, house the homeless, thou shalt not kill. To some, “freedom” was problematic whether under capitalism or socialism.

Student protests happened worldwide. The concentration in this chapter is on those protests in the United States, usually about Vietnam or social justice.

Overreaching all other issues, the War in Vietnam was on the top of most protest lists. From 1963 on - year by year - multiple demonstrations were held.[805]

Claimed as the most widely read manifesto from the New Left, the Port Huron Statement[806] was written primarily by Tom Hayden and presented at an SDS convention on 15 June 1962.[807]

By September 1963, word came down that SDS was encouraging students to organize the poor in the cities - white and black. Out of the Economic Research and Action Project [ERAP][808] came the paper by Tom Hayden and Carl Wittman called “Toward an Interracial Movement of the Poor?”[809]

The urge for African American Departments in universities was pushed in the late 1960s. The first Department of Black Studies was in place September 1968 at San Francisco State University, after a protracted struggle.[810]

Political Parties and Organized Groups

Most students belonged to no political party, nor did they have an ideology.

Of the organized groups Students for a Democratic Society [SDS], a student activist group, was the largest. SDS was not known as a political party. The organization had a long history of fractious break-offs into factions.[811]

Middle class liberal organizations were, for example, represented by Women’s Strike for Peace (WSP) and the Organization for a Sane Nuclear policy (SANE) and the first Earth Day 22 April 1970.

Among the socialist organizations in the United States were the Socialist Workers Party (SWP),[812] and the Socialist Labor Party (SLP],[813] and the Young Socialist Alliance [YSA].[814]

Historian of the period, Max Elbaum, wrote about the SWP and its difficulties and pointed out an important trend of the group:[815]

The main U.S. Trotskyist organization, the Socialist Workers Party, was one of the first socialist groups to try to develop a relationship with Malcolm X and to publish his speeches in its [Pathfinder] press.

Those who are known to have been part of or who are part of SWP[816] are Harvey Braverman,[817] George, Breitman,[818] Steve Clark, Raya Dunayevskaya,[819] Sidney Hook,[820] C.L.R. James[821] and Lyndon LaRouche.[822]

Some United States Socialist Worker’s Party [SWP] members were circumspect about their membership, especially in relation to the Grenada Revolution. A direct fraternal connection with the PRG or the NJM and the Socialist Workers Party has not been directly documented or confirmed. Indicators of an SWP-Grenada connection are the many periodical articles and books published by SWP.

In the larger cities there was a dazzling array of major groups. Conflicts within groups led not only to heated discussions, but to splintering where the dissidents to the main group went off to form their own.

The Trotskyist groups included the Spartacist League [US],[823] the Militant Labor forum (MLF),[824] Youth against War and Fascism [YAWF],[825] the Committee for the Fourth International, (C4I),[826] plus the list of Trotskyist Internationals.[827]

The Communist Party of the United States [CPUSA][828] was viewed by the New Left to be ancient history with their defense of everything Soviet and their attack on the “petty bourgeois radicalism” and the manner in which they distanced themselves away from Black Nationalism.

The Progressive Labor Party [PLP] which grew out of the CPUSA was part of the famous splintering off from SDS, and later claimed Maoist roots and tendencies.[829]

In addition there was a sampling of smaller organizations representing a wide range of opinion, such as the anarchists in the United States,[830] the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation,[831] splinter groups focused on one subject or ideology.

Anti-Vietnam War Protests

The Vietnam War was America’s first Living Room War, the title of Michael J. Arlen’s 1969 book.[832] Images, some of a horrific nature, were being viewed by American citizens at home, starting in 1965.[833][834]

The number of student demonstrations against the Vietnam War at U.S. universities was listed by the FBI at 1,785 protests against U.S. participation in the conflict.[835] 

It was a time of J. William Fulbright,[836] David Dellinger,[837] Eric Hoffer,[838] Staughton Lynd,[839] Tom Hayden, Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] and Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW].[840]

The French pastor Jean Lasserre,[841] friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,[842] urged Bonhoeffer towards a different approach to the Sermon on the Mount – to take the teachings as ethical guidelines. Young people were reading about views of these theologians of World War II. Lasserre commented about the Sermon on the Mount: [843]

. . . almost everything a man does in warfare is contraire to gospel and ethics.

Warfare means conscription. Conscription in the United States meant one was headed for the Vietnam conflict. President Kennedy was the ultimate person in charge of the Armed Services draft lists where the names of married men with children were at the bottom of the call-up list for the draft. Next to the bottom were married men with no children.

Men of draft-eligible age were relatively exempt during the early part of the Vietnam War, but tacit exemptions were knocked off one by one.

President Lyndon Johnson, in the Selective Service Act of 31 June 1967, cut down on the mass graduate student deferments, among other measures.[844]

Draft policies were unwritten, and complex if known, and ever-changing.[845] Were university students exempt? Were medical doctors exempt? Do I move to Canada? Apply for Conscientious Objector [CO] status?[846] What was to be done with what some called “draft dodgers?”[847]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the United States government under the presidency of Richard Nixon sent troops and bombs into Cambodia when maintaining troops in Vietnam.

One of the famous protest songs to come out of the Anti-Vietnam War effort was issued in 1965. The song was composed and sung by Phil Ochs and was called “I Ain’t Marching Anymore.”[848]

Another Phil Ochs song written in 1963 was given further prominence when it was sung by Joan Baez in 1964. The song was “There But for Fortune.”[849]

“For What It’s Worth” was issued by Buffalo Springfield in 1967. Music lore says the song, written by Steven Stills, was not a protest song about Vietnam, but soon became one and known by its first line “Stop Children What’s That Sound?[850]

“Teach-ins” were one method to educate citizens about the Vietnam War. The first anti-Vietnam War “teach-in” was organized by SDS and held at the University of Michigan 24-25 March 1965.[851]

One of the largest nationwide demonstrations was on 17 April 1965 when SDS and SNCC joined together to sponsor an event in Washington, D.C. with about 25,000 protesters.[852]

Thich Quang Duc in 1963,[853] then 82 year-old Alice Herz on 26 March 1965[854] and, on 2 November 1965, Norman Morrison,[855] followed seven days later by Roger Allen LaPorte—all set themselves on fire, called self-immolation.[856]

Norman Morrison committed his self-immolating suicide under the window of Defence Secretary Robert McNamara’s office to protest the Vietnam War. [857]

There were two self-immolations in 1967 against the Vietnam War; one was Nhat Chi Mai,[858] a female South Vietnamese in May, followed by American Florence Beaumont[859] in October.[860]

Those who died by self-immolation by fire could see no further way to protest the War in Vietnam. The means was dousing yourself with gasoline or having an accomplice bring a large gas can and pour it over your body, someone lighting it and setting yourself on fire, and dying an excruciating death in the middle of a public thoroughfare.[861]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a major public speech condemning the Vietnam War. The speech title was “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence,”[862] the date was 4 April 1967; the location at Riverside Church in New York City, the event sponsored by the group Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam.[863]

By this time, around 1967, the Anti-Vietnam War protesters included the building of a counter-culture into their activities.

Following the Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam[864] on 15 April 1967, the sponsoring group called itself the National Mobilization to End the War, or “the MOBE.”[865] Out of the event emerged the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW] founded in June 1967.[866]

By summer 1967, another approach was made, called “Vietnam Summer.” It was an extension of a summer door bell campaign to teach people about the war.[867] In a different source, Ted Gold and other SDS activists at Columbia University were said to have organized “Vietnam Summer.”[868]

The University of Wisconsin at Madison was one symbolic location of anti-war protest. The film Two Days in October from the Public Broadcasting Service told about the lives of young men in Vietnam and young people at the University of Wisconsin with their protest of Dow Chemical, makers of napalm.[869]

Out of the anti-war momentum came a massive demonstration of over 100,000 people in Washington, DC on 21 October 1967. The event was known as the “March on the Pentagon.” One flavor of the four-day event, The Armies of the Night: History as a novel, the novel as history[870]was published in 1968 by Norman Mailer.

At some point, around 1968, a shifting of attitudes happened. Everything popped. The Tet[871] offensive in Vietnam on 30 January 1968 convinced the Left that Vietnam was not worth fighting and was an unwinnable conflict.

The tactic of persuasive talk and mass marches as shown in teach-ins and demonstrations seemed ineffective. It became respectable with some people to be against the Vietnam War. Eventually many in the Anti-Vietnam Movement turned their thinking around. Their credo was to take action and force confrontation.

Seymour Hersh’s[872] reportage of the My Lai Massacre[873] of 16 March 1968 began to be published in U.S. newspapers.

The largest anti-Vietnam War demonstration took place across the country on Vietnam Moratorium Day took place 15 October 1969 with a National Moratorium a year later.[874]

The first Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam was followed by a second on 15 November 1969 in a specific location, Washington, D.C., with over 500,000 demonstrators.

Folksinger Pete Seeger led about half of the demonstrators in singing John Lennon's new song "Give Peace a Chance.” [875]

The Chicago Democratic National Convention

“The Whole World is Watching”[876] was the chant 28 August 1968 at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Gil Scott-Heron in 1970 had poeticized and sang the “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”[877] but a part of the overall revolutionary fervor in the United States was caught right there on the television screen in the homes of Americans during the 25-30 August 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Police battered demonstrators[878] and the abuse was serious enough to be pointed out by reporters and inside the hall and on television. Police with gas masks, heavy military equipment, arms and billy clubs were shown on home television screens.

Norman Mailer published Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968.[879]

The Radical Pacifist Movement

The War Resisters League was established by, and for, those who were opposed to World War One. The group continues to this day. [880]

The radical pacifist magazine called Liberation, started in June 1956 by A.J. Muste, Dave Dellinger and Bayard Rustin. The War Resisters League provided funding for the journal.[881] A.J. Muste was to die two years later on 11 February 1967.[882]

On the other hand, focused peace activist groups were formed—the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), the Student Peace Union (SPU), and the Catholic Peace Fellowship (CPF).

The New York City pacifist anti-war movement was predominantly middle class. There was even a Spartacist Committee for non-violent action (CNVA)—somewhat of a stretch on this group’s reputation for disrupting meetings.

The New York Workshop in Non-Violence (NYWIN), and the Catholic Worker (CW) newspaper and Dorothy Day took the lead of what became known as radical pacifism.

Back in the 1950s through the 1970s, the concept of conscientious objection to war was keen on the minds of those subject to the draft for the Vietnam War. Those who believed killing was against their principles were called “war resisters” or “conscientious objectors.”[883]

Those young men who went through the process of declaring their conscientious objection [CO] to war during the Vietnam era needed enough education and funding to work through the papers and steps of legality. There was a process. The process might involved the FBI visiting your folks and asking questions; maybe even telling them you don’t believe.

If the CO status was not granted to you and you refused to be drafted, you could go to prison. Many did go to prison; others went to Canada.

The Anti-Nuclear Movement

A National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy [SANE], founded in 1957, was formed by people who believed everyone had the right to live without threat of nuclear weapons. Information, advertising, rallies, working with key figures and political lobbying were hallmarks of SANE’s activities over the years. The group merged in 1993 with FREEZE, a nuclear disarmament group, to form a new group, Peace Action.[884]

One notable action on 1 November 1961 combined those women against resumption of nuclear tests and pacifists into a gathering of 50,000 in demonstrations around the country. Out of this gathering, Women Strike for Peace was organized.[885]

A Lyndon Johnson campaign advertisement in 1964 was created for the purpose of implying LBJ’s opposition Barry Goldwater would start a nuclear war in Vietnam, so it was written. The ad ran on television only once on 7 September 1964. The Johnson camp pulled it. It was known as the “Daisy Ad,” was run on news programs in full and caused much discussion.[886]

Greenpeace, on 15 September 1971, launched its own ship to the Aleutians to try to prevent nuclear testing.[887]

The Human Rights Movement

The United Nations was ever present as the established international organization for world peace and human rights.[888]

Many a public high school across the country, managed to send Juniors and Seniors on class trips to New York City to visit the United Nations building, some went two times.

Students might have peeled off to see Lotte Lenya in The Three Penny Opera[889] or the original Broadway show West Side Story with its dance choreography by Jerome Robbins.[890] The side trips taken by students did not negate their interest in world affairs.

People were educated in the formal concept of “human rights” of which the United Nations formed a base for international protection. The Universal Declaration of Human Right [UDHR] was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948.[891] There were the Geneva Conventions.[892]

The Organization of American States established the Inter-American Committee on Human Rights [IACHR] in 1959. The base of operations of OAS and IACHR was in Washington, D.C.[893]

One early group known to the generation coming of age in the 1960s was Amnesty International [AI] which was formed in the United Kingdom in 1961.[894]

The non-governmental organization, Amnesty, followed on the detainee situation in Grenada. AI also was involved with the “Grenada 17” information campaign.

The War on Poverty

President Lyndon Johnson started off 1964 with a vision of a “Great Society” in the United States. First up was attacking the poverty level which was at 19% of the total population.[895]

The overt efforts to try to reduce poverty lasted through the 1960s with Head Start,[896] the Job Corps,[897] non-profit legal services and Volunteers in Service to America [VISTA][898] continuing.[899]

The War on Poverty was administered by the Office of Economic Opportunity [OEO], headed by Sgt. Shriver, Bertrand Harding and Donald Rumsfeld (sic). [900]

The Women’s Movement

The first International Women’s Day [IWD] was observed on 28 February 1909, but soon became a harbinger of the spring season and celebrated every March 8th.

One analysis of the position of women in the world had been published in France. The book was the Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir which reached the United States in 1953.[901]

Re–activated radical developments in feminism, starting in the 1960s, turned towards a class-based, anti-imperialist and anti-racist line of attack.

The National Organization for Women [NOW] was founded in 30 June 1966. [902] The group was an outgrowth of a Washington, DC conference on the status of women. Founders were Betty Friedan,[903] Pauli Murray[904] and Shirley Chisholm.[905]

In late 1967-early 1970s, especially in women’s groups, one heard a new term – “consciousness-raising.”[906]

Consciousness-raising referred to the latent consciousness that all women have about their oppression, according to one belief. Something needed to draw it out because the “personal was political.”[907] Consciousness-raising became a political movement. [908]

Valerie Solanas printed her version of the SCUM Manifesto[909] in October 1967.[910]

Reworking Otis Redding’s hit song Respect, Aretha Franklin,[911] laboring under domestic abuse in her personal life, released her own version of the song.  Respect was an even bigger hit in 1967, serving as one landmark of the modern women’s movement.[912]

The 7 September 1968 Miss America beauty pageant in Atlantic City brought feminist protests against the celebration of the objectification of women despite the official identification as a “scholarship pageant.”[913]

Cheryl Adrienne Browne a student in Iowa from Jamaica, New York was the first African-American contestant in the Miss America pageant of 1970.[914]

The late Shirley Chisholm[915] represented New York’s 12th Congressional District from 1969-1983. She was not reticent and spoke her mind. In her 1970 autobiography Unbought and Unbossed, she wrote of her British education in Barbados and lauded her early education. In 1972, she was a strong Democratic Presidential candidate in the upcoming election. [916] 

Chisholm was the first major-party black candidate for this highest office in America, and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. She once remarked she felt more discrimination as a woman than being black.[917]

A re–awakening of a national awareness of the rights of women was brought into sharp focus during the early 1970s after years of being one step behind men, usually cleaning up.

One example of feminist work was the Southern Female Rights Union [SFRU].[918] First a speech given by Jo Freeman in May 1970 in Mississippi, the essay, “The Tyranny of Structurelessness,” written by Jo Freeman[919] is posted online.[920]

Some women were exploring karate, Tae Kwan Do and other self-defense tactics. Some women were anti-men and anti-family. As a fashion style, it became prevalent for women to wear pants in the early 1970s. Hair-straightening was out of fashion. Some women were not only feminists, but championed the lesbian cause in America.

Germaine Greer published her book The Female Eunuch in the United Kingdom.[921] The New York City staff of Rat, a leftist underground newspaper was taken over by staff women in January 1970.

Our Bodies, Ourselves from 1971 was a “must-have” book for those American women coming into the new consciousness of their very personal health. Many women were moved by Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique; Robin Morgan’s Sisterhood is Powerful plus Shulamith Firestone’s analysis of 1970, The Dialectics of Sex.

Helen Reddy’s women’s liberation song I Am Woman was released in 1972.[922]

The Joy of Sex was published in 1972, followed by the hilarious Harvard Lampoon edition of the Job of Sex in 1974.

Black women’s books, authored by Black women, were increasingly published in the 1970s.

Maya Angelou[923] saw her poetry published by Random House. She also wrote plays, auto-biographical reminiscences, personal essays, screenplays and children’s books.[924]

Culinary historian, poet, and writer Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor’s Vibration cooking, or, the travel notes of a Geechee girl was first published in 1970 by Doubleday.[925]

The book is known for its autobiographical narrative originating in South Carolina, as well as its Gullah recipes. The out-of-print Thursdays and Every Other Sunday Off, a “domestic rap” by Vertamae, was published in 1972 by Doubleday, about the role of domestics in the household. [926]

Toni Morrison’s first book, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1972.[927]

Not until the popular Ms. Magazine was published in July 1972 did the message of women’s liberation get popularized. Gloria Steinem was placed in the spotlight of the mass communication media. Women were aligned in spirit due to publicity.

The first African-American woman from a southern state was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972. She was the late Barbara Jordan and she was from Texas.[928]

In 1973 during her first term in Congress Barbara Jordan developed multiple-sclerosis [MS], but kept this condition low-key and did not let her disability stop her. She served in Congress until 1979 with history considering her a silent, but stalwart, example of a woman’s mark on government. [929]

Rowe vs. Wade, the controversial law about a woman’s right to an abortion, passed in favor in the U.S. Supreme Court of 1973.[930]

The international women’s movement of the 1960’s and the 1970s influenced women throughout Canada and the Caribbean.

One location at Simon Fraser University in Canada was the publication of a student, Margaret Bentson. Bentson wrote a 14-page article in the September 1969 Monthly Review magazine out of New York City. The article was titled “The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation.” The basic point of her essay being women’s energies into unpaid housework had been overlooked. It was a fusion of Marxism and feminism.[931]

One organizing women’s unit in the Caribbean was the Women and Development Unit (WAND) at the University of the West Indies in Barbados established in 1978.[932]

The concerns of women were pushed front and center by the leading female leaders of the NJM and PRG.

There is a drag on the timeline of the women’s movement as the challenge to change gender cultures moved at a snail’s pace.

The Chicano Movement

In California, the National Farm Workers Union, led by César Chávez, went on strike against thirty-three [33] California grape ranches on 16 September 1965. Much publicity was given to the strikers and the movement.[933]

Elbaum reported on a little known action in New Mexico in June of 1967 that was dangerously (officials believed) close to the Los Alamos National Laboratory:[934]

 . . . twenty members of the Alianza Federal de Mercedes (later called the Alianza Federal de Pueblos Libres/Alliance of Free Peoples) led by Reies López Tijerina conducted an armed takeover of the county courthouse in Tierra Amarilla [New Mexico].

The action was part of a long campaign to win recognition of land grants and regain thousands of acres stolen from New Mexicans of Mexico descent.

The Native American Movement

The American Indian Movement [AIM][935] was founded in 1968. The voices of Native Americans reached into the popular media with the publication in the same year of Vine DeLoria’s Custer Died for your Sins and Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee; both published in 1971.

The siege at Pine Ridge Reservation in February-March 1973 in South Dakota was a highlight in the history of the struggles of the Native American Movement.[936]  

A couple of documentary films were made about the siege 30 or more years later.

Information about the Native American Movement was found in the periodical Akwesasne Notes (Voices from Wounded Knee), published in 1973.[937]

The Puerto Rican Independence Movement

A dramatic moment occurred in the U.S. House of Representatives on 1 March 1954 when four [4] Puerto Rican nationalists entered the House chamber, unfurled the Puerto Rican flag and fired weapons. The result was that five [5] Congressmen were wounded.[938]

The history of opposition to the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States is a long and detailed one.[939] In the early 1900s, Puerto Ricans were made citizens of the United States.[940]

The Young Lords Party[941] was one of the well-known groups advocating independence for Puerto Rico from the U.S. and support for Puerto Ricans in the United States. The group had started in Chicago, and formed the New York Chapter in 26 July 1969. The Young Lords were said to have been based on the Black Panther Party.

Alternative Education Movement

A new style of education emphasized egalitarian, informal, ad hoc, experiential methods of learning. The idea of the “community free school movement” meant teachers, adults, and children were involved in discovering new ways of becoming educated.

Black Power advocates involved themselves in special Black-focused centers within the university, special Black Studies courses, liberation schools, community theater, political action groups; all to instill and teach for an outcome of Black pride. The aim was for educational empowerment.

Black Power pluralists wanted community-controlled public schools, getting rid of Dick and Jane readers[942] with it characters from lily-white suburbia.

The new educators looked towards local school boards replaced by parents, stake-holders in the rearing of Black children; even considering the inclusion of students on the school board. The point observed by one author stated -[943]

Educators had to recognize that schools which promoted cultural homogeneity could not adequately meet the needs of students growing up in a multi-cultural society.

A Free University of New York was founded in 1965, and continued until 1968. Its first year or two were the years which included a wide range of courses such as leftist politics and history, even astrology and hallucinatory drugs with a faculty teaching courses such as:  History of the American Left (Staughton Lynd); History of the Labor Movement (Stanley Aronowitz[944]); Why the New York Times is Funnier than Mad Magazine (Paul Krassner[945]), Cuba Today; training in non-violent tactics, and History of the National Liberation Front.[946]

On the other hand, some colleges and universities were getting rid of certain members of their staff who showed a leftist orientation.

The Alternative School Movement[947] had its start in the early 1970s in Canada (Toronto and British Columbia), and within the United States through the writings of John Holt [How Children Fail[948]] and Jonathan Kozol [Death at an Early Age[949]]. Influential also were books written by George Denison[950] and Ivan Illich.[951]

As far as child-rearing techniques, some were keen on learning them because the decision to have children, in some cases, was prompted with a temporary kind of assurance that your name would be at the bottom of the draft list. And then you went and had babies.

Many parents had a paperback copy of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care. Nothing revolutionary could be found in that 1946 best-seller, but every parent can recall one crucial piece of advice that smoothed their anxiety.[952]

Dr. Spock became an activist in the New Left and Anti-Vietnam movements during the years 1960 throughout the Vietnam War. Wikipedia research refers to the William Sloane Coffin Jr. Project Committee information:[953]

In 1968, he [Dr. Spock] and four others (William Sloane Coffin, Marcus Raskin, Mitchell Goodman, and Michael Ferber) were singled out for prosecution by then Attorney General Ramsey Clark on charges of conspiracy to counsel, aid, and abet resistance to the draft.

Spock and three of his alleged co-conspirators were convicted, although the five had never been in the same room together. His two-year prison sentence was never served; the case was appealed and in 1969 a federal court set aside his conviction.

Some parents studied techniques of child discipline. One revolution in the history of child-rearing in the United States was the premier on 10 November 1969 of the PBS weekday television program for children called Sesame Street.[954] The program was a daily pre-school education for children and their parents in their own home.

Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs, who not only was the author of books, was on his television series sponsored by Vermont Educational television.[955] We Leftist parents needed a guide to child discipline. Natural and logical consequences entered our vocabulary.[956]

One could learn how to cook from the WGBH television show The French Chef with Julia Child.[957]

Education was happening as if it was a newly discovered concept.

Experiments and innovations in educating others were tried such as teaching a subject you knew well in your own home—like a short class on Old-Timey American music given by your neighbor. It was one path of the start of adult education outside of formal schools.

Child daycare became more commonplace. Monica Clyne, Chief Nursing Officer in 1970 was writing about Daycare in Grenada[958] in a journal Cajanus issued by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute.

The Head Start Program in the United States had started in 1965, and continues to this day under the Department of Health and Human Services.[959]

The alternative/new/free schools were experiments in education which brought forth various ideas used later by the Grenadian and Internationalists educators in Grenada during the People’s Revolutionary Government [1979-1983]. Brazilian educator Paolo Freire was brought in to Grenada for consultations.

The very first Whole Earth Catalog: access to tools was publishing in the fall 1968.  Every “tool” seemed a unique opportunity to learn.

An education prototype of the Whole Earth Catalog was the equally over-sized Big Rock Candy Mountain: resources for our education published by the Portola Institute the winter of 1970. The major categories were Process Learning, Educational Environments, Classroom Materials and Methods, Home Learning and Self Discovery. Outward Bound is listed.

Remember the Raspberry Exercises, Maslow’s Toward a Psychology of Being, oriental religions and diets, and two educational ventures from Canada: This Magazine is about Schools and the Free School Press?

Another over-size prototype was G. Howard Poteet’s Tom Swift and his Electric English Teacher from 1974, a catalog of how to use media to teach English.

Intentional Communities

Floyd McKissick, director of the Congress of Racial Equality [CORE] started a movement in 1969 to develop a new town called Soul City in Warren County, North Carolina. The Federal funding was cut from the project, but inhabitants continued organizing in this historically African-American community.[960]

There were “hippie” communities, intentional and co-operative, often called communes. These were generally back-to-the-land experiments, popular during the 1960s and through 1970s. Northern California seemed to be a magnet for the larger, more isolated communities. An especially memorable visual visit to one Oregon commune was laid out in full color in Life magazine, 1969.[961]

Often and originally, the counter-culture communes were started by well-educated, primarily affluent, young whites. Their alienation emerged from various sources – the War in Vietnam, racism and sexism, their feelings of political manipulation by “The System,” their abhorrence of the bland materialism of their suburban upbringing.

They were going to do things different. They would live simple, with dignity and love for one another. Theirs was a radical change in consciousness.

Eventually self-subsistence was too hard to live in reality. The communes became over-run with drugs, drifters, runaways and people whose craziness was too much for the highly tolerant group of people living in their own community.

Eventually, the reality of close group living and group dynamics with few rules, with superficially shared beliefs, without privacy, with some people doing all the work and often without a group leader because consensus was the norm, caused such communes to disintegrate.

The Sexual Revolution

Birth control pills were widespread and their use growing in the 1960s.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approved “the Pill” which was the first widespread oral contraceptive.[962] Various dates marked the history, but the approval by the Food & Drug Administration for the popular Enovid 10 was completed 23 June 1960.

By 1963, 2.3 million American women were “on the Pill”, as the saying went,[963] with widespread use, it was on the cover of TIME magazine 7 April 1967.[964]

In 1968 McGill University’s Student Society published a Birth Control Handbook.[965]

Despite modern contraceptives, the attitude toward sex remained on the Puritan side, not only at small religious schools, but also at state and private universities.

Universities took measures to prevent sex between undergraduates. As a student, one could not live in their own apartment, and if they lived in a house the inhabitants were of the same gender. Gay sex was off the radar, but whispered. One could like in a dormitory of women, for example, but it there were too many occurrences of coming home after curfew, one was in disciplinary trouble.

Remember the three foot rule? This did not mean persons of the opposite sex had to be three feet apart. It meant that when sitting together, three feet had to be on the floor.

Social changes were spreading from peer to peer. Where it had been a norm in the 1960s of universities to follow the principle of in loco parentis now was a time of contraceptives.

Illegal abortions could send you to Bellevue Hospital. Going back to the home of your parents might land you to live in a home for un-wed mothers. Most knew nothing of sexually transmitted infections like the human papilloma virus [HPV].[966]

Oh, imperious one, you thought you could play games with abandon. It was a time of “I have a right just like any man.” It was a time of plain–old “I have a right.” Contraceptive methods were called by some, the great equalizers.

Swinging, partner-sharing, open sex, free love, group sex became popularized and reported in the mass media during the 1960s into the 1970s. The 1969 film Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice seemed one climax of the sexual revolution in the popular media.[967]

Public nudity, especially public nude beaches, occurred with a frequency unknown to the previous generation. Studies, like the 1966 Masters and Johnson’s The Human Sexual Response, were issued in mass market paperback form. Not to be forgotten were the novels Fanny Hill, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Ulysses and Tropic of Cancer.

Non-fiction sex manuals began to be published like the Joy of Sex and books about achieving orgasm.

Heterosexual serial monogamous physical relationships – short or long-lasting – were accepted by many couples, whether married or not.

We knew of "queers," and that meant "effeminate” to us.

We had heard of the lesbian and male homosexual early organized formations in California.  The Mattachine Society for gay men was founded in Los Angeles in 1950.[968] The Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights group was formed in San Francisco on 21 September 1955.[969]

Our prejudices and the untruths we knew slowly disappeared. Soon homosexual relationships were coming out of the “closet” with enough “gay pride” to strut one’s stuff. The infamous Stonewall Rebellion took place 27-28 June 1969 in New York City.[970]

Unfortunately, it was not until later years the dark side of “free” sexual relationships took their toll with HIV-AIDs, death, the lingering human papillomavirus [HPV] and other sexually-transmitted diseases, abortions and unexpectedly huge expenses later in life. Sadness of the heart remained mixed with sweet memories.


Religion and Spiritual Searches

Whatever it led to, for the millions who learned it, the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi was read and said by even those who did not attend church:[971]

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


In the United States Roman Catholic Church, the Latin Mass was dropped and all parts of the service were in English. Music began to resound from the once quiet alter; drum beats entered the hallowed walls of the Church; guitars provided the background to some Roman Catholic Church weddings. Priests and nuns resigned from the Church.

Some nuns preferred jeans and bandanas, or at minimal, as relaxed a habit as they could wear in the change from the traditional tunic to a sober dress suit. Priests and nuns ventured out of their home parish to work with the poor, as they always had, but especially after Vatican II.

These changes came about following the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965][972] with its liturgy reform, its acceptance of laity within the Church, and its responsibility to world affairs.

Pope Paul VI on 26 March 1967 gave out a call for struggle against hunger, poverty and social injustice.[973]

Social injustice was the primary topic of the August 1968, 29th Eucharistic World Congress.[974]

The shift towards social justice with the teachings of the church took some of its thought starting with the 1968 Medellin [Columbia] Conference of Latin American Catholic Bishops and the Latin American Episcopal Conference [CELAM].[975]

Father Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest, and Father Philip Berrigan, a former Josephite priest, plus seven [7] other Catholic activists burned draft files using napalm outside the Catonsville, Maryland draft board. The event took place on 17 May 1968, and the group was known as the Catonsville Nine.[976]

Known as the Camden 28 in a later action,[977] their story was told in an excellent documentary film of the same name.[978] The Camden 28 activists plotted to destroy-remove draft records for category-A potential draftees. The raid group included two priests and one minister. The Camden action on 22 August 1971 was interrupted by arrests. A friend of some in the group had betrayed the others to an informant because he felt the group was violating the law. [979]

The resulting court case brought acquittal for each of the 28 members of the Camden raid group. More significantly it questioned the over-reaching role of the FBI with U.S. government participation in supplying the means and supplies for the raid. The court case also brought to public attention the question of the war in Vietnam especially since the action focused on draft records affecting the households of ordinary citizens. [980]

One defense allowed was the showing of slides. A slide of burned out houses in Camden, New Jersey from the August 1971 riots and torching juxtaposed a slide of the burned out war situation in Vietnam. The sequence of the slides made the point of the waste of funds for weapons when a glaring need existed on the American soil for spending for peaceful needs.[981]

The over-riding issue of the time for protestors was the division between law and justice —one may have broken a rock-ribbed law, but justice took precedence in the opinion of many.

The U.S. Roman Catholic Left was a strong social movement in the 1970s; primarily an anti-war movement with the Catholic Worker organization and its publications being primary movers.

In 1971, the Peruvian Dominican order priest Gustavo Gutiérrez wrote about “liberation theology”[982] a Marxist interpretation of the Roman Catholic faith in his book A Theology of Liberation.[983] The interpretations of “liberation theology” differ within and without the church community.[984]

If one followed on the ecumenical World Student Christian Federation [WSCF], the prominent member names of influence to Grenada history are Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Steve Biko and Oliver Tambo.

A theory of beliefs grew out of Christian religious thought called “situational ethics.” In a broad view, one’s belief about something was most moral when it was most loving. The theory was developed in the 1960s by then Episcopal priest Joseph Fletcher. The “ends justifies the means” was one popular interpretation.[985]

In Europe and the United States, the popular spiritual enlightenment movements were the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation, Zen Buddhism and I.G. Gurdjieff along with his one-time student P.D. Ouspensky.

The immensely popular book by Carlos Castenada,[986] The Teachings of Don Juan, was published in 1968.[987]

After different books from Castenada, years later in 1974, the nation was captivated by Robert Pirsig’s[988] Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.[989]

Rebellion in the Prisons

Prisoner defiance rose up in the Queens House of Detention, then at Folsom prison in November of 1970.

Black Power news spread quickly.[990]

On the morning of 22 August, [1971] hundreds of Attica State prisoners tied their black shoelaces around their arms as a mark of respect, and refused breakfast as a symbolic fast in [George] Jackson’s memory.

Insubordination of prisoners was caused by incidents at Soledad prison relating to George Jackson[991], others at San Quentin Prison, and at the major civil, prisoner and human rights struggle within Attica Prison, began 9 September 1971 at Attica Correctional Facility in New York State.[992]

These uprisings had a Black Power subtext; e.g. The Folsom Prisoners’ Manifesto of Demands and Anti-Oppression Platform.[993] Each had their own context for complaint.

At Attica, 1,200 inmates took over half the prison and hostages were taken. In the morning on 13 September, 1971, Governor Nelson Rockefeller had ordered a helicopter assault on the prison compound with tear gas and a bevy of 500 state troopers. The final death count was 29 inmates and 10 hostages killed. Nine guards were killed by gunfire.[994]

A remaining question arose from the Attica Uprising - Do prisoners have human rights?

Social Drug Use

An unknown, but vast number of counterculture people experimented with, while others were obsessed by, drugs. Conversely, one could say that addiction, in some, became their affliction.

These drugs include nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, LSD, mushrooms, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, meth and Ecstasy.

“Experimentation” with psilocybin mushrooms in the early 1960s led to what was called “psychedelic drug use.”[995]

The “Summer of Love” in 1967 found thousands of kids getting to San Francisco in some manner. They were on a quest and they had a vision and the drug of innocence appeared to be marijuana. LSD came to the front of anticipated highs during 1967 California. The song “San Francisco” sung by the late Scott McKenzie seemed to reach all of us; beckoning to go West:[996]

If you're going to San Francisco,

be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

Things turned bad; drug dealers moved in and by September it seems most people had gone home.

From 1970-1972 the rise of heroin use “in powder” was found in the New York “quarter” buy. The New York kingpin of the heroin trade was Leroy Nicky Barnes[997] and the business got rough with Mr. Big Stuff.

By 1974, drug dealing was a major activity in large cities. Soldiers came back from Vietnam with serious drug problems.

Black Power advocates in the U.S. worked for community narcotic and alcoholic treatment facilities. This was a start in the recognition of addictive diseases.

Possession of pot was illegal in the U.S., U.K. and throughout most of Europe, same with its consumption. Social use of marijuana was widespread, as easy as knocking on the door of a neighboring avocational dealer.

Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol was a given. A jolt of caffeine to prop up one’s day did the trick for countless people. One could not go to a movie without seeing someone on the screen light up or handle a drink. Children went on road trips with their parents who were smoking in the front seat, drinking cocktails when they got back home completely at ease in front of the children.

Food for Thought

For What It’s Worth by the Buffalo Springfield, written by Stephen Stills in 1966, was like a quiet murmur of things to come. The song “Dear Landlord” from Bob Dylan’s album John Wesley Harding of 1968 portended discussion on the identity of the landlord, personified in real or spiritual life.[998]

By 1969, though, commercialism of rock stars, their recordings and their performances, began to irritate their fans, especially those of a revolutionary bent.  Who are you to tell us, you record companies, you media, you psychedelic merchandisers, you concert promoters, what is going on if we will consume your product/s? The young continued buying what was out there.

Major artists and tunes in 1970 were Oh Happy Day performed by the Edwin Hawkins Singers; Peggy Lee’s Is That All There Is?; Brook Benton’s Rainy Night in Georgia; Johnny Taylor’s I Am Somebody; the Impressions Check Out Your Mind, the Fifth Dimension’s Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In; Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters; Ringo Star appeared on U.S. television’s Laugh-In.

“The Last Poets” first album came out in the spring with their featured street poetry and strong message: Wake Up, Niggers![999] Not to be forgotten from 1970 is the late Gil Scot-Heron’s Small Talk at 125th and Lenox album featuring The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,[1000]  rerecorded in different versions.[1001] The lyrics are:[1002]

The Revolution Will Not be Televised

You will not be able to stay home, brother.

You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.

You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,

Skip out for beer during commercials,

Because the revolution will not be televised.


The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox

In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.

The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon

blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John

Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat

hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

The revolution will not be televised.


The revolution will not be brought to you by the 

Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.

The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.

The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.

The revolution will not make you look five pounds

thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.


There will be no pictures of you and Willie Mays

pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,

or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.

NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32

or report from 29 districts.

The revolution will not be televised.


There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down

brothers in the instant replay.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down

brothers in the instant replay.

There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being

run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.

There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy

Wilkins strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and

Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving

For just the proper occasion.


Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville

Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and

women will not care if Dick finally gets down with

Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people

will be in the street looking for a brighter day.

The revolution will not be televised.


There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock

news and no pictures of hairy armed women

liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.

The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,

Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom

Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.

The revolution will not be televised.


The revolution will not be right back after a message

about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.

You will not have to worry about a dove in your

bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.

The revolution will not go better with Coke.

The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.

The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.


The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,

will not be televised, will not be televised.

The revolution will be no re-run brothers;

The revolution will be live.

The album the Best of the Wailers was released in the United States. Layla by Derek & the Dominoes, James Brown Sex Machine,  the Temptations’ Message from a Black Man; Willie Hightower’s Time Has Brought About a Change; Funkadelic’s Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, Sweet Baby James by James Taylor; Syl Johnson’s Concrete Reservation; The Last Poets Run, Nigger; Gil Scott-Heron with Small Talk at 125th and Lenox were favorites.

A major cultural influence in America was Nigerian-raised Michael Babatunde "Baba" Olatunji [1928-2003] who taught on the mysteries of drumming with his record albums and his “Drums of Passion Performing Group.”[1003]  Olatunji had graduated from Morehouse College and New York University Graduate School. One institution he founded in the 1960s was in Harlem; the Olatunji Center of African Culture.[1004]

African dance was right behind with the teachings and performances of Trinidadian Pearl Primus [1919-1994]. When in graduate school, she came across modern dance teachers, the alluring idea of body movement, and engaged in studies of African dance.[1005] She eventually earned a Ph.D. in anthropology and sociology.[1006] Primus formed her own company in 1959. Her dancing and choreography influenced generations of dancers.

Comedy albums were popular and black comedy performers were led by Bill Cosby. Cosby won Best Comedy Recording Grammy Awards from 1965-1970, with the album To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With in 1968.[1007]

Other recordings were by Richard Pryor, LaWanda “Aunt Esther” Page, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Redd Foxx, George Carlin, Bob Newhart and Steve Martin.

A hit television program starting in the 1971-1972 season was Sanford and Son;[1008] the series reruns are still showing on U.S. television. The series was based on the British TV program Steptoe and Son. One influence of Sanford and Son was a calypso of the same name by The Mighty Sparrow.[1009]

Ernie sang about his Rubber Duckie on Sesame Street,[1010] and on American Bandstand in February 1970, the late Michael Jackson and his four [4] brothers, The Jackson 5, taught about ABC.

Musical group break-ups in 1970 include the Beatles and the partnership of Simon & Garfunkel.

Otis Spann, Lonnie Johnson and Slim Harpo, all blues musicians, died from natural or accident-related causes. Soul singer Tammi Terrell, at 24 years old, died from a malignant brain cancer. After singing duets with Marvin Gaye, their duet legacy was missed. Otis Redding died in a fatal plane crash in 1970.

The deaths of Jimi Hendrix on 18 September 1970[1011]  under unclear, but barbiturate-suspected, circumstances, and Janis Joplin on 3 October 1970[1012] by way of alcohol-heroin overdose, gave a somber warnings of the damage done by drugs, continued with pop star Whitney Houston’s death in 2012.

In early 1970, there was a Weatherman Songbook with new lyrics set to familiar tunes. One song was to the tune of the Maria song from West Side Story:[1013]

I’ve just met a Marxist Leninist named Kim Il Sung,

And suddenly his line seems so correct and so fine . . .

Kim Il Sung,

Say it soft and there’s rice fields flowing,

Say it loud and there’s a people’s war growing.

The motion picture Watermelon Man by Melvin Van Peebles opened in the United States in May of 1970.[1014] Woodstock, Catch-22, Cotton Comes to Harlem, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Five Easy Pieces, Zabriskie Point, and Mash were popular with young Americans.

The Leftist Shift Toward Marxism, Leninism and Maoism

The aims of the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Illich Lenin fit the highly principled aspirations for mankind of many on the Left. Radical tried to tackle and study the writings of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Mao. Even more of them, looked on the interpretations of what Marx and Lenin and Trotsky and Mao had to say. One could usually study them all within a Marxist study group. Often these groups morphed into a Marxist organizing collective.

Within the context of the history[1015] of the New Left in the United States, a drift was noticed:[1016]

The close of the 1960s, moreover, saw SDS’ early commitment to participatory democracy give way to vanguard fantasies.

And far from condemning oppression wherever they found it, many in the New Left went to great lengths to excuse and sometimes even to glorify repressive political regimes around the world.

The old way was a slow process and required too much input of energy and sacrifice. Frustration and impatience came to a head. Leftists wanted a change.

One explanation for this shift in point-of-view is defended as caused by repression and violence of state and society.

The worn-out strugglers could name the defeats — the Harlem Riot of 1964[1017] and the Watts Riot of 1965,[1018] and other city riots, the invasion of the Dominican Republic, police repression on university campuses, the murders of SNCC workers in 1964, the unseating of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party [MFDP] at the 1964 national convention, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963,[1019] Dr. Martin Luther King on 4 April 1968,[1020] Robert Kennedy on 6 June 1968,[1021] and Malcolm X on 21 February 1965.[1022] And the continued war in Southeast Asia.

No matter the reason for these catastrophic events, the events all felt like overwhelming loss.  People were angry about the setbacks and looked for political reasons why their struggle was not working.

The late political activist Carl Oglesby made a speech as the new President of Students for a Democratic Society on 27 November 1965 which prefigured the years to come. It was titled “Let Us Shape the Future” and in online.[1023]

Oglesby’s presentation was given at the March on Washington for Peace in Vietnam, sponsored by the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy [SANE], the National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam, Women Strike for Peace and SDS.

Overhanging all issues was the War in Vietnam. People despaired and marched and were dejected and marched and gave up hope and marched again.

By 8 October 1969, the Chicago “Days of Rage”[1024] spoke volumes on the state of mind of many youth. Soon the argument grew that realism and common sense gets one sidetracked from acting for change. People wanted action.

The old style of radicalism from being open, inquiring, being satisfied with provisional answers, experimentation and plain language began slowly to tighten up. Old radicals wanted answers.

They wanted to see the end of class control, economic underdevelopment, racial discrimination and the hegemony of the United States.

The word “hegemony” started turning up in left literature in a familiar, ubiquitous, and nagging fashion. A definition:[1025]

Hegemony is the political, economic, ideological or cultural power exerted by a dominant group over other groups, regardless of the explicit consent of the latter.

The zeal for goodness operated under the broad umbrella of religious and dutiful belief. Away from any M-L [Marxist-Leninist] context, we can see this play out in our time.

For example, a missionary group goes to a country which has experienced massive tragedies. Those in the group wish to help. Their aim is benevolent. The zeal of the leadership is strong enough to convince others to join in an action which is illegal in that country. Capturing children for their own good, as happened during the earthquake in Haiti 2010,[1026] did not see the dark side of benevolence.

Dr. Benjamin R. Barber commented on the idealism of Marxism:[1027]

Radical communist idealism of the kind represented by Marx is dangerous because it calls us to a standard of liberty—one rooted in perfect equality— that we cannot meet.

The result of the new style favored firm concepts, easy answers, accountability, arbitrary assessments, a swift division of issues into good and evil, categorizations, rigor and rigidity, discipline, a central administrative organization structure, a delving deeply into the impenetrable language of Marx and Lenin.

There was the assumption that serious political conflict disappeared when all peoples were under a socialist economic system and sharing the wealth. It was the purge of the charismatic, media-chosen leader in favor of the hard liner who got things done.

Then there emerged the notion that a righteous cause justified the tactic of violence and arbitrary deeds:[1028]

The more ominous America became in the eyes of the New Left, the more irresistible became the arguments in favor of violence, the more righteous the movement, the easier to sanction its use of almost any means.

The demonization of “the system,”[1029] “the establishment,”[1030] corporations, capitalism and the status quo went into full flower.

Seen from the purity of one’s point-of-view, there was the mind’s quick slide to ridding the world of the powers that be. “They” had deformed and destroyed people. If their laws were a cover for maiming and torturing and murdering civilians, should not “the people” take the law into their own hands?

At this point some could not make the jump into that manner of justification and withdrew.

Institutions were built outside the mainstream. One saw the use of the word “alternative.”  There were freedom schools, free schools and universities, co-ops grocery stores and intentional communities. Within the enclosed egalitarianism[1031] of communes, egalitarianism works well with small groups of people who have the same goal.

The newly popularized term “hegemony”[1032] emerged when it was reasoned that if the oppressed could not respond, it was because they were in the grip of a system of authority. If the exploited peoples of the world could not make revolution on their own, then revolutionaries could make changes to the benefit of their lives.[1033]

Gitlin observed:[1034]

. . . Leninism gave would-be theorists the most honored of places.

With perverse brilliance it preserved the anarchist task for the small groups and welded it to a time-honored strategy for successful revolution.

The vanguard was the gang transmuted into the Party.

The Cuban Revolution was the shining star – inspiring and romantic. It was the saga of a downtrodden people who were aided by the Fidelistas. There was a sense, taken from one version of Cuba’s history that everyone was in the same fight, primarily against Batista-like capitalists, and for a new society.

From far away, the Cuban Revolution looked like pure participatory democracy with flair. The people were running their own revolution in brotherhood with each other.

Could egalitarianism raise up the oppressed when competitive individualism and hierarchy vanish? Rationalization and explaining away became the defense of the Cuban Revolution. Those outside Cuba have no right to impost Western, capitalist standards on a Third World Culture, so it was believed.

Did not reporting suspicious actions of your Cuban neighbors to local officials mean support of the Revolution and not totalitarian tyranny? You were a little odd and sent away to a training camp to help your return to a normal Cuban.

What? No elections? Some commented they did not vote in the United States, for example. Why vote if someone like Lyndon Baines Johnson was on the ticket?

Castro’s voice was the voice of the people.

It became easy for many radicals to overlook, excuse and explain away repression in countries like Cuba because the poor people there were usually correct and if there were any crimes such offenses were to be tolerated because they were small law-breaking events compared to what the former oppressors of the Cuban populace had done to them. The victims of oppression were exonerated.

There were hints of political authoritarianism in Cuban government arrangements. The controversy about life in Cuba exists to this day.

In 1967, the SDS National Secretary called for collective leadership and 1968 saw the emergence of Marxist-Leninist quasi-military cadres of revolutionary communists. The Marxist-Leninist groups broke into factions; the Weathermen, the Revolutionary Youth Movement and Progressive Labor.[1035]

A version of Leninism for Third World Movements was given meaning by the Chinese, Cuban, and Vietnamese Communist parties. The key elements of Third World Liberation Marxist-Leninist Movements were

1.     anti-racism;

2.     anti-imperialism and

3.     that the revolutionary body to carry the struggle be of the working class.

Racism was seen as the main obstacle to working class unity. The world movements of those against imperialist powers in the 1970s included those in Cuba, China, Guinea-Bissau & Cape Verde, Mozambique and Angola, or those championing their cause.

The concept of Marxism-Leninism grew from the writings of Karl Marx which became, through the writings of Lenin, an expanded concept with new conditions; ergo, that of imperialism and its defeat through proletarian internationalism.

Consider Elbaum’s interpretation of what was important about Leninism to the Third World:[1036]

Of all the traditions within Marxism, it was Leninism that placed the most emphasis on the imperialist nature of twentieth-century Capitalism, on the revolutionary potential of national liberation struggles, on the legitimacy of armed struggle, and on the primacy of building solidarity with oppressed peoples.

Code words and thoughts were put into practice often in the sense of correct lines of thought and firm principles. One could find a passage in the massive amount of writing from these political philosophers to support one specific view. Like a fundamentalist Bible reader, many on the Left took the word of Lenin, for example, on faith.

Although volumes have been written on what Lenin believed, a good many of those written by Lenin himself [including his massive Collected Works], it is not within the scope of this section to even extract a fraction of Lenin or his thoughts. A summary of what activists studied follows:[1037]

Activists delved into study of the labor theory of value and other central components of Marxist political economy; philosophy and the “scientific method” of dialectical and historical materialism; and classical communist doctrine concerning the vanguard party and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

A couple of choice quotes from Lenin’s writing of 1901-1902 selected below inform the reader by suggestion:[1038]

I assert:

(1) that no revolutionary movement can endure without a stable organization of leaders that maintains continuity;

(2) that the wider the masses spontaneously drawn into the struggle, forming the basis of the movement and participating in it, the more urgent the need for such an organization, and the more solid this organization must be (for it is much easier for demagogues to side-track the more backward sections of the masses);

(3) that such an organization must consist chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity;

(4) that in an autocratic state, the more we confine the membership of such an organization to people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity and who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police, the more difficult will it be to wipe out such an organization; and

(5) the greater will be the number of people of the working class and of the other classes of society who will be able to join the movement and perform active work in it.

Lenin called for demarcation:[1039]

We revolutionary Social-Democrats, on the contrary, are dissatisfied with this worshipping of spontaneity, i.e., worshipping what is “at the present moment”:

we demand that the tactics that have prevailed in recent years be changed;

we declare that “before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation.”

And Lenin wrote of opportunism:[1040]

Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. /p>

This thought cannot be insisted upon too strongly at a time when the fashionable preaching of opportunism goes hand in hand with an infatuation for the narrowest forms of practical activity.

The arguments that the vanguard party was far more effective than a loose structure like “assemblies of the people” or “participatory democracy” became the shift taken by the worldwide Left in the early 1970s. The clash between these two points-of-view often played itself out in draining doctrinal battles. The clash was termed “ultra-leftism” by Lenin, about when theorists lost the relationship of their differences, the connectedness of their ideologies and fell into destructive in-fighting and lost all sense of democratic centralism.

Democratic centralism was defined via Lenin by Elbaum:[1041]

. . . meaning that once open debate and then a vote had produced a party position, all members had to maintain unity in action.

Marxism-Leninism established that a move forward was based on the working class and oppressed minorities. The need was for a working-class-based political party.

The vanguard party comprised professional revolutionaries with a hierarchy of top-down leadership. These leaders were self-sacrificing, able, knowledgeable, learning about their ideology in study groups – always improving and going forward.

There was an elected Central Committee and those who did not pay dues or work or submit work plans were excluded. The effect was supposed to be cohesive and focused. The potential for growth kept the movement alive.

The vanguard was to lead the revolutionary wing of the party.

Critics of Marx’s stance on what was known as the dictatorship of the proletariat[1042] said it was elitist, highly centralized, undemocratic, contemptuous of workers, an example of totalitarianism, upheld the virtue of monolithic unity with top leaders being a substitute for the party, and subordinated the workers movement to the agenda of the upper levels of the party.

We will see in later volumes about the People’s Revolutionary Government that many of the issues outlined in this section emerged as major issues for the New Jewel Movement.

A chapter within Lenin’s treatise What is to be Done? discussed his “plan” for an all-Russian political newspaper. Maurice Bishop’s viewed of the importance of a newspaper as vital to the struggle. Most movements had a printed document outlet.

An important shift to Marxism-Leninism was in the Guardian[1043] newspaper’s issue of 18 October 1972.  The editorial in that issue of the on its 25th year of the publication, explained the shift to a socialist revolution of the working class. Many of those who read the newspaper regularly had no clue as to its political orientation other than being Leftist. The swing towards M-L in the Guardian newspaper was a printed manifestation of the general shift in politics from the New Left to Marxism-Leninism with its adaptation and integration of Maoist thought.[1044]

From a Canadian jail, Rosie Douglas from Dominica saw his vision of an ideology not foreign to other radicals of this time:[1045]

Our ideology must

1)        define clear (short and long term) political and economic objectives;

2)        must be scientific;

3)        it must be based on a correct interpretation of our history and finally it must be consistent.

Within this framework any relevant ideology in the Caribbean must deal with the three basic problems faced by the masses of Caribbean people—that is, we are 1) landless, 2) victims of capitalism and 3) victims of racism. Our ideology therefore must deal with 1) land, 2) class and 3) race.

Fraternal links were important to Rosie Douglas. There were links with the Pan-African struggle and the Third World Marxist struggle.

The difficulties of the ideology Douglas espoused were explained:[1046]

We cannot expect governments and an economic elite who are committed to capitalism and class oppression within their national borders to support scientific socialism and a redistribution of income through the collective development on a regional level.

The Caribbean bourgeoisie provides a bridge for continued imperialist and neo-colonialist domination and exploitation.

This bridge must be broken up permanently, and, as Malcolm X said, “by any means necessary.”

This can only be achieved through organized lower class (proletarian) solidarity assisted by the Black Power movements . . .

Points of view and attitudes were similar, but not universal. Radical actionists generally had the belief that those who held the power were filled with greed. The “imperialists[1047] had questionable moral integrity. The multi-national corporations were untrustworthy and would not move from their position.

The feeling of self-righteousness and righteous commitment, though not identified by others or the self, saw one’s cause as pure and filled with virtue. One’s perceptions were absolute and true. Many times other people saw a “more-revolutionary-than-thou” attitude. One held firm and took bold action. One held concrete principles against weighty odds.

The capsulated analysis of society’s needs was seen as an ideal. One could state the case, but often could not put the solutions into practice or suggest actions that would work. Frequently these attitudes were a result of a simplistic diagnosis of the world’s problems, and those causing the problems, usually those holding power, were the bad guys.

The feeling was, for many on the Left, that a life or death struggle was the priority and one better move quick.

The Move Towards Violence within the Left

Within the Leftist Movement during the early 1970s one saw a shift towards self-defense by way of violent means, [Spanish: La lucha armada]—armed struggle.

One 42-page booklet on how to make weapons was published in December 1969, with a second printing May 1970. It was produced by Berkeley International Liberation School, [1048] with the help of the Red Mountain Tribe under the title firearms & self-defense: a handbook for radicals, revolutionaries and easy riders.

The very first page is a photo of Huey Newton with the caption “Free Huey – Free All Political Prisoners.” The flyleaf page stated:[1049]




The second page of firearms & self-defense is an example of the mode of reasoning taken: [1050]


America has a long tradition of vigilante paramilitary violence. Usually it had been directed against blacks and Third World people, poor whites and dissident political groups.

In the last several years some of us have come under this type of vigilante attack because of our politics and our life styles.

People have been killed in movement offices in Texas, New York, and Detroit.

A radical professor was almost knifed to death in his office by an assailant.

And, the Easy Rider situation is all too true in many parts of the country.

While such cases of paramilitary right wing violence have not happened in extremely large numbers, they have occurred often enough to make it worthwhile to acquire some familiarity with firearms.

In many situations it is possible to defend yourself successfully. While the legal system is biased against us, nevertheless the law is very much stacked in favor of self defense.

For example, if an intruder enter your house with “harmful intent” you are within your legal rights to kill him.

Possession of a gun and knowledge of how to use it is sometimes a deterrent in itself.

Many people still view hippies and white movement youth as pacifists who don’t fight back and can be beaten and attacked with impunity.

They must be made to realize that flower children can grow thorns.

In many parts of the country the paramilitary right wing is not very active.

Almost everywhere, the main physical threat has come from the pigs.

In most situations involving confrontations with pig forces armed self defense has not been feasible, since oppression has come primarily through the courts.

If the pigs come to the door to arrest you, most people will go along, since armed self defense in this case might mean death, or, a much higher level of oppression in the ensuing court case.

If the assailant at your door happens to be an agent of the state, all your legal rights of self defense vanish, and if you employ armed self defense you will be tried for murder or attempted murder.

But, as the system becomes more repressive the pigs begin to go beyond their “normal” role of arresting people who are then dealt with through the courts, and instead, begin go function as executioners in the streets.

Their attack is direct and physical, and their goal in many cases is to kill.

Under these conditions armed self defense becomes necessary.

When the stakes are increased, the risks of armed self defense are preferable to submission that means death.

Black and Third World people have, through their history in this country, been subject to this sort of direct, fascistic, physical attack by police.

Many instances, from Robert F. Williams in 1961 to the L.A. Panthers just recently, attest to the fact that armed self defense can be carried out successfully.

It seems clear that if Robert Williams had not had a gun, he would have been lynched by whites; if the L.A. Panthers had meekly surrendered at 5 am, at least some of them would have been executed on the spot.

One of the outcomes, of course, is exile or repression in the courts, but it must be understood that death in the streets is the alternative.

Even more important than survival, perhaps, is the fact that these instances of successful defense have made a tremendous political impact in the black community—demonstrating the possibility of resistance and defense.

This type of fascist police attack with intent to kill has been very rare against whites, but as the contradictions of our society grow more acute, we can expect more of this against whites, and the same lessons apply.

Some people say that guns in the movement are bullshit, because “no one is ready to use them,” so that it becomes just one more case of movement rhetoric outstripping reality, making people see us as fraudulent.

It is true that there is a lot of talk about guns, armed self defence, armed revolution, etc., in the radical movement, with very little practice along these lines.

But this does not mean that we should disavow or ignore the question of guns; rather we should become familiar with them and develop realistic attitudes about their use.

Too many people have a sort of death trip approach to guns—they assume that if you acquire a gun, and aren’t bullshitting around, then you should prove your convictions via a suicidal shootout in the streets.

This is a misconception—self defense and guns can become part of revolutionary violence, a more serious movement that develops many means of struggle and resistance.

We should also become adept at other forms of self defense, such as karate, judo, etc., which allow a person to defend himself in street confrontations, and we should acquire medical knowledge as well.

In the short run many of us have options available we don’t have to participate in a radical movement, take risks, get arrested, etc.

Many of us, especially whites, can back off, and not feel the repression.

But in the slightly longer run, this is impossible.

Those around the world who are engaged in armed struggle against the U.S. Leviathan will surely grow and be victorious, and inexorably we will all be drawn in—either as “part of the solution or part of the problem.”

If we sympathize with this worldwide struggle, and consider their fight to be our fight, then we should begin now to relate to the tools of worldwide liberation.

Most all the booklet was filled with detailed and illustrated gun information—ballistics, how to read ballistics tables, rifles, semi-automatic rifles, handguns, shotguns, buying a used gun, sights and sighting, safety, gun laws, cleaning, gun definitions, and legal first aid [a pocket lawyer]. [1051]

The back cover is a photo of the white fellow with his fizzed out hair holding a weapon with an ammunition bandolier across his chest. Alongside him is his white companion carrying a gun, but also her baby on her hip. [1052]

Such a vision was appealing like a frontiersman with his rifle and his woman with a baby on her hip. One example of the reasoning to move towards violence is taken from the New Orleans of the summer of 1970 when police pressure on a feminist union actively organizing women became too much. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz related this story:[1053]

After a week of police surveillance, we decided to arm ourselves.

I think we were well aware that it was a practical rather than a political act, something we needed for self-defense in order to continue working, not at all embracing armed struggle for our group.

We knew that law enforcement authorities would think twice about attacking us if they knew we were armed.

In reality, we were joining a trend in the movement across the country, and once armed, our minders changed to match the new reality.

It was a gradual process, but it was the beginning of a profound shift in our consciousness and our activities.

Indeed, the above is a narrative of the acquisition of a thought pattern that guns are acceptable. With some groups who took a political stance of armed struggle, the thought process included guns and explosives and action raids.

The believed self-defense needs of the New Orleans office above was fulfilled by attending a local gun show where the participants bought three Brownings[1054] for $100 with clips; military surplus ammunition, plus a Mossburg 500 12-gauge police special riot gun and buckshot shells. Later they bought four [4] M-1s, a Winchester .22, a .30-30 with a scope, and a riot shotgun. [1055]

Eventually, the group owned a snub-nosed Smith and Wesson .357; a S&W long-barreled .38; a Walther PPK 9mm; a Colt .45, a Beretta .32 automatic, and each had their favored Browning 9mm automatics.[1056]

No paperwork, no cash and many guns was their way of life. They also joined a shooting gallery for practice, studied state and federal gun laws, and paid for membership in the National Rifle Association [NRA].[1057]

Ms. Dunbar-Ortiz ends her chapter on this phase of the movement with these words:[1058]

. . . we had clearly fallen under the spell of guns, as had many other radicals.

Our relationship to them had become a kind of passion that was in appropriate to our political objectives, and it ended up distorting and determining them.

One often lived vicariously by following the exploits of the Weathermen. The Left seemed to take on the idea that self-criticism sessions were important. No one wanted a member who did not think right. The Weatherman Collective supported a wide variety of liberation movements. Serious discussions about the need and right time for outright violence were debated.

A historian of the period wrote:[1059]

. . . over time sectarianism, unrealistic strategies and tactics, and antidemocratic practices sapped cadre morale, repelled potential supporters and allies, and produced numerous organizational splits.

During the period of the 1970s, things that mattered from the 1960s seemed to be spinning out of their usual orbit. Hostility pervaded all aspects of the culture—anger and mistrust abounded toward government, against business, and about corporate influence on the White House.

Surely the shattered remains of the grief from the murders of Malcolm X, Dr. King, and Bobby Kennedy, followed by the Vietnam conflict topped off by Nixon’s Watergate break-in tore at the psyche of many Americans.

Having just come off the violence and deaths at The Altamont Free Concert[1060] with 250,000 in the audience on 6 December 1969, the Rolling Stones’ foreboding Sympathy for the Devil[1061] seemed an ominous sound for the year 1970 to come—bad drugs, bad vibes. A Black man was killed by the Hell’s Angels doing “security.” [1062]

Three radical Weathermen blew themselves up by accident with their own explosive devices on 6 March 1970 in a Greenwich Village townhouse.[1063] The news of this tragedy brought many opinions and, though tragic, judgment of many was harsh when they turned away from politics.

A story emerged to give relief of this period and show how the ideal progress of a political action in New York City played itself out. On 7 June 1971 occurred a NYC Municipal Employees Strike. When the drawbridge workers walked off the job, they left 28 of 29 bridges in the open position. Not so many times were such actions successful.

Britain & Ireland

In Britain the age of majority in 1970 was lowered to 18 years of age from 21.[1064]

Events in the U.K. paralleled the movement towards revolution in the United States. Music and the youth movement encased in Black Power concepts crossed over the waters and back.

Pan-Africanism in the British Empire included racially mixed non-whites including those termed “coloured” in South Africa, for example.

On 8 August 1983, the Great Train Robbery, the Royal mail train, occurred.[1065]

[Uncorroborated] Strachan Phillip, a Grenadian national, had been on mail train duty and involved in the robbery that was never solved.

[Uncorroborated] Strachan Phillip’s generosity to old people and his friends, sealed with ten dollars, was known as well as his exaggerations.

In 1968, the late M.P. Enoch Powell was “advocating a clampdown on colored immigration and a scheme to encourage one in fifty colored immigrants to return to their homelands . . .”[1066]

Powell gave a speech known as the “Rivers of Blood” speech in Birmingham [England] on 20 April 1968.[1067]

The West Indian World newspaper of Great Britain was first published in 1969 serving the West Indian community.[1068]


In London, the Caribbean Arts Movement, launched in 1966 by late author Andrew Salkey[1069] who was born in Panama and raised in Jamaica; author Barbadian Edward [Kamau] Brathwaite, and Trinidadian organizer John La Rose, set a base from which these three, and other Caribbean writers, emerged. The year 1966 was the second time “Kamau” Brathwaite set foot in Britain—this time as a writer.[1070]

On 30 August 1976, the last day of the Notting Hill Carnival in London, ended in a riot.[1071] The first riot which formed the Standing Conference of West Indian Organizations occurred during the summer of 1958.[1072] Junior “Soul” Murvin’s high falsetto voice set a background with his song Police & Thieves.

Maurice Bishop in London

In September 1963,[1073] at the age of 19, Maurice Bishop left the Spice Island to follow a legal career in London studying law at the Holborn College of Law, London University.[1074]  

His father Rupert, who was believed to be his hero, provided support for his only son: [1075]

With the success of his gas station and his other businesses Rupert was not only able to finance Maurice’s study in England, but also build a new house in the same yard as the old one and move the family into it.

Rupert Bishop reserved the former family home for his son to settle with his family when he returned from his studies.

Maurice Bishop’s father also made the necessary financial preparations to sponsor Maurice to open a private practice when he returned to Grenada.

Interested in his La Grenade heritage, Maurice Bishop researched the history of Captain Louis La Grenade Sr. at the British Museum and in Paris[1076]  when he was studying in London. He also found a portrait of Capt. La Grenade at the British library and had a copy made for his family back home.[1077]

There were many activities outside his university studies. He was active in his earlier London years, during the 1960s, in a group called the Standing Conference of West Indian Organizations. [1078]

A year or so after Maurice Bishop’s arrival in London, on 5 December 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, the youngest person at age 35 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, stopped in London on his way to Oslo where he was to accept the honor on 10 December, 1964.

The day after Dr. King was awarded the prize, on the 11th December, soul singer Sam Cooke, who looked so much like Maurice Bishop, was shot dead at age 33.[1079] Millions were devastated by Cooke’s death as millions were proud of Dr. King’s accomplishment.

Dr. King’s visit, according to historian Ben Heineman, inspired the idea of an organization for all “coloured people” in Britain. [1080]

A group began operations in December, 1964 under the name of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination [CARD].[1081] A first conference was held the following July in 1965.[1082]

Bishop was active in CARD, located in London.[1083] CARD was a multi-racial [Indian, Pakistani and West Indian] organization.[1084]

CARD’s 1965 Chairman was Dr. David Thomas Pitt from North London, Hampstead constituency, the son of Cyril SL Pitt and Gertrude Redhead of Grenada.[1085]

When a youngster in Saint George’s, Dr. David Pitt attended the Grenada Boys’ Secondary [GBSS] school and graduated in 1932. An island scholar, he received a scholarship to attend medical school at the University of Edinburgh. He returned to the West Indies, residing in Trinidad-Tobago.[1086]

Dr. Pitt had been active in Trinidadian politics, “central to the founding of the West Indian National Party in Trinidad, a descendent of Dr. Eric William’s People’s National Movement [PNP].”[1087]

Other officers of CARD included Selma James, organizing secretary, and Jamaican Richard Small, press officer.[1088] Small was a law student, a former officer in the West Indian Student Union, and aide to C.L.R. James. Selma James was married to C.L.R. James[1089] and a strongly influential personality in her own right.

The Campaign included groups which had been active in race relations—the Indian Workers Association-Great Britain [IWA-GB], the West Indian Standing Conference [WISC] and the National Federation of Pakistani Associations [NFPA].[1090]  By 1969 CARD was breaking up over disputes about ideology and white participation.

Scholar Ron Walters placed the Campaign: [1091]

Although the comparison was made between CARD and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP] in the United States, it is more appropriate to compare CARD to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an interracial civil rights coalition of more than a hundred organizations.

Bishop was employed in the British Civil Service as a Surtax Examiner from 1966-1970. [1092]

Bishop was invited on 4 February 1966 to speak at the Welfare of Overseas Students Course to be held on 23 April 1966. Others invited to participate in this course were Mr. [Keith] Scotland and Mr. [Richard] Hart. A Mr. McIntyre chaired the session held at King’s College.[1093]

A major lifetime event happened for Maurice Bishop in 1966 when he married a nurse who practiced at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Stratford, London. Angela Redhead was from an old family in Grenada. She had arrived in London the year before. [1094]

In a letter to Maurice Rupert Bishop, Esq., LL.B. at his home in Chatsworth Gardens, the University of London’s Academic Department acknowledged as of October 1966, the following: [1095]

. . . I have to inform you that on complying with the Regulations you have been registered as an Internal Student for the Academic Postgraduate Diploma in Law and examined by means of a dissertation

 . . . Date of Registration: October 1966;

School or Institution: King’s College.

will be regarded as a full-time student and you will be required to follow a course of study extending over not less than one session.

Bishop’s post-graduate work at the University of London, King’s College, was in the field of Grenada’s constitutional development.[1096]

He was registered with the University of London, King’s College, Faculty of Laws 1966-1967 with course studies towards an Academic Diploma.[1097] He qualified as a barrister at Lincolns Inn in 1967[1098]

At University of London, Maurice Bishop was President of the West Indian Students’ Society.[1099] When at the West Indian Students’ Centre, a fellow student of the period was Tom Adams,[1100] later Prime Minister of Barbados. Putting his legal studies into practice, Bishop was a co-founder of a London West Indian Legal Aid Clinic at Notting Hill Gate.[1101]

A son, John Bishop, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Bishop in 1968.[1102]

Maurice Bishop returned to the Inns of Court in 1969 to successfully complete his Bar Finals examination.[1103] Alister Hughes wrote that Bishop qualified as a barrister at Gray’s Inn in 1967. Bishop’s return to studies at the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, University of London, was in 1969.  Gray’s Inn is one of the four [4] Inns of Court which admit students wishing to become barristers. His law studies were complete by November 1969.[1104]

[Uncorroborated] Maurice Bishop was not able to complete his post-graduate studies.

[Uncorroborated] Sandford stated that during Bishop’s time when based in the United Kingdom, Maurice Bishop traveled briefly to Czechoslovakia and East Germany.[1105]

[Uncorroborated] Sandford also stated that Bishop read, according to the quote:[1106]

Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and C.L.R. James (an influential Trinidadian Trotskyite).

Bishop was most likely influenced by Julius Nyerere’s Arusha Declaration issued in 1967 and the Tanzanian socialist leader’s book Ujamaa—Essays on Socialism published in 1968 by Oxford University Press. The interest in Nyerere was evidenced later in Bishop’s interest in people’s assemblies. [1107]

Maurice Bishop returned to Grenada by way of Trinidad-Tobago in March 1970.[1108]

David Franklyn noted Bishop’s return: [1109]

On his way home, in 1970, Maurice passed through Trinidad where the Black Power movement, as manifested there, had created a political crisis, with mass demonstrations in the streets, riots, and social and political insecurity which threatened the People’s National Movement (PNM) Government of Dr. Eric Williams.

Walter Rodney in London

Caribbean Pan-Africanist Walter Rodney received his Ph.D. in History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University, on 7 July 1966 at the age of 24.[1110]

During his time in London, Rodney was involved with a study group which met with C.L.R. James and his wife Selma. [1111]   

Members of that group included Rodney, plus “Richard Small, Norman Girvan, Orlando Patterson, Adolph Edwards, Joan French, John Maxwell, Margaret Carter Hope, Stanley French and Walton Look Lai.” David Austin received the names of those in the group from scholar Rupert Lewis.[1112] 

Walter Rodney gave public speeches in Hyde Park. He held meetings with fellow Caribbeans in London.[1113] He lectured on African history. He gave a series of talks to a class at the Oxford University Delegacy for Extra-Mural Studies.[1114] In 1969, Rodney went to Tanzania for five [5] years.[1115]

W. Richard Jacobs was studying at Oxford University in 1968 by way of a scholarship he received during his term at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.[1116]

One wonders if Maurice Bishop could have known Walter Rodney or W. Richard Jacobs during the time they both were in London.

Did Maurice Bishop meet with or attended any event when Malcolm X was visiting London; or C.L.R. James for that matter?

Malcolm X in London

Malcolm X’s first trip to Europe was to Paris where he arrived on 18 November 1964. [1117] He held news conferences, visited cafes frequented by Africans and Afro–Americans, talked with groups throughout his week’s stay.

Malcolm X gave a major speech in Paris on 23 November 1964, leaving the next day for New York.[1118] The address was sponsored by Présence Africaine[1119] and held at Maison de la Mutualité.[1120]

Lebert Bethune, who was present, described the event: [1121]

Malcolm delivered his speech to a capacity audience consisting mainly of Africans, Afro–Americans, and French students, and including a number of French workers, intellectuals and even some of the staid French bourgeoisie, come to hear the man billed by the French press as ‘l’avocat de la violence.’

When in Paris, he was interviewed by American filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles[1122] and others after his public address.

Carlos Moore and Lebert Bethune took in his statements and put them on film.[1123] The film was shot in the home of Madame Siné, wife of the French cartoonist known as Siné.[1124]

That interview was filmed to become a movie Malcolm X—Struggle for Freedom, according to Lebert Bethune who was one of those present.[1125]

Bethune, who was born in Jamaica, left there early on with his family to live in New York. Besides his academic career, his extensive world travels and his writing of poetry, he was a film maker for the Tanzanian government.[1126]

Carlos Moore was an Afro-Cuban, who fled Cuba in 1963. He was critical of Cuban race relations.[1127] At the time of the interview with Malcolm X, Moore was in exile in Paris.[1128]

A second visit was made by Malcolm X to Europe.  This time he went to London on 1 December 1964 for a four-day stopover.[1129]  He stayed at the Mount Royal Hotel off Marble Arch. [1130]

According to Chris Searle’s memoir:[1131]

When Malcolm X came on a speaking tour to London in 1964, there was the twenty year old Maurice sitting in the front row and writing to Bernard telling him about it.

Jamaican Anthony Abrahams, president of the Oxford Union, invited Malcolm X to debate the president of the Cambridge Union;[1132] in other words to take part in the annual Oxford Union debate which took place on a Thursday, 3 December 1964.[1133]

The debate was filmed by the BBC and is partially available on video.[1134] The topic of the debate was to explore the question: [1135]

Extremism in the Defense of Liberty Is No Vice,

Moderation in the Pursuit of Justice Is No Virtue

The motion of the debate above was drawn from Goldwater’s acceptance speech[1136] at the 1964 Republican Presidential candidate.[1137] In favor of the motion were Hugh MacDiarmid,[1138] Tony Abrahams[1139] and Malcolm X.[1140]

A few days later, Malcolm X’s presentation was at the University of London to a primarily Muslim audience, according to Manning Marable. He returned to the United States from this second trip to Europe on 6 December 1964.[1141] Journalists reprinted what he said publicly and many made their own analysis.

The third visit to Europe in February 1965 found Malcolm X in London for a 3-day speaking engagement at the Council of African Organizations.

On his next European stop, across the channel, Malcolm X tried to enter France on 9 February 1965,