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The Grenada Revolution Online

Line of March for the Party - Part Three

Presented by Comrade Maurice Bishop,
Chairman, Central Committee
to General Meeting of Party on Monday 13th September 1982

[continued from Part Two]


Coming out of all of this comrades, what are the tasks as seen by the Central Committee?

  1. The first task is sinking the ideas of Marxism/Leninism among the working class and the working people. The main vehicle for this comrades is socialism classes. The Central Committee feels very strongly that this is the Number One task. And of course, there can be only one Number One task, and this the Central Committee regards as Number One - sinking the ideas of Marxism - Leninism among the working class and the working people. The fact of the matter is that a national democratic revolution can be turned back easily. For example in the case of Nasser's Egypt, not withstanding the years of hard work put in by Nasser and his party into trying to build the national democratic revolution in Egypt. After his death it took only a few years to roll back all that had been accomplished. And there were several reasons. One, the party was not in fact built along Leninist vanguard lines and secondly, because the ideas of Marxism/Leninism had not taken root, there was no deep class consciousness in Egypt. We know that in many of these national democratic revolutions - in Iraq, Somalia, Algeria and so on - the fact is that the ideas of Marxism/Leninism were and are not being spread. And therefore, with the ideological work being weak, at a certain point it becomes easy for forces opposed to revolutionary transformation to overturn what had been accomplished.
  2. The second task, comrades, the organisation of the working class and the working people through their trade unions, their organs for popular power, their mass organisations and through sports and culture - the Organisation of the working class and the working people.
  3. Thirdly, comrades, strengthening the Leninist character of the party by bringing in the best elements of the working people and in particular the working class, and through building the internal organisation of the Party.
  4. Fourthly comrades, building the economy along the path of socialist orientation, thus providing more material benefits for the masses and laying the basis for the construction of socialism.
  5. The fifth task, developing the defence capacity of the country through building the militia both quantitatively and qualitatively by strengthening the influence of the Party in the militia.

We believe very firmly, comrades, that the tasks have been put in the correct order of priority by the Central Committee. Unless the party as a whole feels very strongly about this, and we decide to change this prioritisation, these priorities in the order outlined will stand as and 5. You cannot have two number ones and you can't have three number twos. One is one and two is two. So we have to look at our workplans and committees and look at the Programmes that we are into and revise them to make sure that they are in line with the line of march set by the Central Committee. One is one, Two is two, Three is three, Four is four and Five is five. Because, comrades, as you know another historic weakness of ours has been to set priorities one day and then the very next day to break the priorities that we have set; so we really need this time to take a very strong and firm position on this question.


Comrades I want to close, but what I want to close by saying will take another fifteen minutes or so. I want to close by going into the question of the subjective factor, in other words the party, a very brief history of the party's development and the criteria for Party membership at this time.

Over the past nine and a half years, our Party has passed through many stages of development; all of us know that. We have analysed recently that there have been six major stages that the Party has gone through. The first stage began on the 11th March, 1973, with the merger, when came NJM out of JEWEL and MAP led by intelligentsia and rural petty-bourgeoisie. The Strategy adopted was one of mass mobilisation with seizure of power coming through mass mobilisation, general strike, street marches and thereafter insurrection. Mistakes were made, a deep class approach was not taken. no attempt was made to build a Leninist Party, there was an over-reliance on spontaneity and the possibilities of crowd politics. That period, comrades, March '73 to April '74 is the period of mass mobilisation in action. Using the issue of Gairy's incorrect approach to the question of independence as a base we went around the country agitating the masses for popular insurrection. During that same period in fact, within the first two months of the Party being formed, we liberated 51 rifles from Gairy. It is true we did not hold them for as long as we would have liked; we had them for one year and then Belmar took them back, but in fact we stole 51 rifles as part of that preparation.

During this period of mass mobilisation, we held the People Convention on Independence and the massively attended People's Congress where five historic, but nonetheless ultra-leftist, decisions were taken. You remember the decisions? Firstly, we tried Gairy, found him guilty of 27 crimes and gave him two weeks to resign. We suggested that a National Unity Council should be elected and a National Unity Council was elected and we said it would have the task of supervising the orderly transition to power of the new regime. We also decided that the people would take steps to remove the Gairy dictatorship if he did not resign within 2 weeks. So undoubtedly, this was ultra-leftism in action. Nonetheless the major weakness of this period was the subjective factor; the fact that a Leninist approach to party building and to strategy and tactics were not adopted; and this is notwithstanding the notable achievements of the period, including the publication of our Manifesto.

After the defeat . . .

After the defeat in January '74 the Party held its first major evaluation in April 1974, we were then exactly one year and one month old. We spent a few days, a whole week-end, looking at the Party and trying to decide where we went wrong and what corrective action was needed. That is when we decided in theory and in principle that we should build a Leninist Party. That decision was taken in April '74 but in practice that decision was not implemented for many years. In fact, there was a constant struggle within the Party to get Leninist principles, in practice and in a concrete way going but it was always an uphill struggle, particularly on the need for collective study. In this second period, that is from April '74 to June '77, the Party was very much going through its period of early childhood, though our contesting of the 1976 General Elections and our policy on Alliances were evidence of a developing political and ideological maturity.

In the time period, July '77 to August '78, the party did make a qualitative leap forward in terms of Leninist standards and principles. That is the period when we stepped up our work among the working class, the work was not sufficiently deep, but at least it was starting. We tried to organise the agricultural working class but did not get very far because of Gairy's use of repression in protecting his base among the agricultural working class. But we did some work during that period with the urban working class and with sections of the rural petty bourgeoisie - the farmers and the fishermen. That is the period too when the Organising Committee of the Party was formed, thus taking some of the strain off the Political Bureau and leaving matters of discipline, party organisation and so on, for the Organising Committee to handle - a critical step forward.

And then we came to the next period, the fourth period from August '78 to March '79, when the Party really moved into top gear. The timing was fortuitous for us because at the exact moment that a revolutionary situation was developing a number of key work committees of the Party began to function. Inner party democracy was also being strengthened; party study was going on, and a mass scientific approach to organisation was beginning to develop.

And from March '79 . . .

And from March '79 to this period, the fifth (5th) we have had a lot of mass activity. It is the period when we a broadened and deepended (sic) our links with the working people and the masses in general, through the mass organisations - women, youth, pioneers-; through the organs of popular power - workers, parish and zonal councils-; through the socialism classes, very critically and also through our greatly expanded work in the trade unions. In this period, we have considerably deepened, broadened and expanded our links with the working people and the broad masses in general. This is the period too when the Party began to develop a number of critical new structures and committees, including the C.C. itself, PCB's and a Committee on the economy for the first time. They have not all done well as we would have liked but the fact is that important new structures have been set up and have begun to function.

During this period too, the Party has also been involved in supervising many aspects of the State Apparatus and in running the state generally. The party is involved in all the key programmes of the Revolution, the Centre for Popular Education Programme, the Land Reform Programme, Youth Employment Programme, and recently in the discussions around the Budget and the Economy. So this is a period that has seen a number of new mechanisms, new structures and new work committees and greatly expanded work in dozens of different areas at the same time.

But we believe very strongly, comrades, that as from now, September '82 the Party is definitely entering a new stage of the revolution and of our Party's development. We feel that because of the growing internal and external complexity of this period, because of the growing quantity of work required of the party and in order to cope with the new complexities that once again we have to change gears and step up the pace. This year we have a major role to play in the development of the Economy because this is the essential basis for progressing on our path of socialist orientation. Furthermore. the question of the Armed Forces, especially the militia and of the Party assuming leadership of the key positions there is something that we have to be involved in a lot more this year. The question of increasing the quantity and quality of our socialism classes, as our priorities demand is also ,something that we must take much sore seriously. The CPE Programme, in its second phase; must also get a lot of attention this year. The Youth Employment Programme and the Land Reform Programme are central to agricultural and overall Economic development.

In other words, . . .

In other words, we are required to work on a dozen critical fronts at the same time, and that is going to require a lot more application of Leninist standards of discipline, consistency and seriousness. All of this, comrades, means that our ideological and organisational level as a Party will have to rise considerably. It is clear that if we had not insisted higher standards we would not have reached where we have reached. But it is equally clear, comrades, that holding power is much more difficult than taking power. There is no doubt that the Party can be built more rapidly on the basis of lower standards but this will mean that the tasks we have set ourselves, including our historical task of building socialism, would not be accomplished. As Lenin told us a long time ago “better fewer but better”. Immortal words that we must never forget.

During the Party's history, there are members who have dropped out; some for opportunist reasons; others because they were not willing to make the sacrifices required in the particular period; in other cases, as the Party's ideological outlook developed, they came to realise that they did not share the desire to develop socialism; some others just could not take the level of discipline, of organisation, of strain, of hard work, of sacrifice. But no one is a member for life in the serious Leninist Party and, at this point, the Central Committee would like to enumerate the criteria for party membership and to go into some details as to the qualities required for promotion in the Party.


The four basic requirements for party membership are:-

  1. Regular collective ideological study organised by the Party.
  2. Engage in consistent political work under the guidance of an organ of the Party.
  3. Consistent payment of party dues fixed at 5% of gross salary. And comrades, gross means gross, it doesn't mean net - after you pay tax, or after you take out money to give to some member of the family. So, if your salary is $800 per month and you are paying $60 tax, that is not the Party's business; it is 5% of the $800, so you have to pay $40. Unemployed comrades and students must pay $1.00 a month. I don't know how many unemployed comrades the Party has left, but we certainly have students.
  4. Understanding, accepting and implementing the principles and programme of the Party. This last requirement includes a complete willingness to accept Party discipline in many, many areas of one's personal life, not just political life. To fully accept and really implement the principles and programme of the party requires you to let the Party decide when you can get vacation and sometimes even what kind of activities you can be involved in. In other words, even our personal life is under security to some extent.


Comrades, we developed a new category called Potential Applicants after the Revolution; so as to ensure that opportunist, careerists, self-seekers and other elements like that who want to come into the Party because it seems easy, or because the new conditions mean that they don't have to get “bull-pistle” if they join the Party now or because the Party seems like a badge and passport to fame and prestige, are not allowed: to enter the Party as applicants before they go through a tight screening process. And what we have been trying to do in choosing Potential Applicants is essentially to look for people with four main qualities and characteristics. Firstly, comrades with a genuinely revolutionary democratic outlook; secondly, comrades who engage in disciplined political work in a particular area; thirdly, comrades who are basically honest and not opportunist in character; and fourthly Comrades whose relations to private property do rot involve them in the exploitation of labour.


From our experience, comrades, these are the people who are most likely to move to Marxism/Leninism. These comrades are then invited to join classes where they are tested to see whether they are hostile to, or accepting of the ideas of Marxism Leninism. If they are not anti-communist, and if they continue :o work well and show an honest approach, they are admitted as Applicants. And as all comrades know the period of applicancy is one year. That gives both the Party and the applicant the time to judge whether the applicant really accepts the science of Marxism/Leninism and is willing to makes the sacrifices necessary to become a Party member.


When assessing an applicant for promotion to Candidate Member the following five points are looked at:-

  1. Whether the applicant accepts the principles of Marxism/Leninism and shows willingness to continue to develop.
  2. Whether the applicant has been working consistently and effectively in his/her [blank space] of political work and developing in terms of organisational skills.
  3. Whether the applicant has in practice accepted party discipline, in practice.
  4. Whether the applicant has good relations with the masses, including Party members and non-party members with whom he works in his Union, Mass Organisation, Army, Workplace etc.
  5. Whether the Applicant continues to be of good character so as to present an example to the masses he/she comes in contact with; whether certain petty bourgeois traits such as individualism, hostility to criticism, arrogance, indiscipline and so on are being eroded; and whether proletarian qualities such as respect for the working class, co-operativeness and co-operation, discipline, modesty, self criticism are being built. If accepted as a Candidate member, another year would now elapse before the comrade is eligible for consideration for full membership.


At this stage, the stage of moving from Candidate Member to Member, the Party looks for the fullest possible development of six factors.

  1. Ideological development as seen in a development of the ability to analyse and cope well with many different situations and to correctly apply strategy and tactics - the essence of correct Marxism/Leninism Leadership.
  2. The development of correct leadership. A professional approach to his/her political work, expressing Leninist organisational standards in all aspects of the work.
  3. The development of an ability to supervise and guide the work of junior party comrades.
  4. The removal of petty bourgeois character faults and the development of a character which provides an outstanding example to other party comrades and the masses alike.
  5. The development of very good relations with the masses and other party comrades.
  6. The development of the technical and professional skills needed by the comrade in his or her job.

Comrades, some comrades feel that it takes too long to become a full member in our Party. Some comrades feel it is rough enough to have applicants, then candidate members and then members so that on top of that to have Potential Applicants is really just pushing the pace too much. And yet the truth is that some comrades in the Party are right now proposing another now category of not just Potential Applicants but of Prospective Potential Applicant, to make it even more difficult to gain entry. The fact is, comrades, that we feel it is correct in our situation for us to have this long process of what, at one level, can be seen as probation before comrades can become full members. We think it is important now because at the level of party leadership we want to keep the number down; in fact at the level of the Central Committee of the Party, our anxiety and concern is to see the Party lifted in terms of quantity and quality in the shortest possible time. But we also know from experience that this whole question of coming to accept full membership in the party and really internationalism and operationalising in a serious way party discipline and party duties is something that does take time to really sink home. Sometimes comrades might last two or three years but then on a certain issue when the class struggle is really heightened they break and then leave the Party.

The truth is that it is not really a case of the Party Leadership laying down harsh conditions; it is real life and the demand of the struggle that make it necessary for us to have these difficult conditions and for us to ensure that comrades who are full members, and also candidate members, are truly the finest representatives of the working class and the most steeled in struggle, in discipline, in dedication, in commitment and in total commitment for the working class and their interests. That is not the C.C. laying laws down, that is real life laying the laws down. And that is why comrades, we feel very strongly that these criteria are critical and necessary.

We believe it must become . . .

We believe it must become more and more difficult for comrades to become full members and candidate members and it must become more difficult for new comrades to remain as members and candidate members; and those who are unwilling to live up to the demands of this membership would have to be moved. We believe comrades that this stage of our process requires this. Being a Communist, comrades means becoming a different kind of person. Our society is deeply petty bourgeois and this means the majority of our people are deeply individualistic, ill-disciplined, disorganised, unproletarian, hostile to criticism and so on. Many in the middle strata and intelligentsia often find it difficult to relate as equals with the working people while at the same time many working people lack confidence in dealing with certain types of people. It takes time for a new proletarian person to be built. It takes time for a Communist to be built. So in reality, comrades, promotion is not decided on by the Party but by the development of comrades themselves.

On behalf of the Central Committee of our Party, I want to congratulate all the comrades who have been recently promoted from applicants to candidate members who are here with us today for the first time in that capacity, and who as a result of that new status have assumed new rights, duties and responsibilities. I also want to congratulate in advance those comrades in this room who will shortly be promoted from candidate members to full members. Comrades now know the basis on which they have been promoted. Those comrades who have not been promoted at this time will also, we hope understand and accept the reasons why they have not been promoted.

We believe comrades, that this line of march will equipt (sic) us to go into the field and to move rapidly to ensure that this first stage of the path we are on - the socialist orientation stage - is rapidly built. We believe that we have correctly defined the new tasks required to handle the new situation that has developed. We believe that as Party, individually and collectively, we must now develop ourselves into becoming more professional, more disciplined, more Leninist so that we would be able to meet the demands of this period. We also believe firmly that the path we have chosen is the ONLY correct one. We believe that this path would certainly bring us to our second major historical objective to seeing socialism, of seeing socialist construction achieved in our country, thus ensuring that the working class in Grenada would assume their rightful role and become fully emancipated for the first time.










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