THE INTERNAL ORGANISATION OF
'MOVEMENT FOR THE ASSEMBLIES OF THE PEOPLE'
NOTE: Below is an undated paper. The Special Branch of the Royal Grenada Police Force's Monthly Intelligence report of January 1972 devoted a section to 'The Assemblies of the People' and inferred a closeness with J.E.W.E.L. The M.A.P. Convention of 10-11 March 1973 in St. David's was held from which there was a statement/item on the agenda on Assemblies; the 11th being the day of the merger with JEWEL. Movement for the Assemblies [MAP] of the People was formed after September 1972 and ended when it joined with JEWEL 11 March 1973 to form THE NEW JEWEL organisation.
The document was transcribed from a copy of the original text. No attempt is made to decipher Bishop's few handwritten notes at the end. Most likely the underlining, the change in meeting times, the question mark before 'armed struggle' is in Bishop's hand, but this is not confirmed. The text below keeps close to the original with minor corrections.
"For we who have created nothing, must exist on nothing."
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Revolutionary change is not only demanded in Grenada today; it is also, in view of our history, very necessary in order to bring about real and meaningful power to the people, a people who for centuries have been totally dispossessed, socially and economically. Our Government system (ambitiously called 'parliamentary democracy') is a farce, geared to divide instead of unite; it breeds party politics which is often misunderstood for party antagonism and disunity; the politicians now form a new colonial class, and bribery and corruption are rampant on a scale never before known. In fact, the system is totally not in keeping with the cultural, social and economic state of the people, and has failed to confer on them the power for self-determination and dignity. We have no economic power; ours is a borrowed culture and set of values, and our society is still broken up along class lines.
Clearly, this unjust system of Parliamentary Democracy must go. It never has, and never will involve the people in total participation in decision-making, because it is a structure inherited from our colonizers who deliberately wanted to run the show themselves, and it is obvious that our present leaders are bent on continuing that system, in order to "run the show themselves".
As MAP sees it, it is now a matter of urgency to change the Governmental system, and create something new, involving all of the people from the beginning with the planning as well as with the execution of the plan in order that they gain control of the forces affecting their lives. In keeping with the idea of ASSEMBLIES OF THE PEOPLE as a political reality in Grenada, MAP has therefore got to organise itself into a dynamic body with sincere and committed members ready to work in local areas, helping the people build their own broad base from which to determine their destiny. Failing this, we shall continue to "exist on nothing".
The structure of the organisation is in effect very much like the actual constitutional arrangement of the Assemblies of the People which the Movement hopes to initiate in Grenada. It is a structure embracing all of the people, and which is reared on a pyramid of authorities beginning at the local level, where people live and work.
According to the diagram shown [diagram not available] MAP is to comprise first of all, a number of cells - small, intimate groups of people who have much in common in their daily life by virtue of experience, work, social problems, etc. These cells, .... Village Cells, Parish Cells, Workers' Cells, Youth Cells presumably would emerge as the Movement progresses, the deliberate efforts by members of MAP have to be made towards the actual formation and building of cells, and sustaining them through organised activity. It is suggested that these cells can be formed around activities such as the newspaper, organisation of public and group meetings etc., and sustained through those activities, for in the absence of collective group motion the cells would crumble.
The work of the cells has got to include the physical organisation of public meetings, of the village forum etc. They have to carry out propaganda in their areas among groups, in the rum-shops, even house-to-house, explaining MAP, the ASSEMBLIES and what they stand for. As issues arise in the area they have got to help the people organise to defend their interests, and to take action to get what they want. At the meetings which should be held once a week, members should discuss what their programme would be, how they would organise the forum, exactly how they would become actively involved in the newspaper, etc.
The cells would be represented on the National Co-ordinating Council of Delegates by elected members, one from each cell. This Council, comprising also a Chairman and Secretary, is responsible for the general co-ordination of the cells, organising, and directing them. A broad agenda for a meeting of the council would therefore be something like this: (a) Reports - Bureau members and Cells (b) Review of organisation - direction, strategy, etc. etc. (c) New tasks and work, who should do what and how (d) Other matters (e) A discussion on ideology etc. This latter is to begin to educate ourselves collectively on important questions that we will face in the process of the immediate struggle. It is an attempt to combine a class of study session with the Council meeting. At first it can take the form of someone preparing a short lead-off address on some concrete topic, with discussion afterwards. For example, topics which can be used as a basis of discussion are: What is the State and questions of transforming the state; education for liberation; the experiences of the Cuban revolution - why it took place, what it has done, what it is trying to do and the problem it faces today; the experience of Tanzania; the banks, insurance companies etc. - how they operate and how they must be transformed to serve the interest of the people; Agriculture and trade; Agriculture and manufacturing; production, cost-of-living etc. It is in this way that we can actually begin to pose some of the questions we will face and try to work them out. Someone can lead off for 20 minutes posing some questions, problems and proposals, which would then be open for discussion. It is here that those who are not active in the cells because of their daily work can contribute by preparing material and leading off. These topics should be documented afterwards, and distributed to members.
As stated above, the National Co-ordinating Council of Delegates would have a Chairmen, who will also be Chairman of the Bureau. The Chairman and the Secretary (who would also be secretary of the Bureau) would be called upon to do all sorts of tasks on behalf of the organisation. From the start, both should write frequently for the paper, more on ideological issues and questions which are concretely relevant to the movement now. They should also do research, help in the process of clarification of direction, and attend meetings of cells as requested. In short, they should be involved in all activities of the organisation as the situation required. Meetings of the National Co-ordinating Council of Delegates should be held monthly on a day convenient to all members.
The Bureau of the Co-ordinating Council of Delegates as the name suggests, is the executive body of the Council and the organisation at large. It will consist of six persons: Chairman, Secretary, and secretaries of four committees attached to it, viz. Newspaper Committee, Defense Committee, Fund Raising Committee, and Organisational Committee. The secretary of the Fund Raising Committee will be responsible for the over-all finances of the Organisation, and function as Treasurer. At the meetings, which should be held weekly reports by the various secretaries would be given, and suggestions on organisation, strategy etc. should be made. It is necessary at this stage to make a distinction between the Chairman and Secretary. Although they have many common functions, the Chairman would deal more with the administration and co-ordinating of the organisation, while the secretary as well as assisting the chairman with those functions, would handle the paper-work, i.e. correspondence to and from MAP, agenda, etc. The criteria for membership of the committee would be based on expertise in those areas, and commitment to the cause.
Proposals have already been made on the structure and function of the Newspaper Committee. In time, in-depth proposals would also be made on the other committees, but it is necessary here to briefly outline some of the functions of these.
The organisational committee would be responsible for development and organisation of cells, and of the entire movement. It should have two full time persons mainly in the field, helping the different cells develop, forming new cells, clarifying to the cells the direction of the organisation, helping them to arrange public meetings, village forums, infant assemblies, and most important, preparing for the holding of the PEOPLE'S CONVENTION.
The Fund Raising committee is absolutely essential to the organisation, for it would serve to expand programs and bring in new people. Once the organisation is launched, it has to begin a serious drive to provide an initial financial base from which to expand. An estimate of the funds required should be made to determine how much money is needed to finance full-time workers, upkeep the newspaper, carry out public meetings, etc. It should go into the details of costs of material to be used by the newspaper (press, stencils etc.). The cost of obtaining a building, and any other project of the organisation which requires money. There should be two full-time workers on this committee.
The Defense Committee would deal with actual strategy and planning for the protection of the organisation when faced with direct confrontation with the establishment. This protection can take the form of either legal defense, or military defense, in which case the committee has to be prepared to organise both. Committee members would be known by all members of the organisation, but the one person responsible for the planning and execution of armed struggle would be known only by the Bureau.
As seen in the diagram [not available], a CONGRESS, comprising all members of the organisation, forms the over-all structural unit of MAP. It is at the meeting of Congress, held three times a year, that heads of committees are elected, executive members of the organisations are chosen, and important decisions affecting the whole movement, are made. During Congress the National Council is responsible for the operations of the organisation, but between Congress, the council should have the power to dismiss members of the Bureau. Although as stated, meetings of Congress would be held three times during the year as the Bureau sees fit, extraordinary meeting could be called as issues arise. the cells should also have the power to call Congress, and this would happen when one-third of the cells decide that this is necessary, communicating their desires to the Secretary.
This therefore if the organisation of MAP. We seek to place power in the hands of the people, and in doing so we have to work very hard, and organise, organise and organise. But in working towards this goal we have to take a hard look at our own selves, and ask ourselves a few hard questions related to our own commitment. We must have our own heads straight both personally and emotionally even more than political before we attempt to deal with other people. Let us work at it, towards the achievement of ASSEMBLIES OF THE PEOPLE.