The Grenada Revolution Online

NJM Response to the River Antoine Question Puzzles!

[hand printed] NJM Response to the River Antoine Question Puzzles!

[typed] Comrades, let us now take a look at the respond of the New Jewel Movement in relation to this River Antoine question. In the Party's weekly news paper dated Saturday 23rd February, 1980 (volume 1, no. 6) an article entitled "N.J.M. Says No To Land Seizure" admitted that the country is not producing enough to solve the problems of the people, and that the solution of the problems of the people is greater production, greater organisation and greater discipline; that the Revolution is to bring improvement to the lives of the people, for example the housing loans to the agricultural workers and free milk to the people is a demonstration for the concern of the P.R.G. for the lives of agricultural workers; that the P.R.G. is a working people's government, committed to bettering and improving the lives of the people The article also warn workers not to resort to desperate actions, that will harm the Revolution, workers must not allow anyone to confuse them; that some crazy seizure of property was one of the factors that led to the counter-revolution in Chile, it confused many honest people and caused them to oppose the Allende Government, thus serving as powerful propaganda for the enemies of the revolution during their effort to wreck Chile; and that the price the Chilean people have to pay, is the lives of over 25,000 people and the vicious fascist dictatorship of Pinochet. This, the article warn must not happen to Grenada. The article also suggested to workers to ask themselves why did those who misled and incited them not contact the P.R.G. and the union; that if they the workers have problems contact the P.R.G. and the union.

Now comrades, before we analyse the article thoroughly, please permit me to reflect for awhile on the historical experiences of countries which have had similar situation at some point in time like we are now experiencing. Countries that have similar problems to deal with; the problem of unemployment, the question of imperialist strong-hold on their national economy, imperialist exploitation of their people and natural resources - their wealth; the problem of social misery - poverty, diseases, illiteracy, ignorance; the question of feudal exploitation of those who till the soil; the question of the development of country's infrastructure - roads, pipe-borne water, medical facilities, school facilities, transport, housing, electricity, telephone ect. The question of building the economy.

We have to admit that many countries have experienced tremendous difficulties in handling the complex problem in the revolutionary transformation from capitalism to socialism, and Grenada is no exception. Their uncertainty in choosing the "road forward" to social progress have in many cases resulted in temporary defeat and sometimes complete lost of their revolutionary process. For example countries like Egypt, or Chile for that matter have suffered such regrettable defeat! Of course, many important factors were responsible for their failure to (i) consolidate and safeguard political independence and sovereignty, (ii) to overcome economic backwardness by winning economic emancipation and independence from imperialist, (iii) to set up their independent national economy and (iv) to develop their own industry and raise the people's standard of living. However, before we also examine closely those revolutionary laws that countries, specifically Chile, violated during their process of revolutionary transformation to socialism, let us take a glance at the historical experience of socially and economically underdeveloped countries whose transition to socialism were marked by extreme diversity of ways, forms and methods, resulting from their historical circumstances.

During the 1960s and early 70's many third world countries e.g., Algeria, Burma, Egypt, Guinea, Iraq, Syria, Tanzania, Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen and some other countries took the road forward, that is to say they became Socialist-oriented, proclaiming Socialism as a national goal. Most of these countries whose leaders were revolutionary [unclear] were successful in putting an end to the domination of foreign monopolies with the aimed at winning economic independence and building their own economies.

Such countries were able to put an end to the presence of foreign capital in a number of key sectors of the economy, for example banking, insurance, the monetary system as a whole, the production and distribution of electric power, transport and communications, foreign trade and, largely domestic trade. Just after the 1956 imperialist aggression against the Egyptian people, Egypt nationalized and Egyptised practically all major foreign business property; Syria ousted foreign capital from the key economic sectors. Countries like Somalia, the Congo, Burma and the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen took radical starts in this direction. Tanzania took over all foreign-owned banks, seventeen export and import companies and eight industrial enterprises, shortly after adopting its famous Arusa (sic) Declaration. Algeria nationalized nearly all foreign banks and oil and gas distributing companies, insurance firms and a large number of foreign-owned industrial enterprises. Foreign land ownership and land tenure were also abolished. Guinea ousted foreign capital from banking, insurance, foreign and domestic trade, the monetary system, diamond and gold-mining industries, the bauxite-mining enterprises power engineering, railways and civil aviation, various enterprises in the service and other industries. As a result of the natonalisation measures taken in the sixties, Egypt, for example abolished the private property of the big bourgeoisie and of a considerable part of the middle bourgeoisie. In Syria the big capitalist were stripped off their economic positions. The private sector was reduced to only the middle capitalists and chiefly of small businessmen. The Algerian private sector completely lost its position in banking, insurance, the monetary system and in the distribution of electricity, gas and oil products. The government also introduced a system of controlling the existing private enterprises. The local bourgeoisie lost its special privileges or advantages as compared with foreign business.

Guinea officially proclaimed a policy of restriction, and unswervingly moved forward and abolished forever the private sector of the economy and prevent the development of the local bourgeoisie. Burma, for instance, realised a plan in May 1970 to assign the Co-operative movement a new role. The movement was called upon to act as an important phase in the transition from capitalist property to socialist. The Co-operative plan was a preliminary step on the way towards the speedy attainment of socialist objectives. For example the key elements of Tanzania entire economic and social policies was based on the introduction of about 5,556 "SOCIALIST VILLAGES" in 1973 with a population of more than two million. The family in such village was expected to work in commonly owned field and on its own private plots, with income deriving from the commonly owned fields going to finance joint undertakings. In the Congo, the government nationalized the land, mineral resources, forests, transport and water supply. At the end of 1975 the government nationalized oil supply, distribution and storage facilities. The Congolese Revolutionary Democratic Government established co-operative villages as well state farms with the aid of the youth movement aimed at transforming the rural population to socialism. In Ethiopia, banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, most of them owned by foreign capital, were nationalized after the fall of the Feudal Regime. State control was established over all textile mills, tanneries, power stations, and food and mining enterprises. The government specified which branches of the economy should be operated by state companies only, and which can be operated by mixed state-private enterprises. Areas in which private firms and foreign investors can operate, and limits for their activity were determined. Land reform measures involving expropriation of large estates formerly owned by feudal lords were implemented in a large scale.

Comrades, I cite all these examples, just to arrive at one important conclusion. Although the economic programme of countries that are pursuing the non-capitalist path of development cannot be identical for each country that embark on this road. However, there are some principle measures that must be realise if such countries are to advance to socialism. I will now outline to you those principles.

The historical experiences of the socialist-oriented countries revealed the following:

  1. that the non-capitalist road to development involves various difficulties which must be clearly understood in order that they can be overcome;

  2. that such path prevents imperialism from exerting a decisive influence on the country's destiny, but however, does not imply the destruction of small capitalism initiative that does not run counter to the national interests or simple commodity production in town and country;

  3. whereas capitalism develops spontaneously, non-capitalist development is not spontaneous, it is a deliberate process which depends on a understanding of economic laws, therefore; the "road forward" is only possible if the political power in the country belongs to social layers who are devoted to the working people's interests, who are willing to restrict and ultimately to oust exploiter elements who oppose their interests;

  4. that imperialism, as well as domestic reactionaries will at all times raise its ugly head and put pressure on countries pursuing the non-capitalist road of development, hence no country should embark on such path in isolation from the world socialist system, for reliance on the support of the socialist countries and on the support of the socialist countries and on the revolutionary forces in the metropolitan countries is an objective law of non-capitalist development.

  5. that a country wishing to develop independently of the world capitalist economy, must carry out a series of far-reaching changes in economic relations; the country has to destroy the old relations of dependence on the imperialist and their local helpers, create new and more progressive relations to ensure economic development in the national interest in keeping with the people's requirements, it will have to end the old relations which obstruct rapid economic development by undertaking the essential economic reform to abolish feudal land-ownership, nationalize foreign monopoly enterprises and property, protect the national market and the national industry against the destructive influence of competition with foreign monopolies, do away with lop-sided specialization of the national economy;

  6. on the question of social relations the country will have to transfer the land to those who work on it, create a developed industry which produces the goods needed by the national market, create a state sector in industry and agriculture, concentrate key positions in the economy in the hands of the state, by making it possible to influence the economic development in the direction required, restrict spontaneous capitalist market relations which obstruct planned economic development.

Comrades, the historical experience of the countries which have chosen the "road forward" revealed that unless such changes are carried out it will be impossible to create a national economy which can effectively raise the living standard of the people at any speed and at the same time stand up to imperialism.

How can we comrades give support to N.J.M. saying . . . "the country is not producing enough to solve the problems of the people". Wouldn't you admit that the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is producing enough to solve the problems of its people? But haven't we noticed that some people of Trinidad & Tobago are still eating out of garbage-pans? What is preventing the P.R.G. from putting an end to the profits from the labour of the down trodden River Antoine workers which continue to go into the pockets of the De Gale family in South Africa (that racist country), Australia, Wales, England, Italy, Barbados? Haven't we all agreed that imperialism is the main problem of our country? Why then all this talk about imperialism, isn't imperialist merely monopoly [not sure about this last phrase - unclear].

What then is preventing government from amalgamating all banks on the island into a single central bank, thus exercising state control over its operations. Or nationalizing all the banks? Of course, we can issue our own currency. Isn't the banks the principal nerve centres of our economic system? We just cannot continue talking about regulating economic life and at the same time evading the question of nationalization. We will not be able to effectively control and regulate production and distribution of goods if we fail to control and regulate bank operations.

Comrades, we know for a fact that the capitalists and their defenders have always try to fool the common people, telling them that nationalization of the banks is a very, very . . . difficult and complicated operation. But comrades, the true reality is this, nationalization of the banks will not present any technical or cultural difficulties whatsoever. And we can from now on, go about and tell the small and middle farmers, the shopkeepers, the fishermen, the civil-servants, bus and taxi drivers, in short all working people that they would not be deprived of one cent if the banks are nationalized, or put under state control and operation, in the morning. Whosoever own twenty dollars ($20.00) on a savings account would continue to be the owner of twenty dollars ($20.00) after the nationalization of the banks; and whosoever had twenty million dollars would continue after the nationalization of the banks to have their twenty million ($20,000,000.00) in the form of bonds, bills, commercial certificates and so on, (if just to use an extreme example). Nationalisation would not in any way alienate the people's savings. In fact it will revealed commercial secrecy (sic) to an extent and bring to light the extremely complex wily tricks of the bank managers and the exploiting capitalist class in performing their highly profitable fraudulent operations.

And comrades, if the peoples revolutionary government were revolutionary not only in word, not only in their foreign policy, their verbal concessions to socialism and even nominally aiding with it in order to preserve their prestige among international revolutionaries, to see what assistance they can get from Socialist and socialist-oriented countries, if they were democratic not only in word, their florid (sic) speeches, if they were acting in the interests of the majority of the people and not of a handful of rich Grenadians and themselves, they would without anymore delay decree (1) the amalgamation of all banks into a single bank and state control over its operations, or nationalization of all the banks and introduce its own currency in circulation. (2) Abolition of all commercial secrecy. (3) Nationalisation of all insurance companies thus bringing them into one so that their operations can be centralize under state control. (4) Nationalise once and for all the remaining private shares of the telephone company and the electricity company. Of course! This one may be very difficult to suggest to the P.R.G. to decree at least fifty percent (50%) shares of the foreign own Holiday Inn, simply because that principal measure will cut-short their numerous, expensive formal "cocktail parties" which they have regularly with their bourgeois friends. [In 1981 there was a suspicious fire at the Holiday Inn].

And comrades, we can surely say that these pseudo-marxist will kick high with frantic emotion saying . . . you see! They want to introduce Socialism overnight, with one stroke. For those barefaced liars have not yet realised that socialism means abolition of classes and we have not even make an attempt to build a genuine communist party guided by the theory of the working class (Marxism-Leninism). So why all this talk of wanting to build socialism overnight, when the N.J.M. has not even make an attempt to introduce a slight semblance of "Workers Power" (the Dictatorship of the Proletariat). Comrades, all that we are demanding is measure of control, supervision, accounting, regulation by the state, introduction of a property distribution of labour power in the production and distribution of goods, husbanding of the people's forces, elimination of all wasteful effort in the country, and that is not yet socialism. But we know for a fact that the nationalisation of the banks, insurance companies, and phone and electricity companies, abolition of commercial secrecy, and control in 50 of the shares in the Holiday Inn hotel, the elimination of all vestiges of feudal exploitation in the rural areas is indeed the first treader of the many stages of socialism, it is only an indication of the "road forward".

Comrades, we must struggle for a "revolutionary-democratic state", i.e. a state which in a revolutionary way 'abolishes all privileges and does not fear to introduce the fullest democracy in a revolutionary (sic). We must immediately smash this reactionary-bureaucratic administrative element of the state that continues to sit in St. George's, seemingly always busy, but yet doing nothing. At this point in time we must not fail to advance towards socialism there is no middle course; either we advance or retreat, either we have to be revolutionary democrats in fact, in which case we must not fear to take steps towards socialism, or we feat to take the road forward, arguing that the objective and subjective situation is not right to introduce steps towards socialism, ect., in this case, we in a reactionary-bureaucratic way suppress the "revolutionary-democratic" aspirations of the workers and peasants.

Comrades, we know that some revolutionary parties have brought their peoples to socialism, by passing the stage of capitalist development, in societies whose social structure consisted or cattle-breeders and farmers. Of course, we know for a fact that the working class in Grenada is still in the phase of formation, and that the number of class conscious workers among NJM party members are still small. But with socialism which has now become a serious force over vast territory of the globe, N.J.M. leaders, who sit on their back-sides in air-condition offices, behind a desk, getting fat on poor people sweat, growing huge belly, should realise that a genuine workers party, openly guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism must be set up and do work not only among the urban workers, but also among the rural poor, even before the working class matures numerically and qualitatively. We believe that the opposite approach is wrong and is a distortion of scientific socialism.

I would like for awhile, just to point out here, that historical processes are speeded up by drawing on the experience of other countries and that when Lenin, leader of the first socialist country, the great Soviet Russia, proposed the following dictum as a guideline . . . "with the aid of the proletariat of the advanced countries, backward countries can go over to the Soviet System and through certain stages of development to communism without having to pass through the capitalist stage," mankind has witness the reality of Lenin's prediction, in the fact that the Soviet Republics of Central Asia, Fazahstan (sic), a number of nationalities in the Caucasus, Siberia, Russia's Extreme North and the Mongolian People's Republic have come all the way from feudalism to socialism during a matter of decades. Comrades, we have these rich experiences to build on.

[hand printed]


A worker from the Poterie Community express his views on the River Antoine Issue.

[original ALL IN CAPS; reduced for easier reading]

Pa Pa Oh! You doo hear what them P.R.G. and them saying. Ah never know them woulda turn out so, playing smart on people. They say them is communist but to me them is more hypocrite, because the same damn thing America uses to say about Cuba long a go, is the same damn thing they saying about the River Antoine matter. You doo see they going all about the place telling people if they let us control the estate next thing a worker go do is to take people cow, sheep, goat, foul, they small little piece ah land, house, people little palor (sic). That is the same thing America uses to say Castro doing in Cuba. Pa Pa Oh! They say they have brain but you doo see they want to drain the poor people dry. Just ah year since the revolution you doo see how much new cars they buying, bug fancy house they building, they playing smart getting far overnight on people back. They could say what the hell they want, them belly full already but we own hungry.

Them and they partner, De Gale and them dig man up they want to continue giving us $3. ah week for pension. After all that donkey years we work on their estate, $6. ah day for all that work and have to do. We can even buy a shoes to put in the foot, we can't give we children books, uniform, cook ah good piece ah food for them to do to school. We house falling down, so much little children jam up to sleep. Well doo talk about mosquitos, and even when rain falling we have to stand up and sleep, the house leaking for soo!

Pa Pa Oh! Problem too much everyday children fighting for food we can even give them enough to eat.

Any how we go stand by for we right, we want more money for pension, for we days work, and we still want something for we to fix we house and a portion in the profits of the estate every year. We want it now! To make a start before the rain [unclear] [unclear].

These P.R.G. could stay in town and say we at they want, but we doo want nobody make coffin and put we in it before we dead. What they don't like for they self they mustn't like it for us. Too hell with them. They can't tell us when to ask for work for our labour. We working dam hard! We want something more and we and we supporters go fight until we get what belong to us.

Them P.R.G. never know what it is to hungry, they from big family. They always have, so we have to look for we own.

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