Development of the Subjective Factor
(Brief History of Party Development)
Over the past 9 1/2 years, our Party [NJM] has passed through many stages of its development.
(1) March 11, 1973.
(2) March 1973 - April 1974.
(3) April 1974 - June 1977.
(4) July 1977 - August 1978.
(5) August 1978 - March 1979.
[NOTE: On the original unsigned document available to the web administrator, the recognizable handwriting of Maurice Bishop identifies the time periods by major events, as well as other notations. Example: From March 1973 through April, Bishop notes a "Non-M.L. [Marxism-Leninism] Approach". Related to that is the notation for the period April 1974 - June 1977 when Bishop writes "M.L. Decision,"]
(6) September 1982 Onwards: We are now [assume September 1982] entering a new stage of the Revolution and of our Party's development. Many new tasks face us. This year the Party has begun to play a leading role in economic development, and thus must continue, as this provides the essential material base for the building of Socialism. At the same time the Party's leadership in the Armed Forces, especially the Militia, must continue to deepen, since every success the Revolution scores, increases imperialism's fury and puts us more and more in danger.
Yes we know that only the working class can build socialism and this means that sinking the ideas of M.L. [Marxism-Leninism] among the working class in particular, and the best elements of the working people, has become priority one.
The addition of these new tasks means that our level of ideological and organisational development as a Party has to rise. If we had not insisted on the highest standards of discipline and organisation, there would have ben no Revolution. But as we said earlier, holding power and building Socialism will be a thousand times harder than taking power. The Party can be built more rapidly on the basis of lower standards, but this means that the tasks we have set ourselves, including our historic mission, that of building Socialism, would not be accomplished. As Lenin said: "Better Fewer, But Better."
During the Party's history, there have been members who have dropped out, some for opportunist reasons, others were not willing to make the sacrifices required in the period, in other cases, as the Party's ideological outlook developed they realised that they did not share the desire to build Socialism, others again just could not take the level of discipline, of organisation and of hard work required. No one is a "member for life" in a serious, Leninist Party and at this point I want to state the four criteria for Party membership and to go into some detail as to the qualities required for promotion within the Party.
The four basic requirements for Party membership are:-
- Regular collective ideological study organised by the Party.
- Engaging in consistent political work under the guidance of an organ of the Party.
- Consistent payment of Party dues, in general fixed at 5 per-cent of gross salary; unemployed and students at $1 monthly.
- Understanding, accepting and implementing the principles and programme of the Party. This, of course includes a complete willingness to accept Party discipline in many areas of one's personal and political life.
Qualities The Party Looks For In Members
The Party first seeks to identify among the working people, those with four main qualities;
- Comrades with a genuinely revolutionary-democratic outlook.
- Comrades who engage in disciplined political work in a particular area.
- Comrades who are basically honest and not opportunist in character.
- Comrades whose relations to private property do not involve them in the exploitation of labour.
From experience we know that these are the people who are most likely to move to Marxism-Leninism [ML]. These comrades are therefore invited to join classes where they are tested to see whether they are hostile to or accepting of the ideas of ML. If not anti-Communist and continue to work well and show an honest approach they are admitted as Applicants to the Party.
The period of applicancy is one year, which gives both the Party and the applicant time to judge whether the applicant really accepts the science of ML, and is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to become a Party member. When assessing an applicant for promotion to Candidate member, the following are looked at:-
- Whether the Applicant genuinely accepts the principles of ML and shows willingness to continue to develop,
- Whether the Applicant has been working consistently and effectively in his/her area of political work and in developing in terms or organisational skills.
- Whether the Applicant has, in practice, accepted Party discipline.
- Whether the Applicant has good relations with the masses, including the other Party members and non-Party members with whom he/she works in his/her trade union, mass organisation, in the Army, in his/her workplace.
- Whether the Applicant has continued to be of good character, so as to present an example to the masses he/she comes into contact with; whether certain petty-bourgeois traits (such as individualism, hostility to criticism, arrogance, indiscipline, etc.) are being eroded and proletarian qualities (respect for the working class, co-operativeness, discipline, modesty, self-criticism) are being built.
If accepted as a Candidate Member, another year will elapse before the comrade is eligible to be considered for full membership in the Party.
At this stage the Party looks for the fullest possible development of five factors:-
- Ideological development, as seen in an ability to analyse and cope well with many different situations and in a correct application of strategy and tactics,
- A professional approach to his/her political work, exercising Leninist organizational standards in all aspects of the work,
- An ability to supervise and guide the work of junior Party comrades,
- The removal of petty bourgeois character faults; a development of character which provides an outstanding example to other Party comrades and to the masses alike,
- Very good relations with the masses and with other Party comrades,
- The development of the technical and professional skills needed in whatever area (job) where the comrade works.
Why does it take so long to become a full member of the Party? First and foremost, because being a Communist is not simply a matter of accepting ML theoretically. It involves the learning of scientific ideological and organisational principles, but it also involves learning how to put these into practice in various situations occurring over a period of time. When considered how long it takes to qualify as a Doctor or Engineer, the period of training for political cadres is relatively short, and as a result the Party expects continued and continuous growth from the full members, including its leadership.
Secondly, being a Communist for most of us means becoming a different kind of person. Our society is deeply petit-bourgeois and this means that the majority of our people are deeply individualistic, indisciplined, often disorganised, often unco-operative, hostile to criticism, and so on. Those of the middle strata and intelligentsia usually find it difficult to relate as equals with the working people and many working people lack confidence in dealing with certain types of people. it takes time for a new, Proletarian person to be built.
So, in reality, promotion is not decided on by the Party, but by the Development of comrades themselves. On behalf of the Party, therefore, I congratulate those who have recently been promoted. You now know the basis on which you have been promoted. Those who have not been promoted or who are not yet eligible for promotion, you know what you have to do to be promoted.