Articles by Cheddi Jagan - Opposition Leader (1964-1992)
by Cheddi Jagan
Guyanese, like many others throughout the world are concerned about the explosive problem of unemployment and deteriorating living standards.
In the past, many panaceas had been prescribed. But these failed largely because they were not based on the realities of the situation, and because they did not get down to the roots of backwardness - poverty, disease, illiteracy and unemployment.
The majority of the "third world" countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America are largely tied by a "Gordian knot" in a colonial or neo-colonial political relationship with the developed capitalist states. This "dependency status" creates an unbalanced, distorted type of "development," integrated and geared not to the needs of the developing countries but to the imperialist states.
The result is progressive pauperization. The share of world income of "third-world" countries declined from 54% in 1800 to 42% in 1900 and only 18% in 1962.
This has come about because of:
1) foreign economic domination - between 1950 and 1965, there was a net outflow of US$16,000 million in profits from Asia, Africa and Latin America; since then, the drain has increased;
2) unequal international trade - as a result of buying dear and selling cheap, "third-world" countries lost US$4,000 million in 1960; this amount will increase to US$24,000 million by 1975 and US$30,000 million by 1980; their share of world trade declined from 27% in 1953 to 19.3% in 1966;
3) a local "clientele class" of political, bureaucratic and "comprador" capitalists who defend foreign rather than national interests and buttress foreign domination.
Any strategy for economic development and social transformation must therefore aim at the surviving of the "Gordian knot," at eliminating the status of dependency, at breaking up the economic, political and social structure.
Precisely because there was not an overall, microscopic view, previous strategies failed.
The advocates of the Puerto Rican model of economic planning which was introduced in the 1960's in the Caribbean and which constituted the basis of our prematurely collapsed $300 million 7-year plan (1966-72), did not see backwardness as a condition resulting from imperialist domination.
Rather, they viewed somewhat mechanically and simplistically development as dependent on the availability of capital. They saw the need for outside capital and advocated the creation of an investment climate. They did not concern themselves with the fact that foreign capital was so directed as to perpetuate the colonial economic structure which kept developing countries as raw material producers and markets for manufactured goods.
Nor did they see the sum total of incentives offered to foreign capital (investors should be able to recover investments in 3-4 years) would result in the same thing they sought to overcome; namely, the shortage of capital.
The rationale behind the ECLA (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America) model is that international terms of trade have operated against the primary-producing, one group and/or one-mineral economies of the Latin America countries; that import substitution would bring about industrialization; that industrialization would make for local decision-making and create a national bourgeoisie which would weaken the traditional oligarchies based on land ownership (latifundio) and import-export trading (comprador capitalism tied to imperialism); that import substitution coupled with land reform would stimulate the economy and cause income redistribution.
Here again, emphasis was placed on foreign investment and foreign aid - industrialization, it was felt, would require massive injection of foreign capital.
Industrialization greatly expanded. But it came more and more under foreign, mainly US domination. Instead of becoming a liberating force for the Latin American countries, industrialization further subjugated their economies and became integrated into the foreign economies. The vehicle through which this was achieved was the giant multinational corporations, which established branch-plants to assemble, package, tin or bottle, and/or relatively more labour-intensive-factories, which had become prematurely obsolete through the scientific and technological revolution (automation and computers), mainly to produce for the internal Latin American market.
The main props of the ECLA model were import substitution and regional integration (Latin American Free Trade Association and Central American Common Market). Regional integration, it was argued, would provide larger markets and economies of scale. But this only facilitated the multinational corporations, and incidentally US imperialism to keep out its European competitors.
The ECLA strategy, like the Puerto Rican, has also failed. By 1970, despite the big ballyhoo about the Alliance for Progress, Latin American countries achieved a rate of growth of only 1.5%, far short of the limited goal of 2.5% set by the Alliance in 1961.
And problems have escalated. There are over 25 millions unemployed. And the gap between the rich and the poor countries to widen even in the most industrialized like Mexico and Brazil. And because of rampaging inflation, (40% increase in cost of living in 1971, and 11% in January, 1972), a 48-hour general strike paralyzed Argentina in March, 1972.
These adverse conditions have come about because in every year after 1967, drain of super profits from investments in Latin America increased to over US$1,000 million a year; share of world trade shrank from 11% to 5.1% between 1950 and 1968; and as a result of falling prices, foreign trade losses were over US$500 million a year. Debt repayments (capital and interest) have also skyrocketed to over US$500 million per year.
Because of the patent failure of the ECLA model and the explosive political situation in Latin America, the imperialist strategies devised the idea of "partnership" - local people and governments buying shares in foreign companies, and local personnel, being prompted to leading positions as managers and directors; thus, the creation of a new social class to buttress foreign domination.
The ECLA model with regional integration (CARIFTA), import substitution (bans on imports) and partnership (buying of shares in Bookers Stores, Diamond Liquors, Demerara Tobacco Company, etc and joint ventures with government participation) is being introduced in Guyana by the PNC regime and in Trinidad by the PNM regime. But it will fail in Guyana and the Caribbean as it has failed in Latin America. Besides, today, capitalism-imperialism is in growing crisis - economic, monetary, political - and the slowdown in its economy with increasing unemployment is bound to be reflected in an aggravation of the problems in the Caribbean and other "third-world" areas; as the saying goes, when the USA sneezes, Latin America catches a cold.
What is needed is a strategy based on a Marxist-Leninist economic model, which is anti-imperialist, pro-democratic and pro-socialist in content and which includes the following:
(1) Nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy - foreign-owned and controlled mines, plantations, factories, banks, insurance and foreign trade;
(2) Expansion of the public sector; planned proportional development of the economy with simultaneous concentration on industry and agriculture rather than on infra-structure; transformation of the economy from primary to integrated production;
(3) Foreign policy based on genuine non-alignment and meaningful relations - cultural, aid, trade and scientific - with the socialist world;
(4) Emphasis on education to raise the cultural, ideological, scientific and technological levels of the people;
(5) Land reform;
(6) Rent, price and exchange controls;
(7) Full democracy, workers control and involvement of the people at all levels.
These measures, like the various wheels inside a clock, are closely interlinked; they must be implemented simultaneously, and not taken ad hoc from time to time.
A correct planning strategy with progressive domestic policies must be linked to a progressive foreign policy. And corruption, nepotism and discrimination must be ended. Democratization of the Guyanese society will not only end these evils but also bring about voluntary and meaningful participation by all Guyanese in the exciting process of nation building.
Instead of embarking on a coordinated anti-imperialist programme, the puppets and apologists of imperialism resort to demagogy and sloganeering. They peddle half-truths, "split hairs," talk about agriculture instead of simultaneous development of industry and agriculture, and emphasize cooperatives, community development and self-help while the foreigners continue to own and control the commanding heights of the economy and drain-out capital, and the nation is swallowed up in debts.
The time has come for the Guyanese people as a whole to grapple with the problems of unemployment and deteriorating living conditions. Unless a radical course is taken, they will worsen. Anti-communist hysteria and fears must not be allowed to prevent the resolution of our problems on a national basis.
More and more non-communists are following the lead given by the communists. Genuine Christians like President Julius Nyerere, have adopted the Marxist-Leninist economic model because it is national and because it succeeded in the Soviet Union and China, and is succeeding in Cuba. Once backward areas which constitute the Central Asian republics of the USSR have been transformed. This strategy offers a way out of the widening gap, firstly, between the rich imperialist states and the poor developing countries; and secondly, between the rich and poor peoples in the capitalist and "third" worlds.
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2000
Is Guyana To Be Another Vietnam
by Cheddi Jagan
The United States of America is today at the crossroads. Among a broad cross-section of its citizens, there is an agonizing reappraisal. Many question and challenge the basis of US foreign policy especially as it unfolds in Vietnam - crimes against Vietnamese humanity and a great deal of personal loss and suffering for the American people.
It is my purpose to remind Americans of what is being done in their name in Guyana, to make them aware that step-by-step Guyana is being transformed into a dictatorship by a similar policy, which has resulted in such tragedy in Vietnam.
In Guyana, as in Vietnam, United States involvement started out under the administration of the late President J.F. Kennedy. At first there appeared to be goodwill towards us. This was expressed in refutation of charges by a former editor of Izvesita of US interference and subversion abroad. President J.F. Kennedy. At first, there appeared to be goodwill towards us. This was expressed in refutation of charges by a former editor of Izvesita of US interference and subversion abroad. President Kennedy in early 1962 declared:
"…the United States supports the idea that every people should have the right to make a free choice of the kind of government they want. Mr Jagan who has recently elected Prime Minister in British Guiana, is a Marxist, but the United States doesn’t object because that choice was made by honest election, which he won."
But soon after, the Kennedy administration launched a three-pronged attack against my government. This included:
Diplomatic pressure on the British government to withhold independence and change our electoral system.
Diplomatic pressure on the Venezuelan government to renew a long-dormant claim to two-thirds of our territory.
CIA-fomented demonstrations, strikes, riots, airline and shipping blockage aimed at bringing down the PPP government and providing the British government with excuses for denying independence to Guyana under the PPP government.
Those subversive moves have been documented, particularly by the Nation, the New York Times and the London Sunday Times. Journalist Drew Pearson exposed the special trip Kennedy made to London in mid-1963 to persuade the then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan not to permit British Guiana to go forward to independence.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, one of Kennedy’s aides, wrote in his book A Thousand Days that, after meeting LFS Burnham in Washington in May 1962, he advised Kennedy that the way to remove from the government my party, which had won three successive elections, was to change our traditional first-past-the-post district electoral system to that of proportional representation, what Harold Wilson when in opposition called a "fiddled constitutional arrangement", but when in office failed to correct. "Thus far", continued Schelsinger, "our policy had been based on the assumption that Forbes Burnham was as the British described him an opportunist, racist and demagogue, intent only on personal power."
Mr Schlesinger went on: "the State Department at first thought we should make a try (to work with me - Cheddi Jagan) - then Rusk personally reversed this policy in a stiff letter to the British early in 1962."
Why did Kennedy go back on his pronouncement on Guyana? According to Schlesinger, "the President went on to express doubt whether Jagan would be able to sustain his position as parliamentary democrat. ‘I have a feeling’, he said, ‘that in a couple of years he will find ways to suspend his constitutional provisions and will cut his opposition off at the knees…Parliamentary democracy is going to be damn difficult in a country at this stage of development. With all the political jockeying and all the racial tensions, it’s going to be almost impossible for Jagan to concentrate the energies of his country on development through a parliamentary system."
It would seem that the aim of the United States is the attainment of economic development and social progress, through a parliamentary democracy.
What is the record of the US-backed, Burnham-led, coalition government?
The puppet government has brought the country to near-bankruptcy. And step-by-step a neo-fascist dictatorship is being established.
Instead of progressing, Guyana is retrogressing. Agriculture in a predominantly agricultural country is in decline. Industry, with the exception of the foreign-owned extractive bauxite industry, is virtually at a standstill.
The country is heavily in debt, short-term and long-term. A credit balance at the end of the PPP term of office in 1964 has been turned into a growing budgetary deficit. Increasing short-term loans from the banking system have led to a credit squeeze with high interest rates and to deficit financing.
The balance-of-payments position has moved from a surplus to a deficit, necessitating standby credit from the International Monetary Fund to help maintain the external value of the Guyana dollar. And tied as Guyana is to imperialism, it was forced to devalue her currency with the devaluation of the British pound.
Besides, fiscal, trade, economic and foreign policies have been tailored to suit Washington. An American is Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister. The first Governor of the Central Bank of Guyana was a West German.
The Guyana government voted against the seating of People’s China at the United Nations; and has refused to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. There has been a break on trade with Cuba. And severe restrictions have been placed on imports from other socialist countries, although the economic advantages, including lower prices, are obvious.
Fiscal policies have resulted in a crushing burden on the poor while over-generous tax, mining and other concessions have been made to the foreign monopolies.
Meanwhile, mass poverty grows and spreads with rising unemployment, coupled with a policy of discrimination in employment, of wasteful public expenditure, of nepotism and corruption. The former Lord Mayor of Georgetown (the Capital), a government appointee, in a broadcast in May 1967 cried out against a new elite creating "a new, larger area of snobbery", and against bribery which "is all over the place and is fast becoming a national industry…the harm done in any situation in which bribery, corruption, nepotism and favouritism assume national proportions and is a way of life from top down, can never be calculated."
Commenting on the growing disillusion, dissatisfaction and frustration columnist "Lucian", a strong government supporter, writing in the Sunday Graphic of July 16, 1967, said:
"Many people -- Guyanese and non-Guyanese are disgusted with the present state of affairs in this country. Some are packing up to leave out of sheer frustration, while others are dejected from unbearable disgust."
Frustration and dissatisfaction are leading to increasing militancy on the one hand and to anti-social tendencies on the other. During the last 3 years, Guyana has experienced a record-breaking number of strikes - 146 in 1965, 172 in 1966 and over 120 in 1967. Violence, crime and juvenile delinquency are on the increase.
And there is every indication that the situation will further deteriorate. Apart from wasteful expenditure, the burden of the debt repayment is falling heavily on the Guyanese masses. For three successive years, indirect taxation has been imposed and direct (capital) taxes drastically reduced. The tax load in the first three years of the 7-year Plan is already more than 60 per cent of what was originally estimated to be levied for the entire period.
Debt charges already amount to 16 per cent of budgeted expenditure. This percentage would have been higher had it not been for a moratorium on some loans provided by the United States and Great Britain. It is likely that in the not-too-distant future debt payments will approximate the amounts received from abroad as loans and grants.
As the budget position worsens, the government will impose additional taxation and/or cut the already pruned social services.
In the face of growing dissatisfaction, discontent, and militancy, the coalition government is preparing to muzzle the working class and to rig the general election, due to be held not later than the spring of 1968.
An anti-strike bill has been introduced in the National Assembly to make provision for compulsory arbitration.
Already enacted is the National Security Act, even more draconic than the US National Security Act of 1953. It gives the government the power without trail to restrict or detain any Guyanese for an indefinite period.
In February 1968, the government refused to issue passports to five Guyanese who were proceeding abroad on scholarships.
From February to June 1968, the biggest attempt at fraud will be mounted. A national Register of all Guyanese 14 years and over is being compiled, out of which will come the electoral roll of persons aged 21 and over.
In the compilation of this register, the Constitutionally proved Elections Commission, made up of a chairman appointed by the Prime Minister and one nominee each of the three political parties, is being completely by-passed. The operational headquarters is under tight security and police guard. And the whole machinery of handpicked appointees is under the control of the Minister of Home Affairs. Supervising the registration is Shoup Registration System International, which according to Paul L. Montgomery in the New York Times (December 17, 1967), "has previously performed national registration tabulations in Trinidad, Jamaica and Venezuela. DE McFeely, the concern’s resident manager, said in an interview that he also (understood) that the company had helped with registration last year in South Vietnam."
The registration officers are armed with a great deal of discretion which will be used to advantage for the government. In the case of which our supporters, young persons of voting are can be classified below 21 if they do not have tangible proof. For government supporters, on the other hand, manipulation can permit persons below 21 to be classified as voters.
The government also proposes to register Guyanese resident abroad, estimated to be about 42,000 persons. This will make Guyana probably the first country in the world to adopt this procedure.
Clearly, the coalition government hopes to make up the loss of its support (The People’s National Congress won 40.9% and the United Force 12% of the votes at the December 1964 general election) at home by votes obtained by fraud abroad.
Another possibility of fraud will be multiple registration (a person registering in more than one place) and multiple voting, which is facilitated by the right to vote by proxies.
During the 1964 elections, my party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) sharply criticized the Governor, Sir Richard Luyt, for enlarging the scope for voting by proxy. Although we polled 46% of the total votes, we secured only 8.6% of the 7,000 odd proxy votes. This was no doubt the reason why the Commonwealth Team of Observers on the Election commented that the "one administrative provision which seemed open to manipulation was the proxy vote…we feel it is our duty to point out that the proxy system is liable to abuse."
Sir Richard Luyt’s powers are now assumed by the PNC Minister of Home Affairs and Shoup International.
Is Shoup International a CIA front? The New York Times of December 17, 1967 wrote:
"The CIA had no comment on the assertion that the Shoup concern is a front."
Whether Shoup is a CIA-front or not, one thing must be taken for granted. In pursuit of its foreign economic policies based on the Truman Doctrine, now Johnson Doctrine, the US government by force and fraud will not hesitate to use electoral fraud to maintain its puppets in office.
Meanwhile, top-ranking US politicians and administrators will continue hypocritically to moralize, to proclaim their beliefs in freedom, democracy and the rule of law. This hypocrisy - saying one thing and doing the opposite - has reached the point of deep crisis in respect of US intervention in Vietnam. Under the flimsy excuse of defending freedom and democracy, the US has violated the Geneva Agreements, and is committing genocide in its intervention to prop up a government, which cannot be propped up by its own people.
While US presidents talk about parliamentary democracy, their policies and support are heading Guyana towards a right-wing Latin American type of dictatorship. Arthur Sutton, a US citizen sees Guyana as a potential Haiti Writing in the Frontier (January 1965), he said:
"Our troubles in Vietnam stem, in part, from our efforts to implement policies not particularly supported by the masses. Our troubles in Guyana, where we are attempting the same strategy, are just beginning. They will be equally as perplexing and proportionately as expensive as our Southeast Asian adventure and out ultimate success is just as unlikely.
Guyana, has, unfortunately the potential to become another Haiti. Is that the goal of our present policy? Continued chaos in the hemisphere benefits on one but our enemies, and Guyana, thanks to our inept actions, is poised on the brink of national suicide."
After this was written, the Guyana Evening Post, a strong backer of the neo-fascist United Force, replied: "The other answer is not easy; it is removing from the scene the Jagans and the Suttons." On February 5, 1965, a columnist, the late Percy Amstrong, of the same newspaper called for preventive detention, which was provided for in the National Security Act of 1966.
All US citizens must now seriously oppose their government’s foreign policy, which has made their country completely amoral. Gone is the high purpose that inspired it nearly 200 years ago.
Then, the United States preached about "unalienable rights", and governments "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Now it has arrogated to itself the right of intervention ostensibly in defence of freedom and democracy, but in reality for the protection of vested interests. The ballot box is being rigged. And when rigging cannot suffice, bullets replace ballots.
The American people have a manifest duty to call the warmongers, the war-makers and the war-profiteers to order, to return to the spirit of 1775. Then, Americans, as colonials of Britain, fought a just revolutionary was for the right of self-determination. Today it behoves all decent Americans to support the right to self-determination of all peoples, be they black, brown, yellow or white, in all countries - Guyana, Vietnam, Greece and elsewhere. They could do not better than follow the lead of General David M. Shoup, who recently bluntly asserted: "I believe that if we had an would keep our dirty, bloody dollar-crooked, fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own."
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2000
Straight Talk by Cheddi Jagan, September 14, 1975
There have been mixed reactions to "critical support." By and large, they fall into two broad categories -- it's nothing new, it's the old PPP line, it's only some new words; it's a sellout, Jagan has made a deal with Burnham, the PPP is merging with the PNC.
The PNC's reaction is based on the proposition that the PPP's non-co-operation, civil resistance campaign had failed, and thus its proposed changed political line. Its Chairman, Cammie Ramsaroop, referred to "critical support of the PNC as a vindication of the rightness of the approach of the PNC's Party policy. ("Guyana Graphic", August 19, 1975).
The PNC General Secretary, P Reid, said that the PPP was being influenced by the seemingly progressive things the government was doing; they "were seeing the benefits that can be had from going and doing the things that are right and useful to them.
There is a dangerous smugness in these assertions. There is a danger, but not the one mentioned by Dr Reid. And the danger cannot be seen unless one has a broad, world perspective.
Looked at it that way, what is the position? Particularly during the past thirty years, the world has been gripped by a titanic struggle between the socio-economic systems -- capitalism and socialism. The capitalist world launched a cold war to contain national liberation, socialism and communism.
But the socialist world has been growing stronger and stronger economically, militarily, morally and politically. At the same time, the capitalist world has been growing weaker and is now in a deepening crisis.
Meanwhile, in the "third world" (Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean), the struggle intensified for national liberation -- to free the nation from political, economic, military and cultural domination.
Some "third world" countries like Cuba have succeeded in moving, or completely breaking, away from the capitalist world.
Others have failed largely because of the machinations and manoeuvres of imperialism. Because of its counter-revolutionary moves, many "third world" governments were toppled - Dr Mossadegh of Iran, Jacobo Arbens of Guatemala, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Joao Goulart of Brazil, Kwame Nkhrumah of Ghana, Dr Sukarno of Indonesia, Dr Milton Obote of Uganda, Salvador Allende of Chile, Mujib Rahman of Bangladesh.
The governments were overthrown largely because their policies were in the direction against imperialism and for socialism.
And the instruments for the overthrow were mainly the military, in the majority of cases backed by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Attempts were also made against the Nasser government of Egypt by the Anglo-French-Israeli military attack in 1956, and against the Castro government in 1961 by the CIA-directed Bay of Rigs invasion. Fortunately, these attacks failed.
What were the results in the countries where imperialist counter-revolutionary blows succeeded? A rightist, neo-fascist regime was set up. The previous anti-imperialist policies were reversed. And communist parties, where they existed, were banned, and a systematic attempt was made to exterminate all communists and revolutionaries.
After the downfall of Dr Sukarno, one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Suharto military dictatorship slaughtered nearly two million Indonesians, mostly communists (the Suharto regime's delegation walked out of the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned states held in Guyana in August 1972, after it had seated the Provisional Revolutionary government of South Vietnam and the Cambodian government led by Prince Sihanouk).
In Bangladesh, after the tremendous electoral success of Mujib Rahman in 1970 and his arrest, the Pakistan military forces killed nearly 500,000 among whom were communists and revolutionary democrats. There the systematic killings in the first night indicated that the fascist worked with prepared lists with names and addresses.
In Chile, after the murder of Salvador Allende in 1973, hundreds of thousands of socialists and communists were killed and imprisoned. The First Secretary of the Communist Party is still in a concentration camp, and his son was jailed and tortured.
In Brazil, under the fascist military regime, all political parties except one with a right-wing orientation are banned and all Constitution liberties are suspended. The Communist Party of Brazil have been forced underground and its First Secretary is forced to live in exile in Moscow. Any communist caught in Brazil is either killed or imprisoned. And torture is an everyday occurrence. Even Catholic priests and nuns who have challenged and exposed the excesses of the fascist regime have been tortured. And the Brazilian state has become a sub-imperialism, a gendarme of US imperialism in Latin America. It has played a reactionary role in the South African continent, and has influenced fascist trends in neighbouring Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay.
It is this possible danger that the PPP sees in the Guyana situation. Our concern is not to save the PNC but to safeguard the interests of the Guyanese nation and the lives of the PPP leaders, activists, members and supporters. Experience has shown that weakening imperialism is like an enraged tiger. Wherever it succeeds with its counter-revolutionary blows, the first target is the Communist Party. It knows that such parties as the PPP in Guyana do not make deals with it; they are uncompromising, principled and consistent fighters against imperialism. For that reason, when the revolutionary forces succeed with their counter-revolutionary coups they strike at the "branch and root" of socialism and communism.
It is necessary to see the enemy clearly in all forms. The situation in Guyana is bad with violation of civil liberties, harassment, discrimination, lack of democracy, electoral fraud, etc. But it is immeasurably worse in Brazil, Indonesia, Chile and Bangladesh. While fighting for the preservation and implementation of our Constitutional Fundamental Rights, we cannot by deed or default permit the development of a fascist state in Guyana.
Consider the situation in India, where the imperialists want to turn the clock of history as they have done in Bangladesh by the removal of the Mujib Rahman government (in 1970, Rahman was arrested in East Pakistan and jailed in West Pakistan; in 1975, he was murdered).
Indira Gandhi, like Mujib Rahman, is being attacked by imperialism because her nationalist government pursues a policy of active non-alignment with a socialist orientation and close relations with the Soviet Union.
Just before India's military solution in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the Indian government signed a twenty-year treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union, which helped to check intervention by USA and China on the side of West Pakistan.
US imperialism, faced with the reality of Indira's and Mujib's policies were helping to change the balance of power in favour of socialism and against imperialism, is backing a rightist move to overthrow the Indira Gandhi government -- a coalition of five parties from the extreme right to extreme ultra-left headed by Jhyhprakesh Narayan's Socialist Party ("socialist" Norman Thomas of the Socialist Party of the USA admitted receiving US$1 million from the CIA which he used to set up seventeen socialist parties in Latin America to fight communism); the pro-Hindu Jan Sangh Party is fanatically anti-Muslim and reactionary (it opposes the slaughter of decrepit cows which compete against humans for survival), and harbours the same elements who were responsible for the shooting and killing of Mahatma Gandhi; the Swatantra Party is backed by Indian big business like Tata, one of the chief executives of which was at one time chairman of the CIA-financed Congress of Cultural Freedom which published the high-brow magazine "Encounter"; a Maoist-oriented Communist Party. This CIA-backed coalition was calling not only on the Indian Prime Minister to resign (she was convicted for a minor technical electoral offence), but also on the security forces to revolt.
With the experience of fascist brutality and tyranny in neighbouring Indonesia and Bangladesh, and faced with a dilemma, a choice between the petty-bourgeois government led by the Congress Party and a rightist-fascist clique backed by the CIA, the Communist Party of India supports the Indira Gandhi government. It has no illusions about the Congress Party which still has influential landlords and capitalists playing a big role and thus obstructing the path to socialism. But with fascist danger near, it has no alterative.
Chilean fascism should also be a lesson to middle-of-the-roaders and even right-wingers who have political ambitions. The rightist Nationalist Party led by Jorge Alessandri and the reformist Christian Democratic Party led by Eduardo Frei joined with the CIA and the military to bring about the downfall of Salvador Allende. They had hoped to replace Popular Unity and to become the beneficiaries. But the CIA and the ultra-rightist had other plans; they had not forgotten that those parties at the early stage had given parliamentary support to Allende's government to nationalized the foreign copper mines. Thus, they too have become the targets of the military Pinochet clique.
The development of fascism in Guyana, whether from within or without, must be vigorously opposed. This was why the Central Committee, in its Report to the 25th PPP Anniversary celebration, declared: "the situation now therefore demands a more flexible approach on the part of the PPP...our political line should be changed from non-co-operation to critical support....Critical support does not mean unconditional support. It means just what it says -- giving support for any progressive measure, opposing any reactionary moves and criticizing all shortcomings."
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2000
Speech delivered by Dr Cheddi Jagan, General Secretary of the People's Progressive Party at the Conference of communist parties of Latin America and the Caribbean held in Havana, Cuba on June 9-13, 1975
The People's Progressive Party is most happy to be taking part for the first time in a meeting of fraternal Communist Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean.
We express our gratitude to all those who have made this possible. And to the Communist Party of Cuba and its great leader, Comrade Fidel Castro, our special thanks for hosting this Conference and for making all the elaborate preparations in spite of the many difficulties they faced and the many arduous tasks before them.
Our meeting is taking place at a very important juncture in the history of human development. We Communists the world over can be particularly proud of the role we have played, the foundations we have laid and the sacrifices we have made.
Despite setbacks as in Chile and Uruguay, important and significant gains have been made particularly during the past five years - in Bangla Desh, Portugal, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Greece, Peru, Panama, Argentina, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, to name of them. What greater gift could the workers of the world have received than the final defeat of the US imperialists and their lackeys in Vietnam on the eve of May Day, 1975? Imperialism is in retreat and rent asunder by internal convulsions. In our own hemisphere, its aggressive policies and machinations have failed against the first free territory of the Americas. Revolutionary Cuba stands as a bastion of socialist strength - a constant reminder that there is an alternative road leading to peace, freedom and socialism.
What is more, in the face of a deepening crisis of capitalism, new developments are taking place in our continent in sectors traditionally associated with imperialism and the oligarchy. Positive trends have developed in the church and the military.
These people's victories have taken place under the influence of the growing strength of the world socialist system, at the heart of which is the mighty Soviet Union.
We agree with the line expressed in the Document; namely, that the main enemy of the peoples of the Americas in US imperialism; that it is the duty of all the Latin American Communist parties to take the lead in uniting all the possible forces against imperialism; to isolate, weaken and destroy it.
In this regard, we can draw a valuable lesson from the Vietnamese people's struggle. What were the ingredients for the victory of national liberation against the mighty colossus of the North?
Apart from heroism and sacrifice, there was the elaboration and implementation of correct tactics and strategy. Firstly, the great leader of the Vietnamese people, Ho Chi Minh, over many years patiently forged a vanguard workers (communist) party. Secondly, he united the great majority of the people in an anti-imperialist father-land front - three political parties (Communist, Socialist and Democratic), trade union and other mass, including religious and cultural, organizations. At the same time, the closest links were developed with the socialist world (it is not without significance to note that the first liberation forces that entered Saigon rode in Soviet-made tanks). And political propaganda work was done in every corner of the globe, most importantly in the USA itself.
The Document also correctly points out that while our immediate goal is anti-imperialism, we cannot lose sight of our objective of socialism, the attainment of which will not be realized without the observance of the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people.
This point cannot be over-emphasized. History is full of examples where despite certain positive anti-imperialist steps by governments, attempts were made by them at the same time to halt or even to betray the revolution.
Haile Selassie led Ethiopia in an anti-imperialist steps by governments, attempts were made by them at the same time to halt or even to betray the revolution.
Haile Selassie led Ethiopia in an anti-imperialist struggle against fascist Italy, but maintained a feudal structure at home and later established links with imperialism.
Because of sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry, President Charles De Gaulle opposed US capital (and political) penetration and domination of France and the European Economic Community, removed NATO headquarters from France, recognized the People's Republic of China and advocated a neutralist Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. But at the same time, he assumed internally near-dictatorial powers and would not have hesitated to turn, as in the 1968 crisis, the army against the workers in the interest of the French bourgeoisie.
Paz Estenssoro's Nationalist Revolutionary Party nationalized the tin mines and carried out a land reform programme in the 1950's. But years after his overthrow, he collaborated with the Banzer fascist regime.
In Mexico, although with the nationalization of the oil industry anti-imperialist steps were taken in the late 1920's and early 1930's, the growth of the big local bourgeoisie which established strong links with the imperialists, and the institutionalization of military-bureaucratic bourgeois power, make difficult the attainment of a social revolution.
In this regard, it is important not just to look at the establishment of diplomatic and other relations with the socialist states and the expansion of the public sector by some nationalization. Equally important is consideration of the nature of the state.
In Guyana, for instance, nationalization is leading to state and bureaucratic capitalism coupled with corruption, extravagance, racial and political discrimination and without basic democracy at the trade union, industrial, and central and local governmental levels. A minority regime is rapidly expanding the military bureaucratic apparatus, not so much to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity as to hold down the vast majority of the people and to deny them their fundamental rights. For example, the army and police are actively involved in tampering with the electoral process and in breaking strikes.
We must not forget that the deepening crisis of capitalism, the widening gap between the developed imperialist states and the developing states in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the consequent worsening social and economic conditions of the peoples have intensified the national liberation and class struggles, and have forced and are forcing bourgeois-led Social-Democratic and Christian-Democratic regimes to make changes. All shades of the liberal bourgeoisie are calling for change. But what kind of change?
With the cold-war policy of containment of national liberation and socialism, US imperialism imposed the Puerto Rican model of economic planning for development, based on the creation of an investment climate and incentives to foreign capital. This strategy collapsed in Latin America and the Caribbean with the Cuban Revolution.
Faced with the revolutionary Cuban alternative, President Kennedy launched the reformist Alliance for Progress. Kennedy was for change - fiscal, monetary, land reform - to prevent social explosions la Cuba, but change within the international status quo to freeze the international situation. There was to be no "second Cuba" whether in Guyana under the PPP government in the early 1960's or in Chile under Allende's Popular Unity government a decade later in the early 1970's; there was to be no shift in the world balance of forces against capitalism and in favour of socialism.
Such was the situation that imperialism devised new tactics and strategy - a strategy to incorporate the people and the state within the tentacles of imperialism and to create a social base for capitalism. After the failure of out-right pro-imperialist Puerto Rican model as evidenced by the political bankruptcy of the Alessandri regime (1958-64) in Chile, imperialism's chosen instrument was Eduardo Frei, who attacked the Cuban revolution and model as "revolution in dictatorship" and demagogically called for "revolution in liberty." This "revolution in liberty" was no more than the implementation of new US policy of "partnership," the establishment of joint ventures with government's ownership of even 51% of the shares in foreign companies, and the replacement of the Puerto Rican model by the ECLA (Economic Commission for Latin America) model based on import substitution and import substituting industrialization, land reform and foreign capital.
In the Commonwealth Caribbean, where developments have always lagged behind Latin America, a similar process is developing.
The collapse of the West Indies Federation in 1962 was the political expression of the failure of the Puerto Rican strategy of economic planning for development. What has also failed in Latin America, and particularly in Chile under Frei - the Alliance for Progress and the ECLA model - is now being introduced in the English-speaking Caribbean. "Joint Vultures" is the order of the day. And for the benefit of the US transnational corporations and for the penetration of US monopoly capital in a formerly exclusive British preserve was created in 1968 the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA), now the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM), the Caribbean counterpart of the Latin American Free Trade Association and the Central American Market, which came into being in the late 1960's in keeping with President Lyndon Johnson's advocacy of the concept of "ideological frontiers" for "geographical frontiers."
In Guyana, in 1970, the PNC minority regime talked merely about "meaningful participation in bauxite" like Frei's "Chileanization of copper." But under intense political and ideological pressure, mainly from the People's Progressive Party, it moved to nationalization.
Here too it is imperative to make an objective appraisal. With the ever-widening gap in living standards between the industrialized capitalist states and the imperialist-dominated "third world" underdeveloped states, and the failure of the first UN Development Decade (196070), intense internal political pressure and clamant calls for national control of natural and other resources and the creation of a new World Economic Order, petty-bourgeois reformist regimes are forced to make internal changes, even to move to nationalization, and to take certain progressive steps in foreign policy.
To what extent are these steps "in accord with" or "against" imperialism?
The first post-war Labour Party (social-democratic) government carried out limited nationalization. But the enterprises served capitalism, and British was kept firmly in the imperialist camp. Today, the same social democrats in collaboration with the reactionary forces have yoked Britain with the European Common Market.
Imperialism's tactics are designed to adjust to different political situations. In Bolivia, it "worked with" the Estenssoro regime after the nationalization of tin, and with aid and other devices succeeded in compromising and eventually overthrowing the regime.
As the class struggle intensifies, imperialism even encourages "nationalist communism." And in the international arena, having been forced through economic difficulties in the 1970's-balance of payments and balance of trade deficits and devaluation of the dollar to accept peaceful coexistence and detente, imperialism manoeuvres to divide the socialist world, to encourage Maoist China to attack the Soviet Union.
Operation in this context, and reflecting the twists and turns of US foreign policy, and as former US Secretary of State, William Rogers put it: to move "from confrontation to engagement," the PNC regime of Guyana voted against the seating of People's China in the United Nations in 1977 and 1967, abstained in 1968, 1969 and 1970 and voted for in 1971. Since then, it has been advocating the pro-Chinese and pro-imperialist "two super-powers," "two imperialisms" line, equating socialist USSR with imperialist USA.
The recent recognition of Cuba and Guyana and other Caribbean States which previously had a hostile attitude to the Cuban Revolution must also be seen against the background of the changed position of US imperialism to the question of peaceful coexistence in general with the socialist world. As regards Cuba, political considerations weighted more heavily than purely economic considerations for the US ruling class, and thus there were contradictions and vacillations with respect to the lifting of the OAS blockade on Cuba. In the Caribbean, however, because of the small size of the CARICOM market (about 4 million) US subsidiaries, like their Argentine counterparts, and the local bourgeoisie wanted the door opened to the expanding Cuban market. In such a situation, and in the face of popular internal pressure, the recognition of Cuba became a political necessity.
Clearly, what is being witnessed in the composition of the petty-bourgeois regimes are more polarized because of the aggravated nature of the national liberation struggle.
In some cases, there is a rightist trend towards authoritarian or even fascist dictatorship. Where pro-imperialist economic planning strategies and policies, domestic and foreign, are pursued, there is a worsening of the conditions of the people due to higher tax burdens to meet the costs of increasing debt charges and a burgeoning, and most often corrupt, bureaucracy.
With the inevitable dissatisfaction and discontent, nationalism leads to suppression, denial of civil liberties and a reactionary dictatorship.
In other cases, revolutionary nationalism is taking steps against imperialism. Whatever the motivation for these steps, they must be regarded as positive; they help to weaken imperialism and must be supported.
Such support, however, must be critical support, to ensure that the Communist Party plays its vanguard role, and is able continuously to exert pressure so as to influence the course of future development. It must be the duty of all fraternal communist parties to ensure that basic democracy is preserved and that no steps are taken, whether legal or administrative, to liquidate the Party.
Guyana presents a unique case in the continent. When the PPP was in the government for its second term (1957-64), the People's National Congress (PNC), taking a strong anti-communist and anti-Cuban position, advocated democratic socialism. It collaborated with Anglo-American imperialism and the Central Intelligence Agency. The same CIA methods and subversion that were tried and tested in Guyana in 1963 were used in Chile a decade later in 1973. It came to power on a minority vote (40%) and in coalition with the ultra-right United Force (12%) in December 1964 when the PPP polled 46%.
US-imposed pro-imperialist domestic and foreign policies led in the early 1970's to serious economic consequences and a grave crisis of confidence. The 1966-72 Development Plan, based on the Puerto Rican model, prematurely collapsed in 1970. With emphasis placed on infrastructural (roads, sea defenses, airports and airstrips, stellings and public buildings) and not industrial and agricultural development, the productive forces did not develop sufficiently to cope with the rapidly expanding population. Consequently, unemployment increased and now stands around 30% of the labour force, and is even higher among youths. Under-employment too is grave. This has led to a large-scale rural-urban migration and to a grave crime situation.
Also production did not expand sufficiently to meet charges which increased from G$10 million in 1964 to G$46 million in 1974 on a rapidly expanding national debt which escalated from G$127 million to G$813 million in the same period.
Simultaneously, the bureaucracy has rapidly expanded from 10 ministries under the PPP government in 1964 to 27 in 1975 with big salaries and allowances for the benefit of the ruling elite. Personal emoluments (salary payments) have skyrocketed from G$27 million in 1964 to over G$100 million in 1975.
The burden of debt payments and a top-heavy administration was placed on the backs of the workers with increased taxation and cuts in social services. Budgetary allocation from the latter declined from 45% in 1964 to 35% in 1975 with grave consequences for the health and welfare of the people.
Erosion of living standards has led generally to discontent, and particularly to disillusionment in the rank and file of the ruling party.
The regime's response to growing criticism and dissatisfaction is repression, denial of civil liberties, and extensive electoral fraud in 1968 and 1973. At the 1973 general election, the army intervened, seized ballot boxes, transported them to army head-quarters where they were tampered with. And this year, the armed soldiers and policemen were used in an attempt to break the six-weeks strike of the sugar workers.
At the same time, certain anti-imperialist steps have been taken which we have helped to bring about. We see as our duty constantly to apply mass pressure for the completion of the anti-imperialist national revolution.
Unfortunately, demagogy in the form of "cooperative socialism," namely, the false idea that socialism will be achieved by means of cooperatives, offers the excuse for not dismantling the imperialist socio-economic structure. It also poses the danger of developing a new form of capitalism.
Guyana unlike any other country in the hemisphere presents the unique opportunity for a rapid completion of the national revolution. There is no immediate danger of a military coup as the army is not of the traditional Latin American type, but is the creation of the regime itself. And there is no strong ultra-rightist force which can act as a base for CIA subversion.
Only political opportunism prevents a determined move forward. Even the limited anti-imperialist steps are compromised as for instance by excessive compensation and the appointment of Phillip Bros., the subsidiary of the giant South African Anglo-American Corporation, as the sales agent of the nationalized Guyana Bauxite Company. And the training of technical personnel, police and military officers in countries such as Brazil, Malaysia, United States and the United Kingdom, and the building of a highway linking Guyana and fascist Brazil with technical help and aid from "the US gendarme in Latin America" poses a danger to the anti-imperialist direction.
And unless the tendency towards military-bureaucratic form of rule and the deliberate administrative strangling of the PPP is counteracted by other processes taking place in favour of the involvement of the masses and democratization, there is also the danger of the anti-imperialist process being retarded and of the inhibition movement.
Nevertheless, the balance of forces continues to change in favour of national liberation. And the perspective is opening up for the broadcast unity of action of the patriotic forces in the struggle for democracy and against imperialism.
"Leftist" elements, which attacked us before 1973 as revisionist and non-revolutionary, but against which we always took a critical but principled position are now working with us - a process which was facilitated by the attitude and behaviour of the Chinese government in Guyana. Also with two other small petty-bourgeois parties, we have a working relationship for united action. The trade unions which were compromised by ORIT and the CIA are in a state of flux. Faced with growing contradictions, their actions in certain circumstances correspond to our positions. Contradictions are also developing in the Christian Church, particularly the Catholic, which took a strong reactionary, anti-communist stand against us in the 1960-64 period.
Similar trends are developing in many areas of the Caribbean. Consequently, we of this part of the hemisphere which is somewhat isolated from the Latin American mainstream look forward to receiving firm solidarity from the other Latin American Communist parties for the struggle against imperialism and for democracy.
The Document calls for the ending of colonialism. In this respect too, firm solidarity is necessary for bringing an end to the vestiges of colonialism in the Caribbean. In this respect too, firm solidarity is necessary for bringing an end to the vestiges of colonialism in the Caribbean.
We demand the immediate release of Luis Corvalan and other political prisoners in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Haiti and elsewhere in our continent.
In conclusion, we support the call for the convening of an international meeting of the Communist and Workers' parties. This we believe will greatly facilitate the anti-imperialist struggle.
Long Live the unity of Latin American and Caribbean Communists!
Long Live the working class!
Long Live Marxism-Leninism!
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2000
Excerpts From The Document Of The Conference Of Latin American And Caribbean Communist Parties
"Since US imperialism is the main, common enemy, the strategy and the tactics of the revolution in Latin America, for those of us who conceive it as a revolution whose final aim is socialism, go through anti-imperialism."
"The anti-imperialist struggle that will lead Latin America to final independence allows and demands the participation of the broadest social sectors, and the leading role in that struggle corresponds to the working class. The working class peasants are their natural allies. These are the social classes that aspire to the most profound transformation."
"If anti-imperialist unity is essential, the unity of the forces of the left within it is even more essential."
"Economic development cannot attain the accelerated pace necessary for our countries to bring about a solution to their serious problems of backwardness, unemployment, misery, illiteracy, without a decisive participation of the people's forces, of the workers, working peasants, and the urban and rural middle strata. And our peoples, just as Cuba's example indicates, will be mobilized to that extraordinary degree only through profound transformations which - in practice - prove to the workers of the countryside and the cities, to the intellectuals and professionals, that the revolution is theirs."
"It is true that the measures of defense of the domestic economy are not always accompanied by a genuine anti-imperialist policy. In some cases, it is strictly bourgeois nationalism which does not result in aspirations of transformation of the domestic economy, nor places the government that puts them into practice in progressive positions in view of the principal problems debated today. Nationalism can be transformed into anti-imperialist and revolutionary positions to the extent that the people's forces decisively participate in the struggle, to the extent to which the contradictions between nationalistic governments and imperialism sharpen."
"The battle for democracy for the masses, the struggle for urgent structural changes and for the transition to socialism, are indissolubly linked to the struggle against monopolies and imperialism which, aside from maintaining control over our riches, uphold and support the oligarchies and their governments...
"The criminal blow against Chile confirms the urgency of closing ranks for the defense of democracy and against fascist threats in Latin America and its inseparable unity with anti-imperialist struggle...
"The unity of the struggle for democracy is dialectically linked to the broader framework of the anti-imperialist revolutionary unity."
"This Conference energetically condemns the foreign policy of the leadership of the Communist Party of China which flirts with Yankee imperialism, defends its presence in Asia and in Europe, justifies NATO, stimulates West-German imperialism and ravanchism, attacks and slanders the USSR with the same viciousness of the worst spokesmen of international reaction, fosters the aggressive militarism of the world bourgeoisie against it, promotes the insane policy of cold war in the shameless connivance with the Chilean Military Junta to which it gives political support over the blood of thousands of communists, socialists, and other patriots murdered by the brutal repression of the fascist tyranny. The Chinese leadership also fosters everywhere, groups of pseudo-revolutionaries who, from a false radicalism, divide the left, attack the Communist Parties, obstruct progressive processes and frequently act as enemy agents with the revolutionary movement.
"To confront this policy of treason against unity, solidarity and the best traditions of the world revolutionary movement is a duty for all the Communist Parties of Latin America."
"The revolutionary struggle of Latin America is characterized as a difficult and complex battle in which all forces that oppose US imperialism have their place, and in which the most varies forms and methods of struggle should be used by the Latin American revolutionary movement, adequately adopting its location and movement of use to the diversity of conditions in each country. The utilization of all legal possibilities is an indispensable obligation of the anti-imperialist forces, and the defense of the right of the peoples to decide, through democratic means, the transformation they demand, is a constant principle of our struggle.
"Revolutionaries are not the first to resort to violence. But, it is the right and duty of all people's and revolutionary forces to be ready to answer counter-revolutionary violence with revolutionary violence and open the way, through various means to the people's actions, including armed struggle, to the sovereign decision of majorities."
"The Chilean experience evidently shows that revolutionary movements cannot discard any way of democratic access to power and that it must be fully prepared and ready to defend, with the force of weapons the democratic achievements."
Patriotism and Internationalism
"In proclaiming close unity and solidarity for the common struggle against imperialism, which has working class internationalism as its firm basis, we communists of Latin America reaffirm that each of our parties, following the principles of Marxism-Leninism and taking into consideration concrete national conditions, elaborates its own policy."
Unity in Action
"The anti-imperialist unity means above all, unity in action. Unity to mobilize the large masses and incorporate sectors and forces that still remain aloof from the struggle, although they suffer from exploitation and misery. Unity to coordinate concrete and diverse forms of struggle. Unity to act, with audacity and imagination, so that firmness in principle be joined to the necessary broadness so as not to lose a single force which could be incorporated."