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Caribbean Left Grenada and Latin America

Essay by   •  November 8, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  2,357 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,245 Views

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        It is common in the Caribbean for a group of people to come together to fight for a common goal. It was entrenched deep in our history starting as way back from the maroon wars across the Caribbean and Haitian Revolution and many more situations. Caribbean people were always fighting for what they believe in.  According to Mars, The left is a varied array of agencies which challenge established precepts of the international and domestic quo and seek to initiate change or relevant alternatives to the prevailing class structure within the political system. In the Caribbean context, the left originated from specific inchoate forces groupings and movements and groupings and movements specialized in the articulation of what is sometimes termed “culture of resistance” that is historically rooted in the slavery and indentured ship periods through the region (Mars:1998).  The Caribbean left movement has contributed tremendously to political developments and class consciousness around the Caribbean nations. A group of people going for their rights, fighting against capitalism for their country among superior countries and the elites who see the Caribbean as a means of raising raising capital for themselves.  The leftist movement was not all together successful as there where challenges as it regards to the capitalist system and the dominant elites.

 Even though leftist movement was in Jamaica, Guyana Trinidad and Tobago the aim of this paper is to critically discuss Grenada left features and similarities as it regards to Latin America left in the same time period.  

        Maurice Bishop and B. Coard was the leader of the prominent Left movement in Grenada in 1979, the Leftist movement was called New Jewel movement. The new Jewel Movement can be seen as the most far reaching socialist experiment up to that time as many of the other leftist movement had some various challenges. In March 1979 the New Jewel Movement removed the government of Eric Gairy. The government of Gairy had gained international notoriety in its attempts to confuse the working peoples about unidentified flying objects while unleashing a form of terrorism that was associated with a paramilitary gang called the Mongoose Squad. It was because of the brutality of this government that the people welcomed this unconstitutional change of government. The Latin America countries have all experienced leftist movements, capitalism particular US seeking to gain powers in their countries. They both countries experienced success and challenges in this time period but they fought back and tried to overcome.  

        

Similarities and differences of Grenada and Latin America left movement

        According to Kenedy, Neoliberalism led to very slightly improved employment levels in the Latin America; however its effect on employment was as whole negative, due to its consequences for the nature of available jobs.  Much of the employment gains were seen in the service sector, which entailed mostly informal, low paying work, such as cleaning, that was deeply insecure.  Increased numbers were employed on short-term contracts if at all, which could be ended with ease, and entailed no social security benefits.  The conglomeration of agriculture led to the marginalisation of small farmers, whilst many small and medium sized family firms collapsed due to corporate competition.  This led to a trend of upward social mobility being reversed as a once emerging middle class undertook urban, low paying work (Kirby, 2003, pp. 56-57; Buono & Lara, 2006, p. 312).  As a consequence of these developments, the quality of employment worsened, whilst the real industrial wage and the minimum wage both fell from their 1980 levels.  This left people far worse off and more likely to fall into poverty than they had been in decades (Roberts K. M., 2002).  Social vulnerability, not easily captured in statistics, increased massively (Kirby, 2003, p. 111). On the other hand in Grenada After the removal of Eric Gairy Government Maurice Bishop, the leader of the movement moved swiftly to enact social reforms to better the conditions of the people. Bishop placed itself in the service of the people.  Bishop had been associated with a tendency in the Caribbean known as the ‘New Beginning’ that was influenced by the ideas of C.L. R James. Thus, in Grenada Bishop and the NJM sought to embark on a new course that placed the workers, farmers and youth at the forefront and organised agrarian reform to benefit small farmers and farm workers. Very rapidly the NJM expanded trade union rights, advanced women’s equality in the workplace, established literacy programs, and instituted free medical care. These reforms were dubbed as communist by the internal and external opposition in the Caribbean (Campbell: 2010). In general, Both Grenada and Latin America had economic problems at that time. They both have problems with the level of unemployment in the various regions. It was a little different in Grenada seeing they had Maurice Bishop who saw the soci-economic problem and sought means to improve it. However in Latin America it was more extreme. 

        The second relatively “new” feature is the rejection of over-centralisation in the Latin America. The centralising, homogenising state was a central element of “actually existing socialism” throughout much of the 20th century, and even today it remains em-bedded somewhere in the consciousness of many of those who see themselves as socialists. Indeed, in the classical Marxist view, scale itself, and the tendency of capitalist production to generate larger and larger scales, were seen as paradox-ically positive features, since they ena-bled the combination of large groups of workers who could be mobilised to alter production relations, and allowed for more rapid and effective transforma-tion of such relations to the benefit of all the people (Ghosh: 2012). On the other hand, from my readings Grenada haven’t faced any over-centralization but decentralization.

The early NJM reflected a similar independent tendency that included a movement away from maximum leadership, the minimising of the importance of traditional elections, decentralisation of power, a preference for mass insurrection and the need to steer clear of the international communist movement. Brian Meeks correctly attributes these positions to the influence of CLR James whose ideological outlook had a large impact on the Caribbean Black Power Left. He puts it this way: The chosen ideological perspective of 1974 was related of course to the specific experiences of individuals, but a cumulative and available ideological context can be identified, with boundaries delineated by Black Nationalism, an indigenous orientation and most notably an absence of Leninism (Meeks 2001:146). The Latin America rejected over-centralization as it was in the process of being introduced by the elites.

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