HOW DID THE PPP PERFECT ITS CHOKEHOLD ON INDIANS?
Why is it that whenever you speak with some Indians about our problems in Guyana and you try to explain why our people are being given a raw deal they always accuse you of being racist? And if you should tell them that Indians deserve much more of the national patrimony they defensively ask, "What about the Africans?" How did Indians develop such a self-destructive attitude?
To understand the Indian confusion one must peruse our history from 1900 to 1948 and from 1948 to the present. One will find that from 1900 to 1948 there were many Indian intellectuals and leaders who understood that Indians and Africans would compete with each other to replace the British rulers and that Indians needed to prepare for political participation. Towards that end, they formed several Indian organizations that championed Indian interests.
Those Indian organizations and their leaders were discouraged by the PPP in the period 1948 to 1964 and the PPP replaced Indian consciousness with Marxism- Leninism. The PPP deliberately ignored Indian historiography and Indians were led to believe that our history and struggles started in 1948 with Dr. Jagan.
The aim of this essay is to briefly outline how the PPP developed and perfected its chokehold on Indians in Guyana.
People are always conscious of themselves as a distinct group. As children, we readily see the physical differences between people and that such characteristics make us either Indian or African. As adults, we learn of more differences in culture, values, ethics, education and religion. We do not have to have a formal education to form rudimentary ethnic consciousness. It comes to us naturally. Such consciousness is usually developed by our educated people.
Our intellectuals and leaders are the ones who explain, define, and refine our ethnic identity. It is they who will develop and advance our ethnic consciousness. Our leaders will articulate our ethnic interests and form organizations to advance and to champion our causes in the political arena. In this respect Africans got a head start on Indians.
AFRICAN ETHNIC CONSCIOUSNESS
Even during slavery, the mulattoes and coloured people received an education that enabled them to enter mainstream society and politics. When Africans were freed in 1838, they moved to the townships and made full use of the educational opportunities available there. By the early 1900's, the Africans had an educated class and had entered the professions and civil service in large numbers.
The African intellectuals and middle class formed ethnic organizations that defined and advanced their ethnic consciousness and interests. They had already entered the political arena and they quickly perceived Indians as a threat to their economic and political status quo. They were particularly outraged at the policy of importing Indians into the colony and waged a campaign to stop it.
So determined were they that they took advantage of Indian unrest at Diamond in 1924 to lead Indians to a slaughter at Ruimveldt in April that year. Indians were encouraged by the BGLU to march to Georgetown in "unity” with African workers. However the Africans who were in the vanguard soon petered out of the protest and left the Indians in front to be gunned down. Twelve Indians were killed on that day by the police.
The Ruimveldt Massacre, coming so soon after the Amritsar Massacre in India in April 1919, led to loud protests in India and a decision was taken to shelve the Colonisation Scheme thereby preventing the likelihood of Indians becoming two thirds of the population and the Africans becoming a small minority, as was the objective of J. A. Luckhoo and other Indian scholars who had supported the scheme.
INDIAN ETHNIC CONSCIOUSNESS
At the time of the Ruimveldt Massacre, Indians had by then begun to educate their children in large numbers. However there was already a significant educated class of Indians, as well as a bourgeoning Indian middle class. Indian intellectuals led by Joseph Ruhomon were shaping our ethnic consciousness and advancing our cause.
The East Indian Young Men Society was a forum that enabled Indian intellectuals to debate and write on Indian issues. Those leaders included Joseph and Peter Ruhomon, J.A. Luckhoo, C.R. Jacob, K.P. Das, and Ayube Edun. The list is long. Those were just a few of our early scholars. Those Indians entered the professions of law, medicine, engineering and education. Their accomplishments led to a greater effort by Indians to get their children an education.
According to Professor Clem Seecharran in his book "Tiger in the Stars," the Indian educated and middle class achievements evoked fierce racial pride in the poorer Indians who embraced the farmer's accomplishments as their own. When J.A. Luckhoo was re-elected to the Combined Court in 1921 a group of poor Indians congratulated him on "being the only member of our race in such a position."
Indians in the first part of the century already saw themselves as a distinct ethnic group. As an ethnic group, it did not see itself in terms of who were poor and who were rich or who were exploiting whom. The poor Indians were not envious of the wealthy and educated ones, but took pride in their successes, and saw them as the standard to which they or their children must aspire.
ENTER THE PPP INTO INDIAN LIFE
In 1947 Dr. Cheddi Jagan joined the ranks of an established Indian educated class when he returned to Guyana as a dentist. Unfortunately, he had married Janet Rosenburg in the USA. She was a member of a notorious communist family who had just witnessed its members, Julius and Ethel, being convicted and executed for espionage against the USA. Dr. Jagan's uncle and aunt-in-laws had stolen the atomic secret and passed it to Communist Russia.
Janet and Cheddi made no secret of their communist beliefs, an ideology so alien to Indian culture, that it is a mystery how they took control of Indians. They did so by a combination of factors which I shall now deal with.
The Indian intellectuals and middle class formed organizations that operated largely in the city. Their activities were restricted to mainstream society where, in response to their African counterparts, they took part in debates and wrote articles for the press and journals. They also took Indian grievances to the Immigration Agent and other authorities.
The main organization was the British Guiana East Indian Association. Its membership comprised mainly the educated and middle class. It was a small organization that dealt with social, economic and political issues as they affected Indians. It was not a political party and did not field candidates at elections. It, however, supported Indians who contested elections.
Dr. Jagan joined the BGEIA where he sought to introduce Marxism-Leninism, but he was rebuffed by the Indian intellectuals who warned that as an ideology it was alien to Indian culture and beliefs, and that politically it was suicidal. Dr. Jagan left the BGEIA and formed the Political Affairs Committee in 1947. It operated mainly in Georgetown where they developed a small but strong group of communist cadres. They followed Lenin's handbook, “How to organize the masses”. None of the Indian intellectuals and leaders were members of the PAC.
In keeping with Lenin's handbook, they set about organizing a mass party, which is a communist concept. It was named the Peoples Progressive Party and its bureaucratic structure was laid out as in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was organized throughout the country and it targeted the poor and uneducated Indians. It was the first party that organized the masses at the grass root level. It became a large party of predominantly working people led by a cadre of hard core Communists.
- Destruction of the Indian intellectuals.
The Indian intellectuals were wary of the PPP because of its communist ideology and because of its anti-American posture in a cold war environment. They saw communism as being anti-Indian in nature and the PPP's anti-imperialist stance as dangerous and inimical to the interests of Indians.
The PPP was quick to label any Indian who did not join the PPP as opportunists who were allied with the oppressors. A good example of the way the PPP saw independent Indians can be found on page of 108 of the West On Trial. This is what was written of Debedin, a solicitor and trade unionist, “he flirted with the PPP but thinking we could not win, moved away."
The implication is that Debedin was an opportunist who, if he thought the PPP could win, would have stayed in the PPP. However Dr. Jagan shot himself in the foot, as he was so wont to do, by writing in the same breath, "He (Debedin) could have joined the NDP which was nearer to him ideologically; but that party already had its hierarchy established and, moreover it was too African oriented for him."
So one can safely conclude that Debedin did not subscribe to the PPP's ideology of communism. We can see too that Debedin was apparently interested in being in the leadership of the PPP but due to his non-belief in Marxism-Leninism he could not have been facilitated. Dr. Jagan also saw Debedin as having Indian interests at heart, hence his observation that the NDP was too African oriented for him.
Twenty eight years later, in 1992, Dr. Jagan would deny Mr. Ravi Dev membership to the PPP because he was not a communist and in 1999 the General Secretary of the PPP Mr. Donald Ramoutar would declare that his party could not work with ROAR because their views were ideologically incompatible.
- Ethnic vs working class consciousness.
The PPP discouraged and subsequently almost destroyed Indian consciousness. It preached working class consciousness. Indians were told that the capitalists oppressed both Indians and Africans, both of whom comprised the working class, and that only working class unity could defeat the exploiters. Indians were exhorted not to think as Indians but as members of the working class.
As recent as May 28th, 2000 at the GIFT symposium in Georgetown, PPP executive member Mr. Ralph Ramkarran, speaking on behalf of his party, said "the PPP has always sought to overcome the negative political dimensions of ethnic identification by advocating working class unity as a basis for national unity." In other words, it was negative for Indians to think of themselves as an ethnic group. Here is an example taken from the West on Trial of how Indian leaders were viewed by the PPP.
Dr. Jagan attacked Indian leaders and Pandits as racists. This is how he described Indian views on page 114 of the West on Trial, "Crude religious and racist appeals were made by the Hindu Pandits and Debedin's United Farmers and Workers Party." He also wrote that the Muslims too attacked the PPP. Of course, in the long term, the Indian, Hindu and Muslim leaders were right in their reasons for opposing the PPP, but I will deal with that later.
- Abrogation of Indian History.
The Enmore Massacre of 8 Indians on 16th June 1948 could not have come at a better time for Dr. Jagan. He capitalized on the event and, there being no other Indian leader who could match his charisma and sincerity, he endeared himself to the huge crowds of Indians who gathered over the next few days. He had the perfect platform on which to sell himself as the Indian leader.
Subsequently, the PPP never referred to the other occasions when Indians were massacred, in some cases far worse than the one at Enmore. Soon, as Professor Clem Seecharran pointed out in a talk in Canada on 10-23-99, people came to believe that Indians were only killed at Enmore and that our struggles began with Enmore and that Cheddi Jagan was the first and only Indian leader produced by the Indian community.
Indians came to view Enmore as the beginning of our struggles and Dr. Jagan as the leader who stood up to the oppressors. The PPP in office in the 1950's and early 1960's never saw it fit to have Indian History taught in the schools, and never encouraged the writing of our history. This led to generations of Indians being moulded the PPP way.
- Independence and Radicalism
The Indian leaders and organizations were not radicals. They did not subscribe to the notion of destroying the institutions established by Britain. They believed it was best to learn how to govern themselves by working with the British rather than fight them. It is not that they did not want Independence for Guyana; they did, but they thought the better way to achieve Independence was to agitate quietly within the establishment rather than to engage in antagonistic mass activities.
Our Indian leaders' strategy was shaped by the Cold War that soon followed the end of the Second World War. By then, Britain had lost the will to maintain its empire and it was inevitable that all the colonies would be freed, once they conformed to the Capitalist Ideology. Many political leaders, especially in the Caribbean, adopted the strategy of working with the British to prepare themselves for Independence.
Our leaders quiet struggle for Independence in the 1940's was confined to the City and more so in the confines of the civil society. The consequence was that the masses in the rural areas were to a large extent excluded from the process.
Dr. Jagan and the PPP were quite the opposite to the conservative Indian leaders. The PPP set out on a radical path to achieve Independence. It organized the masses and included them in countrywide marches and demonstrations. It labelled the institutions as tools of oppression and embarked on an aggressive and antagonistic campaign for Independence.
Dr. Jagan's firebrand type of politics against the British quickly endeared him to the ordinary people who saw him as their champion. He was different from the other leaders and his valour against the colonialists evoked some sort of romanticism in the people. He quickly became THE LEADER.
THE PNC AND AFRICANS
Forbes Burnham was even more charismatic than Jagan and, more importantly, while he was a leftist of some sort, he was not a communist like Dr. Jagan. On the recommendation of the British Communist Party, Dr. Jagan had recruited him into the PPP in order to have an African leader. Burnham tried to take over the leadership of the party in 1953 and he led the Africans in a splinter group in 1955. He named his party the Peoples National Congress in 1957.
Burnham's PNC incorporated the League of Coloured People and the National Democratic Party, both of which were anti-communist, and more importantly had all the African intellectuals. Burnham did not destroy the African intellectuals, nor did he deny Africans their history. He did not preach working class consciousness and working class unity.
Whilst Burnham paid lip service to socialist rhetoric, he fostered African ethnic consciousness and when in power he actively encouraged the historiography of Africans and, even today, African History is taught in schools as Guyanese History to the exclusion of Indian History. This contributed to Indians being led at an early age to believe that they did not contribute to the development of Guyana and therefore had no right to the national patrimony. Indians were conditioned to belief that Africans had overriding rights over all other ethnic groups.
HISTORY PROVED THE INDIAN LEADERS CORRECT
History has shown that in the long term Messrs. Balram Singh Rai, Debedin, Dr. J.B. Singh, and a host of other Indian leaders were right to oppose the PPP and Communism. Dr. Jagan had given them three labels: reactionaries, opportunists and racists.
The "reactionaries and opportunists" warned that Dr. Jagan's obsession with Marxism in the Cold War era was dangerous and he would invoke the wrath of the British and Americans, and they were right. In response to his anti-imperialist posture, the "imperialists" suspended the Constitution in October 1953.
One would have thought that Dr. Jagan would have learnt his lesson and abandon his obsession with communism, as did the rest of the Caribbean leaders, but he did not. Put back into office in 1957 by Indian votes, he again defied the "Imperialists" by forging close ties with the USA's arch enemy Fidel Castro, and the CIA promptly destabilized him in favour of the PNC and Africans.
It was because of the PPP's obsession with communism that it locked itself out of Government in 1964, when it declined the UF's offer of coalition because the UF was capitalist. The PPP offered a coalition with the PNC but it refused the PPP's hand and instead teamed up with the UF. The Americans supported the PNC in Government and allowed it to consistently rig elections to keep the PPP out.
The PPP was the cause of rigged elections in Guyana. So committed was the PPP to Socialism that it gave critical support to the PNC in 1975, begged to form a National Front Government with the PNC in 1977 and held power sharing talks with the PNC after the assassination of Walter Rodney. In spite of the obvious domination, subjugation and oppression of Indians by the PNC, the PPP supported the PNC because of its communist ideology.
The PPP was kept in the political wilderness until 1992, by which time the Cold War had ended in capitalist victory and communism being no longer a threat to the free world, the II Imperialists" kindly forced the PNC to hold free and fair elections.
On the ideological front, the World Communist Movement fell apart. The bastion of communism, Russia, after 70 years of Proletariat rule, could not feed itself, and its Working Class had to depend on II Imperialist" charity to survive. Even India had to pitch in with supplies of wheat and rice. All the former communist countries of the Soviet empire scrambled to establish capitalism in place of communism.
The "racists" were also opposed to communism on the ground that it was anti- Indian. They opposed working class consciousness replacing Indian consciousness. They also warned that Burnham was a “snake”, who would betray Cheddi and impose African rule. Burnham did break away from the PPP and helped to topple it from Government. He went on to create an African dictatorship that lasted 28 years.
It could be argued to that the PPP's obsession with communism caused the delay of Guyana's Independence, and that when it was granted, it was deliberately done so only when the PPP was out of the way. It could be said too that it was the PPP's recklessness that paved the way for the PNC to marginalize Indians in Guyana.
HOW DID THE PPP MAINTAIN ITS HOLD ON INDIANS AFTER 1964?
One would have thought that in the aftermath of the violence against Indians in the early 1960's Indians would have learnt that the PPP was more concerned with Marxism-Leninism rather than with Indians and would have rejected that Party, but Indians clung steadfastly to the PPP. How did the PPP manage to do this?
For all its talk of working class consciousness and unity the PPP knew that ethnic consciousness was supreme, but its ideology did not permit it to publicly acknowledge this. It was Dr. Jagan's cognizance of ethnic realities that caused him to rope in Burnham to the PPP, where Dr. Jagan worked amongst Indians and Burnham did so amongst Africans.
When Burnham led the Africans out of the PPP, it was clear that the working class coalition had failed. The PPP was left with only Indians as its base. In order to survive, it had to hold on to the Indians. It did so by appealing to ethnic loyalty at bottom house meetings. Due to the circumstances after the PPP fell, Indians had no other choice but to continue supporting the PPP. The PPP also adopted a rifled [sic?] approach at controlling Indians. The GAWU held a grip on sugar workers, the RPA on rice farmers, the Dharmic Sabha on Hindus, and the PYO on students.
Alter 1964, Indians had no other party to turn to. All the Indian organizations and leaders had been effectively discredited by the PPP. What made it easier for the PPP to hold the Indians was Burnham's anti-Indian actions when he took office.
The Africans quickly set about monopolizing all the institutions, to the exclusion of Indians. Rice farmers in particular suffered as Burnham moved to wreck the industry, in order to force Indians out of the country in an effort to create an African majority. The PPP responded by stoutly defending Indians, whilst on the other hand it supported the PNC’s socialist thrust, completely oblivious that it was the Socialist initiatives that were being used to oppress Indians.
However the PPP did not defend Indians as Indians. It very rarely attacked the PNC saying that that party discriminated against Indians and perhaps only did so at bottom house meetings. It would say that farmers were being discriminated against, or that sugar workers were suffering, or that businessmen were being squeezed. In public it almost never used the word Indian. It only did so privately. The PPP conditioned Indians not to publicly assert themselves as Indians. Soon it became taboo to say that you were Indian.
Whilst the PPP gave the impression of defending Indians, it did not allow new Indian organizations to flourish. Any new Indian group was seen as a threat to its political base, something that could not be tolerated. Any Indian leader was painted as a reactionary who would split the Indian vote and side with the PNC. In the 1960’s it was Balram Singh Rai, in the 1970's it was Dr. Gunraj Kumar, in the 1980’s it was Paul Tennessee, and in the late 1990's it was Ravi Dev.
What helped the PPP too was the enlistment of a few Indians in the PNC. The Indians in the PNC were branded as traitors and they were deemed namakharam. Fear of being ostracized and stigmatized also helped to keep the Indians in the PPP. The PPP also used violence and threats to intimidate Indians and to keep them in line.
Even today, the PPP does not allow Indians to dissent. Mr. C.N. Sharma was twice assaulted by PPP activists. Mr. Cobeer Persaud's business was raided by CANU after he defeated the PPP at NOC elections on the E.B.D. A PPP stalwart known as “Cat Eye” of Essequibo Coast was fired after he attended a ROAR meeting. Then there was the infamous PPP rally held in front of Mr. Ravi Dev's home, where they called ROAR's members worms and vowed to crush them.
And the PPP did try to crush ROAR in the 2001 elections campaign. Here are a few instances of PPP violence against Indians in that campaign:
- On the East Bank Demerara, a senior PPP official set fire to the ROAR banner and threatened to burn down the homes of several ROAR supporters.
- On the Essequibo Coast, the home of the ROAR organizer, who had earlier defected from the PPP, was attacked by PPP elements. His father was killed and his brother was wounded.
- On the Corentyne, PPP gunmen opened fire on a party of ROAR activists who were at the time putting up posters in Port Mourant.
- On West Coast Berbice, PPP thugs threw missiles at the speakers at a ROAR meeting at Bush Lot.
HOW THE PPP CONFUSED INDIANS
The PPP confused Indians with its official discouragement of ethnic consciousness in favour of working class consciousness. Indians were conditioned by the PPP not to air their ethnic concerns publicly. Indians were being taught that to speak up on behalf of Indians was racism. The Indian soon learned not to express his ethnic concerns publicly least he should be deemed a racist. He was encouraged to do so only in the privacy of his home. That is why he will call an Indian activist a racist.
The concept of working class consciousness and unity also helped to confuse Indians. The Indian was taught that he must not only think of Indians but that he must also remember his African brothers of the working class. He was led to believe that it was wrong to seek benefits for his self and family only. That is why he will always ask," What about the Africans too?" even as he becomes the victim of their social unrest.
The Indian was taught that all the wealthy Indians were Bourgeoisie and, therefore, exploiters and scamps who acquired their wealth in an illegal manner. That is why the Indian, upon hearing of an Indian businessman being shot and robbed would be quite gullible to the PPP's propaganda, “Oh he was doing drugs."
The biggest confusion suffered by Indians was the socialist rhetoric of the PPP. Burnham would repeat the rhetoric but in practice he would implement an anti- Indian measure. The PPP called for nationalization of sugar and Burnham complied, but he Africanized the sugar bureaucracy and imposed a levy. The PPP called for a Peoples Militia and Burnham used it as an opportunity to further train and arm the Africans.
The PPP kept calling for Socialism and Burnham used it against the PPP and Indians. Socialist countries were one party States, so he rigged elections and made the PNC paramount. Socialism was for state control so the PNC established the External Trade Bureau (ETB) and Knowledge Sharing Institute (KSI), both of which almost wiped out the Indian wholesalers and retailers. Socialism was for State control of schools so the PNC politicized the education system. Using Socialist rhetoric Burnham also Africanized the Security Forces.
Despite the obvious marginalization of Indians by the PNC, the PPP gave Critical support to the PNC starting in 1975. Point to note: the PPP was the only party to support the PNC.
HAS THE PPP CHANGED?
One would think that in its 28 years in the wilderness the PPP would have learnt from its mistakes, but an examination of its conduct towards Indians since its return to office in 1992 would reveal its continued penchant for being anti-Indian.
"Indians going peacefully about their business were attacked in Georgetown and were mercilessly and savagely beaten. The unruly mobs later roved about the town injuring Indians and damaging their business ... bands of youths and men roaming the streets on foot and bicycle brigades attacking Indians..."
No, that is not a report on January 12th 1998. It is a description of 1964 by Dr. Jagan in the West on Trial, pages 234 and 235. The fact that Indians were again made to suffer a worse fate under the PPP in 1998, when over 30 Indian businessmen were killed, is an indictment that the PPP is incapable of learning and still thinks of Indians as idiots who will keep on voting them into office election after election.
In fact, the Indians again voted the PPP into office in March, 2001. Since then, violence has engulfed East Coast and Georgetown because of the PPP's ineptitude. Scores of Indians have been killed and hundreds more made to endure violence. Hundreds have been forced to evacuate their homes and relocate in other villages. Yet, by the year 2003, the PPP had done nothing to protect its supporters. Yet, the PPP would not heed advice given it since 1990 on how to protect all Guyanese. The PPP surrounded itself with former PNC henchmen who were made National Security Advisers. The PPP discarded the advice of outspoken Indians.
The PPP is suspicious of capable, competent and outspoken Indians. It prefers to deal with Africans or Indians bent on oppressing their fellow Indians.
A classic example of a PPP Indian is Dr. Prem Misir who, as Editor-in-Chief of the Caribbean Journal in January 1998, in an editorial captioned "Where is the evidence?" denied that Indians were brutalized on January 12th, and called Indian Rights activists racists and extremists. (Just as Dr. Jagan did in the 1960's). On 23rd October, 1999, Dr Misir's newspaper published a most scandalous attack on Hinduism, Indian women and Pandits. It was stated that Guyanese Hindus practised womb cleansing where the Pandit would engage in ritual sex with the women in the Mandirs. Three weeks later the PPP rewarded Dr. Misir for his persistent anti-Indian posture by appointing him as a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information.
- The Indians had by the early 1900's established a history of struggle with several incidents of them being gunned down on the sugar estates by colonial police.
- Indians had by then nurtured their own educated and middle class.
- Indian scholars had formed several social organizations to foster the development of Indians for roles in civic society and politics.
- Indian scholars had developed and refined Indian consciousness and culture.
- Indian intellectuals like J. A. Luckhoo and Peter Ruhomon knew that Indians and Africans would one day compete for political power, and that Indians had to be prepared for that eventuality.
- By the 1930's and 1940's, the British Guiana East Indian Association had made representation to the British for provisions to be implemented that would recognize Indians as a distinct ethnic and cultural group in Guyana, and that Indians be afforded equitable representation at all levels of the society including the Civil Service and Armed Forces.
7. Dr. Cheddi Jagan returned from the USA in 1946 and he joined the BGEIA. He tried to introduce Marxism-Leninism to the Indian leaders who found it repulsive to Indian culture and beliefs.
8. Dr. Jagan left the BGEIA and he and his wife Janet formed the Political Affairs Committee. It was a hard core Communist organization.
9. Dr. Jagan and the PAC capitalized on the 1948 massacre of Indians at Enmore Estate.
10. The Peoples Progressive Party was formed in 1950, and the Party deliberately ignored Indian historiography, and set about discrediting all Indian leaders and their organizations. In time, Indians came to belief that our history and struggles only began with Dr. Jagan.
11. The PPP won over Indians, but the party replaced ethnic consciousness with that of class. Eventually, Indian consciousness was destroyed.
12. Forbes Burnham did not seek to destroy the African scholars, nor African historiography, nor African consciousness. In fact, the PNC actively promoted all of them.
13. The Indian scholars did not believe in an antagonistic and radical approach to gain Independence from Britain. They believed in working with the British to learn how to govern ourselves since Independence was inevitable. They advised Dr. Jagan to do the same.
14. The PPP adopted an antagonistic approach towards the British.
15. Our Indian leaders believed in Capitalism and all its inherent freedoms.
16. The PPP was a Communist Party that promoted the Soviet Union.
17. The PPP's infatuation with Communism led to the British suspending the Constitution in 1953.
18. The PPP's theory of Class and Working Class Unity fell apart in 1955 when Burnham led the Africans out of the PPP and formed the PNC in 1957. However the PPP still preached class consciousness to the Indians.
19. At the next PPP Congress, Balram Singh Rai won the elections for Chairman of the party, but Mrs. Jagan altered the results and declared an African named Brindley Benn as the Chairman.
20. In 1961, Dr. Jagan reiterated his belief in Communism to US President John F Kennedy who promptly told the British to delay Independence until the PPP was removed from office. The CIA was then directed to oust Dr. Jagan from office.
21. In 1964, Dr. Jagan agreed to change the electoral system from First Past The Post to Proportional Representation. At the elections, Indians gave the PPP the largest bloc of votes. The United Force offered to form a government with the PPP. The PPP rejected the UF on the grounds that it was capitalist.
22. The PPP asked the PNC to form the Government with it but the PNC refused. The PNC did so with the UF.
23. In 1968, the PNC was allowed by the US to rig the elections to keep the PPP out.
24. In 1969, the PPP formally declared itself a Marxist-Leninist Party and set about campaigning vigorously for the PNC to implement Socialism.
25. By The mid 1970's, the PNC had nationalized the "commanding heights of the economy" and had also Africanized the State of Guyana. In the process Indians were marginalized. The PNC had by then incurred the displeasure of the US, but Dr. Jagan and the PPP gave Critical Support to the PNC. The only party to do so.
26. By the latter 1970's, the PNC dictatorship was a naked one. It had degenerated into political violence and assassination. It was under serious threat from the WPA. However, instead of joining forces with the WPA, the PPP offered to form a National Patriotic Front Government with the PNC in 1977. It was the only party to do so.
27. In 1980, the WPA leader Dr. Walter Rodney was assassinated, and the PPP entered into secret Power Sharing talks with the PNC.
28. The power sharing negotiations lasted until 1985 when Burnham died. He was replaced by Hugh Desmond Hoyte who turned Guyana away from the Socialist Path. It was then that the PPP ended the power sharing talks.
29. The Soviet Union and its satellite Socialist States in Eastern Europe collapsed in the late 1980's and the Cold War was over. However, in 2002, the PPP at its Congress reiterated its Marxist-Leninist posture.
30. In 1992, the PPP won the first free and fair elections held since 1964. Since regaining office the PPP, has repeatedly demonstrated that it remains anti-Indian in nature. It has failed to balance the Armed Forces and that is the principal reason that Indians have been systematically decimated by African gunmen.
31. The PPP's blunders, which came about because they are guided by Marxist beliefs, have finally given birth to the situation on the East Coast, where gunmen operating out of Buxton have been killing and maiming Indians almost daily.
Malcolm Harripaul 11-19-99
NB: First written in November 1999 and revised in January 2003