New Jewel Movement: the aftermath

The tragedy of the New Jewel Movement was not a Stalinist coup. It was, in part, an internal crisis which developed out of weaknesses inherent in what was known as socialism, in part out of weaknesses in individuals, and concurrently a coup manufactured by the US. The New Jewel leaders who are still alive, are being held in a 17th century prison, where they were tortured for nine years. I spent a year there interviewing them. They are clearly not innocent of making serious errors, to which they have admitted and apologized, but they are not guilty of the crime of murdering Maurice Bishop, et. al. They are political prisoners, having served 15 years in a veritable gulag, following a bogus trial where the judges were paid by the U.S. The last prisoners of the cold war are black, and they deserve their freedom.

Perhaps we can find some commonality on the notion that the New Jewel leadership should not be in a seventeenth century prison, after fifteen years and a corrupt trial which denied the accused the ability to present evidence. (See Ramsey Clark's statement to the US District Court on my home page).

We might also agree that the US government should release the classified documents that its intelligence agencies are refusing to release despite a judicial order that came down in November. (The Court order is in the Grenada section on my page).

People who agree with that might want, at least, to write the Grenadian Voice ( a link is on my page) and say so.

I shared many of the notions about the imprisoned NJM leaders that have been put forward on this page. I even wrote about it publicly. However, after some considerable research, it is clear to me that Coard was hardly a Stalinist (defined in any way I can imagine), that his ideas, and the ideas of others, were overwhelmingly popular within NJM, that the Bishop faction (if it can be called that) was in a tiny, tiny minority in the party altho Bishop was clearly far more popular among the masses of people---and that all concerned could easily see that a split in the party would only prompt a US invasion, with the likely death of every militant.

Yet that tragedy happened anyway, and the ground work for it was not simply created by the failures of the NJM leadership (among them the sheer exhaustion of the leadership who took on too much themselves, and the denial of the key vision of the women in the party who saw this coming but whose voices were not really heard), but also laid by problems inherrent in what was the socialist project, which most of the people on this list would have supported at the time---to one degree or another. The relationship of internal problems to external US pressure (which was incessant and ranged from direct violence to subtle sabotage), is important to understand and requires what Marxism is all about, a very careful examination of things as they move. What will people in the future need to know that might be learned from the NJM?

I spent a lot of time with Coard. I do not think he is an egomaniac. He is exacting, sometimes difficult, very bright, a hard worker, funny, dedicated, and engaged.